Mr. Heater Big Buddy Problem - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 02/14/11, 08:23 AM
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Mr. Heater Big Buddy Problem

I've been using this thing for several winters. Problem I'm having is the pilot just started going out and kicking the heater off. It started doing this tonight. Burns about 5 minutes and then shuts off. I noticed after using a new 20lb. tank (first time used it) that instead of the usual pss I get when I disconnected the line, I got a pssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. Lots of fluid when I disconnected it. I was complaining to DW, "that one didn't last long", then when I picked it up it still felt like it had another day's worth of propane left in the tank.

So I hooked up a full tank we've used several times already and it started kicking off every 5 minutes. I pulled the back cover off and cleaned what little dust there was around the venturis?? and re-assembled. Same problem. Pulled the extension line off the side with the valve shut @ the tank and lots of fluid again coming out of the line. Oh and one more thing I can think of, the tile itself is having difficulty lighting. I've always used low to get it lit. Now I'm having to turn it up to medium for it to light/catch and then turning it back down to low. What's the deal?

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  #2  
Old 02/14/11, 08:46 AM
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you must need to clean the orifice, or hole where the pilot burns, they build up with gunk. Use what you can, a small wire brush, pocket knife, etc. and gently clean out the orifice, you might need to rod it out bu usually its just the outlet. Same thing happens to the main burner holes after time and they will need cleaned too. make sure its cold when you attempt this so no one gets burnt, turn off the gas at the pilot, first too, best wishes, ray

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Last edited by Ray; 02/14/11 at 08:48 AM.
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  #3  
Old 02/14/11, 10:03 AM
 
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Might be a regulator problem...

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  #4  
Old 02/14/11, 11:30 AM
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Does it have a thermocouple?

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  #5  
Old 02/14/11, 02:24 PM
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Yeah, the flame isn't quite reaching the thermocouple at the pilot. Right before it shuts off the pilot starts making a putt-putt-putt noise and the flame gets smaller (stays blue throughout, but a very short flame). I just tried it again. Right as I'm typing this, the pilot started putt-putt-putting (and the flame is very short @ the pilot). The flame at the pilot just went out and then about ten seconds later the tile went out and the heater kicks off. I can see down into the pilot light hole and it's bright and shiny. It's acting like it's starved of fuel somehow.

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  #6  
Old 02/14/11, 04:13 PM
 
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Is there a filter on the thing? Some of those Big Buddy heaters came with or had an option for a filter if I remember right. If it has one, might have a stopped up/restricted filter.

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  #7  
Old 02/14/11, 05:32 PM
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There's no filter on it. Is there supposed to actually be liquid in the lines or vapor? I've always just gotten a poof of vapor when disconnecting the lines before. The liquid shooting out now has me puzzled. It burns at the pilot as vapor, right? When, or at what point in the system does it actually convert to vapor to burn? I'm clueless on this and can't find a good website with a description of how propane actually works in a system like this.

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Old 02/14/11, 05:54 PM
 
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What is the liquid/fluid that is running out when you diconnect the line? Water or liquid LPG?

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  #9  
Old 02/14/11, 05:56 PM
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It's liquid LPG.

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  #10  
Old 02/14/11, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Yeah, the flame isn't quite reaching the thermocouple at the pilot
I think that's the problem.

The thermocouple is a safety device that keeps the gas from coming on if the pilot isn't lit, and KEEPS the pilot on once it gets hot enough.

A new thermocouple should fix it
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  #11  
Old 02/14/11, 06:20 PM
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Using a small mirror, I couldn't see anything down in the pilot light hole but, I went ahead and got a Q-tip and pulled most of the cotton off to be able to get it down in the hole and wet it with some rubbing alcohol. Swirled it a couple of times and pulled it out and then started it back up. It's been burning for about 15 minutes now. No sputtering yet. I had already blew out the hole from the backside of the pilot, but that didn't help. We'll see how this does.

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Old 02/14/11, 06:22 PM
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Depending on how the thermocouple is mounted, you may be able to move it back into the flame

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  #13  
Old 02/14/11, 06:44 PM
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The flame is slightly curving around the thermocouple now. Though it might be about time to order some spare parts just in case. I'll report back if anything changes. I appreciate all the suggestions.

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  #14  
Old 02/20/11, 10:29 PM
 
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If you are not running the hose that buddy recomends, you need a filter on the heater. The black LP hoses leach oils when they are in use causing the burner to gum up. I suspect that you need to clean the unit and run a filter. You can get the filter for about $12 or so.

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