Hard working, old fount heater needed help


13 Years
Jan 24, 2009
Saint James/ Comfrey MN

I bought this HD Hudson Mfg. Co., Chicago IL, Catalog #570, model B 13.5w, 115v fount heater about 5 years ago at a swap.



It died on me.

Unlike my "Farm Innovation" founts that need to be replace every 13 months, this thing will darn near boil water. It is an adjustable thermostat (rheostat?) unit.

Just stopped on me this week (so did my car, but that is another story).

So I start searching around for parts like any of us would for an incubator or brooder. "It must be the element". No, that looks complete. "It must be the thermostat". So I by-pass it. Still no heat. "Hmmm. Time to get a multimeter out." I check the posts at the element. Nothing. Check the connections to the power cord (it's still by-passed at this time). Still nothing. "Do you think it could be the cord?" Sure was! The wires has broken off in the male side of the plug.

Why am I writing this? (other than I am still feeling lazy after the holidays)

Don't assume anything and start ordering parts. Carefully test the components and trace the problem. I was about to start ordering element wire and a modern thermostat when all I needed to do was replace the cord. In fact, I could have just re-stripped the wire and reattached the wires. But the Tim Taylor in me decided to up-grade to a 12 gauge cord rather than trust this lord knows how old lamp cord.

I know everyone like pics, so here are a couple more from when I took it apart:


I've found on other items that have quit on me it was the cord. It always works to search out the unit before repair starts. It just might save the repair.
I with auto repair shops knew that. Sadly they don't. It doesn't cost them.
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Those old fountain heaters are bulletproof, They had a very simple design the has lasted the test of time.

I did contact the company anyway and still had some records on that model.

They started making that heater in the early 40's. They guess given the numbers that this one is from 1948!

I wish F.I.inc could make something that lasted more than a month after their warranty was up.

(btw: while I was in fount heater mode, I took one from a couple years ago and started poking around it. The element still works so I by-passed the thermostat (turns on at 35 and off at 45 or something like that), the thing works great. Only thing is I will have to be aware of the temps and plug it in when needed, unplug when not.)
Amen to that CARS, I wish someone still made things that survived the warranty too. We have alot of old stuff on our farm still working, but if you try to replace it with something new, BOOM it goes out one day after the warranty date.
I have an old Purina waterer that still works great and doesn't leak or rust, the new ones are lasting about 2 or 3 years and thats it.

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