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alan_fincher

Electrolux Gas Fridge Increasingly Hard To Light

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We have an old Electrolux gas fridge, (well actually it's a 3-way, but it's only connected to gas). (Model no RM4206, about 13 years old)

 

It should be lighted by piezo-electric ignition - you hold in a gas control to over-ride the flame failure device, then press a click switch for the igniter.

 

It is getting more and more temperamental to light, but runs perfectly once it is finally lighted.

 

I can see that the piezo-electric ignition is always producing a spark on every click, and the spark jumps from the igniter to the tip of the sensor for the flame failure, (and so crosses the path of the gas jets).

 

Gas is always going through when the gas control is pushed, (we can see this by someone watching the bubble tester).

 

So we have gas, and we have a spark, both consistently, but still the bugger will not light.

 

Frustratingly if you take it all out, pull it to pieces, put it back together again, then it seems to light at the first attempt. It's almost as if it "prefers" some air in the supply, to trying to start on pure gas.

 

We are on Propane, by the way, and the pressure of the supply from the regulator is correct.

 

Any ideas, please ?

 

Alan

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We have an old Electrolux gas fridge, (well actually it's a 3-way, but it's only connected to gas). (Model no RM4206, about 13 years old)

 

It should be lighted by piezo-electric ignition - you hold in a gas control to over-ride the flame failure device, then press a click switch for the igniter.

 

It is getting more and more temperamental to light, but runs perfectly once it is finally lighted.

 

I can see that the piezo-electric ignition is always producing a spark on every click, and the spark jumps from the igniter to the tip of the sensor for the flame failure, (and so crosses the path of the gas jets).

 

Gas is always going through when the gas control is pushed, (we can see this by someone watching the bubble tester).

 

So we have gas, and we have a spark, both consistently, but still the bugger will not light.

 

Frustratingly if you take it all out, pull it to pieces, put it back together again, then it seems to light at the first attempt. It's almost as if it "prefers" some air in the supply, to trying to start on pure gas.

 

We are on Propane, by the way, and the pressure of the supply from the regulator is correct.

 

Any ideas, please ?

 

Alan

Use a flame type gas lighter. This may be a two man job.

Sue

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We have an old Electrolux gas fridge, (well actually it's a 3-way, but it's only connected to gas). (Model no RM4206, about 13 years old)

It should be lighted by piezo-electric ignition - you hold in a gas control to over-ride the flame failure device, then press a click switch for the igniter.

It is getting more and more temperamental to light, but runs perfectly once it is finally lighted.

I can see that the piezo-electric ignition is always producing a spark on every click, and the spark jumps from the igniter to the tip of the sensor for the flame failure, (and so crosses the path of the gas jets).

Gas is always going through when the gas control is pushed, (we can see this by someone watching the bubble tester).

So we have gas, and we have a spark, both consistently, but still the bugger will not light.

Frustratingly if you take it all out, pull it to pieces, put it back together again, then it seems to light at the first attempt. It's almost as if it "prefers" some air in the supply, to trying to start on pure gas.

We are on Propane, by the way, and the pressure of the supply from the regulator is correct.

Join the club! Many a day spent with the thing on the bank in pieces.

There are three basic problems:-

1) Piezo igniter burns away - spark doesn't spark to what it should - replace (take old one with you).

2) Rust builds up, creates poor contact - spark doesn't spark to what it should - check burner housing for rust, ensure self tapping screw is making good contact, check continuity with case of piezo button.

3) Said rust falls off and clogs up jet - gas doesn't come from right place, therefore does not light - clean out jet and burner housing, remove all rust (usually from chimney).

 

Sounds to me like a case 3 above, hence lights after dismantling, suggest as a first job you remove the chimney and throughly clean out all the flaky rust. I have a hand pump (air bed type) which conviniently fits in the pilot light hole and can blast rust into the next boat (if it wasn't for the hull)!

I would expect the piezo igniter to have been replaced at least once by now? You can check the end is in the right position (spark should jump to a small projection just above the jet), and that it is not loose.

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Use a flame type gas lighter. This may be a two man job.

