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Old 11-09-2015, 01:42 AM   #11
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For the water heater: Gas + possibly a shut off near the thermocouple. If both OK, I would next check the voltage at the electric element itself. If nothing is there, you most likely have tripped one or both of the safety circuits. You can try a reset. They are micro switched behind the two rubber plugs on the face of the water heater.
You should also check the 12v circuit as it is required for the DSI for the gas via the circuit board.

For the rest of the stuff: pictures pictures pictures
or you could bring it over and we can "re-wire" it. You're only 3250 miles away.
The unit does not have a thermocouple as it is electronic ignition and thermocouple's are for pilot fired systems, this much I know about gas fired appliances. Yes if the unit was a MOBILE unit I could haul it cross country to have you look at it but then I would not be guaranteed you would see anything my local people have not been able to help me with. But then I also made the mistake of trusting a local RV company to have checked this out right after I bought it and they gave it a CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH till I tried to use the stuff.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:23 AM   #12
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Howdy TruckingJohn, and welcome to the forums.

We have a detailed FAQ on the operation and understanding of the Suburban water heater in this link below, as this is actually one of the most misunderstood components of a RV.

Suburban's electric switch and much more

As per the actual switch inside that controls the DSI/propane side of the water heater, it can certainly be by itself as per the pic bikendan posted, or it can be a switch located in a panel of other switches similar to this one below:



As per the pic above, the water heater switch for the propane/dsi is at the top right of the panel, and is the left switch. If you will notice, there is a very small DSI FLT red light just to the right of the switch. This stands for DSI Fault, and is explained in the FAQ link above. It's a version of the big red RESET light that is in the switch that bikendan posted...and is for the same purpose.

You may want to look for some kind of switch inside your particular RV (which it would be helpful for those posting advice to know which particular brand/model RV you have) that has some kind of either RESET or Fault/Flt light beside the switch that controls the DSI..... here again explained in a lot more detail in the FAQ link above.

Here is also just one example of a Forest River switch panel (and it definitely can be even different from this depending on brand/model) for those RV's using a Suburban water heater, that has BOTH the propane and electric heating element switched located inside the RV.... also explained in the FAQ above. Notice again the DSI/FLT small light to the right of the switch.



and here is yet another pic of a different panel:



It can just vary so much between models/brand as to where the DSI/propane switch is located....but this may give you some ideas what/where to look for it.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:40 AM   #13
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John, I posted to your other thread about the water heater before seeing this one:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ml#post1031075

I'm probably going to combine these threads to keep it all centralized as you have two threads going on about basically the same thing. It will be easier to get advice if they are together. A good example of this is you stated which model/brand you had in one thread but not the other. With them combined, everyone trying to help will now know which RV you have.
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Old 11-09-2015, 03:25 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
Howdy TruckingJohn, and welcome to the forums.

We have a detailed FAQ on the operation and understanding of the Suburban water heater in this link below, as this is actually one of the most misunderstood components of a RV.

Suburban's electric switch and much more

As per the actual switch inside that controls the DSI/propane side of the water heater, it can certainly be by itself as per the pic bikendan posted, or it can be a switch located in a panel of other switches similar to this one below:



As per the pic above, the water heater switch for the propane/dsi is at the top right of the panel, and is the left switch. If you will notice, there is a very small DSI FLT red light just to the right of the switch. This stands for DSI Fault, and is explained in the FAQ link above. It's a version of the big red RESET light that is in the switch that bikendan posted...and is for the same purpose.

You may want to look for some kind of switch inside your particular RV (which it would be helpful for those posting advice to know which particular brand/model RV you have) that has some kind of either RESET or Fault/Flt light beside the switch that controls the DSI..... here again explained in a lot more detail in the FAQ link above.

