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Old 10-09-2015, 03:35 PM   #1
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Water Heater '92-Present Upgrade Questions

Hello,
I am an excited new owner of a '92 T-1740 Saturn minus a hot water heater.
I am also new to this website as I only discovered it a few days ago and have been blown away about how informative, friendly and helpful all you owners are on this site!

My question is;
I'm assuming that the original 6 gal water heater was a 6 gal Atwood, but gas pilot only(?). Since I need a WH anyway, I would like to put in a newer DSI 12v/LP/110VAC model. The two that I have looked at on Craigslist, eBay and Amazon are the GC6AA-8e and 10e. Being that there isn't an internal switch for switching between gas and electric, will my current (and I imagine original) inverter box be able to handle either of these new heaters with simple wiring additions based on instructions/illustrations I hope to find on this site? When opening the electric hub of the trailer, I do see one of the breakers clearly marked and allocated for the HW heater and another for A/C. They appear to be a 15 and 20 amp, respectively.

Anything that I need to know before doing this would be greatly appreciated. And if I have simplified this too much and overlooked something major that means that I would have to completely re-wire the trailer, I don't want to spend that kind of money or time and would rather go back to the original pilot light system where all I had to do was light that thing when we arrived to our location, which is how we used to do it in the 'old days', HAH! A little exercise and night air never hurt us as I remember.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:06 PM   #2
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Upgrading to a DSI and 120volt element Atwood I would say is a good move. It gives you both gas and electric heating options.

You will need a 15 amp line to feed the electric part. If your breaker box already has a dedicated slot for the 15 amp breaker for the HW heater, then this is even easier. The AC is a dedicated 20 amp.

You will also need a switch setup to activate the gas and the electric part of the heater. Is your system now, a totally gas only system with gas pilot? or does it have electric ignition on a gas only system? Reason for asking is, if you had an electronic ignition gas one, you have the gas switch already and only need the electric part.

Let us know what you have on the switches and we can point you to the better setup. There is also a pilot light for a gas fault needed.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:21 PM   #3
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OOPS!! John types faster than me, I didn't see his reply when I posted this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grafikdsgnr View Post
... will my current (and I imagine original) inverter box be able to handle either of these new heaters ...
First, I think you mean Converter box. Converter changes shore power (120 volts AC) to 12 volts DC. Inverter changes 12 volts DC to 120 volts AC.

The short answer to your question is Yes, the converter and circuit breaker/fuse panel will handle the ones you mentioned.

This is a snipet from the Atwood book:
GC6AA-8 ------6 gal. combo w/pilot
GC6AA-10E ----6 gal. electronic gas combo

The water heaters require 12 volts DC for the control board and for the DSI (Direct Spark Ignition) if you get the -10E model.

The electric heating element runs on 120 volts AC and draws about 1,000 watts. It would be wired to the 15 amp circuit breaker.

Hopefully that will give you some info to run with.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post

This is a snipet from the Atwood book:
GC6AA-8 ------6 gal. combo w/pilot
GC6AA-10E ----6 gal. electronic gas combo
If Gene looked up the part numbers, get the -10E option with DSI

He typed faster on that then I did...
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Old 10-13-2015, 12:18 AM   #5
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Thank you so much for responding so fast!

John and Gene,

Thank you so much for your prompt responses!
As far as my questions and the description of what I currently have as a setup, you are right. I did mean converter instead of Inverter.

My original HW heater was a pilot light, LP only unit. At the time I posted my questions here, I also started doing a lot of research on what I needed to do for this modification. Hopefully, other than doing a little wiring to accommodate the double switch, I believe this is going to be simple as I already have the dedicated 15 and 20 amp Fuses and breakers in place for the new HW heater and existing A/C, respectively.

I've decided to go with the Atwood GC6AA-10E unit as it appears to be an easy install with minimal modifications and offers the most desirable convenience features at a reasonable cost.

Thank you so much for your input, guys. Initially, I thought this was going to be more complicated than it appears to be, but I wanted to hear it from the experienced. Once I do this, it's on to a refer upgrade and an on-the-fly, 12 volt battery charging setup while driving the TV. Hopefully, I'll find those that have done these things on this wonderful site again!

Thanks Again,
Pete
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Old 10-14-2015, 09:36 PM   #6
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Since you do not have any internal switches, you need an on and off on the gas and the electric. The newer campers have this feature built into a tank monitor panel. But Atwood offers this dual switch that may be a good option for you

Amazon.com: Atwood 91230 Dual Switch: Automotive

You could wire the red light in the center as the DSI fault when on gas. The rocker switch being on or off would tell you, you have gas , electric or both turned on.

Mine uses a single electric switch like this. The red light in this case is not a DSI fault, just that the heater is on electric heating.


If you are using the single, then you need 2 of them.

