2001 Atwood 6 Gal Control Board

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Henry J Fate

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Hello Friends, Hope all is well

My 6 gallon Atwood propane water heater has a board problem. It has a difficult time with the spark needed to ignite the gas. The board functions otherwise as designed. I replaced the electrode without results. My Norcold board had a similar problem about a year ago and with my electronic experience I replaced ?the ignitor coil on the board and its working perfect a year later. I suspect it may be the same problem I had with the Norcold board but with that board I wasn't able to test and confirm but rather took a gamble on a $7 part that turned out to be the problem. In the Norcold case it had no spark at all but in the case of the Atwood it sparks intermittently. Most of the time it will spark near the end of the timed ignition cycle causing a pretty good bang from the accumulated propane in the chamber. I have lit it manually many times and it works perfectly when I do. I can say for sure that the flame verification is working properly. It is just the ignition.

I am looking for any test specifications for the Atwood control board. I am aware of the complexity of getting to the components on the board due to the fact that the board is sealed in silicone but I have successfully tackled that before.

Thanks everyone

Henry
 

NY_Dutch

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Where our wheels take us!
I don't know how much you value your time, but I've found it much easier and more reliable to replace the furnace and water heater ignitor boards with Dinosaur replacements. Their Universal Ignitor Board model UIB-S works with both. I keep one in my spares. They're more reliable than the OEM board, and easier to repair as well if like doing that.

https://www.amazon.com/Dinosaur-Electronics-Universal-Ignitor-0310-1300/dp/B0002MG2IK/

For the water heater, I recommend also getting their mounting kit and cover:

https://www.amazon.com/Dinosaur-Electronics-2TABMOUNTK-Tab-Mounting/dp/B00DPJ2PB0/
 

Rene T

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Before you spend any money, have you tried unplugging the wires from the board and clean all the contact's of the plug?  Use a pencil eraser for that. Once done, plug it in and off several times to clean the mating contacts inside the board or the plug.
 

Henry J Fate

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Thanks for the suggestions. Board replacement is an option. I would like to repair the original though. It will turn out to be a simple fix if it can be identified. I am guessing that a board testing spec maybe hard to get or possibly isn't available. The board being sealed  in silicone seems to force replacement rather than repair. The Dinosaur board sounds good and I like that the board can be used in different appliances. Thanks for the info Dutch.

The plug on the board was a suspicion of mine early on. I took extra care to clean both the board contacts and the pins in the connector. It seemed at first to have a brief positive impact but then fell into the same problem. I have been removing the plug quite frequently when it fails to fire. With the switch in the coach in the ON position and after it fails to fire and shuts down, I reset it outside by pulling the plug off the board and plugging back in. It replicates turning the switch in the coach OFF then ON thus resetting the board and to restart the ignition process. I will revisit that tomorrow Rene. Thanks for reminding me about that. I was never fully convinced that the connector was not the problem. I will update tomorrow. I am heading to bed.

Thanks again

Henry
 

Henry J Fate

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Here is the latest update..........

I had some time yesterday to spend on the control board. I removed the msilicone from the solder side of the board to inspect the solder joints to the components. I re-flowed the solder to all of the joints paying special attention to the ignition coil and the connector joints. I also installed a dedicated ground wire to the electrode bracket. I wasn't satisfied with the designed method of grounding which relied heavily on mounting and assembly surfaces. I cleaned the connector pins and the board contacts which appeared to be ok. I removed the electrode cleaned and adjusted the gap to about 1/8 of an inch. The electrode is currently providing a consistent spark that ignites the gas. I am not completely happy with the strength of the spark but it is working. I can't say for sure what the problem was because I tackled several things. One other thing I did was to adjust the air mixture of the flame. It seemed to need a little more air than it was set. The flame looks good. I will run it as it is for now and see what happens.

Thanks for the help

Henry
 

Rene T

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Thanks for the update. It would have been nice if you tried it after every fix but that may have not been possible. At least it's working. Good luck.
 

Henry J Fate

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Jun 14, 2018
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Unfortunately I didn't itemize the repairs and the results but I can say this morning that the unit fired like it should and better than it has since buying the coach over a year ago. The spark still appears to be a little on the weak side but I don't have a known properly working ignition system to compare. I think the dedicated ground wire to the electrode mounting bracket will surely help complete the circuit. I would recommend that modification. There were some solders on the board that I wasn't happy about. I did resolder everything. I also took special care to make sure the electrode is sitting in a good path of gas and the added air intake may have also helped the ignition.

I will use it as it is for a little while to make sure it continues it's ways. After that I will re-seal the board to keep it isolated from the outside environment.

Have a good weekend

Henry
 

Henry J Fate

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Quick update.....

Yesterday I had a problem with the Atwood ignition system. It was the first time since touching up solders, adding a dedicated ground to the electrode, adjusting the location of the electrode and adding some air intake to the flow of gas.

I am currently stationary at a resort and plugged into shore power. I cycle my converter on and off and rarely leave it charging batteries for extended periods. I was in the second day of the converter off and found the water heater was having ignition trouble. I turned the converter on and suddenly had good spark and ignition. The batteries are new and well managed. I did not check the battery voltage but I am very sure it was over 12 volts.

This seems to confirm my suspicion that the ignition spark is not quite as crisp as it should be. I may try to find a replacement ignitor coil to see if that solves the problem. I replaced the ignitor coil on my Norcold about a year ago. The Norcold has missed fired once since the replacement. I found the replacement on Amazon for less than $10.
 
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