More trouble in Chile: after 3 days working, Water/Air heater is now failing with the red led on (1 Viewer)

Du And Nica

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Hello everyone,

As the tittle says. Here's a movie of the failure happening:

What's happening: after turning on water+air heating, approx. 1 minute passes and then the red light comes on. Then I turn it off, and red light starts blinking, along with green light (which was off until now). Of course, no air from the heater vents, and water on faucets remain cold.

The manual says it's "Truma Combi 4 / 6", not sure what our exact model is -- only sure it's not the Truma 6E as it only operates on propane. Also, the manual lists a bunch of causes, see picture here (click to expand):
KkIqQ8M.jpg


In the picture, I've marked in red with crosses (+) what I'm pretty sure is not the cause, and with question marks what I've questions about, to wit:

1) What is a "recirculated air intake" and where would it be located?

2) What the heck is a "EisEx" regulator heaing?

3) Could perhaps some butane in the gas mix be the responsible? The temperatures here are pretty low (certainly under 10C), and as far as I can research, it seems Chile uses a mix of butane and propane in their cylinders: https://www.lipigas.cl/hogar/gas-licuado/ (literal translation: "the liquified petrol gas (lpg) is a mixture of gases, mainly butane and propane"...

Hope someone here can help. A single night here at those temps and with no heating really makes for a miserable morning... :-(

Cheers,
-- Du.
 
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Apr 27, 2008
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If mine hasn't been used for a while, it usually takes two or three attempts to ignite, red light comes on after a minute showing it hasn't lit. Turn off and on again and it usually works.
 
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Du And Nica

Du And Nica

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If mine hasn't been used for a while, it usually takes two or three attempts to ignite, red light comes on after a minute showing it hasn't lit. Turn off and on again and it usually works.

Thanks for the tip, but I don't think that's the issue: it was working every day for the previous 3 days with no problems, and also I have turned it off and back on again for a dozes times already, and the problem continues exactly as before :-(

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Zigisla

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Really sorry you are having snags with your unit. In the boiler cupboard, has any thing fallen down and blocking the air inlet grills? I have had this problem only once and the clothes that were in the cupboard - we use it as an airing cupboard for washing etc, had fallen off and covered the boiler. Make sure the exhaust cover if you have one is off / not blocked or exhaust outlet is not blocked buy something. Finally, just make sure you have run through the start procedure correctly and not missed out something.

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Could well be gas pressure. I find that my Truma heater (i think same model) is super sensitive to the pressure reducing in the bottle. As soon as we approach say 20% remaining then it does this even though the gas hob runs fine and that i can take that bottle and use it for the BBQ for many many burns (just used the last bottle for about 40 times on the BBQ when the Truma wasn't happy with it...).

Have you checked the bottle ?
 
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Du And Nica

Du And Nica

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I do suspect your gas might be the problem. Is your gas whatever came with the van or have to refilled/changed the bas bottle since buying the van?

It's a 11Kg bottle we bought 3 days ago, so it might be starting to turn empty; no way to know except by replacing the bottle, as this motorhome has absolutely no indicator for the gas level/pressure

On the other hand, when the heater started failing yesterday, the stove was working great: even with all three burners on simultaneously, they all work on the maximum setting (high flames). But I tested it again this morning and the burner flames are kinda low.... :-/

Does the Truma combi needs higher gas pressure than the stove to work?
 
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Du And Nica

Du And Nica

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Really sorry you are having snags with your unit. In the boiler cupboard, has any thing fallen down and blocking the air inlet grills? I have had this problem only once and the clothes that were in the cupboard - we use it as an airing cupboard for washing etc, had fallen off and covered the boiler. Make sure the exhaust cover if you have one is off / not blocked or exhaust outlet is not blocked buy something. Finally, just make sure you have run through the start procedure correctly and not missed out something.
Howdy Zigisla! Good tip on the clothes inside the cupboad, but I just checked both inside the cupboard and with a flashlight into the heater compartment below and I see no obstruction.

As soon as I can go outside I will check the vent conver (it's *really* cold, the Ducato panel is showing 2C and I think it's actually colder than that...

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138go

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Sounds like you have a choice of where the heating air comes from the same as a car. If it’s really cold you don’t want to be heating up very cold air from outside when you can just reheat air that is already inside.

Think you may have answered your own question. If you have the gas rings on and the fridge and the heating you may we’ll be low on gas.

If you change the bottle and the gas rings are still low then the only thing left is the regulator.
 
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hilldweller

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But I tested it again this morning and the burner flames are kinda low.... :-/

Does the Truma combi needs higher gas pressure than the stove to work?

That's that solved, get more gas.


PS or a new regulator as said by the duck.

If you pick up an LPG bottle and shake it you can feel the liquid sloshing around, if there is any.

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pappajohn

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It does sound like the Butane/propane mix isn't suitable for cold weather. Probably far too much Butane.
I imagine the majority of bottled gas locally will be used indoors during cold weather so the colder outdoor temperature won't have the same effect on the gas.
Summer mix would be mostly Butane
Winter mix would be mostly, if not 100%, Propane.

It looks like you're using summer mix Butane.
 
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p-c

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Hi
You can check liquid gas contents in a cylinder by weight. Weigh the whole thing and take off the weight off the cylinder empty, this is stamped on the side of the cylinder. The weight you have left is the weight of liquid left in the bottle.
Regards
p-c
 
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Du And Nica

Du And Nica

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Great tips everyone! Unfortunately no way to weight that now (we have a travelling bag scale but left it in Santiago...) we will get a new gas bottle and try with it.

