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Propex error code 2 blinks
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:48 pm    Post subject: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

During my Yellowstone trip this summer my propex 2000 had trouble starting one night when we are at about 7,900 feet. I found if I lite the stove the heater would fire off. The next night and for the rest of the trip it would not fire even at lower elevations like 300 feet. Anytime I try to start it now it tries to start twice then the thermostat light blinks twice. It's my understanding that two blinks represents a lack of fuel to the unit. I've removed the propane line from the back of the unit and have confirmed propane flows out of the line. In addition I've blown air down the propane line and into the propex propane intake fitting. All seems fine so I am sure I am missing something that may no be documented yet. I plan to call Karl however I'd thought I'd see if someone has faced this issue.
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Verify the regulator pressure using a manometer / water column gauge. It should put out 11" water-column pressure while one appliance (stove) is running.

Also, listen for the gas valve opening (click) followed by tic-tic-tic of the ignitor (heard best in the exhaust pipe). Lacking these the 2-flash code will set.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Thanks for chiming in Karl. I did some more listening to the start up cycle and this is what I am hearing.
1. 15 seconds of fan only
2. then click for the gas valve
3. tic-tic-tic for about 2-3 seconds and fan speed drops slightly during this time.
4. tic-tic-tic stops and fan speed increases
5. steps 1-4 repeat
6. red light on thermostat cycles through a pattern of blinking twice

I also did this with the engine running just to ensure I had plenty of volts for the heater.

I haven't checked the water column however I haven't made any changes to my system for 4-5 years and it's been working fine with 1 exception. I did have the 5 blinking error code and cleaned the sensor a few years ago. The only thing I can think of out of the ordinary is I drove a really dusty road the same day I had trouble getting it to start but it did start. This heater has been super solid so this is throwing me off a little.
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Symptoms of no gas or low gas pressure. Regulators fail. I'd still check the pressure next.
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Final had a chance to check the propane pressure and discovered my regulator is putting out a whopping 6" water column pressure on my homemade manometer. Aside from my Propex protesting to working with 6" water column pressure my frig was also a little finicky and I think I know why now.

So I am on a hunt for a new regulator locally in the Seattle area. Anyone have a good source? I was going to try AmeriGas in Kent or Sure Marine in Ballard. Anyone have a regulator source close to Bellevue?
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

SSWesty wrote:
Final had a chance to check the propane pressure and discovered my regulator is putting out a whopping 6" water column pressure on my homemade manometer. Aside from my Propex protesting to working with 6" water column pressure my frig was also a little finicky and I think I know why now.

So I am on a hunt for a new regulator locally in the Seattle area. Anyone have a good source? I was going to try AmeriGas in Kent or Sure Marine in Ballard. Anyone have a regulator source close to Bellevue?


1/2" marks, right? One side goes down 1/2", the other up 1/2", = 1".
Try any RV store. Ace Hardware carries them too. I sell the Marshall 295 version right now. Just be sure to get a 2-stage.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:33 am    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Try Pacer propane in Redmond. They can recertify your tanks for like $5 too.

If not Terry Kay on here sells good regulators umungst other things.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:06 am    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

While not near Bellevue, if you're headed out on Hwy 2, Doug's RV is a wonderful shop filled with RV gear and old-timers with a stash of fittings who'll make up any hose you need and fill your tank too. Filling up there feels like it's the start of a trip to the hills. Very Happy

Startup, WA...
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Doug's+RV,+36904+US-2,+Sultan,+WA+98294/@47.8633052,-121.7305841,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x549abc951b91ed05:0x46b153fcb5b73d60?hl=en-us

Or google Doug's RV (I can't seem to get the URL HTML to work).
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Ooops I was off with my manometer markings, I made them at 1" increments instead of 1/2". Karl I am glad you said something, good intuition, maybe a good time for you to go pick a lotto ticket. What I thought was 6" was really 12". I missed the bit about measuring the total change of up and down. So the way I have my regulator adjusted I am closer to 12" of water column without a burner running. I'll dial it in for 11" with a burner running and report back if the Propex will fire.
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:40 am    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

SSWesty wrote:
Ooops I was off with my manometer markings, I made them at 1" increments instead of 1/2". Karl I am glad you said something, good intuition, maybe a good time for you to go pick a lotto ticket. What I thought was 6" was really 12". I missed the bit about measuring the total change of up and down. So the way I have my regulator adjusted I am closer to 12" of water column without a burner running. I'll dial it in for 11" with a burner running and report back if the Propex will fire.


