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Sunamp container bulging

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Difficult to photo but my PCM58 Sunamp container is bulging. The lid was also bulging and this has been replaced by Sunamp.

 

Anyone else having their sunamps bulging?

IMG_20181117_101049.jpg

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Ooer, that is unsettling. Watching for a knowledgeable reply.

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Yes they do, it's normal.  Not great, but I did look closely at the cause and called Sunamp about it, and it's not a problem.  The cause is just a lack of rigidity in the large single PCM cell, and in the design of the case.  They have redesigned the lid to try and overcome the distortion in that, but the flat sides of the case do still bow out a bit.  Doesn't do any harm, AFAICS, but I'd like to see the case, or perhaps better, the cell casing, made a bit stiffer to prevent this.

 

Personally I'm not losing any sleep over it.

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The feedback from SA was that the good folk in production were putting too much insulation in the upper section which was taking up the room for expansion. 

The units naturally distend a little, but not that it is problematic afaik, but taking away room for upward expansion meant the lids overly distended to a point that they were cream-krackered.

They made these VERY tight, ( I imagine for space saving ), prob an inch too tight, but under normal conditions I’m told it’s ‘normal’. 

Agree with @JSHarris, where they could do with strapping a corset on it for the panickers. 

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There is much I could say but instead I’ll just share one photo (of many):

 

E6149159-7691-44CC-8F21-545204D606F7.thumb.jpeg.ac0fa10ccdb0db9b0cf38460a1c376f1.jpeg

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I wouldn't be happy with this. The problem I guess as an early adopter. 

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4 hours ago, Onoff said:

I wouldn't be happy with this. The problem I guess as an early adopter. 

 

I wouldn’t be happy about that either! They will have lots of complaints coming their way if that happens. 

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The lid problem can be fixed by cutting the second layer of neoprene out so that it gives a bit of clearance around the pipes.  This then allows it to compress more easily and allows the top layer to sit a bit better.  Mine doesn't bulge like that at all now, having done this.  Arguably the middle layer of neoprene should be supplied with cut outs a bit wider than the 4 pipes where they run out to the side, but I guess they don't do that because they don't know which side the customer will run the pipes.  An instruction in the manual to make a series of generous slots in this section of the foam would be useful.

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9 hours ago, Onoff said:

I wouldn't be happy with this. The problem I guess as an early adopter. 

They’ve come along leaps and bounds since the SAPV, but they are still very much ‘hot off the press’.

The controls are still quite bland, as Jeremy has shown they needed a customer confidence indicator of some sort to show you it’s alive, but I think they are due to release a new range of controllers, possibly one that is the pv diverter too. Not much known yet but hopefully that’ll be sooner than later. 

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11 hours ago, Barney12 said:

There is much I could say but instead I’ll just share one photo (of many):

 

E6149159-7691-44CC-8F21-545204D606F7.thumb.jpeg.ac0fa10ccdb0db9b0cf38460a1c376f1.jpeg

that is really unacceptable --shows how much testing they have REALLY done on production units in service for this to happen--glad my decision  to go this way is a year away at least .

lest hope by then they have upgraded the units they have sold now as well as new units

my guess the "bean counters "have got in on the production models and thinned down the casings both exterior and actual  PCM cells --wonder how long they are going to last with continual stress like that  before a crack and leakage occurs?--30,000 cycles ? time will tell.

number of times that happens in car industry --design engineers do a good job ,then spec is changed in production ,that is the reason for nearly all recalls -"bean counters" changing spec to make things cheaper

.BMW is a good example --all these fires from fuse boxs --who in their right mind would have main power to this box transmitted this way --a spade connector 

 it was always going to get hot  over time ,thats why alternators swopped from push on to bolt connections 20years ago as electric demand increased

i know of no push on blade connector that is rate for 60-80amps .

which is what the alternator could put up that wire if everything is on .

