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Old 10-15-2017, 03:04 PM   #1
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Thermostat question

Our Jay Feather 23BHM furnace thermostat is the Atwood mechanical 2-wire variety, and sometimes the furnace comes on and sometimes it doesn't. Since the trailer is new this Summer we haven't had to use the furnace (I did play around with it when we first brought it home however) but this weekend was a little cold. Anyways I turned on the heat Friday night and it cycled normally all night just like it's supposed to, and then yesterday morning I turned off the furnace. When I went to turn the furnace on again last night I flipped the little lever on top to the ON position and nothing happened. I tried turning it to OFF and back on again but still no luck. Since I had this problem once before I started thinking maybe there's a specific sequence I'm supposed to follow.

So this morning I got up and started monkeying with it, trying this and that, and I found that when I turned the thermostat to off, moved the temperature setting all the way to the left (lowest setting), turned the thermostat back on, and then moved the temperature setting all the way to the right (highest setting) the furnace kicked on and cycled normally again. Is there indeed a specific sequence to turning on the furnace with that thermostat (the manual is not informative), or am I crazy? For your viewing enjoyment I put in a little picture of the type of thermostat we have.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:44 AM   #2
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replace it with a digital one...
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:59 PM   #3
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The above suggestion is one or have Jayco send out a new one under warranty.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:09 PM   #4
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I think you are just crazy....
The thermostat for lack of a better definition is just an on off switch. I had a problem a few years ago and found out that my furnace had an error code flashing. It worked perfectly less than an hour before, and then just stopped. I tried everything checking wire at the thermostat, the propane line, voltage, everything. Finally I left the thermostat on and saw the error light. Found a thread that explained the code and after I turned of the switch on the furnace unit itself and back on it ran fine. It was an ignition lockout code, and I had no idea what was going on because the error light and switch are located on the farthest back bottom corner.
While I would like a digital thermostat, its hard to justify.
In trouble shooting I would see if you can locate the error light and see if there are any 'codes' flashing when the furnace doesn't work.
If no codes, I would make sure the wire leads to and from the thermostat are tight on both ends. I would then check for continuity when the thermostat is in the highest call for heat setting. Because its a mechanical switch it could be either out of alignment, dirty or just a bad connection.
After you have localized the problem to either the furnace or the thermostat or wires or DC power, then you can determine the best way to get a reliable furnace activation.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:16 PM   #5
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Yank the cover and watch the contacts as you move the temperature setting lever.

You'll find a really wide swing (7F or more) before they snap open or closed.

It is NOT a precision instrument. Once you find an almost acceptable setting, it will get chilly before the heat cycles in. And too warm before it cycles off.

Then get an electronic one if those swings are too annoying.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:29 PM   #6
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There's a switch on the blower motor with (built in) breaker you can switch that one on and off. Otherwise get the schematic out and check voltage at the switch. High Limit and sail switch are inline with this service switch. (that's where the wires come back)
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:36 PM   #7
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On both our bungalow and our 33rlds we have digital t-thats. Let me say that whatever the temps are set the air goes on 1 degree above the set temp and goes off 1 degree below the set temp, Heat is just the reverse. I think that the money was well spent for the t-thats.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadRich View Post
I think you are just crazy....
While I would like a digital thermostat, its hard to justify.
Is $60 hard to justify for something that will greatly improve the cycling of the furnace and make it much easier to maintain an even temp. Is about the cost of a tank of gas.
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadRich View Post
I think you are just crazy....
The thermostat for lack of a better definition is just an on off switch. I had a problem a few years ago and found out that my furnace had an error code flashing. It worked perfectly less than an hour before, and then just stopped. I tried everything checking wire at the thermostat, the propane line, voltage, everything. Finally I left the thermostat on and saw the error light. Found a thread that explained the code and after I turned of the switch on the furnace unit itself and back on it ran fine. It was an ignition lockout code, and I had no idea what was going on because the error light and switch are located on the farthest back bottom corner.
While I would like a digital thermostat, its hard to justify.
In trouble shooting I would see if you can locate the error light and see if there are any 'codes' flashing when the furnace doesn't work.
If no codes, I would make sure the wire leads to and from the thermostat are tight on both ends. I would then check for continuity when the thermostat is in the highest call for heat setting. Because its a mechanical switch it could be either out of alignment, dirty or just a bad connection.
After you have localized the problem to either the furnace or the thermostat or wires or DC power, then you can determine the best way to get a reliable furnace activation.
I got a digital one on ebay for less than $20 delivered to my door... that was easy to justify ;o) and it tells me the temp and is back lit
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:01 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies my friends. I went back out to the trailer today and started fooling with the thermostat again and getting the furnace to start is like some sort of puzzle. Using various combinations of the ON/OFF lever and the temperature setting will get it going this time, but not the next. There's no rhyme or reason to the trickery used to start the furnace, but it does eventually start. When it comes on it cycles as it should but as soon as I turn it to OFF it's back to the Rubik's cube of a start-up procedure again. I appreciate the suggestion to check for error codes and dirty contacts but I'm pretty much convinced it's a bum thermostat and I'll replace that with a digital one I can actually see in the Spring. Right now I've got 4 jugs of anti-freeze and a blow-out plug and I'm going to retire the old Prairie Schooner for the Winter this weekend. It's a sad thing, but Winter comes early to northern Pennsylvania.
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