It should still fire at 12". I'd suspect a blocked gas jet or an ignitor gap issue at this point if it's making all the sounds but not firing.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Looks like it's time to pull the unit out to investigate further. Stay tuned.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Heater is working great now that I removed a spec of crud from the fuel jet.

Here is a little more background for those that are interested. I bought my Propex 2000 from Karl in October of 2008 for $745(about what they cost now) and this is only the second time it's stopped working. The first time it stopped after I drove it into a very dusty farm field with the heater running. My unit has the optical sensor and it just got too dusty to work after that. After cleaning up the sensor it was back to working great. I don't fault the Propex for this because it was a super dusty environment similar to silt for those that are familiar with the silt beds in Baja. With the heater running it sucked in too much dust, probably would have been fine if it was not running when I drove into the field. Live and learn:-)

This was the second time it has stopped and somehow crud in the propane or some micro sized spider decided to find it's way to the fuel jet. It happened on our Yellowstone trip last summer and we bought propane from a Uhaul store in Montana before entering Yellowstone. It was fine for a few nights then conked out. My vintage of Propex does have a screen before the fuel jet but something found it's way in there. If it was a critter it could have come in via the exhaust. I pulled the jet and could see it was about 90% blocked. One blow with the compressor cleared it out. Karl gave me a tip for trying to clear the line with the unit in place. He said if you disconnect the fuel line you can blow air into the line when you hear the fuel solenoid click open in the startup cycle. I tried that but no luck for me. If I were to open it up to clean the jet out again I would take all the covers off and on the back one I'd leave the internal fuel pipe connected to the back panel. Once you pull the back panel you can access the jet in question at the end of the fuel pipe. While I had it open I checked the gap between the igniters and they were at 3mm. Karl said a gap between 2-3mm is good and light gray in color is better than brown or black. My igniters fell into the light grey category.

My Propex is approaching the 10 year mark and it is thankfully holding up well. Of all the additions we've made to our westy the Propex has been the best of the bunch. Having heat in the cold rainy northwest is very welcome, it's also great for winter camping too.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:59 am    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

I've been trying to remedy this exact situation with my HS 2800 from around 2010.

The heater will fire up, run correctly (sometimes for several days) and then shut down with two blinks. I don't believe it it is the regulators as I have two tanks and it does the same thing with either or both. I've also set the pressure to 11" with a manometer. Running on shore power makes no difference. Cleaning, sealing, and repositioning the intake flex tube makes no difference.

So I am looking at cleaning the gas valve as SSWesty did successfully.

To do this, if if understand, you run the heater until the valve opens, then force air into the propane inlet.

Questions: How many PSI? Can you run something else through there, like carb cleaner or alcohol or another solvent?

Anything else that could give the 2 blink error code before I replace the heater or have it serviced?

SSWesty, is yours still working after 3.5 years? Or was the air cleaning a temporary solution?
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Californio wrote:
I've been trying to remedy this exact situation with my HS 2800 from around 2010.

The heater will fire up, run correctly (sometimes for several days) and then shut down with two blinks. I don't believe it it is the regulators as I have two tanks and it does the same thing with either or both. I've also set the pressure to 11" with a manometer. Running on shore power makes no difference. Cleaning, sealing, and repositioning the intake flex tube makes no difference.

So I am looking at cleaning the gas valve as SSWesty did successfully.

To do this, if if understand, you run the heater until the valve opens, then force air into the propane inlet.

Questions: How many PSI? Can you run something else through there, like carb cleaner or alcohol or another solvent?

Anything else that could give the 2 blink error code before I replace the heater or have it serviced?

SSWesty, is yours still working after 3.5 years? Or was the air cleaning a temporary solution?


