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Old 05-28-2020, 12:10 AM   #1
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Water heater DOA on night 2

Help! We’re two days into a 2,000-mile trip and the water heater decided to stop working. It is a 6-gallon Atwood, propane only. We ran it for about 20 minutes before it kicked off, as normal, when it reaches temp. But now it won’t kick back on. It clicks a few times, but no light. I don’t smell gas around the burner tube while it tries to light. And it doesn’t appear to be clogged or dirty but I haven’t taken the tube apart yet. Gas is flowing fine to everything else.

I did notice the converter fan came on when it started to attempt to light, but that may be irrelevant. Oh, when it did fire up initially, the flame did kick off a couple of times for a few seconds, then immediately relit and kept burning.

I’ve dreaded the “bad board” syndrome on these. I’m hoping there may be some other tests before going that route and curtailing the trip. I believe someone has mentioned a 2A or 3A fuse that might have been an issue but don’t know where that might be. Thanks for any suggestions. I’m hoping to take a fresh stab at it in the morning.
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:53 AM   #2
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I believe the fuse you are referring to is actually on the control board.
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:12 AM   #3
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I only say this because I have some it

Is the propane tank empty. Try switching to the other tank. The fact that is was running and you said the flames started up and went out a couple times before staying lit seems odd.

I would say blow out the tube in case of spider webs or anything else but you did say it was running so at one point it was getting flow


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Old 05-28-2020, 04:22 AM   #4
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Good things to check above. You can try to light it manually. The Atwood manual has a list of items to check. I had one board go bad but limped through a trip by using a grill lighter to get it lit. If it is a bad board you may be able to have one shipped to the campground.

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Old 05-28-2020, 05:41 AM   #5
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If you decide to replace the board get a Dinosaur UIB64 universal board. They have a great reputation.
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:08 AM   #6
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If you decide to replace the board get a Dinosaur UIB64 universal board. They have a great reputation.
X2 - I carry one in my spare parts bin...
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Old 05-28-2020, 07:28 AM   #7
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If you hear clicking your battery is fine and the fuse is fine. Control board is providing 12 volts to the ignition. Other things may not be working like sail switch, Gas valves. As stated check you gas.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:11 AM   #8
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I overfilled mine once very early on (misread instructions and left the release valve open, and when water started pouring out, i jumped to shut it off). Without that air expansion gap at the top, the unit would not fire up. I flipped the water bypass to shut off water flow to the water heater, re-opened the release valve and let the excess water drain until it stopped draining which re-established the air gap at the top of the tank. I then shut the release valve off, flipped the water bypass and fired up the water heater.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:28 AM   #9
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Thanks for the quick replies. Now, in daylight, I will try some more things. I did notice the red LED next to the on/off rocker switch stays on, which apparently indicates an ignition problem. I’ll switch to the second propane tank, but furnace and stove burners fire up fine. But, if the tank is trying to light, shouldn’t I smell propane at the burner tube when it is clicking?
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:22 AM   #10
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So, I closed the bypass valves and opened the relief valve until it stopped draining to get a little air gap. Then I blew out the burner tube with canned air through the air shutter slots. Also switched to the other full propane tank. It still clicks about three times, but no flame. So, I tried lighting it while it was clicking. I got a big “whoosh” and pop ignition, similar to when it lights on its own, but no ongoing flame. Did that a couple of times. I guess I’m out of things to try.
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:40 AM   #11
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This just in...I was able to manually light the burner. It showed a nice strong blue flame — for about 3 seconds, then went out. I was able to do that a couple of times. But it won’t stay on. Is that the thermal cutoff?.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:03 AM   #12
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I would check the water heater spark/sense probe. Better known as the spark igniter. If it’s dirty it may cause it to think that the gas did not ignite but I think you have a bad board.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:46 AM   #13
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Check the Sail Switch...
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:50 AM   #14
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This is what it looks like...

https://pantherrvproducts.com/dometi...w-sail-switch/
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Check the Sail Switch...
I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think the water heater uses a sail switch.

A sail switch would be found in the furnace and would kill the flow of propane to the burner if air stopped flowing through the furnace so it won't catch fire.

Water heater doesn't flow air, so there shouldn't be a sail switch.
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:12 AM   #16
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I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think the water heater uses a sail switch.

A sail switch would be found in the furnace and would kill the flow of propane to the burner if air stopped flowing through the furnace so it won't catch fire.

Water heater doesn't flow air, so there shouldn't be a sail switch.
I believe you are correct Bob - My bad...
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:19 PM   #17
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I believe you are correct Bob - My bad...
No worries, we're all trying to help!

I'm going with bad board on this one. Curious to see what OP finds...
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:20 PM   #18
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I recall when I had a water heater issue and was watching some guy on youtube trouble shoot his. Sounds really familiar about not staying lit.

It ended up being the board unfortunately.
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:30 PM   #19
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First, THANK YOU all for the quick replies and ideas. JOF members are awesome. Camper Bob wins the prize — it was a bad board. And he wins the bonus question in that there is no sail switch. After trying everything I could think of, All Seasons RV In Bend, Oregon, worked us in this morning. They had it diagnosed and replaced within 15 minutes. DW gets hot showers and the trip continues! A big shout out to All Seasons RV — what a great dealer!

We just pulled in to our overnight stop and I discovered the lid on the propane tank cover totally ripped off on the highway. No idea when or where. The adventure continues!
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:43 PM   #20
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First, THANK YOU all for the quick replies and ideas. JOF members are awesome. Camper Bob wins the prize — it was a bad board. And he wins the bonus question in that there is no sail switch. After trying everything I could think of, All Seasons RV In Bend, Oregon, worked us in this morning. They had it diagnosed and replaced within 15 minutes. DW gets hot showers and the trip continues! A big shout out to All Seasons RV — what a great dealer!

We just pulled in to our overnight stop and I discovered the lid on the propane tank cover totally ripped off on the highway. No idea when or where. The adventure continues!

Great to hear it all was resolved. Always important to keep the DW happy!

Sorry to hear about the cover, there's always something it seems...
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