Troubleshooting TipsLet's begin with Troubleshooting since User Tips are useless if your FiAir isn't working properly.
We have received emails from some people who complained about receiving a defective FiAir as soon as it arrived. We've also heard from people who are disappointed about power or battery life after just a few uses. A few questions from us quickly solved their problems.
Your FiAir should work properly from day 1 and many more days to come. If it disappoints in any way, we want to know about it and help to get it back into working with your fires right away. There haven't been many problems so far, but we've been able to solve most of them. And here are the answers we've come up with that may save you some time.
I press the orange power button and nothing happens.
FiAir is a fairly simple, low-tech device. There isn't much to go wrong.
Problems can usually be traced to one or more of 3 sources: the motor, batteries and/or the switch that connects them.
inspects every unit before shipping and it’s extremely unlikely, but just in case — could there be a bad component?
The motor is usually the least likely suspect and should always work when you press the orange power button. It's most unlikely that you will get a unit with a defective motor.
Here’s what it should look like without the batteries:
If it has a spring or metal tab in the wrong place; or if one of the wires isn't connected —
THAT would explain everything and we’ll send you a new unit.
If FiAir doesn't work properly the first time you use it
A few people thought they received a defective unit and let us know. But just knowing there's a problem without an understanding of the problem doesn't give us much to go on. So, some basic questions:
Has it ever worked the way you expected it to?
If yours works on a fire the way you see in our videos, then it isn’t the unit itself. And there’s really nothing to lubricate. Unless your FiAir took a hard fall, there’s no reason to believe the fan or anything else is out of alignment. So, our questions will focus on the batteries and battery tray since that’s the power supply that works hard to help FiAir move as much air as it does.
The most common problem is with your power source: the Batteries
We recommend single-use Alkaline batteries rated at 1.5v.
Are you using Rechargeable Batteries?
Rechargeables are rated at a maximum of 1.2v — a power tradeoff for reusability. You would probably get 2-3 rounds of decent airflow, but once the battery measures below 1.2v or so, it will become too weak to drive the motor with enough RPMs to produce sufficient airflow.
Hate to ask it but…
Are the batteries properly installed in the battery tray?
I had to ask because I’ve actually been with someone who was complaining about how weak FiAir was. I asked to look at his unit and immediately saw the problem when I removed the battery cover. His face was red, but then he REALLY liked the power of FiAir once I installed the batteries right.
The batteries must be installed according to the orientation of the graphics in the tray. (It will even run the motor backwards if you put the batteries in backwards, but it wasn’t designed to be a vacuum :-)
Here’s what it looks like with the batteries installed properly:
If you're having a problem not helped by these tips, it could be really helpful to send some video (with audio) so we can get a real sense of what’s going on. Hearing might tell more of the tale.
We want you to be having fun with FiAir; not trouble-shooting.
These Troubleshooting Tips should help to keep your FiAir working the way it should for lots of fires.
So, on to some Tips for Using FiAir.
Obey the Flame
Your fire will tell you exactly what it needs. Light your fire in your preferred way. Standing a few feet away, point FiAir toward hot spots at the base of your fire and press the orange button. (FiAir’s airflow is powerful. Starting too close could extinguish newly lit fuel.) Then work your way gradually closer. The flame might go out, but don't stop blowing yet. You're looking for orange embers at the base of the flame. If you don't see them, the flame didn't last long enough and you'll have to light again. But if you DO see those embers, keep blowing and move in close and continue to feed FiAir for about 30-40 seconds. Then pause to see how the fire is developing. Continue by concentrating bursts of FiAir on a few hot spots to make them even hotter. Then aim FiAir at the areas that still need to catch, or use FiAir to push and spread flames in their direction to involve all of your fuel. Continue using FiAir intermittently to stoke and refresh the flames as you add logs to wood fires or coals to the grill.
It's best to direct airflow at the base of your fire, especially when kindling a fresh blaze. (That doesn’t mean you have to bend low. In fact, you can still work from above in a comfortable position.) Aim FiAir’s tapered tip at the lowest level of coals or kindling, or at individual hot spots that need some encouragement.
Working hot spots can be a fun game. You're probably still working within inches and the trick is to aim at the hot spot from different angles until you find the Sweet Spot — the most direct path through the fuel. Sometimes that angle is straight down. You'll know when you've found the sweet spot because the fire will roar a bit louder and you'll see a lot of activity. (I'm kinda partial to the show of sparks :-) Now, work the sweet spot for several seconds. Then move on to another.
Once the fire is on it's way, if you want to pan FiAir in a horizontal plane across the fire, keep aiming low.
Kindle Close/Stoke Far
FiAir is powerful enough to use at varying distances as your fire progresses. When you first light your fire, it doesn't put out much heat; so you can kindle as close as an inch to get your blaze going. As the fire grows hotter, simply pull back until your hand feels comfortable and continue using FiAir to spread and raise the flame. A FiAir fire can get very hot, but you can still stoke from 3-5 feet.
It isn't always a race. Give it a Rest.
FiAir is so much fun to use you may have trouble putting it down!
There's no question FiAir can have you cooking faster than you're used to, but unless you're in a competition or the kids are making it clear they're hungry NOW, you are still in control.
Once you know you're fire is going nicely, put on the grilling grate (don't forget to clean it) and you might want to close the top of your grill to heat up the grate and go get the food. When you come back in a couple of minutes, the fire will be hotter. You can still blow through the grate to get up to searing temp, if that's what you need. But you don't need to -- nor should you -- run FiAir continuously. Once you feed enough air to your fire to get a good blaze going, let it eat for awhile. Overfeeding your fire with continuous air will burn through your fuel too quickly, not to mention your batteries!
Refresh with FiAir as needed to grow the fire, or when you add more wood or charcoal or when you want to quickly raise the temperature for a good sear on your steak. Once the novelty wears off, depending on how many people you're cooking for, you will typically use FiAir for a total of only about 5 minutes per fire.
You will love using FiAir; but please remember that FiAir is a tool not a toy.
As with all products intended for adult use around open flames, standard rules of fire safety apply.
- FiAir is designed specifically for the nurturing of wood and charcoal fires with precision and control. Recommended uses include coaxing kindling or embers to life, raising the temperature of hot spots, spreading flames to evenly consume fuel, stoking waning fires, refreshing fires as new fuel is added, etc.
- Use FIAir as directed. FiAir is designed to be operated only as a hand-held tool. Do not attempt to rig FiAir to work by itself. It is NEVER safe to walk away from a fire while it is being stoked! Over-feeding fires also can be costly, in that it consumes fuel AND batteries very quickly.
- Safeguard FIAir when not in use. FiAir is small and light enough to carry in an apron pocket or clipped to your belt with a fastener threaded through the sturdy ring below the end cap. A solid plastic foot keeps FIAir from rolling if set down between bursts.
- CAUTION: If you do not carry FIAir with you, always place it well away from open flames and out of the reach of curious children. Never allow children to use FiAir without close adult supervision.
The battery cover and end cap are the only parts of FiAir meant to be opened and closed to remove or insert batteries. FiAir contains no user-serviceable parts. Attempting to disassemble FiAir will void the FiAir warranty.
Store FiAir INDOORS with your camping gear, fireplace tools or grilling supplies. While most of FiAir is made of plastic, the motor, switch and battery tray contain metal components that will rust if left outdoors. If you do not plan to use FiAir again for several weeks or more, be sure to remove the batteries.