Triangle Tube Prestige Boiler Problems, Solutions & Question

Discussion in 'Boiler Forum' started by larryleveen, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. larryleveen

    larryleveen New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    WA
    We had a Prestige Solo 60 boiler installed with a new hydronic system. It seemed to be working OK, but when the weather got cold, it would display an error (I think error code 02 or 03) which meant that the boiler had tried the ignition sequence 5 times and was in a lockout mode. Hitting the resent button would always make it work again, but eventually the same thing would happen. We were resetting 2 or 3 times a day, so we called our installer. He contacted Triangle Tube and it turns out they had some bad controller units (the "brains" of the boiler, I think) have this issue. They sent a part out for free in a few days, and upon install, it hasn't had that issue again (knock wood). Hooray!

    As a side note, our system uses an indirect DHW tank heated by this boiler, and uses a separate temperature sensor (instead of the one built into the tank) wired to the boiler. When the boiler brain was replaced, factory settings did not include the one telling the boiler to use this sensor (the installer forgot this). The result was that we had heat, but no hot water. It took a day for us to notice, because there was hot water in the tank. I called the installer, and since I save manuals, we were able to figure out the cause after a little communication, and he coached me through making a change in the boiler settings to use the separate DHW temperature sensor. Restarted the boiler and badda-boom, badda-bing -- hot water. Hooray!

    The boiler (I believe) occasionally make single "thud" nose. Quiter than a "boom". I thought this might go away when the new brain/controller was installed, but it remains. I am a little concerned about this. Could the noise be delayed combustion -- happening in the (PVC!) exhaust pipe? Any other ideas folks?
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  2. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,805
    Location:
    01609
    Micro-explosions in the exhaust are possible, and are a symptom that should not be ignored, since it can crack the PVC leading to exhuast gases getting into conditioned space. The control systems usually run the exhaust blower for several seconds prior to supplying gas to the burner on an ignition cycle, and do a similar flue purge at the end of the burn. If your's has a history of ignition failures, inspect the PVC carefully- it may need to be replaced. And if it's truly getting occasional micro-explosions it could be an indication of something actually wrong (with either the unit, or the installation.)
  3. Buffalobillpatrick

    Buffalobillpatrick New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Stonewall Colorado
    TT Solo 60

    I installed a TT Solo 60 in my house 6 months ago.
    Prior to purchase, Via email TT tech support stated that this unit would work fine at my 8,500' altitude & LP
    Have been fighting ignition problem entire time.
    5 fails to light in a row gives E02 hard error & unit must be reset MANUALY on front panel.
    No pins seem available for an external reset signal.
    I have replaced both LP pressure regulators & set pressure to 11.5" WC
    I bought a new combustion analyzer $$$ & set throttle screw, all numbers are in spec.
    I have removed & inspected the spark igniter & ground.
    I had had a different LP supplier top off my tank with about 500 gal.
    Factory sent out a new control board (green dot) This was a total waste of time as unit would not fire ONCE
    I now gives a hard E02 once or twice a week.
    About half the time it lights off with a small backfire sound.
    Spark seems to run for about 3 seconds with gas valve clicking open about half way through.
    TT tech support will not answer my emails.
    Very frustrated!
  4. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,805
    Location:
    01609
    DIY mod-con installs can have all sorts of issues obvious to the factory trained tech (or not) which may be why tech support stopped answering your queries. The Solos are a very popular series in my neck of the wood, with plenty of competent installers to pick from. But we don't have any o' that cheap lo-rent air with only half the oxygen in it the way you do at 8500' in CO, which could be at least part of your issue (which is why you asked tech support before moving ahead on it.) It's probably worth hunting down a local installer with some training and a good relation ship with the distributor & factory and PAY them to take a crack at debugging it. (Calling the local/regional distributor for a reference isn't a bad place to start- they'll know who has installed and is supporting dozens of them locally.)

