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Old 05-02-2015, 09:17 AM   #1
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furnace woes

Have been on the road for 8-9 weeks now and using the furnace on those occasional cold mornings. No problems until three days ago when it came on but would not shut off using the thermostat. I disconnected shore power and battery power to get it to shut down. The next morning I tried it but no ignition. The fan came on as I understand it should to clear any gas residuals, but the furnace would not ignite. Have been thru the Atwood manual and did not get any clues as to where to start troubleshooting.
After just getting stuck for $129/hr at a Campers World in Chattanooga, Tn for another issue, I am hesitant to ever return.
Pictures attached and hoping for some ideas from you folks.
Thanks very much,
John
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Old 05-03-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
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When you say it did not shut off was it heating or just running the fan? There is a post purge that may last a few minutes but if it was just making things hotter then it sounds like a thermostat issue. If the battery is weak the fan may run but it may not have enough air flow to close the sail switch if it does not close the gas valve will not open and it will make no heat.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:11 PM   #3
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Mainah,
Fan runs but no heat. Not a battery issue as I was on shore power.
Don't know how to troubleshoot it. Will google sail switch.
John
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Old 05-04-2015, 06:47 AM   #4
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Don't know about your particular unit but they all work pretty much the same. If it comes on the thermostat is telling it to work inside is an overtemp switch and a sail switch, the sail switch detects air flow I don't think I have ever seen a problem with the overtemp switch. Any way if the battery is low the fan will not turn fast enough to close the sail switch I would try it plugged in and see what happens the extra voltage boost may give it the speed it needs. When the two switches close the gas valve opens and it makes heat otherwise it just blows cold air till you turn it off. Another common failure is the control board it's self some may have diagnostic lights on the board but usually the factory one doesn't. I have nothing but good to say about Dinosaur boards they are top notch and many of the newer ones will even turn the fan off if it fails to light. Most of the factory boards will only try to light once then give up the Dinosaur one at least try 3 times. Remember you are dealing with explosive gas so never alter anything or hold switches close so if you are uncomfortable with the whole ideal better let someone who has been there before deal with it. The last two ones I repaired had intermittent lighting most times they lit some times they didn't I just replaced the board and never had any more issues.
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Old 05-06-2015, 07:32 PM   #5
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Thank you Mainah,
Will tear into it next week after we get home. Must investigate those dinosaur control boards.
John
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:47 AM   #6
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John,

Need to clarify a question/answer.

When the unit first started acting up, you said it just keep running, during this first shut down issue, was it blowing heat or just cold air?


We understand that after you pulled all the power off it stopped and then would not ignite the 2nd time.

Trying to make sure we understand the 1st failure when it did not want to shut off. It helps point to what might be working and then not working.

Your unit also has on board diagnostics. The control board LED blinks a code, and on the motor is the code for the blinking. Does it blink a code? and what does the code say? The outside metal cover needs to be off to see the code. Try firing it up with the cover off and check the code. It may take several minutes to throw the code. It has to time through the purge phase before it can start sensing there is a problem.

Good luck

John
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbinnh View Post
No problems until three days ago when it came on but would not shut off using the thermostat. I disconnected shore power and battery power to get it to shut down. The next morning I tried it but no ignition.
John,

Please confirm when it first failed and would not shut off, was it blowing heat then or just blowing cold air? This helps point to which part of the system is having issue.

We understand the 2nd time you tried to start it, it would not ignite.

You model has on board diagnostics. See the motor name plate for the code. A LED on the control board blinks when it throws the code. Count the blink and time between. What code is tripped?

You have to have the cover off to read the code. It will reset when power is pulled or the on/odd switch on the motor is flipped on/off. Then once you try and start the furnace again, it will take a few minutes to throw a new code. It has to time paste the purge and time to ignite period before fault sensing starts.

PS, your unit has a lot of dust in there. Was there a foam gasket on the cover?

