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Atwood Heater woes (won’t light) please help!

Atwood Heater Won’t light

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#11 WillTheThri11

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 11:33 PM

Check your battery!  For several years after I first got my 05 Granby (on 99F150 4x4) in 05, especially on some cold mornings , the heater would not kick over-even after pushing the electric on/off switch in and out a couple of times , so the  next step was to get out  of the FWC and get into the cab  and start the truck up and presto the heater  would start right up (several other people over the years have had this same type of  problem.). So one day I put a 40wt solar panel on the roof and never had that problem again-I should mention here that I went completely  solar  a while after that and eventually added two 100 wt panels, and a second camper battery, a comptroller  and a compression frig and have been happy ever since B) !

 

Smoke

Thanks, I should've mentioned that i did check the battery and have charged it and even tried it while on the charger to see if a little extra current would help.  I think I had like 12.5-12.8 VDC if I recall correctly.  Solar is definitely on the list as well.  Just hoping to get what I've got working before I start adding on new.


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#12 trikebubble

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 12:15 AM

It could still be worth taking out and cleaning the sail switch. It's an easy and quick procedure. Your symptoms sound similar to mine, and on my heater the sail switch had gotten dirty and dusty and failed to operate correctly. A quick clean off and blow with compressed air and it's been all  good since then.


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#13 WillTheThri11

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 12:24 AM

It could still be worth taking out and cleaning the sail switch. It's an easy and quick procedure. Your symptoms sound similar to mine, and on my heater the sail switch had gotten dirty and dusty and failed to operate correctly. A quick clean off and blow with compressed air and it's been all  good since then.

 

I did clean the sail switch.  My understanding is that if the sail switch is malfunctioning, or not sending a "closed" signal to the controller that the propane valve won't open and the ignitor won't activate.  However, I can hear the valve click and the ignitor ticks rapidly before the valve clicks off again.


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#14 Old Crow

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 01:23 AM

Given what you've described thus far, I'd replace the igniter (a/k/a the electrode/flame sense assembly).  It's inexpensive, not (very) difficult to do, and it's a prime suspect in these situations.

 

See more info on replacing the one in my 8516-IV here.   I'm assuming yours would be the same or very similar.

 

You may also want to remove the control board and clean the board's contacts with a pencil eraser and then a bit of electronics deoxidation spray.  And spray some of the cleaner into the female side of that connection. 

.


Edited by Old Crow, 24 January 2020 - 04:07 AM.

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#15 Stan@FourWheel

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 06:42 AM

Still wondering if your stove works and lights up?

If the furnace fan is going, it’s clicking (sparking), then the furnace is not getting propane.
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#16 WillTheThri11

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 02:18 PM

Still wondering if your stove works and lights up?

If the furnace fan is going, it’s clicking (sparking), then the furnace is not getting propane.


Stove and fridge both fire up on propane. I made sure to light the fridge too since it’s close to the heater thinking that should purge the line.
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#17 Old Crow

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 04:59 PM

I believe you should be able to hear and perhaps feel the click of the furnace's gas-valve solenoid opening and closing during the ignition sequence.

 

I consistently get a whiff of LPG during the ignition sequence but it's fleeting and I have to be close to the gas-valve / igniter area of the furnace with the outside cover off to get it.  The furnace is of course pulling that air into the combustion chamber. And if it's a breezy day, that makes it that more difficult to get that whiff of LPG.

 

A fairly common problem with the igniter is the ceramic insulator breaking.  On mine, the center wire had broken free and was able to turn. They can also have cracks or electrical tracks or incorrect gap.  My igniter had a spade terminal for the high-tension wire and after replacing the igniter I realized I should have been able to tell there was something wrong when I checked the high-tension wire's connection at that spade terminal.  It would have moved (and shouldn't).

 

The other thing any furnace-troubleshooting thread should have is whether there's an LED on the control board and if so, what it shows.  I assume it's showing a lockout after three attempts in this case. (Codes are in the manual and possibly in the furnace compartment-- mine are on a sticker in the motor area)

 

Control board problems are also very common so the logic here is to replace the inexpensive thing first.  If you can get the board tested somewhere locally, great, but you may want to think how that plays out.   When I had mine tested, I had already decided I wanted a Dinosaur Electronics board if mine failed the test and I did not intend to buy from that dealer.  Mine passed so the issue of buying from them never came up. I did buy the igniter from them as it was so inexpensive that saving a couple of bucks didn't matter.   In any case, that raises the issue of what the dealer's expectations are for the test.  On mine, there was a sign at the parts counter that said free control board testing and I had been told over the phone that it's a free test so I figured it was a no-strings one.  I guess it's kind of a risk to ask about it before the test but in any case you'll want to think it through.

