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Pooh

big buddy question

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I've seen many heater questions, and did a search with no success. Was out tonight with my 5 year old. First time using a c-list big buddy that was used very little. I was running it on a full 11lb tank with a quick connect hose. I had a heck of a time keeping it running. I ran a alcohol soaked q tip down the pilot tube. I ran it in my garage for 3 hours straight on high with no problems. when on the lake it would run for 20 minutes or so, the pilot would get short almost go out, and I would turn it to low, the pilot the would get super long and the ceramic panel would get dim. Any ideas? The original owner used it with the quick connect house also. I did notice the regular got really frosted up. Thanks for helping me in advance

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I've had better luck NOT using the quick connect. I use the standard mr heater hose and the filter. Pressure regulation is internal at that point which is warmer and shouldn't have issues freezing up. I used the quick connect for several years and it just didn't seem as fool proof as it sounded. Some days no problems others I could hardly get it to start.

However, you said the pilot would start to get low. That is how the low oxygen shutoff works. The flame lowers when it can't burn as well with lower oxygen levels and it will then turn itself off. So, before worrying too much about the hose or connections, how was your fresh air supply?

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It was windy, didn't bank my hub house. Also had both vents open. Fresh air should not have been a problem. I guess I was thinking it regulator itself was the problem. If it was the oxygen why would the pilot get real long?

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I have a Mr. Buddy heater purchased new this December, and the wind will blow the pilot out pretty easy. Not sure if it's defective, or they are all like this. Also, when the unit is really cold, I can't get the pilot to light. Overall i'm not impressed with the product.

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When my Portable Buddy was about 3 years old, I started having some of the problems you describe so I sent an e-mail to the manufacturer. A day later here's the response I got:

Thank you for choosing and using Mr. Heater products. We appreciate you very much and want your heating experience to be great! See if this cleaning technique will be of help:

Read through all the directions before proceeding.

FIRST:

With rubbing alcohol (drug store stuff), Q-tips and a one pound can of compressed air with the long nozzle extension in hand, remove the front grid.

Take a Q-tip and tug on the cotton to make sure it will not pull off the stick. Then dip this Q-tip in alcohol.

Insert this Q-tip all the way down to the bottom of the pilot tube ....

about 2". You will be resting against the crystal face with the tiny hole that the gas goes through for the pilot flame.

(if it is too tight going in, there is too much cotton on the Q-tip, so remove some cotton, re-dip in alcohol and proceed.)

Let the Q-tip rest on the face for about 1 minute. Rotate the Q-tip to clean the crystal face. As you continue to rotate the Q-tip, pull it out to clean the tube. Insects, especially spiders, are attracted to the smell of propane and will result in a poor pilot flame from properly heating the thermocouple.

Repeat this process with a second, identically prepared Q-tip.

For best results, use a one pound can off compressed air with the long nozzle extension. Place the nozzle extension into the pilot tube. When the extension is near the bottom of the pilot orifice, pull the trigger

3-4 to blow air out through the two small holes that draw air into the pilot tube. This will blow away anything that may be interfering with the air/fuel mixture.

Bruce, replace your safety grid give your heater a try at this point and give your heater a try.

That cleaning procedure solved my problems. BTW, I also have the standard hose and filter. When I bought mine, I was told that the right kind of hose and a filter was a "must".

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I use that quick connect hose as well and if i don't use the heater for a couple of weeks it's just a pain in the a$$ to get started. Also make sure that you have the vents open so fresh air comes through. They are really nice heaters when they work.

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If you are using a big tank with the Buddies a filter and or a regulator is a must . Also it helps to cover the tank and keep it off of the ice in really cold and windy condtions . Propane can be a tempermantal in freezing conditions . As far as product reliablity the buddys have been good to me.

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Just curious but obviously I know what a filter does but why does it need to be on a big tank and not the one pounders? I have a regular buddy and was thinking on switching from the big tank so i don't have to carry all the little ones.

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The filter is required when using the high pressure hose because oils and other residues come out of the hose and could clog the heater. The low pressure hose with quick disconnect doestnt have the problem. You one pound cylinders are connected directly so be issue there either

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I know it is recommended to keep the tank outside of the ice shelter, but I just leave mine inside of the ice shelter. If your pilot light grows very big while being left on the pilot light setting only, then you probably have a bad seal on your quick connet. I would wiggle the quick connect, remove and reconnect it, just to get make sure that my pilot light ignites to a normal flame.

