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Old 08-27-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
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New water heater problems

I searched and could not find my exact problem. I bought a new Atwood water heater from a fellow who had it on the shelf in his shop for a few years, it had never been installed. It's a model GC6AA10E. It has electronic ignition and a 110 volt element. When I turn it on, it never stays lit on the first try. It always takes 3 tries, and sometimes goes into lockout and will then light and stay running on the 4th try. Even after running a while I can shut it off and it will not light and stay running on the first try. I unplugged all the connections and re plugged, removed and reinstalled all the grounds. Re gapped the igniter, and checked for webs in the gas tube. When I say it will not light and stay running, it sparks and ignites the gas and burns for about 2 seconds and when the spark quits the flame goes out. Any ideas how to fix this, as there is no warrantee because I bought it from a private party.
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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Is it possible that you haven't cleared the air in the gas line? Either that or the thermocouple might be flakey. That would cause the flame to go out after it lights. While your water heater is pilotless, that thermocouple would be there to verify that a flame is present. The other possibility is you have a gas leak which would allow air to get into the line. That might explain the hard relighting situation after it has been running. I'm assuming you have checked for that. First guess would be that thermocouple.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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There have also been some issues with enough combustion air. For kicks, try it with the door open on the heater and see if it stays lighted. I had one which would always work if I left the door open, but was erratic if it was closed. I know others have had the problem, and there is some kind of a solution, but not sure what it is.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:54 PM   #4
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Check for a minimum of 9.5 volts supplying the board. Any less and the gas solenoid will not stay open.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:05 PM   #5
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The air is all out of the line, I just picked up a gas pressure meter from my son so I will check that tomorrow. It makes no difference if the door is open or closed. Is the thermocouple also the spark igniter? That is the only wire or line that goes into the combustion area. If not what proves the flame is lit? It seems like by lighting it and it going out 3 times, it heats it up enough so it keeps going on the 4th try. If that makes any sense. How many times is it supposed to spark in each of the 3 cycles before it locks out. This one only sparks 3 times.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:13 PM   #6
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3 attempts then the switch must be cycled. That's normal. Are you plugged into shore power. Is battery charged. I just went through this with the dinosaur board tech. Atwood needs 9.5 volts and dinosaur needs >10 volts. You describe just the behavior he said low voltage causes.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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My battery reads 12.7 volts, but I will check it at the water heater tomorrow in case there is a loss somewhere in between. What I meant by sparks 3 times is, it sparks 3 times in a row and lights and goes out, sparks 3 times in a row lights and goes out and does it one last time and locks out. So I get a total of 9 sparks, 3 per try then lockout.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:30 PM   #8
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I think it'll spark rapidly for about 3 or 4 seconds or until it senses flame (staying on or not) Sounds like you're getting an ignition pop, then a re-ignition attempt. Do you know the year of production? They have had some bad boards. I've been through 2 atwoods. The new replacements look to be redesigned.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:38 PM   #9
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Is the year of production on the water heater somewhere? If so I will look in the morning. What senses the flame? I see no thermocouple like the furnace or fridge has.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:43 PM   #10
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We have similar instability in lighting. Great spark, good flame.

The igniter probe was carbines up at one time so I cleaned it. That only fixed it temporarily.

We replaced the probe. That fixed it for a while longer. However, if running gas + electric the RED light comes on sometimes.. Maybe it is over temp ?

So, not trying to hijack, just wondering if you are running gas + electric?
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:47 PM   #11
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I'll have to look. Thought there was a thermocouple mounted to the same plate that the ignitor electrodes is on?????
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:56 PM   #12
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Would'nt hurt to blow out the large pipe where the gas burns at one end and the exhaust comes out the other end. Spiders love to block that pipe, wholly or partially.

Spray with a few blasts from a can of compressed air.

What's to lose?
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I'll have to look. Thought there was a thermocouple mounted to the same plate that the ignitor electrodes is on?????
Just the electrodes on mine. I will try the air blast in the morning also. It is running on LP only with the ignition problem, 110 volts works fine.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwf View Post
We have similar instability in lighting. Great spark, good flame.

The igniter probe was carbines up at one time so I cleaned it. That only fixed it temporarily.

We replaced the probe. That fixed it for a while longer. However, if running gas + electric the RED light comes on sometimes.. Maybe it is over temp ?

So, not trying to hijack, just wondering if you are running gas + electric?
Electric and gas on at the same time shouldn't affect the operation or lighting of the water heater. We run that way at shower time and never had ignition problems. There is a sensor that detects the lighting of the burner. I called it a thermocouple but in a sense that might be a bad term since it brings about thoughts of a standing pilot which you definitely do not have. So assuming you don't have a something interfering with the burner (like a spider web), you would have to figure a defective flame sensor or control board.

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