Having trouble lighting a second propane gas fireplace for 2 reasons

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Having trouble lighting a second propane gas fireplace for 2 reasons.
1. The spark is bouncing all over the place (see short video).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Mafdj_tjVI

2. The propane is coming out too fast for the pilot to light (see video).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r8Of1-ARO8

If I hold a long-necked butane lighter to the pilot, I see the propane is moving at a high velocity:
http://imageshack.us/a/img526/1223/lightgasfireplace9.jpg
Eventually (couple of minutes of flame), the pilot ignites, allowing the rest of the fireplace to light up:
http://imageshack.us/a/img853/5113/lightgasfireplace7.jpg
My questions are twofold:
1. Is there a way to adjust the spark so that it hits the same spot twice? (Where is it supposed to strike anyway?)
2. Is it possible to lower the velocity of the pilot light propane so that lighting the pilot light is easier? TIA.
Note: This procedure below worked on the good fireplace which is built exactly the same - so I don't think it's a procedural error on my part.

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On 12/25/2012 5:29 PM, Jim wrote:

If you can't light it with a flame, fixing the spark won't help. There oughta be a pilot adjustment somewhere that lets you turn the pilot flow down to the point it doesn't blow itself out. Instruction manual?

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Has this worked before ?
Can't SEE what's going on with spark. Too much voltage, humidity, not enough insulation. Shorten gap where it's supposed to be.
Greg
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gregz wrote:

When the house was inspected for a new propane delivery company, it passed inspection. That's all I know. The fireplace does not appear to have been used more than once or so because of the almost total lack of soot.

Here is a high resolution photo of the fireplace in question:
http://imageshack.us/a/img542/5471/fireplacegaspropaneligh.jpg
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Too hard to see ignitor. This is a vented unit I hope. It's for propane, right ? I can only think of pressure.
Greg
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gregz wrote:

I'll snap a better picture in the morning.
I'm not sure what you mean by "vented unit".
It is for propane though.
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Chimney.
Unvented units produce a bluer flame, and the flame does not touch objects.
Greg
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gregz wrote:

Oh. Chimney. Yes. There is a chimney that goes three stories up through the roof. So it's a "vented fireplace" I guess.
The two problems I'm having are: 1. Where is the spark supposed to hit anyway? 2. How can we slow down the velocity of the pilot light propane gas?
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Jim wrote:

I have only one reason for inconvience with a gas space heater - I have to use a match.
Has anyone retrofitted a sparker - like you'd find as a replacement for an outdoor grill - to an ordinary gas space heater or, for that matter, a gas-starter fireplace?
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On 12/26/2012 7:33 AM, HeyBub wrote:

I've actually installed automatic pilot re-igniters in rooftop HVAC units that had their standing pilots frequently blown out by gusts of high winds. The units are quite easy to install and a skilled DIYer could figure it out with no problem. I would install one for a hard to reach standing pilot and switch it on when lighting the pilot. When the device doesn't detect a flame, it will spark every half second until a flame is detected. It can be left on as long as the pilot is on. ^_^
http://www.pexsupply.com/Robertshaw-785-001-24-120-VAC-Automatic-Pilot-Relight-Kit
http://preview.tinyurl.com/cltksrq
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

http://www.pexsupply.com/Robertshaw-785-001-24-120-VAC-Automatic-Pilot-Relight-Kit
Heh! Thanks. A device to light the pilot light.
Wonder if it comes with a battery backup.
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On 12/26/2012 4:14 PM, HeyBub wrote:

You can get 12vdc versions that are sold for RV use. ^_^
TDD
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Jim,
Glad you got the other one working for Christmas. You were not getting gas to that fireplace. How did you correct that? With this new fireplace you seem to complain of too much gas pressure. It seems unlikely that everything else in your home is happy with the gas pressure except for this fireplace. Something is out of adjustment. Any luck with getting a manual? Do you know who manufactures these gas units? I'd really recommend a service visit if you can't get your hands on the manual. Have all fireplaces serviced. In the meantime let's try a quick fix. Does this fireplace have a main valve? Let's turn that valve down to lower the gas pressure. This will take a little experimentation.
Dave M.

