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Old 09-30-2012, 04:16 PM   #11
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Well said Lou, covered all the bases. I note an anomly in the center pic, the anode is out, heater is dry, the electric switch is on!
Great observation. Lets hope the owner of the camper used in that photo noticed it too!
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:02 PM   #12
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To make sure I understand. When I place the switch on water heater box to on, It will work off of electric, If I want a faster hot water recovery or use propane ,I should turn on the internal switch. If I do not want to use propane, leave the internal switch off.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:13 PM   #13
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To make sure I understand. When I place the switch on water heater box to on, It will work off of electric, If I want a faster hot water recovery or use propane ,I should turn on the internal switch. If I do not want to use propane, leave the internal switch off.
Make sure there is water in there before you turn anything on. Trying to run the water heater without water will burn up your heating element in about 3 seconds and will trip your high limit thermostat if you try it on propane.

Other wise you have it exactly right. Since the propane is far more efficient at heating the water quickly, I use the propane always and only turn on the electric as a booster if there are guests in the camper.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:27 PM   #14
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Well said Lou, covered all the bases. I note an anomly in the center pic, the anode is out, heater is dry, the electric switch is on!
If we are looking at the same center picture, the electric switch is not on - it has the pin though it.

I think it is difficult to determine from the top picture what the position of the electric switch is, but am I not seeing what you are seeing in the center picture?
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:53 PM   #15
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If we are looking at the same center picture, the electric switch is not on - it has the pin though it.

I think it is difficult to determine from the top picture what the position of the electric switch is, but am I not seeing what you are seeing in the center picture?
They are different campers and I was using those as "best examples" of what I was trying to convey. The photo with the anode out does indeed have the power sitch in the "ON" position. Not my camper and if the power is on he is buying a new heating element for sure.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:14 PM   #16
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If you're staying in a campground where you're paying for hookups, and you have an electric hot water tank option, use it. If you are paying for electricity, use the propane option, it will always be cheaper.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:05 AM   #17
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If you're staying in a campground where you're paying for hookups, and you have an electric hot water tank option, use it. If you are paying for electricity, use the propane option, it will always be cheaper.
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The following applies to both 50 amd 30 amp services; but it is VERY important to 30 amp users.

ALWAYS do a voltage check if you do. Water heater elements run on Watts. The Suburban water heaters are 1000 watt elements at 120 volts ~ 8.33 amps.

Since the resistance of the element is fixed, as the voltage drops the efficiency of the water heater to heat water drops as well. V=IR so to find that resistance we divide 120 by 8.33 and discover the resistance to be 14.4 ohms.

At 108 volts (typical summer voltage) the 1000 watt element will actually use far less amps than at 120 volts. V=IR or I = 108/14.4 or 7.5 amps

While this may sound like an inconsequential number, 7.5 amps times 108 volts is 810 watts or a 19% LESS efficient heating element.

The upshot is the water heater will most likely run constantly and as far as recovery while showering; forget it. Additionally, since your air conditioner is an inductive load and not a resistive load, you might just need those amps to get your air conditioner to turn over since in an inductive load the Watts are FIXED. You NEED the watts to spin the compressor.

Depending on the actual voltage, the current required to spin up the compressor may exceed 30 amps on a 15K air conditioner momentarily and needs 14.5 amps (per airconditioner) to run once the fan and compressor are up to speed.

This can trip the breaker at the camper's panel (if it is weak) or at the pole if you are already using the pole's 30 amp breaker to run your fridge (~3 amps) and water heater (~8 amps) on AC.

It also will not leave very many amps available to watch TV or charge your phone.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:15 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
The following applies to both 50 amd 30 amp services; but it is VERY important to 30 amp users.

ALWAYS do a voltage check if you do. Water heater elements run on Watts. The Suburban water heaters are 1000 watt elements at 120 volts ~ 8.33 amps.

Since the resistance of the element is fixed, as the voltage drops the efficiency of the water heater to heat water drops as well. V=IR so to find that resistance we divide 120 by 8.33 and discover the resistance to be 14.4 ohms.

At 108 volts (typical summer voltage) the 1000 watt element will actually use far less amps than at 120 volts. V=IR or I = 108/14.4 or 7.5 amps

While this may sound like an inconsequential number, 7.5 amps times 108 volts is 810 watts or a 19% LESS efficient heating element.

The upshot is the water heater will most likely run constantly and as far as recovery while showering; forget it. Additionally, since your air conditioner is an inductive load and not a resistive load, you might just need those amps to get your air conditioner to turn over since in an inductive load the Watts are FIXED. You NEED the watts to spin the compressor.

Depending on the actual voltage, the current required to spin up the compressor may exceed 30 amps on a 15K air conditioner momentarily and needs 14.5 amps (per airconditioner) to run once the fan and compressor are up to speed.

This can trip the breaker at the camper's panel (if it is weak) or at the pole if you are already using the pole's 30 amp breaker to run your fridge (~3 amps) and water heater (~8 amps) on AC.

It also will not leave very many amps available to watch TV or charge your phone.
Way too complicated.....on 50 amps it's electric hot water all the way! That's with two a/cs running. Never a problem. Now on a 30 amp pole, we do the power managment trick.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:27 AM   #19
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Way too complicated.....on 50 amps it's electric hot water all the way! That's with two a/cs running. Never a problem. Now on a 30 amp pole, we do the power managment trick.
Obviously, delivered power is campground wiring and temperature dependent.

Newer campgrounds or older campgrounds with upgraded power lines can deliver 120 volts all summer long regardless of temperature.

Older campgrounds with aluminum 30 amp service rated wire runs have degraded voltage as the temperature incresases due to the decrease in current carrying capability in hot weather (just when you need it the most).

Search here for extensive coverage of the "why" aluminum service is "bad" in July.

Low voltage and air conditioning
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:50 PM   #20
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Don't forget that the switch controls heating using 120VAC. If the generator is not running and the coach isn't plugged into shore power, then there's no power available for the electric heating element.

It's easy to flip the switch to the ON position to take a picture and it won't effect the heater in the tank. I also like the cotter pin arrangement to prevent accidentally turning on the switch. It's a great safety when storing the coach.

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