Propex Heater Problem

Warning this is a totally technical post and if you’re not interested in Propex gas heaters or Dab radios then I suggest you look away now because it’s going to get boring.

Our recent trip to fforest fields showed up a problem with our Propex Compact 1600 gas heater. It didn’t work.

Once we were home I set about investigating the fault because with the Scottish trip looming we were going to need heat.

There are a lot of people asking about repairs to these heater on the internet, but very little technical information

When switching on the heater the red & the green Led would light up and the fan would start to prepurge the chamber for approximately six seconds. Then there was a click and the heater shut down. I did this several times in case there was an airlock in the gas supply. I checked the power supply at the thermostat which was 12.84 volts and the power to the heater switched on and off when the control knob was turned.

propex compact 1600 (67) (2000 x 1500)

Thermostat

 

The ignition system wasn’t sparking, so I’m presuming at this stage that the fault is either the ignition electrode or the spark generator. With a healthy 12.84 volts, shutting down because of low voltage was ruled out. I also checked that the air inlet and outlet were clear.

The heater unit is mounted under the food chest on the Trident Autosleeper and it’s accessed by removing the base of the chest.

 

propex compact 1600 (19)

Deep in the food cupboard

 

There isn’t a lot of room to work in there, so I decided to remove the unit to test it. This was easier said than done. Once I had worked out where the hidden mounting screws were and the fact that it was also held in place by double sided tape it became pretty obvious how the unit could be removed. It was all the cussing & cursing about who would fit a heater in such a confined space that took the time.

propex compact 1600 (11)

There is a screw under exhaust outlet and one under the air intake

 

propex compact 1600 (40)

the wooden mounting plinth with the doublesided tape

 

 

With the heater remove it was dismantled for inspection. The cover is screwed on and also sealed in place with a type of high temperature silicone sealant.

propex compact 1600 (49)

The Sealed section of the case showing the motor, fan, gas burner and gas solenoid

 

The design of the heater is fairly basic.

propex compact 1600 (48)

On the left are the Heat sensors and the PCB has the spark generator

 

propex compact 1600 (55)

Ignition Electrodes

 

This heater hadn’t been opened since it was first manufactured in 1995 as the warranty seals were still in place. Not bad twenty one years of operation.

propex compact 1600 (45)

I contacted Propex to see if they had a parts list available, but they hadn’t due to the age of the unit. I then started an e mail correspondence with them describing the faults that I had.

Propex suggest that it could possibly be the spark generator and offered to take the heater in and repair it.

I could have replaced the obvious components and hoped that the heater would operate again, but time was running out, so I took up the repair service offered by Propex. Although doing this would cost more, at least the unit would be up and running and would carry a warranty.

I’ll update when the heater is returned.

On a brighter note I replaced our cheapo radio that was playing up with a Panasonic DAB radio. Fitting was all very basic as it had standard plugs and I opted for a self adhesive windscreen mounted aerial. Everything tuned in fine, but as yet I haven’t tested the reception when driving around.

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