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Author Topic: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit  (Read 2846 times)

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Offline Tigertown

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DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« on: September 13, 2011, 09:29:49 PM »
Hi, all

Hey, bought my first pop-up camper for me and my little girl.   '81 StarCraft Starlite 1906 model with a Duo-Therm furnace, and I am having issues getting the pilot to stay lit on its own.  When I light it and hold the button down, I've got plenty of gas, but once I release the pilot, it will not stay lit.  Could it be the thermo-couple, and if so, can I use any thermo-couple from any hardware store, or are there special ones made for campers?  Mine has a thermo-couple that's only about four inches long, and it's rigid.  From the videos I watch on-line for installing a thermo-couple in a home furnace, it looks like most regular thermo-couples are like six inches long or more, and they're a lot more pliable copper lines which looks to be curled up like a pig's tail.  The blower works fine and everything else looks to be in line with what I read and seen on-line, but if it's not the thermo-couple, what could it be?  I can depress the pilot for five or even ten minutes and get a nice blue flame but the second I release (undepress) the pilot, I lose the flame.  Are there special thermo-couples for campers or will any ordinary thermo-couple from any hardware store work?  Also are the home thermo-couples connecting screws the same size as a pop-up camper's thermo-couple?

Thanks so much for your time!

Tom

Offline austinado16

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 01:54:57 AM »
Tom, it could be a couple things on this old Duo-Therm 66100 furnace.

a) You could have an insect nest built in the combination intake/exhaust area of the furnace.  At the very rear of the furnace is a metal housing with a small fan inside.  When the main furnace fan is on, this smaller fan is pumping fresh air into the burner box and exhausting combustion air.  If something like mud daubers get in there, they'll pack that area full, both restricting the amount of airflow into the burner box, and jamming up that smaller fan.  The result is typically a pilot light that's so dim it either goes out on it's own, or it's not strong enough to hit the thermocouple, so the t-couple stops making milivolts, and the gas safety valve that supplies the pilot will close down.

You can diagnose this by opening the access door on the front of the burner box and lighting the pilot.  If the pilot is now really nice and stays lit, you know you have an airflow restriction as I mention above........because having that little access door off the burner is supplying extra oxygen.  So, if this is the case, you'll need to remove the entire furnace, (leave the exhaust port attached to the camper's outside wall). and take apart that air box and clean out the debris.

b) The pilot light is adjustable.  Look on the gas valve and you'll see the word "PILOT" next to a screw.  Remove the screw and down inside you'll see a smaller screw.  Turn that screw with the pilot light on, until you have a stronger flame that spreads down to hit the t-couple.
1987 Starcraft Nova
1990 GMC 1500 SLE 4x4 Suburban

Offline Tigertown

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2011, 01:57:30 AM »
Hey, thanks much for the reply.  Got a couple questions as I found out (and it doesn't make sense why) that the furnace is hooked to the optional battery.  Doesn't make sense why this is so.  Found the Starcraft manual for my pop-up on this web site, it states that the 110 supplies the outlets and fridge, and the battery supplies the interior lights and the furnace.  Got a great strong pilot and the blower is hooked to the 110, but the furnace is hooked to the battery.  I remember the guy who sold it to me mentioned I need a battery, now I know why.  But, in the manual it states you need to hook a hose to the deep-cycle battery to get hydrocarbons out, and I even see a hole for the hose in my camper where the battery sits.  The hydrocarbons scare me as I have a little girl and not taking any chances with any types of anything in the air.  Tried two cermaic heaters, this keeps the center of the camper warm, but the bunks are a little too cold (we're getting 40s-50s for lows in Michigan now).  I'd like to run the furnace and a friend suggested a regular 12 volt and a charger since the only thing I'm running would be the furnace (probably only for a few days in colder weather, so I'm not going to run a bettry into the ground).  Made sense to me, does it sound like something logical to anyone else?  If I kill a battery in a few months but it keeps me and my daughter warm and toasty, it's financially okay with me.  Thanks for any and all replies, this web site/forum has been a godsend to me as it has a wealth of great information and everyone is so knowledgable and willing to share valuable information!

Tom

Offline austinado16

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 02:33:25 PM »
Hi Tom,
To be clear, the 66100 runs on 12 volt DC power.  12 volts powers the blower fan, powers the gas valves, and powers the thermostat.  It is not a 110/120 volt AC furnace.

It can be run directly off of a deep cycle battery, or it can be run off the camper's converter, if the converter is plugged into shore power (meaning; plugged into a 110/120v AC electrical outlet) and then the furnace is wired into the 12v DC outlet side of the converter, just like the camper's interior and porch lights.

2 wires are connected to the 3 terminal junction board on the furnace.  The board is labeled for them.  Simply a positive wire, from the 12v power source, and a negative wire that can go to the camper's metal frame.  Then, the thermostat has a 2 wire lead, and that goes to the same junction board, and the board is labeled for that too.

