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Old 10-29-2012, 08:16 AM   #1
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Calling all diagnosticians

Appliance: Atwood GC6AA-7 electric/gas water heater, pilot light ignition.
Problem: Intermittant operation on gas
Parameters: Gas on, all other gas-fired appliances working 100%
Narrative: 1) 1 p.m. Wed.,Turn knob to "pilot", hold to left against spring tension, light pilot, wait, turn to "on", burner lights. Goes out within 3 minutes. Pilot is out also.
2) Repeat and burner stays on for 10 minutes. Burner out, pilot out.
3) Repeat, burner stays on, heats water, cycles off, pilot stays lit.
4) Thurs. a.m., rise, shower, all is well.
5) Fri, a.m., no hot water, pilot is out. Must repeat Wednesday all over again. Same result. After three tries, burner heats tank and functions properly.
6) Saturday a.m., no hot water, pilot out. (Wife not happy)

Does this sound like a bad thermocouple or bad control valve?

Teach
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:05 AM   #2
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Teach,

My manuals are at home right now, but re-reading your excellent listing of events...(really that was great!) You did not show a P in the model number so this suggests you “do not” have the pilot relight feature which is electric. Meaning your model is totally all gas/mechanical operated. There are no wires back by the burner. Correct?

Assuming you do not have the Pilot relight feature and are all mechanical,

I' would say the thermocouple is giving you fits. Here is where I do not recall without looking it up, on that gas setup the thermocouple also acts as the main flame sense to keep the main valve engaged as well as the pilot. If the flame sense goes out on either pilot or the main burner running, it is going to shut the main valve and the pilot down.

As of right now, I would start with the thermocouple.

Do you know if you have the White Rogers valve or the Robert Shaw gas valve? In the files section there is a cut sheet on the Atwood HW heater and on page 4 and 6 it talks about the differences. They look different. http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/downloads.php?do=file&id=424

I though I uploaded the big Atwood service manual but have not. Have to fix that later.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Meaning your model is totally all gas/mechanical operated. There are no wires back by the burner. Correct?

That is correct. It's "old school."

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
I' would say the thermocouple is giving you fits. Here is where I do not recall without looking it up, on that gas setup the thermocouple also acts as the main flame sense to keep the main valve engaged as well as the pilot. If the flame sense goes out on either pilot or the main burner running, it is going to shut the main valve and the pilot down.

That would explain the thermocouple's placement. In its bracket, it is situated halfway between the pilot and the burner flame, enabling it to sense both. When the heater malfunctions, the pilot is out. When it cycles, the pilot stays lit, so it's not the semi-vilolent, main flame ignition blowing the pilot out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
As of right now, I would start with the thermocouple.

That was my thinking. And I have the White Rogers valve.
Thanks for the download and your counsel.

Teach
p.s. I thought you'd appreciate having just the pertinent facts to work with. I become frustrated, myself, having to comb through a long story for the information pertinent to the problem's solution. Perhaps we could adopt a similar format in all of our tech-related inquiries?
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:30 AM   #4
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You may also want to check the LP regulator. I had a similiar issue on our 276SR where all of our gas appliances worked perfectly but the Atwood water heater would not run on gas (would light then cut out). We also have electric so it wasn't a big deal. I finally decided to take it in to a local RV shop to have them diagnose the problem under the 2-year warranty. They ended up replacing the trailer LP regulator (and charged me $85 ) and it has worked fine since.
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