    The backfire sound is almost surely a small gas explosion, and there can be serious consequences when PVC venting is compromised by this type of symptom.
  5. larryleveen

    larryleveen New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    WA
    Buffalobill,

    Did you have the controller replaced as I have? That eliminated the failure to ignite issue resulting in hard lockout E02 code requiring reset.

    TT is aware of the issue, sent out a new controller and the issue is fixed.

    I just called TT regarding my remaining issue -- that of an occasional thump or thud noise, which I suspect is delayed combustion, and which Dana says I should indeed be worried about. TT said:

    It could indeed be delayed combustion, which is bad. To help figure this out, a combustion gas analyzer is helpful. The values of % CO2 in should be between 8.8-10.5. Among the problems that could cause delayed combustion are:

    - The igniter is not gapped properly

    - The spark cable might be contacting something metal in the boiler. It shouldn't, and cable ties can be used to secure it properly, but do not have the unit powered on when checking this!

    - The supply gas pressure should be between 5"-13" water column (I am on natural gas, so I don't know if this applies or what the values are for propane, sorry).

    - During ignition, the supply gas pressure should not drop more than 1".

    I am setting up an appointment with my installer to check these things. I'll check the PVC piping too -- thanks for that warning, Dana!
  6. BadgerBoilerMN

    BadgerBoilerMN Master Hot Water Mpls,MN

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    "The supply gas pressure should be between 5"-13" water column"

    Reading and understanding the installation manual are two different things. Both are necessary for the safe and efficient installation of a condensing boiler. The manufacturer takes great risk in coaching the DIYer over the phone, whether they have a combustion analyser or not. By the way, for the cost of a combustion analyser, a trained professional can come out every other year for the life of the unit and will likely know how to use the analyser he brings with him.

    At 8500', special care must be taken to get safe, reliable ignition. Amatuers need not apply.

    I know; just change out the board, the ignitor, the vent pipe, the high limit control, the out door sensor, the gas valve...

    I am sure all the folks here will give you good (intentioned) advice. After all, you don't know them and they would know you if they saw you in the obits.

    Fact is, a good factory-trained technician saves time, money and maybe the house.
  7. tk03

    tk03 New Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Harrisburg, pa
    I find at altitude that a static pressure on LP of 13" w.c. is better. What is the O2 on high and low speed? Is the venting according to the manual?
  8. montanajack

    montanajack New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Montana
    (1) I have a Solo 110 that makes a horn-like sound just after firing, goes away after about 15 seconds as boiler moves to "high fire". (2) Also, I smell raw gas coming from the intake elbow that connects to the venturi when in standby. TT told me that there should not be a gas smell anywhere! So they arranged to have a guy put in a new gas valve. That didn't fix it. Sometimes I smell gas in the room. Anybody have trouble like this?
    Jack
  9. BadgerBoilerMN

    BadgerBoilerMN Master Hot Water Mpls,MN

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Get a lot of altitude in Harrisburg?

    I actually started my condensing boiler radiant floor career about 8000' in the mountains west of Denver. I don't think that first boiler ever did light reliably, but the new boilers are a breed apart. In Colorado there is no excuse for going without professional help. Good hydronic contractors abound.

    Find a competent professional with any condensing boiler factory-sponsored training. Gas leaks are not to be fooled with. For that matter condensing boilers are not for the novice installer. This is not the forum (it doesn't exist) for diagnosing condensing boiler problems. Too many mistakes can be made in the translation. I have worked on condensing boilers, sold and manufactured them since the 80's and yes even helped technicians repair them over the phone, but the smart ones came in to the schools and rarely called for help. These professionals are available just about everywhere high efficiency condensing boilers are sold - internet sales notwithstanding.


    http://www.badgerboilerservice.com/contractor.html
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  10. Buffalobillpatrick

    Buffalobillpatrick New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Stonewall Colorado
    Larry,
    yes I put in new control board with green dot, would not fire off even once, I returned it to TT, now using original board that fires off most of the time.
    I also get a variable delayed ignition noise.

    I engineered & installed a solonoid that automatically pushes the reset button when E02 happens, this way I can leave house for extended time when its cold outside.