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The pilot only got big when the heater wasn't heating right. Example: I had it on medium and the ceramic would look cold like it was on low, the pilot flame would get really long. I would turn it to low or pilot and the pilot flame would go back to normal.

I didn't have my hub banked and the vents were open. I could feel the air moving in the house so I know there was plenty of fresh air. For some reason I think it may have been the regulator as it was covered in frost. But wasn't sure if anyone has had the same experience

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Pooh - try what cavalierowner described above. In fact, just type "Big Buddy maintenance" into youtube and you'll find a video from Mr. Heater folks that shows exactly how to clean the pilot tube.

You should also take off the back panel and shine a flashlight up the venturi tubes. I had one of mine that had a few cobwebs in it that really affected things. Just visually inspect and make sure that those are clean.

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Or if its un-fixable....

They are on sale everywhere.

Big-Buddy's - 2 canister set-up

$89-$99 : Fleet Farm

$119 : Cabelas

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I've had my Big Buddy for 2 years but only on a separate tank with hose this season. I too had some trouble getting it started. It just seemed to me like it wasn't getting enough fuel to get the pilot going. I disconnected the hose from the heater and used a screwdriver to poke the detent inside the quick disconnect to release a little propane. I hooked it back up and it started after the 2nd 'click'. I didn't have any starting issues after this but also left the hose/heater/tank hooked up together in my sled.

I had to disconnect the tank and bring it in to be filled recently. After hooking it back up to the hose I was having issues getting the pilot light started again. Did the same thing I did last time by removing the hose from the heater and pressing the detent to make a little fuel come out. Hooked it back up and off she went!

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I also have the quick disconnect and it sucks to get it started unless you have used in the last couple of days. When the hose is empty it takes a while for the propane to get through the line to the heater. These heaters are really nice when they work or a pain when you can't get it to light.

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The regulator frosted up because the tank valve was opened too much. Had this problem with my 11# about a month ago. I unhooked everything, barely turned on the gas and haven't had any issues since.

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I am so glad I don't have a big buddy heater.
If you cannot read a user manual or "prime" a low pressure quick disconnect hose, you are right, you shouldnt own a big buddy heater.

Had mine for 5 years and never once have I had an issue.

Better than sitting in a confined space with an CO factory like a sunflower heater and burning your house, clothes or anything else that gets in contact with it.

Turn my buddy heater off, put it in my sled and even if something touches it, it doesnt melt. I can have it against the canvas in my house and nothing ever happens.

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I also have the quick disconnect and it sucks to get it started unless you have used in the last couple of days. When the hose is empty it takes a while for the propane to get through the line to the heater. These heaters are really nice when they work or a pain when you can't get it to light.
Simple solution, if you leave your heater connected to the hose, disconnect the hose, open the valve on your tank, then push in the valve in the hose with something like a key for a couple seconds. You will smell propane then stop.

Connect the hose to the heater and fire it up.

Never failed me ever. Takes like 30 seconds to do this procedure, or you could just sit there clicking away on the igniter for 5 minutes waiting for the pressure to build.

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I am so glad I don't have a big buddy heater.

I was too...until I ended up getting one as a gift. Way better than the sunflower I had been using for the past 15 years. Based on some of the problems other people have reported, I"ll leave my sunflower in the vehicle in case I ever need it. There is no comparing the buddy to the sunflower as far as heat output, noise, fumes, etc.

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I know that I won't be selling mine any time soon!!! I definately like the youtube video. I have had mine for 3 or 4 yrs and no problems yet, and I have never cleaned it yet. We used my brother's this weekend and he absolutely loves his for heat output. the other nice thing is he can hang it on one wall of the flip-up house when not fishing that side. We did have one problem I guess...we had to keep turning it down, because we got too warm with it on medium.

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Folks that don't have a big buddy heater do not know what they are missing. If taken care of properly, you should never have any issues. It provides more than enough heat, and most importantly it doesn't give you the headaches/gas smell most others do.

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I still use my sunflower if I feel like I want to get a tan while fishing, thats about it for that hunk of metal and the copper thermo wires that bend and break were enough to make me buy a buddy. That and the fact I could only run my sunflower on low for a bout 3 minutes in my Kodiak. i was fishing in a tshirt and jeans last night with the buddy on low. Perfect. The only downside is I hate how the pilot goes out if I bump it or put it down too roughly but I can live with that.

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