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Old 06-02-2016, 08:15 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by BCnomad View Post
Sounds like CYA Brian.
Perhaps.
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
My thoughts too, Bruce. If the Hott Rod is set to shut off at the same temp the gas burner, I see no problem.
Since the add-on element (such as a Hott Rod) is not part of the appliance, it presumably does not use the original equipment high temperature limit switch. If it is controlled only by temperature at the element, which is installed near the bottom of the heater, it could overheat the water.

There may be no problem with the add-on heaters. If you add one, you're becoming the appliance designer; you can decide if you are qualified to do that, and if the add-on heater is okay. I certainly don't blame Atwood for refusing to accept responsibility for someone else's design.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:27 PM   #42
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Water heaters are,required to have,both an operating limit and an over temperature ( High ) limit. One is designed to control the water temp and the other is a safety. If the water in the water heater was allowed to get hot enough it could start to produce steam .
The hot rod has an operating limit only.
The over pressure / temperature valve is the safety of last resort because it allows hot water / steam to be released to the atmosphere, that is why the discharge from the valve is piped to floor level.
The high limit switches for water heaters and boilers are required to have a manual reset. High limits for boiler have to have a n/c contact hard wired in series before the boiler control circuit or computer control. In other words you can not rely on a control device or computer to turn something on in order to shut something off.
It has nothing to do with CYA it has everything to do with ensuring safety.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:38 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I have never used the electric conversion kit, but you are right, it seems like an easy mod. The elements seem a lot smaller at around 450W than the OEM ones which I think were at least twice that.
The Hott Rod is 400W while Suburban SW6DE OEM element is 1440W. So you have less than a third of the recovery. Since the Suburban is 6 GPH and since wattage and heating are directly proportional this would make the Hott Rod approx. 1.7 GPH recovery. Might keep a hot tank hot, but take quite awhile to completely heat a cold tank on it's own. I think as an add-on this might have limited usefulness when you have a propane mode with 10.2 GPH recovery.
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:17 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Circuit breaker; function, trips if you plug a kettle and heater into the same circuit and overload it.

GFCI; function, to prevent an electric shock if there is a defect that could result in a shock to the user.

Ron
Thanks for that which we knew I guess but when we overloaded, we were told by Escape to reset the GFCI, which we did, and never did anything to our panel breakers that I recall. Once we tripped and reset the exterior GFCI (or what I think is the exterior GFCI) and another time we tripped the inverter and reset what I thought was the GFCI on it under the bench, as said to do by Reace. Neither time did we deal with a breaker on the panel that I know.

At home, we know the GFCI is to prevent an electric shock but there is apparently some difference with the trailer?
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:27 PM   #45
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Hot water

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Originally Posted by FlaGman View Post
Does anyone know how the electric hot water conversion kits compare to the factory propane/electric water heater? I have the propane only unit, and was considering buying and installing a kit just to have that option available. The installation looks easy enough...


As Dave mentioned the OEM heater elements are much better than the conversion kits. I recently installed the 600W Lightning Rod kit for my Suburban SW6D, which is wired to a switch inside. Unlike the Hott Rod model, the heating element replaces the anode. I haven't used it in action yet, but a test run gave me hot water in about 75 mins.
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:31 PM   #46
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I am an idiot at electrical but from what you are saying, I take it that your father would not have been shocked had the element not burned out? That is definitely a very dangerous situation. Glad he is okay.

When you say it is not common to have the GFI tripping, it trips if you overload it turning on too many items, and that is common I believe and the reason, I guess, for the GFCI. And then it has to be reset. I am supposing that you are not saying that it does not have that function. We have tripped it, only once I think, and am surprised that we have not tripped more.
Cathy I'm glad that this forum seems to engage people on what many would see as mundane topics. We are all learning and from what I can tell from my short time here is that there are many very well educated people posting. To clarify, I want to stress that my father was shocked due to a combination of events. The element had to fail with a Hot-Ground condition, meaning when the element sheath failed that 120V was conducted to the frame. My father's extension cord from the trailer cord to the garage outlet also had a damaged ground prong. If the trailer was properly grounded he would not have been shocked as the current would have taken that path. He was originally plugged in to a normal (non-GFI) outlet so he did not have ground fault protection. A normal circuit breaker in the trailer 120V panel or your house only protects from overloading the circuit (too many amps). The trailer and all appliances operated "fine" on the normal outlet. The GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) detects when current is taking an unintended path. This unintended path can vary but for safety is assumed to be a person (i.e. potential electrocution) and it trips instantly. As soon as the trailer was plugged in to a GFI outlet with a new power cord, and the water heater element rewired, the GFI tripped. This proved that the water heater was causing the fault and reminds us all of the safety and usefulness of a properly grounded trailer and GFI outlets. My earlier comment regarding the optional hard wired surge protector that can be ordered in the trailers was meant to illustrate that these would not have helped in this case as they do not provide ground fault protection, only protection for incoming power issues from the source (i.e. over/under voltage, open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity) from home outlet, campground pedestal or generator.
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:38 PM   #47
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Thanks for that which we knew I guess but when we overloaded, we were told by Escape to reset the GFCI, which we did, and never did anything to our panel breakers that I recall. Once we tripped and reset the exterior GFCI (or what I think is the exterior GFCI) and another time we tripped the inverter and reset what I thought was the GFCI on it under the bench, as said to do by Reace. Neither time did we deal with a breaker on the panel that I know.

