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Old 04-18-2019, 07:56 PM   #1
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Are red lights supposed to be on?

Questions on my 1997 Sunline Solaris


The switch inside the camper which I believe is the hot water switch is now red. Is it supposed to be red when it's on? I don't remember it being red all the time before. Also, the pump switch is red ... is it supposed to be red when it's on?



I think I ran out of propane and I switched to the second tank. I did this by turning off the top valve on the first tank, I pushed the switch in between the two tanks to the other side, then I turned on the valve of the second tank. I hope that procedure sounds right.



I think it was correct because the heat was blowing in cool before instead of hot but now the heat is blowing in hot again.


However I am very worried about these red switch lights being on and would appreciate feedback. Thanks.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:50 PM   #2
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The red light on the pump means the water pump is "activated". Meaning when the water pressure in the system drops down some, the pump will run and rebuild the pressure. Then it will shut off and wait until the next drop in pressure. Someone must of flipped it on.

If you do not need the pump, flip the rocker switch off and it will "deactivate" the pump and the light goes out.

The water heater is the same way. The red rocker switch light being on, "normally" means the heater is on/activated. If you look closely on the switch plate, does it have the wording "Atwood" embossed on it? If so, then it is for the water heater. Ours has a switch like that but it is white in place of black plastic.

It appears your water heater has electronic ignition. No pilot light to light outside. If so, there should be a small fault light somewhere. It can be a small little LED too. That is unless Sunline wired the gas ignition fault to the big read light which does not sound normal. That is most times wired to tell the heater in on. If you can give us the model number of your water heater, we can tell you for sure if there is a fault light somewhere. The model no. tag is outside behind the fold down panel door, usually on the right hand side of the heater under the control module.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate finding out I don't have to turn the pump on. The water pressure from the hose is very good. The hot water heater switch is indeed ATWOOD. However, I have recalled that I was told when it's switched on, it lights up red, but then the red light goes off as it runs normally. I realized the red light came on because I ran out of propane. I switched to the other tank, and now it's operating normally again.


However, I wonder ... if I leave it on all the time, is it constantly using propane to heat water? Should I turn it on only when I think I'm going to require hot water?


I can't see the name of the hot water heater. I've included two photos.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
The red light on the pump means the water pump is "activated". Meaning when the water pressure in the system drops down some, the pump will run and rebuild the pressure. Then it will shut off and wait until the next drop in pressure. Someone must of flipped it on.

If you do not need the pump, flip the rocker switch off and it will "deactivate" the pump and the light goes out.

The water heater is the same way. The red rocker switch light being on, "normally" means the heater is on/activated. If you look closely on the switch plate, does it have the wording "Atwood" embossed on it? If so, then it is for the water heater. Ours has a switch like that but it is white in place of black plastic.

It appears your water heater has electronic ignition. No pilot light to light outside. If so, there should be a small fault light somewhere. It can be a small little LED too. That is unless Sunline wired the gas ignition fault to the big read light which does not sound normal. That is most times wired to tell the heater in on. If you can give us the model number of your water heater, we can tell you for sure if there is a fault light somewhere. The model no. tag is outside behind the fold down panel door, usually on the right hand side of the heater under the control module.

Hope this helps

John
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File Type: jpg RV hot water system.jpg (76.2 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg RV Hot water system label.jpg (54.4 KB, 7 views)
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aariel View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate finding out I don't have to turn the pump on. The water pressure from the hose is very good.
Oh, yes for sure. You only need to run the water pump when you are "only" drawing water from the on board fresh tank. If you are hooked up to the hose on the side of the camper, we call this "city water" hook up, then no need to have the pump on.

I'll add, if you are using the fresh tank for your water, it is OK to have the pump left on when you are at the camper. Meaning even outside by it. It will cycle on and off as needed. BUT is it recommended if you take a walk or go on a hike etc. Turn the pump off before you leave. If something springs a leak, you can have 20 some gallons all over the floor and a burnt up pump. When the pump sucks dry as you ran out of water, it will never shut itself off. It just runs dry for minutes, hours and days on end if left on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aariel View Post
The hot water heater switch is indeed ATWOOD. However, I have recalled that I was told when it's switched on, it lights up red, but then the red light goes off as it runs normally. I realized the red light came on because I ran out of propane. I switched to the other tank, and now it's operating normally again.


