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Old 07-12-2016, 08:38 AM   #15
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Hi, I am new here. I own a 2016 keystone cougar fifth wheel and the hot water heater won't start. If I use a match to light it, it will turn on for five seconds and then shut off. It cycles three times and then I get the red light on the panel inside. I changed the propane regulater, and it still doesn't work. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. the dealer said I can take it over to them and they can fix it but it will be about 2 months, on a waiting list. Please help with any suggestions. Thank you.
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I'd start by cleaning your ground wires. The look at the board contacts for the plug. Next, make sure the water heater is grounded. lastly, bypass/jump the temp sensor buttons. If it is still not sparking, then replace the board.
lonfu
The way I read boomer's OP his water heater is sparking, then firing... but only for 5 seconds before shutting off.
If that is the case a bad "spark/sense electrode", (Suberban p/n 232258), may be the cause, (it was on my Suberban water heater).
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:10 AM   #16
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Jest go to another dealer. You can go to any dealer not just the dealer you bought from. Check on Suburban website or with water heater manual that came with the rig, for authorized service center near you. To get it repaired under warranty.
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Old 07-13-2016, 06:52 AM   #17
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lonfu
The way I read boomer's OP his water heater is sparking, then firing... but only for 5 seconds before shutting off.
If that is the case a bad "spark/sense electrode", (Suberban p/n 232258), may be the cause, (it was on my Suberban water heater).
Mel
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That is why I had him start with the ground wires. They corrode over a period of time and you get intermittent signals. If it is firing, but not staying lit, then the valve is not staying open. So, either one of the high limit or low limit run sensors have failed while under load (temp sensor buttons), a ground wire has been corroded or the relay won't stay in/closed so that the gas will continue to flow.

Why they use the word "sense" in the spark electrode I have no idea, but it either sparks or it doesn't. It doesn't "sense" anything. (suspect more money due to the word sense")

The only way I have found to test a board is to test all the other components, then through deduction, assume it is the board. The worst kind of board failure is when it is intermittent like he is describing. I've personally never seen a gas valve fail, but the relay on the board seems to fail regularly due to heat exposure. These little suckers get a little warm and the tiny wires in the relay coil click in and out of the circuit. So because it is summer time and he is probably located somewhere warm, would guess it is an intermittent open in the coil in the gas valve relay, which I've had happen to me personally.

Butttttt...... you can't just replace the 80 cent relay, you have to replace the entire board.

On the other hand, it could be in the control circuit for the relay, which is moot because you can't really test any of the circuits due to the fact that the board should be encased in hardened polyurethane plastic

For you tech heads out here is a funny one. MIL's frig quite working. Cooling system ok, wouldn't run on 110v but would run on gas, interior light wouldn't come on????

FIL assumed it was the board, after having big dollar factory techs check the sensors and they were told it was the invertor. They don't have an invertor, just a converter. MIL and FIL decided to replace unit per the techs recommendation. New unit would kick on, run on gas perfectly, but when 110v was used would shut down and give a high voltage error code. The 2 techs that went over the thing thought it was a faulty frig, so decided to replace the new unit. I showed up in the middle of all this. The inlaws were beside themselves because they are late 70's full timers and tired of running to the store each day for cold stuff.

I told them I could fix this with a beer, a lawn chair and a VOM.

Stuck my VOM on the battery terminals, sat in the lawn chair, drank the beer and watched the VOM. When the coach batt charger came on, it charged to 16.7 volts before it shut off, it kicked the frig overvoltage error code and shut down.

So, I replaced the (4)6 volt batts that had been fried by over charging them with a single 12v batt and replaced the bat charger, and Wal Ah! The frig started working perfectly. Turns out the high voltage was kicking the control board out and shutting everything down. The old frig didn't have a 12volt high voltage control circuit error code and the slow techs didn't think to check the control board circuit voltage before recommending a new frig. If they did, they didn't sit and watch it while the charger came on and cycled.

My brother inlaw was happy because he had taken home the old (perfect)frig and uses it sitting outside his trailer to keep his beer cold hooked to a 5 gallon propane can.

