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Old 08-13-2017, 05:52 PM   #1
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Atwood Water heater not working on electric PLEASE HELP!!

i have a 04 jayco travel trailer with a 6 gallon atwood water heater model gc6aa-10e . it works fine on propane but it doesn't get hot on electric. I've replaced the element already along with the little black relay that the wires come off for the element, has any one else had this problem or know how to trouble shoot this?? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 08-13-2017, 06:45 PM   #2
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Have you tested to find 120v at the WH? Make sure the circuit breaker isn't tripped, often one switch to turn on the 120v heating element is inside the RV, a second switch is in the WH compartment to turn off any chance of power burning out the element when the tank is winterized. I'd start there.

If you have the manual for the WH, there is also a thermostatic E.C.U. control that could be tripped or bad, not passing current to the heating element.

A troubleshooting manual.
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:09 PM   #3
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There is usually a thermostat and an over temp cut out.
The OT is usually resetable but not worth it...just replace both as they are cheap.
First step confirm heating element is good and power to the WH.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:19 PM   #4
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When it is in electric only mode, do you read 120 volts AC across the terminals of the element with a volt meter?
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:52 PM   #5
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i had some time to look at the water heater today, i am getting 120 volts going into the little black relay on the heater but nothing coming out of it going to the element. the relay is new i just replaced it hoping that was the problem. how do you test the thermostat and the over temp cut off?? or do you just have to replace them? thanks!!
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:50 PM   #6
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i had some time to look at the water heater today, i am getting 120 volts going into the little black relay on the heater but nothing coming out of it going to the element. the relay is new i just replaced it hoping that was the problem. how do you test the thermostat and the over temp cut off?? or do you just have to replace them? thanks!!

Having similar issue, posted thread about it. I have found that the relay is working properly but.....120V is not making it to the element. I tested at the breaker, no issue, but between the breaker and the element the 120V disappears. Can only be a short in the wire somewhere.....
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Old 08-16-2017, 06:47 PM   #7
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Having similar issue, posted thread about it. I have found that the relay is working properly but.....120V is not making it to the element. I tested at the breaker, no issue, but between the breaker and the element the 120V disappears. Can only be a short in the wire somewhere.....
A short would trip the breaker. Have you searched for a switch that controls the electric element? Often there is one inside the RV, may look like a typical 120v wall switch. Sometimes a second switch is in the WH compartment to make sure the element doesn't get turned on when the tank is drained for winterizing.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:56 PM   #8
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A short would trip the breaker. Have you searched for a switch that controls the electric element? Often there is one inside the RV, may look like a typical 120v wall switch. Sometimes a second switch is in the WH compartment to make sure the element doesn't get turned on when the tank is drained for winterizing.
Yes, no extra switches. May not necessarily be a short, maybe just a bad connection. But there is no power between the breaker and the element.

I do think there may be a short though because the GFCI in the bathroom as tripped a couple of times. May be a separate issue. Regardless, taking it back to Camping World, still under warranty.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:39 PM   #9
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At the WH, there will be a thermostat and an over temperature cut out that turns the power on and off. Check for power at that point. The OTC has a reset button on it if it gets tripped by over heating. If either of these fail, the element doesn't get power. If you use a multimeter on the electric element, you could look up the specifications for the element and see if it reads proper ohms.

Sometimes if an element has been turned on when no water in the tank, it will overheat but not burn out. It can then, however, cause current leakage that can trip a GCFI, but that should be a different circuit.
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Old 08-19-2017, 04:41 PM   #10
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hi all, i now have changed the element, the little black relay right before the element, the thermostat and the cut off and still am getting no power before at the element, is there anything else i should try before i just give up and buy a new water heater?
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:30 AM   #11
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So took mine to Camping World, got a call a couple hours later verify that they found the problem....it wasn't plugged in. Yep, that's all it was. Not a short in the wire or anything other issue we troubleshooted. It simply just needed to be plugged in. I noticed there was an 110 outlet located behind that removable panel but never thought it was for the WH, nor did I ever see the end of a cord. The wiring diagram nor the installation manual mentions anything about plugging it in so I just figured it was hard wired. So I would suggest making sure it was plugged in before placing anything.
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:39 AM   #12
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hi all, i now have changed the element, the little black relay right before the element, the thermostat and the cut off and still am getting no power before at the element, is there anything else i should try before i just give up and buy a new water heater?
Assuming your WH doesnt simply need to be plugged in as in the case with mine. Test for power as the breaker. See if you have 110v coming out of the breaker. If so, and you have no power across the element, then you are losing power between the breaker and the element, i.e. bad wire.
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Old 08-20-2017, 10:14 AM   #13
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In any electrical problem, 12v or 120v, it's always best to start at the beginning and trace the electrical current at each place you can. No one suggested, "is it plugged in?" because it's unusual to have a WH with an outlet and plug, they are usually hard-wired. A clue would have been that you had power at the breaker panel, but none in the WH compartment. It would have to have been a hidden switch or a break in the wires, which is very rare unless an accident or some other event would disconnect the wiring.

Always think horses, not zebras, and troubleshoot step by step. It goes faster and you don't have to have Camping World tell you, "It's unplugged."
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Old 08-20-2017, 12:22 PM   #14
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No one suggested, "is it plugged in?" because it's unusual to have a WH with an outlet and plug, they are usually hard-wired.

Always think horses, not zebras, and troubleshoot step by step. It goes faster and you don't have to have Camping World tell you, "It's unplugged."
My coach's water heater has a 120VAC plug, with an outlet above. It may be mine is the only other coach so equipped. I unplug the heater while it's drained.

I wonder how long it took Camping World to figure it out...
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