Success with Dinosaur Board to fix Atwood Water Heater
I have a 1999 Safari with the original six gallon Atwood electronic ignition water heater.
The water heater has been extremely unreliable in terms of firing up and staying lit with many different symptoms over the years. If it is cold or damp outside it often won't ignite. Most recently it would ignite but not stay lit - clearly losing flame sense.
To try to fix I first cleaned the heater thoroughly, plus I cleaned all of the electrical contacts and then re-assembled, tightening the connectors with pliers. I put waterproof electrical grease on the connections to try to deal with the moisture problems. This has sometimes helped temporarily, but sometimes not at all. Very frustrating.
Over time, I've replaced the spark ignitor, the two thermostats, and the fusible link - basically everything related to the control circuitry except for the actual control board.
Finally I just got fed up, and had to decide between a new water heater of the same model, which is selling for around $375 on Amazon, upgading to an on-demand heater, which is selling for around $700, or just changing out the ignitor board.
After reading the reviews on this forum, instead of going with a new OEM board, I purchased the Dinosaur ignitor board (the UIB-S small board) plus the 2-tab mounting kit which includes a waterproof cover. I bought everything from Amazon - total was about $100.
Installation took about 10 minutes. It is completely plug and play - the only tools needed are a needlenose pliers or a 1/4" socket wrench for two screws and four nuts and a pair of wire snips or a fingernail clipper to clip a jumper on the new board. Your old wiring works with the new board without modifications.
First remove two sheet metal screws to detach the old ignitor circuit board from your airstream. Disconnect the wiring harness and the spark ignitor wire. Congrats - you've just removed your old board.
Now attach the new 2-tab dinosaur mounting plate to the airstream with sheet metal screws (the old holes fit perfectly, but it only works in one direction, so rotate it 180 degrees if it looks like it doesn't fit), then slide the new dinosaur circuit board onto the mounting plate and reattach the old wiring harness to the cut-out on the edge of the new circuit board. Clip the jumper on the new dinosaur circuit board that says "cut for use on water heaters" Thread the spark ignitor through the waterproof cover, and attach it with four supplied nuts.
That's it. It fired up correctly the first time. Took about 10 minutes in total. We are about to take the Airstream down to Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl, if it doesn't work perfectly I will post a follow up here.
Level of difficulty is about 1 out of 10.
1999 27' Safari + 2011 Mercedes GL 350 Turbo-diesel