Sue

Unfortunately not possible - it's fully built in with a permanent flue to the outside, so getting it out is a bu**er.

 

 

Join the club! Many a day spent with the thing on the bank in pieces.

There are three basic problems:-

1) Piezo igniter burns away - spark doesn't spark to what it should - replace (take old one with you).

2) Rust builds up, creates poor contact - spark doesn't spark to what it should - check burner housing for rust, ensure self tapping screw is making good contact, check continuity with case of piezo button.

3) Said rust falls off and clogs up jet - gas doesn't come from right place, therefore does not light - clean out jet and burner housing, remove all rust (usually from chimney).

 

Sounds to me like a case 3 above, hence lights after dismantling, suggest as a first job you remove the chimney and throughly clean out all the flaky rust. I have a hand pump (air bed type) which conviniently fits in the pilot light hole and can blast rust into the next boat (if it wasn't for the hull)!

I would expect the piezo igniter to have been replaced at least once by now? You can check the end is in the right position (spark should jump to a small projection just above the jet), and that it is not loose.

Very helpful, Robin - it seems I'm not alone!

 

I don't think it's rust related - the burner and it's surround are clear, and little evidence of any in the flue pipe. Plus it literally stops working the day after I have had it removed.

 

We have only had the boat 3 years, so I don't know the history of the piezo ignition. But there is every evidence that the previous owner ran it on 12 volts (!!!) not gas. (It was fortunate I never tried plugging in the 13 amp plug that hung out from it - because it was connected to the 12 volt, not the 240v - matching the use of a 240V 13A socket as a 12V supply at the front of the boat. :lol: :lol: )

 

The piezo is well secured, (a single screw and bracket locate it, and the tip of the sensor for the FFD).

 

However, I'm intrigued you say.... "spark should jump to a small projection just above the jet", as mine arcs acress to the end of that FFD sensor (consistently), and both are positioned some way above the gas jet. Should it be sparking to somewhere other than that sensor, please ?

 

Also the sparker has lost a little bit of the ceramic that surrounds it's tip - I've tried it "rotated" in it's mount, to see if that improves things, but it doesn't seem to. I'm wondering if it's worth trying to replace it? Are spares easy to come by for a 13 year old fridge?

 

Alan

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I don't think it's rust related - the burner and it's surround are clear, and little evidence of any in the flue pipe. Plus it literally stops working the day after I have had it removed.

It is worth looking up the chimney as it only takes a few fine particles!

We have only had the boat 3 years, so I don't know the history of the piezo ignition. But there is every evidence that the previous owner ran it on 12 volts (!!!) not gas. (It was fortunate I never tried plugging in the 13 amp plug that hung out from it - because it was connected to the 12 volt, not the 240v - matching the use of a 240V 13A socket as a 12V supply at the front of the boat. :lol: :lol: )

In desperation (usually because of leaking locks) I have run it on 12V and 240V for periods, finding the gas lights a lot easier when its warm!

The piezo is well secured, (a single screw and bracket locate it, and the tip of the sensor for the FFD).

 

However, I'm intrigued you say.... "spark should jump to a small projection just above the jet", as mine arcs acress to the end of that FFD sensor (consistently), and both are positioned some way above the gas jet. Should it be sparking to somewhere other than that sensor, please ?

 

Also the sparker has lost a little bit of the ceramic that surrounds it's tip - I've tried it "rotated" in it's mount, to see if that improves things, but it doesn't seem to. I'm wondering if it's worth trying to replace it? Are spares easy to come by for a 13 year old fridge?

They are not always obvious, but there should be a sparking point at about the same level as the ceramic thingy so the spark physical jumps across the jet. There will be two bits sticking out, the ignition and the flame failure, the spark should jump away from both of these.

Always a problem with these things, once the ceramic is damaged the spark tends to deviate at the slightest opportunity!

A caravaning place or chandlers should be able to order spares if they don't have them in stock, not usually a problem with Camping Gaz or Electrolux, but there are some others I'm not sure about - take the old part to compare and check size/length etc. The electrode (ceramic bit) often "screws" onto the cable, but some you have to remove the whole wire too.

