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Old 06-06-2020, 02:24 PM   #1
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Heater kicks off after a minute 2016 roo 21ss

I bought a rockwood roo 3 weeks ago. Iím a single mom new to camping by myself. But want to build good memories with my kiddos. I took it out two weeks ago. Connected to power at the camp site. Heater worked great. Today we are camping at 10k feet. No power, brand new 2 6 volt batteries. Power is working. Refilled my propane tanks on the way up. When I turn the heater on it kicks on for a minute. Blows cool air. Then turns off. Stove works fine so we turned it on a couple of times last night to warm up for a couple minutes, but the heater isnít working at all. All my fuses seem to be good. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-06-2020, 03:32 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. How many days/nights have you been camping without hookups? The symptom that you describe happens when the voltage in your batteries drops below a certain point and there is not enough juice left to hold the sail switch open on the furnace. You'll still have power to the lights, etc., but not enough to drive the fan (which draws a lot of power) on the furnace.

I haven't had any problems with a furnace/water heater/fridge at altitude (even higher than 10kft) but occasionally someone reports issues with that.

If you plan to camp fairly often without electrical hookups it may be worth considering the small investment into a 200W solar set up to keep the batteries charged up or a small inverter generator.

Good luck
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Old 06-06-2020, 03:58 PM   #3
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Not knowing the make and model of the furnace we can only make a general guess to your problem. Did you slowly turn on the valves on your LP tanks? Did you bleed the propane system by lighting a stove burner for a minute or two? You don't mention whether the furnace goes into lockout, which it should do once the control board doesn't sense the flame.

Are you sure your batteries are fully charged? If you have a multimeter and know how to use it the 6volt batteries should be 6.37 volts each when fully charged. Make sure the 6 volt batteries are connected in series, your furnace, lights and water pump need 12 volts to operate.

When you run your furnace, don't have backpacks, bags or suitcases blocking the return air vent. Don't try to get the temperature up to 70 degrees or above. 50 to 60 degrees should be fine, use jackets or sweaters when sitting inside and more blankets on the beds. If you have canvas bunks I suggest you invest in popup gizmos, they will help with both heat and cold.

This is about all I can think of for now. I'm sure others will have more questions and suggestions.
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:27 PM   #4
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Heater kicks off after a minute 2016 roo 21ss

My 19 Roo had a inline fuse that has blown on multiple occasions that u really had to be looking for to find. I found it after i had removed the furnace. I believe my furnace was a suburban. Try to feel the wires/hose that feed the unit and see if you can feel a fuse holder.
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Old 06-06-2020, 11:44 PM   #5
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Even two fully charged 6 volt batteries may only last one evening without being recharged the very next day.

The fact that the furnace worked while hooked to shore power says the furnace works, but the furnace needs a good source of 12 volt power to work overnight just one night. When hooked to shore power the 120 volt AC is converted to 12 volts DC by the camper converter to power the furnace AND the thermostat. Without that 120 volt AC power your batteries cannot supply enough current at 12 volts to keep that hi-power consuming ( the running fan needs lots of power) furnace going. Lights, radio, etc do not draw that much power so batteries are OK for those.

Some people turn to solar panels to recharge batteries during sunny days, but if you are on the road then that is NOT a good strategy to follow now.

If the heater kicks on even for a minute then it should not be fuse related. If you plan on continuing without any source of power, then you will need to purchase an inverter/generator ( $500 to $1000 at Homedepot, Harbor Freight, Costco) and plan to run it for 8 hours each day ( about 1+ gallons of gas per (8 hour run time) to recharge the batteries for use over that night. And as was mentioned, keep the temp lower to 55-60 to take the chill off and not run the battery down to where the furnace won't work again. Limit other power consuming lights/radio/etc overnight.

Have you checked the water level under the caps on the batteries? They should be full to the bottom of the split ring... they need distilled water added if not that full.
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Old 06-07-2020, 07:56 AM   #6
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I assume we're discussing a furnace, not a heater?

With the blower and gas firing I suspect the battery is depleted, not a fuse problem.

The furnace in my Roo 23SS pulls 3.36 amps (measured) -- when burning -- so a pair of 6v batteries should have no problem running it for several hours. The issue is the "other stuff" running especially incandescent ceiling lights which pull 2.6 amps each (LEDs pull less than 10% of that).

