Lighting pilot on old RCA dryer


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Old 05-06-10, 01:58 PM
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Lighting pilot on old RCA dryer

I have an old RCA 60 Custom dryer. The pilot went out when I was cleaning the works with compressed air. I have been unable to relight the pilot (no manual, no attached instructions).

There are three components:

The main gas valve with tube ending in half-cup burner with thermocouple in centre (pointing away so I can't see if the pilot is there somewhere).

A separate long electric device of some sort with a tube extending 3" or 4" past the burner

A separate short switch that has a movable red plastic plate and has the thermocouple run into it.

The red plastic plate is on the far side of the device so is virtually inaccessible although I can get my hand round to manipulate. There may be some text moulded into the facing side but it's impossible to read. I assume that is the pilot manual operation.

I've tried moving the plastic plate in various directions and tried lighting where I think the pilot may be (in all my other gas equipment the pilot location is absolutely obvious - not the dryer). I have not achieved any ignition.

Would the pilot be within the main gas tube or is it the tube extending past the burner? I thought normally the pilot burns on to the thermocouple.
 
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Old 05-06-10, 02:03 PM
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Have you tried puhing the red disk in and holding while lighting.
I've tried moving the plastic plate in various directions and tried lighting
 
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Old 05-06-10, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Have you tried puhing the red disk in and holding while lighting.
Isn't that what I said I'd done? I've tried all directions and lighting where I think the pilot may be.

Repeating my main question "Would the pilot be within the main gas tube or is it the tube extending past the burner? I thought normally the pilot burns on to the thermocouple"

(edit) On further inspection, the gas tube is the only place containing gas. There is no separate pilot line. The main burner tube is about 6" long. At the near end (and near the main valve) the tube is open on the sides for combustion air and there seems to be a nozzle in the centre (by feel only!). I have to assume that is the pilot jet and the flame travels from there about 4" down the tube where the thermocouple is located. Does that compute? Still no luck lighting.
 

Last edited by JohnDIYS; 05-06-10 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 05-06-10, 03:13 PM
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I've tried moving the plastic plate in various directions and tried lighting
Nope you said nothing about pushing. What you wrote seemed to me to imply rotating.

If the thermocouple is as old as you seem to indicate then cooling when the flame went out it may have killed it. Can you hear or smell gas when trying to re-light it? I'd suggest replacing the thermocouple. I have never seen a pilot that didn't suround the thermocouple so that is where I would try to light it.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-06-10 at 03:33 PM.
  #5  
Old 05-06-10, 07:37 PM
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The plastic plate is so flimsy it's difficult to tell whether it should be pushed or pulled. It moves the most when pushed. I've found a knitting needle that will pass through the tiny clearance between components. That makes operating it a bit safer than having a hand jammed in next to the burner tube.

A faulty thermocouple will not stop the pilot from lighting. The whole purpose of the red manual button is to bypass the thermocouple interlock. Operating the button should always give pilot gas. If the pilot lights and the thermocouple is faulty, the pilot would go out as soon as the pilot button is released (assuming pilot is alight long enough to get the thermocouple up to temperature).

The other component (the long tube projecting 3"-4" past the burner) is probably either a high temperature shutoff or a crude thermostat.

As I don't seem to have any gas, the problem most likely is in operating the red button which is in a ridiculous location.
 
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Old 05-06-10, 09:00 PM
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Operating the button should always give pilot gas.
You are correct. My mistake. Hopfuly one of the pros will chime in soon.
 
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Old 05-06-10, 10:08 PM
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Looks like I've found the main issue. I found there was no electrical power to the main valve which passes the power on to the pilot. When I vacuumed the fluff from the rear of the dryer earlier, one of the wires broke.

It was fortuitous because some of the wires (the two to the gas valve in particular) have hardened with age. The broken wire insulation was completely baked, had cracked with the vibration and the copper wire followed over time. It only needed a touch from me and it parted.

A rewiring job then back to see if the pilot works. Although your advice did not help too much, the moral support did so thanks ray2047!
 
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Old 05-06-10, 10:16 PM
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Note: You should add your location. This is mostly a US board and I'm sure some like myself had never heard of an RCA dryer. In fact tried finding info out about both RCA and GE but nothing much on ones old enough to have a standing pilot light instead of an ignitor.
 
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Old 05-07-10, 01:37 PM
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Once I had replaced the wires and turned the dryer on, I found that there was an ignitor, which works fine. I had not blown out the pilot at all. I assumed I had but the dryer was not working due to the broken wire. The ignitor cuts out within a second or two of the burner igniting.

Ray2047, you were correct about the lighting at the head of the burner. The jet near the main valve is the main burner jet.

It's strange that the two wires to the control valve were both in poor condition but only in the back of the dryer. They were taped into a bundle of other wires and none of those show the slightest hardening or damage.

I'm now the bearer of properly fluffed underwear.
 
 

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