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Old 05-13-2021, 08:03 PM   #1
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Help! Water heater problems!

We have a 2004 Monaco LaPalma and it seems that we may have purchased a lemon because so many things have gone wrong. I've managed to fix most everything but this one escapes me. We have been out for 5 days and the water heater has been operating on the 120 volt mode and keeping the water hot. But today, for some reason after my wife took a shower, when I went to take mine there was no hot water. The 120 volt switch is still in the on postion and lit up. But not hot water. I'm not sure how to get it over on to propane. I turned off the 120 volt switch hoping the gas would come on and heat the water. But nothing. Now I have nothing but frustration. I am tired after driving all day and have no idea what to try. We did spend a lot of time driving in the wind with the wind coming toward us on the side where the water heater is located. I'm not sure if that would make any difference. Can anybody give me any idea what direction to go? I'm at a point where I just want to set fire to the whole thing. I'm exhausted. For the sake of info, it's an Atwood and on the switch panel in the hallway, there are two switches, one 12 volt and one 120 volt. If I'm not mistaken it has neither gas valve shown in the instructions. It has not adjusting knob or a way to fire off the pilot. Very strange.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:17 PM   #2
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The Atwood water heater has electronic ignition for the propane burner. Turning on the LP switch will activate the propane burner. However, it may be necessary to first light the cooktop to insure propane pressure is present. Then it might require several attempts to light the propane heater/burner.
You may download the service manual for your Atwood water heater from bryantrv.com.
Have someone turn on the 12V controlled propane burner while you are standing outside beside the heater. You should hear a snap when the electronic ignition attempts to light the propane burner.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:57 PM   #3
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First let me say thanks for replying to my dilemma. My wife just tried that 12 volt switch while I was outside looking at the igniter. Nothing. We did light a burner on the stove and we have propane. No problem there. It's been working fine for the last few days just running it on 120 volt. We went through some very heavy winds today and wondered if that might have had something to do with it. We have not been using it on propane at all. But, something has happened and I don't know where to start. I guess it's mostly because I don't understand how this system works. I've never had anything automatic before. It was a matter of just turning one off and running the other. Thanks again. I'll see about downloading the manual. We have the little 3 page one that came with the coach.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:11 PM   #4
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Check the 110v breaker for the Water Heater . There will be a dedicated breaker in the electrical panel .

Turn off the control panel 110v switch before doing the following.

When you locate the circuit breaker , flip it to the off position and then flip it back on.

Sometimes the breaker will pop off , but to look at it may still appear to be on.

Now turn on the control panel 110v switch .

On your Hot Water control panel one switch will be for 110v , the other switch will be for propane , not 12v .

Good luck and let us know how things turn out.
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Old 05-13-2021, 09:15 PM   #5
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Thanks Bill, I turned of both switches and then checked the breaker in our bedroom. It did not appear to have tripped but I did flip it off and back on. Then I turned the 120 volt switch back on again. It always glows red when it's on. But, how do I know if it's working? Do I have to listen or look for anything? Should we hear anything coming from the water heater. It's right under our sink so it is close by.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:28 PM   #6
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Electric is silent....give it 20 minutes then check for hot water at faucet
Propane is Nosier ---- CLICK, CLICK, CLICK of spark electrode firing to ignite the gas...Whoosh when gas lights off and slight roar while flame is burning

Electric only.....propane only....OR BOTH at same time
Slowest recovery...faster recovery....FASTEST recovery


I am surprised the Atwood Panel is labeled as 120VAC and 12VDC

2004 Monaco should have an Atwood version that uses 12VDC for control of both electric and propane
Unless you actual have a Atwood 2003 version which was last year that the electric and propane functions were separate

2004 version uses 12VDC to both on/off switch
Then DC is sent to control board via White wire (electric) and/or Orange wire (propane)
If electric the DC is sent from circuit board to DC Relay via Yellow wire
When DC Relay closes 120VAC is allowed to go to the element (Relay/element are on backside of water heater tank)

Propane is DSI (direct spark ignition---electronic)
Turn 12VDC switch on and gas valve should open/spark electrode fire (Loud CLICK, CLICK, CLICK) at combustion chamber
**Can take several attempts until gas flow/pressure is established at the gas valve when propane has not be used in a while


IF---IF you have the 2003 version
Electric is direct from Circuit Breaker to on/off switch to set of t-stats and then element
That version has OEM on/off switch/set of t-stats and element on backside of water heater tank (protective cover...bottom of tank)
*RV Mfg may have installed an additional electric On/Off Switch wired in series with the OEM switch cause they are a PITA to access backside of WH Tank


Post the actual model of your water heater
Can be found on sticker in outside compartment....possibly in any documents you have

2003 version
GC10A-3E (10 gal) ---- GC6A-8E (6 gal) **Could be 9E version

2004 version
GC10A-4E (10 gal) -----GC6A-10E (6 gal)
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Old 05-14-2021, 04:48 AM   #7
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Ray-

Could you clarify: "There is no hot water" means:

a) Water comes out the hot water faucet in the shower at a reasonable flow rate, but is cold, or

b) Water does not come out of the hot water faucet in the shower?

Easiest way to see if the water in the tank is hot (but may not be getting out) is to put on a leather glove and pop the P&P (relief) valve very slightly. Stand back, and don't get scalded.

Assuming you have the 2004-and-later "new model" controls (per "Old-Biscuit's" post above):

1) The "12V" switch on the monitor panel fires off the propane side of the water heater. Does the 12V switch light up when you turn it on?

