How safe is your cat heater? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-12-2006, 12:11 AM   #15
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Trailer: 84 16 ft Scamp
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The only external power source on the range I bought used is a single AA battery. It connects through a momentary on switch to a box with two terminals on the bottom (one from the (-) of the battery and the other from the (+) via the switch.

On top of the box are six more terminals. One is not used. Three connect to lighters for the top burners, one to the lower oven burner and the fifth to the upper broil burner. I opened the box. It looks like a multivibrator circuit driving a step-up transformer. With a good battery you get a series of sparks at each burner when you push the button.

Each burner also has a thermocouple. These output about 25 mv when heated. When you turn on the burner gas you push in on the knob and hold it in while turning it to the high flame position. You also hit the lighter switch which lights the propane.

What happens is inside the valve, as the knob is pushed in, propane pressure sets a spring loaded plunger against an electromagnet. As you continue holding in the knob the burning propane heats the thermocouple. At some point there is enough thermocouple current applied to the electromagnet to hold the plunger in position, and you can let go of the knob and do your cooking. However if the flame goes out, the thermocouple cools and stops generating enough current to hold the plunger. It springs away from the electromagnet and shuts off the gas to that burner.

The reason I know this is because the oven burner wouldn't stay lit. I suspected the thermocouple or electromagnet/plunger was bad. So I took it all apart. I had a need to go to Seattle anyway so bought a new thermocouple and plunger valve from Sure Marine. It turned out I didn't need the new parts, the jet to that burner was just partially plugged. It all works fine now and I have the parts tie-wrapped underneath in case I ever actually need them.

So it appears that Force 10 has figured out a way to provide this safety feature without any external power.

Loren G. Hedahl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2006, 12:31 AM   #16
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Trailer: 84 16 ft Scamp
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Yeh Steve, the cats do sometimes fend for themselves. That's actually quite a problem.

We usually travel with a cat. Once while parked next to a tree with the window down the cat saw something interesting to either fend or defend (I'm not certain which) up in the tree. Anyway it was in Arizona on a sunny winter day, so the cat didn't need heating, being up in a tree on a sunny winter Arizona day. So a cat heater wasn't going to work to get that cat down out of the tree.

Luckily it was nearly lunch time. So instead of just having sandwiches, my wife decided to cook dinner. Once the cooking was well in process the cat forgot about fending or defending and found soon found a place inside the trailer where the sun was shining through the window.

That story is proof that for cats heat is secondary. It's food first, then heat.

I guess you are right, Steve. They do fend for themselves, especially where either heat or food is concerned. Or is it defend?

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Old 02-12-2006, 03:51 PM   #17
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Posts: 4,999
That's a good point, Loren - the external power is only needed for ignition, not for the thermocouple-based safety shutoff valve. So we know we can have burners in both heaters and cooking appliances which reduce the hazard of unburned propane filling the trailer due to a failed flame, but we're still not sure if we can also have the ones in the stove and oven shut down on low oxygen. Closer...

1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
Information is good. Lack of information is not so good, but misinformation is much worse. Check facts, and apply common sense liberally.
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