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SpitnArgueDuckClub*

Buddy Heater hard to light and after lighting trips off easily

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My standard buddy heater is hard to light (the pilot light lights fine and when I turn the knob to go to low or high heat it will just go out) if I do this over again a few times I can eventually get it to stay on and and ignite on high heat but after lighting the buddy heater will trip off easily. Never had this issue before and this heater is easily 10 or 15 years old. I may just go buy a new big buddy but if someone knows a fix I will try that route first. I have already blown out the lines and cleaned the area's with compressed air to seemingly no improvement. Any idea's would be appreciated, Thanks in advance!!!

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Is it doing it with one pounders, or the hose attachment mine started to the same last year worked great on one pounders but not the hose attachment to a large tank so I took the check value out of the hose on the large tank side and it worked great again hope that helps

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Is it doing it with one pounders, or the hose attachment mine started to the same last year worked great on one pounders but not the hose attachment to a large tank so I took the check value out of the hose on the large tank side and it worked great again hope that helps

Yes one pounders, I even tried a couple different one pounders and have the same results.

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Thermocouple.

Could be going bad. Could be pretty normal.

If it's pretty cold out I burn the pilot light for maybe 10-15 seconds to heat up that thermocouple before turning the gas up. Otherwise it trips off.

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You may have a plugged orifice or venturi tube. Both are located behind the ceramic plates. LOL - I have dorked and fiddled with repairing my Buddy heaters - and they look like it too. Maybe time for a new one.

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That sounds like the trouble I started having after my Portable Buddy was about 5 years old. I e-mailed Mr. Heater and they gave me these instructions that fixed it:

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.

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Throw it in the garbage and get something different. There are countless threads and reports of that happening to those heaters. Consider yourself lucky you got out of it what you did. A person shouldn't need an engineering degree, parts, and a saturday to get their ice fishing heater to work.

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A person shouldn't need an engineering degree, parts, and a saturday to get their ice fishing heater to work.

Ha! So you need that to do Archteks directions?! Wow smile

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Lol ...

Had both my big & little buddy for years with no problems ... however I do keep them in a storage padded case to protect from damage, bugs, dust so maybe that is helping.

As a precaution if temps are real cold, I'll bring my sunflower heater just in case as a backup (packs up small so not a big deal).

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Funny Bureaucrat that I have had 3 of these 2 buddies and 1 big buddy and the only thing I have had to do is replace the filter on my big buddy otherwise they have worked flawless. I read about the complaints and I still am using one of the original buddy heaters and that has been abused and still start right up...Maybe I have been lucky. I forgot I did have a knob break in well below 0 temps but was still usable and easy to replace.

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I am having the same problem with my big buddy heater. I just got it last year and the pilot light does not want to light worth a dam. I went through all the steps of cleaning it with rubbing alcohol, and blowing out the lines and it didn't make a difference. Anything else I am missing?

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busse, are you using a 20# tank or the 1# tanks? If using a larger tank, which hose do you have, the one with the quick connect or some other one.

I am suspecting you need to purge the lines of the hose if you are using a hose. Simply turn the tank on then just depress the little ball in the hose where it would connect to the heater. When you start to smell propane, stop and hook it up to your heater. Should light right up.

If you are not using the quick connect hose, you better have a filter on there or you will have problems because of the oils in the lines.

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Update, my regular Buddy Heater does still work but as I said earlier the pilot light lights but is hard to keep lit once I move the knob "up" to start the heater on high. I used it again tonight and it took a good 5 minutes of moving the knob up and the flame going out before it finally stayed on. Once on it stayed lit for the duration of our sit. I too have done all of the steps outlined above and maybe a new thermocouple is the answer. After tonights hunt I picked up a Big Buddy Heater on my way home, like I also said earlier the original buddy heater is at least 10 and probably closer to 15 years old and had worked beautifully up until this season. So I am very happy with the product and in my spare time I will tinker with the original and use the Big Buddy now. Thanks everyone!!!

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Ah, I have problems with my buddy heater also. Did not want to light and finally just would not start up except for the pilot light. Happened at the end of the season last year and I just stored it. Now I realize I didn't fix it and im gonna have to dig that thing out and work on it for this season frown

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Update, my regular Buddy Heater does still work but as I said earlier the pilot light lights but is hard to keep lit once I move the knob "up" to start the heater on high. I used it again tonight and it took a good 5 minutes of moving the knob up and the flame going out before it finally stayed on. Once on it stayed lit for the duration of our sit. I too have done all of the steps outlined above and maybe a new thermocouple is the answer. After tonights hunt I picked up a Big Buddy Heater on my way home, like I also said earlier the original buddy heater is at least 10 and probably closer to 15 years old and had worked beautifully up until this season. So I am very happy with the product and in my spare time I will tinker with the original and use the Big Buddy now. Thanks everyone!!!
How tall is the flame on the pilot? Mine is almost 3 inches long. If its real low perhaps this is part of the problem you have in getting it to ignite the elements.

Im not sure what it would take to make it taller, but I know my buddy who bought a very very early one ended up repositioning the thermocouple and has never had an issue.

It takes me 2 times to get the elements to light if its been sitting. I think the biggest thing is getting the sweet spot with the knob. I usually let the pilot burn for a while then try and light the elements, seems to light more consistently. I have never had it not light. Works like a charm for about 10 years now.

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How tall is the flame on the pilot? Mine is almost 3 inches long. If its real low perhaps this is part of the problem you have in getting it to ignite the elements.

I'm not sure what it would take to make it taller, but I know my buddy who bought a very very early one ended up re positioning the thermocouple and has never had an issue.

The flame on mine is about half of what yours is.

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I have used both the 20# tank with the quick attach hose and also the 1# tanks. I'd prefer to use the 20# so I don't have to worry about anything but the 1 pounders seem to make my buddy heater work better. I will have to try depressing the the ball in the hose.

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if my auger was as persnickity as my buddy heater I think I'd get a new auger. Bump it and it turns off, when you want to move it you have to have the steadiness of a surgeon or it turns off. Problem is I like it better for various reasons over my Mr Heater cooker so I just keep keeping on and only use the Mr Heater sporadically.

My Mr Heater has always worked no matter what, did almost burn the house down with it once too.

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I had a similar problem last year and it turns out I wasn't holding the knob down long enough when lighting it. I think the directions say 30 seconds or something like that after the pilot is lit. I would double that and go a minute. The thermocouple has to get hot so the heater senses that the flame is still burning and not putting out straight gas. I tried the q-tip, etc. and that did not fix my issue, but it worked great every time I made sure I held the knob down long after the pilot was lit.

Good luck!

Mojo

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For the folks hating on the Buddy Heaters, what are the alternatives? Sunflower heaters? Mr. Heater/Cookers?

I switched to a Buddy Heater two or three years ago after using a Sunflower or Mr. Heater/Cooker for probably 16 years. The reasons I switched are: 1) I got sick of headaches while ice fishing; 2) The noise of the sunflower type heaters; 3) the ability to put the Buddy heaters right up against the fabric of my house and not burn holes; and 4) the safety features of the Buddy Heaters (tipping and oxygen sensors).

Buddy Heaters are not perfect by any means, but I'd rather deal with workable issues in getting it lit/keeping it lit, than expose myself to the dangers of the other heaters.

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Not to hijack this thread, but the problem with my Big Buddy is the pilot light will spark but rarely lights. I usually have to use a light to start a flame...anyone else have this problem?

Mine usually starts with the igniter, but rarely I'll have to pull the grate off the front and use a lighter to convince it to go. I always carry a couple lighters for this reason.

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