Here is also just one example of a Forest River switch panel (and it definitely can be even different from this depending on brand/model) for those RV's using a Suburban water heater, that has BOTH the propane and electric heating element switched located inside the RV.... also explained in the FAQ above. Notice again the DSI/FLT small light to the right of the switch.



and here is yet another pic of a different panel:



It can just vary so much between models/brand as to where the DSI/propane switch is located....but this may give you some ideas what/where to look for it.
As I stated in earlier post MOST of the information in these pictures are in the RANGE HOOD (battery charge level, black water level, shower tank level, galley tank level, fresh water level, water pump switch, hood light and hood fan switches) the slide out switches are beside the door, but NOTHING RESEMBLING the DSI switches that have been posted here. I do have 2 switches that are unknown (one marked as fresh water tank heater which is a red rocker switch when turned on is lit) and one that is normal rocker which turns on a RED light but do not know what it is actually powering, but these are beside each other by the galley sink.

I assume the reason the gas portion of the water heater is not working is because I need to RESET the button but again have no idea where the reset is located as I see nothing even close to what I am supposed to see. And under the same assumption am not getting the 110 to work as I am not finding the INSIDE switch to power up the outside switch, and since no 2 RV's are wired the same (even same model and year) it is hard to know where things are, or should be.
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:01 AM   #15
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As I stated in earlier post MOST of the information in these pictures are in the RANGE HOOD (battery charge level, black water level, shower tank level, galley tank level, fresh water level, water pump switch, hood light and hood fan switches) the slide out switches are beside the door, but NOTHING RESEMBLING the DSI switches that have been posted here. I do have 2 switches that are unknown (one marked as fresh water tank heater which is a red rocker switch when turned on is lit) and one that is normal rocker which turns on a RED light but do not know what it is actually powering, but these are beside each other by the galley sink.

I assume the reason the gas portion of the water heater is not working is because I need to RESET the button but again have no idea where the reset is located as I see nothing even close to what I am supposed to see. And under the same assumption am not getting the 110 to work as I am not finding the INSIDE switch to power up the outside switch, and since no 2 RV's are wired the same (even same model and year) it is hard to know where things are, or should be.
John, the majority of the Suburbans NEVER had an inside switch for the electric heating element (it is an option but not standard). Most likely you don't have ANY inside switch for the electric heating element, just an outside one on the face of the water heater. As explained in the detailed FAQ, you must be plugged into a form of 120 volt AC power for the electric heating element to work. No need really to chase that rabbit, looking for an inside electric heating element switch that isn't there in most probability.

Many many a camper inadvertently leaves this outside switch on, when there is no water in the heater...and it burns out the heating element whenever plugged into 120 volt AC power. As many times as this happens, I would venture to say this may have happened to yours too. If you have a multimeter, we can tell you how to test to see if this has happened (burned out element) as we have several threads explaining this process.

Now, as far as in inside propane/dsi switch...it is most likely there, as equipped from the factory.

Can you post some pics of the two switches you are referring to? Fresh water tank heater? When you say one switch turns on a red light, this sounds like your DSI switch from the sound of it...as explained in the detailed link, the dsi fault light comes on at the onset of turning the switch on, until the propane ignites, and the fault light goes off. That is how it is supposed to operate. If the fault light doesn't go off, then it alerts you to the fact the propane did not light and you have a problem somewhere.

Once we pinpoint the actual switch to the DSI, then we can go thru the troubleshooting steps for assuring the propane side of your water heater is operating normally.

There is just so many unknowns here, and from the sound of things, the previous owner really did some modifications that changes the entire dynamics of it. Even if your RV never came with an inside switch for the electric heating element, it's possible the previous owner, made his own....as that's a modification that several here on these forums have made themselves, to keep from having to go outside to turn on/off the electric heating element.

I am hesitant to just start throwing links and information out there, as I would really like to handle this methodically and one step at a time. Too much information overload may confuse the matter more instead of helping it. First off, I would not worry about the electric heating element. Let's focus on the propane and DSI, and go from there...which we need to locate the correct switch for it.

