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Old 06-15-2006, 08:02 PM   #1
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Fried hot water heater diode

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this. If not, perhaps someone can redirect me. I've been having some "issues" with my 2006 LE Special Edition. I bought this trailer from Colonial Airstream in Sept. 2005. I had a few minor problems that were fixed on the way home to CO at the factory. I then inquired here about a noisy water pump and was told that I must have a water leak somewhere. I took the trailer to Windish RV here in Colorado where they had the trailer long enough to require me to have them winterize it because they hadn't fixed the problem yet. I had to pay for the winterizing, after they finally said they fixed the problem.

Winter comes and goes, I get my trailer from storage, fill it with water and make sure everything is OK. Well, the pump was leaking. I had to repair that, but I didn't hear the pump cycling that I had heard previously. At least they fixed that. So I thought. We head to the mountains for a long Memorial Day weekend. Get there, and now I'm hearing the pump cycling again. How frustrating. Oh well, I'll have to bring it back, I thought. Next morning, go to take a shower. No hot water. I go out and find the diode on my water heater is burned. I can't imagine what caused it. I cut the trip short and bring the trailer back to Windish RV.

I get a call today and they tell me the water heater is not covered under warranty because they found cobwebs in the air intake (or whatever he called it). He said that propane can build up and then burn, causing the wires to get burned. I told him to just fix it. No word on the continuing pump problem yet.

So, I'm thinking...if the propane builds up because of cobwebs and starts a "fire" that can melt wiring, how would it not burn out the cobwebs? This doesn't sound "kosher" to me. I thought I'd ask here if this is really something that sounds feasible to you. I've had a number of other issues with this trailer and at this point am not a "happy camper". It's been at the dealer a lot longer than it's been out on the road. I expected a LOT more than this from Airstream.

Thanks for letting me rant. If you have any thoughts or ideas, please share them.

Jim Bessette
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Old 06-15-2006, 08:36 PM   #2
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Jim,

I have never seen the diode in a water heater burn from a clogged air intake. If the intake is not allowing the proper amount of air into the burner chamber, it will effect the quality of theh flame and it will be oxygen starved, but it would not explode out of the chamber and fry the diode!

I would start by finding another dealer that will give you the straight answers that you are looking for and do your repairs in a timely fashion! I do my repairs on-site and often with the owners looking over my shoulder. I ALWAYS, show the client what the problem is and why it happened! The next call I would make is to Atwood (I assume that is the manufacturer of the heater), get customer service on the line and explain this to them and ask who else in your area is a warranty center for them. Their # is 1.815.877.5700.

Let us know how you make out!
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Old 06-15-2006, 10:18 PM   #3
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I've seen mine flare up in the water heater cabinet due to cobwebs in the burner tube. The cobwebs block the gas from entering the combustion chamber and instead the gas escapes through the metering adjusment slots. It is usually just a poof because the auto ignition feature shuts down the gas because the thermocouple is cold. Since the flame never hits the cobweb (which in my case was a nest of baby spiders and eggs) it doesn't burn away. On mine when this happened the flames shot out of the exterior vents.

I carry a spare of the thermal cutoff (diode you mention).
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Old 06-16-2006, 06:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi
I've seen mine flare up in the water heater cabinet due to cobwebs in the burner tube. The cobwebs block the gas from entering the combustion chamber and instead the gas escapes through the metering adjusment slots. It is usually just a poof because the auto ignition feature shuts down the gas because the thermocouple is cold. Since the flame never hits the cobweb (which in my case was a nest of baby spiders and eggs) it doesn't burn away. On mine when this happened the flames shot out of the exterior vents.

I carry a spare of the thermal cutoff (diode you mention).
This is the situation I've seen a few times and it proceeds as you described, but not to the point of a melt-down. The TCO (diode) is a good thing to keep as a spare in any event! I could never understannd why they place it where they do....seems like it is right in the middle of things and dshould be located elsewhere!
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Old 06-16-2006, 03:11 PM   #5
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Where does one get a spare TCO, and how much does it cost?
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Old 06-16-2006, 03:35 PM   #6
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Any well stocked RV parts supplier should have them. They run about $10-15 IFIRC. If you can't find one, PM me with your model # and I'll get one for you.
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:04 PM   #7
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Anybody have that part number for the TCO? I have a 2006 Safari 25FB and want to be prepared.

