SteamSaunaBath User Forum

Steam Shower => Technical Support => Topic started by: vtphilk on February 02, 2011, 11:42:02 AM

Title: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: vtphilk on February 02, 2011, 11:42:02 AM
I have a 10 yr/old steamist SM-46 for a small steam / shower.  It is set to the lower power 4.5 Kw setting.

It suddenly stopped working and so I checked it out and it appears the board has definitely fried.  There is visible signs of black char on the bottom of the board and one of the tracers going to a relay has cooked off the board.  So I know it needs a new board.

What I am trying to determine is if I need a new heating element as well.  The board is easy to replace and I'm a EE so I think I can handle it.  However, the element, is builtin and plumbed in so if possible I do not want to replace it.

What is the best way to test the element?  I have three leads coming out of the element.  It appears one is nuetral then one is for the 4.5KW setting then a second if the switch is toggled to the 6kW setting.  I assume it is actually two elements inside. 

I have tested all of the three leads and NONE short to ground so that is good.
I tried testing the impedance but did not get any reliable readings.
Should I be able to read some sort of impedance across two of the leads?  I'm not certain which is which (There are three, one vertical lead and two horizontal going into the element). 

I'm just looking for a quick / cheap fix and the board is about $250 but the element is something like $500.  So $250 would be much better than $750!

Thanks in advance!

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: Bernard on February 03, 2011, 08:05:43 AM
Excellent information!

From experience, it is highly unlikely that a 10-year old SM-46 has a blown heating coil but you could certainly verify so with an Ohm Meter. 

On the right side of the cabinet, there is a white plastic rocker switch, please make sure it is pressed towards the 6kw side.  The Model SM-46 has two heating coils. With the top cover off, if you are facing the front of the generator (all the pipes come out on your right), on the bottom of the circuit board from left to right there are 4 wires, two (2) Black (P6 & P7 terminals) and two (2) White (P8 & P9 terminals). Each set of wires goes to an individual coil.

With the power off, remove those wire leads from the circuit board to Ohm them out.  Please measure from Black to Black wire, then White to White.  Then measure from each wire to ground.  A good reading for each set should be between 5 and 40 ohms, and there should be no reading to ground.  When a heating element fails, it usually reads a high number (in the thousands), since it's open and reads through water.

While you have this generator open, with the power off, remove and clean the water probe assembly (left of the circuit board).  Calcium deposits like to collect here and it impacts steam generator performance.

Should the coils test fine, order up the PC Board and some Eucalyptus oil and let's get you Steamin’ again!

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: vtphilk on December 12, 2011, 11:21:51 PM
Ok..sorry for the resurect of old thread.  I totally forgot I had posted this question and put off replacing the unit.  I was trying to do a good xmas deed to get it fixed for the family, however i have some bad news.

It appears one of the coils is bad in the element.

There are two sets of wires from the element, a set of black and set of white as you said.  Testing across the set of white (With the 6kw switch set to the on) I read 37ohms, so thats GOOD.  Testing to ground reads 0.  So I deduct the white element is GOOD.

Testing across the black set of leads, I read like 6MOhms.  Testing to ground is like 1Mohms, so that seems BAD.

So since the shower is small the switch was originally in the 4.5kW mode.  Looking at the rear of the switch, the switch is just a cut off for the white wires so it disables the white set of coils which is likely why that coil is not fried.  The board is visibliy fried (Tracer is burnt off the board), so I know that needs replacement.

So my question is, can I spend the $250 for a new board and then flip flop the white and black coils so that black is on the 6kW (WHich is the switch that cuts them (Or just not hook the black up) then hook the white leads up to the new board where the black should go.

I know this is being cheap but money is tight and I don't want to have to replace the whole unit for $1100 and replumb the new unit in (SM-5) etc.. etc..  when I might be able to get it working for $250.  Just wonder if anyone has ever tried this???

Also, we plan on selling the house within the next 2-3 yrs so if I can get a short term fix that would be ideal anyhow :).

Let me know what you think.  I'm a EE so maybe my electric knowledge is getting in the way of me here :)

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: vtphilk on December 19, 2011, 10:31:20 AM
Any thoughts anyone? 

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: Jennifer on December 19, 2011, 04:58:51 PM
We are looking into.  We'll have more info for you very shortly.
Thank you for your patience.

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: Jennifer on December 20, 2011, 09:58:25 AM
Direct from Steamist Tech Support:

There are two relays on the circuit board, one relay switches power to one element (P6 & P7 terminals) which are the Black wires going to the 4500watt coil, which in this case is open/shorted, the other relay switches power to the second element (P8 & P9 terminals) which are the White wires going to the 1500watt coil.

Since the 4500watt coil is out, replacing the circuit board with a new one, will allow for using the good heating coil which is 1500watts but unfortunately working on 1500watts will not heat the steam room up adequately. Therefore, since the circuit board, along with the tank & element assembly will need to be replaced, it may be more beneficial to replace the whole steam generator.

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: vtphilk on December 20, 2011, 10:05:40 AM
bummer, I didn't about the two coils being different size.  That makes sense.  I guess I'm stuck buying a new unit or looking for a refurb.

Is the SM5 the replacement for the SM46 as I don't think the SM46 is in circulation anymore?  Thanks so much for the help!!!

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: Jennifer on December 20, 2011, 10:39:56 AM
Yes, the SM46 is discontinued.  If the 4.5kw setting was in use, then an SM5.  If the 6kw setting was in use, then an SM-7.  We could also use the sizing tool to be sure.
You would be able to use your existing control with a new generator.
We have everything for your steam needs.

Please contact a Project Coordinator at 800-707-2862 so we may further assist you.

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: vtphilk on December 22, 2011, 11:57:20 AM
Thanks so much.  Just got off the phone with lance and placed an order for a SM5.  Thanks for the great support and help!

Title: Re: Steamist - SM-46 Element bad?
Post by: Bernard on December 30, 2012, 10:13:58 AM
Replacing a steam bath generator can be simple, but without the proper due diligence, you could complicate the process and spend hundreds more. 

The following should be consider when replacing a steam bath generator.

1.  Did the steam generator perform to your expectations?
2.  What is the breaker and wire size serving your steam bath generator?
3.  Where is your steam bath generator control and did it satisfy your needs?
4.  Is the existing control wire/cable in conduit or can it be easily replaced with new?
5.  How large is the existing hole for the steam generator control?
6.  What is the steam bath generator installation area size?
7.  What make and model steam bath generator/control is currently installed?

This information should be considered by any professional interested in helping one replace a failed steam bath generator.  These factors take into account the bather's satisfaction and allow for proper analysis of what steam shower system would would best serve bather inclinations as well as a simplified installation process.

Keep in mind, a steam generator has high voltage, water, control, steam and possibly drain line connections and is unlike any other appliance in the home.  Review the above considerations with a professional prior to purchasing a steam bath generator replacement system, it will save you time, money and ensure your bathing experience.