the cable is fine its  80amp  --but should have been a ring eye connector and bolt fitting--

vauxhall had simlar problems with car heaters  catching fire --same reason --altering production wiring from that specified in design 

and range rover --air suspension- height correctors going out of sinc ,so suspension will go up and down like a yo-yo ,then sometimes be ok--cos wiring was dropped in spec and cheap non gold plated pins on connections under wheel arch where sensors are 

so resistance changes -,so ecu gets wrong data 

fxxxxg "bean counters 

just hope SA have more sense  

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14 minutes ago, scottishjohn said:

that is really unacceptable --shows how much testing they have REALLY done on production units in service for this to happen--glad my decision  to go this way is a year away at least .

lest hope by then they have upgraded the units they have sold now as well as new units

my guess the "bean counters "have got in on the production models and thinned down the casings both exterior and actual  PCM cells --wonder how long they are going to last with continual stress like that  before a crack and leakage occurs?--30,000 cycles ? time will tell.

number of times that happens in car industry --design engineers do a good job ,then spec is changed in production ,that is the reason for nearly all recalls -"bean counters" changing spec to make things cheaper

.BMW is a good example --all these fires from fuse boxs --who in their right mind would have main power to this box transmitted this way --a spade connector 

 it was always going to get hot  over time ,thats why alternators swopped from push on to bolt connections 20years ago as electric demand increased

i know of no push on blade connector that is rate for 60-80amps .

which is what the alternator could put up that wire if everything is on .

the cable is fine its  80amp  --but should have been a ring eye connector and bolt fitting--

vauxhall had simlar problems with car heaters  catching fire --same reason --altering production wiring from that specified in design 

and range rover --air suspension- height correctors going out of sinc ,so suspension will go up and down like a yo-yo ,then sometimes be ok--cos wiring was dropped in spec and cheap non gold plated pins on connections under wheel arch where sensors are 

so resistance changes -,so ecu gets wrong data 

fxxxxg "bean counters 

just hope SA have more sense  

 

 

That's a bit OTT, as the problem is really just one of not writing a clear instruction to trim the middle insulation layer (which has to be removed during installation) so that it has slots that are clear of the four 22mm pipes (that the installer fits) that exit out through the side of the case.

 

For comparison, this is what my unit looks like:

 

329257961_AnnotatedSunampUniQeHWinstallation.thumb.JPG.b3094b0d6ff4172b3c3b8c6be4369a12.JPG

 

The slight bow in the top cover in that photo has now gone completely, as since taking that photo I trimmed the insulation a bit more neatly around the pipes, so the lid fits down even more neatly now.

 

All that's needed is a single line adding to the installation instructions highlighting the need to cut fairly wide slots in the middle insulation, so that it has room to move sideways when it gets compressed into place by the upper insulation layer.  I'll lay money that during development and testing they cut the insulation like this, but then just forgot to include specific details as to how to cut it in the installation instructions.  That's a dead easy mistake to make with a new product, and hardly the end of the earth.

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the worrying factor is that when asked --they have told customers --"its fine"

instead of giving them a solution which you probably just described. 

time will tell as it always does with these things in service

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17 minutes ago, scottishjohn said:

the worrying factor is that when asked --they have told customers --"its fine"

instead of giving them a solution which you probably just described. 

time will tell as it always does with these things in service

 

 

Not really at all worrying in the slightest, IMHO, as it's only cosmetic and has absolutely no effect on performance or reliability.  FWIW, they've already changed the design of the lid, and sent me a free replacement upgraded one without any request from me.

 

 

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If i had installed sunamps and this happened without any clear instruction that the insulation had to be trimmed, otherwise this would be the outcome, I would be very hacked off, particularly as it's such an easy thing to put right from their end.

It's easy to forgive sunamp a lot because of really good and new technology, but if any other product I bought did this I would be giving the supplier and manufacturer a hard time over it and I don't see why sunamp should be any different as they are a commercial venture charging good money for these things.

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I agree, the instructions should specifically reference trimming the insulation, but TBH, it's pretty obvious when you come to refit the middle layer of insulation after connecting up the 22mm pipes internally that it ain't going to fit neatly without being trimmed!

 

I took one look at it and worked out within about 30 seconds that wide slots needed to be cut to allow the four pipes to exit the case, and these slots can't be pre-cut at the factory as there is the option to run the pipes out either side of the case, or even some out one side and some out the other.  A minute or so of trimming an inch thick layer of neoprene insulation isn't the end of the earth, IMHO.