In such a situation (propane/butane mix in a cylinder operating in cold temperature), if I remember my physics right, the propane will "evaporate" and be used first, therefore leaving mostly the liquid butane in the bottle, correct? Therefore maybe the bottle isn't even empty, but instead contains only/mostly butane which won't turn into gas at those temperatures (2C according to the Ducato dashboard) , and that would explain everything...

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Armytwowheels

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Great tips everyone! Unfortunately no way to weight that now (we have a travelling bag scale but left it in Santiago...) we will get a new gas bottle and try with it.

In such a situation (propane/butane mix in a cylinder operating in cold temperature), if I remember my physics right, the propane will "evaporate" and be used first, therefore leaving mostly the liquid butane in the bottle, correct? Therefore maybe the bottle isn't even empty, but instead contains only/mostly butane which won't turn into gas at those temperatures (2C according to the Ducato dashboard) , and that would explain everything...
You may be right. One way to check is to wait for the day and therefore the gas bottle to warm up, then if everything works as it should again you have your answer, too much butane.
 
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Why not simply use propane? It solves a lot of problems. It sound go me as though when the heater is turned the normal cooling effect of lpg evaporating is cooling the bottle well below the temperature at which butane will boil. Over the years I've had a number of problems caused by using butane in chilly weather. I wasn't aware that the liquid mix in normal bottles of butane was changed according to season. What is the point when propane is freely available?

Edit: forgot he's in Chile where things will be different.
 
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Gellyneck

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If you access the main pcb in the heater \ boiler there is a red led on this that usually flashes a series of short and long flashes. This is a code that could \ should point you towards the possible fault.

Having said that, we had a similar (by the sounds of it) issue earlier this year and it turned out to be the fan behind the grill on the end of the unit being clogged up with muck. With the control panel at "Off" try removing this fan cover \ grill (it's a push fit) and gently brush (soft paint brush?) out around the fan. Also give the fan a gentle tap with the end of the brush. You'll possibly need a mirror to see into the fan cavity?

Turn unit back on at control panel and see if the fault code flashing has stopped. If not, try repeating the cleaning a couple of times. I was gobsmacked by the amount of muck that came out of the fan cavity!:eek:

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Du And Nica

Du And Nica

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It's a cold day in Osorno, but I just went outside and got the bottle out. Besides it being very light, I shook it and could not hear any sloshing... So I think that yesterday there was little gas, and it went completely out after heating water for the coffee this morning.

Everything would make sense if the gas pressure needed for the air heater function of the Truma to work would indeed be higher than for its water heater function... Can anyone confirm/deny if that's the case?
 
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JJ

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My hot water gas boiler plays up a little if my battery is a tad low...

I believe there is enough battery "umph" to ignite the flame but not enough to hold the gas solenoid open long enough for the thermister thingy to warm up to hold it open.

So... after a few failed attempts, if I start the engine (or run my genny) to provide assistance to the battery, it often solves the problem...

This comes from personal experience and not manuals.



JJ :cool:
 
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DuxDeluxe

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It's a cold day in Osorno, but I just went outside and got the bottle out. Besides it being very light, I shook it and could not hear any sloshing... So I think that yesterday there was little gas, and it went completely out after heating water for the coffee this morning.

Everything would make sense if the gas pressure needed for the air heater function of the Truma to work would indeed be higher than for its water heater function... Can anyone confirm/deny if that's the case?
The gas pressure should stay the same until the bottle is empty of liquid (gas laws) but I f it is cold and you have a butane gas or large % butane then it will not vaporise as well. A few people have had this problem in the winter in Europe. Propane boils at -43°C and butane at between -2°c (n-butane) and -10°C (I-butane) at standard pressure.

Just a thought. But your bottle was empty by the sound of it..... how big was the bottle?

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Sep 3, 2012
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Best to check your gas connections, 3 days is not long for an 11kg bottle. Soap water will be OK as a quick check to make sure you are not losing gas. As others have said swap the bottle for propane or try to park in the sunshine.

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Would insulating the gas bottles help ? An old duvet or household water tank cover would do the job.

Only had this problem once and it was an early signs of a failing battery.
 
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Lenny HB

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Great tips everyone! Unfortunately no way to weight that now (we have a travelling bag scale but left it in Santiago...) we will get a new gas bottle and try with it.

In such a situation (propane/butane mix in a cylinder operating in cold temperature), if I remember my physics right, the propane will "evaporate" and be used first, therefore leaving mostly the liquid butane in the bottle, correct? Therefore maybe the bottle isn't even empty, but instead contains only/mostly butane which won't turn into gas at those temperatures (2C according to the Ducato dashboard) , and that would explain everything...
Butane is pretty usless much below 10° also butane is not capable of supplying the high flow rate Combi's require. A lot of people how fill up in Spain have problems with Combi heaters as it can be up to 65% butane.
 
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Lenny HB

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Best to check your gas connections, 3 days is not long for an 11kg bottle. Soap water will be OK as a quick check to make sure you are not losing gas. As others have said swap the bottle for propane or try to park in the sunshine.
If its down at 2° like he said could easily get through a bottle in a few days.

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Basildog

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Would insulating the gas bottles help ? An old duvet or household water tank cover would do the job.

Only had this problem once and it was an early signs of a failing battery.
It would make the situation far worse as gas cylinders use the latent heat to produce the gas from the liquid , its why small gas cylinders aren’t suitable for larger vans especially in cold weather as the greater the surface area of a cylinder the greater take off rate of gas .
 
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