Red blinky or yellow? If red, I'd recommend removing the end cap containing the gas valve to access the ignitors. I saw some with super-wide gap and sometimes loose tips that would drop out of place and create very unreliable ignition. Gap should be centered inside the burner tube and 2-3 mm. Three screws hold the burner tube in place. Don't use a solvent, as it could harm the gas valve. Alcohol. But unlikely anything could get in since the valve has a screen on the inlet, or should. Contamination is a different matter.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

It's a red blink--never seen a yellow.

I did notice the wire to the sparker was a bit loose, but didn't suspect that as I thought 2 blinks meant low gas pressure only. I'm going to pull it apart, check the gap, and glue that wire in there to make sure it doesn't come out.

Thanks, Karl. Will report back.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Just a check to be sure it's pre-2010 or post 2/2010 as the 2 code is different after the production break.

Van cafe should have replacement electrodes.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

https://www.propexheatsource.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/HS2800-from-April-2018.pdf
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 2:14 am    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

Corwyn wrote:
https://www.propexheatsource.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/HS2800-from-April-2018.pdf


That's incorrect for Californio's heater.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

The serial on mine is 80691.

I pulled it apart yesterday and the electrodes were too widely spaced. Reconnected the wires (they just seem to stay there by compression, solder won't take), reset the gap using a 1/8" drill bit for a feeler gauge, and it works...so far...will have to wait and see if it's permanent. Last night it was good.

I also disassembled the gas valve and blew out the orifice with carb cleaner, then reassembled with rectorseal. If you take it apart, you can do this without harming the valve itself--the orifice is just a chunk of brass.

Pics to follow. I'll try to write up a "procedure" for what I did as well.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Propex error code 2 blinks Reply with quote

So, for those who are getting a "fuel starved" error code (2 blinks on older Propex) here are some things to try.

1. Make sure of proper pressure using manometer. Easy to make with clear tubing, cardboard box, zip ties, etc. Connect it to wherever the Propex hooks up and set to 11" with stove burner lighted. Better instructions elsewhere on how to do this.

2. Seal the intake combustion air tube where it enters the Propex, make sure it's clear, and move it so it doesn't have too many bends and isn't too close to the exhaust tube.

3. Clear the propane orifice by hooking up compressed air to the inlet, then running Propex until the gas valve opens, then use compressed air while it's open.

4. None of this worked for me. So...

5. I pulled the whole heater apart again to have a look at the electrodes and sure enough, that was the problem. The gap was too large, and one wire had come loose. The conditions were related. The electrodes sit in their ceramic housings by pressure alone--there's a little bend in them to make sure they hold--and likewise, the wires to the electrodes stay in by pressure against the ceramic housing. My problem was that one electrode had slid slightly out of its housing, which increased the gap beyond specs, and also loosened the wire to where it was probably making intermittent contact. That would explain why I could run the heater for days, and then it would stop and lock out.

6. To check the gap, pull out all the Phillips screws from the case and pull the sheet metal off. The gas valve and orifice will come out on the end plate; just leave it on. The two electrodes will be visible on a round plate that leads to the combustion chamber. Take out the three screws that hold the plate on, carefully remove the plate leaving the wires on, and check the gap between the electrodes. It should be 2-3 mm. I checked by using drill bits as feeler gauges. Mine was too large by about 1mm.

7. The electrodes can be pushed in and out to adjust the gap. I was able to reset mine by doing this. Careful bending them as the ceramic casing breaks easily. Maybe there's another way to adjust the gap as well, but that worked for me.

8. If your wires have come loose, you have to pull the electrode out of the ceramic casing using vice grips (gently, again), then put the stripped wire in the hole and push the electrode back in. The wire stays there by pressure. As far as I can see, nothing else holds it.

9. While I was in there, I unscrewed the propane orifice from the gas valve (hold gas valve while doing this...) and blew carb cleaner through it.

10. I wrapped the combustion air intake with electrical tape when reassembling. That makes a more airtight seal when you clamp the flex tube on.

This all worked for me. Heater functions as new now. I'll report back if something goes wrong.

I'm suspecting that years of driving washboard in the desert and elsewhere may have loosened the electrode from its ceramic case on mine. The Propex has been in there probably 10 years.

Hopefully this will help someone in future. I'm attaching a picture showing the electrodes and my drill bit spacer.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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