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Old 07-17-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
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Suburban Water Heater Switch

I wanted to modify my water heater switch like Jim Bennett did here

http://escapeforum.org/index.php?topic=1653.0.

But I am lazy by nature and instead of modifying my switch, I purchased this one:
http://www.littlehousecustoms.com/store#elec
from Little House Casita (Great Service from them, by the way). The two switches are wired the same way -- the LED is connected to the bottom post of the reset light and the bottom post of the switch.

Here's my issue / question:

Before I began this whole process, the reset light would come on when I turned on the water heater, and then it would go out when the water heater burner lit. If it didn't go out, then I knew that either I had the water heater on AC, or the burner failed to light, either because I forgot to turn on the gas, or because of some other issue.

After installing the switch, the led comes on, but the reset light no longer comes on. The water heater is on, and the burner lights after a minute or two, but there is no reset light, even if I have turned the propane off in an effort to force a "fault".

When this first happened, I thought that the problem was with the new switch, so I put the old one (sans LED) back in. But the reset light still didn't work, so I re-installed the new switch with the LED.

I have tried flipping the wired attached to the reset light thinking I had gotten them mixed up, but that didn't make any difference either.

Have any of you modified your water heater switch, and if so, have you seen this problem?

Thanks much.

Leon
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:04 PM   #2
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Re: Suburban Water Heater Switch

Leon, it sounds like the switch is not getting a signal from the water heater indicating no flame, especially since both switches respond the same. I am not sure how this works though. Any chance that a wire came loose from the connector on the indicator light, or maybe even back at the water heater? Anything in the manual?

With that switch it looks exactly like they did exactly what I did. A couple bucks at the most for a 12V LED, and really easy to do yourself though.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:00 AM   #3
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Re: Suburban Water Heater Switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon Webster
After installing the switch, the led comes on, but the reset light no longer comes on.
I have not done the LED mod yet but when we were camping a few weeks ago, I turned the switch on to light the hot water heater and the light did not go on. The heater still lit normally, just no light. The next day when I turned the heater on the light went on for a little while as it normally does. I had not given it much thought until you brought it up but now I will keep an eye on it. We had been travelling on gravel roads and I noticed that there was a lot of gravel dust in the hot water burner area so I wonder if this had something to do with it.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:43 AM   #4
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Re: Suburban Water Heater Switch

Jim & Harold,

You are right, the switch isn't getting the no flame signal from the heater. I checked that the connectors were still solidly attached to the wires, but it could be that one of the wires has come loose somewhere else. Harold's story of having an issue without doing the mod, gives me some hope in that regard. My guess is that it is the blue wire since the led is connected to the black wire which, according to the manual should go to the ground.

I am going to check the circuit back at the water heater, and make sure that the water heater is putting out the reset signal, and the wires are firmly attached there. If all that checks out, then I am going to check the routing of the blue and black wires.

On the 17b, the water heater switch is located under the cooktop, and the wires are routed along the side of the cabinet that holds the cooktop. There isn't a lot of extra wire, and they are pretty firmly attached to the cabinet all along the way, so my hope is that the problem is at one end or the other.

When I saw Jim's original mod, I thought there was some soldering involved, but now that I have seen the switch from Little House Customs, I realize that isn't the case, and if I had to do it over, I would head down to Radio Shack for an LED and a couple of connectors.

Thanks much for the suggestions. Much appreciated.

Leon
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:50 AM   #5
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Re: Suburban Water Heater Switch

just remember that in the auto repair world 90-95 % of all electrical problems are connections and grounds, I can't imagine that this would be any different.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:55 PM   #6
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Re: Suburban Water Heater Switch

Well, my trusty multi-meter and I spent a bit of time in the trailer this evening. I know that the blue wire is fine all the way back to the integrated circuit for the water heater. The black wire is grounded fine. I thought that would be the case, or else the LED in the middle of the switch wouldn't light. The led in the "reset" light is fine. So i am pretty sure that it wasn't anything I did while installing the modified switch.

I am going to go camping on Sunday for a couple of days and we will see what happens.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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Re: Suburban Water Heater Switch

Just to follow up on this, I took The Lark to Mike's LP and RV repair in St. Paul. It was the water heater module board, which was replaced under warranty. So that one is figured out. I feel much better now. :-)
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