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Old 08-09-2020, 09:24 AM   #1
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Hot water heater controls

August 20th I'm taking our 2020 Hathaway 38DBRK in for warranty work. A question I would like to pose to any owner of said model is about the hot water heater controls. Our unit has the In Command system. The display panel shows the hot water heater controls on it and the main panel with relays, has relays in it to control both gas and electric feature of hot water heater. Problem is it doesn't. In other forums I read about someone that went to a FROG rally and he somehow got his corrected by rep. from FR and the In Command people that were there. I'm asking if anyone has this model or similar, if their panel controls the hot water heater. If your's does I'm going to push the issue while it's at the dealership. Thanks in advance
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jimla View Post
August 20th I'm taking our 2020 Hathaway 38DBRK in for warranty work. A question I would like to pose to any owner of said model is about the hot water heater controls. Our unit has the In Command system. The display panel shows the hot water heater controls on it and the main panel with relays, has relays in it to control both gas and electric feature of hot water heater. Problem is it doesn't. In other forums I read about someone that went to a FROG rally and he somehow got his corrected by rep. from FR and the In Command people that were there. I'm asking if anyone has this model or similar, if their panel controls the hot water heater. If your's does I'm going to push the issue while it's at the dealership. Thanks in advance

From what I remember of this, was if you had the Suburban brand water heater, and they installed the SWDE model, then your in-command center was only controlling the propane side of the water heater.....and although you may see an option for the electric heating element on the screen, it was not connected.


Can you open the outside panel/door to your water heater from outside the RV. If it's a Suburban brand water heater, there should be a tag on the upper right hand side that states the model number. If it is a Suburban, it should either be an SWDE or SWDEL model.


Just to make sure, you don't perhaps have a tankless water heater in this RV, do you? The reason I ask, is that the Cedar Creek brochure shows the tankless water heater as an option, which will not have an electric heating element.


https://www.forestriverinc.com/broch...FWbrochure.pdf
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Old 08-23-2020, 01:33 PM   #3
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We have the same model 5th wheel. The Hit water controls are also in the master bath. You have to run the hot water full on for the tankless water heater to activate, as it takes 1.2 gpm. It only works on propane and it only works for 20 min, then assumes you forgot to turn off the hot water and shuts off. You have to turn off the water, wait a few seconds, and turn it back on to restart. Then freeze for a minute until it reactivates and comes back up to temp.
You can also turn it on and off at the In Control panel...but not set temp.
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Old 08-23-2020, 08:09 PM   #4
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My 2020 Hathaway had the same issue and I do have the 12 gallon Suburban. The factory didn't install the Relay or the wiring for the incommand system to turn on and off the 120VAC for the Water Heater. I ordered a 12VDC/120VAC 30Amp relay and ran the trigger wiring to the Incommand and tied it in where it was meant to go in the first place. Works fine, have had it installed now for about 6 months.
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Old 08-24-2020, 08:56 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. Daycruiser I appreciate your efforts of making corrections to your unit. If you don't mind could you elaborate on how easy it is to reach the trigger wires. If you take the access panel off in basement storage area, can you get to the wires? When I looked at the main I-Command panel in the basement, it shows the relay slots for the hot water heater. What I'm wondering is the wire that leaves the rocker switch by the I-Command panel 120 volt or 12 volt going to a relay by hot water heater for the gas phase? I also guess the 120 volt for the electric phase comes off the fuse panel.
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Old 08-29-2020, 07:11 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Daycruiser I appreciate your efforts of making corrections to your unit. If you don't mind could you elaborate on how easy it is to reach the trigger wires. If you take the access panel off in basement storage area, can you get to the wires? When I looked at the main I-Command panel in the basement, it shows the relay slots for the hot water heater. What I'm wondering is the wire that leaves the rocker switch by the I-Command panel 120 volt or 12 volt going to a relay by hot water heater for the gas phase? I also guess the 120 volt for the electric phase comes off the fuse panel.

The rocker switch is 12vdc. That's only to allow the gas valve to be energized when operating on LP and 12Vdc. The InCommand has a positive and negative trigger connection for the 12Vdc Relay that actuates the 120Vac input to the water heater for electric hot water. I did mine different that probably others that have done this mod. I intercepted the 120Vac circuit to the water heater and cut off the power cord that the factory had plugged into an outlet screwed into the flooring of the basement. I cut out the outlet and installed a Metal J-Box where I installed the 12Vdc to 120Vac relay. Landed the positive/negative wires from the InCommand on the 12Vdc trigger of the Relay and landed the 120Vac Hot on the Relay N/O contacts. Neutral was passed through and grounds were tied to the box. InCommand sends 12Vdc to the relay fires the relay to close the N/O contacts and 120Vac is fed to the Water Heater. Works perfect.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:31 PM   #7
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Hi. We have a 2020 Hathaway 36ck2 and our panel only has "gas hot water heater" no "electric" option. The specs say a 12 Gal. gas/electric hot water tank is a mandatory feature. So do we only have gas as the option on our hot water heater? We are going on our first BIG trip so I appreciate the HELP!! Thanks in advance. P.S. their information is pathetic and impossible to find!!
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:58 PM   #8
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Hi. We have a 2020 Hathaway 36ck2 and our panel only has "gas hot water heater" no "electric" option. The specs say a 12 Gal. gas/electric hot water tank is a mandatory feature. So do we only have gas as the option on our hot water heater? We are going on our first BIG trip so I appreciate the HELP!! Thanks in advance. P.S. their information is pathetic and impossible to find!!
If you remove the vent cover on the outside wall of your water heater, you should see an on/off switch on the body of the water heater. They're a bit hidden but plain enough when you see it. In the picture you will see the spare switch I carry with me as these switches are barely robust enough to carry the current and fail regularly. This switch must be "on" for the electric element of your water heater to function. Remember to turn it off when you break camp, or your water will continue to heat after you return home and plug into your home shore power.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:13 PM   #9
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Hi SlowrideHD. You can't see the water heater when you open the vent on the outside of our RV. It is just a pressure release valve, a gas vent, drain plug and other connections. Also why does the monitor panel just say gas water heater and no electric option?
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Old 09-17-2020, 12:53 AM   #10
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Hi SlowrideHD. Also why does the monitor panel just say gas water heater and no electric option?

See post # 2 above.



If you do have a Suburban tank type water heater with an electric option, then the switch for the electric heating element will be on the face of the water heater, which is fully explained (with pics) in this thread link below to help you locate the switch.


https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ore-36197.html



EDIT: Here is a pic of a Suburban tank type water heater, with the switch for the electric heating element in the bottom left hand corner, which is hidden a little. As explained in the link above, sometimes this switch is covered with a foil tape and/or has a cotter pin in it that you must remove.


As per the pic below, do you see that black oval shaped plastic cover to the right of the switch and to the left of the drain plug/anode rod? That cover is over the electric heating element, and is a giveaway that you do indeed have an electric heating element on a Suburban water heater if equipped on your RV.


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Old 09-17-2020, 09:07 AM   #11
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BINGO! This was perfect! Both of you guys were so helpful!! Now I know exactly what's going on!! Thanks a ton!
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