At home, we know the GFCI is to prevent an electric shock but there is apparently some difference with the trailer?
The GFCI in your trailer is the exact same GFCI that is in your home
GFCI ' s are not intended to be nor do they perform as an overcurrent device . There are different levels of GFCI protection based on there allowed milliamp leakage . There are GFCI for hospital , residential and certain defined uses which have different milliamp trip levels ,
Circuit breakers / fuses are overcurrent devices and are designed to safely interupt the load under overcurrent or fault conditions.
Fuses and breakers have different interupting ratings and trip curves . GFCI 's and circuit breakers are not the same thing nor do they perform the same function. Many times when starting a motor operated appliance , a GFCI will trip , not because of an overload but because it senses a leakage current above its rating.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:09 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by float5 View Post
Thanks for that which we knew I guess but when we overloaded, we were told by Escape to reset the GFCI, which we did, and never did anything to our panel breakers that I recall. Once we tripped and reset the exterior GFCI (or what I think is the exterior GFCI) and another time we tripped the inverter and reset what I thought was the GFCI on it under the bench, as said to do by Reace. Neither time did we deal with a breaker on the panel that I know.

At home, we know the GFCI is to prevent an electric shock but there is apparently some difference with the trailer?
Just to clarify you are referring to the exterior GFI convenience outlet on the trailer and GFI outlets on an inverter. I don't know the cause of your issues, but I do know that if you tripped these outlets it was a ground fault not an overload. We don't have an inverter, but in any case, none of these GFI outlets matters in relation to my discussion of getting shocked from the frame due to the water heater element failure. The only GFI outlet that matters is one that the trailer main power cord might be plugged into at the power source.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:27 PM   #49
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The GFCI in your trailer is the exact same GFCI that is in your home
GFCI ' s are not intended to be nor do they perform as an overcurrent device . There are different levels of GFCI protection based on there allowed milliamp leakage . There are GFCI for hospital , residential and certain defined uses which have different milliamp trip levels ,
Circuit breakers / fuses are overcurrent devices and are designed to safely interupt the load under overcurrent or fault conditions.
Fuses and breakers have different interupting ratings and trip curves . GFCI 's and circuit breakers are not the same thing nor do they perform the same function. Many times when starting a motor operated appliance , a GFCI will trip , not because of an overload but because it senses a leakage current above its rating.

I saw an explanation on this that the circuit breakers are basically to protect equipment and the GFCIs are basically to protect people and therefore, the GFCIs will trip far more quickly.

In other words, GFCIs are far more sensitive to be able to trip at much lower levels and will trip easily.

They also said that there can be ghost GFCIs tripping that is due to their ability to trip at such low levels.

They mention that 90% of the reasons for tripping are worn connections and the like, which was apparently the case above.

I thought that I had run the microwave too long with the inverter but guess not from your explanation. And, in the other case, do not remember what was going on except that we had no electric at an outlet until we finally were able to reset the outside GFCI. At least, that is what we thought.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:30 PM   #50
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Just to clarify you are referring to the exterior GFI convenience outlet on the trailer and GFI outlets on an inverter. I don't know the cause of your issues, but I do know that if you tripped these outlets it was a ground fault not an overload. We don't have an inverter, but in any case, none of these GFI outlets matters in relation to my discussion of getting shocked from the frame due to the water heater element failure. The only GFI outlet that matters is one that the trailer main power cord might be plugged into at the power source.
I have not seen where the GFCI is located that is for the main power cord. Have others seen this?

Thank you for bringing this up. Some of us have learned something.
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