Can anyone recommend a good home repair fixit/repair forum?

Tiras25 used Ask the Experts™
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Try here. misc is for 'anything else' questions and there are a lot of people here that have homes as well as day jobs. You will hopefully find advice here from people who have personal experience of doing their own home improvements or anything diy.
Don't forget that people can change trades more than once through their lives and so you could find some genuine professional advice.


Fireplace issue.  The pilot is on.  Thermostat is working.  The burner does not produce a fire.
PG&E guy diagnosed a pilot generator is at fault.  I not sure how if the pilot is on.
The model is: xtrordinair 36 dv xl,
and here is the manual:

So my question is what does he mean by the pilot generator?  Thermocouple or thermopile and what is the difference?
Thanks in advance.
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Did you check the troubleshooting table from page 38?
What is the result?

At page 39 is explain how the system is working.

Thermopile vs. Thermocouple:

Or in few words:
- thermocouple is a resistor which change its value depending by temperature.
- thermopile converts the temperature in electricity as semiconductor Peltier elements

In your case the flame must touch both as illustrated in page 31.
I never had a fireplace home, but I had water heater with gas which worked on similar principle.
Besides I worked some good years ago in industrial field with different machinery. One of that machinery was a big burner with gas, pilot frame and a sophisticated control. I will try to remember a part what I knew.

When we say pilot we refer to the small flame which stay on all the time after ignition.
Normally we start the gas, then we create a spark with high voltage and the pilot flame is on.

The big, main burner then is controlled by another valve. The valve is control by a special mechanism, usually with electronics. The inputs for that system iare coming from sensors as thermocouple, thermopile. If I remember well, in my case was also a photo sensor as safety witness that pilot flame is on. Then the output is the main gas valve, which opens more or less depending by how much heat we want, in the end the set temperature.

Pilot generator should be probably together: the small pipe with head where the pilot flame is presents, the pipes from main gas to that head, the valve which keep the gas open after ignition, the high voltage igniter.

On page 33 we see pilot igniter, which is similar with what I had home for water. Was a push button, when was pushed the gas has came out first in small quantity, then pushed more a spark was made and the flame appeared.
Sometimes I had to repeat the operation several times in order to get pilot flame on, especially after few years of usage when the head of the pilot flame became dirty. Then the heat from the flame had effect over the sensors, as thermocouple and releasing the push button from igniter allowed the pilot flame to maintain on alone.

On the page 40 there is replacement parts list. Probably you have seen it and you did not find the pilot generator as name.

From what you say, if the pilot flame is on and the main burner does not produce fire then logic first step is to check what opens the main gas valve. Then check all the inputs of that system which control the main valve.
If all the inputs give an on, validation for main valve to be opened then remain only 2 things: main valve and the system which controls the main valve. Next you have to check the output of the system which controls the main gas valve – in case is not embedded in the control system and to see if signal is or not for opening.
If the signal is present and the valve is not on then the valve is the problem. If there no signal to the main valve (0output of the system) when all input and power are on then the system which controls the main valve is defective.

I did not write using the terms from your user manual, just the logic used some years before.
If your pilot flame is on - as you mentioned in the beginning - I do not see how come the pilot generator is defective. The pilot generator should be a system which starts and maintain the flame on.

I checked your system on page 40 one more time. The "brain" of the system is "gas control valve".
You need a multimeter to check few things according with page 40:
- the thermocouple value with fire and without fire (high and low temperature) - should have 2 different values
- the thermopile also at 2 different temperature to see if generates voltage.
- the input voltage ( wires brown 2 and red 5)

If the gas control valve has input voltage and those 2 sensors give the proper signal and there is no output control for gas valve then you have a problem with that gas control valve.
In the left side below of the gas control valve there are 2 screws with an arrow between them. I do not know what are those. That would be interesting to find out.
A relative used this one.

Forums on any handyman topic you'd have.
Did you or somebody else solve the problem?
If yes, what did you find?

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