That's it.  Light the pilot, turn the t-stat "on" and then set the temp on the t-stat.

Regarding the battery venting:   The battery would been set into a plastic battery box with a lid.  That lid would have had a port off to the side.  That port would connect to the round louvered vent on the side of the camper, via a corrogated plastic tube that you cut to length, and slip over the port on the lide, and the fitting on the louvered vent.  The battery box, tube, and exterior louver assembly are still available in the RV parts world, so you can buy them new.  Not a big deal.

Regarding battery useage, you'll buy a deep cycle Group 27 or 31, and a "smart" automatic battery charger to keep it charged.  Then you'll charge it before you leave, and upon returning from  your trip.  During the winter or other long periods of storage, remove the battery and keep it in the garage, and charge it every month.  Again, no big deal.  Black and Decker, and Vector make good chargers.  Amazon is your friend.

Go to the hardware store and purchase enough Reflectix insulation that you can cut your own panels to go in the bunk end windows.  Set the panels in place and zip the canvas up to hold them there.  That'll keep the bunks warm.  Face your ceramic heaters toward the bunks at night, since that's where you want the warm air to be blown.  Or, buy a couple of 5" O2Cool battery powered fans and use them to circulate the air you're warming.
1987 Starcraft Nova
1990 GMC 1500 SLE 4x4 Suburban

Offline Spridle

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 08:09:37 AM »

If I kill a battery in a few months but it keeps me and my daughter warm and toasty, it's financially okay with me.  Thanks for any and all replies, this web site/forum has been a godsend to me as it has a wealth of great information and everyone is so knowledgable and willing to share valuable information!

Tom

My experience with Interstate deep cycle batteries is that even a less than perfectly maintained battery can give you nearly ten years of service.  you could go with an Optima sealed battery if you are super worried about the battery gasses but you will pay a premium, reduce your reliability and likely reduce your available amperage compared to what you could put in there with a regular deep cycle.
Ted

Offline austinado16

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2011, 10:28:49 AM »
Yep, the Optima Blue Top is $200+ depending on size.  A Group 27 Duralast from Autozone or the same size from NAPA, is $95.

Comparing the Optima G27 to the G27 from either NAPA or Autozone, the Optima has 140 reserve minutes, vs. 180 minutes with the NAPA/Autozone/etc wet cell batteries.

IMO, save a lot of money and purchase a conventional battery.
1987 Starcraft Nova
1990 GMC 1500 SLE 4x4 Suburban

Offline Travelhoveler

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 10:41:12 AM »
We paid considerably less for an Optima Blue Top Group 31 at Costco.  We chose it for several reasons.  First, we don't have to watch it and add water; it's a sealed battery.  We do a lot of cold weather camping and AGM batteries don't lose power so quickly under cold conditions.  But the main reason we chose it is that we store our camper offsite and bring the battery home with us, and it can safely ride in the TV with us as there is no risk of gasses.  Can't do that safely with a conventional battery.

Downside is that it does have less juice than a comparable lead plate battery.  After a year or so of camping, mostly boondocking, we find we can get a four solid days out of the Optima, using FantasticFan or furnace, LED lights, and chargers for laptop and cell phone, and then we've discharged it down to about 65%.  (We can then recharge it in less than a day with our solar panel and charge controller.)  If we needed more days of use, the Optima wouldn't be able to do it, and we'd have to look at other options.
Richard and Moonbeams
2008 Chalet Arrowhead, the Hovel, Too  [ALPU]
Nights camped 2013: 99/Nights camped 2014 so far: 0

Offline Spridle

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 05:33:57 PM »
We paid considerably less for an Optima Blue Top Group 31 at Costco.  We chose it for several reasons.  First, we don't have to watch it and add water; it's a sealed battery.  We do a lot of cold weather camping and AGM batteries don't lose power so quickly under cold conditions.  ............or laptop and cell phone, and then we've discharged it down to about 65%.  (We can then recharge it in less than a day with our solar panel and charge controller.)  If we needed more days of use, the Optima wouldn't be able to do it, and we'd have to look at other options.

I love the Optima in concept but the failure rate is high.  Glad it's worked out for you but weigh your options carefully.  My interstate rep will do everything possible to talk you into a conventional marine.
Ted

Offline austinado16

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2011, 10:48:41 AM »
A convential battery isn't giving off dangerous gases unless you're recharging it.
1987 Starcraft Nova
1990 GMC 1500 SLE 4x4 Suburban

Offline capy235co

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Re: DuoTherm Furnace - Pilot Won't Stay Lit
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2011, 12:04:57 PM »
I personally don't like a battery inside the PUP. One option is to lengthen the battery cables and mount your battery on the front a frame of the pup in a quality plastic battery box. An easy fix that gives more storage inside the pup and any off gassing outside the PUP.
Wayne & Rosie
2001 Coleman Sedona
2005 Chev. Trailblazer

 


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