Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-20-2015, 10:57 AM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
Hoobiedoobie's Avatar
 
1987 25' Sovereign
Chilhowie , Virginia
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 224
Replacing LP only with Electric/LP.

Time to replace water heater in Virginia, 1987 sovereign. Currently has only LP, 6 gallon im pretty sure. How difficult to change to Atwood, electric/LP. Possibly changing to 10 gallon. Any suggestions or advice welcomed. Thanks
__________________

__________________
Hoobiedoobie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2015, 11:15 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
cameront120's Avatar
 
1972 25' Tradewind
North Vancouver , British Columbia
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,422
Images: 23
Changing to a new 6 gallon Atwood is an easy swap. I did it on my '72 Tradewind when the old Bowen crapped out and it only took me a couple of hours. The 10 gallon is a larger unit that will likely require the removal of some exterior skin. You also need to make sure that it will fit in the old space occupied by the current water heater. You might also need to do some re-working of the plumbing connections for the larger water heater. I imagine it's not difficult but more time consuming than a straight swap with a 6 gal. unit.
__________________

__________________
Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - Mame Dennis
cameront120 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2015, 12:12 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
Minno's Avatar

 
1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,323
I'd verify the size of your current water heater before going much further.

The next consideration is that you'll need a way to turn the electric element on and off. Some water heaters have a switch directly on them for the electric element, while others use a remote controlling switch, typically on the same panel where the switch is for the electronic LP ignition (DSI), if your current water heater has that option. So, you may be running two separate wires. One will be the 12/2 romex cable from the circuit breaker panel to the water heater to power the electric element. This needs to be on it's own 20 amp breaker, and it needs to be 12 gauge, not 14 gauge.

The second wire (or wire pair) will be a 12 volt wire from the water heater to where you want the controlling switch. Depending on the wiring already in place, you may need to run a return (ground) wire as well to the switch. Read the instructions that come with the water heater to determine the wire gauge needed, but 14 gauge is probably safe as it's a control line, not the power supply line for the element. But again, verify that in the installation instructions.

You may find that your trailer is already wired for a combination electric/LP water heater, which would make it a much easier installation.

Also, if the current water heater has a standing pilot light (not DSI), and you want to upgrade to a DSI unit, then you'll need a control switch and wiring installed for that as well. Keeping the new control switches fairly close to the water heater will make wiring easier.

Chris
__________________
Minno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2017, 08:46 AM   #4
Newbie
 
1975 31' Sovereign
Dublin , Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 28
Wiring Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
I'd verify the size of your current water heater before going much further.

The next consideration is that you'll need a way to turn the electric element on and off. Some water heaters have a switch directly on them for the electric element, while others use a remote controlling switch, typically on the same panel where the switch is for the electronic LP ignition (DSI), if your current water heater has that option. So, you may be running two separate wires. One will be the 12/2 romex cable from the circuit breaker panel to the water heater to power the electric element. This needs to be on it's own 20 amp breaker, and it needs to be 12 gauge, not 14 gauge.

The second wire (or wire pair) will be a 12 volt wire from the water heater to where you want the controlling switch. Depending on the wiring already in place, you may need to run a return (ground) wire as well to the switch. Read the instructions that come with the water heater to determine the wire gauge needed, but 14 gauge is probably safe as it's a control line, not the power supply line for the element. But again, verify that in the installation instructions.

You may find that your trailer is already wired for a combination electric/LP water heater, which would make it a much easier installation.

Also, if the current water heater has a standing pilot light (not DSI), and you want to upgrade to a DSI unit, then you'll need a control switch and wiring installed for that as well. Keeping the new control switches fairly close to the water heater will make wiring easier.

Chris
Hi Chris!

You seem to be incredibly knowledgable about wiring these water heaters, can I ask you a few questions? I'm installing a DSI gas/electric Atwood in place of my gas only and am perplexed with the wiring. I have 7 wires, 4 coming from the front and 3 in the back. The ones in the front are orange and white (which it seems go to my switch panel) and green and blue. According to the wiring diagram I have attached, the green needs to be wired to the negative terminal on the battery? Does it have to go through the breaker box somehow? And how does the switch panel connect to the positive battery terminal as indicated in the diagram? The blue connects the remote lockout lamp? Not sure what that means?

As far as the wires coming out of the black box on the back of the tank are concerned, black goes to 110, which I assume I can splice into my toilet fan's power cable and white goes to neutral, can that also be patched through the fan? And per the diagram it just says green goes to green and I don't know what that means. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated because I'm in over my head!!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 9.41.21 AM.png
Views:	30
Size:	70.5 KB
ID:	282050  
__________________
airsovereign is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2017, 06:46 PM   #5
Rivet Master

 
Southwestern , Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,669
Quote:
Originally Posted by airsovereign View Post
As far as the wires coming out of the black box on the back of the tank are concerned, black goes to 110, which I assume I can splice into my toilet fan's power cable and white goes to neutral, can that also be patched through the fan? And per the diagram it just says green goes to green and I don't know what that means. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated because I'm in over my head!!
We just did this conversion last fall when the Atwood water heater in our 1980 Caravelle sprung a pinhole leak. (I don't know how old it was--may or may not have been the original.)

