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2005 Safari Simba Hot Water heater 120 volt Electric

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
https://imgur.com/a/lx6WYkcHello,

Recently got a new-to-me 2005 Safari Simba Motorhome 30 ft with the vortec 8100.

The hot water heater works fine on propane, however on the electric hot water heater switch on the panel right next to it, where the switch is in the "off" position there is a faint red light. However when the electric hot water heater switch is then flipped up into "the on" Position the light then goes away completely and the hot water heater on electric doesn't appear to work at all.

I've checked the fuses in the bedroom of the motorhome and they both seem to be fine.

here are some images of the control panel

https://imgur.com/a/lx6WYkc

Does anyone know why the hot water heater on electric is not working? The motorhome is hooked up to shore power.
26 REPLIES 26

wa8yxm
Explorer III
Explorer III
dougrainer wrote:
That is an Atwood. The Tstat and electric element are behind that black plastic box. Odds are from how old the W/H is, the element has burned out. Doug


Atwood the T-Stat is outside comprtment and is the same T-Stat as the propane side.. Same for the ECO It's surburan that uses two pair of T_Stats.

The faint light when siwtched off indicates either a mis-wired switch or a bad control board (The black thing upper right outside) or other wiring issue I'd rank the suspects in that order.

On the switch there are 3 contacts. HOT-Switched-Ground
HOT will have 12 volts to any solid ground. Does even if disconnected

Ground will be the SAME COLOR as on the propane switch. Likely either black or white .... And switched. is the one remaining

Look at the propane switch connections.. Hot and ground are the same on both and should be the same color wire.. The "Switched" lead will be.. the remaining wire. and likely different color depending on Gas or Propane.

Might also be a bad switch.
Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
Kenwood TS-2000, ICOM ID-5100, ID-51A+2, ID-880 REF030C most times

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
ScottG wrote:
Rhalium wrote:
Got it fixed. It was a bad water heater element and bad 12 volt relay. Want to say more but this site says improper formatting, whatever that means.


It means this site will never, ever fix that problem 😉
Glad you got it fixed!





It actually work a bit too well. Just ran the faucet on cold water for a bit and the water that came out was on the warm side. After i let the water run for a bit it cooled down to normal cold/cool water temp. This has me wondering if it's the powerful 1440 watt heater element that they installed?

ScottG
Nomad
Nomad
Rhalium wrote:
Got it fixed. It was a bad water heater element and bad 12 volt relay. Want to say more but this site says improper formatting, whatever that means.


It means this site will never, ever fix that problem 😉
Glad you got it fixed!

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
Got it fixed. It was a bad water heater element and bad 12 volt relay. Want to say more but this site says improper formatting, whatever that means.

Update: figured it out, it was me putting brackets for use as parentheses. here's what I meant to post.




All-right everyone, the rv repair shop said 100% it was a bad Atwood Water Heayer Electric Element and a bad 12 volt relay. He said something about the switch on the control panel, I think he had to do something to it. Maybe turn it upside-down? He said that because there was no water in the tank, then with the switch apparently being in the opposite position in the "off" position with the faint red glowing light that that may have been what was causing the element inside the water heater tank to burn out. Then again, because this is motorhome is new-to-me and has had what seems like more than a few owners, then it's likely that someone else in the ownership line before me might have burned up the water heater element.

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
dougrainer wrote:
Last, you may have a problem removing the 120 element. It looks like the shelf behind the Water Heater is slightly higher than the back of the water Heater. IF that is the case, you will have to remove all the mount screws on the outside to lift the Water Heater up a few inches to get the 120 element out. Doug


Yeah, actually was watching a YouTube video about that today. The guy said he made a watery mess in all those tight spaces.

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
dougrainer wrote:
OK, BOTH inside switches are 12 volt. NONE is 120 volt. Behind that rear black box is the 12 volt activated relay that turns the Black wire of the 120 wires ON to the 120 element. The YELLOW wire on the outside at the Ignition control module is what is HOT (12 volt) from the 120 red lighted switch in the RV. Inside that black cover are 3 parts.
1. 120 element
2. 120 12 volt activated relay
3. 120 volt water tstat.
The element comes out from behind and is about 12 inches long. Doug

PS. That yellow wire is butt connected to a red going into the black box



Ok I see what you are talking about now. the yellow wire on the outside of the hot water heater tank (viewing from inside the motorhome, underneath the kitchen sink) the yellow wire goes into the red wire.