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Ours certainly went wrong because flaking rust had built up in the burner chamber and, in the end, I replaced everything in the area because it had all corroded up. I found a very good and helpful source of spares at Ashbridge Domestic Appliances who are a Dometic agent: contact them on 01233 895200, www.ashbridgedomestic.co.uk or email [email protected] You can also download an exploded diagram of parts and part numbers.

 

Ours is still sometimes a bit reluctant to start on gas if it has been turned off for a while. My amateur explanation is that if it doesn't ignite quickly the burner chamber fills with gas so there is no gas/air mix to ignite. Mine is a room-sealed version and in these circumstances I undo the intake pipe and blow down it via length of flexible tubing which (presumably) clears the gas or introduces air - then it normally lights.

 

It can be particularly tricky to light in cold weather - I understand this is down to the absorbsion process by which the fridge works - it can't build up enough heat difference in the flue to get the process working properly. (Apologies if the physics of this explanation is complete b*ll*cks!). The solution in our case has been to kick-start it by running on landline 240v for 15-20 minutes. After that it will run happily on gas.

 

Failing all that you could take the unit to a caravan repair shop to be checked -- just don't tell the mechanic it comes from a boat!

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When we had the same trouble, I heard of a little trick.....Gently prize out the plastic sight glass inside the fridge and use a long gas lighter to light the flame, then push the sight glass back in.

 

Andy.

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We had one of these fridges, which was temperamental to light and eventually I changed the igniter. The new one had a curved tip to take the spark lower down and made a big difference in lighting. Because of the different shape, I checked with the supplier and it appears the wrong one had been fitted in the first place.

Googling dometic spares igniter brings up quite a few sites

Arthur

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We have only had the boat 3 years, so I don't know the history of the piezo ignition. But there is every evidence that the previous owner ran it on 12 volts (!!!) not gas. (It was fortunate I never tried plugging in the 13 amp plug that hung out from it - because it was connected to the 12 volt, not the 240v - matching the use of a 240V 13A socket as a 12V supply at the front of the boat. :lol: :lol: )

 

Alan

 

Hmm, I sympathise on the 12v 13A socket front - mine can actually go one better as it had two 13A plugs on the end of it, one at worksurface height which was the 230v connection, to a 2G 230v socket, and a low level one, appearing by the floor which went to a 12v wired 13A socket. Entertaining...

 

It never worked on 12v, which meant my version never worked on gas... I've a slightly different model with auto ignition which runs on the 12v supply, and a bit like a boiler, is supposed to run through an ignition cycle and just sort of, sort itself out. It never worked, and I assumed that the 12v connections had fallen off the back somewhere.

 

IMG00799.jpg

 

I ran it on 230v until removing it recently, and it's been replaced with a built-under mains fridge.

 

IMG00952.jpg

 

None of this helps you very much, I realise! :-)

 

On the other hand, if you get desperate, mine's sitting in the garage awaiting sale via the big electronic bay in the sky. I'd have to test it out, but it may be a cheap replacement...

 

Ta,

 

PC

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Thanks, all - a lot of information there, and a lot to look at....

 

(Nobody seems to have suggested using a thermic lance on it - I'm tempted!.....)

 

They are not always obvious, but there should be a sparking point at about the same level as the ceramic thingy so the spark physical jumps across the jet. There will be two bits sticking out, the ignition and the flame failure, the spark should jump away from both of these.

Intriguing - ours is definitely jumping from the igniter to the end of the flame failure sensor. That's hardly surprising, as there is no other metal as close, I'm sure. So either ours is a different design to yours, or something has gone missing.

 

 

The solution in our case has been to kick-start it by running on landline 240v for 15-20 minutes. After that it will run happily on gas.

It never occurred to me it might have anything to do with whether it was warmed up, (or cooled down!), or not. The 240V is not connected, but I could put a cable on and try, I guess.

 

 

When we had the same trouble, I heard of a little trick.....Gently prize out the plastic sight glass inside the fridge and use a long gas lighter to light the flame, then push the sight glass back in.

I had thought of this, but ours feels like it would break before it prised out. Whether it's glued with a real plastic glue, or just old food, I wouldn't like to say!

