Next Generation Pilot Burners

by Fire By Design

There are two types of igniters found in Electronic Ignition Systems – Direct Spark and Hot Surface Igniters (aka ͞Glow Plug͟). The Direct Spark Igniters make a ticking sound when turned on whereas Hot Surface Igniters do not. Direct Spark Igniters require a good, solid ground circuit to operate properly whereas a Hot Surface Igniter does not. Rust formation on any of the electrical connections associated with a Direct Spark Igniter circuit will degrade the performance of the igniter to the point it will no longer generate a spark hot enough to ignite the gas. This issue is not something you will ever experience when using a Hot Surface Igniter. For this reason, Fire by Design only uses Hot Surface Igniters in their electronic ignition systems.

Though there are several differences between the two types of igniters there is one thing in common between them; both are the weak link in the electronic ignition systems they are installed in. The igniter is an electrical part that is engulfed in flames the entire time the fire feature is on. This heat stress coupled with the effects of weather (moisture primarily) over time will degrade the performance of the igniter to the point it has to be replaced.The more the feature is used the sooner the igniter will need to be replaced.Thus the reason igniters need to be replaced more often in commercial fire features (that are operated every day for many hours each day) than residential features that are used occasionally.

In March 2016 Fire by Design began experimenting with the idea of turning off the flame to the igniter to prolong the life of the igniter. The very first fire feature installed with one of these new ͞Commercial Grade All Weather Electronic Ignition Systems͟ (CG AWEIS) was a Lazy Dog Restaurant located in Summerlin, NV. This new CG AWEIS replaced a competitor’s system that failed within the first 2 weeks of being installed due to the long hours this feature was burned every day.

The first CG AWEIS installed had two Pilot Burners. One Pilot Burner, referred to as the ͞Primary͟ Pilot Burner had both an igniter and a thermal sensor and its purpose was to ignite the gas.Once the gas was ignited and the presence of a flame was detected the Main Burner valve would open providing gas to both the Main Burner (Fire Ring) and the ͞Secondary͟ Pilot Burner. The Secondary Pilot Burner did not have an igniter, it only had a thermal sensor. Once the flame within the Secondary Pilot Burner was detected the gas valve providing gas to the Primary Pilot Burner was turned off which in turn would extinguish the flame engulfing the igniter in the Primary Pilot Burner. In this system the only time the igniter had a flame on it was during the first 10 to 15 seconds of startup.

After that first install at the Lazy Dog Restaurant another 150 CG AWEIS were installed in commercial fire features over the next 12 months as part of our ongoing experiment. As of this writing (2 ½ years later) the Lazy Dog Restaurant continues to operate using the same components originally installed and we have not had ANY igniter failures in any of the CG AWEIS installed within that 12-month test!

Due to the outstanding success of our test we began redesigning all our Electronic Ignition Systems in the Summer of 2017 with the goal being to remove the igniter from the flame shortly after startup. Though we had already accomplished this with the original CG AWEIS we did not like the ͞Two Pilot Burner͟ approach and believed we could accomplish the same thing with a redesigned ͞Single͟ Pilot Burner. This led to the development of our new ͞Dual Gas͟ Pilot Burner.

In December 2017 we began shipping our new AWEIS CG (All Weather Electronic Ignition System –Commercial Grade). Ten months and over 8,000 systems later we have not had one igniter failure!We now offer Commercial Grade versions of our SUBEIS (Submersible Electronic Ignition System), Cone Style Tiki Torches and our Vulcan Fire Modules.Fire by Design continues to lead the way in Automated Fire!

Overview of the NEW Next Generation Pilot Burner

With “Dual Pilot Gas Technology”

All Stainless Steel / Brass Construction

-Minimizes corrosion

Two Gas Lines

-One from Pilot Burner Gas Valve

-One from Auxiliary Gas Valve

Sequence of Operation

  1. Hot Surface Igniter
  2. Pilot Burner Gas Valve- ON -Gas is directed at both Igniter & Thermopile
  3. Auxiliary Gas Valve- ON -Gas is directed at Thermopile and Main Burner
  4. Pilot Burner Gas Valve-OFF – Gas Directed at Igniter is Turned OFF


Available Four Lengths

12 ” 18″ 24″ & 30″

-- Bob Roman / Fire by Design