Stove igniter only sparks when burner is lit

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  #1  
Old 07-09-17, 02:23 PM
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Stove igniter only sparks when burner is lit

My stove is a GE JGB920BEC4BB. For many years this stove has had a problem with one of its burners. When igniting any burner, all 4 are supposed to spark at the same time. Three of the burners spark and light just fine. But the right front burner does not spark, either when trying to light that burner or any other. HOWEVER, if I light the right front burner manually, then it does spark when I turn any of the 4 burner's knobs to the spark position. Why does the right front only spark if it is already lit, and how do I fix it so it will spark when it is not lit?
Thank You for any advice that you can provide.
 
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Old 07-09-17, 02:53 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Unusual problem. Normally when it doesn't spark.... having the burned lit makes no difference.

That leaves two possible problems. A defective spark module. This could be confirmed by exchanging that burners spark line for another in the spark module. There are 4 outputs that work at the same time.

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The actual spark electrode at the burner could be defective.
Do you actually see a spark but it just won't light ?
 
  #3  
Old 07-10-17, 11:26 AM
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When the right-front burner is not lit, there is no spark. Once it is lit, there is a spark. I just did a test....tried to light the right-front burner...the other three burners were sparking, but not right front. While everything was sparking, I lit the right front manually - it immediately began sparking with the other burners.
 
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Old 07-10-17, 11:39 AM
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I haven't run across that problem. It would appear to be a weak spark.

The same two possible causes I gave above are valid. You could also try switching the igniter with one of the working ones too.
 
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Old 07-11-17, 09:30 AM
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I tried replacing the igniter with a new one that I had, and it made no difference.
I also tried cleaning the connections on the igniter and the end of the wire, but that made no difference.

I think your theory about a weak spark is correct. I did some research and found that flames conduct electricity (because a flame contains ionized gas). Thus, a weak spark may not be able to jump the gap, but can jump the gap when flame is present.

Could the high voltage wiring harness that connects the igniters to the spark module be bad? Or is it most likely the spark module?
Thanks again for your help.
 
  #6  
Old 07-11-17, 02:53 PM
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Well, I fixed it. I was experimenting with the spark module. I tried moving the wire that was connected to the problematic burner/igniter to the spark module connection for the burner behind it (right rear). And I moved the wire from the right rear burner to the spark module connection for the right front burner. I wanted to see if the problem moved to the right rear burner. Instead I found that BOTH burners/igniters worked. When I restored the wires to the original arrangement, the right front burner/igniter again had problems. And when I swapped the wires again, both burners again worked.

I am not certain why this fixed the problem - but I have a theory. I suspect that the spark originally reaching the right front burner was weaker (as proposed by the Moderator) - presumably due to a problem with the spark module. The right front burner is one if the high output burners, while the right rear is the smallest burner. It is possible that the smaller size (thus smaller capacity) burner doesn't require as much spark to light it. So connecting the wire to the spark module connection that has the weaker spark still provided sufficient spark to light it. To better understand the reason why, I would probably either have to replace the spark module (an expensive test), or get equipment that would allow me to measure the strength of the spark. So, after 13 years of using a BBQ grill lighter to light the right front burner, I think I'll not worry about why, and just enjoy seeing the burner/igniter work.

Thank you to this web site and the Moderator for providing the impetus and ideas that allowed me to tackle this problem.
 
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Old 07-11-17, 05:02 PM
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Exactly what I would have done. Good job.
 
  #8  
Old 01-09-19, 12:37 PM
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Worked for me

Swapping the wire for the one from the smaller burner worked for me as well. I had the same odd problem. I had already replaced the spark module and igniter. This leads me to believe the wire was going/went bad. Easier than having to order a new wire.
 
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Old 01-09-19, 12:50 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

The ignition wire operates under high heat and high voltage. Any crack in the insulation can cause a spark problem. It's not always easy to find a crack or puncture which is one reason for swapping the igniter wires around.

Just an FYI for other readers...... this members spark module is a standard "any burner valve activates all spark channels". There are re-ignition type spark modules where you would need to swap an igniter wire AND the wire from the valve.
 
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