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Old 12-09-2020, 03:23 PM   #1
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THOR #12313
Electric Water Heater

I own a Thor Windsport 29M. A few months ago while dry camping, our gas water heater did not work. I was able to fix that problem. However we are at a full hook up site currently and the electric water heater is not working. Thank you for any suggestions.

Kona Tom

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Old 12-09-2020, 03:45 PM   #2
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If the electric element was ever turned on with no water in the heater tank then the element is burned open. Check it with a multimeter.

Check for 120 VAC at the element terminals first. If good, open the breaker to the water heater, remove one of the wires from the heating element and check the resistance of the element.

If no 120 VAC at the element check to make sure the water heater breaker is not tripped.

Some water heaters have a reset button on the heater as well.

Find your model number for the heater and download a manual for it.
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Old 12-09-2020, 03:54 PM   #3
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A little more info.

Some rvs have a wall switch inside the RV, a lot more have a switch in the bottom left corner of the heater.
Check the breaker and switches.

If the wh was empty while the electricity was on the heating element is burned out.
120v wh heating elements are available at most hardware stores, lowes, homedepot etc.

Let us know and tell us what brand wh you have.
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Old 12-09-2020, 09:14 PM   #4
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Itís an Atwood. As far as I know the water tank was never empty. I see no switch at bottom left or any other location. Gas water heater working great, but not the electric.
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Old 12-09-2020, 09:16 PM   #5
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Picture of the unit.
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Old 12-09-2020, 10:08 PM   #6
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If you have an electric heating element it is on the back side of the heater. The 110 volt feed goes directly to it and the control relay. As suggested earlier download the manual for your specific heater.
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Old 12-09-2020, 10:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kona Tom View Post
Attachment 27563

Itís an Atwood. As far as I know the water tank was never empty. I see no switch at bottom left or any other location. Gas water heater working great, but not the electric.
A switch on the heater itself only applies to Suburban water heaters.
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Old 12-09-2020, 10:44 PM   #8
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Attwood ok, you should be able to access the back of the heater from inside your mh.
There are "some" threads showing loose, burned 120 connections on attwods.

Found some.
https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f4...cing-9414.html
https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f1...ues-22175.html
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Old 12-11-2020, 01:23 AM   #9
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I have downloaded the Atwood manual and reviewed the sections on the electric elements. Itís almost impossible to check wiring and the black box from the inside. I may end up removing the heater. The prior threads on this matter were helpful.

When my gas heater wasnít working I replaced the circuit board and the circuit cut off link. That fixed the gas water heater. Works great. I replaced the ECO and TStat Kit today thinking that might fix the electrical. Still no electric water heater. Tomorrow Iíll pull that heater out and check the wiring and heating element.

Thanks again for your help.

Kona Tom
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Old 12-11-2020, 09:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kona Tom View Post
Attachment 27563

Itís an Atwood. As far as I know the water tank was never empty. I see no switch at bottom left or any other location. Gas water heater working great, but not the electric.
Atwood does not have a switch bottom left.
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Old 12-11-2020, 09:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kona Tom View Post
Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I have downloaded the Atwood manual and reviewed the sections on the electric elements. Itís almost impossible to check wiring and the black box from the inside. I may end up removing the heater. The prior threads on this matter were helpful.

When my gas heater wasnít working I replaced the circuit board and the circuit cut off link. That fixed the gas water heater. Works great. I replaced the ECO and TStat Kit today thinking that might fix the electrical. Still no electric water heater. Tomorrow Iíll pull that heater out and check the wiring and heating element.

Thanks again for your help.

Kona Tom
call a mobile RV Tech.
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Old 12-12-2020, 01:48 AM   #12
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call a mobile RV Tech.


I think you might be right. I replaced the element and itís still not working. When I opened the black box to remove the element I found two fried wires. After the repair I thought that would fix it, but no luck.

Now , I have a new circuit board, thermostat regulator, ECO, TStat and now a new element. Still no electric heat. The fuses and breaker are functioning. I have power flowing from white main wire entering the black element box. Whatís interesting is the only way to cut the power to that main white wire is to turn off the breaker. The wall 110 switch does not turn off that power. Is that right?

Iím thinking the Mobil RV Repairman but are there any other steps I may have missed.

Mahalo, Tom

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Old 12-12-2020, 02:07 AM   #13
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Usually the water heater will have a 15 amp circuit breaker than controls the 120 volt power to the water heater's relay on the rear. The wall switch is a 12 volt switch and controls only the relay via the circuit board. With the 12 volt wall switch on and the 120 volt circuit breaker off, you should be able to test the control voltage to the relay.
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Old 12-12-2020, 02:33 AM   #14
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Usually the water heater will have a 15 amp circuit breaker than controls the 120 volt power to the water heater's relay on the rear. The wall switch is a 12 volt switch and controls only the relay via the circuit board. With the 12 volt wall switch on and the 120 volt circuit breaker off, you should be able to test the control voltage to the relay.


Yes the water heater has a 15 amp breaker. Iíve tested the breaker and itís fine. How do I test the control voltage? Pull the 12 Volt wall switch panel off? Would that keep it from working?
I tested the power going into the element box and it has power. Something at one point burned those two wires and that might be why I still donít have electric heat. Iíve repaired those wires. The gas water heater works great, but not the electric. Iíve replace almost everything, but electric water heater still not working.
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:57 AM   #15
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Have you replaced or tested the relay that is right near the heating element, that is what turns it on and off? According to the wiring Diagram I have for our water heater the white (neutral) wire goes directly to one side of the heating element, the hot wire (black) goes to the relay and a short jumper goes from the relay to the other terminal on the element.There is a yellow wire that comes from the control board that activates the relay when the 12volt switch on the control panel is activated. I would check to see if the relay is receiving power on the yellow wire when you have the 12volt switch on. If the relay is good you should have 120volts at the element. Good luck.



In our mh the breaker is the only way to turn off the 120 power.
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:59 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kona Tom View Post
Yes the water heater has a 15 amp breaker. Iíve tested the breaker and itís fine. How do I test the control voltage? Pull the 12 Volt wall switch panel off? Would that keep it from working?
I tested the power going into the element box and it has power. Something at one point burned those two wires and that might be why I still donít have electric heat. Iíve repaired those wires. The gas water heater works great, but not the electric. Iíve replace almost everything, but electric water heater still not working.
What I suggested is you test to see if the 12 volt power switch is actually supplying current to the relay and the relay is actually moving.
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Old 12-12-2020, 11:03 AM   #17
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You did purchase a 120v element?
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Old 12-12-2020, 11:15 AM   #18
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Bless you brother. Your attitude is commendable. It hurts my heart to pay somebody to fix something that , in my mind, I know I can fix. Keep after it dude.
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Old 12-12-2020, 02:49 PM   #19
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You did purchase a 120v element?


Yes 120v
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:13 PM   #20
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Bless you brother. Your attitude is commendable. It hurts my heart to pay somebody to fix something that , in my mind, I know I can fix. Keep after it dude.


Exactly! However, my wife is looking at me oddly. I keep saying, ďHoney, I just need this little partĒ.
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