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I have a central electric air/heat heater with a standard thermostat. I replaced the thermostat with no change (that was a while ago) so I believe the problem is not the thermostat.
Nordyne Wiring Diagram Electric Furnace
I set the left switch obviously to “Heating” and the right switch to “Auto” or “On”. For Auto, it does not turn on (fan or heating). For On, the fan runs, but the heating element cycles on and off approximately every 3 seconds.
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Does anyone know what this problem is? Also, is there a way to bypass this for now and just turn on the heater to heat the house? Thank you
I removed the access panel and I see 6 basic components: 1. Plate with two sliding elements – rear tip. Two large black wires and two large red wires exiting 2. Single element skid plate – rear end. Each large black and red. 3. Contactor (?) Front left – where the thermostat wires go 4. Transformer (?) Rear left 5. Switches – front middle 6. Blower motor (underneath everything) – 3 wires go into it.
OK, so on the fan motor is a diagram for everything NOT on the front panel, including the fan relay and the 24VAC transformer. The fan relay diagram and part number are shown in these images:
Before making any internal adjustments to the unit, ensure that all main switches and/or switches supplying power to the unit are turned off. Do not attempt this job unless you are skilled enough to do it safely.
If the thermostat is in “fossil” mode (the usual default), then it will not turn the electric furnace fan on “auto” when heat is needed. Reconfigure the settings on the thermostat to “electric” mode. In credit to ThreePhaseEel, the schematic for your unit shows that this thermostat change should not be necessary, but changing the thermostat mode from “fossil” to “electric” is usually trivial and making this change will overcome a possible failure of the NC contacts on the fan relay.
First check the airflow when the fan is on. If airflow seems poor, look for an obstruction such as a clogged air filter or a seasonally closed damper. After confirming that there are no obstructions, change the fan speed setting to temporarily increase airflow based on the wiring diagram under update #2 (you can return the connector to its original position later). First move the fan connector from pin #6 to pin #5 to increase the fan from low to medium and then finally to pin #4 to increase from medium to high. Each time the air flow is increased, check that the furnace will turn on without abnormal tripping of the coils. For normal operation, the exhaust air should be about 20F-30F warmer than the room air.
If that doesn’t work, temporarily turn off each of the three heating coils one at a time. TURN OFF ALL POWER BEFORE PROCEEDING. Since you have a two-stage heater, start with the bottom contactor. Disconnect W2 and turn on the heater. If you have not connected W2, proceed to the next step by placing a jumper wire between W1 and W2, then remove the red wire from the top contactor. Isolate the broken wire safely, turn the power back on and turn on the heater. If the unit is operating with one of the heating coils disconnected, there may be a problem with that coil, but you can continue to operate at reduced capacity with the problem coil disconnected. . If any coil connected to contactor W1 breaks, then leave W1 and W2 connected together, and leave W2 from the thermostat disconnected, so that all remaining coils are ignited by stage 1 heat.
If there is still no joy, then you will have to dig a little deeper. Electric ovens typically have two main types of safety components to prevent fires. One is a high limit switch that turns off the coils whenever a safe high temperature limit is reached, and the other is an airflow switch that requires airflow to activate the coils. Some units have two sets of high limits, one is a self-cancelling bimetallic device and the other is a thermal fuse with a higher temperature shock, preferably connected in series with the heating elements. Although not labeled on the schematic, the safety switches included in the control circuit are shown in your photo of diagram #1, connected in series with a common gray wire leading from contactor W2. If all contactors work together despite adequate airflow, there is likely a problem involving a high limit or airflow switch. Some older ovens don’t have an airflow switch and instead rely on an interconnect between the fan and heat control switches, but since yours doesn’t seem to have that connection, I would expect your oven to have a single airflow switch. In my experience, high limit switches are more likely to break periodically because they suffer from abuse when the filters are not changed regularly. To clarify, if your unit is equipped with thermal fuses on each heating element except the center upper limiter, then the thermal fuses would not be the cause of the intermittent behavior, but if present, they should be checked for each element to confirm that one of them does not swell due to chronic overheating.
Unbranded E3eb 020h/ 023h/e2 015hbr Series Electric Furnace Wiring Diagram
You will need to find the bad component(s) by troubleshooting and replacing as necessary, which I won’t go into further detail here. DO NOT… REPEAT.. DO NOT leave the unit running unattended with any of the safety devices bypassed.
I misinterpreted the symptoms at first — if the fan is indeed running properly while the system is on, then your system is running at its high limits. I would check for air obstructions (like bad ducts or a dirty/tight filter) or a slow blower motor. You can also temporarily override the high limits for testing purposes, DO NOT LEAVE THE SYSTEM UNATTENDED while doing this and keep an ABC or BC dry chemical extinguisher handy in case it catches fire.
As for the fan issue, that’s a problem with the NC side of the fan relay — it can be worked around by setting the thermostat from “gas” or “fossil” mode to “electric” mode, where the thermostat is responsible for calling both the fan and the heat instead that the oven calls the fan.
If the symptoms were what I thought they were, with the fan and heat moving together, then it would appear to be a bad connection at terminal C (0V/return) of the air handler fan relay — the return from the two contactor heater coils going to the return end fan relay instead of going directly back to the C (0V) end of the transformer. When line G (fan) is off, the connection between the gray wire C from the heater assembly connector and the other gray wires is not established, causing the heat not to turn on at all because the contactor does not turn on. When the G (fan) line is on, operation of the fan relay causes the suspect connection to be established for a short time before it clears again, and this cycle repeats as long as the fan relay is on.
Rheem/ruud Condenser Fan Motor 51 23055 11 Wiring Diagram
The “click” you hear is most likely coming from the contactor itself and is normal — short shifting is the problem. And yes, you can safely drop R to W and/or G on your unit — it won’t hurt it, because that’s what the thermostat contacts do anyway. As for troubleshooting, I would try measuring the voltage between the gray wire coming from the heater connector on your unit and the gray wire on the 24VAC transformer. It should be very close to 0V all the time; if it reads close to 24 VAC, then the connection to the fan relay is not working.
P.S. your air handler is indeed a Nordyne — a wiring diagram for a similar unit can be found here.
You have gotten a lot of help with this problem so my question would be what is the make and model of the new thermostat? And if you put a jumper across the wires from thermostat R and W1 during a normal heat call, does the clicking stop? If there is, the problem is in the thermostat. If the thermostat is the problem Knowing which thermostat you have will help. If the thermostat is not the problem, I would look for a bad wire or a bad contactor or relay. If you have or can find instructions for the thermostat, look for an adjustable slide wire (may be marked L for longer or S for shorter or maybe low to high
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