Thanks
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Old 06-26-2006, 01:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster
Jim,

Let us know how you make out!
Well, I did call Atwood and they did tell me it was possible to have this type of problem. I also didn't know if it was OK or not to travel with the water heater on, and they confirmed it is NOT OK. So, I paid the $50 or so to have the water heater fixed. Guess I'll be blowing out thos pipes every trip I take.

BTW, I bought a spare part from Windish. I called it a diode, maybe that's not the right term, but it costs about $20.

I still have some issues with this trailer. They couldn't find any issue with my water pump that seems to just run "randomly". It was better this trip, but why would it turn on in the middle of the night when the last time the water was used was hours earlier? Also, the water level meter is hosed. I filled it, and the red flashing light was blinking - meaning low water. A call to Windish and they said "You might not believe this, but the water here is so clear that the sensors can't tell the level". I said, "you're right. I can't believe it". I don't quite get that someone figured out a gas guage..what...60 years ago or so? Now we have to use some kind of sensor that can't tell me the level of fresh water in a tank? Then a couple days into our trip, the red light came on. Thought maybe we were really low on water.. When I got home, I filled six 5 gallon containers with fresh water from the tank.

I will say some positive things about Windish and Airstream. The guys that take the calls at Windish have been great. They are always respectful and professional, even when I've been less than enthusiastic about the product. Jim at Airstream also has been helpful, calling Windish for me in an attempt to figure out this water pump problem. They ARE trying.

Jim
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Old 06-26-2006, 02:14 PM   #9
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My water pump runs occasionally, even hours after the water was last used. There is no evidence of leakage, so I assume that the pump allows a little backflow. I just turn off the pump overnight.

My level sensors are working okay, but occasionally show funny readings. From others postings on this site it appears that these are not very reliable, so I assume it's the nature of the beast.

You water heater problem is a good one to know about. I will check the water heater for bugs before each trip!
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TIMEMACHINE
Anybody have that part number for the TCO? I have a 2006 Safari 25FB and want to be prepared.

Thanks
I don't have a part number, but it's an Atwood part, and it's called "thermal cutoff service kit". Hope that helps.
Jim
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmac
My level sensors are working okay, but occasionally show funny readings. From others postings on this site it appears that these are not very reliable, so I assume it's the nature of the beast.
So, I looked this up on the 'net. The sensor is a PRESSURE sensor. Not like it's an "electric eye" or something that might have to do with "too clear water". I think that's totally bogus information I got. I will try to talk to the manufacturer and see what they have to say. My tank is full right now and the red light is blinking on my fresh water tank indicator. What I think is really funny is that the manufacturer tauts this sensor as being SO much better than any other type of sensor ever made. All I hear are how lousy they work.

Jim
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Old 07-17-2006, 12:06 AM   #12
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Water heater Diode

Hi, on my last trip out, on the third day, my water heater quit working.I turned it off to air out. Then tried it again. Did not work. I got out my test light and found power at one end of a brown wire, but not at the other end. I removed the "Thermister" and connected the brown wire direct. Water heater started to work just fine. I bought a two pack of thermisters for $20.00 at an RV store in Idaho. My Airstream manual said to check for obstuctions in the air tube. [spider webbs Etc.] I removed the air tube and found nothing. Possibly burned out before I got to it. My understanding is that when the air tube is restricted, it causes higher resistance to the igniter, causing the thermister to creat an open circuit or burn out.
Maybe Lewster can give us a better explanation of what makes the thermister go out?

Bob
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:36 AM   #13
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It's placed where the flame will come back out of the burner if the burner tube is clogged by a spider web. Trust me, I'm an engineer and have witnessed this myself several times. It's placed there to prevent fires.
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