The piezo has proven to be a very dependable ignition system since it was first put into use on RV refrigerators in the mid seventies. The piezo comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes, but all work on the same principal.

Inside the piezo are two polarized porcelain units held close together with identical poles facing each other. When the piezo button is pushed, a spring loaded hammer is pulled back inside the piezo and then released. The hammer strikes one crystal causing it to strike the other one, which generates a high voltage current. This high voltage flows through the spark wire to the electrode where it jumps the gap between the electrode and burner head creating a spark. To be able to do this, the piezo body has to be grounded to the metal body of the refrigerator to make a complete circuit.

Troubleshooting the piezo is relatively simple. Generally, if pushing the piezo button causes a click, the piezo mechanism itself is working. The porcelain pieces inside very seldom wear out. If there is no click, the piezo has to be replaced. All other problems with the piezo system are related to the flow of the high voltage current. A bad spark wire, a cracked ceramic at the electrode, too wide a gap between the electrode and the burner head, or a piezo body not grounded can create problems in generating a spark. The proper gap between the electrode and burner head is between 1/8" and 3/16".