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Old 09-06-2020, 09:08 PM   #1
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Electrical mystery

I have three components that aren't working. I don't know if I have one issue or three. My Atwood hot water does not heat on electric but does on propane. My rear Atwood furnace has no power but the forward furnace works normal. And my passenger dash fan does not work but driver side does. Only the dash fan has a dedicated fuse and when pulled disables the drivers working fan. I've checked behind the c/b - fuse panel under bathroom sink for corrosion or rodent damage but found none. Not sure where to look now. Any ideas? Thanks for you help !!
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:10 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums. Lots of helpful people here.


It sounds like 3 separate issues. So some information that would help:


What make, model, and year of RV?


Does the RV have 30 amp or 50 amp service?


Did these stop working at exactly the same time or did they fail separately?


What is your comfort level / experience with troubleshooting?



The electric element in the water heater is 110V AC. The other two items are 12V DC. The furnace should be fed from the house 12V DC load center and the dash fan most likely from the chassis electrical system.



For the electric water heater, many coaches don't have an electric element switch inside the coach, but some do. There should be a switch in the outside access panel for the water heater. This switch must be on regardless of whether there is a switch inside or not. If there is also a switch inside, it too must be on. The next step in troubleshooting would be verifying that 110V is getting to the heater. If the electric element has ever been left on when the water heater was drained, the element will burn up almost instantly. If 110V is getting to the heater and element, but its not heating, the element is likely bad. If 110V is not getting to the heater, its a matter of tracing the path back. Is there 110V at the breaker? Depending on the coach, there can be a switch that toggles between the water heater and another high current load like the microwave or 2nd AC. Make sure that's in the WH position if it exists.
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:37 AM   #3
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Welcome. It is possible the two rear issues are related although unlikely. The furnace uses 12 volts to control the propane part as does the hot water heater.

Look for a fuse panel in a bedroom closet. If you find one use a test light on each end of the fuses to test them. Finding a ground for the wire on the test lead is the difficult thing in an rv. Grab an extension cord and put a snug fitting round screwdriver into the ground socket of the cord. Drag that around and you will have a reliable ground post.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for the welcome!! I have found solutions to other issues previously by just searching this forum.

1. 2004 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37c

2. 30 amp

3. I am unsure if they failed at the same time. I did not use the furnace last year, the dash fan I've never used but discovered while troubleshooting. The water heater work the end of last year.

4. Moderate level of troubleshooting.

5. a. Water heater - I verified all circuit breakers are closed. There is a toggle switch and a on/off switch, both have been on to check the heater. I will check to see if there is power getting to the water heater panel.

b. Furnace - There is no specific fuse labeled 'furnace' on the house fuse panel but all fuses on the panel are good. I checked at the circuit board connector and had no power on the red and yellow wire but did have 13.55v on the blue (therm) wire and yellow wire while calling for heat on the thermostat

c. Dash Fan - Has a dedicated fuse on the house panel. When pulled it kills the working dash fan. Don't know what to do on this.

Thanks again for your help!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

House fuse panel - In this rig it's located under the bathroom sink. Using a basic test light attaching the ground to a screw I have tested all the fuses to be good. I then rechecked by pulling all eleven of them and visually checking that they were all good.

Thanks also for your help!
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Old 09-08-2020, 03:59 AM   #5
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The switch for the driver fan in my coach is a pain, I would guess that lack of use has a build up of crud on the contacts. I can flip it from on to off fast a few times and it will come on.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:12 AM   #6
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https://1drv.ms/u/s!Aqrv2TUdbV6xjzYN...RnuuY?e=3F6hAA

Here are several files that might be useful on the Water Heater issue. When you open a PDF look around for any yellow post it notes. If they do not open up when you mouse over double click. There will be some troubleshooting information gathered from my unit.

Download all of the files and use as you like. The link will not stay forever.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:19 AM   #7
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Dash fan should be easy. The fans are likely in parallel, meaning that fuse provides power to both of course. Either pull the switch out or the fan itself, whichever is easier.

A 12 volt test light is very handy especially if you turn the tip down to needle sharp on a bench grinder. It makes it much easier to let blood out of your fingers because you don't have to push so hard. Ouch. Grab a small stick or cut a small piece of pvc pipe in half to use as a backer for the wires you are going to pierce.

Finding a ground for a meter or a test light can be a challenge so use the method mentioned before. I actually built a ground extension tool. Just a simple three pronged plug with one wire coming out of it connected to the ground lug. An alligator ciip on the other end. There is usually an outlet within 20 feet or so. Works great for me.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:32 AM   #8
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https://1drv.ms/u/s!Aqrv2TUdbV6xrEGv...nnxX8?e=NbG3vL

There are some additional files in this folder that cover the heat pump

The floor heaters are rather simple in design. Twelve volts to the box and a control from a thermostat to cycle them on and off.

It is usually easy enough to open the outside heater cover for access, It could be as simple as hornets muddying up the works. Covers are a must here. Been there did that. Those darn things plug up anything. Horns, heaters, pitot holes on outboard engines, etc.

As for having more than one problem at a time. That is totally normal. You have to be handy with a voltmeter, tools, and a checkbook. Often at the same time.

Excuse me, I have to go outside and change a compartment ventilation fan. Prime just delivered the "parts of the day club"
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:46 AM   #9
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For the dash fan, if you can get to the back side of the switch, verify you have voltage at the switch and leaving the switch when its on. If you have voltage at the switch, then you would have to check at the fan itself. If voltage is not reaching the switch, then start looking for an additional fuse or a bad connection. If voltage is getting to the fan, but its not working, disconnect it and measure the resistance of the fan motor.


For the water heater, many of them plug into a standard ac outlet behind the heater. If you can get to it, you can check that outlet for power using an outlet tester or a voltmeter.
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Old 09-10-2020, 07:02 PM   #10
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Thanks to all for the help.

Update: Water heater - As I have discovered that many problems are owner induced, I went back and verified my toggle switch positions, I discovered that what I had written down as the correct positions was in fact wrong. After changing positions I again have electric hot water!

Dash fan - After verifying wire connection and cycling switch several times, I stared at the fan and thought about the hammer trick. Using the palm of my hand and several moderate slaps of my hand, the fan started working. Ha!

Furnace - no progress here.

As I solved two problems here, I discovered fluid dripping down one jack. Does it ever end?

(lol)

Thanks again
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:52 PM   #11
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Consider it an addictive hobby and then it doesnít hurt so bad. Been doing this RV thing all my life and really can not remember when I wasnít doing some kind of repair/maintenance on these. I have come to the conclusion I must like the trouble shooting (like treasure hunting). Maybe I am just nuts. Good luck, you are batting pretty good so far.
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Old 09-11-2020, 09:23 AM   #12
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Making progress. Take pictures and make notes. Stuff those in a three ring binder for future reference. There will be a test on a dark and stormy night.

Start your brain fresh with the furnace. Erase the chalk board now that you know the issues are not related.

It is usually easy enough to open the outside cover and make a physical inspection first. There may be a breaker on the thing for example. There may be mud daubers living there so be very careful. The furnace is a rather dumb device overall. It does not take much to make it work or fail. Power in and propane. Something to tell it to turn on and off. A voltmeter is your friend along with a test light. The test light will help you get a visual of the (quality) of the power at the furnace. A bad garden hose can deliver water but if it is by the drip it won't do much. A digital voltmeter can see the drops as if you have full potential when in reality the second a load is placed on the hose/line you get nothing out.
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