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  1. #1
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    Trane Cleaneffects Field Charger Cleaning

    I have recently installed Trane Cleaneffects Filters in my home and find them incredibly effective dealing with particulate reduction for my allergies. The effect is so startling that if the filter ever stops working, I can feel the difference and then am able to verify the filter has issues.

    I recently had the 3 yellow bar filter cleaning light come on and the Trane dealer could not figure out why. The collection cells were recently replaced with the factory recall and I figured that the Trane technician had messed up some how. The air quality drop with the 3 yellow bars was palpable. I examined the needles of the Field Charger and found them coated with a rust like powder. The coating was like little Ferrous Oxide crystals and came off on my fingers as a red powder. The needles were no longer sharp but blunted with this buildup. I wiped each needle carefully removing the majority of the coating and presto! the yellow warning lights went out and the filter resumed functioning. The needles were again sharp but still had some of the coating remaining which I will let Trane remedy.

    I would have rather the Trane people diagnose, fix, and deal with the problem. However, I really needed the allergy relief which I got.

    I have searched high and low about this Field Charger and the most I can find is that the unit should be cleaned by the Trane people once a year. Well the unit is only 4 months old and the Trane people were just here a week ago and I watched them clean the filter. He did nothing to the Field Charger. I then called back the Trane people and he said such build up was "normal" and he would be back this week to clean the needles with q-tips dipped in alcohol.

    The Clean Effect Field Charger is set at the factory default Max. There is NO ozone smell. There is NO house dust. And, when the filter is working, the effect is simply amazing for my allergies. The pre filter and collection filters are immaculate, no visible build up. I can attest to the effectiveness of the filtering as when exposed to the "invisible" matter on the filters, I get an immediate allergic reaction that requires bathing to stop. Interestingly, what ever is on the needles, I am not allergic to at all!

    Question, should these needles need such maintenance? Is this particular Field Charger defective that it is rusting or is the unit being effective and removing something from the air. My guess is that there is a problem that started when the filters were installed incorrectly. The installers left insulation loose inside the main fan housing that blocked the fan openings resulting in the cooling coils freezing over. That was my first encounter with my symptoms alerting me to a non-working unit. The Trane tech thawed the unit, fixed the insulation, and pronounced the Cleaneffects undamaged.

    Although there was no water seen on the Trane Cleaneffect unit, my guess is that the moisture load ruined the needles and started this buildup or ruined whatever finish the needles normally have that prevents such issues.

    Any help appreciated.

    Michael Bermant, MD

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  3. #2
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    I clean them with a piece of sponge per the cleaning instructions in the Service Facts.
    Trane doesn't include the field charger cleaning instructions in the user manual because of the risk of poking your fingers when stabbing the needles through a piece of sponge.

    As for the needles getting buildup on them so quickly, it is likely due to something in the environment. I have seen the rust looking buildup on one, but it was just a very fine coat. Usually what I find is odd white crystal looking structures growing on the tips, comes right off with the sponge.

    I haven't had one quit working due to a dirty field charger yet though.

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  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark beiser View Post
    I clean them with a piece of sponge per the cleaning instructions in the Service Facts.
    Trane doesn't include the field charger cleaning instructions in the user manual because of the risk of poking your fingers when stabbing the needles through a piece of sponge.

    As for the needles getting buildup on them so quickly, it is likely due to something in the environment. I have seen the rust looking buildup on one, but it was just a very fine coat. Usually what I find is odd white crystal looking structures growing on the tips, comes right off with the sponge.

    I haven't had one quit working due to a dirty field charger yet though.
    The Cleaneffect unit keeps going into the yellow bar mode. I took a look at the needles with some 3.5x surgical loupes and the needles are each a corroded mess. This is not a coating of red dust but pitted and rusty looking pieces of metal no longer sharp needles. My guess is still the charger plate was ruined by the moisture during the freeze up or a defective unit to begin with.

    The sponge cleaning can be done by Trane or my request will be to change out the defective component. However, is the design flawed and is this a common problem? Or perhaps I am barking up the wrong tree and the electronics are at fault? I just do not know and am getting frustrated and the repeated failures which I can detect each time my allergies act up.

    Thank you for the response.

    Michael Bermant, MD

  6. #4
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    It was my understanding that the "needles" were to be cleaned with a a piece of white styrofoam? (i.e. coffee cup)

  7. #5
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    The 3 yellow bar signal indicates a need to clean the pre-filter or collection cells.
    If this is happening when the pre-filter and/or collection cells are not dirty, you need to have a tech retrieve the fault codes to see what is going on.
    It may help to bend all the copper contacts out a little and clean them, in case it isn't making good contact.

    I doubt the needles corroding a little is causing the issue, unless the corrosion is acting as an insulator. If that is the case, cleaning it properly may solve the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Senior Tech View Post
    It was my understanding that the "needles" were to be cleaned with a a piece of white styrofoam? (i.e. coffee cup)
    Yeap, just looked at the updated service facts, they do indeed say to use a block of styrofoam. I guess I'll be tossing a few chunks on the truck for next time.

    I see they say it is ok to wash the collection cells now, even warm water, so long as they have the "200" on the side.

  8. #6
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    A little off the subject mark but....who is that avatar pic of?

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Senior Tech View Post
    A little off the subject mark but....who is that avatar pic of?
    Glad you asked!

    It is J.R. "Bob" Dobbs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._%22Bob%22_Dobbs

    http://www.subgenius.com/
    Be sure to watch the video.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark beiser View Post
    Glad you asked!