2) The fuse of that circuit is on the house 12V fuse panel. I can't say where the house 12V fuse panel is in your coach, but if it's typical Monaco it will be inside the cabin somewhere aft of amidships.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:15 AM   #8
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To reply, we have no hot water in the tank. I verified by opening the pressure relief valve. The water heater is plainly marked as GC10A-4E (10 gal) . The 12 volt switch does light up when in the on position as does the 120 volt switch. I read in the owner's pamphlet that they can both be on simultaneously to heat the water faster. I tried that also but to no avail. We left the 120 volt switch on overnight to maybe get lucky and have some hot water this morning.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:22 AM   #9
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I also checked the fuse, it's a 15 amp and it's good.
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Old 05-14-2021, 09:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socaltoolguy View Post
Thanks Bill, I turned of both switches and then checked the breaker in our bedroom. It did not appear to have tripped but I did flip it off and back on. Then I turned the 120 volt switch back on again. It always glows red when it's on. But, how do I know if it's working? Do I have to listen or look for anything? Should we hear anything coming from the water heater. It's right under our sink so it is close by.
The 120 volt switch to use 120 AC on your hot water heater is actually a 12v switch with a 12 volt LED light in it. All it is doing is turning on a relay to trigger 120 volts to your water heater. I suspect all they do is supply power to the two thermostats on the water heater.

Since it will light the 12v Circuit is good. Do you have a monitor panel that shows how many amps your coach is drawing. Mine does not show amps when I am plugged into 50 amp but displays when I am either plugged into 30 amp or the generator is running. If your water heater is drawing it should show 11-12 amps draw. IF yours works like mine, you can plug into a 30 amp at the pedestal with a dogbone adapter. If you don't have a monitor panel like that, you need to get a VOM with a clamp on Amp function.

But I suspect that since it works in neither AC or Propane it is in the heater itself. The first thing I would check is the thermostats on the water heater. There are two. One is the temp shutoff and one is the over temp shut off.

Open the door to your water heater, and you will see to small round disks about the size of a quarter. Each will have 2 wires going into them. First make sure the wires are on tight. Then try tapping on them. They do stick. The next step is to unplug both wires (turn the power off at the breaker) and use your VOM to see the resistance across the thermostat. I'm not sure what they should be, but if the are infinite or out of range they might be bad. This needs to be done with the water heater cold. Then, if it shows a reading, probably between 10 to 200 ohms, they are ok.

Next step is to test if power is coming into the wires. You can put one probe of the VOM into each of the wires and you should see either 12 V or 120. If you don't have voltage there, the next step is to test the voltage on the 120 and 12 volt lines coming into the heater. If you have power coming in on both, but no power at the thermostats, about the only thing it can be is the circuit board. I have rarely seen them fail, but they do. Usually when the board fails the heater will work on 120v or propane but not both.

I would bet money on it being the thermostats. They are cheap and easy to change. I carry a spare set with me.

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Old 05-14-2021, 09:12 AM   #11
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GC10A-4E
That version uses common 12VDC to both on/off switches

RV MFG may have used 'their' version of on/off switches with light that indicates 'power' at switch when ON
*Atwood OEM switches have just ONE RED Light and it is a FAULT Light common to both electric/gas operation

Not heating with either electric and/or gas means DC is NOT going thru the circuit/circuit board
That indicates the 'thermal fuse' (Brown wires...clear tubing...outside compartment to T-stat) has blown
It is a one shot 'fuse' that blows when exposed to 190*F temps
It shuts down ALL DC to circuit board
**You can unplug the Brown wires ---remove the thermal fuse---plug Brown wire directly onto the terminal for T-stat to test operate electric/gas operation
**If heating occurs replace the thermal fuse....clean combustion/exhaust chamber and burner tube


Only other thing that would STOP all heating is:
Lack of DC to the On/off switches
Lack of DC to the circuit board
Bad circuit board

Voltmeter....
Check that you have DC to Circuit Board ON:
White wire with Electric switch ON
Orange Wire with GAS switch ON

OR remove Thermal fuse and see if you can heat water


Atwood Wiring
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Old 05-14-2021, 10:09 AM   #12
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Follow Old biscuit's advice he forgot more than the rest of us know. To add for you to help go out and listen while someone starts on LP . On my friends we were able to block off halfish the exhaust and it would light this kept flame/gas back to sensor lighting electrode. An air mix tube and orifice cleaning solved the issue. Used some 600 grit to clean sensor rod while in there.
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Old 05-14-2021, 04:43 PM   #13
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Thank you so much for all that you have done to try to help. I was going to use all your info if we had not been able to get in to a very nice, well established RV service center in Amarillo. They fixed it in a very short time of diagnosing by using a test light and a used control board to ascertain that the problem was at the water heater and not in the switch panel indoors. It turned out to be a couple of corroded connections and a burned out thermal fuse. The tech had us up and running in about a half hour and made sure that the heater worked on both modes. It does for sure and the water started getting hot within about 15 minutes. The name of this place is Jack Sizemore Traveland. They are now a part of Camping World which is located right near where we were parked. Had no idea they were connected until after we got everything done and I asked about why they were all wearing Gander shirts. Anyway, I can't say enough good about them and if you ever need anything fixed or just some parts they seem to have it all covered. And reasonable too. They charged for parts and labor $160.85. I was expecting far more than that. Thanks again for all of your help. I will keep it all cataloged in my RV repair file.
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:54 AM   #14
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Thermal fuse blow when exposed to 190*F HEAT...that is from flame blow-back

Blown thermal fuse indicates dirty/obstructed orifice, burner tube and/or combustion-exhaust 'U' chamber

Did they clean them....all


Thermal fuse come 2 to a pack for $14
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