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Old 03-02-2014, 10:03 AM   #1
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DSI Fault and GFCI circuit tripping

I have an Atwood model G6A8E Water heater in my 2004 National Seabreeze Model 1311. The water heater has two seperate on/off switches, one on the Monitor Panel and one on the front of the Galley sink next to a GFCI outlet. With both switches in the off position, when I turn the Monitor Panel switch on, I get a DSI Fault indicator light, and the heater will not turn on. With both switches in the off position, when I turn the switch in the Galley on, the GFCI Outlet trips and I lose all power to outlets in the front of the coach and needless to say the water heater does not come on. When I turn off the galley water heater switch, the GFCI outlet will reset. The water heater switch on the Monitor Panel does not effect the GFCI outlet. Any help would be appreciated, just started the 1st leg of a 2 month trip. Not the way we planned it.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:30 AM   #2
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Bob;

I am not an electrician but I suspect you may have a bad electric heating element. The power supplied to the element may not be returning on the neutral wire. If I understand a GFCI correctly it measures the current going in on the positive lead and back out on the neutral lead. If it differs it is supposed to shut off. The DSI problem may not be related.

Just my thought;

Don
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:57 AM   #3
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Thanks Don, Hoping for some advice that I can accomplish without removing the whole unit. Do you know of any method to test the element from the front side? Appreciate your response.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:53 PM   #4
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Bob....The switch on the monitor panel is turning on the propane portion of the water heater and the DSI fault is basically telling you it's not firing up on propane.

The switch on the galley is for a 110 volt electric element in the water heater that heats the water with an electric rod. That's why you're tripping the GFI. Since the two switches are in different locations, I suspect a previous owner added the electric heater portion. Many add this as a kit so that you save on propane when connected to shore power.

If my guess is correct, you have two different issues since these are most likely not tied together. The tripping of the GFI means the electric rod maybe worn out or shorted out. I would not use this until it can be fixed/replaced.

Let's concentrate on the propane switch. When you turn it on, can you hear the electric igniter clicking. If you can, you may need to check to see if you are getting propane to the unit. The causes for no propane can be, no propane in the tank, valve turned off, frigid weather, dirty orifice, spider web in the gas/air tube or a sticking electric solenoid. You also have to have good 12 volt power to the unit.

If you hear it clicking and the propane is on, take a rubber handle screwdriver and wack the solenoid behind the exterior water heater cover. It will be the item with the propane hose and wires connected to it.

If you're not hearing the clicking, the electrical portion (12 volt) is not firing a spark. Often, just removing all of the 12 volt connections (one at a time) will sometimes reseat and clean the connection enough for everything to work again.

Anything beyond d these simple repairs, you may need more expert help.
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Old 03-02-2014, 01:07 PM   #5
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Bob;

I have never replace a 120V element. I Googled Atwood and came up with this number 800-546-8750. You could start by calling them on Monday. I suspect you have to get at the leads to test the element. My thought is make sure the power is shut off to the heater & if you can disconnect the leads to the element. Put wire nuts on the leads so they don't short, you should be able to turn the power on to the heater with out shutting down the GFCI. If the GFCI trips off than you have a different problem. May be someone with more experience will jump in here with better info.

Good Luck;

Don
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:33 PM   #6
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Thanks, Don's for the advice. Appears my solenoid connections needed a little jolt and my WH appears to be working fine now. Thanks for quick response. My wife is now a happy camper and we all know how important that is.

Thanks again
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:38 PM   #7
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Switch on the monitor panel is for the LP heat on the WH. You will get a DSI light, but it should go out soon. Will it stay like that for a long time and not ever do anything?

The wall switch is for 120V heat. It should NOT be tied in with the GFCI, but rather be on it's own outlet. Go to the breaker box and verify this. There should be 15A for the outlets and 15A for the WH.

Now, what "solenoid" are you talking about? There's lots of them.

The reason I replied is because I don't think you solved your issue at all.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:16 PM   #8
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Washing the exterior of the coach and getting water past the grille of the refrigerator and/or water heater will also trigger the GFCI, and a good day of drying off will solve the problem.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:56 AM   #9
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Who ever said it was right, my problem is not resolved. The solenoid I was referring to is the one described by Don which is in-line with the gas line. When the unit wasn't working, I could hear a slight hummimg sound which I assume was the the supply of power when the WH was switched on. When the unit started working, the humming was accompanied by the clicking of the ignitor and lighting of the unit. Now there is no humming or clicking. There isnt a fuse in my fuse box labeled Water Heater or WH or anything like that. There is a 2 amp fuse in the outside panel which is not blown.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boblevy View Post
The solenoid I was referring to is the one described by Don which is in-line with the gas line. That is the gas valve. It is normally closed, has two solenoids, and 12V+ applied to both opens the gas flow.
When the unit wasn't working, I could hear a slight hummimg sound which I assume was the the supply of power when the WH was switched on. When the unit started working, the humming was accompanied by the clicking of the ignitor and lighting of the unit. Now there is no humming or clicking. There isnt a fuse in my fuse box labeled Water Heater or WH or anything like that. There is a 2 amp fuse in the outside panel which is not blown.
You need a volt/ohm meter or at least a test light.

When you turn on the switch inside for WH LP heat, you go outside to test. There is a brown wire that comes into the WH, into the contact labeled t-stat, out of t-stat (when calling for heat), through a thermal fuse, and into the control board.
Then, a red wire goes OUT of the control board, into the contact labeled ECO (high temp t-stat), out of the ECO, and into both gas valve solenoids. If you have power that far, you can still have other issues.
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