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Old 04-03-2006, 11:48 AM   #1
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Dometic refer electric ignition

As I said on another thread with a little different topic, my 1979 Dometic refer lights up and get cold. The only issue is I had to light it outside with a lighter as the ignitor wouldn't spark. Any suggestions on how to fix this?
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:09 PM   #2
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Sounds like you either have a bad igniter or bad control board. If it lights manually that means you are getting voltage to open the gas valve solenoid, so the problem is either the control unit not providing the spark to the electrode or the electrode itself. It could also be that the electrode is not positioned correctly relative to the burner, or grounding out sono spark is getting to the burner. Get your manual and see what the spec is and verify that it is correct. Also clean it while you are in there and see what happens.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:58 PM   #3
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Where is the control unit that sends spark to the ignitor out there? Isn't it a simple momentary switch much like that used to ignite a gas grill? Another question along these lines,... assume I do get the ignite to work with the button press from the inside. How do you guys know that the refer is up and running other than taking the side panel off and feeling heat or seeing flame?
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wacnstac
Where is the control unit that sends spark to the ignitor out there? Isn't it a simple momentary switch much like that used to ignite a gas grill? Another question along these lines,... assume I do get the ignite to work with the button press from the inside. How do you guys know that the refer is up and running other than taking the side panel off and feeling heat or seeing flame?
I am having the same problem with my igniter as you are and will take mine apart today. You will find the igniter directly below the thermocouple, It will look like a spike or needle with a wire attached to it. You will need to remove the outer panel from the burner to see it. When you press your ingniter button inside the spike thing sparks. It gets corroded and needs to be cleaned. I will use a piece of emery paper and polish it. I hope that is all mine needs and yours as well. Now when you are lighting your fridge from the inside there is a mirror directly below the ignitor switch which will show a flash when it sparks and glows when it is lit. You might have to shield it from the light to see it well or if like me with trifocals have your grandson confirm it is lit but it does work.
Good luck to you.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:17 PM   #5
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I found my problem but not a solution. The wire coming from the ignitor button inside is busted off close to where it comes outside. Would be tough to repair with original. Could a regular ignitor for a grill be improvised to do the job? I'm thinking leave the red button lying up front bottom in the fridge and the wire and ignitor run to the back. Or is there a way to get that old ignitor button out of there and add a new wire to it?
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Old 04-05-2006, 04:53 AM   #6
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I understand that you found your problem and it appears I share the same. I do plan on replacing the igniter. Here is a troubleshooter that I found on-line.


Electronic Igniter

The electronic igniter (below) changes 12 volt DC power supplied to it by a switch or circuit board into a high voltage spark between the electrode and burner head. There are slight variations of this igniter, the Channel Gaslighter Mark 6, but if you have one that looks relatively similar, you're in the right place. There is also another style a little farther below.
When 12 volt is applied to the "+" and "G" (-) terminals of the igniter, the igniter monitors the resistance between the electrode and the burner. If there is no flame at the burner, the resistance is high and the igniter sends high voltage through the spark wire to the electrode. The high voltage jumps the gap between the electrode and burner and sparking begins. When the flame lights, the resistance between the electrode and burner decreases, the igniter senses this and quits sending high voltage to the electrode. If the flame goes out, the igniter will resume sparking again and usually relight the flame.
When the igniter is sparking, the "L" terminal sends a pulsing high voltage DC signal to whatever it is connected to. The "L" terminal could be connected to an ignition light or to a circuit board.
Troubleshooting. If there is no spark at the burner, first remember that the igniter senses the resistance between the burner and the electrode. If the electrode is cracked (even hairline) or wet, it will ground out and make the igniter "think" the flame is lit, and therefore not spark. The spark wire can also have similar problems. To test for a cracked electrode, disconnect the spark wire from the electrode and set the refrigerator controls to the position where sparking normally occurs. If the wire sparks to a metal part of the refrigerator, the electrode is bad. Before performing this test, however, if an electronic gas valve is involved in the system, locate the manual propane shut off valve at the back of the refrigerator and turn it off so propane is not allowed to flow and accumulate. Also, check the gap between the electrode and the burner. It should be about 3/16".
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Old 04-05-2006, 06:43 AM   #7
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Mine doesn't appear to be the "auto spark" type and would thus lend itself to replacement by a simpler push/spark. I don't know how in the heck I'd get the thing out of there, meaning the pushbutton in the fridge.
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wacnstac
Mine doesn't appear to be the "auto spark" type and would thus lend itself to replacement by a simpler push/spark. I don't know how in the heck I'd get the thing out of there, meaning the pushbutton in the fridge.
I think you have the older push to spark type ignition . Uwe gave a good web site for parts and info ( www.gasrefrigeration.net), it has the whole manual on PFD. It sounds like you need a new flint . If you have an access door to the back it looks like an easy job .

PS I don't think you broke a wire , the whole rod will come out if you pull on it.
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Old 04-29-2006, 10:11 PM   #9
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I was able to successfully put a new ignitor (one that you use for a grill) inside the refer today and thread the wires needed out to the old ignitor probe on the refer. Sparks like a champ.
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