Dead Max E Therm Heater

aztec123

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2015
29
Dobbs Ferry, NY
Hi all. My 2.5 yr old pool heater (Max-e-Therm 333, natural gas) has stopped working. The Service Heater light is on. I had a technician from a local pool service company come out. They said they checked wires, electrical connections, gas pressure and flow – all fine, but still not working. Their next proposed step is to start replacing parts. They want to replace the Ignition Control Module and the Control Board. But they are by no means certain this will fix the problem. They say it may require additional parts.

Does this sound like a reasonable course of repair? Normally I would dig in and do some initial diagnosis/poking around myself, but I have a big backlog of house projects and just need to get this fixed. It seems like there should be a better way to diagnose problems besides just starting to replace parts, but I really don’t know anything about pool heaters.

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
4,049
FL
Service heater light is on but are there any other LED's on the board lit up? If the control module had an issue it should also have the LED on it blinking.

So heater never starts up, no blower start either?
 

banditig

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 17, 2015
468
Ohio
Hi, there are some pool heater experts on this forum. If you can wait I'll bump this up.
P.S. - Start with basics, pump has presure?
 

aztec123

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2015
29
Dobbs Ferry, NY
Pump has pressure; all filters & skimmers cleaned. No blower. When I turn the heater on there is a faint one-time click from the control board area. That's all. I'm not home now so don't know about any other LEDs. For what its worth, when it stopped working was a day when we were running the heater in 95 degree weather.
 

ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
4,049
FL
Running the heater on hot days shouldn't matter. I would check the LEDs on the underside of the dome top, easy to remove. Then let us know if anything is lit up. Also, double check to the ignition control module and see if it has a blinking LED.
 

aztec123

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2015
29
Dobbs Ferry, NY
OK - here's what the LED's are saying: AFS LED is solid red. The Ignition Control Module is pulsing one blink (Air Flow Fault). Reading the manual, this all seems to point to blower problems. In the troubleshooting flow-chart, most outcomes seem to be "replace blower", although one outcome is "replace Ignition Control Module". Nowhere on that branch of the flow chart does it say to replace the Control Board. But pasted below is the diagnosis from the technician that looked at the heater. It's quite vague and open-ended. I've had reason to question the competency of this pool service company before, so I am wondering if I finally need to find a new company? I'm not changing the blower myself, but if that's what is wrong I'd prefer to just have someone fix what is broken, not swap out all the guts of the heater. Any thoughts are much appreciated.

--------

*FENWALL IGNITION CONTROL MODULE 1

*CONTROL BOARD KIT BASIC 1

In order to continue to troubleshoot your pool heater, the techs

will have to use the parts above to test the heater. It could be

determined that either one, both, or additional parts are needed.
 

kadavis

TFP Guide
In The Industry
Apr 5, 2015
1,661
tucson, arizona
Highly unlikely that the control board and ignition control are both bad. I don't know if you checked wiring yourself but from my experience different critters love to nest in these heaters. They also love to chew on the wiring so if you trust them when they told you wiring and connections were alright then you have to make that decision to let them proceed. Seems to me they are going to replace things until it works not really the way to troubleshoot the problem.
 

ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
4,049
FL
OK great that you got the fault light indicators. If the blower is not spinning up you have a problem. Check all of the wires to make sure noting has been compromised. It would be odd even for this unit to have a bad blower motor with it only being 2.5 years old but it could happen. Unless your unit has the solid motor, you can sometimes see if you can spin the motor shaft. Many times I find the older motors have bad windings and once you spin it by hand it will start up but once the motor shuts down you are right back to the same problem. All you can do is replace the motor.
 

aztec123

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2015
29
Dobbs Ferry, NY
This evening I will go over the wires very closely. Is it safe to use contact cleaner on any of the plug connections? The first time I took the cover and control panel off, when I was reassembling it the control panel accidentally nudged something and the fan kicked on. Frankly it surprised me and I shut down the circuit breaker thinking maybe I shorted something. I checked for loose connections but found none. When I turned the power back on I could not recreate the accident and I was back to nothing happening except the "service heater" light. So maybe there is a loose connection or dirty contact.

What's the best way to find a servicer who would understand the diagnosis process, rather than just start replacing parts (which seems like my current guy's plan)? I checked the Pentair website and there doesn't seem to be an abundance of "authorized" servicers in my area.

Thanks again.
 

aztec123

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2015
29
Dobbs Ferry, NY
Came home and checked all the wiring. No signs of any breaks, chew marks, or any other problems. Unplugged all the connecters and re-plugged them. Nothing really looks that dirty. I was able to spin the motor rotor - seemed like there were no problems there. It did not jump start the unit. Still nothing but a "service heater" light. Guess I will let the technicians start replacing parts. Sigh.
 

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ps0303

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jul 6, 2011
4,049
FL
Could still be the motor. Without actually getting my hands on it I can't be 100% sure. I was fooled once with something similar and I thought it could be the control module, nope it was the motor and just like yours, I could spin it.
 
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