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post #1 of 3 Old 10-15-2007 Thread Starter
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Another Propane Question

We have on board a Dickinson P12000 propane heater.
We had it installed when we first purchased the boat.
It has never given us any trouble and has been great for keeping the main salon nice and cozy on a chilly spring are fall weekend.
We love it. It has always worked great.

This past weekend it was necessary to operate it.
It would lite fine, but after about an hour or so, the flame would slowly die out to nothing. My tank was filled recently, so I am sure I had plenty of fuel.

I would turn off the gas valve, wait a few minutes, than turn the gas valve back on, and relight it. Again it would burn and put out heat for a time than slowly die out.

I thought perhaps that it was not getting oxygen.

The flue is two pieces. An outer chamber brings air in from the outside to prevent depleting the oxygen from inside the cabin, while the inner lining exhausts. I took the flue apart to see if it had a blockage and found none.

We went to bed Saturday night a little disappointed. The next day Sunday, I was making breakfast on the stove. While I was cooking the flame slowly started to dissipate.

Now I checked the tank and switched over to a brand new filled tank and I got the same results.

I checked the fittings in the locker with the soap and water test and found no leaks. There is pressure in the system according to the pressure gauge on the tank. There is no smell of propane anywhere in the cabin (I don't think there are any leaks).

I am a bit puzzled, but my next thoughts are to check
a) The regulator and
b) The solenoid

I don't think it would the solenoid because I would think that it would be either open or closed. Not slowly closing or part way open. That doesn't make sense to me.
Both the heater and stove worked fine, than the flames slowly die out.
Not on one minute than off the next, and there does not appear to be any propane leaks. (If we had a leak, I don't think I would be typing this right now, I lit and re-lit both appliances lots of times.)

What does the panel think?
Could I have a bad regulator?
A bad solenoid?
What should I check next?

Courtney is My Hero

If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White

Last edited by sailortjk1; 10-15-2007 at 09:52 AM.
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-15-2007
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The symptoms you describe are indicative of a failed solenoid valve. I have had exactly the same problem occur. I wasted money replacing the pressure regulator to no avail. Swapping out the solenoid cured it. That's where I'd begin. Just get a new one, don't try to fix it.
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post #3 of 3 Old 10-15-2007
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There are two essentials necessary for maintaining a flame - oxygen & fuel. Since, you've obviously had adequate oxygen to survive the night, the fuel cylinder is full, a innoperable solenoid should not allow any fuel through, and this problem occurs with both your heater and gas stove, I would suspect the problem can be isolated to either a faulty regulator or cylinder valve.

My next course of action would be to bring the valve/regulator to a local propane equipment retailer/supplier for testing. This would at least isolate or illiminate this as the problem source.

Edit - just read John's account. I had replaced my solenoid last season, but there wasn't any pilot flame as a symptom. Replacing it fixed my problem as well though.

True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat

Last edited by TrueBlue; 10-15-2007 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Additional info
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