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Thread: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

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    Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    For many of you, the Pentair Minimax is a bad dream long since forgotten.

    Mine won't ignite. The fan goes on, a moment later a "click" is heard but there is no ignition. I smell gas briefly. It repeats this a few times and then times out.

    I changed the ignitor. Problem seemed resolved as it worked fine for a few weeks. Now I have the same problem. Any ideas? Please.
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Follow up: When I use an Ohm Meter to check the ignitor (they call it "Hot Surface Ignitor") there is no current across it.

    SO this means a bad ignitor? Why would it break so quickly? I don't get it.
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Any chance you can get it to where it should start and light it with a fireplace match or a barbeque lighter?

    Then if everything works, you'll know it's either the ignitor or whatever sends the current to it. But if it won't stay on, check for spider webs in the vents. They use a sensor to detect air flow to know the thing is lit, and if there isn;t enough flow, it kills the gas.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Let me try that, using a match to ignite the heater.

    However, note that I do smell gas transiently during the process.
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    Let me try that, using a match to ignite the heater.

    However, note that I do smell gas transiently during the process.
    Then shut it off for a few minutes to let it dissipate, then try it once. No one likes losing eyebrows.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Okay, I open the unit up and find that the ignitor is cracked. So that is the problem.

    But while I was there I tried to ignite the gas with a barbecue lighter. After I hear the gas valve open (makes a "click"), the gas ignites. Stays burning for about 5 seconds, then goes out.

    So there are two questions:

    1) Why did the unit blow an ignitor that was only a few months old?
    2) Upon removing the ignitor and lighting the gas manually, why does it go out after a few seconds?
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    Okay, I open the unit up and find that the ignitor is cracked. So that is the problem.

    But while I was there I tried to ignite the gas with a barbecue lighter. After I hear the gas valve open (makes a "click"), the gas ignites. Stays burning for about 5 seconds, then goes out.

    So there are two questions:

    1) Why did the unit blow an ignitor that was only a few months old?
    2) Upon removing the ignitor and lighting the gas manually, why does it go out after a few seconds?
    I don't know.

    I have no clue how sophisticated the electronics are in those. In the automotive world with which I am familiar, an open circuit in the ignitor would trigger a fault that would kill the gas to prevent an explosion. But like I said, I don't know. I do know they usually have a sensor that detects air flow up below the flame and if it gets clogged with spider webs it can shut the gas off quick.

    Your best bet now is to look for the manual or call the Service line. This might help. The number is on page 10. http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/MiniMax ... DTC-IG.pdf
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    You could have two things happening here. First off the bad ignitor that you know of. The second being the flame sensor could also be bad. Now there is also third possibility that the Ignition control module is causing both the ignitor and the flame sensor to blow. Possible at some point the module sent higher voltage than what is required. The only way to find out if in fact it is a bad module is you would need to replace the bad parts and if they fail in a relatively quick amount of time, like days, then a bad module is suspected.

    The air flow switch will determine if the motor is running. Now, there is a fourth possibility and that is your motor is not running like it should thus also not allowing the unit to ignite properly. Once you fix the ignitor you will know about the motor. So you have a some things to look at here.

    You never received an error code on the display?
    Paul
    http://www.gastekservices.com A word of caution: When working with gas and electrical you might want to consider a licensed contractor. Consider the value of your life and others around you. If you would like to provide a review of the help I provided, please use the following link to leave a review. gastek - Google Search,

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Sounds like a shotgun approach, but what if I replaced the flame sensor and the ignition module along with the igniter? If I get another 5 years out of the heater I would be happy.

    I got the error code that indicates "ignition failure".

    The fan goes on fine. I hear a click, smell gas for a second, but the unit does not ignite.
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Sometimes you do end up with that type of approach to a situation. Replace the ignitor and flame sensor and see what happens.

    http://www.parts4heating.com/Pool-Heate ... -s/692.htm
    Paul
    http://www.gastekservices.com A word of caution: When working with gas and electrical you might want to consider a licensed contractor. Consider the value of your life and others around you. If you would like to provide a review of the help I provided, please use the following link to leave a review. gastek - Google Search,

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Note: There is no discrete flame sensor. On this model the igniter acts as the flame sensor.