Is your propane working, and have you lit the stove in your RV? Have you physically verified there is water in the water heater tank, as explained in the FAQ link, it's possible the bypass valves are set for winterization, and thus the water heater tank in dry inside....if you are just turning on the hot water taps inside the RV, this isn't going to verify there is water in the tank, if the bypass valves are set to bypass the water heater. As explained in the link, you can briefly flip up the temperature/pressure relief valve on the face of the water heater to verify there is water inside the tank at least.
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:23 AM   #16
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Frustration Overload

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John, the majority of the Suburbans NEVER had an inside switch for the electric heating element (it is an option but not standard). Most likely you don't have ANY inside switch for the electric heating element, just an outside one on the face of the water heater. As explained in the detailed FAQ, you must be plugged into a form of 120 volt AC power for the electric heating element to work. No need really to chase that rabbit, looking for an inside electric heating element switch that isn't there in most probability.

Many many a camper inadvertently leaves this outside switch on, when there is no water in the heater...and it burns out the heating element whenever plugged into 120 volt AC power. As many times as this happens, I would venture to say this may have happened to yours too. If you have a multimeter, we can tell you how to test to see if this has happened (burned out element) as we have several threads explaining this process.

Now, as far as in inside propane/dsi switch...it is most likely there, as equipped from the factory.

Can you post some pics of the two switches you are referring to? Fresh water tank heater? When you say one switch turns on a red light, this sounds like your DSI switch from the sound of it...as explained in the detailed link, the dsi fault light comes on at the onset of turning the switch on, until the propane ignites, and the fault light goes off. That is how it is supposed to operate. If the fault light doesn't go off, then it alerts you to the fact the propane did not light and you have a problem somewhere.

Once we pinpoint the actual switch to the DSI, then we can go thru the troubleshooting steps for assuring the propane side of your water heater is operating normally.

There is just so many unknowns here, and from the sound of things, the previous owner really did some modifications that changes the entire dynamics of it. Even if your RV never came with an inside switch for the electric heating element, it's possible the previous owner, made his own....as that's a modification that several here on these forums have made themselves, to keep from having to go outside to turn on/off the electric heating element.

I am hesitant to just start throwing links and information out there, as I would really like to handle this methodically and one step at a time. Too much information overload may confuse the matter more instead of helping it. First off, I would not worry about the electric heating element. Let's focus on the propane and DSI, and go from there...which we need to locate the correct switch for it.

Is your propane working, and have you lit the stove in your RV? Have you physically verified there is water in the water heater tank, as explained in the FAQ link, it's possible the bypass valves are set for winterization, and thus the water heater tank in dry inside....if you are just turning on the hot water taps inside the RV, this isn't going to verify there is water in the tank, if the bypass valves are set to bypass the water heater. As explained in the link, you can briefly flip up the temperature/pressure relief valve on the face of the water heater to verify there is water inside the tank at least.
The Fresh Water Tank switch has a label above it that has not completely been painted over and as stated I BELIEVE is designed to prevent the water in the Storage tank (not being used) from freezing in cold weather. But is a red LIGHTED switch when turned on lights up the switch showing it is on.

Okay so the switch (DSI possibility) is a switch and light combination it does not push to reset anything and thus I have ruled it out as being the correct switch. When the switch is turned on the red light turns on, when the switch is turned off it turns off. I do not have the ability to take and upload pictures.

My big fat hands have difficulty working in tight spaces like the space to remove the burner element to test the electrical element (which I am only trying to use as I can not get the gas to work).

SETUP;

RV is PERMANENTLY Parked connected to 50 amp RV outlet.

Water is from a well on property and the tank is full (pouring out the T & P valve).

The bypass system is a 1 valve system (on the inlet to cold water) and valve is in position allowing water to flow into the WH.

The Furnace, Refrigerator (currently on electric setting), and Range all work on Propane, so other than bleeding the line between the Range and the WH should have gas there.

MY KNOWLEDGE;

Know how to test the element as viewed on several YouTube videos.

Not trying to run on electric, but since I can not get propane to work need some type of hot water flowing.