 

 

We had one of these fridges, which was temperamental to light and eventually I changed the igniter. The new one had a curved tip to take the spark lower down and made a big difference in lighting. Because of the different shape, I checked with the supplier and it appears the wrong one had been fitted in the first place.

Googling dometic spares igniter brings up quite a few sites.

Thanks - changing the igniter sounds favourite, at the moment, particularly as the current one has some of the ceramic around the tip missing. It's always sparking, every click - just not igniting the gas, but it sounds like it may be sparking in the wrong place.

 

It may be a day or two before I can drag it out of it's cubby hole again, but I'll report back on successes or failures when I do.

 

Alan

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Been away for a couple of weeks so only just seen this post. Had exactly the same problem last year and like other posters, taking the whole thing apart and cleaning all the bits didn't provide a long term solution. In desperation one day I disconnected the gas pipe to the burner from the control knob block (easy to do without disturbing the flue) and squirted lots of WD40 down the pipe from the top then reconnected the union. Turned the gas back on to 'push' the WD40 into the burner assembly (holding the gas knob in for a few seconds) and then left it for 24 hours. Next day it lit first time and has continued to do do ever since.

P.S. I don't need any health and safety freaks replying to say I was in grave danger of blowing my boat up. Thank heavens they weren't around in Trevithick's time otherwise he'd never have built his steam engine.

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Been away for a couple of weeks so only just seen this post. Had exactly the same problem last year and like other posters, taking the whole thing apart and cleaning all the bits didn't provide a long term solution. In desperation one day I disconnected the gas pipe to the burner from the control knob block (easy to do without disturbing the flue) and squirted lots of WD40 down the pipe from the top then reconnected the union. Turned the gas back on to 'push' the WD40 into the burner assembly (holding the gas knob in for a few seconds) and then left it for 24 hours. Next day it lit first time and has continued to do do ever since.

P.S. I don't need any health and safety freaks replying to say I was in grave danger of blowing my boat up. Thank heavens they weren't around in Trevithick's time otherwise he'd never have built his steam engine.

Blimey, that's a bit different!

 

Out of interest, before you did this, how was it burning once it was lit, please ? Was it a decent blue flame ?

 

I appear to have no problem with delivery of gas, or flame quality once lit, so I'm doubtful mine relates to any crap in the feed pipe, burner jet, or burner generally.

 

I think it must be to do with where the igniter spark is actually striking to.

 

Still to pull it out and investigate further, though.

 

Alan

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I think the length of this topic shows that the idiosyncrasies of these fridges are universal, everyone seems to have their own little tricks.. Mine was to do with the timing of the many attempts at ignition, too rapid and the gas seems to dissipate before it has chance to stabilise, too slow and I suspect the gas mixture becomes too 'rich' for ignition but then the whole thing could be just my imagination.. A clean of the burner every year certainly helps matters as they all seem to exist in a permanent shower of rust particles.

 

I rather like Travis's approach, sounds like it is the answer to me, don't know why I never thought of it.

Edited by John Orentas

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Had exactly the same problem last year and like other posters, taking the whole thing apart and cleaning all the bits didn't provide a long term solution. In desperation one day I disconnected the gas pipe to the burner from the control knob block (easy to do without disturbing the flue) and squirted lots of WD40 down the pipe from the top then reconnected the union. Turned the gas back on to 'push' the WD40 into the burner assembly (holding the gas knob in for a few seconds) and then left it for 24 hours. Next day it lit first time and has continued to do do ever since.

You can get problems with greasy build up in gas jets (I've not had this problem on low pressure systems), but it can be caused by the burner being lower than the bottle (probably more true of fridges). Not sure whether its build up of hydrocarbons in old bottles or because a new bottle is full of lubrication?

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Has anyone ever taken a look at a jet out of a gas fridge burner, I once acquired a primus stove 'pricker' so that I could clean the jet.. When I got the jet out and took a look at it with a magnifying glass I was amazed to see not one tiny hole as expected but a dozen or so closely packed hexagonal holes, as in a honeycomb, all within the confines of the diameter of a small pin.. Take a look if you get the chance.