    Re safety, I get it. I turn off the gas and power when I work on the unit. I understand the value of calling a professional, but honestly this heater is such a lousy product, the numerous service calls would cost more than the heater is worth.
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Then junk it and buy a new one. Problem solved.

    We are only trying to help you with what you have asked.
    Paul
    http://www.gastekservices.com A word of caution: When working with gas and electrical you might want to consider a licensed contractor. Consider the value of your life and others around you. If you would like to provide a review of the help I provided, please use the following link to leave a review. gastek - Google Search,

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    1) Why did the unit blow an ignitor that was only a few months old?
    I have had igniters go bad after a couple weeks before. Not too common but does happen. When handling them , do not touch the heating element part of them. Any contamination (finger oil etc) can cause them to fail quickly
    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    2) Upon removing the ignitor and lighting the gas manually, why does it go out after a few seconds?
    The circuitry in these units needs to allow for the flame to be on for a couple seconds to be "seen". the sensor part of the unit is the igniter in a HSI system. Once the system senses the flame it allows the valve to stay open. If it does not sense a flame then as in your case the flame shuts off
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Is there any way a bad ignition module could be frying the igniter?
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    Is there any way a bad ignition module could be frying the igniter?
    Anything is posible but I doubt that would be the problem. You can check the power output of the control board to the igniter with a volt/ohm meter. Set the meter to voltage AC. The board should be puting out 110-130 volts AC to the igniter. Check it at the two wire plug that the igniter plugs into. Simply unplug the igniter and plug in the leads from the meter, turn the heater on and see what the reading is.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    I will try that tonight. Thank you for your input.
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Okay, the ignition module sends 80 volts ac to the igniter. Note that the heater runs on 220 V. I called Pentair technical support and they indicated this is normal output. Also, after a few seconds the ignition module shuts off the output to the igniter, presumably because no message was sent back to it that the flame had been ignited. This is normal behavior too.

    I actually took apart the gas train (yes I turned the gas off), and removed the burner tray. Was a lot cleaner than I anticipated. There was a little bit of dirt in there that I vacuumed out.

    Anyhow, I ordered a new igniter and will replace it carefully. Hopefully this will buy me a few years with this heater I deeply regret buying...
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    Okay, the ignition module sends 80 volts ac to the igniter.
    Yeah, that would be about right on some of the newer boards. Most newer systems can actually "learn" how much output is needed to fire the unit.

    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    Note that the heater runs on 220 V.
    That is just to be able to use the available power source. Everything is stepped down inside the unit.
    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    I called Pentair technical support and they indicated this is normal output. Also, after a few seconds the ignition module shuts off the output to the igniter, presumably because no message was sent back to it that the flame had been ignited. This is normal behavior too.
    Yes, the HSI is also the flame sensor in these. The gas valve is held open for 3-5 seconds by the control board to allow the flame to establish a presence. The flame sensor then takes over control. If no flame is available to the sensor then the unit will shut down to prevent gas buildup
    Quote Originally Posted by sjsoldo
    I actually took apart the gas train (yes I turned the gas off), and removed the burner tray. Was a lot cleaner than I anticipated. There was a little bit of dirt in there that I vacuumed out.

    Anyhow, I ordered a new igniter and will replace it carefully. Hopefully this will buy me a few years with this heater I deeply regret buying...
    As mentioned earlier, do not touch the part that gets hot. Also do not bump it against anything as small nicks can cause problems as well. I have has these things last as long as 10 years in a furnace and only make it 6 months after I changed it out then go right on another 7-8 years. Sometimes it's just the luck of the draw
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Minimax Heater Won't Ignite

    Thank you for your input.
    35,000 gal pool, Pebble-Tec, Pentair VF pump, DE filter, Aqua Rite SWG, Pentair Minimax Heater in Southern California

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