Question I SHOULD have asked;

Is there a way to test if there is 12 Volt at the gas valve, or if this valve is working properly?

Is it possible to TRACE these wires, without destroying the trailer to the SWITCH that may or may not be in place?
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:41 AM   #17
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Yes, the resets you are referring to are built into the combination thermostat/ hi-limit emergency cut off. These are on the face of the water heater so to speak.

Since you have a dual source water heater (propane and electric), that operate independently of each other, then you also have two thermostats/eco's. One for the propane/dsi and one for the electric heating element.

The thermostats are what cuts power to the water heater (either 12 volt DC or 120 volt AC when the water has heated to a certain preset temp. This is just like any thermostat in say your furnace, air conditioner, etc. Usually this is around 135 degrees for the water.

Now the emergency cut off (ECO) or hi-limit cuts the power when the temp get too high in the tank, as when the thermostat failed to cut off the power, or possibly another reason, like no water in the heater. This is designed to keep from burning up the wiring and I think the ECO trips around 160 or so degrees. if the ECO trips, you have to manually reset it, before power can once again flow to either your 12 volt gas solenoid, if that is the eco that trips....or your 120 volt electric heating element, if that is the ECO that trips. Both may be tripped if something has happened that would allow the temp inside the heater to get to 160 degrees.

To reset one or both of these ECO's, go outside and access your water heater. The ECO's are covered with a rubber plug. All you have to do it to press the resets on the ECO's thru the rubber. That's all. No need to remove the rubber cover, unless you have to replace the combination thermostat/eco. If I recall, the left hand one is for the electric, and right hand one is for the propane...but don't quote me on that.



Once you verify the hi-limit ECO are not tripped and you manually reset them, you can once again go inside and try to start the propane with your DSI switch and see if the propane lights up this time. It usually takes 15-30 seconds after you turn on the DSI switch before it ignites. You will hear a rapid clicking noise at the water heater as the DSI is making sparks to ignite the propane. If it lights, then the burner comes on the water heats up.

If it fails to light after a few seconds, then the DSI can attempt to light it again after a few seconds, and you can just wait to see if you hear it clicking again. After usually 3 failed attempts, the the DSI goes into a lockout mode. It will not attempt to light again, until you turn the inside switch off. then on again to start the process anew.

Not all of the older Suburbans would try 3 times though and yours may lockout in less than that.

If you look at the pic above, the DSI electrode that makes the sparks, is at the end of that orangish wire in the bottom right hand side of the pic where the burner tube goes into the water heater..
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:26 PM   #18
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Thank you all that tried to help with this issue. I was confused by the pictures posted as the switches for the DSI all had reset buttons along with the switch. Mine is strictly the switch and light showing whether on or not and thus was making me assume it was not the correct switch but after finally getting the air purged from the line I have a flame burning in the WH with this switch turned on.

I guess this is just old enough to not include the internal reset along with the external (high temp) resets.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:33 PM   #19
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Thats good news and a cheap fix.
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Old 11-09-2015, 03:57 PM   #20
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Thank you all that tried to help with this issue. I was confused by the pictures posted as the switches for the DSI all had reset buttons along with the switch. Mine is strictly the switch and light showing whether on or not and thus was making me assume it was not the correct switch but after finally getting the air purged from the line I have a flame burning in the WH with this switch turned on.

I guess this is just old enough to not include the internal reset along with the external (high temp) resets.
Actually John, that red reset is a light/lens cap not a button. I guess if you haven't ever seen one, then it definitely could appear to be a button since it's about the same size as the switch beside it. However, it's just a rectangle red lens basically, that has a bulb behind it, that the lens makes it red. Like a red brake signal lens on a vehicle. I don't guess I have thought of that way before, but can see how it could be confusing since it does actually say reset instead of fault.

The panel switches use a small version of the red bulb and it can say fault or flt instead of reset.....but they both serve the same purpose to alert you to a problem.

Here's you a schematic, in case you ever need it.

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