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks all for the tips and advice. It sounds like this water heater element project is going to be at least more than an hour job? I have an appointment at a local rv place to get this fixed here in a few days. So I might just end up letting them do this job, especially since I don't know what I'm doing and I don't want to make a mess of water down there in all those tight places.

I still need to take a volt meter to this thing and see if I am getting any volts.

Also someone here said to unscrew the control panel where all the switches are (for the slide-outs, etc) I don't know if I'd wanna do that cause there is a lot of delicate components behind there.

dougrainer
Nomad
Nomad
Last, you may have a problem removing the 120 element. It looks like the shelf behind the Water Heater is slightly higher than the back of the water Heater. IF that is the case, you will have to remove all the mount screws on the outside to lift the Water Heater up a few inches to get the 120 element out. Doug

dougrainer
Nomad
Nomad
OK, BOTH inside switches are 12 volt. NONE is 120 volt. Behind that rear black box is the 12 volt activated relay that turns the Black wire of the 120 wires ON to the 120 element. The YELLOW wire on the outside at the Ignition control module is what is HOT (12 volt) from the 120 red lighted switch in the RV. Inside that black cover are 3 parts.
1. 120 element
2. 120 12 volt activated relay
3. 120 volt water tstat.
The element comes out from behind and is about 12 inches long. Doug

PS. That yellow wire is butt connected to a red going into the black box

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
Today, I went to the bedroom ofthe motorhome where all the breakers and fuses are. I had someone watch the control panel where the 2 switches are for the water heater on propane and electric. I turned the breaker for the water heater [located in the bedroom] off then back on. The faint red light on the 120 volt heater switch remained on throughout this process. [me flipping the breaker of and then back on.]

wolfe10
Explorer
Explorer
Two ways to diagnose the 120 VAC heating element:

Verify there IS 120 VAC to the heating element OR

Disconnect wires to the element and check the element with OHM meter.
Brett Wolfe
Ex: 2003 Alpine 38'FDDS
Ex: 1997 Safari 35'
Ex: 1993 Foretravel U240

Diesel RV Club:http://www.dieselrvclub.org/

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
wolfe10 wrote:
Rhalium wrote:
can the water heater work just fine on propane, yet still not work on 120 volt electric solely cause of the "element" located inside the hot water heater tank? in other words, the hot water will work fine on propane, but not work on electric cause of a bad element?

Certainly.

If the propane-side is working fine (12 VDC, good propane supply, thermocouple good, etc) all is good on propane.

If 120 VAC is not powering the heating element, it will not work. Could be issue with shore power, breaker, fuse in water heater PC board or burned out 120 VAC heating element-- will not work.

Basically two "mostly" unrelated heating sources. PC board being the point in common.



Thx. The common thread in all of this seems to be the heating element that is located inside the hot water tank. I know that I have a voltmeter and that I can use it to test the heating element, is that right? More than likely it is the heating element as that is what seems to be the common thread. Now, I need to see about shutting off the bypass valve to the hot water tank and then draining the tank itself. Then to replace the element, is that how you do it?

wolfe10
Explorer
Explorer
Rhalium wrote:
can the water heater work just fine on propane, yet still not work on 120 volt electric solely cause of the "element" located inside the hot water heater tank? in other words, the hot water will work fine on propane, but not work on electric cause of a bad element?

Certainly.

If the propane-side is working fine (12 VDC, good propane supply, thermocouple good, etc) all is good on propane.

If 120 VAC is not powering the heating element, it will not work. Could be issue with shore power, breaker, fuse in water heater PC board or burned out 120 VAC heating element-- will not work.

Basically two "mostly" unrelated heating sources. PC board being the point in common.
Brett Wolfe
Ex: 2003 Alpine 38'FDDS
Ex: 1997 Safari 35'
Ex: 1993 Foretravel U240

Diesel RV Club:http://www.dieselrvclub.org/

Aesop1
Explorer
Explorer
can the water heater work just fine on propane, yet still not work on 120 volt electric solely cause of the "element" located inside the hot water heater tank? in other words, the hot water will work fine on propane, but not work on electric cause of a bad element?