1. Home
  2. Z Grills Smoker Repair Guides
  3. Ignition Rod Repair (700 series grills)

Ignition Rod Repair (700 series grills)

This article covers how to replace the ignition rod (hot rod) in a Z Grills 700 series pellet smoker.

For 450A grill models click here.

For Grill Models: 7002B, 700E, 700E-XL

Time: 20-30min

Difficulty: Medium

Tools Required: Pliers or small socket set, Phillips head screwdriver, Scissors or knife

Spare Parts (from Z Grills): SN ignition rod, power limiter, ceramic collar, mounting bracket, spring, cable pull wire, cable ties, spare fuse.

SN Ignition Rod Kit
SN ignition rod replacement kit main components

NOTE: New Silicon Nitride Ignition Rod

From November 2021 a new type of type of ignition rod will be supplied to Australian Z Grills customers if an ignition rod fails during the warranty period. Please review the rough video below in combination with the existing step by step instructions on this page.

To learn more about ignition rods, click here.

What is an ignition rod?

The ignition rod or “hot rod” is responsible for igniting the wood pellets in the fire-pot.

There are two types of ignition rods used in Z Grills pellets smokers in Australia.

Metal tube ignition rods are the most common type used in wood pellet smokers, but Z Grills Australia has recently introduced a new Silicon Nitride (SN) type ignition rod which not only heat up much faster but is also far more reliable.

Z Grills Metal vs Silicon Nitride Ignition Rod
Metal tube vs Silicon nitride type ignition rods

The ignition rod sits in the tube at the base of the fire-pot. Metal tube ignition rods need to extend out about 1cm as they need to physically touch wood pellets to ignite them.

Silicon nitride (SN) ignition rods get much hotter and get red hot right to the tip, so do not need to extend out into the fire-pot. Just the hot air blowing out of the tube is enough to ignite the pellets.

Repair Instructions

Check out the basic video below and the step by step instructions with photos on this page to understand how to replace an ignition rod in a 700 series Z Grills pellet smoker.

A high quality video showing the whole process with the SN ignition rod will be coming soon.

Step 1. Unplug the Power

Before doing any maintenance or cleaning, always unplug the power to the grill.

Step 2. Empty the hopper

Scoop as many pellets out as you can using a plastic scoop or cup.

Vacuum out the remaining pellets so you can see the Auger.

To make cleaning out all the wood pellets easier, you may want to temporarily remove the guard plate.

4 screws are located just under the front and rear lips of the guard.  

Take care not to drop the screws down into the Auger.

Step 3. Remove base cover

Remove the 6 screws (3 front, 3 rear) to release the base cover.

The base cover should drop down once the screws are removed but will be held in place by the power cable.

If possible, gently push the cable up through the cable tension ring to drop the cover down a bit lower. This will make getting the hopper box off a little easier.

Step 4. Release the Controller

Z Grills Controller Remove Screws

Remove the two screws from the controller.

Z Grills controller push into casing

Gentle pull the controller forward and then push back in through the hole in the hopper box.

If the controller is too tight, carefully cut some of the cable ties (from beneath) that are holding the cables in place.

Controller dangling from hopper

Once pushed through the hole, the controller may dangle down below the hopper box as shown.

Step 5. Remove hopper box

Remove hopper box screws

Remove the two front and two rear screws.

Carefully lift the hopper box up and off and place to the side out of the way.

You now have clear access to the controller and all the electrical components.

Step 6. Check the fuse

If the ignition rod tripped the power (quite common) the fuse is most likely blown.

A spare fuse is zip tied to the top of the green fuse box.

Fuse Box Pulled Out

Cut the white cable tie and pull the top off the green box with the fuse housed inside.

3A M205 Fuse

If blown, swap the fuse out with the spare.

The fuse type is a 3A M205 Fast Blow Fuse, which is widely available from electric parts outlets and hardware stores.

Step 7. Unplug the ignition rod cable

Ignition-Rod-Unplug-Cable

Cut off all the cable ties to free up the cables.

Identify the cable with the sticker HOT on it which powers the ignition rod.

The cable will be purple-white from the controller and white-white leading into the side of the grill to the ignition rod.

Carefully unplug the connector.

Step 8. Remove fire-pot

Remove fire-pot screws

Undo the 4 screws on the top of the fire-pot using a pair of pliers, spanner or suitable sized socket wrench.

Pull the fire-pot to the right (tap with pliers if required).

To lift out, rotate the pot to the side and lift up and out at an angle.

Metal ignition rod showing 2 screws in firepot

Flip the fire-pot over and gently undo the screw(s) until the ignition rod can slide out.

The fire-pot may have one or two screws. If there two screws, remove the bottom one entirely as only the side one will be used.

Step 9. Replace the ignition rod

Pull out ignition rod

Pull the thick white cable to remove the old ignition rod from the grill.

SN igntion rod wire to pull cable through

Straighten out the supplied wire and bent a bit hook at the other end. Feed the wire through to small hole through to the fire-pot.

Handle the SN Ignition Rod with care. It is very strong but can crack if dropped on a hard surface and will not work.

