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Problem with Jotul Sebago 400 DV

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by rthcarpenter, Aug 25, 2009.

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  1. rthcarpenter

    rthcarpenter New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Northern Colorado
    We've actually had a series of problems with this heater since the day it was installed (3 years ago). The original problem was that it would shut itself off if the flame was set any higher than low. We had a tech come out and look at it. He checked the install specs, gas pressure, venting, etc. He talked to Jotul tech people and they couldn't figure out the problem. We decided (foolishly) to live with it, as we figured we probably would use it on low most of the time anyway and we had to go out of town for an extended period the next day. It worked through that 1st winter (on low only). The following fall, when I turned it bback on for the season, I found that it was no longer taking commands from the thermostat. It was still within the 1 year warranty, so I called a service company again. Explained the problem, he said the switch had probably gone bad, and said that I could bypass the switch, and wire directly to the terminal block. Since we only controlled it with the thermostat that's exactly what I did. (I later found out the manuf. says not to do that). 3 weeks later (2 days after the warranty expired), it stated to shut off even when it was on low. Called the dealer, the gave us a larger orifice (it is converted for LP). That only made things worse. He gave a new t-pile - that made no differece at all. He said Jotul told him the was no way it could be the t-couple, so that was never tried. So, we turned on the electric heat for backup, and lived with it for that 2nd winter.
    Last year, it would no longer take any commands from the thermostat. I could turn it on or off at the switch. We put in a wood burning stove for primary heat, used electric for backup, and the gas for occasioal ambience, if it would stay on. The dealer didn't want to hear from me anymore, and I have zero confidence in the service company they use (apparently they're the only ones around).
    We're contractors and have no problem doing whatever needs to be done, but I need a diagnostician to help figure out the problem. I have been unable to find anyway to contact Jotul's tech services (my first thought) and the dealer wouldn't give me any contact numbers.
    Any thoughts, suggestions, information would be greatly appreciated.

    It's vented up and out with a 36" snorkel.

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    4,933
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    The Sebago is a good unit & shouldn't be giving you that much trouble.
    Here's what I'd do:
    Try taking the logs out of the firebox & letting it run.
    If it runs on the high flame setting, then there is a problem with the log placement.
    You may be getting what is known in the industry as a "Heat Pocket."
    Thermopiles work on a heat differential. The difference in heat between the top of the TP
    & the bottom have to be such the the bi-metal parts will do their thing.
    Sometimes if the logs are too close, that differential becomes too small, it'll stop generating millivolts
    & it'll shut the unit down.
    The second thing I'd try is to see if the unit burns with the glass removed. That'll point to a venting issue.
    Good luck & let us know how you make out
  3. rthcarpenter

    rthcarpenter New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Northern Colorado
    We love the stove too. It's great when it stays running, we just haven't been ablr to rely on it. I'm most disillusioned with the dealer and service co. I really believe that Jotul could have helped me figure this out 3 years ago.
    I think we did try it without the logs, but I will try it agian just in case. (we've tried so many things I've kinda lost track of some of them)
    I wanted to try without the glass, but the manual said not to run without the glass, and I wanted to play it safe. Should I take it all the way out, or just lift it a few inches? A venting problem is something I've wondered about since the first winter, but the first tech said it met all specs and that Jotul (he called them while he was here) verified it met their specs.

    Thank you! J
  4. rthcarpenter

    rthcarpenter New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northern Colorado
    Also, since it will stay on for irregular lengths of time (literally it may stay on for 30 seconds or may work fine for 2 or 3 weeks), how long can I operate it with the glass removed?
  5. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    central maine
    sounds like you got a pilot problem.. maye you need to custom fab a pilot shield, snorkels can do wierd things to the airflow thru a gas unit...
  6. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

