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Old 10-12-2011, 04:21 PM   #1
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Question Suburban SW6DE water heater basics

Husband and I recently purchased a new 2011 Coachmen Catalina 22FB. Dealer walk-through was basically useless, and I have been spending LOTS of time pouring over the various manuals (not user friendly either; another rant!)

Meanwhile, we had our 1st maiden voyage, which when pretty well.
But I am confused as to the operation of the water heater; here's why..
After hooking up to city water, making sure HW tank was full and getting good water flow from all the taps, we hooked up to electricity. Fairly quickly, we were getting hot water, no prob during entire stay.

But a couple of days later, I noticed a rocker switch on my interior monitor panel marked "Water heater". I had not had this turned on the entire time and didn't know what its purpose was. Once back home and just guessing at this point, since I hadn't jotted down the actual model # of the WH in my manual (my bad), that it's the SW6DE model, which runs off electric and/or propane.?

If so, can someone verify how and when I'm to toggle back and forth?
I'm thinking, the switch located in the panel on the outside the TT was in the "ON" position. Is this only to be turned on when using 110? And if so, is that why we got hot water without doing anything else?

If we had been boondocking, would I have had to turn on the interior rocker switch to have it run on LP? If so, would I still have to have to outside switch on "ON"?

I've also read that the HW heater can run on elec & propane at the same time for faster HW recovery. If so, do both the exterior and interior switches need to be turned on??

I know....dumb question, but would appreciate any insight.
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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The interior rocker switch is for propane operation only. The small exterior switch is for 110 volt only. There should also be a breaker for the 110 volt, but if you were getting hot water on shore power, then that is already on.

Either system can be worked independently, or together for faster recovery.
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aberg View Post
Husband and I recently purchased a new 2011 Coachmen Catalina 22FB. Dealer walk-through was basically useless, and I have been spending LOTS of time pouring over the various manuals (not user friendly either; another rant!)

Meanwhile, we had our 1st maiden voyage, which when pretty well.
But I am confused as to the operation of the water heater; here's why..
After hooking up to city water, making sure HW tank was full and getting good water flow from all the taps, we hooked up to electricity. Fairly quickly, we were getting hot water, no prob during entire stay.

But a couple of days later, I noticed a rocker switch on my interior monitor panel marked "Water heater". I had not had this turned on the entire time and didn't know what its purpose was. Once back home and just guessing at this point, since I hadn't jotted down the actual model # of the WH in my manual (my bad), that it's the SW6DE model, which runs off electric and/or propane.? Yes

If so, can someone verify how and when I'm to toggle back and forth? MTNGUY covered this in his reply
I'm thinking, the switch located in the panel on the outside the TT was in the "ON" position. Is this only to be turned on when using 110? And if so, is that why we got hot water without doing anything else? Yes. However as a precaution, I would suggest that as part of breaking down camp you turn off this switch or as many others do, turn off the inside 110v WH breaker. This way if you ever plug into AC, for whatever reason, you won't fry the WH electrical heating element. When setting up camp you would do as you did your first time out: connect to city water, fill WH tank, connect to AC, then turn on WH (rocker switch outside or breaker inside, whichever you choose to use).

If we had been boondocking, would I have had to turn on the interior rocker switch to have it run on LP? Yes in order to use LP gas. If so, would I still have to have to outside switch on "ON"? This one can be on or off (since you won't be connected to AC it doesn't matter). One caveat, many boondocking bring along a generator, so if on and connected to a gen set it will be powered. I would leave it off.

I've also read that the HW heater can run on elec & propane at the same time for faster HW recovery. If so, do both the exterior and interior switches need to be turned on?? Yes

I know....dumb question, but would appreciate any insight.
See responses in red. Hope these answers cover your questions, otherwise please follow up with any additional questions. No question is ever a dumb questions, however some of our actions can be considered dumb.
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:23 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for your explanations! I just needed to hear it in "layman's" terms! I will definitely remember to turn off either exterior rocker switch or the inside breaker when breaking down camp. That way, in case we mess up and don't do things in the right order next time out, I won't fry anything!
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:32 PM   #5
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You will be alright! And by the way, to the forum!
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:58 AM   #6
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frankm,
I'm trying to get y HWH working on AC. Using LP, we get plenty of HW, but when I switch to AC I get nothing.
I have verified the Black AC switch is on in the exterior compartment, and the circuit breaker in my control center is on (I have reset it more than once). Can you think of any reason I can't get hot water from AC? Is there something simple I'm overlooking? Do you have any suggestions?

Thanx in advance,
Chuckster
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckster View Post
frankm,
Can you think of any reason I can't get hot water from AC? Is there something simple I'm overlooking? Do you have any suggestions?

Thanx in advance,
Chuckster
Yep,
1- the 120 v outlet found in the rear of your water heater tank is dead. You
can check it with a meter or just plug in something like a drop light or something
to tell you it's working.
2- the hi limit thermostat has kicked out. Try pushing on the reset found behind the rubber cover near the top of the tank. This is located outside
where the burner is.
3- the electric element is burned out. Remove the burner tube and the lower
cover to reveal the screw in element and it's connections. Place a volt meter across the element terminals and if you have 120v but no heat the element is burned out.

You can also read this thread for somewhat more complete trouble shooting of your unit.
Solved- Dry fired hot water heater

Be SURE and turn off ALL POWER AND LP GAS WHEN WORKING ON
THE WATER HEATER UNIT.
You can turn electric back on once you are actually ready to test voltage
at the terminals.
If you are unsure or not confident in your ability to do this go to a pro for
help.

Good Luck!!
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:23 AM   #8
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Good day Chuckster, is this a brand new camper or a used one you either recently bought or have had for a while? Has the WH worked on AC before and this time out isn't? Since you already ruled out the hi temp limiter being tripped (by resetting it) I would test the electrical connection at the WH itself and if that checks out, then that leaves the electrical element being burned out. Let us know what you find!
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:54 AM   #9
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KyDan, Thanks for your input, ideas and the link to Dry fired...

frankm, this is a new 2012 trailer and this is our 3rd outing. As mentioned in previous posts, we have hot water via LP but nothing through AC. The on/off switch inside the exterior compartment is on and the circuit breaker in the control center has been turned off and then reset.
We are currently out on our 4th outing, this time in Gettysburg through the 13th, so I'm working to resolve this issue. Why pay for LP when AC is free?

Thanks fellas, I appreciate all the suggestions and ideas for solving this problem.

I'll keep you posted and thanx again...
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:53 AM   #10
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Chuckster...if you can access the back of the WH, look to make sure that the electrical element is plugged in. There'll be a dedicated AC outlet to plug into.

Dave
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