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It's broke...

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by cluelessbuteager, Nov 2, 2012.

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  1. cluelessbuteager

    cluelessbuteager

    5
    0
    Nov 2, 2012
    So this thing is supposed to heat up, until it reaches the desired temperature, and then stop heating. At which time, you're to turn on the pump. When the heater is first switched on, a led lights up, and remains lit, until the desired temperature is obtained. Kinda like an oven. So lately, when you turn on the heater, the led doesn't light, and the heater doesn't heat. The pump still works like magic. How can I make it "heat" again?

    I learn very well from pictures, and I neeeeeed them. So I've included some, and I can easily take more. Oh yeah, I've also made a completely not-to-scale, not according to any textbook, microsoft paint based, wiring diagram/schematic. I hope you like it!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Humbly and patiently awaiting your knowledgeable and skillful instruction,
    cluelessbuteager
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,481
    2,830
    Jan 21, 2010
    Is the "important thing" the one shown in the second image?

    The third image is of a neon lamp. It is supposed to have an infinite resistance :) Perhapd you need to go buy a new one of these now.

    What is this thing?
     
  3. QuantumCheese

    QuantumCheese

    74
    1
    Apr 27, 2012
    Edit: What on earth was i thinking yesterday? that was complete guff.

    measure the resistance of the heater element.
    what voltage does this equipment run on? and how many Watts is the element?

    how does the pump work if it's not up to temp?
    can you manually operate the 'switches'? if so measure continuity of the heater switch as it may have just burned out.

    Still curious though, what is it?
    the thing you labelled 'what is this' would look to me like terminal block
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  4. cluelessbuteager

    cluelessbuteager

    5
    0
    Nov 2, 2012
    Thank you for the replies. I took your advice Steve, and bought a new lamp. (Inexperience can be costly. I'm just happy that it hasn't been too costly... yet) I checked the resistance of the heating element.(see picture) It was infinite. The air pump works independently of the heater, and pumps just fine. I went searching for info on this heating element, and found this forum post:

    http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/78731/Repairing-a-Storz-Bickel-Volcano-Vaporizer-heating-unit

    The best info I got from there was that it's a "nichrome wire heater" and that "The unit is rated at 120 watts, of which twenty watts is air pump, I suspect, and a hundred watts is heater."
    He's only speculating, but I'm not even in a position to do that. So his guess, is the best information I have.

    The heater switch shows continuity across the two "silver colored" metal tabs. I get nothing btwn the "copper colored" one and the other two. I've included a picture of a new switch. I used it to compare resistance ratings, with the old, currently installed switch.(They're lighted switches) Old switch reads 1.7ohms. New switch reads 0.3ohms. Replacement switches can be found here:

    http://www.depoteco.com/SPD/replacement-rocker-switch-sr-06nr-r-red--800002A8-1288712786.jsp

    I was able to pick one up at radioshack: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3118987http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3118987

    As far as what this thing is, it's a $600 "vapor producing machine", called the Volcano Classic. It's used to liberate "active ingredients" from "plant products", without using combustion.(thought I'd wait until after the election...) It's not mine. It's my roomate's. I just like fixing things(or trying to) and he was going to send it somewhere and pay them $70, to make it work again.(a bottomless investment) So I've convinced him to to let me try first.(people can be a bit "hovery" when you start poking around inside their $600 machine)

    In google-ing "volcano classic broken" or "volcano classic no heat" plenty of forum results come up. Unfortunately, none of them contain much useful advice when it comes to actually solving the problem. People tend to just send them in, and remain happily paying customers. The one place in the US that services them, won't give out any info regarding the device. They don't sell replacement parts, and they charge you more for repairs, if they discover that you've attempted to perform them on your own. So I'm upset. I rely on forums and tutorials and service manuals to assist me in DIY and repair projects, and the manufacturer, along with the community of volcano owners, has turned out to be fairly "unreliable".(To their credit, I imagine that it's not a very large community)

    So with the support of this community, I'd like to attempt to make this thing functional again. Any and all suggestions are completely appreciated.

    One of the few pictures available of it's insides:

    [​IMG]


    Resistance check on heater:
    [​IMG]

    New heater switch:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  5. partyanimallighting

    partyanimallighting

    322
    4
    Oct 22, 2012
    Hi Clueless,

    I read this over a couple times and I've dealt with similar problems with fog machines a lot. If you're getting continuity on the heating element it's probably fine. It's probably a thermal fuse (under the red rubber insulation) on one of the lines sending 110V to the heating element. Check this lead end to end for continuity. If it's open, the fuse has blown and has to be replaced.
     
