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Author Topic: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!  (Read 359 times)

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Offline doctorb

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E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« on: January 14, 2020, 12:43:16 PM »
While I am taking the year off from my OWB (Central Boiler e-2300. Used since 2009) because of recent spine surgery, I want it to be in working order in case of an emergency.  So I did all the usual stuff, tested the water, etc., and I turned on the Firestar controller to make sure it wasn't having a seizure.  I had read that, over time, electrical issues can crop up with the solenoids and the controller, although I have not experienced them.  

When I turned on the unit, I didn't hear the primary solenoid kick on, as it usually does when the controller senses the need for heat, so I watched the solenoid sequence with the back panel open to see what was going on...the primary solenoid didn't open at all.  The secondary solenoid and the solenoid for the fan (high-burn) worked fine.

So I did the series of tests suggested from CB.  This included testing the resistance in the unplugged solenoid.  (normal)  It also included measuring the voltage across the solenoid when it was supposed to be turned on.  I got no voltage reading.  Should be 110+.
With this data, I consulted with my dealer and the CB website, who said that in such instances the Firestar controller needs replacing, so I ordered a new one and installed it.  Unfortunately, nothing changed.  Primary solenoid doesn't open and the rest of the burn sequence of solenoid opening is normal.

Talked to CB yesterday.  Had me remeasure the resistance on the solenoid - still normal.  Voltage still absent to the primary solenoid.  I also hooked up the wires from the primary solenoid to the working secondary solenoid and it failed to open.  I inspected the lead wires for the primary solenoid as best as I could (over much of their transit from the solenoid back to the controller they are bundled with many other wires or completely buried within the stove and unaccessible.)  There was no evidence of wire damage or wear that I could see.

Seems to me that I have either a wiring issue between the controller and the solenoid, or the new controller that I just purchased is faulty (seems unlikely).  My dealer is a great guy, but I have to drive about an hour to see him and get parts.  I don't know his expertise with these electrical issues and I am not certain that he does a lot of house calls.  Further, my e-2300 is not a current model, so his knowledge of the older products may be limited.

Has anyone else experienced such a stubborn issue.  I would be appreciative of any help solving my problem.
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

Offline JJ

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 01:26:17 PM »
Hi DocB
maybe similar to this problem:
Re: e-2300 fan won't work

I no longer have the stove, sold with the house few years ago when I moved, but when I drive old house by few weeks ago, the stove is still running.

The other think I would check, as I had to replace several on my unit, was the crimped spade (female) connectors on the wire terminals.   I had some which loosened up over time, or were never fully crimped tight.  If you find one thats loose, re-strip the wire and replace it as the wire will carbon up from arcing.

        JJ

Offline doctorb

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 03:13:19 PM »
Thx. JJ

Simple enough. Ill give it a try on a nicer day.  When the stove is not my current source of heat, as in my case for this winter, Im not gonna kneel out on a misty cold windy day for a repair that isnt time dependent.

Ill listen to any other ideas as well.
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

Offline jhowes

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 08:03:30 PM »
Here are a couple of things that you may have checked but did not say. 
1. Check voltage at the board. If you have voltage run a couple of scrap wires around the back or whatever it takes to bypass the old wiring to get to the solenoid. 
2. If you have voltage at the board another option may be to take the solenoid to the source and test directly off of the board. Just be careful as 110 is not as forgiving if a wire touches something or someone.
Good luck 

Offline E Yoder

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2020, 05:15:55 AM »
I would agree, testing voltage at some other places and jumpering wires would really help to narrow things down.
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Offline ButchC

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2020, 07:20:52 AM »
Agree on the jumper wires. It is all to easy to look at wires and connectiions, see no obvious problems and think all is good. Several years ago my Woodmaster developed  an issue where it randomly tripped the breaker feeding it. Might go a month or might trip 3 times a day.  I kept trying different things and replacing parts to no avail. One day I had the back cover off and pushed on the insulation and it tripped the breaker. Reset it and pushed and tripped again, was easy to find tbe issue from there. Wire had a bare spot that rested next to the snap switch. 
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2020, 08:20:05 AM »
Test for power at the controller, if ok then check connectors or possible broken wire.

Power the solenoid from another source to confirm operation.

Offline doctorb

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2020, 11:39:33 AM »
My understanding is that all three solenoids are on the same breaker, so if two are working correctly I do have voltage at the controller.  Voltage at the secondary solenoid is normal (119v).  Given those assumptions, it sounds like a wire / connector problem.  Not sure I know how to measure / access controller for  voltage or wire jumping.
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2020, 04:57:46 PM »
I see, ok I have no personal experience with these boilers but a fair amount of time trouble shooting things, the best way I know is to start at one end and work your way to the other end to see where things change. Jumping back and forth will just get confusing. 

This part 

I consulted with my dealer and the CB website, who said that in such instances the Firestar controller needs replacing, so I ordered a new one and installed it.
and this

My understanding is that all three solenoids are on the same breaker, so if two are working correctly I do have voltage at the controller.  Voltage at the secondary solenoid is normal (119v).  Given those assumptions, it sounds like a wire / connector problem.  Not sure I know how to measure / access controller for  voltage or wire jumping.
Has me a bit confused.

If one circuit from the controller powers all three things why would they recommend a new controller? Hopefully they are not too expensive.

Anyway Moving on....

In this situation I would be tempted to start at the non functioning solenoid. First thing is to move the part the solenoid is suppose to move to confirm it is not stuck.

If all good there then to the solenoid.

Since the solenoid is 120v you could power it from an external source to confirm it operates correctly. Doing an ohm test will tell you that it should work but powering it up and hearing the click will confirm.  If you can disconnect the wires to the solenoid and use a old cord salvaged from a discarded appliance and an extension cord to connect power to it and see if it indeed works. Wire in the old appliance cord to the solenoid first then plug it in to the extension cord to power it up.

If no joy you have narrowed it down to the solenoid if it works then there is no longer any doubt and you can work your way back through the wires to the next junction.

Perhaps a link or picture of the wiring diagram may help sorting this out.

Offline doctorb

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Re: E-2300 solenoid problem - HELP!
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2020, 09:29:38 PM »
Hilltop-

First, let me thank you for your detailed and thoughtful reply.  Excellent.

I kinda tested the solenoid before I did anything.  My furnace is a dual fuel model, meaning it can use gas to light the wood fire.  This option places two more solenoids at the rear of the stove than standard wood-only models.  I purchased it on CB's recommendation, and wish I had not.  I have never used the gas option with this stove, and those two solenoids have just been sitting there unused for 10 years.  

To see if these solenoids were functional, I switched on the gas option and watched the sequence of solenoid opening.  This solenoid worked perfectly in its original location.  So, in the first move to fix what I assumed was a broken primary solenoid, I switched out the primary solenoid for this "gas" solenoid.  The solenoid that I now refer to as the primary solenoid is, in fact, this "gas" solenoid which was working perfectly before I swapped it out.

I agree with your thinking regarding the replacement of the Firestar controller.  Wish I had thought it through.  The part cost $360.  Ouch.  However, not trying to complain too much, I would accept that cost if I can get this OWB working well again.

I plan on changing out the connections from the wires to the solenoid tabs when I get a minute.  I hope that solves the riddle.  If not I'll continue to work back to the controller.

Thanks again for your help.
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."


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