    Implementation:
    When an E02 happens, either the DHW or the CH pump remains on. I use this to pick a relay (one for each pump) the relay N/O points isolate the 2 pumps from each other & provide 120vac to an adjustable Fenwal thermal switch (break on temp rise) I mounted this on the boiler supply pipe & set it to 110*
    If the thermal switch is cooler than 110* the 120vac is sent to a 10 minute Time Delay Relay (delay on make) (TDR)
    If 10 minutes expire & the boiler is not producing hot water, the 120vac is sent on to a 2 second TDR, this relay passes the 120vac on to a 9vdc mini power supply that energizes the solonoid which pushes the reset button for 2 seconds. A set of N/C points in the 2 sec. TDR opens at 2 sec. & opens the 120vac to the 10 min. TDR which resets its 10 min. cycle. So this will retry every 10 min. if required.
    WORKS EVERY TIME!

    I have received advice from a different brand factory Tech support guy to open up the gap by 1/16" to about 5/16" & add a better ground wire.

    I have adjusted the gas throttle screw from rich to lean ends of spec repeatedly, make no difference on E02. Right now its toward the lean end in order to get CO into spec.
    High Fire CO2=11.1, O2=4.0, X-air=23.6, CO=86ppm

    Venting is correct, I think, about 20' equivalent of 3" PVC. Both vent & intake go through rim board about 1' below floor which is about 3' below boiler.

    Badger, I have exchanged emails with Mark Etherton (sp?) Denver based pro. He said he would have to charge about 1/3 of what I payed for the boiler to come down for a day & troubleshoot it, no guarentees to fix it. I live in BFE, very remote mountain area, no local TT pros.

    BBP
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  11. tray

    tray New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    west henrietta, ny
    Seen this before, this noise is caused by an improper air to fuel mix.you will need screwdriver, co analyzer, and patience cause its in tight spot. Dont quote me on this but i believe number is around 9.8 but can be verified through triangle tube. And dont let them side track you with ignitor replacement, thats there solution for everything
  12. larryleveen

    larryleveen New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    WA
    Tray, are you responding to my post about the thud noise, or are you replying to Buffalobillpatrick's issue?
  13. BadgerBoilerMN

    BadgerBoilerMN Master Hot Water Mpls,MN

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    There is simply no way to set or adjust combustion on any high efficiency condensing boiler without the use of a properly calibrated combustion analyzer in the hands of a skilled technician. Part of the cost of living remotely is finding professionals to do the things you cannot. No good can come from your efforts here. You are experiencing delayed ignition, but the implications of this one symptom can lead to many unhappy consequences. No one here or elsewhere can help you, even if the knew how.

    I know, I'm bad, but still the only one haunting this DIY wasteland that works on condensing boilers for a living, and most of them, poor to really dangerously installations. I wager that Mark is not the only qualified condensing boiler heating technician in Colorado. Any contractor with condensing boiler training and experience should be able to help. The local rep or distributor (especially the one that sold the unit) should be able to give you a referral.
  14. larryleveen

    larryleveen New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    WA
    I spoke too soon -- the new controller isn't igniting properly. That's because they sent us the an "uncorrected" controller (no green dot). A new one just arrived, and will be installed soon. I fear it will only correct some of the problems. I'll update the thread or make a new one since it kinda got hijacked (sorry BB).

    BTW, the tech bulletin for TT bad ignition is at: http://www.heatinghelp.com/files/posts/10281/MCBA_Announcement_8022011.pdf
  15. Buffalobillpatrick

    Buffalobillpatrick New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Stonewall Colorado
    Thanks Larry

    Thanks a bunch Larry.

    I'm unsure of where I'm at in this mess, as my replacement MCBA with the green dot wouldn't fire at all.
  16. larryleveen

    larryleveen New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    WA
    Well, we just had a new green-dot controller installed and so far the thud noises are gone as are the E02 lockouts from failure to ignite. If there is one thing that I've learned about mod cons is that they need an experienced professional to design the system and install it. Might be time to pick up the phone and take out the checkbook.

