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Stove shutting off then restarting

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by brogsie, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    Hi Guys,
    I have a Lopi Sturbridge natural gas stove.
    When it is turned on it will sometimes shut off, then relight after about a minute or so.
    It may stay lit for hours then shut off. may cycle on and off every five minutes.
    The pilot stays lit, seems to have a good draft. Bad connection with the on/off switch?
    Bad termopile?

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  2. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Sounds like the flame could be drafting off of the thermopile. Can you see the entire pilot flame when the unit is burning? I'd be curious to know if it was blowing off the thermopile or going out for a few seconds at a time. Could certainly be the other suggestions you posted as well, but I'm thinking its more of a pilot flame/thermopile issue.

    Some questions:
    - How old is the unit?
    - This is a new problem correct, or has it been an on and off issue for a while?
    - What is your vent configuration like? Lots of horizontal?
    - Do you have a multi-meter?
  3. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    Hi R&D;Guy,

    The unit is new, installed this fall. Bought off Craig's list still in box.
    Installed by a plumber and myself.

    Problem has occured since installation.

    The vent goes vertial thru wall 3ft to 90 then 10 ft up.

    Could borrow a meter.

    The stove will run for hours, then goes out for 30 seconds then relights itself. Sometimes it will run fine
    sometimes on and off for a while.

    Is it dangerous running it like this?

    Thanks for the help.
  4. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    I think I have narrowed it down to a loose connection.
    There is a wire from the valve to the on/off switch.
    There is a connector that slides over a prong that when moved seems to keep the
    flame going for a while. Although it is better for a while it will go back to the on and off
    cycling. Is there something I can put on the connector (vasoline?) that would improve the connection?
    Any other suggestions?
  5. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Brogsie,

    No danger that I can think of. Now if the burner starts turning on and off rapidly you should turn it off and call a dealer because its hard on the burner. From looking on the Travis website I see that it uses the SIT 820 valve and pilot. I'm pretty familiar with that valve.

    Here is a link to the manual although I'm guessing you have one.

    http://www.lopistoves.com/TravisDocs/100-01142.pdf

    If you want to rule out the switch you could always make a jumper with 1/4" female connectors and plug them into the valve. You'll plug them into the "TH" and "TPTH" leads on the valve. See page 17 of the manual for a picture of what I am talking about.

    Also note the pilot and what it should look like on page 26. I'd confirm that the thermopile (left side of the pilot) has a good flame going to it. The thermopile is what powers (opens) gas to the main burner, while the smaller thermocouple keeps the pilot burning. If you need to turn the pilot up, you can adjust it by turning a screw on the valve.

    Since your unit is brand new I really doubt it's a bad thermocouple, and your vent configuration looks like it would produce plenty of draft. IMO one of 2 things is happening, air is blowing the flame off of the thermopile, or the flame on the left side of the pilot is going out intermittently. So its either getting too much air, or not enough.

    Some things I would try:
    - When the stove acts up, see if you can view the pilot flame. If so is it lifting off of the thermopile? Does it look hyper/over active?
    - If you have metal tape or even tin foil you can make a shield on the left side of the pilot to block air coming from the left side of the firebox. Block the path between the back of the firebox and the back of the log from the base of the pilot to about 1" above the thermopile.

    One of 2 things will happen with the pilot shield, it will either solve the problem, or it will get Way worse. If it gets worse then I'd try opening the flue restrictor to allow more air into the firebox. If the shield solves the problem, you can leave it be, or try closing the restrictor more slowing the air flow into the firebox.

    I hope this helps, you can always try calling the mfg and ask for their tech support guys. I'm willing to bet they have a pilot shield for your unit. Maybe some of the other guys on here have suggestions too?

    Here is a link to a similar problem on another thread although his was much more obvious IMO.
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/28858/
  6. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    Thanks R&D;Guy.

    I will follow your suggestions and let you know.
  7. tubbster

    tubbster Member

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    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Loc:
    Central NY
    Sure sounds familiar.

    Is the stove vented straight out by any chance, I.E., no vertical rise?
  8. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Hey Tubbster,

    Sounds like he has plenty of vertical to me.

  9. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    R&D;Guy,

    I removed the logs so I could watch the pilot as the unit ran.
    With the logs out the stove ran fine.
    I put the logs back in, this time moving them forward from where the manual states.
    The stove ran all afternoon and evening with no problems.
    I assume the logs were causing a draft pulling the pilot flame off the thermopile.
    Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your help.
    I never would have figured it out without your help.
  10. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    375
    Well I'm glad I could help someone around here. :)

    Hopefully the logs aren't too far forward (like an inch or something). Keep an eye on how clean it burns, if you have to start cleaning the glass a lot then you might want to put the logs back and look at another idea like adjusting the restrictor, or a pilot shield. Otherwise what will happen is that you'll go out to the side of your house in a few weeks and notice a bunch of black soot depositing on the siding.

    Good luck, and enjoy your purchase!
  11. unsub1

    unsub1 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Austin, Tx
    Wow! Just found this thread today. I've been using my new Sturbridge this Fall/Winter and have had the identical experience, including discovering the log position is quite crucial and finicky, and unfortunately realizing today that the brick on my new den addition is indeed black and sooty.

    I would love to solve this but there aren't a lot of experts in this part of the country. I did close down the air damper and reduce the flame size to hopefully cut down on the sudden soot buildup. I have a easy situation where the stove vents straight back a foot or so through the external wall. Thanks in advance for any help!

    -steven
  12. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    4,893
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Check to see what the air shutter opening is set at. If
    it's closed down too much, soot is a result. What color
    are your flames? If they are Orange & darker (even Black)
    towards the tips. that's a shutter problem...
  13. unsub1

    unsub1 New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Austin, Tx
    Thanks for getting back to me. In the week or so that the sootiness happened, the flames were extremely tall and extremely yellow and I had the shutter in the middle position. Didn't notice black tips.

    There was one flame that was very prominent that was occasionally touching the top of the firebox and when I opened it up that is where most of the soot had built up on the upper surface.

    Should I be trying to retain the yellow flame but just make it smaller? Between trying to keep this thing from constantly restarting and keeping the soot level down, I'm surprised how difficult this has been.

    Thanks again.
  14. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    4,893
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    You don't mention whether you're burning LP or NG &
    the air shutter settings are different. Generally, LP is
    WIDE open & NG is about 1/8" (MIN.) open. So refer to the owner's
    manual, under "Air Shutter Setting" or "Aeration"...
    If your manual doesn't specify the air shutter opening,
    I'd open it full & let it burn for about 20 minutes. If the flames
    look too blue, close it down in 1/8" increments. You want a yellow
    flame at the top with blue flames at the bottom, just off the burner
    ports...
  15. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    254
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    Are you sure it has the proper orifice installed. Natural gas and propane use different orifices.
    there should be a sticker some where or check the literature.

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