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-14-2015, 03:22 PM   #8
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The first time we had the issue, when it would not shut down by use of the thermostat, it was blowing hot air. When I reduced the heat called for and then hit the off switch on the thermostat, nothing happened and it continued to blow hot air.
I just now pulled the cover outside, went inside and upped the thermostat, then went back out and waited for 4-5 minutes to see the led blink. The fan started right up to purge the gas but nothing else happened that I could see or hear. Fan runs great, no heat, and no led coming on. I do see what you described-- the diagnostic code on the motor and what I believe is the red led on the control board, but it did not light up. It is pretty sunny here now so will take another look at it at dusk to be sure I am not missing something.
As for the dust, yes there is a foam gasket around everything but the dust didn't really seem too bad to me. We just got back from an 8500 mile trip and have towed this camper over 50,000 miles now so I would suspect some dust to creep in. I have never had the cover off before this incident a week or so ago.
I have thought of blowing the compartment out with compressed air but will wait for your advice before doing that.
Any idea what the next step should be?
Thanks so much for responding.
John
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:04 PM   #9
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I just checked again while that side of the camper is in shadow and definitely no led lights on.
John
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:16 PM   #10
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Do you have propane? I woke up last winter to the fan blowing cold air. Both my tanks were empty?
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:15 PM   #11
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John,

How electrically friendly are you?

This site Service Documents and Manuals

has the service manual for your 8500 Hydroflame furnace. Scroll to the bottom and see the one called this "A newer Hydroflame manual than the above- 2004 version, less theory but more troubleshooting- includes thermostats."

Page 10 top right has the wiring diagram for the 8500 series that should align with your unit.

Assuming you do have LP gas, (stove top works etc) what you are describing seems to maybe point to the saftey circuit or the board itself.

This will be a process of elimination.

The igniter, if it is being told to fire, you can hear it if you listen close enough. It is a low tone high frequency buzz. You can hear this buzz normally before the "whoosh" when the gas valve opens and it lights.

Point, if you hear the buzz and no fire, then you are at least telling it to fire and there is a gas valve issue.

If there is no buzz, the board is not be sending the signal to fire.

There are 2 more normal devices to stop or prevent the ignition sequence, the sail switch is not making OR the high limit switch is not closed. They are wired in series and must make the connection between the two to allow the control board to send an ignition signal.

So is there any buzz after the blower runs for a while after the purge?

From here there is need to start trouble shooting with a volt meter and I do not know how handy you are with one. Let us know and I can drill in deeper. Does it have an ohm meter on it as well?

The need is to sort out if the voltage path exists through the sail switch and the hi limit when the blower is running.

The hi limit switch is buried in the heat exchanger. it has the 2 white wires coming off it. Looks like this. You will not get to it short of taking the whole thing apart but we can test to and from it, so no need to take apart yet.


The sail switch is buried in the fan housing on this newer model. It has a blue and white wire that comes out from behind this blower blade. Again you are not going to get to that switch easy short of a total disassemble of the furnace, so we need to test power going to it and power coming out of it when the blower is running


What you could try first is seeing if the board connection is good. Shut off all power to the furnace. It is all 12 volts, both the battery and the power converter.

Very gently pull off the white wire connector and look for dirt or corrosion on the connector.




You can see it here. That white wire is the return from the hi limit switch


Following the wiring diagram, 12 volts to the furnace feeds the blue wire that goes to the T stat and then comes back from the T stat to the one side of the sail switch and to the control board. That 12 volts to the control board turns on the blower and sends it to one side of the sail switch.

If the 12 volts makes it through the sail switch when the blower is running, it leaves as a white wire into the hi limit switch. It come out of the high limit on a white wire as 12 volts and goes into the board as the white wire to send the signal to start the igniter and the gas valve.

Basically you have to rule out the sail switch and the hi limit is working right and the signal is making it to the control board. If it is, and you have no buzz then the control board may have issues. Since the unit was making heat when this whole problem started, it points to the gas valve and the igniter was working at one point and now does not seem to be.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:46 AM   #12
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First, I do have propane---water heater, stovetop and refrig work fine.
Second....Wow, what an explanation. I will take some time and see if I can digest this and implement your suggestions.
Will advise.
Thank you,
John
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