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Old 11-06-2018, 05:01 PM   #1
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Suburban water heater

Hi

I changed out my anode rod today Iím my suburban sw6DE water heater thinking that would help with no hot water.

I noticed that if I jiggled the wire to the ignitor it would start the flame. I then took the ignitor out cleaned the contacts and the ground connection and put it back in. Now I get nothing.

However, after reassembly I did got a little ďzapĒlike a spark plug in a car when I was testing the connection without the boot on it. But that was the last time I got anything out of it. All fuses and breakers are fine. I did have the gas OFF when I was checking the ignitor.

How does this thing work for ignition? Does it use 12v to create the spark or the 110v circuitry? I know a car has a coil pack and ECU to create the spark, is it the same thing for a water heater? Iím sure this thing doesnít have points and a distributor!

I buzzed out the ignitor and the center electrode is fine and the ground electrode goes to ground correctly so no broken connections there.

The gap seems to be ok in the ignitor as far as I can tell. When I touch have the ignitor out, I touch the ground lead to ground and donít see a spark jump across the contacts. I think that high voltage is not present on the ignitor.

I presume that I am looking for 20,000-40,000 or so volts on the anode to jump the gap? How does that voltage get created in the water heater electronics?

Iím not sure what to do now aside from taking it in to have it looked at?

Thanks!
Rich
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjpetr65 View Post
Hi

I changed out my anode rod today Iím my suburban sw6DE water heater thinking that would help with no hot water.

I noticed that if I jiggled the wire to the ignitor it would start the flame. I then took the ignitor out cleaned the contacts and the ground connection and put it back in. Now I get nothing.

However, after reassembly I did got a little ďzapĒlike a spark plug in a car when I was testing the connection without the boot on it. But that was the last time I got anything out of it. All fuses and breakers are fine. I did have the gas OFF when I was checking the ignitor.

How does this thing work for ignition? Does it use 12v to create the spark or the 110v circuitry? I know a car has a coil pack and ECU to create the spark, is it the same thing for a water heater? Iím sure this thing doesnít have points and a distributor!

I buzzed out the ignitor and the center electrode is fine and the ground electrode goes to ground correctly so no broken connections there.

The gap seems to be ok in the ignitor as far as I can tell. When I touch have the ignitor out, I touch the ground lead to ground and donít see a spark jump across the contacts. I think that high voltage is not present on the ignitor.

I presume that I am looking for 20,000-40,000 or so volts on the anode to jump the gap? How does that voltage get created in the water heater electronics?

Iím not sure what to do now aside from taking it in to have it looked at?

Thanks!
Rich


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Old 11-06-2018, 05:29 PM   #3
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....no real answer, but I would pull the fuse to reset. I am pretty sure it is 12V control as it can work without 120V connection... correct?

If it doesn't work it is a cheap check. Did you try and reset the overloads? (behind oval rubber boot on upper mid left of the heater)

BTW... I think the housing on the igniter has to be grounded to work.
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjpetr65 View Post
Hi

I changed out my anode rod today Iím my suburban sw6DE water heater thinking that would help with no hot water.

I noticed that if I jiggled the wire to the ignitor it would start the flame. I then took the ignitor out cleaned the contacts and the ground connection and put it back in. Now I get nothing.

However, after reassembly I did got a little ďzapĒlike a spark plug in a car when I was testing the connection without the boot on it. But that was the last time I got anything out of it. All fuses and breakers are fine. I did have the gas OFF when I was checking the ignitor.

How does this thing work for ignition? Does it use 12v to create the spark or the 110v circuitry? I know a car has a coil pack and ECU to create the spark, is it the same thing for a water heater? Iím sure this thing doesnít have points and a distributor!

I buzzed out the ignitor and the center electrode is fine and the ground electrode goes to ground correctly so no broken connections there.

The gap seems to be ok in the ignitor as far as I can tell. When I touch have the ignitor out, I touch the ground lead to ground and donít see a spark jump across the contacts. I think that high voltage is not present on the ignitor.

I presume that I am looking for 20,000-40,000 or so volts on the anode to jump the gap? How does that voltage get created in the water heater electronics?

Iím not sure what to do now aside from taking it in to have it looked at?

Thanks!
Rich
I'm not gonna tell you how to fix it. I gonna give you some things to think about.

What made you think the anode rod had anything to do with making hot water? Was there anything involved with it that could produce heat?

You made it work by juggling the wire. Think about that. Loose connection? Broken wire?

Where would you get 120 volts if you were boondocking with no generator?

There is a circuit board involved using 12 volts to produce the spark.

Does it work on 120 volt?

Gas switch inside with the red light on?

Go back and think about the loose connection again.

Go to the library section at the top of the page and read. You need to do some reading.
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:45 PM   #5
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The WH uses a DSI ( direct Spark Ignition) across the spark gap ( the zap you are hearing). The control board operates on 12V and has a built in fail safe that shuts everything down after several failed attempts to light. Pulling the fuse for a minute or so will reset it if that is the issue.
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:49 PM   #6
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Look at this thread, electrode gap should be .125"

Suburban Hot water heater
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:15 PM   #7
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Ok I got that fixed. It was the 12 Volt over temp sensor that needed to be replaced.

Thanks. Another question. I may have stripped the anode rod threads (in the hole) when I put the new one in. Is there a threading tool to rethread that?
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:34 PM   #8
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Ok I got that fixed. It was the 12 Volt over temp sensor that needed to be replaced.

Thanks. Another question. I may have stripped the anode rod threads (in the hole) when I put the new one in. Is there a threading tool to rethread that?
3/4" NPT pipe tap.

If you really believe you cross-threaded and stripped the threads, you should install another anode rod too. Depending on severity, you might clean the threads on the stripped anode with a 3/4" NPT die but if you don't have a die, the new anode will likely be less money than the die.
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rjpetr65 View Post
Ok I got that fixed. It was the 12 Volt over temp sensor that needed to be replaced.

Thanks. Another question. I may have stripped the anode rod threads (in the hole) when I put the new one in. Is there a threading tool to rethread that?
Depends on how bad they are stripped, or cross-threaded. The threads are 3/4" NPT. At a minimum you will need a 3/4" NPT tap in an attempt to "chase" the affected threads. Keep in mind that pipe threads are tapered for sealing purposes. You must have enough metal remaining to create the correct taper. Hopefully you have enough metal left once the damaged threads are repaired. If you are not adept, or confident at cutting pipe threads I suggest you solicit a plumber for assistance, otherwise you could wind up with scrap metal.
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Old 11-09-2018, 04:24 AM   #10
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Thanks all
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