 

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5 minutes ago, vivienz said:

If i had installed sunamps and this happened without any clear instruction that the insulation had to be trimmed, otherwise this would be the outcome, I would be very hacked off, particularly as it's such an easy thing to put right from their end.

It's easy to forgive sunamp a lot because of really good and new technology, but if any other product I bought did this I would be giving the supplier and manufacturer a hard time over it and I don't see why sunamp should be any different as they are a commercial venture charging good money for these things.

 

Yes I agree. If, for example, I had bought a new washing machine that after a few washes the side bowed out but was told 'oh it's ok it doesn't impact performance' I wouldn't accept that at all, similarly with Sunamp it's not good enough either. What are the company doing to be proactive about addressing their 'miss' in the installation instructions? They should be contacting all purchasers and installers and providing clear instructions of how to address the issue. Things like this can easily affect the confidence people have in a brand. 

 

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Oh, and saying it will be addressed in the next iteration doesn't cut it either for those who bought the current model. Lots can be learned about companies from how they deal with customer care. 

 

5 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

A minute or so of trimming an inch thick layer of neoprene insulation isn't the end of the earth, IMHO.

 

Possibly not but if you've gone to the bother of getting an installer to fit for you then you likely won't want to be opening the thing up and trimming bits of anything off. 

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6 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

I agree, the instructions should specifically reference trimming the insulation, but TBH, it's pretty obvious when you come to refit the middle layer of insulation after connecting up the 22mm pipes internally that it ain't going to fit neatly without being trimmed!

 

I took one look at it and worked out within about 30 seconds that wide slots needed to be cut to allow the four pipes to exit the case, and these slots can't be pre-cut at the factory as there is the option to run the pipes out either side of the case, or even some out one side and some out the other.  A minute or so of trimming an inch thick layer of neoprene insulation isn't the end of the earth, IMHO.

 

 

The problem with this, though, is that not many of the purchasers are going to have your technical expertise and confidence.  With many appliances, and to a user such as myself, it is just another appliance, to do anything of this nature without the express instruction or written approval from the manufacturer would invalidate any warranties and so I would be very unwilling to do this.

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13 minutes ago, newhome said:

Oh, and saying it will be addressed in the next iteration doesn't cut it either for those who bought the current model. Lots can be learned about companies from how they deal with customer care. 

 

 

Possibly not but if you've gone to the bother of getting an installer to fit for you then you likely won't want to be opening the thing up and trimming bits of anything off. 

 

 

The installer HAS to open it up and remove the untrimmed insulation before connecting the pipes, though.  It's pretty obvious that there's no way the untrimmed insulation is going to fit back in place properly without having the existing cut outs where the four push fit elbows pop up enlarged into slots to allow the insulation to fit back around the newly installed pipes.

 

The thing missing from the instructions is a specific line stating this and giving a dimension to trim the slots too, as if the slots are made too narrow (which is what I did the first time around) then compressing the removed layer of insulation back into the case causes it to bow up.  Make the slots wider, and the middle layer of insulation both sits down flat and has room to expand sideways when it gets compressed by the top layer of insulation.

 

Look at the photo of my Sunamp above, just after I installed it, and when I'd only cut narrow slots in the insulation, and it's clear that it looks nothing like @Barney12 s bulging top at all.  An day or so after that photo was taken I whipped the lid off and trimmed the insulation a bit more, so now the lid sits dead flat, with no bulge at all.

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5 hours ago, JSHarris said:

The lid problem can be fixed by cutting the second layer of neoprene out so that it gives a bit of clearance around the pipes.  This then allows it to compress more easily and allows the top layer to sit a bit better.  Mine doesn't bulge like that at all now, having done this.  Arguably the middle layer of neoprene should be supplied with cut outs a bit wider than the 4 pipes where they run out to the side, but I guess they don't do that because they don't know which side the customer will run the pipes.  An instruction in the manual to make a series of generous slots in this section of the foam would be useful.

