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The HSI Furnace Control that Keeps HVACR Pros at the Jobsite, Not the Supply House — An HVAC School Podcast Recap

In the dead of winter, there are few things more frustrating to a homeowner than waking up to a broken furnace. And when these unfortunate events occur, the last thing a customer wants to hear during a service visit is that the needed replacement part is out of stock or on backorder. For HVAC professionals, not having the right part at the right time isn’t just a disappointment to customers; special orders and rush shipping costs can negatively impact an HVAC business’ bottom line.

Cold Chain Logistics

To combat these issues, Emerson has released several universal parts innovations that help make technicians’ lives easier by reducing the number of steps needed to create a reliable outcome for customers. The latest generation of high-quality universal parts can replace several brands and hundreds of cooling and heating parts by matching the fit and function of the original parts. These universal parts can be easily adaptable and installed, and some even feature drop-in replacement capabilities with minimal setup required. 

In a previous blog, we provided an in-depth look at how universal parts like the  White-Rodgers™ All-Spark™ universal ignition module save HVAC pros time, money and headaches by streamlining inventory requirements, covering applications with few SKUs and reducing time spent in the truck or at the supply house looking for the right part. On a recent episode of the HVAC School podcast, host Brian Orr and Jim Fultz, HVAC technical training specialist at Emerson, discussed how the new White-Rodgers 50M56X-843 Universal Single Stage Integrated Furnace Control  for PSC and ECMx blower motors is helping HVAC pros get through heating season by reducing the time, inventory and installation barriers keeping them from meeting customer expectations. Below are some of the most help features of the 50M56X, as discussed throughout the podcast. 

No harness? No problem.

According to Fultz, one of the biggest hurdles in previous models of universal controls was the additional wire harnesses. To help ease the installation process, White-Rodgers eliminated these harnesses and instead the 50M56X comes equipped with the plugs used by a majority of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), so technicians can plug the OEM harness directly into the control.  With the ability to adapt to multiple types of blower motors, along with the included 120V Nitride ignitor, required for updgrading 80V applications, the 50M56X replaces  more than 550 part numbers, which helps streamline inventory and save space in the truck. 

Simplicity through connectivity

One feature that is moving universal parts technology forward is the use of Near-field communication (NFC) protocols. The technology resembles a customer tapping their credit card against a POS terminal when making a purchase. In the case of the 50M56X, NFC helps enable communication between electronic devices and let contractors easily set up configurations like blower type using the White-Rodgers Connect app. The app contains preloaded OEM settings for quick configuration that can be performed without power before installation. This means rather than working in tight and awkward spaces, the technician can make adjustments without even leaving their service truck. They can also set up the part in advance to reduce install time on the jobsite. Without needing access to Wi-Fi or cell service users can also diagnose fault codes and view troubleshooting tips. 

More Information on the display

The 50M56X features a three-digit, seven-segment LED Display that helps provide easy configuration and diagnostics. The three-digit display now also communicates the microamp current from the flame sensor directly on the board, so users don’t need to use a meter on the flame sensor or perform any special microamp tests. Additionally, this feature makes it easier for techs to record the flame current with a clean rod and then monitor it over time for maintenance or replacement. 

Little-known features that offer a big help

While the parts replacement and NFC capabilities headline the 50M56X’s list of features, Fultz and Orr discussed some of the lesser-known benefits of the furnace control that can help contractors and technicians deliver better service to the customer. For example, the 50M56X stores error codes for 14 days, which according to Fultz, is a sufficient window for catching errors that may be sporadic without confusing future technicians with previous error codes that were never cleared during the job. It also has a bus connector for the thermostat wiring and a dehumidification terminal for thermostats with dehumidification capabilities.

 The main takeaway of this episode of HVAC School is simple: less is more. New products like the 50M56X allow technicians to carry less inventory in their truck while having the capability to address a wider range of equipment issues and fitting more customer calls in a given work day. For more information about White-Rodgers new line of high-quality universal parts, click here.

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