SN ignition rod bracket

Slide the bracket onto the cable as shown. Do this BEFORE the next step!

SN Ignition Rod wrap wire around plug

Pass the wire between the two cables and twist around the plug. Finish with the end of the wire pointing backwards so it doesn’t catch when pulled through the hole in the next step.

SN ignition rod pull through with wire

Pull the cable through and out the hole. This step can be a little tricky as the wire can get caught.

If you can’t pull it through, wrap some tape around the wire and plug to secure neatly in place.

SN Igntion rod slide on ceramic collar

Slide on the ceramic collar. Do not drop the collar as it can crack.

The white ceramic collar MUST be used. The ignition rod must NOT extend out into the fire-pot.

SN ignition rod bracket on fire-pot

DEFAULT SECURING OPTION

Secure the bracket to the side (or bottom if only one screw) on the fire-pot tube using the screw.

The SN ignition rod should remain a little loose and may freely rotate which is normal.

SN ignition rod spring

ALTERNATIVE SECURING OPTION

If the firepot screw is rusted or otherwise can’t be used, the supplied spring can be used to secure the ignition rod.

Make sure the ignition rod is vertical, so there is space left-right for the spring hooks to fit into the holes in the side of the metal tube.

The spring runs between the two power cables. Stretch the spring so it sits event

The spring is strong, so be careful.

Angle firepot to insert and remove

Put the fire-pot back in place by angling the ignition rod to the front of the auger feed tube.

Drop down and then rotate to align the auger feed tube with the big hole in the fire-pot.

Do NOT use force as it should slide in easily if using the correct angle.

Tap fire-pot back into place

You may need to gently push the auger feed tube up or down to slot into the hole in the fire-pot.

As required, gently tap the fire-pot into place so the screw holes align.

Tighten fire-pot screws up

Firmly do up the screws. Do not over-tighten.

Step 10. Connect and bundle cables

Wiring plug connections

Depending on your grill model there could be a few different cable configurations.

Use the stickers on the controller plugs as guides (not colours) as the colours may be different to those shown. Controller plug labels are:

MOT = Auger Motor
FAN = Fan
HOT = Ignition Rod

Note the black box connected to the power cable may not be present in some grills.

Z Grills controller wiring connections
Clockwise: Power cable, Auger motor, Fan, SN Ignition Rod
Connect SN ignition rod to power controller

Connect the SN ignition rod plug to the power limiter box supplied with the ignition rod.

Installing the power limiter is not essential, and in some cases it will not be provided.

Just plug the ignition rod in directly to the HOT p.

SN ignition rod cable connections

Connect the black/red power limiter plug to the purple-white plug labelled HOT.

Bundle and secure cables neatly

Bundle the cables neatly using the ignition rod cable as an anchor.

Use several cable ties to secure the everything together taking care to ensure none are close to the main fan (underneath) or auger motor small cooling fan.

The hole in the metal plate can be used as an anchor point too.

Correct temperature cable position

Ensure the thin, white temperature sensor cable is running down on the inside of the hopper plate as shown.

This cable may be bundled closer to the top of the cable which is also fine. It is important this cable is not loose such that it could contact either of the fans.

Step 11. Replace hopper box

Controller dangling from hopper

Put the hopper box back in place and secure with the 4 screws.

Step 12. Put controller back

Z Grills controller push into casing

Gentle push the controller back up from below and through the hole in the hopper box.

Controller Boards Temp Sensor Terminals

Check to make sure the temperature sensor cables are still firmly in place.

Depending on the controller model, the colour of the cable ends and terminal block may be different. Both are situated at the top of the controller board.

Grill underneath view

Use a mirror or selfie camera on your phone to look from underneath the hopper box. This photo shows an acceptable, neat set of cable that will not contact the fans.

If any of the cables are too close to the fans use cable ties to secure more neatly.

Step 13. Test operation

Before replacing the bottom cover first test the operation of the grill.

Plug into power, switch on and turn the controller knob to Smoke setting.

Listen for the fan sound and look to see if the auger it slowly rotating (it turns on/off) intermittently. You may need to wait 30-40 seconds to see it rotate.

Wood pellets burning in Z grills pellet smoker fire-pot

To check the operation of the ignition rod wait to see smoke, which should appear in 3-4 minutes.

If the auger feed tube is empty of pellets, use a long piece of twisted kitchen paper to touch the ignition rod to see if it is getting hot (2-3 minutes from turning to Smoke).

If the fan, auger motor or ignition rod are not working, unplug from power and check the plug connections.

Step 14. Replace cover

Once once confirmed that the ignition rod is working, turn the grill to shut down cycle.

If there is fire in the fire-pot wait until the fan turns off before turning off.

Unplug the grill from power.

Cable tensioner

Slide the cover back up into place by wiggling the cable through the cable tension ring if it is loose.

Put all 6 screws back in place. Don’t over-tighten them.

If the auger feed tube has been totally emptied of wood pellets you will need to follow the initial startup procedure to prime the wood pellets. Click here for instructions. The initial burn-in does not need to be completed again.

Awesome job, you fixed it!

Was this article helpful?