    I am still looking into the issue of my system's efficiency. I was using setback on my thermostats, but have stopped doing that based on what I have heard/read on several online forums and articles. Oddly, I got the following email from Triangle Tube regarding the matter when I emailed them a question about this issue:

    I'm surprised that TT says to use setback!
  17. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,805
    Location:
    01609
    "Each home is different so we can’t give specific savings amounts, but I would experiment to find the optimum settings for your house."

    No kidding!

    Whether or not you gain anything at all with setbacks is mostly a function of how tight & well insulated the house is, and the amount of thermal mass inside the thermal & pressure boundary of the house. Low-mass leaky houses cool off faster, reducing the delta-T between indoors & outdoors, which reduces the rate of heat flow out of the house. But a tight higher-R house with some amount of interior thermal mass (like maybe a radiant floor slab?) will almost never hit the setback limits, with very low, sometimes unmeasurably low reductions in fuel use. If you saved 3% in heat loss by going to setback, but lose 3% in efficiency on the recovery ramp by firing away at a higher temp you've gained nothing, and perhaps lost a bit of early morning comfort.

    The raw efficiency of a mod con is determined by the entering water temp coming back from radiation, and the firing rate of the burner. With most the sweet spot on the firing rate is at or near the lowest modulated range, and going more than 50% of full fire cuts into condensing efficiency at any return water temp by a significant more-than-theorectical amount, which you'd somehow have to make up for with lower return water temps:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Setback is a better strategy with bang-bang cold-fired boilers and higher temp radiation, where standby losses can be reduced by letting the boiler cool off, and the efficiency curve is in the long, linear fairly flat non-condensing zone, where the firing rate is what it is, and the combustion efficiency not much affected over a 10-15F return water range.
  18. larryleveen

    larryleveen New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    WA
    I have never understood what high-mass and low-mass are in this context. Is it the mass of the hydronic heating water? Is it the mass of the radiators/other heat sinks?

    Is efficiency the result of just getting low return water temps, or is is the result of a specific temperature loss across the system? I would guess the former, since it creates a bigger gradient to exchange heat across in the boiler, but please confirm that.

    If I was right, what is the lowest realistic OUTGOING water temperature to use? It seems like that would be desirable so that the return temp was as low as possible. Again, I have radiators, not radiant floor heating. The house is small 1200 sq. ft., fairly well insulated in a moderate temperature area (zip 98502), though I suspect the house is not very tight (something I want to improve this year).

    Here are readings from the boiler display:

    Supply Water Temp: 174
    Return Water Temp: 144
    DHW Temp: 132

    What to do? Maybe the installer left a default reset curve (based on a colder area) in there.
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,893
    Location:
    New England
    If a boiler is designed to condense, then it can tolerate return temps a lot lower. Otherwise, it's prudent to keep it at or above 130-degress for the most part (there are some exceptions). Radiators will still continue to heat when the supply temp is lower and is more efficient as long as the house remains comfortable. you only need the higher temperatures (and you may not actually need them) when it is colder outside. One thing common to all newer condensing boilers, and available for others that don't have it, is an outdoor reset. This adjusts the supply temperature based on the outside temperature and the return water temps to keep the supply as low as possible while maintaining comfort and maximizing burn time. In a perfect world, the boiler would run all the time at the proper supply temp while maintaining the desired comfort level. This is accomplished, up to a point, with a mod-con by adjusting both the boiler's output level (burner) and supply temperatures. It's just that they don't have infinite range, and on a mild day, the minimum burn is likely going to be larger than the house's needs. There are other controllers that can help maximize efficiency, but the one biggest factor is to have a boiler that is 'right' sized for the load. it's just that with a mod-con, it can adjust its 'size' to the load over a fairly good range. On a fixed burner, it must cycle more often. Each time it cycles off and on, it loses some efficiency. Controlling it with some anticipation (i.e., turning off before the house temp is reached while allowing the latent heat to finish the job) can help, and there are devices that can be setup to do that as well.
  20. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,805
    Location:
    01609
    But the thermal mass of the house (relative to setbacks) is the sum total of the specific heats x mass (kinetic) of everything inside the exterior edge of the thermal boundary (insulation layers, including studs), and that would include the heating system, wood, flooring, walls, plaster, furniture, pets & people, etc. which can vary by quite a bit. Concrete & masonry construction tends to be significantly higher mass than stick-built, tile floors have more thermal mass than carpet, etc.. The greater the thermal mass of the house, the more BTUs it needs to lose to fall to a particular setback temp, and a very high mass house may lose very little in the way of temperature, even with large amounts of heat loss over night. Setback only saves if the indoors temperature drops, reducing the rate of heat loss, so a lower-mass house derives greater benefit from a setback strategy than a high-mass house where the temp barely drops during the setback period.

