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Old 04-21-2019, 06:38 AM   #1
Country Coach Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 71
Hot Water Heater discoveries

Hello everyone. Kate and I wish you a very blessed Easter this year! I wanted to post my experience concerning our hot water heater. Not knowing much about it I did some research on the Atwood WH. Ours has both propane and electric and being new coach owners that really didn’t help much when we couldn’t get any hot water when needed. After the research I did some digging around this one and found a bad board that caused the WH not to light When started from the remote switch. Then I dug around and found the electric connection and found it had a second switch mounted on the box on the tank. Once I opened the box I found the wiring to be wrong. That explained the reason the electric didn’t work from the switch on the sink cabinet. Once I rewired the box and connected everything I turned on both switches and in 20 minutes we had very hot water coming out. I also recognized my latent knowledge and troubleshooting skills are returning so this gave me a lot of confidence knowing how to find issues with the WH. Not sure about why the second switch mounted on the box attached to the tank. Does anybody have a clue? For now I am calling it a safety switch to disable the WH during winterization so you don’t accidentally turn it on when it is empty. Thanks for your time to read my words. Blessings

Kevin N Kate
2001 National Caribbean
Wilson, NC
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Old 04-21-2019, 10:14 AM   #2
Senior Member
National RV Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 121
Congratulations on diagnosing the problem. My 2001 dolphin had a similar issue when we purchased it in 2009. I didn't even realize that the switch under the sink was for, but I hd a lot of time in 2010 since we couldn't travel for health reasons and I was checking out the wiring. I found the same switch on my water heater but it had actually burned the contacts internally and was no longer working. I just took it out and bypassed it. There was still the switch on the sink and the circuit breaker.

Still didn't work so I checked the heating element and turned out it was burned out as well. Evidently someone had turned on the switch with no water in the heater. Could have been me or someone before me. I replaced the heating element and it's worked great ever since.

I have a habit of putting blue painters tape over the switch in the off position when I winterize to prevent burning it out again. I also turn off the circuit breaker.
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:16 PM   #3
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National RV Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Manhattan Beach, CA
Posts: 695
A couple of other interesting facts about the Atwood W/H.
If you're on 50 amp power from a campground and have a lot of people taking showers or just need quick recovery you can run both the propane (12VDC) and the 120VAC systems at the same time.
If you're on gen power you can only run the water heater on 120VAC or the microwave at a time. If you try to run both you'll pop the breaker on the gen.

PS. wouldn't trade our Dolphin for any other MH
Steve & Jeri
2004 Dolphin 5342
2000 Jeep Cherokee 4X4
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:22 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 78
The generator breaker would only trip if it's kw was too low to handle both. We have a 7.5 kw generator and run both all the time when we dry camp as well as other loads.
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:31 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 19,489
The reason you have a on/off switch for the electric heating circuit on the cover on backside of WH Tank is because that is OEM
*Electric on/off switch Inside is add on by RV MFG)

Your 2001 model has separate controls for electric and for propane

Propane OEM switch inside RV with a Fault Light

On backside of water heater under that cover is also where the 120V AC set of T-stats are installed for the electric heating element which is installed there also.
T-stat Opens at 140*F.......ECO/Hi T-stat Opens at 180*F (trips)

In outside compartment is the circuit bd and set of 12V DC t-stats for the propane controls
T-stat and ECO/Hi T-stat ....same temp settings as electric
Should also be a 'thermal fuse' (brown wire from circuit bd ---clear tubing---connects to t-stat) It Blows at 190*F (flare back of flame) and has to be replaced

Post actual model number IE: GC10A-3E Or GC6AA-8E etc if you would like wiring diagram, info etc
Is it time for YOUR Medication or Mine?
Dodge 3500 w/Tractor Motor & NUWA 5vr
US NAVY---USS Decatur DDG-31
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cover, heat, heater, water, water heater

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