How does a "Generator" work on a wall heater? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:20 PM
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How does a "Generator" work on a wall heater?

Is it generating voltage by the heat of the flame somehow?

Brian

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Old 10-21-2007, 01:44 AM
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That would be a thermocouple or thermopile. It generates millivolts to open and close the valve, 300 plus millivolts for most valves that I know of.
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:12 AM
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That's the thing Dinger, this ISN'T a "Thermocoupler" it is a "Generator". There ARE "thermocouplers" used in heaters, but not mine. This is what I always thought about them. The thermocoupler is a mechanical device that shuts off the gas flow like a faucet. They have a copper tub that goes to the valve. I thought this was the only way it worked, period. The wires going to the thermostat, I never thought about it, didn't have a clue. I guess I assumed there was some sort of transformer or something that produced 12 volts like other low voltage items. With that 12 Volts the gas valve was opened and closed.

Well, yesterday I broke down and went to work on fixing my wall heater. These freezing cold California mornings were getting to me. So I bypassed the thermostat and nothing. This told me the valve wasn't getting the the 12 volts to open, or that the valve was bad. Well, of course I learned that there is no transformer, there is no 12 volts.

My heater (as most I learned) didn't have a thermocoupler, it had a "generator". A "thermocoupler" looking device (the generator) with wires that go to the valve. The milivolts it creates opens the valve!

By the way, I bought a new one, but then when removing the old one I noticed that it was all crusted with ashes. I removed it and took it to the garage for a good cleaning with a scuff pad and blew it all out with compressed air. I reinstalled it and it worked like a charm! The ashes were "insulating" the heat from reaching it.

Anyway, I was dumbfounded with this new found knowledge. It doesn't take much to get me excited.

Brian
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:46 AM
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Is this electronic ignition or a standing pilot light? Sounds like an electronic system. or is it a thermopile, looks similar to a thermocouple, a bit thicker.
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Old 10-22-2007, 08:11 AM
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Ok, I know nothing, so I may be talking out my butt. It is a regular old pilot light system. But in a regular old pilot light system there could be a "thermocoupler" OR a "Generator". They look very similar but a generator is fatter and has two wires coming from it which provide the milivolts for the valve.

Brian
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