 

Reminded me of that wartime story about Avro's and the Americans.

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You can get problems with greasy build up in gas jets (I've not had this problem on low pressure systems), but it can be caused by the burner being lower than the bottle (probably more true of fridges). Not sure whether its build up of hydrocarbons in old bottles or because a new bottle is full of lubrication?

Calor actually acknowledge that crap from the cylinder can end up getting into the low pressure system.

 

There is a strong recommendation to have any HP change-over valve and the whole regulator higher than the top of the gas bottles.

 

This presumably means that any crud that gets out of the bottle is likely to drain back again before it gets into the LP system.

 

Unfortunately the size and construction of many narrow boat gas lockers, particularly those in the bow, makes placing those parts higher than the cylinder impossible. This is certainly true on our boat, where a 13KG propane has it's valves pretty close to the top of the locker space.

 

That said, I've seen no evidence at all of the dreaded black gunge making it into the LP pipework, let alone into any appliance.

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Blimey, that's a bit different!

 

Out of interest, before you did this, how was it burning once it was lit, please ? Was it a decent blue flame ?

 

I appear to have no problem with delivery of gas, or flame quality once lit, so I'm doubtful mine relates to any crap in the feed pipe, burner jet, or burner generally.

 

I think it must be to do with where the igniter spark is actually striking to.

 

Yes, you're right. What I did was purely as a result of frustration not being able to get the thing to light in the first place. Once lit it worked perfectly OK, but I have to say, far better after the WD40 treatment. Personally I don't think the position of the igniter spark affects it's ability to light much as unless you have a howling gale passing over the burner, the gas is just going to hang around the burner before igniting. I think the problem lies with gunge in the mesh of the burner and WD40 certainly cleared mine. Incidental;ly I picked up a good tip from an old caravanner. If the burner's OK but the freezer compartment doesn't work too well, take out the fridge and turn it upside down leaving it in that position for at least 24 hours. Then reinstall the frisge but don't try to light it for another 24 hours. Seems thios action sorts out any problems in the refrigerant circuit.

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If the burner's OK but the freezer compartment doesn't work too well, take out the fridge and turn it upside down leaving it in that position for at least 24 hours. Then reinstall the frisge but don't try to light it for another 24 hours. Seems thios action sorts out any problems in the refrigerant circuit.

This can work in cases where it has been stood umused for a time, as any 'bits' that have settled out can block the pipework and stop circulation, but be warned if doing so introduces a 'vapour' lock it might not work too well afterwards either!

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It may be a day or two before I can drag it out of it's cubby hole again, but I'll report back on successes or failures when I do.

 

Alan

Alan,

A bit of a time warp here - but did you solve the increasingly hard to light fridge mystery?

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A bit of a time warp here - but did you solve the increasingly hard to light fridge mystery?

I'd suspect so, after 7 years :)

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Alan,

A bit of a time warp here - but did you solve the increasingly hard to light fridge mystery?

 

Yes, (and sorry to sound slightly flippant here), we sold the boat with that fridge in!

 

Before that - not completely, if I'm honest.

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Yes, (and sorry to sound slightly flippant here), we sold the boat with that fridge in!

 

Before that - not completely, if I'm honest.

Ah! OK - thank you! A friend of mine is having a similar trouble to you were having.... but I don't think they will sell their boat! :)

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Ah! OK - thank you! A friend of mine is having a similar trouble to you were having.... but I don't think they will sell their boat! smile.png

 

Well we didn't actually sell the boat to get rid of the fridge issue....

 

In fact the replacement has a much newer LPG fridge, and that can be just slightly temperamental too. The advantage of the new one is it is far easier to gain access to the back, so if things got really bad with the piezo igniter, (they haven't yet), it is possible to light it directly with a match.

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Ah! OK - thank you! A friend of mine is having a similar trouble to you were having.... but I don't think they will sell their boat! smile.png

 

When I had a gas fridge many years ago, it would occasionally get difficult to light. The reason was flakes of rust and/or dead spiders falling down the small flue and clogging the bit at the bottom.

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