    It is J.R. "Bob" Dobbs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._%22Bob%22_Dobbs

    http://www.subgenius.com/
    Be sure to watch the video.
    Hmmmm....not sure about that whole thing...weird humor?...maybe you should start your own thread, there could be quite the discussion on your avatar

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark beiser View Post
    The 3 yellow bar signal indicates a need to clean the pre-filter or collection cells.
    If this is happening when the pre-filter and/or collection cells are not dirty, you need to have a tech retrieve the fault codes to see what is going on.
    It may help to bend all the copper contacts out a little and clean them, in case it isn't making good contact.

    I doubt the needles corroding a little is causing the issue, unless the corrosion is acting as an insulator. If that is the case, cleaning it properly may solve the problem.



    Yeap, just looked at the updated service facts, they do indeed say to use a block of styrofoam. I guess I'll be tossing a few chunks on the truck for next time.

    I see they say it is ok to wash the collection cells now, even warm water, so long as they have the "200" on the side.
    The flashing now has 3 yellow bars alternating with a flashing red dot (3 flashes per cycle) next to the reset switch which I think says the prefilter needs cleaning (it is clean). Cleaning the contacts results in working filter for a few minutes to a few hours only. Then back to non-function and the flashing lights.

    Pressing the (-) and reset buttons for several seconds results in all leds on. Again pressing both results in a steady single green led. You then hear a quiet click and there are 2 flashes of the green LED then it is steady or you get the normal flashing of the single LED for a few hours at most until unit goes back to the yellow and red indication and not functioning as far as my allergies care.

    Michael Bermant, MD
    Last edited by DrBermant; 08-27-2007 at 08:03 AM.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Senior Tech View Post
    Hmmmm....not sure about that whole thing...weird humor?...maybe you should start your own thread, there could be quite the discussion on your avatar
    Yes, extremely weird humor, but has a rather large following of people who have fun with it.

    How many "religions" tell you the truth up front that they are inherently bogus and are just after your money though?

  13. #11
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    Cool dr. allergy

    I am extremly interested in the outcome of this thread. I have been researching both the clean effects and the Lennox Pure Air. The ability or acute ability that you have to notice the filter not working is interesting. What part, if you know, of the filter is not working to cause the "outbreak"? As I understand it the spiked portion is an "electrical field" then the rest is collected on the filter media. That would lead me to believe the partices causing your allergies are somehow not getting charged with the pins being covered. Sound correct?

    What is in your duct, besides the possibility of water, that can be collecting on these pins? Is this system in a new home, or older retrofit design? If this is an older house could there be infiltration of attic dust?

    Please keep me updated - Clint

  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by azair View Post
    I am extremly interested in the outcome of this thread. I have been researching both the clean effects and the Lennox Pure Air. The ability or acute ability that you have to notice the filter not working is interesting. What part, if you know, of the filter is not working to cause the "outbreak"? As I understand it the spiked portion is an "electrical field" then the rest is collected on the filter media. That would lead me to believe the partices causing your allergies are somehow not getting charged with the pins being covered. Sound correct?

    What is in your duct, besides the possibility of water, that can be collecting on these pins? Is this system in a new home, or older retrofit design? If this is an older house could there be infiltration of attic dust?

    Please keep me updated - Clint
    The Cleaneffect filter seems particularly effective in decreasing dust, which I am particularly allergic to. I get surface burning and pain on dust exposure. When the Trane is working, symptoms minimized unless I dig into something with old dust or dust mites. If I have not done anything and get symptoms, I check the Trane.

    Results are in. It seems that the original install, the Trane people screwed up and did not secure the insulation inside the blower well. When this insulation was sucked into the fan intake and the airconditioning was active, the coils froze over. The humidity overload was too much for the needles in the Cleaneffect filter, and the surface was broken. Over the next 2 months, the corrosion of the pins must have progressed to the point that the filter could not produce the effective high voltage field. Cleaning the needles was not enough. My guess is that the material I saw on the surface was indeed iron oxide or the oxidized metal of the needles themselves.

    Trane brought a replacement collection grid yesterday and the needles were sharp and longer. In comparison the old grid's needles were dull.

    Trane factory tech said can happen in conditions of severe humidity. First reporting the filter failure on a Saturday and getting a replacement part installed on Monday is not bad at all in my opinion. The only sad thing was the need to figure the problem out myself with my Physics background instead of the Trane people. They should have detected the defective pins last week when they did the factory recall collection cell replacement and "cleaning." They should then have picked it up on Saturday when they came to investigate the problem.

    My read is that these Trane people or the training methods of Trane themselves are not very good. A working unit should not rely on the end user. I did send them a picture of the rusted needle, and this should be in a manual for all Trane reps so they can instantly recognize a problem. It is only physics and electronic fields. Blunt rusted needles will not make an effective electrostatic field.

    With the replacement grid, the filter is so much more effective than it has been since the freeze over. So much so, that I had to change back to the Circulate mode instead of constant On to deal with my allergies. The new grid cleans the house so much faster than the old one did, my guess is that the field was deteriorating over time and the circuitry finally faulted that there was an "arching." My guess is also that the Trane manual for faults is wrong. Blunt needles do not arc but typically fail to produce adequate fields or charges.

    Anyway, it seems the problem is solved at least today. It would have been nice to be able to download an installer manual that had such details either for myself or to explain to the local Trane people.

    Michael Bermant, MD

  15. #13
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    if there is any future change/ challanges please let me know - CC

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