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Old 07-16-2017, 08:24 PM   #1
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water heater-normal operation

Perhaps a silly question but one that's important to me. I was checking a 2001 1950 out this weekend and the water heater was working (the water was hot) but when I tried to switch modes from gas to electric the owner had no idea what I was talking about or where the switch might be. There was a water heater switch over the sink, but we weren't sure if that was On/Off or switched from gas to electric. Can someone tell me how to switch the water heater from gas to electric on the 2001 1950 series? Or would this be just a single mode (gas) water heater? Is the switch On/Off?

Thanks in advance- Mark
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:06 PM   #2
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Hi Mark,

Around mid to late 2003 Atwood changed the hot water heater controls that deals with the electric element option to have a remote electric on/off switch and then use the same safety controls as the gas side of the heater.

Odds are the 2001 heater if it had the electric option, was setup like this:

The Atwood provided switch was placed on the back of the heater right on the junction box where the 120 volt wire cable came in. This little rocker switch has to be accessed by the owner and that is where the problem came in. Most heaters are buried under something in the camper. Getting to that switch could be a real pain. On the T 1950, the heater is under the bed in the back right corner of the camper. You would have to lift the mattress to get to that area. While doable, for sure not enjoyable.

Not all heaters had the electric option. Do you know if you heard the gas burner roar running on the heater when you where there? If it was hot and topped off, it may have not run. They use to put in only a 2 rocker switch tank panel unit by the sink. One switch for the water pump, and then one switch to activate the gas mode of the heater. There would not of been a switch for the electric there. If it had one, that switch was on the back of the heater under the bed.

The heater may have had the electric element but the owners may not have even known it was there. They may not have been the original owners and just did not know.

You would of had to lift up the bed and see the back of the heater to know. Another way is to look in the power converter panel for a 15 amp breaker called out for the Hot Water heater. If there was no breaker, then odds are high it never had the element. Sunline used to have it on it's own breaker. They are like a 1,400 to 1,500 watt element and it needs it own circuit.

The 2004 Sunlines and newer ones have the newer electric controls setup. You have a rocker switch for the gas and the electric up by the tank level panel gage area.

I'll hunt and see if I can find a pic of the back of a pre 2004 heater to show you.

Thanks

John
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:15 PM   #3
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This was easier then I thought. Etrailer had these images. These guys are now into selling HW heaters even.... They use to be only hitch parts.

Here is the newer one. This is mid 2003 and forward models. Inside that black box is a relay that turns the element on and off controlled by the rocker switch up in the tank gage panel


Here is the pre mid 2003 vintage. The little black switch is the on/off switch. Inside that metal cover is the element, the T stat and the over temp saftey switch.
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:46 AM   #4
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I heard no "roar" from the gas heater while I was there so that led me to believe it had both modes. A review of the owners manual said that it was controlled via a switch but I honestly never thought they would put it under the bed! I hunted high and low on the access panel out back and couldn't find it before I finally gave up. The panel above the sink had 1 rocker for "water heater" with a reset light which sounds like it was just for gas mode. There was a separate panel on the other side of the sink with 1 rocker switch for the water pump. Great to know the functions changed between 2003/04 model years. We spent 15 minutes pouring through the owners manual and then finally gave up. Thanks for the info- Mark
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:51 PM   #5
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If the heater was up to temp, unless you drew out a good amount of water it would not of called for heat assuming it was on gas mode. I do not know what year Sunline went to the KIB tank panels. These have red rocker switches that light up when something is turned on. I know they are on 2004 models and up. Sunline used another brand before these, I do not recall the name or if they had lighted switches.

I would of thought the owner would of know if they had the heater fired up on gas at least if it was. An Atwood for sure makes some noise when the burner is running. Not obnoxious, but a noise you can hear inside the camper.

Well, now you not what to look for the next time.

John
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