Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

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Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby jimmyh » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:19 pm

Hi people

We bought and installed a 30-tube Apricus hot water system last November from a local agent (not Energy Matters...wish we had known about EM back then..) to cut a long story short we have had terrible service from this guy, he's a bit of a fly-by-nighter.

The problem we had is that in really hot summer weather, we found that the tank was reaching boiling temperature quite often. This was causing the pressure relief valve on the storage tank to release large amounts of boiling water onto our lawn. The system was sold with a "Solastat Plus" brand controller unit, which is pre-programmed to stop circulating when the tank sensor reaches a certain temp (known as "top out")

Unfortunately, the Everlast tank sold with the system does not provide for the location of a tank sensor, which I believe is a fault with the package sold, and our plumber had to drill a hole into the side of the insulation in order to install the sensor as close as possible to the steel wall of the tank. I believe that the sensor is not giving a true indication of the tank water temperature, and although this does not affect the operation of the system 95% of the time, it becomes a problem when the water inside the tank reaches "top out", because the system doesn't "know" that the water inside is above 80 degrees (or whatever it's set to) and continues to pump more heated water into an already pressurized tank.

Now, this problem should be easy to avoid because the system allows for the installer to change the "top out" value in the controller. If I could lower the "top out" value to, say, 70 degrees then the pump might stop pumping water into the tank before things get too heated. The manual for the Solastat plus controller describes how to do this, BUT it also says that a special "Programming Access Code" must be entered before the unit can be programmed.

I contacted our "dealer" several times about obtaining this code and he was not interested in helping at all.
I contacted Senztek in New Zealand (the manufacturer) and they would not provide the code, saying it was for installers only. I contacted Apricus Australia and never heard back from them. What a helpful bunch...

I am hoping that someone on this forum can give me the information on how to enter the programming access code, or at least put me in contact with someone who can do it, as I am concerned that the boiling water could damage our copper pipework.

Hopeful Jim
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Re: Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby Bthree » Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:32 pm

Sorry but I can't help you with the code but ....

Are you sure the top probe is installed correctly (with all due respect to the plumber) ?

The metal case of the tank liner should be clearly visable and very clean, the probe must be springloaded to press against the tank liner and good heat transfer compound must be applied. If this process is not correct then adjustment of the top out will not be effective.
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Re: Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby jimmyh » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:36 pm

AFAIK the plumber has done everything properly, using the heat transfer compound etc. It's just that there is no port on the tank designed to install a sensor, so it's a bit makeshift.

I imagine the best location for the 'tank' sensor would be near the top of the tank, that way it would be reading the hottest part of the tank, ours was installed right next to the hot water outlet pipe, about 2/3 up the side, that way he didn't have to make anymore holes in the insulation.

I can't believe that no one else with this type of system has tried to change some of the controller settings, seems a bit odd that Senztek would include the instructions for programming it in the manual, but then make the whole thing inaccessible to the homeowner by putting in a magic code...
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Re: Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby jimmyh » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:18 pm

OK, some nice person has now helped me out with the code.

Anyone else having the same problem can PM me if they need help with this.

Let's keep these ^&*%'s honest!
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Re: Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby carcus27 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:25 pm

Hi Jimmy,

Our story sounds about the same as yours. We've had the plumbers back on three occasions so far and still having problems.

Our system 'tops out' by lunch time on a sunny day and the roof temp. I've seen as high as 149degs and then we get water pouring from the roof as the pressure has nowhere to go and breaks the seals on the elbow joins.

We just had the seals replaced on the roof and now we get litres of water coming out the relief valve on the tank....

Anyone with some advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Marcus
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Re: Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby jimmyh » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:11 pm

Hi Marcus,

What size tank/how many tubes is your system? Is it pumping correctly i.e when your roof reaches 149 degrees is it still pumping or has it already topped out?
The only time I have ever seen my system reach shutdown temperature is once when the power went out for a while and due to no circulation the manifold reached about 150. I pressed the pump button on the controller and after a few seconds of pumping the roof temperature began to drop.

It is a very scary thing knowing how much pressure is inside those pipes, if it is blowing seals I would say there is something wrong somewhere, perhaps too many tubes for your climate?
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Re: Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby jimmyh » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:15 pm

I forgot to ask whether your plumber installed a relief valve on the roof? Better for it to release than to blow a seal. I have read some people on this forum commenting that they soon scale up anyway...
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Re: Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby carcus27 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:52 pm

Sorry for the late, reply, but confirmation for this post went to my spam folder damn....

Anyway the problem seems to be fixed. We told apricus not to send the same plumber again and they agreed. The new plumber they sent told be the other's hadn't used a 'pro press' crimping tool worth $2,500 (which he kept repeating and seemed quite proud about owning), they had used synthetic seals which are only rated to 110degsC. (don't quote me any of that) Anyhow, he left on Monday and there hasn't been a single leak and minimal water from the relief valve on the tank.

No we don't have a relief valve on the roof, apparantly if set up right, they don't need one.

Cheers
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Re: Help with Apricus Solastat Plus controller

Postby jimmyh » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:57 pm

Just an update to this thread, since people are still sending me PMs there is obviously a demand for the code:

Last November my Solastat Plus controller blew up, I suspect a tradesman overloading a circuit with power tools had a large part to do with that, but anyhow I had to buy a new one and luckily a local seller had the Solastat Plus 2 version on hand. I installed it, and was happy to find that the new unit came with a manual which detailed the process for programming it!!!

Since it is now printed in the manual, I don't think I will upset anyone by posting the procedure on here, for those whose manual doesn't tell them how:

Hit <Test><HWC><Next><Pump>, but wait for the test to finish before hitting <HWC>.

This will put you into the programming mode, and allow you to change whatever setting you like.
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