2017-12-09 The Tale of Two Thermostats – Part 5

The Final Chapter!!

Well folks, this is it.. The riveting conclusion to the tumultuous tale of my two thermostats and the final hours leading up to what I am more than happy to describe as a great success.

I spent a week, off and on, troubleshooting my HVAC woes and had traced the failure of both of my thermostats to a power issue. This was also confirmed by my replacing the wired thermostat with a brand new Nest which also had power issues. Not a coincidence. My conclusion was to replace the master zone control board which is the conduit for all the wires to and from the thermostat, appliances, sensors, dampers, and wireless receiver. This board was also how power was routed to all of those things.

After I pulled the trigger on buying the board, I had to wait several days for it to arrive. It showed up on my doorstep on Tuesday, but I politely procrastinated working on it until today because my primary objective this week was to apply for jobs. Feeling quite satisfied with that thus far, Friday was the day.

Quite honestly it took me longer to mark all the wires with electrical tape and function and write down exactly which connections went where than it did actually physically swapping out the boards. I bought the same exact one, so it was cake. The moment of truth came at about 2:45PM when I turned the power back on. Once I did that, and went through the short list of steps for configuration, I noticed immediately that the wireless receiver (which, again, gets it’s power from that board), had the LED lit. That’s when I knew it worked!

So there I was, in my basement, all alone (save my kitten), doing a super happy dance and sort of pumping my fist in the air. I finally did it.. I’ve confirmed with 100% certainty the zone board was bad. I had a problem and I solved it. That’s a pretty good feeling.

The next set of tests went really swiftly. I tested zone 2, which is the wired thermostat and turned the heat way up and sure enough it kicked on right away. After that, I had to re-connect the wireless thermostat in my bedroom to the red-link receiver, which took all of three minutes just to run up and down the stairs. Once the heater was off again, I cranked it up to get that call for heat signal down to the board. Again, it worked as expected. Both zones were triggering the heat and I had a smile off my face that was like the cat that ate the canary.

Lessons learned…
1. Don’t make assumptions (said every person on every problem solving project ever).
2. You can’t get HVAC parts in town without being a licensed contractor. It is like an exclusive club which, by the way, also is comprised of 99% men.
3. Wiring for this stuff is really quite easy (and kinda fun).
4. It doesn’t take much to know more than the support persons when you call a manufacturer, but they can be friendly and helpful.
5. Every variable matters.

Along the way I returned the Nest and also purchased some additional wire to run the C (Common) for power to a smart thermostat, which I may or may not need. I’m half tempted to buy the Nest again just to see if I can get it to work without the C, but that would be sort of outside the bounds if that’s not the thermostat I eventually go with.

I am going to get one, at some point, but for now it’s back on my “wishlist” of things to get when I have income again. I’m essentially right back where I started two weeks ago, except now I have a few new holes in the wall in my dining room, I have way more knowledge of HVAC systems, and a new found appreciation for all the things in my house that just “work” to make my life so easy every day.

Staying Warm,
~Miss SugarCookie


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