Originally the gas barbecue grill used the piezo ignition.
When the piezo module button is pressed the internal spring snaps back intoplace and a small charge is created and sent out through the electrical post at the bottom of the igniter module. The electrode wire brings the charge to the electrode which looks like a miniature spark plug from a car. The electrode is a porcelain housing with steel projecting from the porcelain to arc against the collector box or against nearby steel, often the burner itself.
Originally the piezo ignition module was used on every gas barbeque grill. Eventually the single push, single arc was too slow. When electrodes get some grease or dirt on them they do not ground well and generate a strong arc. Many barbecuers think there is something wrong with the igniter and instead of cleaning the electrode they start replacimg arts associated with the ignition.
The rotary igniter module evolved from the constant push-pop, push-pop, push-pop, etco of the push
button piezo. The rotary module has a control nob on the end so that a single 360 degree turn can create 8 burst of electricity, 8 arcs at the electrode. The rotary can be used with all the same electrodes as any pre-existing barbecue grill ignition system. However the rotary generates a lot more bursts of voltage to make more arcing to ignite the gas as the gas leaves the barbeque.
Battery igniter modules started off as a process of several steps. A battery holder was mounted in the lower right and left side of a Lynx (to use one manufacturers example) and a wire ran from the battery to the module as in the first image above. A switch/button mounted in the control panel was wired to the module and the electrodes that actually arc to ignite the gas were wired to the module. So a module had a button and a battery wired to it and then had several electrodes connected by wires coming from the module. The Alfresco, Solaire, Viking and other models had a AA battery that mounted behind the button to simplify the process and newer models have a battery installed in the module.
The module with the nine volt installed in the module casing makes it easier to exchange the 9 volt battery when necessary. The DCS gas bbq grill ignition module on the left has a battery pushed into the side of the case while the alfresco igniter module has a door that unscrews to change the battery and keep the area dry for longevity.
New gas barbeque grill modules include the button/switch, the module itself and the battery in one item.
The efficiency allows the module to be easily swapped during a gas bbq grill repair. The button is removed to access and change the battery and under the button is a plastic nut to hold the module solid on the control panel. This design can be used on almost any gas barbecue grill. Every once in awhile the module is too big for the space inside the control panel but this is rare.
The latest technology in gas barbecue grill ignition systems is the glo-plug system. Lynx gas grill parts have been using glow-plugs in all their new models. Originally the glo-plug was featured in the DCS48E models. The DCS “E” models were a very limited release barbeque grill and they sold through frontgate magazine with ready-made grill islands. The original glo-plug had a transformer that has to be mounted below the barbecue grill to allow a 110 plug to bring electricy and be converted for use on the glo-plug electrodes. The design was not a huge success for DCS and the glo-plug idea died out. In recent years Lynx, Alfresco, Solaire and others have experimented with the glo-plug electrodes. While many models still
come with a 110v transformer mounted below the barbecue there is also a few different modules that are powered by several “D” batteries. The replacement gas grill repair glo-plug kit in the drawing here uses a large module containing “D” batteries. Although the Lynx still uses the under mounted transformer the lynx also uses this module as a back-up.
Glow-plug gas barbecue grill ignition systems are similar to the inside of a light bulb. The two-prong electrde has a small mono-filament coiled between them and when the voltage conducts between the posts the filament glows hot white. The glowing mono-filament lights the gas every single time regardless of weather conditions. The glow plugs can be damaged by cracking the porcelain or the filament just like a light bulb or a spark plug but used correctly there should be no way to damage this relaible ignition system.
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone say the igniter is always the first thing to break on their barbecue I could retire today. Ignitions in gas grills nowadays are very reliable and do not often stop working. Normally the barbeque is outdoors and the small steel electrodes get a little dirt, carbon from gas fumes or grease splatter and the arc is weakened. A simple brush lightly applied would have it arc-ing again a s good as new. Most backyard chefs do not know this and they assume the igniter is broken. Usually the module is not broken and it does not get cleaned and then it does not work. The glo-plug is more reliable because the intense heat will often clean itself. Moreover I am always surprised at how often a customer will contact me because we built an outdoor kitchen a few years ago and now the igniters are not working. The assumption is always that the ignition is broken because this is expected. I’ll ask them if they changed the battery and they often reply “battery? … what battery, my bbq does not have a battery”. The electricity has to come from somewhere folks; change the battery.
Grill-Repair.com can be contacted at:
For additional information, for gas barbecue grill replacement parts, for additional assistance with grill repairs and for custom outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and fire pits contact us for more.