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Old 11-08-2012, 11:05 AM   #1
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taco sr503-4 switch


Furnace is a basic natural gas hot water system. Water gets heated up and sent out and the process continues until zone is satisfied. I replaced the honeywell 832a switch with taco sr503 switch because when the upstairs zone called for heat the downstairs zone also came on making it too hot downstairs. The sr 503 switch is better suited for this. the honeywell 832a switch just turns on the circulators only- not set-up for seperate thermostats and zoning.

installed taco sr 503 switch. wired everything according to schmactic. however, when zone 2 (upstairs) calls for heat, the circulator comes on but does not fire boiler, the red led on 503 switch indicates zone 2 called for heat and the green power led stays lit all the time like it should, and zone 1 red led is off like it should be. I could understand this if the boiler was already at 180 degress or so, but the bolier is cold 0 degrees. All it is pumping is cold water through the baseboard heat. So I turn down thermostat upstairs.

Now, when I turn on zone 1 downstairs both red leds come on for zone 1 and zone 2 and the bolier is fired and both circulators come on? crazy? Now I have heat in both zones - but I only need heat in zone 2 (upstairs) Now the downstairs thermostat controls everything.

This has me stumped. The bolier is an old lochinvar. It originally had only one zone one circulator. another zone/circulator was added to the same original zone/circulator the boiler came with later for upstairs. The system never really worked like it was suppose to. When upstairs called for heat, downstairs would come also ect. Now the problem is reverse downstairs heat comes on and so does upstairs. However, on the plus side, it is always warm in the house which is nice.

I contacted taco and told them my problem - they said that's impossible. they had me take off the end wires of the thermostat XX on the 503 switch and touch them together. If bolier fired it was a bad switch which they would replace. The bolier did not fire up. So they said it is not switch - check your termostats they could be conflicting. I have two programmable lux thermostats one upstairs one downstairs. Although I do not have a central air and heating and all that, I am only using two wires red and white and they appear to work fine. checked the wiring and all the wires are hooked up to the right terminals ect.

Trying to get to the bottom of this, I checked the control panel on the bolier itself. The Circulator relay switch was replaced a few years ago with a DPST (double pole single throw - I googled it because I didn't know what the abberviation stood for) - that's what it says on the relay switch anyway. Could that be a possible problem? Double pole single throw would mean to me anyway, both circulators would come on with one throw of a switch. Maybe this needs to be a double throw double pole relay switch here. I don't know. This could be the culprit that has been alluding me all these years. When I call out hvac tech to fix the relay switch i assumed they know what they are doing. I was thinking about replacing both thermostats with a basic honeywell for 2 wire heating system only. But I really don't think this is the problem. hvac techs of the eighties did a lot of gerry riggin to make this system work as a 2 zone system. In there defense, it does work - it just doesn't work correctly. Maybe you just can't set this particular bolier up with seperate zones. It just may have to be configured like this to work. This was all done late 80's early 90's timeframe. techs back then just tried to get things working cheaply and move on to the next job.

Sorry this post is so long - just wanted to give all the information I could.
Hopefully beenthere can help me out with this stumper. Thanks for any advice.


Last edited by jmon; 11-08-2012 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:30 PM   #2
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Are you zoning with pumps? Can you get some pics of the near boiler piping? It would help confirm that you have what I'm seeing in my head.

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:25 PM   #3
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Are you zoning with pumps? Can you get some pics of the near boiler piping? It would help confirm that you have what I'm seeing in my head.

thanks canucker,

Yes, two seperate taco circulator pumps coming off the same 1 in pipe. I will send photo shortly.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:18 PM   #4
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Sounds like there may be a short in you thermostat wires.

Both circulators should be wired to their respective terminals on the 503.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:10 PM   #5
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Sounds like there may be a short in you thermostat wires.

Both circulators should be wired to their respective terminals on the 503.
both circulators are wired to respective terminals zone 1 and zone 2 on 503 switch. green led is on indicating power to switch. I will run new thermostat wire from thermostats to boiler to see if that is an issue - that is what the rep said at Taco as well. they also said could be bad or incorrect thermostat for bolier. I have two old lux programable thermostats that are for central air and heat they have hook up for 6 wires i am only using the red and white terminal. Should I replace them with a basic heat only 2 wire thermostat from honeywell?
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:56 AM   #6
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Those stats are ok to use(not a brand I like, but hey're ok).

Disconnect the thermostat wires at the 503. Then jumper each one separately. See if it still does it. if so, then its not in your low voltage side.

Do the circ wires come diretly to the 503 from the circ, or do they go through a junction box first. if through a junction box first, check the wiring inside of it.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:39 AM   #7
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Those stats are ok to use(not a brand I like, but hey're ok).

Disconnect the thermostat wires at the 503. Then jumper each one separately. See if it still does it. if so, then its not in your low voltage side.

Do the circ wires come diretly to the 503 from the circ, or do they go through a junction box first. if through a junction box first, check the wiring inside of it.
ok, I did the thermosts wire test here are the results: when end wires were jumped boiler did not fire - zone 2 red led stayed lit, when zone 1 was jumped did not fire boiler - zone 2 red led remained lit, when zone 2 was jumped did not fire boiler also the red led lite on 503 switch went out. When I jumped zone 1 from 503 switch directly to the terminals of the bolier, zone 2 and zone 1 red leds came on and the bolier fired. However, we are right back to the original problem now when zone 2 (upstairs) calls for heat it also energizies zone 1 as well. The downside jumping the system this way is that zone 1 red led stays on all the time because it is be manually jumped right to the boiler. Other words there are two thermostat wires in zone 1 and 2 thermostat wires on the bolier. I did not leave it like that - just wanted to see if I could get zone 2 to fire the bolier and it did by jumping zone1 from 503 switch directly to the boiler. I can't leave it like that because literally zone 1 would never shut off. I am not giving up to try to make this boiler operate correctly. So I put everything back the way it was for now. Still zone 2 does not fire bolier - but circulator comes on, just doesn't fire up the bolier.

