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Old 09-28-2022, 05:17 PM   #1
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Water Heater Woes

Electric side of Suburban water heater (SW10DE) not working. Propane side works fine. Heating element good replaced with new. Local on/off switch good, replaced with new. Voltage at breaker box is good, 123 volts. EMS system shows Water Heater powered on. Voltage at interior switch for water heater, 7 volts. Voltage at water heater, 5 volts. When the interior switch for the electric water heater is turned on nothing happens, normally shows red light when on, no red light. Just wondering is there a relay or fuse somewhere that could be causing the problem.

Any help will be appreciated.
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Old 09-28-2022, 06:38 PM   #2
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Not sure how an EMS shows the water heater is powered - an EMS will indicate power to the coach.

5 and 7 volts on a 120vac circuit is for all intents and purposes, nothing(more likely induced voltage from nearby wiring - particularly a problem of seeing voltage when using a digital VOM).

Per the manual’s wiring diagram for that WH, power goes to the on/off switch before being fed through the thermostat and over-limit switch and then powering the heat element.

You should be making all voltage measurements to a neutral, not chassis ground.

Disconnect power from your coach, open up the 120vac breaker panel and look for loose wiring or burned connections. Make repairs as necessary.

Let us kk ow what you find.
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Old 09-28-2022, 06:43 PM   #3
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Inside Switch

Would it happen to be a DC Switch which send DC to a DC Relay that when closed allows 120VAC to element

Some RV Mfgs do that when installing an inside switch ....use low voltage.

DC Relay could be behind Main Power Panel cause installer like to it the 'easy way' for them but PITA for replacing
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Old 09-28-2022, 06:58 PM   #4
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Get the schematic for your water heater. It should have come with your RV documentation, but can be looked up on line. My water heater did not function. I was able to use the schematic to find the gas and electrical pin on the connector. I bypassed the entire system and put +12V to the gas pin and it lit. Then I put the +12V to the AC pin to enable it to use 120VAC. It did. I traced my problem to a bad relay. Finding it was the problem, but used the water heater this way for the entire trip. I have jumper lines with fuse inline and clipped to the house batteries. The ground pin in also in the same connector. I used a solid core 28ga wire to push it in from the back. The water heater switch was on off. My relay was inside the end of the bed where the AC circuit breaker and DC fuse boxes. It was on the end of a cable wrapped around another cable tucked under some of the bed structure. Not visible at all.
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Old 09-28-2022, 11:34 PM   #5
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I have attached the manual if you don't have it. It will have the wiring diagram for the switch (I'll also attach the diagram below).



The attached youtube video is interesting to watch as he explains things well. I don't think it's the same model as you have but in the first part of the video he's diagnosing an electric issue and explains the function and testing of the thermostats. The particular problem on this water heater in the video turned out to be the $5 switch on the water heater itself and was replaced. It could or could not be the problem you're having but take a look and he also has an array of other troubleshooting clips on Suburban water heaters he lists links to:

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File Type: pdf Suburban - Water Heater Model SW10D, SW10DM, SW10DE, SW10DEM Operation Manual.pdf (612.0 KB, 3 views)
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Old 09-29-2022, 11:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theroc View Post
I have attached the manual if you don't have it. It will have the wiring diagram for the switch (I'll also attach the diagram below).
Diagram is 12VDC which is for the GAS operation

OP has issue with the 120VAC for the Electric Operation
Has 120VAC at CB....but nothing at Inside switch


Inside switch could be 12VDC to a DC Relay that triggers 120VAC to OEM Outside switch

Need feedback from OP


Suburban OEM wiring using a DC Relay
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Old 09-29-2022, 02:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Diagram is 12VDC which is for the GAS operation

OP has issue with the 120VAC for the Electric Operation
Has 120VAC at CB....but nothing at Inside switch


Inside switch could be 12VDC to a DC Relay that triggers 120VAC to OEM Outside switch

Need feedback from OP


Suburban OEM wiring using a DC Relay
Yeah, I noticed that after I posted the screenshot. No way to delete it at this point.

However, if he views that video, they guy does show the difference between the two sides of the thermostat.
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Old 09-29-2022, 06:10 PM   #8
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Don’t overlook the obvious. Check to make sure it is plugged in.

Don’t ask me how I know.

Ken
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Old 09-29-2022, 06:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Crockstar View Post
Don’t overlook the obvious. Check to make sure it is plugged in.

Don’t ask me how I know.

Ken
Many are hard wired for AC vs plug into an outlet
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Old 09-29-2022, 07:29 PM   #10
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Mystery solved. Turns out the Energy Management System passes selected loads through relays. The purpose is to selectively turn of amp draws when exceeding what is available. Appears the relay for the water heater went bad. Bypassed the EMS with the water heater and all is well. Will check on possibility of replacing the bad relay on the EMS board or maybe just leave well enough alone.
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Old 09-29-2022, 09:34 PM   #11
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So I guess it's soldered to the board.??? Is it a pilot relay or is there a second contactor for the electric element.
Rather than remove a large item from the board I have soldered wires to back side of a board to remote it on single layer board. I'm figuring relay terminates to a plug/wires that go to the water heater so you may only have to solder the coil wires.
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Old 09-30-2022, 12:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Many are hard wired for AC vs plug into an outlet
That’s what I thought as well. Imagine my surprise when mine stopped working on electricity and I found the “plug” had fallen out of the receptacle.


Glad BillRobertson found and resolved his issue.


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Old 10-01-2022, 10:27 AM   #13
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The relay is part of the circuit board of an Intellitec 50 Amp Smart Energy Management System Model 900 and appears to be soldered in. When I ordered the motorhome back in 2005 I knew nothing about RV systems and assumed the EMS option would be worth having. Originally the block heater, water heater and both A/C units were monitored by the EMS. In the case of low power, the EMS would individually shed these devices to avoid tripping breakers. However, reading through the manual it appears that including the A/C units is a bit complicated and requires some modifications to A/C unit wiring. I notice that the A/C units are no longer wired through the EMS unit. Assume that when I had both A/C units replaced the installer elected to not bother with the EMS. Now that the water heater is no longer wired through the EMS unit the only device monitored is the block heater. In the 17 years I have owned the coach the block heater has never been plugged in or used. I do get a readout of the actual amps being used by the coach on the panel located in the front of the coach which is nice (basically a $703 amp meter). Hind sight can sometimes be 20/20.
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