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David L. Martel wrote:

Two fixes. The first was the proper procedure (slaps head), which I only learned from the first fireplace.
The second was to give up on the piezo igniter and to just light the pilot with a brand new (lots of flame) long-necked butane lighter.

I don't think I used the word "pressure". If I did, I meant "velocity". The Bernoulli thing is that the gas is coming out way too fast to light easily at the pilot. Once the pilot is lit (and warmed up so it stays lit), then the gas fireplace works just fine.
So, the two things broken are: 1. I don't know how to adjust the piezoelectric sparker 2. I don't know how to adjust the pilot flame

Yes. Both the sparker and the pilot flame are out of adjustment.

Nope. The company who made the fireplace says I should find a tag chained to the gas apparatus - but I haven't found it yet.

I did try that but I concluded that even though the main gas valve takes about a dozen or so turns, after the first quarter turn, the gas is on full (sort of like with a garden hose).
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Jim,

To summarize You do not have a manual and can not get one. You do not know what you are doing. I think it's time to make a service call. You need 3 things, a manual, instruction on the care and operation of these fireplaces, and any necessary cleaning adjustment and repair to the fireplaces. So plan on being home for this service call. With luck the service guy will recognize your gas log unit and have a manufacturer name or can supply a copy of the manual.
Dave M.
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David L. Martel wrote:

True. Very true!

Only half true. I will keep looking to find out who manufactured it, and THEN I will call their support number or download their manual.
I'm googling images of gas-burning fireplaces as we speak!
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You might get the gas company to come out and service it. Ours would do an annual service and inspection for about $50. For the money, they'll find the make and model and teach you how to operate it. For a couple of bucks more, my gas company redid the fire bed (some small lava-rocks under the "logs" that glow like a bed of embers).
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On 12/26/2012 7:58 AM, David L. Martel wrote:

You sure about that? Turning down the main valve has zero effect on the pressure. And it will have zero effect on the pilot flow until it's more restrictive than the pilot adjustment. At that point, even if you get the pilot going, there's not nearly enough flow for the main flame.

Your video shows that your spark lighter is busted, but it's too dim to see why. The spark has to happen in the path of the gas that's coming out. The other location is faulty insulation or a non-insulated wire too close to some other metal part.

If you can get it lit by any means. And if there is no space between the flame and the pipe it's coming out of, it's probably ok. Follow the pipe back to it's source. Gotta be some kind of adjustment somewhere. What happens if you push the knob less than all the way in while you're trying to ignite it? The adjustment might be a spacer behind the knob that sets how far you can push it.

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Mike,

No, that's why I suggested the experiment.

Of course it will. Think about it. The main valve drops the pressure from the supply down to zero at the gas log when you turn the main valve off.

Not sure what a "pilot adjustment" is. You seem to agree that adding the mostly closed main valve will result in lower pressure and less flow to the pilot light, here.

Sure about that? I don't follow why you think that dropping the pressure somewhat means that there won't be enough gas. That's why I proposed the experiment.
Dave M.
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On 12/26/2012 4:10 PM, David L. Martel wrote:

You can do the experiment in your head. Don't confuse pressure with flow.
For the nitpickers, I should have used a lot of words like "for all practical purposes" and "almost". I should have said "pilot flow typically managed by a restriction created with an adjustment needle valve" , but the message is the same.
If you can't get your head around it, try this. Hook up your garden hose and an adjustable nozzle. Turn on the water with the nozzle open and see how much flow you get. Now, adjust the nozzle for a fine mist at low volume. Start closing the main water valve until you get about half the mist flow. Now, open the nozzle and compare the flow you get with the flow you had with the main valve wide open.
You can change the pilot flow by changing the input gas PRESSURE and still have the system work. You cannot change the pilot flow by restricting gas FLOW at the main input and have the system work. About all that does is reduce the aerodynamic effects to the point that the gas puddles is places it shouldn't be. When it ignites, you'll know it. Wear safety goggles and a dust mask.
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