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Old 11-26-2012, 03:54 PM   #16
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Can a standing pilot use electronic ignition?


Can see what appears to be a 1/4"male spade in the one pic.

This looks like a Rheem intermittent pilot circa early 90s.

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Old 11-26-2012, 07:20 PM   #17
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Can a standing pilot use electronic ignition?


Yes, TICK... TICK... TICK, and yes, for sure it's an intermittent pilot, but now for the most part behaving like a standing pilot. Sometimes the pilot does shut off with the main heat/blowers, but usually not.

When the pilot light has been off, a rapid clickety clickety clickety is the first thing that happens when the thermostat says "fire it up", and then there are slower lower pitch ticks (let's call them clacks) that start once the pilot has been on a bit, and those must be the opening of the valves that let the heating gas out (which gets lit by the pilot).

When the pilot did not go out and is burning like a standing pilot, the rapid clicketies don't even happen - probably because the first thing that happens is the pilot sensor is checked to see if it is already lit. Already lit? Then no clickety ignition for the pilot. The clacks to open the main valves then do still happen, though.

The "male spade" showing in the picture does kind of mean I've been throwing around the fancy word "thermocouple" incorrectly. A "thermocouple" has a very similar sensor on the end to gather the heat and transform it into a tiny electric charge at the other end of some copper tubing, but mine is just a sensor and the "male spade" right there below it kind of shows that.

I am going to have time tomorrow to dig into it all, clean stuff, and so forth, and see what I can see. I can't fathom why a cleaned and better positioned sensor would have anything to do with the "brain" cutting the electricity to the pilot valve and letting it close when it should, but who knows? I'm pretty sure it's a spark ignitor and not a glow bar type, but I am curious enough about it all now to want to have a better look-see.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:02 PM   #18
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Can a standing pilot use electronic ignition?


Sounds like you have a faulty gas valve. It's very unlikely anything you can do will resolve this. I believe it's time for a new valve. Although this issue seems small right now, if it's beginning to fail it could end up being a catastrophic event....don't wait to have it resolved.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:47 PM   #19
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Can a standing pilot use electronic ignition?


The thing you called a thermocouple is actually a "flame rod" which proves there is a pilot/source of ignition and allows the main gas valve to open..this is accomplished by allowing current to flow from the rod to grounding area by allowing the electrons to move through the pilot flame to the grounding area..that is why cleaning the rod and ground area is important..but, your is working except for the pilot staying lit..NOTE..worse case scenariou..pilot blows out and pilot valve stays open allowing accumulation of gas to build up in combustion area over time then excess build up goes boom during when pilot spark comes on during fire up sequence..ALSO tghis would be far worse if main gas valve sticks open ...for obvious reasons..the gas valve is old and worn...DON"T TEMPT FATE..change it or replace furnace! BTW gas valves are not legally repairable. Also for obvious reasons.. so, no parts available to do so.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:33 PM   #20
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Can a standing pilot use electronic ignition?


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Originally Posted by techpappy
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Just look for the smoke.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:45 AM   #21
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Can a standing pilot use electronic ignition?


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Yup, I've decided to not become a(n) (un)living testament to this site warning...

Though all evidence is that if the valve closes and the pilot goes out, the valve doesn't open back up or leak... assuming that will continue to be the case when it's obviously messed up somehow could turn the old adage about "assume" into somehow including "blown to smithereens".

I figured all this stuff would be proprietary (exact model of furnace needs exact parts) but a very good "appliance" parts place here sells the combo valve alone for $140 (U.S. bucks) or an upgrade kit (sold to replace an old fashioned "standing pilot" bunch of parts to be intermittent - so includes the combo valve, intermittent pilot, sensor - flame rod, eh techpappy?) for $219 (Canadian - no, kidding... again U.S. dollars - though we do have plenty of Loonies here).

Since I will have the time tomorrow and know how to do all this safely (unplugged, gas valve to it shut off), I do still plan to get at what I can, and maybe take it in to the parts place and knowing how it all fit in there, figure out if the one-size-fits-all upgrade kit would do the job. The knowledgeable parts guy did say that the bummer would be to do that and then within a year something else on the old furnace breaks.

Thanks all for the advice, whimsy, and warnings...

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