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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Looking for computer based boiler control management system, is there any?

    I have two oil based Weil-McLain boilers each responsible for heat and hot water. First floor has a 75K BTU steam system and second floor has a 85K BTU hot water system.
    I am looking to manage the heating and hot water operations via computer. I want to program the heating activity throughout the day and throughout the year and change it when we are not around.
    - Where can find a solution?
    - Any recommendations, what should I look for?
    - Is this my only option?
    http://www.becketthm.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    561

    Default Re: Looking for computer based boiler control management system, is there any?

    andy:

    These controls are known as "outdoor reset controls", and are widely used in heating systems to reduce the amount of oil used.

    They reduce oil usage by taking into account that most of the heating season is made up of "not so cold days" where the temp is above 40 degrees.

    Boilers, on the other hand are still designed to operate at peak output by making hot water on command of their aquastat at 180-200 degrees, or steam at 212 degrees---it's like revving a passanger car motor to max & driving around town riding the brake, or even stopped at red lites.

    The ODR thus tells the boiler aquastat to make hot water at 100 degrees temp during these mild days & thus can save 10-15% fuel over the course of the heating season.

    The sites below explain the process more fully.

    The TJ's site makes a pitch for Viessmann as the only worthwhile boiler, in point of fact, most any boiler can handle lowered hot water temps of 130-140 degrees without condensation problems, thus some good fuel savings can also be realized with these other boilers as well.


    Tekmar 260, Honeywell T475A1032 (1057), White Rodgers W-R1050-1, Johnson controls, or Taco, among others are widely available.

    Google each one of these brands to get a price range.

    The Tekmar is supposed to be the best, but cost $360.

    Also Google "outdoor reset controls"

    Enter "outdoor reset control" into the patriot supply search box to get a price list of these items---also click onto the brand names at the bottom of the screen (Tekmar, Taco, Johnson Controls, Honeywell, etc.) to get a price list of their products.

    http://www.newsday.com/features/home...3816062.column
    http://www.tjsradiantheat.com/boiler.html
    http://www.tekmarcontrols.com/prod/260.shtml
    http://www.patriot-supply.com
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 10-24-2008 at 09:38 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Looking for computer based boiler control management system, is there any?

    Thank you NashuaTech,

    I cannot attach pictures, I have:
    * Honeywell R7184 P1080 Interrupt Ignition Oil Primary control
    * Beckett RWB Model "AFG"

    I will contact my local service guy to see how they can help me. In the meantime can someone educate me regarding:
    - What is the capability of the system I currently have?
    - Can I or Should I upgrade to be able to comply with your recommendations i.e. allow for external temperature reading?
    - Should I simply replace my control system?
    - Would the http://www.becketthm.com/ system (around $200) do the job?
    - Or, you think Iíll be better off long run (because of features and robustness) the http://www.tekmarcontrols.com/prod/260.shtml is the most viable option.

    [My two cents] A thermo-digital control adaptor with Ethernet or WIFI Input/ Output would allow a slew of PC based software programs to interpret and offer control options, I believe this is the future if itís not already available.

    Much appreciated,
    -Andy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    561

    Default Re: Looking for computer based boiler control management system, is there any?

    Andy,

    I think you should try to find a local tech who is familiar with these systems--you may have to search a bit---many heating techs don't get involved with this equipment.

    Also find someone who will do a combustion analysis & flame adjustment of your burner--many burner flames are running too rich or too hot & thus wasting fuel.

    To understand your system, your 1st step should be to consult the schematic diagrams in the installation manual of your boiler.

    This will give you the basic understanding of how the system works--many installation manuals are on-line if you don't have one, or you can contact the boiler mfg.

    Yes, you're right, boiler controls have evolved over the decades (mostly by Honeywell, White-Rodgers, etc) as electro-mechanical on/off switches, and mostly continue to be so to this day.

    As you note, times are changing and pc/based electronic circuit boards and controls are coming in.

    Traditionally, controls have evolved over the years to address basic issues of safety above all--then comes lighting the boiler flame, transmitting the heat to the living quarters, and preventing a house fire from overheating due to component failure---there are numerous safety devices built into boiler control equipment---all designed to prevent a house fire.

    Only in recent decades has there been a concern to additionally have a system heat as efficiently as possible.

