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Old 20-07-2014, 14:52   #1
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Propane Problems

I'm not sure that this is the correct forum for my question, but here goes. Sometimes my stove top works and sometimes it doesn't. The other day I could not get it to light. Today, it lit easily. Is this a regulator problem? Other? All suggestions are welcome.
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PS. Yes, my propane solinoid was on. Yes, I have plenty of propane in the tank. Yes, the tank valve was open.
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Old 20-07-2014, 15:00   #2
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Propane Problems

Are you sure the solenoid was actually open? A failed solenoid would have power to it, but might not open and if not open, you will not get flow to the stove.

If you can confirm a good solenoid, then I would suspect the regulator has a problem.


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Old 20-07-2014, 15:03   #3
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Re: Propane Problems

Add a little more information to help us evaluate the problem. Is the burner not igniting at the first time when your at lighting it before the preheat of the thermocouple? Is it remaining lit while you are manually preheating, but not remaining lit when you release the preheat knob? Is it sputtering as it might without a consistant supply? Does it fail for a number of attempts, but once successful, functions normally? 'just some more clues please.
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Old 20-07-2014, 15:29   #4
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Re: Propane Problems

Would a "failed" solinoid work sometimes but not other times?

Either it lights and stays lit or it doesn't light at all. It stays lit after the preheat or doesn't light at all. No sputtering. Hope that helps/
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Old 20-07-2014, 15:47   #5
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Re: Propane Problems

Failing solenoids can frequently work intermittently. You can have someone turn your solenoid switch off and on below while you feel or listen for the plunger movement within the solenoid or, If you can easily remove your solenoid from your system and reattach your line; you can test your system without the slolenoid's safety cut off action. Be careful to manually turn off your propane supply while not using your stove if you bypass the solenoid.
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Old 20-07-2014, 15:54   #6
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Re: Propane Problems

I don't believe a fully failed solenoid would be intermittent, but a short in a wire to a solenoid could cause an intermittent failure. Are you hearing the solenoid "click" when you turn on the switch? I'd check for current flow across the solenoid.

You don't have a blocked line if you have full flow sometimes, but something is restricting the flow. That to me would be either the solenoid or regulator.


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Old 20-07-2014, 18:38   #7
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Re: Propane Problems

I'll run those checks on the solinoid tomorrow when we get into port and let you know the results.
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Old 22-07-2014, 07:29   #8
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Re: Propane Problems

Here's what I found. First, my sailboat was made in Germany so it's systems don't always coincide with US made boats. On my DC panel I have a breaker labeled "Propane." The dealer installed a Trident " gas control panel" downstream from the DC panel breaker. The breaker must be on for the switch on the Trident to work.

I unscrewed the Trident (which is just upstream from the stove) and found that it was simply a switch. I imagine (no electrical sense) that this switch controls the solinoid which must be in my transom area where my propane tank is located. Sound reasonable, so far?

I inspected that area and found one device (not sure if this is the solinoid) that was exceptionally warm... almost hot. Today I will remove my tank and try to reach/remove the "hot" device.

Any and all advice will be appreciated. This is all new to me.

Thanks,
Alan
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Old 22-07-2014, 07:43   #9
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Re: Propane Problems

It's not clear to me what is happening when you attempt to light the burner. When it "fails to light", do you mean that the flame does not ignite at all, or that when you release the knob (no longer push it in) it's not staying lit? If the former, do you smell propane if you continue to hold the knob in? If so then the problem is at the stove. If not, then you have a supply issue and as mentioned it's probably a failing solenoid.

If the burner lights but fails to stay lit when you release the knob then it's either a stove valve issue or a thermocouple issue. If it's intermittent, then it's very likely a valve issue.

Some current Force 10 stoves have a design/manufacturing flaw where the knobs sometimes seat too deeply on the valve post so that when you release them, the flame goes out. If you have a Force 10 and you're experiencing a flame that won't stay lit when you release the knob, try pulling the knob 1/16"-1/8" further out on the valve post and trying again.
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Old 22-07-2014, 07:52   #10
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Re: Propane Problems

It doesn't light at all. Probably not a Force 10. Boat equipped in Germany.
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Old 22-07-2014, 08:03   #11
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Re: Propane Problems

From my experience this year, Trident solenoids for propane systems run hot (in my case too hot to touch) and suck down a lot of amps. Oh yeah, they are expensive, too. There was a thread on Trident solenoids in February or March of this year if you want to search for it. We replaced our solenoid for all the reasons I listed above with an AFC Model 151 and it's been great.

I have no affiliation with Trident or AFC.
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Old 22-07-2014, 08:34   #12
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Re: Propane Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversailor View Post
I imagine (no electrical sense) that this switch controls the solenoid which must be in my transom area where my propane tank is located.
Alan
Our system takes about 30 seconds to light. I assume it is because our solenoid is slow to open, or that there is air in the line when it starts.

Is your propane tank situated such that any leaks from it would be vented overboard, and any escaping propane prevented from getting into the hull?
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Old 22-07-2014, 09:11   #13
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Re: Propane Problems

It sounds like you are on the right path.

I had a complete solenoid failure last year. My wife flicked the switch down below while I held the solenoid. Very weak click. I then put a voltmeter on the solenoid wires and she flicked the switch. It was getting 12V when on, 0V when off. So the wiring was fine.

In the end, my "get home" solution was to open the solenoid and remove the plunger. This was easier than trying to remove the solenoid as I didn't have the right plumbing parts.

The scary part is, that the propane valve then broke on my propane tank. Luckily, my wife heard the hissing sound. I was able to fiddle the valve until it mostly stopped hissing and then switch tanks. Not cool losing two of the three safety devices in one day, though! (Third is the thermocouple operated valve at the stove.)
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Old 22-07-2014, 12:32   #14
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Re: Propane Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie in WA View Post
From my experience this year, Trident solenoids for propane systems run hot (in my case too hot to touch) and suck down a lot of amps. Oh yeah, they are expensive, too. There was a thread on Trident solenoids in February or March of this year if you want to search for it. We replaced our solenoid for all the reasons I listed above with an AFC Model 151 and it's been great.

I have no affiliation with Trident or AFC.
I've never run across a propane solenoid that did not run too hot to the touch, or very close to it, if it had been left on while. It's one reason (other than safety) that I leave mine switched off except when I'm actively using a burner. While heat tolerance is designed into the product, I assume that in a product of this type leaving it on will reduce it's lifespan, among other factors.
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Old 22-07-2014, 12:44   #15
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Re: Propane Problems

Sometimes a solenoid clicks but does not open.
Another likely cause is a bad grounding of the outer thermocouple nut.
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