Does anyone have the correct settings for the electrodes on a Delco H-200-6
1gph oil burner? Mine were pretty worn so I cleaned up the tips with a
Dremel and would like to reset them to the proper clearances.
The distance from the nozzle tip out to the electrode tips should be 1/16"
The electrode gap (width between the two) should be 1/8"
The distance the electrode tips should be from center of nozzle is 7/16"
But I suspect you've got more problems than that. Nobody just decides they
are going to clean oil burner electrodes for the heck of it, and dirty
electrodes alone will not cause a burner to malfunction unless you have a
carbon build up, which is an indication of other problems.
Thanks for the info, Bob.
You're right; I had some trouble. The furnace starting acting up a few days
ago; rumbling and quitting. I replaced the nozzle and took a look at
things. The electrodes looked quite worn so I dressed them a bit. I also
found that one of the leads from the transformer rubs on the oil line to the
nozzle, explaining why I seem to have a malfunction every winter requiring
me to call the local heating people. (I live in a very small town with one
heating oil company). The insulation eventually burns through at this
point, shorting the system and killing the furnace.
I'm glad I decided to take a look at it myself instead of just calling the
repair guy this time.
The last time I watched the repair guy working on my furnace, I noticed he
didn't use any gauges or special tools... he set the position of the
electrodes and points (and the other variables) by eye, and I knew that
probably wasn't a good thing.
I notice there is another adjustment for the depth of the nozzle assembly
into the firebox. The hole where the attaching screw goes is slotted; it
looks to have an adjustment range of about 3/4" or so. I have it centered
right now. There is also an adjustment on the blower vents.
I either need to learn how to service the whole unit (which I'm sure I'm
capable of with the right tools and information) or find a more competent
First thing you do, is give the oil supply guys the boot. SURE they service
oil units....they are in the business to sell oil.
Its kinda like asking Exxon to design an engine...
As far as service goes.....wow...Im gonna get jumped all over here, but as
someone that sees daily this time of year the things that happen when people
try to service these themselves...its really best left to someone that has a
clue. Its obvious that your last guy did not.
Truth is, you have to make sure you have the electrodes set correctly for
the type nozzle you have. Whats the spray pattern, GPH rating, and what fuel
are you using? Once you have that, there is a neat little set of guages that
makes adjustment dead on every time, and they cost about $4.
Once you have that, you can hook up your transformer output tester, and
check to make sure your transformer is up to spec. Assuming it is, you then
can replace the oil filter....after that, tear into the unit, vac it out,
remove the flue pipe, vac it, and replace any section that is weak or
rusting. Be sure to inspect the entire heat exchanger for cracks or hot
spots. Check the baro dampner and insure its working and set correctly.
Replace any gaskets that tore or fell apart when you removed your access
Now, put you a new photo cell (cad) on the unit, wire it up, and while you
are in there, install a new pump shaft, and oil the motor. Take your lines
from the pump loose, and clean the pump out since you prob have several
years worth of crap that made it to the strainer, and make sure the seals
not leaking. If it is, replace the seal or replace the pump....its faster
and more cost effective at this point to simply replace the pump. Once thats
done, and you have it all back together, have primed the oil line since you
had it all open, and might have replaced the pump, get your oil pump
pressure guage out, and set your pump to the recommended setting....most
likely, 100PSI. Now, you have that done, its time to set combustion and fire
rates. Get out your Bacharach, or similar meter...and set the smoke rate to
whats listed for your unit. Since you have adjusted the electrodes, cleaned
it properly, and removed the burner assembly, you must set the unit up
according to the makers specs. Once you have adjusted the combustion air,
and made any slight adjustments to the pump to acheive this, and gotten out
your CO detector to check yet again for any cracks or leaks that you missed
on initial inspection, you can say your unit is working as clean, and
efficient as it can.
Now its time to get the smoke, soot, and oil off of ya, and thats gonna
require another 2 hours..LOL
Takes a good, properly trained tech, one thats not ripping you off, about 1
and a half, to 2 hours assuming no issues are found that requires more work,
and no..its NOT rocket science, but its got to be done right...just because
its working means nothing.
Also, the meters, and tools needed to do this are not cheap by any means.
The average homeowner will never recoup the cost of them in savings by doing
it themselves, and its normally cheaper to locate a company that will do
whats required, and do it at a cost that isnt extravagant.