Trust me, after he checks the grounds and sensors, it will be the board, assuming he has already checked the supply voltage to the board. Which is the first thing every one should do when trouble shooting, right????
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:07 AM   #18
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That sounds like a dirty sense rod. They are cleanable. The way they work is to run power to the sense rod and the flame actually conducts electricity. The control looks for the flow of current through the sense rod to prove there is a flame. If the rod gets dirty then the control does not 'see' the proper amount of electricity flowing then it thinks there is no flame and shuts the burner down for safety sake.
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:05 AM   #19
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Why they use the word "sense" in the spark electrode I have no idea, but it either sparks or it doesn't. It doesn't "sense" anything. (suspect more money due to the word sense")
lonfu
The reason they use the word "sense" is because that electrode senses the heat of the flame/fire.... (if the water heater fires and the "flame sensor electrode" does not sense the flame the gas valve closes and the flame goes out in a few seconds).

I hope that makes sense to you.

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Old 07-14-2016, 07:13 AM   #20
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lonfu
The reason they use the word "sense" is because that electrode senses the heat of the flame/fire.... (if the water heater fires and the "flame sensor electrode" does not sense the flame the gas valve closes and the flame goes out in a few seconds).

I hope that makes sense to you.

Mel
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I've never heard that before. If it sparks, I've always considered it to be in working condition. I would not have guessed that it acted as a pilot microvoltage generator such as residential water heaters have. Now you you have me curious so I think I'll check mine to see if it actually generates a voltage when hot.


So, the question is DRUM ROLLLLLLLL......., is it the board OR a sensor???? Let us know, we are waiting, in our recliners, with our feet up, coffee in hand to find out which one it is????
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:38 AM   #21
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There has to be a sensor, or the gas would be turned on, the sparker could fail to ignite the gas. If no signal was sent to the control board, the gas would continue to flow and spread until if found a secondary ignition source. (boom!) Older, pilot light models, had a slower bulb-like thermocouple that generated voltage from the heat of the flame and shut off the gas valve. In more modern systems, if you look closely you'll see a ceramic insulator around one of the wires at the sparker. When the gas ignites, the carbon molecules in the flame complete the circuit and the gas valve stays on, as per the control board's signal.

If the flame is not directly on the two wires, the circuit isn't complete. If the flame flickers, it can cause the control board to shut down the gas valve. These sensors are very reliable, very few failures, but it is a possibility and should be checked in a not light situation as the OP described.
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:34 PM   #22
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lonfu
The reason they use the word "sense" is because that electrode senses the heat of the flame/fire.... (if the water heater fires and the "flame sensor electrode" does not sense the flame the gas valve closes and the flame goes out in a few seconds).

I hope that makes sense to you.

Mel
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Sorry, Mel, but they don't sense the heat. You are thinking of a thermocouple or even a thermopile. They use dissimilar metals to generate electricity when heated. Flame rods conduct electricity and use the flame to complete the circuit. Read this to understand how they work: Ward Burner Systems - Power Burners, Raku Burners, and Kilns
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:00 AM   #23
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Sorry, Mel, but they don't sense the heat. . They use dissimilar metals to generate electricity when heated. Flame rods conduct electricity and use the flame to complete the circuit.
MnTomYou
You are both wrong and right.

The flame sensor electrode, (what you call a flame rod?), of a Suberban flame sensor/igniter does use dissimilar metals to generate electricity when heated.
(That electricity is what keeps the gas valve open).

However that electrode DOES "sense" the heat of the propane flame when the burner fires, (and while it is burning).

If it doesn't "sense" the heat of the flame the flame will go out in a few seconds... (because the gas can not flow).


SUBURBAN FLAME SENSOR/IGNITER

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Old 07-15-2016, 07:58 AM   #24
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Alright, I am not going to argue the point. I guess then all the schools I went to in 17 years of HVAC service taught me the wrong terminology so I am done with this thread.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:07 AM   #25
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Well I just replaced the electrode ignitor and it still wont light. I Guess the wife wont have hot water this weekend. If I had a bigger generator I could use the electric hot water heater it still works. Well anybody have any more suggestions I could look for now.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:13 AM   #26
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I just went out and lit it with a match it lights but then it goes out after 5 sec.So I don't know what to think.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:45 AM   #27
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Well I just replaced the electrode ignitor and it still wont light. I Guess the wife wont have hot water this weekend. If I had a bigger generator I could use the electric hot water heater it still works. Well anybody have any more suggestions I could look for now.
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I just went out and lit it with a match it lights but then it goes out after 5 sec.So I don't know what to think.
bloomer
I suggest you remove the electronic control board and take it to a RV parts store that has a board tester.
(Many such places will check the operation of the board at no charge).

BTW most mobile techs have a board tester in their service truck.

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Old 07-15-2016, 08:49 AM   #28
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sounds good but I don't really know where the control board is located at
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