 

Sorry to ruin the party.....but......

 

My insulation had wide channels cut in it to accommodate the 22mm pipework. I know that because I cut them :) After doing so my lids were a nice snug, but not tight fit. 

 

In my view the case design is flawed. They’ve just crammed everything in too tight. But, that is understandable as they are fairly sizeable beasts.

 

Also interesting to note that you have re-designed lid. I’ve also received replacements but they appear identical to the originals. In what way are yours different? 

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The original lid that was supplied with mine (still have it in the garage) was a bit of powder coated heavy gauge alloy plate, with bends on the ends where the fixing screws are and no flanges at the front and rear.  The replacement is a thinner gauge panel that's like a biscuit tin lid, and fits down over the top of the case.  It's not as stiff as it could be, IMHO, but the flanges on the sides can't be any deeper because of the cut outs where the pipes come out.  The gauge of metal used for the lid could be thicker.  Making it the same gauge as the original lid (around 10g), but keeping the "biscuit tin lid" design would stiffen it up a fair bit.

 

I had to bend my replacement lid back straight after I'd trimmed more insulation away to reduce the upward pressure, as it had a slight curve that had set in from when I first fitted it.  It seems fine now, though.  I did find that I had to cut the pipe slots out so they were maybe 15mm wider than the pipes, as when I was playing around trying to get it all to fit in neatly I noticed that as the top layer of insulation was compressed down the middle layer needed to be able to expand outwards in order to compress more easily.  I agree it's all a bit too tightly packed.  Another 10mm on the case height would probably completely eliminate the problem.  Another thought I had was to remove the top and middle layers of neoprene and cut a bit of 50mm PIR to fit over the pipes, on top of the lower layer of neoprene.  It'd be a much better insulator (around 2 1/2 times better than neoprene foam) and being rigid would keep the lid from bowing up.  It would need a thin bit of neoprene around the edges, to get under the lip at the top of the case, but that should be easy to do.

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A lot of people won't have the dexterity/engineering acumen to carry out these mods if the installer hasn't. They shouldn't have to call the installer back or if they do Sunamp should pick up the tab. They need to sort this pdq or lose potential customers. @Barney12's experience suggests there's more to the issue maybe than just trimming.  

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I wouldn’t want to start trimming insulation in such a thing. I wouldn’t be very good at it anyway and would have no real idea how much to remove. For something like a Sunamp surely insulation is important, and having just the right amount, ie not removing too much, must surely be important too? 

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16 minutes ago, Onoff said:

A lot of people won't have the dexterity/engineering acumen to carry out these mods if the installer hasn't. They shouldn't have to call the installer back or if they do Sunamp should pick up the tab. They need to sort this pdq or lose potential customers. @Barney12's experience suggests there's more to the issue maybe than just trimming.  

 

It's something the installers should be doing, and complaining about if they can't make a neat job of it, IMHO.  Having said that, supplying an easy to cut rigid foam for the middle and top layers would work well, especially if the middle layer was screen printed with the cut lines for the different plumbing options.

 

Replacing the middle and top layer of closed cell neoprene with XPS would be a significant improvement, as XPS tends to be easy to cut (not a PITA like PIR) and yet still has a lower lambda than closed cell neoprene, so would provide at least as good an insulation level as the existing arrangement, probably a fair bit better.  Retaining the lower sheet of neoprene, which isn't touched during installation, would ensure that any air leaks around the insulation were minimised.

 

1 minute ago, newhome said:

I wouldn’t want to start trimming insulation in such a thing. I wouldn’t be very good at it anyway and would have no real idea how much to remove. For something like a Sunamp surely insulation is important, and having just the right amount, ie not removing too much, must surely be important too? 

 

Trimming insulation is normal.  I had to trim insulation around fittings on both our pre-insulated water cylinders, and you simply cannot install a Sunamp without trimming the insulation middle layer to suit the particular pipe layout you choose when installing it.  There are four push-fit stainless elbows on the top of the PCM cell that are already connected to the two heat exchangers.  These elbows can be turned to allow the customers 22mm pipes to come out of either side, or even out the end panel (there are pre-punch marks there that can be punched out to allow pipes to come out that way).  That means that there are several different ways the four pipes can be fed out of the unit, giving a fair bit of flexibility when it comes to installing the unit, which is a definite plus point.   Frankly, cutting slots in inch thick closed cell neoprene isn't a complex or challenging job, as that layer of neoprene comes pre-punched with holes where the four elbows are, anyway.