My pair of 6v batteries in series provides a bit over 200 useful amphours after which the voltage is too low to power some things like, perhaps, the furnace which has a relay or valve that won't open or stay open if the voltage is too low. You can guesstimate your amphour consumption for the past couple of days off grid. It adds up quickly. (I'll send my spreadsheet if you email me -- applies to anyone.)

Battery junkies (and off grid campers) will find an amp hour meter vital. These measure the current out of and into the battery and display the power available. A simple voltmeter only works if the battery has been at rest for a few hours.

Final piece is a solar panel. I have a portable panel I quick-connect to the battery. Primary use is to keep the battery charged when stored where no shorepower is available. Portable allows me to orientate it toward the sun.

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Old 06-07-2020, 01:05 PM   #7
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Sail switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
My pair of 6v batteries in series provides a bit over 200 useful amphours after which the voltage is too low to power some things like, perhaps, the furnace which has a relay or valve that won't open or stay open if the voltage is too low. You can guesstimate your amphour consumption for the past couple of days off grid. It adds up quickly. (I'll send my spreadsheet if you email me -- applies to anyone.)

-- Chuck
Chuck, the issue (as mentioned above) is the sail switch--a safety measure.

The furnace has a double-ended blower motor, with a squirrel-cage impeller on each end. One circulates air through the trailer. The other brings fresh air into the firebox for combustion and exhausts the combustion product, both through the pair of ports on the side of the trailer.

The motor is your typical DC brush-type motor. Its RPM is directly related to the voltage. When the furnace is started, a moving fin (sail) in front of one of the blowers operates a microswitch. If the battery is low enough that the fin does not operate the switch, the gas valve never opens and the igniter never sparks. This is a safety measure to prevent ignition/combustion when there is insufficient air flow; the combustion would be poor and the firebox could overheat from low airflow in the heat exchanger.

This is really just a long justification for "If the battery is low, the furnace won't light."
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Old 06-07-2020, 01:16 PM   #8
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You say the heater kicks on for a minute and blows cold air. Can you be a bit more specific? Does it light off at all before going out? Can you hear the igniter firing when you turn it on or do you not even get that?
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Old 06-07-2020, 01:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
Chuck, the issue (as mentioned above) is the sail switch--a safety measure.
I am impressed with your ability to definitively diagnose this problem with so little information.
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Old 06-07-2020, 02:06 PM   #10
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Below is a Past thread about a furnace not lighting at high altitudes. This may be your problem also. The air flow switch needs sufficient air flow/air pressure to make the switch close to make the 12 vdc circuit to open the gas valve and start the ignition sequence. At 10,000 ft there is much less atmospheric air pressure for the fan to work with to make the air flow to operate the air flow switch.

https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ude-60240.html

Hope this helps Tim
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Old 06-07-2020, 02:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry-NC View Post
Chuck, the issue (as mentioned above) is the sail switch--a safety measure.

The furnace has a double-ended blower motor, with a squirrel-cage impeller on each end. One circulates air through the trailer. The other brings fresh air into the firebox for combustion and exhausts the combustion product, both through the pair of ports on the side of the trailer.

The motor is your typical DC brush-type motor. Its RPM is directly related to the voltage. When the furnace is started, a moving fin (sail) in front of one of the blowers operates a microswitch. If the battery is low enough that the fin does not operate the switch, the gas valve never opens and the igniter never sparks. This is a safety measure to prevent ignition/combustion when there is insufficient air flow; the combustion would be poor and the firebox could overheat from low airflow in the heat exchanger.

This is really just a long justification for "If the battery is low, the furnace won't light."
Great explanation and I agree 100%.
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Old 06-07-2020, 02:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Gordon View Post
I am impressed with your ability to definitively diagnose this problem with so little information.
This is actually very common and typically happens when someone is just getting use to their trailer.
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Old 06-07-2020, 06:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HangDiver View Post
This is actually very common and typically happens when someone is just getting use to their trailer.
I'm fully aware of what the condition is and how common it is. I'd bet that if you conducted a study you'd find there is no relationship between how long someone has been getting used to their trailer and when the sail switch fails to open. That would presume that the owner's lack of knowledge somehow causes the switch to not open or that the switch knows the owner is new and has decided to mess with them. Neither is the case.

In any case, information available in this case leaves lots of other options, particularly when it is coming from someone new to both her particular RV and rv'ing in general and thus may not recognize other signs and symptoms of the problem she is dealing with.
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Old 06-07-2020, 08:38 PM   #14
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https://rvshare.com/blog/rv-heater-t...repairs-parts/
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