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Cecil McKenzie 05-04-2018 01:58 PM

ISO Watlow controller.
My Watlow controller buttons are wearing out. In search of a Watlow 981C-20FD-AARG. An older model that they no longer make. Thanks in advance.

Cecil McKenzie 05-07-2018 08:15 PM

The switch that makes the set point go up in my Watlow controller is on its last legs. One heating tech said I could probably change out that micro switch and be good to go. Has anyone worked on controllers in this manner?

Greg Vriethoff 05-09-2018 05:38 PM

Have you tried contacting Watlow, Cecile? Their tech support is excellent.

Be sure to do your homework, though. I spoke to one of the engineers on the phone once, and everything he said went right over my head.

Cecil McKenzie 05-09-2018 08:14 PM

i did call Watlow late on a Friday afternoon when my up button stuck on 2350 and the down button had no effect.They said the switch was shot and I needed a new controller. The style I had was obsolete and the new one would not fit in the same space. I did manage to jiggle the switch and get back to 2250. since then during a thunderstorm my controller dialed in 2350 on its own. Fortunately I noticed something was amiss at 2238 and returned to 2050. It seems to work fine except for the switch.

John Riepma 05-10-2018 05:11 AM

I have been told that the 981's are starting to die at a fairly consistent rate. Mine stopped the "hold" program after batching before the ramp down to the squeeze temp a while back and I just happened to notice it one day before I walked out the door after charging. There is an EZ-Zone that fits in the same panel cutout, I believe that it's the 1/4 DIN size.

Eben Horton 05-10-2018 05:42 PM

consider a digitry with a 4-20 milliamp output. I run my furnace on one and its so easy to program.

Eric Trulson 05-11-2018 07:56 AM

Like John said, the Watlow 981 has known reliability issues. The ones that are still out in the field are pretty much just being left to die at this point. I'd bite the bullet and just get a new controller of the same panel-mount size to swap in. $100-200 is still cheaper than a furnace crash.

Ted Trower 05-11-2018 04:12 PM

I have three 988 controllers still in box. Any chance that they would work?, 988-12BB-AARG, and 988-15KA-JARR

Cecil McKenzie 05-12-2018 12:34 PM

Thanks for the responses . On Watlows recommendation I ordered one through Wet Dog because they had built the equipment originally. I had purchased it used and was unsure of all its necessary parameters. It is supposed to arrive Monday and they have support videos to help old school types to install it.

After reading the manual of my old controller I think I might have been able to continue with it if I programed it for ramp up and ramp down.( I had been doing everything manually and probably wearing out the button in the process.) I noticed the up and down buttons don't function while it is in a program. The problem I was having was the up button was sticking or working on its own on occasion.

At any rate am installing a new controller soon.

Cecil McKenzie 05-14-2018 11:06 AM

This morning the set point was at 2350 but the furnace was at 2050. I punched the set point to 2040 and the furnace temp rose for a little then went back down. Set it to 2050 and it responded and settled in at 2050. Hope to empty crucible then change out the controller. Not sure what is going on.

Eben Horton 05-14-2018 08:41 PM

Be really careful. You could come in one morning and find it sitting at 2600

George Vidas 05-15-2018 12:00 AM

Here's a short article explaining the different standard sizes that panel mount controllers come in:

Important to note that the cutouts are standard, but the actual size of the controller on the outside is not. So when shopping for an alternative replacement, measure the size of the opening (on the inside of the panel), not the size of the controller on the outside.

Seems like there should be a lot of options, since there's only a few variables to pay attention to -- panel cutout size, coil voltage on the relays, and maybe the input voltage to the controller. But I'm over here in an armchair with no skin in the game.

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