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Thread: Thermacell fails

  1. #1

    Default Thermacell fails

    Last week, my high hopes for protection from bugs by a Thermacell unit were ruined.

    By nature, Iím cautious about new gadgets, but when I read the near-universal praise of the Thermacell on this forum and on Cableaís, I decided to buy one. I even bought extra butane cartridges and repellent pads.

    Confident and smug, I fired up the unit on a recent river trip in British Columbia. The area was infested with enough mosquitoes and white socks that everyone in our party was wearing head nets. Mind you, all of us are experienced backcountry travelers and have a high tolerance for bugs. The number and persistence of bugs in this place wasnít the worst Iíve seen, but it was bad enough: maybe a 7 on a scale to 10.

    The Thermacell provided no noticeable difference in bug protection. In fact, it became a camp joke: ďHereís how itís supposed to work!Ē says my buddy as he uses it to smash a couple mosquitoes that were resting on my sleeve.

    Now, I donít doubt for a minute the claims and praise I read from members on this board. My intention is not to invalidate your positive experiences with the Thermacell. Iím happy - and jealous - that it works for you. But I post this report to provide another perspective, and also because Iím curious.

    You see, Iím puzzled why the Thermacell failed so miserably for me when it worked so well for others? I used it on 2 different evenings. There was no significant wind. I let the unit warm up sufficiently (burned through an entire butane cartridge) and I always placed the unit nearby when I was relatively stationary: I put it in the drink pocket of my camp chair while sitting by the fire; on the table next to me when I was cooking; and in the front pocket of my shirt Ė all the while making sure that the unit was functioning and warm, and that the vents were oriented outward. Bugs continued to swarm, land, and chew on me Ė not just a few bugs, but LOTS of bugs. There was no noticeable difference between the number of insects swarming me, and the number hovering and biting my buddies, who were located some distance away.

    Anybody have any idea what may have gone wrong? Before I decide to list this unit on the ďfor saleĒ section of this forum, Iím open to ideas.

  2. #2
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Default

    I bet there was small print that says "not effective on foreign bugs.

  3. #3

    Default ?

    I just got back from a trip in the Gates of the Artic in Alaska. The mosquitos were very bad but the thermacell absolutly worked. I used it in camp and on the raft as we were rowing down the river. I always hear alot of praise for it but I believe there is at least three negatives I dont hear very often. 1. they dont work as well in a moderate breeze or while moving. 2 they take along time to start working to there fullest potential probally 10 minutes minimum. 3 the carry holster sucks. Overall I would have to say I wont go camping without it when there are mosquitos out. I have never had any experience with it for white sox. I know this sounds like a dumb question but how hot did it get? Mine will usually start to smoke slightly after about 15 minutes. Maybe yours is defective.

  4. #4

    Default it was warm to the touch

    Thanks.

    The unit appeared to be working because it was warm (not hot), and gave off a very faint humming sound when I placed it next to my ear. I never noticed smoke coming from it though.

    That's not a bad thought: even though it was getting warm, maybe it wasn't getting warm enough because it is defective. As mentioned, I left it on and tested it over 2 different periods, for at least 1 hour each time.

    Now I'm having second thoughts about selling it; I wouldn't want to sell something defective.

  5. #5
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    mine all smoke some too.. ... you did not have the lamp ones did you ? they seem to suck in the woods...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  6. #6
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Default

    Plan A:
    FAQ'S
    My ThermaCELL Mos quito Repellent worked for a while, and now is not working.


    First try changing cartridges to make sure the problem is with the appliance and not the cartridge.

    If you have used your Thermacell before without problems and it is now malfunctioning please print this Return Form and send the appliance to the address below with a copy of the completed Return Form.
    The Schawbel Corporation
    Returns Dept.
    100 Crosby Drive
    Bedford, MA 01730

    Please send the appliance only. Do not send cartridges or mats. Please be sure to include your return address.

    We stand behind our products and we are happy to repair or replace any malfunctioning Thermacell appliance while it is still under warranty.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  7. #7
    Member Tolman24's Avatar
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    Default

    Mine worked as well. I would see the smoke coming out of the vent. I would but it on th eupwind side so it blew the vapor over where I was sitting.

  8. #8
    Member Formerly Montana Bob's Avatar
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    Default BC??

    You had the right hand model that was designed for the USA bugs, what you need for Canada and foreign use is the left handed version.
    All kinding aside. I use mine every day for work and mine smokes, not a bunch but you can see the vapor coming out and the metal behind the wafer is pretty hot. I bet yours is not getting hot enough.
    Fish IT! Hunt IT! or *#%@ IT!

  9. #9
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    tell you how much i love mine.... i just found refills at the wally world....


    i am not a total jerk now... i learned my lesson with powder and primers....


    I left one for the rest of you.....
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  10. #10
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Cool TV babes...

    Those gadgets only work for the new wave of TV babes in their commercials.....advertising gadgets to separate you from your money...

    dennis

  11. #11
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    Default

    Did you look into the little window port and check if the filiment is glowing nice and red? And it does seem to work on whitesocks.

  12. #12
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default matt color change

    A dumb question but did you notice a change in color of your matt ? I have had them for a few yrs & the only probelm I have is when the starter button sticks & no longer works, usually takes at least one full year or more before this happens.
    Back to the point your matt should be changing in apperance from blue to white.

  13. #13

    Default

    They make great foot warmers in the sleeping bag when not chasing off bugs.

  14. #14

    Default

    Now if we could just get them to hook up to a flask to melt snow for water in the winter. Melting on the go.

  15. #15

    Default matt doesn't change color

    Thanks for the tip, AKMarmot. I called Thermacell about the possibility of my unit being defective, and that was one of the first questions they asked me - in other words, your point is well-taken.

    And the answer: nope - no color change.

    As I mentioned in the post, the unit did warm up, but it's becoming more apparent that it doesn't warm up enough: no smoke was ever emitted, and there was no change in color to the repellent matt.

    Thermacell said I could return the unit to the vendor (in this case, AK Indust Hardware) for a new one. Based on all the positive comments here, I remain optimistic that Thermacell will eventually work for me. I'll post the results when I get a new unit.

  16. #16
    Member GITDEMBARS's Avatar
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    Default

    must be defective. I usually go through about 3 blue pads per butane bottle. So if you went through a full butane and it didnt change color there must be a problem.

  17. #17

    Default The new unit works

    I'm resurrecting this thread to report that AK Indust. Hardware replaced my Thermacell after the Thermacell people suggested I had a defective unit. They (and several of you guys) were right - the new unit works well.

    Because I received the replacement Thermacell after the bug season last year, it's been sitting in my garage for months. Then a few nights ago, I was enjoying an evening cigar on the deck when the no-see-um squadrons attacked. "Buhach," was my first thought, then I remembered the Thermacell. Digging it out of box in the garage, I fired it up, and in a few minutes noticed smoke and a faint, but not unpleasant, odor emitting from the unit - something the former unit didn't do. The no-see-ums immediately retreated. Although the bugs are now certainly planning a retaliatory strike, I was at able to at least comfortably finish my cigar and enjoy the rest of the evening outside.

  18. #18
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    Default

    Mine smokes a bit too. And it sure does work well.

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up **** Kingfisher...

    ya went & made me change my sig line! ROTFLMAO!!! +100 if I could!

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