This is the tank monitor type. They have illuminated rocker switches and a DSI fault LED. Mine is an older one, 2 switch one. One of pump and one for gas hot water as the electric is the singl switch above. In the tank panel is a little red LED for the DSI fault.


They also make the tank panel with 3 rocker switches, pump, gas hot water and electric hot water and the DSI fault LED. I cannot find my pick of the 3 switch unit that was in our T2499. it is "somewhere" in my pile of pics...
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Old 10-14-2015, 09:41 PM   #7
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OK found the 3 rocker switch unit. You can see the DSI fault in between the switches


And a close up of my 2 switch one.


The nice part of the illuminated rocker switches is you can see from a distance which option, gas or electric is turned on.
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Old 10-16-2015, 11:08 AM   #8
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Monitor Switches

John,
Thank you so much!

I had found the single and double gas/elec rocker switches, but not the triple.
I would love to have the complete panel that monitors everything,

I am pretty sure that my '92 T-1740 Saturn won't have any electronic measuring device built into my stock tanks (?). If this is the case, I would have to change out my tanks to newer retrofit tanks with this installed in order to make use of the full monitor panels. Is this correct? I would love to have this capability.

Would this be a major project and expensive to do?

Do you happen to know what my stock tank capacities are, or where I can find them on this site? Is this kind of specific information shown in the brochure downloads, or are those pretty general consumer sales brochures?

Thanks Again,
Pete
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Old 10-16-2015, 11:49 AM   #9
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Pete,

You may just want to add sensors to your exiting system. You can buy probe kits I believe for that.

I'm adding a couple of links for you to check out.

Others will, I'm sure give some assistance here for you also.

RV Holding Tank Sensors - Get accurate grey and black holding tank monitor readings

Holding Tank

SeeLevel II Tank Monitor

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Old 10-16-2015, 03:54 PM   #10
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Tank Sensors

Thanks Bunjin,

I haven't looked at your links yet, but was assuming (we all know what the acronym for that is ), that my tanks are so shallow that inserted probes won't read correctly, or they don't even make them for such shallow tanks(?)

I will check your links out.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 10-16-2015, 08:33 PM   #11
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Pete,

The links Bunjin posted are good links.

This is the standard KIB probe. KIB being the maker of the tank monitors
Amazon.com: KIB MP5 Screw-in Sensor Probe: Automotive

You just drill a hole the right size, insert and tighten. Your tanks have to have some depth to them. 3 to 4" even is something that can be probed. Even a 2" tank can be. There is a ground probe and then a level. you can get several levels.

If you are going with KIB, you will need the resistor pack too if the tank monitor does not come with it. Some monitors do, some don't
Amazon.com: KIB K101 Replacement Tank Wire Harness: Automotive

The KIB brand system is a digital system. While better then nothing... it can have a high level of inaccuracy. It seems KIB may have changed their tank monitors and they changed their web site since I last looked. They use to show every model along with tech files on them. Now the web site is only a corporate, we make this kind of site. Not as useful at all. MONITOR PANELS | KIB Electronics


Here is the newer "I think" 3 button KIB panel. I have never bought from these folks, so have no idea how reliable. KIB Monitor Panel Model K23WLNB Repair / Installation Kits

here are some of the older units on Ebay
KIB Black Lighted Monitor Panel with Pump Switch | eBay

Since you are starting out fresh... look at the Sea Level system. Here is a write up on them.
RV Holding Tank Monitor System | ModMyRV

These guys
https://www.garnetinstruments.com/rv-shop/

They are more accurate. and most likley more expensive but can be worth it if you do a lot of off the grid boon docking. Or just plan want more accuracy.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 10-16-2015, 08:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grafikdsgnr View Post

Do you happen to know what my stock tank capacities are, or where I can find them on this site? Is this kind of specific information shown in the brochure downloads, or are those pretty general consumer sales brochures?

Thanks Again,
Pete
On the top of the forum is a tab called "files" click it. In there are a lot of goodies in relation to your Sunline. In the brochures, search your year and model. Download and read on. There are "system" water capacities. The black and gray tank size list follows the tank capacity.

However the fresh tank "system" is the system and not just the tank. 6 gallons of the system is the HW heater. 2 to 3 gallons are in the pipes/pump and the rest in the fresh tank. If you are after the fresh tank gallons itself, and you want the number as accurate as possible, measure the tank and create how many cubic inches the tank holds. 231 cubic inches per 1 gallon of water. If you want an estimate. Subtract about 8 to 9 gallons from the brochure "system" rating and that is the fresh tank. This might be 1 or 2 gallons plus or minus.
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:05 PM   #13
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I love my heater I get out I light it I have hot water in 10-15 minutes I have a shower the pilot light keeps it warn enough maybe warmer over night I have hot water in the morning no plugs no switches no battery! I love my fridge for the same reason! Simple, effective. Hey that's just me.
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