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Old 06-17-2015, 09:27 AM   #1
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Yet another water heater question

I have a question concerning the electric side of my water heater. Like many others it doesn't appear to work. On the inside I have a "water heater/microwave" switch. Microwave works fine so there is electricity to that point. Water heater works fine on propane. I've located the underneath switch but I'm not sure when the rocker is actually on. Trying to enclose a pic of the switch in hopes someone else can tell me if it is on or not on. Heater is an Atwood GC6A-9E. The switch, if you cannot tell is towards "on".

Is there any visual way of telling that there is power to the heater?

Thanks
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:45 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSC9901 View Post
I have a question concerning the electric side of my water heater. Like many others it doesn't appear to work. On the inside I have a "water heater/microwave" switch. Microwave works fine so there is electricity to that point. Water heater works fine on propane. I've located the underneath switch but I'm not sure when the rocker is actually on. Trying to enclose a pic of the switch in hopes someone else can tell me if it is on or not on. Heater is an Atwood GC6A-9E. The switch, if you cannot tell is towards "on".
Is there any visual way of telling that there is power to the heater?
Thanks
LSC9901
Unless that rocker switch is bad, when the switch is pushed to the ON position, (as it is in your upside down? picture), the switch is ON... (aka: making an electrical connection).
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:26 AM   #3
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I had moved the switch to the opposite position and still nothing for hot water. The position I found it in was with the "on" portion of the switch down flat to the face plate. Nothing there either. Just wish there was some visual way to determine if there is power at the tank or if it is heating. I would guess the next best guess is the element itself.

To access my switch I have to open a panel beneath the heater. The picture is actually rotated left 90 degrees. Not the easiest place to get to ...... But then I think they make them that way intentionally!!!
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:41 AM   #4
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"I think they make them that way intentionally"

I agree (long story omitted).

IF you can get a clamp on ammeter (I have 2 one is a low-cost Harbor Freight that works fine for this) find the circuit breaker that feeds the water heater and clamp the meter over the lead.. Just the black lead nothing else.

Turn on switches.. if meter reads more than oh say eight amps the water heater is working.. If it stands on zero.. No joy.
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:45 AM   #5
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There is no "visual" way to tell if there's power at the switch unless there's a power light installed. Do you have a volt meter? Or a clamp on amp meter?

I have the same model, I replaced my heating element (prior to using a volt meter) and it still didn't work. Turned out to be the little round hi limit/thermostat sensors.
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:57 AM   #6
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There is no "visual" way to tell if there's power at the switch unless there's a power light installed. Do you have a volt meter? Or a clamp on amp meter?

I have the same model, I replaced my heating element (prior to using a volt meter) and it still didn't work. Turned out to be the little round hi limit/thermostat sensors.
I do have a volt meter. How do I check the sensors?
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:02 AM   #7
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It may be hard to get to but I would check power to that switch in your photo. The heating element is behind it also, then you will know if it's the element or not.
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:07 AM   #8
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I have an Atwood in my 1998 5ver; I thought for years that the electric element was shot. One day I crawled into the compartment so I could get to the back of the WH. There is a small thermal overload switch on the back that I reset by using a wood pencil, one push and the overload reset. Has worked fine since. The overload is there to shut off the electric element if (when) you drain the WH with the electric element on. Be sure that the 120VAC power is OFF when you reset the overload! http://manuals.adventurerv.net/Atwoo...er-Service.pdf
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:10 AM   #9
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Just a thought you didn't have it turned on with the tank empty if so odds are that the element is burned out.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:27 PM   #10
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camperkids is right, if the electric was on when the tank was empty, the element is almost surely burned out.

On the other hand, the water heater in our previous motorhome and the one in our current 5th wheel both have a switch on the tank itself like yours and another switch inside. Look for another switch for electric near the switch to turn on the LP or in the bathroom or kitchen somewhere like under the edge of the counter or even under the sink.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:38 PM   #11
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Just a thought you didn't have it turned on with the tank empty if so odds are that the element is burned out.
This was a new to us bus last year. We just barely tried the 120 this past weekend. I cannot say what the previous owner may have done but I'm very confident we did not run the heater with the tank empty. Enclosed is a photo inside the bov. I see nothing to reset but a wire coming off the switch looks severely burned. I could not see where it might have gone.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:41 PM   #12
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camperkids is right, if the electric was on when the tank was empty, the element is almost surely burned out.

On the other hand, the water heater in our previous motorhome and the one in our current 5th wheel both have a switch on the tank itself like yours and another switch inside. Look for another switch for electric near the switch to turn on the LP or in the bathroom or kitchen somewhere like under the edge of the counter or even under the sink.
I know where the inside switch is and am fairly certain it is good. Switched one way it sends peer to the heater. The other way it sends power to the microwave. The microwave works fine.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:58 PM   #13
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So I have found where it goes and reconnected it. Watching for FIRE and hopefully heat !!!

The photo is 90 degrees off to the left. The wire connects to the top connector .... Whatever it is.
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Old 06-17-2015, 01:45 PM   #14
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After about 30 minutes ..... nothing. No hot water. Element is shorted with no power applied. Both of the other connections are also shorted. Don't know if they are supposed to be but they are.
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