I would suggest that you start calling companies in your area, ask them if
they service oil, and if they do, could they fax over a check list of things
they perform. Ask questions, be informed, and you will find someone that
knows what hes doing, and does it right. In my area, everyone services oil,
but the problem is, not everyone does it correctly.
You're right, he shouldn't be working on it himself, but it's almost
impossible to say that he needs to get another service company. Just because
he's had to call for service every year or that the guy set the electrodes
by eye, doesn't mean he's a hack. Those old burners can be a pain, and
shouldn't be re-calibrated if they are running OK. If the next closest
company is 50 miles away, then he might not be able to change service
I've heard the argument before about not using an oil company's service
department, but there's no logical reason for a tech to consciously adjust a
heater to burner dirty just so his boss can sell more oil. He's probably the
guy who's going to come back and clean it if it soots up.
On some new flame retention burners, the electrodes have to be set closer to
the nozzle center line, and some burners with high and low fire have special
settings, but in every case, it's the angle of spray that you need to worry
about, nothing else. The electrodes must be adjusted so that the spark is
blown into the spray pattern.
I wouldn't recommend one of those blue plastic electrode gauges. I saw a
homeowner use one incorrectly once and had the electrodes set one inch into
the oil spray.
The only reliable way I've found to check ignition transformer voltage is
with a Jacob's Ladder, or a simulation of one.
The service guy left an hour ago. Both electrode wires were burned through
and the insulators had carbon tracking on them that couldn't be removed. I
pointed out the problem with one of the wires rubbing on the oil line to the
The service man replaced both insulators and made up two new electrode
wires. He made them longer so they could pass under the oil line. He
restarted the furnace and stayed to watch it cycle once to be sure
everything was OK.
After he left, I was doing the dishes and heard the furnace rumbling. I
went to the cellar to check on it and heard a buzzing noise from the burner
area. I turned off the furnace and took off the transformer. Both new
wires were rubbing on the blower fan. That's the noise I heard... they were
now TOO long. As I moved the wires to inspect the areas that had rubbed for
damage, one of the ring terminals broke off. It apparently had been bent
and re-bent, causing it to break under a very small amount of pressure.
I was getting upset. Then, when I set the transformer down to free up my
other hand, the OTHER wire pulled out of the crimped-on connector at the end
of the insulator! There was almost NO pressure on this joint... the wire
virtually dropped out of the connector.
Now I'm waiting for the guy to come back....
Take it easy,
Put everything back together exactly like you found it and don't say
anything to the guy that you took it apart. Otherwise they might try to say
that you broke it, and try to charge you for the 2nd service call. If they
don't fix it right this time, and/or try to charge you for the 2nd service
call, then it's time to find another company.
Not sure of the nozzle assembly front/back adjustment, but a lot of those
old burners were 5/8" from the surface of the end cone, to the tip of the
It's possible to set the electrodes by eye, but it's better to use a gauge.
If the guy set them by eye and it fired up for a year without a problem,
then my guess is that he knew what he was doing.
I don't think Delco burners have been made for a long time. Did they ever
tell you that you needed a new heater, and that a new one would pay for
itself in 2 to 3 years? At the current price of oil, you could put a new
heater on your credit card and still save a lot of money.
If it's a hot water boiler, and you can't afford a new heater, then they can
install a new flame retention burner that would also save you money. You
can't put a flame retention burner in most old hot air furnaces.
What EXACTLY is a flame retention burner and what does it mean?
I have a Beckett flame retention burner in a York furnace and I am
wondering what aspect of the burner makes it a flame retention burner.
The burner is inside of an asbestos looking combustion chamber that has
slots for the heat to escape. Is it the combustion chamber that makes
it a flame retention burner or the shape the flame ring or just what?
You need to shut the hell up! You dont have a clue what you are
talking about. Just because a burner is working doesnt mean shit.
Hell, you can set a lot of oil burners by eye, especially old ones but
you dont have a clue how efficient its burning. All you know is that
its burning. You could be burning 2 to 3 times the amount of oil you
should be and the flame looks fine. You think that is wise? Thats why
they make digital combustion efficiency tools. We have evolved from
eyeballing it to using instruments that can assure a trouble free
burner and efficient operation. A nice combustion analyzer is about
$1000. Then you need a draft gauge for overfire and the barometric
damper setting. You also need a smoke pump and of course the various
tools to remove the oil nozzle and pump gauge for setting oil
pressure. Homeowners dont have that kind of money for a once a year
homeowner self tuneup.
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