Our water heater is under the amidships dinette seat and the control panel for the LP gas water heater is in the rear bath. The new gas-electric water heater has a bigger panel with two switches, and like you said, to wire it according to the directions, you would have to pull an additional wire from the control panel to the water heater, which could be a major nuisance.

But in an Airstream, you don't have to run an additional wire. The water heater wiring includes the green ground wire (negative terminal of battery) because many trailers have wooden coachwork and chassis ground is not readily accessible. In an Airstream, you can connect the ground wires to the shell anywhere in the trailer.

So, to install the new control panel I connected the ground terminals at the control panel and water heater to the aluminum shell. That freed up the existing green wire to use for the electric heat on/off wire between the control panel and the water heater. Works fine. (By the way, I wrapped white electrical tape on each end of the wire to indicate that it had been re-purposed.)

The second point is regarding the 120 Volt AC supply to the water heater. I doubt your bathroom fan supply is 120 Volt AC. Ours runs off of 12 Volts DC, which I think is the usual arrangement. So you will have to figure out the easiest place from which to run 120 Volts AC. In our trailer I connected to a wall outlet a few feet from the dinette so I didn't have to fish the wire very far. It is not really necessary to have a dedicated circuit for the water heater element--as I recall it's only 400 Watts. But DO provide a way to positively turn off 120 VAC to the water heater to ensure that the element is never energized when there's no water in the heater. I used a plug and socket, and unplug it when winterizing the trailer. A plain old 120 Volt wall switch would also work OK.

I don't mean to be unkind, but it does sound like you are "in over your head" on this project. Your best bet would be to line up a friend who is familiar with electrical wiring to help you with it.
__________________
Nuvite-F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2017, 01:41 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
Minno's Avatar

 
1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by airsovereign View Post
Hi Chris!

You seem to be incredibly knowledgable about wiring these water heaters, can I ask you a few questions? I'm installing a DSI gas/electric Atwood in place of my gas only and am perplexed with the wiring. I have 7 wires, 4 coming from the front and 3 in the back. The ones in the front are orange and white (which it seems go to my switch panel) and green and blue. According to the wiring diagram I have attached, the green needs to be wired to the negative terminal on the battery? Does it have to go through the breaker box somehow? And how does the switch panel connect to the positive battery terminal as indicated in the diagram? The blue connects the remote lockout lamp? Not sure what that means?

As far as the wires coming out of the black box on the back of the tank are concerned, black goes to 110, which I assume I can splice into my toilet fan's power cable and white goes to neutral, can that also be patched through the fan? And per the diagram it just says green goes to green and I don't know what that means. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated because I'm in over my head!!
Thanks for the compliment! But, I'm not sure how much I can help you without being there as there are so many variables in dealing with old wiring.

Do you have a new control panel for the water heater? If not, I think you should get one that has the proper controls for a gas and electric water heater.

The control panel should have 2 switches and one light. One switch controls gas operation and the other switch controls electric operation. A single switch that toggles both directions with a center off position would work as well.

The blue lock-out lamp wire lights the lamp on the control panel when the water heater fails to light the gas burner. The switches will select either gas or electric operation. As mentioned already, green ground wires can all be connected to the Airstream shell or frame.

The bath fan is 12 VDC. You need to provide a 120 VAC connection for the electric element to work.

The problem is you need to determine exactly what the various wires are that you have are connected to. For example, making an assumption that the blue wire you have actually connects to the control panel lamp without verifying that would be a mistake.

Do you have a Volt Meter, and do you know how to use it? That would go a long way in determining exactly what wire is connected to what.

Sorry, probably not a whole lot of help.

Chris
__________________

__________________
Minno is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Are "Airstream Only" Parks Really "Silver Only"? JimGolden On The Road... 28 08-22-2015 11:58 AM
1955 Davis fridge-electric only Support Admin Airstream Classifieds 0 09-23-2013 01:34 PM
Need Fridge...can Solar keep up with an Electric Only Fridge??? chowman2011 Refrigerators 13 05-17-2011 09:59 PM
electric only refridge pearl66 Refrigerators 24 05-30-2010 08:29 AM
Battery Charged but Electric Items Only Working When Plugged in..help?!?!. ericwarren Our Community 12 05-07-2009 09:24 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:13 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.