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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > Pilot light or direct spark?
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default Pilot light or direct spark?

Would like to set this up on my HLT. Can anyone provide some pros and cons for these two options?

Thanks...

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Old 01-03-2009, 04:45 PM   #2
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Pilot lights are easier to set up and control, but they can go out with a very gentle breeze. A constant open flame may not be desirable, either.

Direct spark is quite reliable when set up properly, but it takes a little more electronic wizardry to get it right. The next iteration of my rig will use direct spark ignition.

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Old 01-03-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
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I have seen some discussion on heat sensors used with direct spark to make sure if your flame goes out it will re-spark until burner is back up and running. This would be a must on all systems, yes?

Is anybody using a direct spark system with a heat sensor here and would like to give me some tips so I get the right parts?

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Old 01-03-2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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I've worked on a lot of old furnaces and the good thing about a standing pilot is they are tough and dependable, a 24v thermocouple gas valve can take a lot of splashing with no problems.

no circuit board to get wet and if something fails on a brew day weekend chances are its a thermocouple that you can buy anywhere, not a control module that you have to order from a supply house.

but the direct sparks are cooler and a little more techy

i went with standing pilot on my rig

just my opinion

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Old 01-03-2009, 09:15 PM   #5
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Tommy Boy,

alll the direct spark systems I've installed work this way;

the electrode is used to light the flame and then when the flame is lit it turns into a flame sensor, so you don't need a heat sensor

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Old 01-04-2009, 02:19 AM   #6
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One problem with thermocouple powered safety valves is the max operating pressure is 13" wc for all but one pricey Baso high pressure valve. Direct spark or spark ignited pilot burner makes high pressure burner operation with Asco or Stc solenoid valves possible.

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Old 01-04-2009, 03:46 AM   #7
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I have used DSI before and I am still trying to use it on my new system. The problem I'm encountering now is that when it sparks, it scrambles the Arduino I'm using. I'm sure with some shielding and isolation I'll be able to overcome the issue, but it's sure annoying right now.

On the standing pilot systems I've seen, the pilot is usually adding heat to the vessel as well.

I'm going to try using a hot surface ignition ignitor and see how that works.

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Old 01-04-2009, 05:20 AM   #8
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I am very intrigued with this one too. I am building my own brew rig and hope to post some pics soon. Are there any valve combos out there that have ignition systems built in? I'd love to hear some more opinions out there if you like a pilot, spark ignintion, or the almighty bbq lighter

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Old 01-04-2009, 08:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azredneck View Post
I am very intrigued with this one too. I am building my own brew rig and hope to post some pics soon. Are there any valve combos out there that have ignition systems built in? I'd love to hear some more opinions out there if you like a pilot, spark ignintion, or the almighty bbq lighter
That early plunger BBQ impluse magneto is a basic push button one cycle spark you get one spark per button push don't take your time with the burner on before working the plunger or poof no hand or arm hair with burnt hair stink results. They will also wake ya up when you get zapped by one in your hand.
I quit with gas heating almost 6 years ago and even then I used spark vs a pilot light this being fail safe without a breeze blowing out the pilot problem. The other one is the glowing carbide ignition system that furnaces use. Expensive to replace like $37-$45 each element plus very hard and brittle being made of carbide. Bump them they will break like a 1/16" diameter glass rod.
They also need the gas controller valve with 120 volt another $85-$125 unit with its built in timer, a flame sensor detector must be added. On my Charr Broil BBQ it has a battery with pulsing spark for the BBQ ignition. Simple and cheap app 4 sparks per/second and trouble free for 5 years of BBQ use. The big PITA is replacing the propane bottles all the time. I BBQ in the open sided patio let it rain.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicksteck View Post

no circuit board to get wet and if something fails on a brew day weekend chances are its a thermocouple that you can buy anywhere, not a control module that you have to order from a supply house.
My White Rodgers furnance controller is available at two locations within 3,000 and 4,500 feet from my house during normal supply house hours.

You live in the sticks with a snowmobile as your main vehicle way up north?

I must add that the thermal coupled pilot cotrolled wall heater in the family room comes in handy when we have a winter power failure with the main furnace requiring 120 and 24 volts to operate. Freeze MAO without that old thermal coupled controlled heater. Spent the last power outage in the warm family room for hours with a spare car stereo hooked up to a large group 27 house alarm battery backup plus the rooms speaker system. Heat, candles, sounds, wife, kids and bier, life is good even under bad conditions. Old school heater control vs 120 volt still has its good points. New is not necessarily better.
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