    The mass of the heating system the thermal mass, of the entire system, which is related to the the specific heat x mass (kinetic) of all the materials in the system. The specific heat of water is 1BTU/lb per degree-F, but the iron in cast iron radiators etc is about 1/9 that of water, and most of the thermal mass in a radiator system well be the water, but not all of it. It's considered "high mass" radiation if it's big old radiators, but some will argue that thin Europanel is more like "mid-mass" due to lower water volume and less iron.

    The specific heat of concrete is ~ 0.2 BTU/lb-F, and concrete slab radiant floors can have quite a LARGE amount of thermal mass relative to say, a 40 gallon tank or most heavy radiator systems despite having 1/5 the thermal mass per lb.. Concrete is pretty dense stuff and there's lots of it in a slab.

    With fin-tube convectors as the heat emitter and a low water volume mod-con nearly all the thermal mass is accounted for by the water- the rest is negligible- a few percent of the total at most. With staple-up radiant floor, same thing, but there's usually 5x or more water in the system than with fin-tube, but both are considered "low mass" radiation.

    Similarly with a big cast-iron beasty-boiler the iron can count for some fraction that may equal or exceed the water-volume of a boiler, but with mod-cons the thermal mass of the heat exchanger is pretty small even compared to the gallon or so of water volume in the boiler. The same is true of copper-fin water tube boilers and their cousin, the tankless water heater.

    Enough with the mash-schasch- getting to the real issue for YOU:

    If your return water temp is 144F it's only getting ~87% efficiency out of the boiler, and you'd need to drop the overall temp by another 15F to break 90%. The lowest output temp that's "reasonable" depends on the heat emitter type & size. With fin-tube going below 120F becomes wird since it's output becomes non-linear with temp, but big old high-mass radiators have decently linear output even at sub-100F, and usually enough thermal mass to keep the boiler from short-cycling even at low-output (a common problem with low-mass fin-tube.) I haven't programmed this series, but if it's a standard set of curves, start at the bottom and see if it keeps up. The lower the water temp, the lower the output of your radiators- to squeak the best efficiency out of the boiler, run the temp curve at the lowest temp that actually keeps up with the load. With high-mass radiation it shouldn't short cycle no matter how low the water temp is, but keep track of what it's doing burn-length wise when it's "bumping off the bottom" at heat loads below the minimum firing rate of the boiler (which may be much of the time, for you.)

    The 30F delta-T at 174F output is fine- expect that to shrink a bit with lower temp output, but it'll still be >15F with 120F output, and lower still at 100F output.

    It's been mostly in the 40s in 98502 for the past few days, and I'd be shocked if the heat load ever exceeded 20 KBTU/hr during that time period unless you left some windows open. If this is a retrofit installation to a house with upgraded insulation & windows (or storm windows), and all radiators are original, there's probably enough radiator to deliver 100K @ 174F, and you should be able to drop the temperature quite substantially and still keep up. With the curve set too high you end up overheating for awhile, then it undershoots the setpoint as it brings the mass of water up to the (too-high) temp, repeat. With curve dialed-in the burns will be long, slow, and efficient, with a much more stable room (and radiator) temperature, and higher comfort level.
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