  6. cluelessbuteager

    cluelessbuteager

    5
    0
    Nov 2, 2012
    Good info. Thanks Partyanimal. When I probed in the picture from the last post, it wasn't continuous. So I dunno if that means that the heater is bad. But I popped the fuse out, and tested the following points

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Would you say that this is definitely a thermal fuse? I can't easily check for continuity along the entire lead, because it ends inside the heating element. The next thing I want to do is cut away that red insulation(heat shrink tubing?) from around the fuse, and check for continuity. I want to check from "behind" that metal bulb, on just the wire, to the back of the heater again. (Because I think it should be continuous, since the other portion from the fused wire, to the back of the heater, is continuous. Right?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  7. partyanimallighting

    partyanimallighting

    322
    4
    Oct 22, 2012
    Hi Clueless, here's the thing. The thermal fuses I normally deal with look like this:

    http://www.cantherm.com/products/thermal_fuses/sdf.html

    : and have a thermal value in degrees marked on the side. Once the cutoff in the unit does not function and the heater heats up anything over this value (if the heater overheats), the fuse blows. Check for continuity from behind the "bulb" to the other end of the wire and that should be fine and the wire isn't broken. Then check the "bulb" from end to end for continuity and that should be open, signifying it's blown. I also need a little more info. Was this "bulb" secured to the body of the heater via some sort of strap or metal clip? The fuse normally has to touch the body of the heater to function properly. Does the "bulb" have a degree value marked on it? If it is blown, you'll have to get a similar value as a replacement. The connectors at either end of the replacement can't be soldered, they have to be crimped or you run the risk of blowing the new fuse (happened to me before) but insulate with heat shrink and a heat resistant tubing before making the connection as you'll end up with an unshielded 110V lead. If you want to make sure the machine functions before you do all this, just bypass the "blown" fuse completely, ensure that the voltage line is securely insulated, plug in the unit, give it time to heat up and it should function. Then, if it's the fuse, give it at least 4~6 hours to cool before replacing the fuse or you'll get a really good burn from this. Hope this helps.....
     
  8. cluelessbuteager

    cluelessbuteager

    5
    0
    Nov 2, 2012
    Thank you for the help party animal. It's officially been "fixed". The thermal fuse in question, is surprisingly, still good. There is however, a re-settable thermal fuse on the back of the heater called a "bimetal thermostat", I think. I found this:

    http://volcanovaporizer.com/wp-content/uploads/Banner_Classic_A3.pdf

    I saw the label "temperature fuse". Google imaged it. Found this:

    [​IMG]

    Looks a lot like this:

    [​IMG]

    So I did this:

    [​IMG]

    Plugged her in, switched her on, and just basked in the warm amber glow of the neon indicator light.(God I love it!) I'm not even gonna use this thing, but I'm still very excited that it works again. Thank you for the replies. This has been fun.

    Matt

    P.S. If anyone has comments or concerns about how this thing was rigged up, I'd be curious to hear them. I don't know how safe "alligator clips and speaker wire" are for this particular application, but I'm hoping that they'll make for a decent temporary fix. Thank you guys again, so much!
     
  9. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    You bypassed a safety feature with a crude jumper, thus causing two issues, first you bypassed the safety feature and second you didn't exactly do a 'proper' or job of actually making the connections... Alligator clips are very temporaray they should never be used in any permanent or semi-permanent solution... And since this is a thermal breaker it's likely gets 'warm' in or around there, so 'speaker' wire is likely not a good choice and a potential other issue...

    I would seriously be looking for a new thermal breaker and repair it properly if you intend on using it... You might very well be able to source a new breaker out of a cheap hair dryer if you can't find any suitable ones easily elsewhere...
     
  10. cluelessbuteager

    cluelessbuteager

    5
    0
    Nov 2, 2012
    Ok. Good call. I don't plan on actually using this thing, but I have been tasked with making sure that it works "somewhat well". So if this wouldn't be considered safe, then it will be deemed "out of order" until I can get ahold of the necessary part. I appreciate your input. Consider the advice, heeded.
     
  11. partyanimallighting

    partyanimallighting

    322
    4
    Oct 22, 2012
    CC is right. Bypassing the safety feature creates a huge fire hazard. I've actually melted solid aluminum heater blocks by accident this way and you do not want molten aluminum flowing anywhere. Replace the thermal breaker with one of the exact value, A wire capable of handling the load, sheathed in fiberglass insulated sleeving should be used and all connections should be secure, using spade lugs etc. How does that sound, CC?
     
  12. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    How about molten concrete, aka lava flowing everywhere and your graphite crucible floating :D Been there and done that while trying to melt down some cast iron in a home made foundry... The new replacment foundry was needless to say made with the proper high temp foundry cement.... Still can't get it to do cast iron but I can get brass and copper that are only slightly below the temp of cast iron... Aluminum melts like ice in boiling water in my foundry...

    If you can find the exact value that would be ideal, but short of that as I said one out of a hair dryer 'might' be the best option as long as it doesn't false trip aka something is better then nothing... And yes wires if used should be high temp silicone and preferably fiberglass wrapped as you said, again these could possibly be salvaged from the same hair dryer... As for connections they I agree they should be crimped vs soldered in this application or screwed/riveted... Since the original is riveted if you have access to the back side I would lean towards drilling out the existing rivets and replacing them with new ones, or screws and nuts... Ding the threads of the screw behind the nut with a flat screwdriver and hammer on any screws so that the nut won't back off...

    In the end if I was putting this back in service I would do my best to get OEM or equivalent replacement parts and do the repair as close as I could to the original assembly...
     
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