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Old 10-05-2019, 06:06 AM   #1
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Water heater

I turned the water heater off with the switch out on the tank and now it won't work on electric. It will work on gas. Any one have any idea on what to do. I have tried the switch several times.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:32 AM   #2
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Bad switch. Kill power, pull switch out, pull 1 lead off it and check with ohmmeter, replace if indicated
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:48 AM   #3
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What am I checking for continuity through the switch?
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:12 AM   #4
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This might sound dumb but if you turned it OFF with the switch, it isn't going to work on electric.

Did you turn it back on?

Before we get too far along, do you own a multimeter and know how to use it?
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:21 AM   #5
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Some models of TT's have "TWO" switches to control Water Heater. One is outside at the WH, usually lower left corner inside access panel and then they'll have a Primary switch on a wall inside TT. "BOTH" switches need to be on for electric side of WH to work.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:46 AM   #6
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I do have a simple voltmeter that has continuity test. My heater has switch on the tank lower left hand corner and a switch in the breaker box. I have both of them on but it is not running on electric. As far as the voltmeter what do I need to check am I checking for continuity or to see if there is power at the switch.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWolfPaq82 View Post
Some models of TT's have "TWO" switches to control Water Heater. One is outside at the WH, usually lower left corner inside access panel and then they'll have a Primary switch on a wall inside TT. "BOTH" switches need to be on for electric side of WH to work.
This is correct, and is exactly how mine works (by design). If the outside switch is off, electric WH won't work.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:57 AM   #8
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If your WH has an "L" at the end of the model # (e.g. SW6DEL), you will have an inside switch and your wiring looks like this:

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If you don't have the L, you only have the outside switch and your wiring looks like this:

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Don't forget to make sure the WH breaker is closed (not tripped) in your converter power panel.

Assuming you know how to use a multi-meter, if you do a continuity check, make sure at least one lead is removed from the component you're checking. The switch should be 0 ohms when closed and infinite when open. The T-stat should be 0 ohms. The heating element should be about 10 ohms.

For more info, see post #3 here:

hot water heater
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:10 AM   #9
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Looking at the diagrams that you sent me that's a little bit over my head I am not an electrician. Those diagrams are Greek To Me
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by redcloud1 View Post
Looking at the diagrams that you sent me that's a little bit over my head I am not an electrician. Those diagrams are Greek To Me
OK. Then you need to find someone familiar with electrical stuff to help you out or take it back to the dealer.

You should at least be able to check the breaker. Looks just like one in your house.
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:39 PM   #11
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Is it possible that the water heater was turned on while it was empty? If you do this the element in the tank will burn out almost instantly. It's a fairly common and easy to do mistake, fortunately it's also pretty cheap and easy to fix.
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
This might sound dumb but if you turned it OFF with the switch, it isn't going to work on electric.
That was my exact thought.

Wonder if that was a typo?
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:20 AM   #13
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Assuming you have power going to the hot water heater, there are 3 things that can stop the water from heating: bad thermostat, bad element, bad switch. None of the items are expensive, you just need to figure out which is bad. If you pop the switch out, most times you can see a burn mark on the plastic which will indicate the switch is bad. If you remove the cover from the element and measure the voltage across the element, it should be about 12V. If you get nothing then either the switch is bad or you are not getting power to the heater. There may be a plug that can come loose which has happened to some.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:22 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by KKonyha View Post
Assuming you have power going to the hot water heater, there are 3 things that can stop the water from heating: bad thermostat, bad element, bad switch. None of the items are expensive, you just need to figure out which is bad. If you pop the switch out, most times you can see a burn mark on the plastic which will indicate the switch is bad. If you remove the cover from the element and measure the voltage across the element, it should be about 12V. If you get nothing then either the switch is bad or you are not getting power to the heater. There may be a plug that can come loose which has happened to some.
I hope you meant to say 120VAC. The heater is powered by 120VAC, not 12VDC.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:23 AM   #15
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I just went through all of this last month and found out the little on/off switch was the culprit. My Suburban was 10 yrs old. I went ahead and replaced both the thermostat and the element anyway. I think all 3 items came to about $45 on Amazon. Also gave me a chance to flush the heater out while I was in there.
It is easier to remove the gas portion of the heater to get to the electric. There are several videos on You Tube which will not only show you how to get to everything but also how to trouble shoot your system.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:25 AM   #16
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I hope you meant to say 120VAC. The heater is powered by 120VAC, not 12VDC.
You are correct, missed a zero. Good catch.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:28 AM   #17
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If you remove the cover from the element and measure the voltage across the element, it should be about 12V.
The water heater element is 120VAC. And if you do any of these measurements live/hot be very careful as 120VAC can be deadly if you aren't careful and know what you are doing.

Continuity checks with all (shore, generator, inverter) 120VAC removed from the camper is safe but may not be 100% accurate.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:00 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by redcloud1 View Post
I do have a simple voltmeter that has continuity test. My heater has switch on the tank lower left hand corner and a switch in the breaker box. I have both of them on but it is not running on electric. As far as the voltmeter what do I need to check am I checking for continuity or to see if there is power at the switch.
The "Switch" in the Breaker Box is a "Breaker." Many Trailers also have a "Switch" on a Wall that controls the electric side of WH and also a switch to turn on the "Gas" side will usually be next to it.
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