 

I should also mention that the most common issue I've seen with getting a board tested is getting on the schedule at an RV stealership.  Some owners have been told a test is possible but it had to be done by a tech and that tech's time would have to be scheduled.  In my case, the parts guy just pulled the tester out from under the counter and ran the test.

.

PS- Don't forget to take standard precautions in working around or with the high tension wire. 


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#18 WillTheThri11

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 05:16 PM

I believe you should be able to hear and perhaps feel the click of the furnace's gas-valve solenoid opening and closing during the ignition sequence.

 

I consistently get a whiff of LPG during the ignition sequence but it's fleeting and I have to be close to the gas-valve / igniter area of the furnace with the outside cover off to get it.  The furnace is of course pulling that air into the combustion chamber. And if it's a breezy day, that makes it that more difficult to get that whiff of LPG.

 

A fairly common problem with the igniter is the ceramic insulator breaking.  On mine, the center wire had broken free and was able to turn. They can also have cracks or electrical tracks or incorrect gap.  My igniter had a spade terminal for the high-tension wire and after replacing the igniter I realized I should have been able to tell there was something wrong when I checked the high-tension wire's connection at that spade terminal.  It would have moved (and shouldn't).

 

The other thing any furnace-troubleshooting thread should have is whether there's an LED on the control board and if so, what it shows.  I assume it's showing a lockout after three attempts in this case. (Codes are in the manual and possibly in the furnace compartment-- mine are on a sticker in the motor area)

 

Control board problems are also very common so the logic here is to replace the inexpensive thing first.  If you can get the board tested somewhere locally, great, but you may want to think how that plays out.   When I had mine tested, I had already decided I wanted a Dinosaur Electronics board if mine failed the test and I did not intend to buy from that dealer.  Mine passed so the issue of buying from them never came up. I did buy the igniter from them as it was so inexpensive that saving a couple of bucks didn't matter.   In any case, that raises the issue of what the dealer's expectations are for the test.  On mine, there was a sign at the parts counter that said free control board testing and I had been told over the phone that it's a free test so I figured it was a no-strings one.  I guess it's kind of a risk to ask about it before the test but in any case you'll want to think it through.

 

I should also mention that the most common issue I've seen with getting a board tested is getting on the schedule at an RV stealership.  Some owners have been told a test is possible but it had to be done by a tech and that tech's time would have to be scheduled.  In my case, the parts guy just pulled the tester out from under the counter and ran the test.

.

PS- Don't forget to take standard precautions in working around or with the high tension wire. 

Thanks, this is helpful.  I think I'll look up the ignitor part and see if that helps me locate it on my particular heater. 

 

My control board doesn't have lights as far as I can tell, I can definitely hear the click of the propane valve/solenoid.  It clicks before the ignitor ticks and then clicks again after the ignitor stops.  The fan keeps running and doesn't stop and try again as far as I can tell, so that could be an argument for an issue with the control board I suppose.


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#19 Old Crow

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 05:39 PM

Thanks, this is helpful.  I think I'll look up the ignitor part and see if that helps me locate it on my particular heater. 

 

My control board doesn't have lights as far as I can tell, I can definitely hear the click of the propane valve/solenoid.  It clicks before the ignitor ticks and then clicks again after the ignitor stops.  The fan keeps running and doesn't stop and try again as far as I can tell, so that could be an argument for an issue with the control board I suppose.

 

You may be able to follow the high tension wire from the control board to the igniter.  On mine, the igniter is kind of hidden behind the gas valve. Down low, right side where the gas supply line connects to the furnace.  On first glance it looks like there's no way the igniter assembly would come out past the gas valve. But once the igniter's loose, it can be manipulated out and the replacement put back in.  If I remember correctly, I needed a magnetic driver to hold the screws to get them back in place.

.


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#20 Old Crow

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 06:01 PM

  The fan keeps running and doesn't stop and try again as far as I can tell, so that could be an argument for an issue with the control board I suppose.

 

 In a normal ignition sequence, the fan runs first to clear out the combustion chamber before attempting ignition (sparking). Then an ignition attempt.  If ignition is successful, you hear the whump of the fire starting and hear it burn and shortly thereafter feel heat coming out of the air vent inside the camper.  If that first ignition attempt is unsuccessful, you should hear another two attempts (more sparking). If those too are unsuccessful, then the control-board LED starts flashing the lockout code. The fan runs throughout the process and then continues to run after the last failed attempt so it can clear the combustion chamber of the LPG that failed to ignite.


Edited by Old Crow, 24 January 2020 - 06:02 PM.

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