    The primary control you mention, Honeywell R7184 is mostly concerned with lighting the fire (ignition, burner motor), or sensing that there is no flame, & shutting down the system to prevent a house fire--there is a little cad cell (electric eye) in the burner that will shut down the primary control if no flame appears in 45 sec. (out of oil, plugged nozzle, no HV spark to light the fuel, etc.).

    Another component, the aquastat, mostly controls water temp (high limit/low limit) & has 24v electro-magnetic switches that are "pulled in" when the t-stat closes & "calls for heat"--you can often hear these switches closing just before the boiler fires up---the aquastat also controls circulator action, and water temp.

    There's often a thermal cutoff switch above the boiler that shuts off power to the boiler if the boiler room gets too hot (due to high limit switch failure,etc.).

    Although these controls are usually separate "lumps" attached at different points to the boiler, the good part is that they are separate components that can be individually replaced, often for $200 or less.

    But they still don't measure combustion gas coming out of the flame, or the outside temp, so they can lower the boiler water temp & save fuel.

    Flame analysis requires a $1k-$2k combustion analyzer that is used to adjust the flame for CO2,O2,CO,air,smoke,soot & flame temp.

    Adjusting all these items provides the boiler with a good flame that burns hot & saves oil.

    A combustion analysis (using instruments) should be done once a year as part of the annual cleaning---the boiler will burn cleaner with less fuel wasted.

    No doubt future boilers will be sold with combustion analysis and outdoor reset built into them.

    I'm not aware of any boiler system that has so far combined all these functions into a comprehensive computer-controlled program--but at least some mfgs like Tekmar & Johnson Controls are addressing the problem.
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 10-31-2008 at 12:59 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Looking for computer based boiler control management system, is there any?

    Well things have changed, so I will wait. I did not find an effective solution at a reasonable price without major modification.

    A) I have a rough estimate of $1200/boiler to convert and use gas as fuel.

    B) I also have a rough estimate of about $1100/system for tank less on demand gas system.

    So, installing a Tekmar 279 for my steam boiler at $1000 (for the part at eBay) is not a viable solution. The Tekmar 260 for my forced hot water boiler was at $350 (part only on eBay). Given A and B, the boiler control does mot make sense.

    Thanks all,
    Andy
    Last edited by andykam; 11-06-2008 at 01:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Looking for computer based boiler control management system, is there any?

    Quote Originally Posted by andykam View Post
    I have two oil based Weil-McLain boilers each responsible for heat and hot water. First floor has a 75K BTU steam system and second floor has a 85K BTU hot water system.
    I am looking to manage the heating and hot water operations via computer. I want to program the heating activity throughout the day and throughout the year and change it when we are not around.
    - Where can find a solution?
    - Any recommendations, what should I look for?
    - Is this my only option?
    http://www.becketthm.com/
    Have you found what you were looking for?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    London
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Looking for computer based boiler control management system, is there any?

    Computer simulation of a heating system demonstrated that the use of poorly commissioned boiler controls and the use of thermostatic valves with limited flow control leads to buildings not maintaining the desired internal temperatures. This results in occupant discomfort when under-heating occurs and excess fuel consumption when over-heating occurs. Finally, an experimental study demonstrated that a newly developed boiler control algorithm can offer significant energy savings by controlling the boiler more appropriately and reducing the effect of poor thermostatic radiator valve use.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Looking for computer based boiler control management system, is there any?

    Hi,

    I saw the reference link: How to install Weather based heating controls : http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/vide...317019,00.html


    I have Burnham PVG7 boiler and Ultra superstor indirect fired water heater (SSU-60) installed last year with Taco SR506 switch relay and one zone use for radiant flooring heating use with mix value Taco 5000 set as 120F.

    I m thinking about to install Weather-Based Heating Controls such as Tekmar two Stage Setpoint Control 152.

    I got few questions to ask?

    Q1: Does it make sense to install weather base heating controls for indirect water heater?

    Q2: I search Burnham PVG7 boiler manual and Ultra superstor indirect water heater, and it didn't say what is the boiler minimum tempeature was? so doe it means I can't install Wether based heating controls on my system? (Now, the boiler fired when the tempeature drop below 170F and stop when it reach 210F.)

    Thanks
    -Mike

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