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Old 03-07-2014, 03:06 PM   #1
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Water Heater Problem

The water heater in our 2012 Flying Cloud 23FB is the dual gas/electric model that is OEM to the trailer.

We have had new Lucy since last November and have about 40 nights out in her at this point. We have been using the electric water heater almost exclusively, and have only used the gas function a couple of times to try it out.

Last night we noticed a strong smell "burning wires" in the trailer. We started checking around and found that the smell was coming from the water heater cabinet under the short wardrobe next to the bed. We immediately turned off the electric water heater which had been on. I did a complete inspection of the water heater and wiring in the area. Nothing that I could see was burned.

The burning smell subsided and this morning we used the gas water heater without incident. This afternoon I decided to try the electric water heater again. Within about five minutes of turning it on, I started to smell that same burning smell again coming from the water heater area. I turned off the electric water heater and closely inspected everything that I could see. Once again, I found nothing that appeared to be the culprit.

Does anyone have an idea as to what is going on, and how to correct it?

Brian
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:12 PM   #2
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Did you open up the junction box where the 110 VAC wiring attaches to the water heater? That would be the next logical place to inspect.

Chris
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:20 PM   #3
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Not yet, but I will.

Thanks, Brian
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:32 PM   #4
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I think the electric portion of these water heaters gets too hot, I wonder if they ever cycle off. We use ours much of the time but only long enough to heat the water until hot and during showers, then we shut it off. The gas portion cycles on and off as it should.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:12 PM   #5
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I think the electric portion of these water heaters gets too hot, I wonder if they ever cycle off.
They should. When my 6-gallon Atwood was brand new, it would overheat in either gas or electric mode. Come to find out the wiring for the thermostat had been crimped during installation and so the thermostat wasn't working to shut off the heating element. But it's the same thermostat for both gas and electric modes.

If it's a thermostat failure, it would overheat in either mode.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:16 PM   #6
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Kudos Chris! That's exactly where the problem was. I opened the black junction box, and, low and behold, burned wires. What appears to be the power lead, burned up in the miniature power relay (Zettler AZ2280-1A-12D).

Obviously, I will be replacing the relay. Does anyone know if these are readily available, or do I need to order one on-line?

Also, does anyone know what would have caused this issue, or do these relays just go bad? I would also appreciate any tips on installing and wiring the new relay.

Is there any reason why I couldn't use the LP gas water heater function while I am trying to tract down the new relay?

Here are a couple of pictures of the burned relay.

Thanks, Brian
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:05 PM   #7
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Running it on gas should be OK as long as you can see that it is cycling on and off as it should.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:55 AM   #8
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brian:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f445...ire-73813.html
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:10 AM   #9
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Thanks for that info, Ricky. It appears in your photos that the relay did not burn up.

I have since located the Zettler AZ2280-1A-12D relays on Ebay. I ordered two for a total of $21.00 including shipping.

I decided to get two of the relays in case the actual problem is elsewhere and it burns up the new relay. Then I will troubleshoot the thermostat and other components. I figure for ten bucks, I'll try the easy way first. Assuming the problem was in the relay, I'll have a spare.

Brian
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:57 AM   #10
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Hi Brian,

Like anything mechanical or electronic, the relay can go bad. It probably got stuck in the closed position, meaning that it never shut off and got hot to the point where it started melting. Hopefully replacing the relay will solve your problem and it's not something else.

Good luck!
Chris
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:26 PM   #11
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I would change the temperature sender/sensor while you are in there.

The relay might have gotten fried due to rapid cycling caused by a failing temperature signal.

IMO the most logical explanation for the failure of the relays is rapid occultation and the resulting arcing.

I say you need to look for a loose or corroded connection in the control circuit and/or a defective thermocoupler.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:00 PM   #12
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Oscillation.....

Sorry!
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:02 PM   #13
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I would change the temperature sender/sensor while you are in there.

The relay might have gotten fried due to rapid cycling caused by a failing temperature signal.

IMO the most logical explanation for the failure of the relays is rapid occultation and the resulting arcing.

I say you need to look for a loose or corroded connection in the control circuit and/or a defective thermocoupler.

I appreciate the help. Could you please direct me to the temperature sender/sensor? I am am not familiar with this component or where to find it.

Brian
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Old 03-09-2014, 01:31 AM   #14
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Sorry, I am not familiar with this heater, but I am pretty sure you will be looking for a thermocoupler.

The gas side should use a thermocoupler for sure. What I don't know for sure is if the electric side of the heater uses a second thermocoupler, if it shares a common thermocoupler with the gas side, or the electric side of the heater uses a different type of temperature sensing device.

A thermocoupler will use a copper capillary tube with a bulb in the tank to read the temperature of the water.

You should be able to trace the wires from the relay that control the relay.

The relay will have a supply side, a load side, and a control circuit.

The supply and load wires will be heavy wires, and the control wires will be smaller wires with one of these wires passing through the thermocoupler/heat sensor.

What concerns me is why the relay burned up. Yea it might have just been a bad part, but I would want to be sure.

It might be that I am mistaken about the control and maybe the element is shorted and overloading the relay.

Mainly I think you need to look hard for the "why" of the relay failure before going to sleep in the trailer with the heater on.

Stuff like that kind of freaks me out a little.

Take care and play it safe!!!
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