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electronic ignitors

Paul_69 Member Posts: 251
has anyone found a decent brand electronic ignitor. i have gone back to iron core for replacements because of short life. are there any good way of testing these other than ignitor tool for strength of spark.


  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620
    Testing Igniters

    To test the solid-state transformer you’ll need to check that the igniter is grounded to the burner.  First turn off the power to the burner.  The ohmmeter resistance between an electrode post or spring and the exposed metal of the burner (for instance, the copper line or a housing bolt) should be less than 2000 ohms.  If the resistance is infinite, the igniter is not grounded to the burner.

    When checking the resistance of the igniter it should be the same measuring from one post to the housing as it is from the other post to the housing.  Measuring between the posts should produce a resistance twice that of measuring from one post to the housing.

    Here is an example to help you understand.  You should expect the resistance between an electrode spring or post and the exposed metal of the burner to be less than 2000 ohms.  If the resistance is infinite, the igniter is not grounded to the burner.

    So, let’s say from one spring to the burner housing the resistance is 1200 ohms then you would expect it to be close to the same from the other spring to the burner housing.  Let's say it was exactly 1200 ohms from both.  Then you would expect to have a reading of 2400 ohms between the posts of the igniter.

    Ok, now let’s say that the resistance from one of the posts/springs to the housing is 1200 ohms but the other spring post to the housing resistance is only 720 ohms.  That would be a 20% difference and you would therefore need to replace the igniter.  It’s also important to remember that this test is only confirming the integrity of the secondary side (high voltage) of the igniter.  It is still possible to have a failure on the primary side. 


    If you want to check both the primary and secondary side you can do this

    You can do so by bringing the igniter springs on the secondary side close together (about ¼ to a ½ inch apart) you will then need to use a multi-meter capable of reading milliamps. Connect the meter in series to the primary side (120 volts) the L1 line going to the igniter, carefully apply power. The reading should stay steady and not vary for at least five minutes and there should be a notable strong blue spark throughout the test, the reading on your meter should stay within 10 percent of the rated amperage draw of the igniter.

    We have had much success with Beckett Igniters.

    Please note these tests should only be performed by a professional with the proper tools and understanding of servicing heating equipment.


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  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
    Electronic vs. Electrical

    Alan, is there restriction on the ammount of continous spark , E vs E  ? Continous, Interupted, Intermitent Ignition ? Is there a sensitivity to heat  (slight start up draft problem)  E vs E ?
  • Alan R. Mercurio_3
    Alan R. Mercurio_3 Member Posts: 1,620
    Testing the igniter

    Actually you would be performing this test on the igniter itself (nothing else connected) so the spark during this test would be constant. It’s important to have the springs close together during this test so you don’t drive the amps up to a point where it would blow the internal fuse. I’ve seen people run these test for up to and beyond 10 min with no adverse effects.

    For me in most cases if the igniter was in fact bad it reared itself within the first 3 min of the test.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
    What I've seen

    We did have lots of problems with ignitors a few years ago, but I've noticed much less lately. Maybe they are getting the quality right. And problems we saw were with every manufacturer. Lastly, If we put on an ignitor, we will change out the primary to one that has interrupted ignition. Seems to make a difference.
  • meplumber
    meplumber Member Posts: 678
    Totally agree with Paul on the interrupted ignition.

    We were having the same problems a few years back. We started changing the primaries to interrupted when we changed from a transformer to an ignitor. Huge difference.

    The ignitors just didn't seem to like the constant duty.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997

    Just remember to check the manufacturer. There are one or two systems on the market that require intermitant ignition...
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