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Old 10-14-2009, 08:34 PM   #1
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water heater switch

I just bought a 1991 sunline with a hotwater switch how does this work because I turn it on and the light goes on but nothing happens how do I check to see if it works right I am new to trailer and learning
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:47 PM   #2
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Hopefully you have water in the heater....not sure to tell you how it works, I'm sure someone with be chiming in sooner or later with an explanation.

We have the electric/propane model - I don't think you have that....you may have to light a pilot out on the heater.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:05 AM   #3
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Our 2003 T-320SR had a switch put in by the previous owner. In a nutshell, the switch turns on the electric WH element. When it's on, you should not hear anything. You should get hot water after a while. What ever you do... MAKE SURE THERE IS WATER IN THE WH any time you have the switch on. If not, you will burn out the heating element.

If you do have water in the WH and turn the switch on, you should get hot water in around 15 minutes. If you do not get hot water, it is likely that the element is already burned out.

These WH are designed for either LPG or electric use. You shouldn't use both at the same time.

If you have a volt/ohm meter, there is a way to see if the element is burned out. Please let us know if you would like to try diagnosing this yourself.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:33 AM   #4
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Re: water heater switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by ast21td
I just bought a 1991 sunline with a hotwater switch how does this work because I turn it on and the light goes on but nothing happens how do I check to see if it works right I am new to trailer and learning
It would be really helpful if you could take a close look at the hot water heater and see if you can locate a manufacturer's label that gives manufacturer name, model number, serial number, etc.

There are a number of different systems out there, and before we can give you a really useful answer, we need to know what you have there.

I take it that no documentation came with the trailer?
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:45 PM   #5
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Re: water heater switch

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Originally Posted by Steve Collins
I take it that no documentation came with the trailer?

Our documentation consisted of what's in Kitty's brain and what I've learned on SOC!
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:18 PM   #6
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Re: water heater switch

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I take it that no documentation came with the trailer?
Our documentation consisted of what's in Kitty's brain and what I've learned on SOC!
Gary, your trailer is new enough that most of the manuals for the appliances and such are still available on the net.

http://www.dometic.com/enus/Americas/USA/Start/
http://www.atwoodmobile.com/
http://www.rvingthemidwestconnection.com/index.htm
http://www.aerocoachinc.com/ownManual.php
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:12 PM   #7
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The WH in this Sunline is gas or electric, but the electric switch is located on the rear of the tank, so you have to lift up the bunk in order to turn the switch on, so the PREVIOUS owner ran a wire to an exposed interior wall and installed an off/on switch on the wall, but this mod was real shoddy and unsafe so Gary has re-done it correctly. Now we don't have to lift the bunk to turn the electric WH element on or off. The propane on/off switch is activated by a factory installed switch on the wall with the tank monitor sensor panel. The WH is now drained and tomorrow I must install the water pump converter kit to pump the pink stuff thru Sunnys arteries as our temps are 28 -30 at night. Have I told ya'll I hate cold weather & winter? I wanna go south.

Kitty
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:48 PM   #8
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water hearter update Yes I would like to try to diagnosing this myself and if I have to replace the element how do I do it here are some pictures and the model number is GC6A-6





Thanks Terrance
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:13 PM   #9
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Since my pickup truck is a diesel, it has glow plugs in it. There's a test for them, to see if they are burned out and it should also work for your water heater element. What you are testing for, is continuity of the electrical path through the element itself.

First off, kill the AC power to the water heater! I'd probably be tempted to unplug the shore line power to the whole camper myself.

You will need to unhook at least one of the wires connected to the element itself. Once you do that, set your volt/ohm meter to ohms. Which ohms setting really isn't important. What you want to find out, is if the electricity can make it in one side and out the other.

Before testing the element, use the volt meter set to AC and be absolutely positive that the power is off to the WH!

Touch each of the element's terminals and see what the ohm meter says. If ohm meter reads 0(zero) ohms, then the WH element is bad.

You can get new elements at most any RV dealer, but Lowes and almost any plumbing supply should have what you need. Make sure you get the same size/wattage/voltage as what you have now.

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Old 10-21-2009, 08:28 PM   #10
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My manual is a bit newer, but here's what you have according to the model number chart. It is a Atwood combination gas and electric heater with a 6 gallon capacity and pilot ignition only.

That means there is no electric circuitry on the outside of the heater behind the drop-down white door. It is strictly a manual pilot light heater when on propane.

To use it on 110 vac electric, fill the system with water including the water heater. Then plug in your shore line to an adequate 110vac source (at least 15 amps.) Locate the circuit breakers and make sure the one for the water heater is on. Then turn on the switch on the top/back of the heater. If the element, thermostat, and the high temperature limit switch are all ok, and the wiring is good, and no one added a hidden extra switch in trailer somewhere, you should soon have hot water.

If no hot water, remove the translucent shield and test the wiring with a multimeter or ac probe. If all the electricity is present at the element, then the element is suspect and would need to be replaced.

If there is no voltage at the element, then check out the rest of the 110 vac system. Trace it from the circuit breaker to the water heater. We had another user here who had the same problem on a much newer trailer. Turned out that a previous owner had installed a switch in the line to turn the heater on and off from inside the trailer.

It is possible that either the thermostat or limit switch is bad. You can by-pass them one at a time to check, but do not operate the heater for any appreciable length of time with either by-passed. The results could be catastrophic.

On 110vac, all the circuitry is shown in this picture:

The little black switch on the panel is the on/off switch. All of the wiring is visible in the picture.

The long narrow translucent shield covers the heating element and the thermostat. Behind the shield on the left is the heating element. It is a miniature version of the heating elements used in home electric water heaters. In the center behind the small opening in the shield is the manual reset high temperature limit switch. To the right behind the shield is the thermostat.

This schematic should be correct for your unit:


Before working on it, trace the schematic to your heater and verify that it is correct. If it is not, you may want to contact Atwood for a schematic just to be sure. My schematic is from the version 7 of the heater. You have version 6 which should not be much different.

The heating element is removed by disconnecting the wires and using the proper size socket. Be careful with electric heating elements as they can easily break if you torque them too much when installing them. You really have to use a socket on them. Any other wrench or pliers will break the new one on installation. Discard the old gasket and use the new one that comes with the element.

Remember to completely disconnect the electric to the trailer before working on this.

A replacement element can be purchased at any good RV parts counter plus there are several online sources.
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:16 PM   #11
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Smile Thanks

Thanks to everyone I had to replace the heating element now works great thanks again for the help
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