Glow Plug Igniter Electrode.
Lynx gas barbecue grills started using “glo-plug” ignition electrodes in 2007. The DCS “E” models were the first gas BBQ grill I saw with glow plugs and that was over 10 years ago. The Lynx design is part of a popular movement among high-end gas grill manufacturers with companies like Alfresco, FireMagic, Solaire also experimenting with glow plug igniters. Unfortunately Lynx is moving on and we the customers are going to pay the price.
Glow plug ignition electrodes are popular in outdoor barbecue grills because a glow plug will light gas in a strong wind and rain. The glow plug lights up like a light bulb and becomes extraordinarily hot very quickly. The glow plug electrode acts like and looks like a light build without the glass bulb surrounding the mono-filament. As long as the ignitor switch is depressed the glow plug will glow a bright white.
Originally Lynx has sparking electrodes that are the ubiquitous standard in modern barbecues. From the rotary modules of 2002 through the battery powered modules used on modern barbecues everywhere Lynx has moved to an electrical outlet that plugs into the wall. There is a battery powered module for the glow plugs but that is a back-up; the grill is designed to pull 120v from the
normal electrical outlets.
The 2002 – 2005 Lynx electrodes used by Lynx were like miniature spark plugs. These electrodes were over three inches long and surrounded by a heavy stainless steel collector box.
In 2006 Lynx got rid of the collector box and started using a double prong electrode that is almost identical to the double prong electrodes used by TEC, Alfresco, Solaire and Viking. The Lynx electrode is not as heavy as the other versions of the double prong electrode but it also works well and is a lot less costly than other manufacturer’s electrode.
The glow plug electrodes that were being used in 2007 are like the original DCS glow plug electrodes but Lynx evolved to a slightly bend electrode that has been in use for about five years. The down-side to the Lynx glow-plugs is that they are mounted to the inner firewall of the barbecue just like the 2002 electrodes instead of being installed in a static, solid mounting tube like the R.H. Peterson FireMagic and the Alfresco glow plugs. As a result the Lynx glow plugs are able to be bumped around as the grill is used and the filament is easy to pop free and break.
Lynx glow plug are easy to replace and cost effective to repair. A Lynx glow plug replacement kit costs as much as a single DCS glow plug electrode but the Lynx kit includes all the glow plugs, hardware, wiring and instructions for the entire barbecue grill.
However, last week Lynx sent all of us dealers a note that the glow plug ignition electrode replacement kits are being discontinued. Lynx is changing their ignition assembly again in favor of a hot surface ignition assembly.
Hot Surface Gas Grill Ignition.
The hot surface has been a high-priced feature on gas log fireplaces for years that has become more common because of the federal government discussions about the safety and ecology of standing pilot fireplace control valves. Gas log manufacturers are scrambling to make the hot surface ignition valve more affordable just in case the standing pilot becomes unusable. Typically the standing pilot ignites the gas as the gas valve opens and gas exits the burner. The pilot is always burning so the gas will always ignite. The customer experiences an “on — off” remote control but the remote is only turning the gas on and off.
A hot surface ignition has a sensor opposite the igniter electrode with the pilot flame in-between so the electricity from the battery travels to the electrode to ground against the pilot, spark and ignite the gas. With the sensor the electricity travels through the pilot flame and the charge returns through the sensor to tell the module to stop sparking. If the pilot blows out the circuit is interrupted so the module is automatically sparking against the pilot flame bracket until the pilot flame re-ignites and allows the electric milli-volt to return through the sensor.
Lynx is installing a hot-surface ignition on all their new barbecue grills. That is fantastic; new technology is always exciting (when it works). The problem with the latest advancement is that Lynx is getting complaints about the glow-plugs and has decided not to manufacture replacement parts any longer.
As of April 2012 Lynx will not manufacture replacement glow plug electrode kits or the battery back-up modules for any of the Lynx gas grill models that were designed for these parts. Any Lynx grill owners hoping to replace their igniters with an inexpensive $38. glow plug kit are going to have to purchase a hot surface retro-fi kit from Lynx. These new hot surface igniter kits range from $257. to $318. Do not be fooled by those prices because the 12v requires a 110v GFI electrical outlet added and the new wiring that has to be installed as all the old wiring is removed will take anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours depending on the experience of a technician.
Typically a gas grill technician is not a licensed electrician and will hesitate to work on electrical components. Fortunately the Alfresco and FireMagic hot-surface kits are so well made a service call to repair these igniters is very rare — and I expect the Lynx igniters to be just as reliable.
The problem is that retro-fitting these kits on a 2009 Lynx glow-plug system can mean spending several hundred dollars for the new kit and another $180. – $475. in service fees to have the igniters installed.
All of us here at Grill-Repair.com have chosen this field of work because we love to grill, to smoke, to barbecue and to eat the food we cook outdoors (i did not gain all this weight swimming in the ocean!). As avid barbecuers we would be reticent to spend $500. and more on an igniter when a long candle lighter costs $1.
We have ordered as many glow plug replacement kits as were available at Lynx so we can continue to repair the Lynx ignition assembly for less than $50. but at some point we will have to face this poor decision by Lynx.
We have had clients choose to retro-fit different igniters into their Lynx grills before and I think that idea is going to return. However, retro-fitting the , reelable igniters is going to cost a fraction of the new costs — and will actually light the gas grill effectively and reliably.
Although Lynx is not going to make or sell the glow plugs they made from 2007 to 2009 they will continue to make available to igniter assemblies fro 1999 to 2006 and those igniters worked.
Using the original Lynx module with a button mounted in the control panel or allowing the switch on the control valves to continue activating the ignition circuit the electrodes can be switched to any of the electrodes shown above — and many more. Without spending several hundreds of dollars in parts and labor the new Lynx gas barbecue grills can be retro fitted with the original Lynx ignition assemblies that worked just fine.