 

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2 hours ago, vivienz said:

If i had installed sunamps and this happened without any clear instruction that the insulation had to be trimmed, otherwise this would be the outcome, I would be very hacked off, particularly as it's such an easy thing to put right from their end.

It's easy to forgive sunamp a lot because of really good and new technology, but if any other product I bought did this I would be giving the supplier and manufacturer a hard time over it and I don't see why sunamp should be any different as they are a commercial venture charging good money for these things.

 

1 hour ago, newhome said:

Oh, and saying it will be addressed in the next iteration doesn't cut it either for those who bought the current model. Lots can be learned about companies from how they deal with customer care. 

 

 

Possibly not but if you've gone to the bother of getting an installer to fit for you then you likely won't want to be opening the thing up and trimming bits of anything off. 

 

This is a little bit off the beaten track, as neither of you would go and buy a combi boiler and fit as it’s a technology that’s unfamiliar to you ( as purchasers not installers ) and you wouldn’t be qualified to do so anyways. 

 

Jeremy has DIY’d his after gaining an accreditation from Sunamp, therefore he is competent to do so, joe public is not. 

 

Gas fitters received regular addendums to the current regs so they are up to absolute date. Also, they get newsletters from the manufacturers for bugs and fixes / known nuisance faults and dangerous appliance alerts etc. What goes on behind such scenes is NOT public domain. ;)  

 

Since becoming involved with Sunamp I have received such updates, I have initiated some responses from concerns I had nearly a year ago, and things changed to that effect and are ongoing as we type. 

 

Its early days yes, and yes, in a perfect world, this wouldn’t / shouldn’t happen. The thing that’s missing here is installers / strategic partners of SA are being notified, they are being brought up to speed, they are being told of the bugs and how to correct them and so on, so please let’s not assume they aren’t. 👌

 

I for one am ‘in the loop’ and receive such correspondence, and when @Barney12 contacted SA regarding his SA’s getting the 10-month pregnant look he had his question answered before I had a chance to ask myself, just timing, nothing more. 

They really don’t have that many of these out there in domestic situations, fitted by newbies, and some of those newbies will no doubt not read the manual from cover to cover anyhow, so it would still be easy for this to occur again.

 

Emphasis should be on what’s being done about it, and anyone who’s having units fitted by a good looking bloke can rest assured they’ll be fitted correctly and in accordance with the most recent addendum. 

 

You dont take take the cover off a washing machine, as it’s a non user serviceable device. You do take the cover off a SA, but only if you’ve been trained on what to do next. Lets remember it’s a specialist bit of kit, not a set of shelves you can buy and knock up yourself on a Sunday afternoon. 

 

When UVCs first came into circulation they were horrendous, ask @MarkA for one and he will confirm that. Then they evolved into reliable efficient units. Bingo. “Progression”. 

 

Lets see how SA progress, but it’s still early days. The grievance is that people are paying good money for something they expect to work ‘out of the box’, and I know first hand that @Barney12‘s issues have stopped him boxing off his heating and hot water chapter, but I am fully confident that any issues will be resolved in due course. 

 

I do think they should have made the bloody things 30mm wider so the Britney Spears bumps stayed within the confines of the case, rather than being noticeable as they distend. 100% think that was a faux pas on their behalf, but you plonk these in a cupboard and let them get on ( when they’re doing what they’re supposed to that is ) so the it’s not that big a problem as @JSHarris says. 

 

@Barney12‘s units, I genuinely think, have suffered from controllers that have not regulated the heat input properly ( nowhere near it in fact ) and that would be a warranty issue imo.

 

SA don’t press release installation information to the public, in the same way other manufactures do not do so either, so nobody would know of these bumps and their resolves if it wasn’t for this thread for eg. 

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