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    do not operate w/ glass removed!!.. you got a camera? show me some pics of the flame on the burner and on the pilot. w/ and without the logs,, even better some video of them going for a minute or so.
  7. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Just lift up the glass a half an inch or so to allow air to the fuel...
    Keep some windows open for adequate ventilation...
    This is just a test to see if you've got a blockage in either the intake or exhaust...
    I didn't mean to imply that you can operate the unit for an extended period of time without the glass sealed...
    You DEFINITELY do not want to do that. You could wake up DEAD...
    What does the unit do when it shuts down? Does the pilot also go out - or just the burner?
  8. rthcarpenter

    rthcarpenter New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Northern Colorado
    Just lift up the glass a half an inch or so to allow air to the fuel…
    Keep some windows open for adequate ventilation…
    ****That's what I figured you meant****

    This is just a test to see if you’ve got a blockage in either the intake or exhaust…
    ****what, precisely, am I looking for to determine whether there is a blockage?********

    I didn’t mean to imply that you can operate the unit for an extended period of time without the glass sealed…
    You DEFINITELY do not want to do that. You could wake up DEAD…
    ****Thank you, that would be a bad thing......**********

    What does the unit do when it shuts down? Does the pilot also go out - or just the burner?
    ****Burner and pilot go out, accompanied by a very audible 'click'*********
  9. rthcarpenter

    rthcarpenter New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Northern Colorado
    Summit:

    do not operate w/ glass removed!!.. you got a camera? show me some pics of the flame on the burner and on the pilot. w/ and without the logs,, even better some video of them going for a minute or so.

    ******Thank you, see my previous response to Daksy on that one*******

    My camera is working out of town with my husband for the rest of week. What am I looking for in flame appearance? (No jargon please, HVAC is not really my thing).
    I haven't actually turned it on for the season yet, (I'm wondering what new will not be working right this year), but it's supposed to be cool this evening so I can try it in the AM. Won't be able to take pic's til the weekend though.
  10. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Kinda leads towards the venting, but pilot agitation could also be the culprit...
    Does the pilot jump all over the place when the burner's on?
    If it does, too much air may be rushing in thru the intake & the thermocouple isn't getting enough of the pilot
    flame to generate the correct millivolts to keep the magnets open...
    You may be able to turn the pilot flame up via the brass slotted screw on the front of the valve
    If the pilot is steady & strong, what do the burner flames do just before everything shuts down?
    Do the appear to "lift" off the burner? Kinda "ghostly" looking?
    That points to inadequate combustion air coming in.
    Hope that's not too awful technical for you...
  11. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    1,903
    Loc:
    central maine
    does the flame lift off the burner? also, does it hold a steady flame on the thermocouple / thermopile elements (should engulf the top third of the "sticks" on the left and right of the pilot hood).. if you are hearing a click, i am betting the pilot is "fluttering" and is not keeping a solid contact, thus disengageing the electromagnet keeping the valve open.
  12. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Have you called the gas connection? There the best techs in colorado and serve the north. Your venting should be dead on. If i sold you the stove at altitude i would have put on a snorkel.
  13. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Loc:
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    One more thing, if it goes strait back into a snorkel, at very high elevations, it still will not work properly most of the time. At least in my experience. I also wonder if it was converted properly.
  14. pegpaz

    pegpaz New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    New Jersey
    Hi,

    I just joined this forum to try to find out what is wrong with our 9 yr. old Jotul GF3 DVII Allagash stove.

    I noticed that others had the same problem - the flame goes out. We have been having this problem for years, and just dealt with it. Unfortunately, the dealer we bought it from and who installed it, no longer carries Jotul or services them. The next closest dealer is 25 miles away, and I was told we are out of their area.

    I went on Jotuls website to see if there was any contact info, but couldn't find any. I thought that was strange. Unless they don't want to be contacted.

    Did any of you figure out why your flame would go out?

    Ours might stay on for a while, then it would go out. If we flicked the switch off then back on again - sometimes the flame would start and sometimes it wouldn't go back on.

    I'm really not sure what to do now, being I can't find a dealer to service it.

    Any advice?

    Peggy in NJ
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