Now as for 120vac side of the equation. Here are the results: Zone2 (upstairs) circulator is wired directly into 503 switch, The main power firing up the 503 switch comes from house electrical panel and is wired directly into the 503 switch. zone 1 (downstairs) the original circulator that came with the boiler is wired directly into control panel on boiler first, then goes to 503 switch. It also is connected to; what I call the kill switch that is at the top of the basement when you open basement door - that red switch that says furnace on it. This is the kill switch which prevents the bolier from firing when closed, this is where the power is coming from to power circulator and bolier. So you have 3 120vac lines going into that panel. one for the kill switch (main power), one from the circulator itself, and one from the circulator back to the 503 switch which are all wired together with a huge wire nut. They are in a basic black to black white to white and ground to ground configuation. From there it goes to black and white side (120vac) of a step down transformer and comes out 24 volt on the other side for going to various relay switches. There are a lot of wires in that control panel. I try to send some pics so you can visulize what is going on here - but i don't know how much you will be able to see from them because of all the wires coming together. It looks like one big wiring mess. Could the problem be on the 120vac side at the control panel on furnace? Does that 120vac wiring configuation sound right to you? That's all I have time for right now - got to go to work. I'll check post latter. Thanks a bunch for your help.

Last edited by jmon; 11-09-2012 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:00 PM   #8
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I'm still going to need some pics of the inside of that relay, but it sounds like the end switch on the 503 isn't connected to the boiler or there isn't any power to the boiler itself, so nothing is being lit? I need to see what and how you've got things jumped. It sounds like its easy enough to rewire, just can't picture it right now.(And a pic of the near boiler piping for sure, from your description in the first post, I have a suspicion I'd like to confirm.)
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Last edited by Canucker; 11-09-2012 at 02:05 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:42 PM   #9
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Sounds like the original set up was a master/slave zoning set up.

Run a new wire from the original circ to the 503, so only the 503 controls it.

As above, will need pics of the rest of the wiring to tell you how toi get it wired right.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:03 PM   #10
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Sounds like the original set up was a master/slave zoning set up.

Run a new wire from the original circ to the 503, so only the 503 controls it.

As above, will need pics of the rest of the wiring to tell you how toi get it wired right.
ok. will do. Try to get those pics for you.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:55 PM   #11
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Link to Imgur album here. (pictures of 503 switch and boiler)

For picture Boiler #3,
picture of control box on boiler where everything wires into. you see 2 120vac lines going in - one is the kill switch at top of stairs (main power) and the other is going back to 503 switch, the metal casing is the circulator power line, the black and white side of the step-down transformer. As you can see they are all slave off that one main 120vac power line coming in. It is a wiring mess to say the least.

For picture Boiler #4,
another picture of the control box. Different angle. It's hard to see I know. I'm standing right next to it and I don't know where everything goes.

For Picture Boiler #8,
another angle - hope these pics help you visulize what I'm up against. it's basically 120vac black to black and white to white and ground to ground. I'm not sure of that one wire nut that has a black and white wire together - you usually don't see that, the electrician should have marked that so you know what that is for. Any suggestions as to what that might indicate? But if I wire that zone 1 circulator right to the 503 switch like you suggest, that will be two less wires in that mess. So that means only one 120vac main power from the kill swtich will be going in there now. Therorically it should work. the kill switch would be wired to the primary side (120vac) of transformer. the otherside is all 24volt after that which goes to a bunch of relay pumps, circulator relays etc, finally to the control module and ignition wire which fires the bolier up. just have to be really careful here because if you put 120vac on the wrong side of that transformer all circuits and relays will be fried big time. Well I think i'm up for the challenge. I'm thinking a total rewiring here. Any tips would be helpful. I know I should be very careful not to put 120vac on the 24vac side of that transformer. The black and white side is the primary side which is 120vac correct? The otherside steps down to 24vac. at lease that is what my multimeter is indicating. black and white side says 120vac blue and red side says 24vac that sound right?

Last edited by jmon; 11-09-2012 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:06 PM   #12
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Ok, that,s a big help. Mess of wiring, no good for OCD people like me but its an easy fix from the looks of it. It appears that you have power going to the boiler and to your 503. That's good. Both pumps should be supplied with power from the 503. It looks like you can remove the armored cable on the one pump and get rid of it. Although, in my area, they frown on NM cable for near boiler wiring, you may want to switch yours out. Oh, and do yourself a favour and move the 503 so its not behind that pipe that appears to be the gas line? You'll appreciate it when you rewire it.
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Last edited by Canucker; 11-09-2012 at 11:10 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:57 AM   #13
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The black and white wires wire nutted together, are the switch leg for your switch at the stairs.

The brown relay at the top and just right of center is the relay the circ is wired to. Which you should disconnect and have the 503 control it.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:18 AM   #14
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ok thanks guys. I will work on that. I knew there had to be a wiring problem somewhere. I will do one step at a time. I will rewire zone 1 circulator so it goes right to the 503 switch like zone 2 does. then the 503 switch will control everything thermostats and circulators. That will get rid of the metal coax wire and the 1 120vac wire going into the control panel on boiler. that just leaves 1 120vac wire going in there, the kill switch at top of stairs. That should get rid of some of those wires. So sum it up - 503 switch will control all theromstats and circulators and the kill switch (emergency switch) at the top of the stairs will kill power to boiler so it does not fire. Correct? sounds pretty basic I'll let you know the results.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:33 AM   #15
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The 503 is a fairly simple control. Shouldn't be too hard to get your system to work the way you want.

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