However, I wonder ... if I leave it on all the time, is it constantly using propane to heat water? Should I turn it on only when I think I'm going to require hot water?

I can't see the name of the hot water heater. I've included two photos.
By the name plate, you have a Gas and Electric combo water heater. It is made by Atwood. Their A logo is on the name tag.

Ideally, you only turn the water heater on when you need it. It will normally take 20 to 30 minutes to heat a cold tank of water. So if you are doing dishes after a meal, then turn on the heater before you start preparing the meal of before you sit down to eat. Water will be nice and hot waiting for you. If you want to shower, just remember to turn it on about 1/2 hr before you go. When done, turn it off.

The time does not have to be exact, before and after, but there is no need to leave it on all the time. And leaving it on all the time can and does cause issues over time. If you are on hard water from the campground, you are baking on more calcium deposits with the heater on 24 hrs a day then the 1 to 3 hours a day you may use it. There is also a situation where the air pocket in the top of the water heater is there for thermal expansion when water is heated. When (not if, but when) that air pocket dissolves, the heated water expands and has nowhere to expand into and creates a lot of excess pressure in the piping. In some cases it can approach over 100 psi - 150 psi and leaks can start in weak seal areas of the piping.

Your heater red light by the part number appears to be the gas fault light. Meaning if there is a flame sensing fault, the red light will turn on telling you there is a flame fault. Like you ran out of LP gas or there is a issue with the gas side of the heater. To reset the light/fault, turn the switch off and back on and the fault will be reset. On your heater the light should only be on when a fault is present. If it does not seem to work that way, let us know.

Also by the part number GC6AA-9E you have an electric element. Meaning it can heat the water with electric in place of gas OR have them both on at the same time. The older models, like yours had the on/off switch on the back of the heater. Most times it was a real bugger to reach in and turn that switch on and off. Sunline should of also have a circuit breaker in the power converter for the water heater. Both need to be on in order to heat with electric. That and hoping the element is not burnt out as it was turned on with no water in the heater. It happens, it is a classic RV'er issue.

Some owners have gotten so fed up with reaching in to flip that little switch on the back of the heater, they may have added their own normal looking home light switch somewhere to make it easier. Have you ever looked for the electric on/off switch? It would be a little rocker type switch on the back of the heater itself in a very small junction box.

And yes, if you are on gas heating mode, it will use LP gas but only when the burner is running. Some folks use the electric side of the heater when the campground gives you 120 VAC so you save your LP gas. BUT sometimes in the hot summer months and the CG has everyone running their roof AC units all day and night long, it can create low voltage at the power post. In those cases, I turn the heater on gas to save voltage drop from the electric service. I know, all these things that can happen when you go camping.... In enough time, you will experience all of them and it will be old news.

BTW, great pics. They helped tell us just what you have.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:12 PM   #5
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Hi Aariel,

I noticed something in this pic. of yours. Odds are high your prior owner did this, and you are just using what he did.



It "looks" like someone used a metal drain plug on your water heater. The goldish looking square headed plug. It might be brass or not.

They recommended that high temperature potable water nylon plugs be used. The reasoning being, the aluminum tank threads are stronger than the nylon. So if you accidently cross thread the tank, the nylon plug is damaged and not the tank. Throw away the plug and get a new one. Using metal plugs what are equal in strength or stronger can lead to a possible cross threading that damaged the tank. And the location it is in, is prone to cross threading behind the gas line.

Here is one place that sells them. I have bought from them before with good luck. Atwood 91857 Water Heater Drain Plug https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Atwoo...-p/42-0148.htm

They do charge freight on items less then $99, but these plugs are so light the freight is only $0.34 here in Ohio. Must be bulk USPS shipping.

Amazon sells them too, but at a higher price even with Prime.

Hope this helps

John
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