Question about RTO Atwood Water Heater - 6 Gal LP

1 Answer

I have an atwood water heater in my 94 motorhome and when it is cold and dark it won't turn on . It also makes a bussing noise like the pilot is tring but can't . I can turn it on when the sun comes up . What is up with it or what do I check first ?

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  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    Can you give me a model number of heater, so I can tell if electronic ignition etc.? label on heater behind cover on outside. Are you sure it's getting 12 volts? Is there a solar panel on your motorhome ? Did this just suddenly start to happen?

  • kimsautorepa Nov 06, 2010

    It is a 6ga7e model . I do have a solar panel on the a/c unit .There is normally one or no lights on and we are on 110v line.I have cleaned the connections and now it seems to come on and only heats for 30secs if no water is being used .It has been like this for a while and when camping we sometimes had to start the engine for it to work

  • kimsautorepa Nov 06, 2010

    What is the lowest volt reading I should have if I cover the solar panel and test it at the heater ?What wire is the incoming power ?

  • kimsautorepa Nov 06, 2010

    94 searcher jamboree I have to pull up the seat

  • kimsautorepa Nov 06, 2010

    voltage at w/heater is 12.6 v but I didn't cover panel yet

  • kimsautorepa Nov 06, 2010

    I'm checking things when I can inbetween jobs

  • kimsautorepa Nov 07, 2010

    OK Ihave 12.4 v and no voltage at ignitor . The w/heater did start up when I pushed on the conector at controll module . Is it the module or conector .I did clean it before

  • kimsautorepa Nov 07, 2010

    Thanks I'll try that today and check it tonight .The buzzing does come from the ignitor board .

  • kimsautorepa Nov 08, 2010

    Well I cleaned with pencil and electrical spray but it still did it . I'm going to try and find a connector before tonight .

  • kimsautorepa Nov 21, 2010

    Sorry took so long but I had to replace the module and good so far . Thanks

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  • RTO Master
  • 6,674 Answers

Does it have electronic ignition ? I'm presuming it does. Do you use a solar panel anywhere on your motorhome?

Posted on Nov 06, 2010

  • 14 more comments 
  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    Have you tried shutting all other 12 volt sources off such as lights at night to see if that makes any difference? Also, do you have a multimeter to test for proper voltage at connector on circuit board?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    You need to check converter, I suspect it's not supplying 12 volts . There may be blown fuses or something in converter. All your 12 volt system runs off converter when plugged in, or should be .

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    When you start engine, it provides 12 volt charge to auxiliary batteries as well to power 12 volt items. When your plugged in, converter is supposed to take over, and charge batteries as well. That explains why it works when sun is out only, because solar panel is supplying enough power to allow heater to run properly.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    What type,make, model of motorhome? Did you find converter?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    Also, make sure all your breakers are on, just in case one that supplies 110 AC (hydro) power to converter is off, then converter obviously won't work.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    just check at auxiliary battery, or cigarette style receptacle in motorhome, for 12 volt TV, or cell phone charger

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    Should be 13 volts or over if converter is working.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    Best place to check is right at converter for output voltage. Can you locate it?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    Check under dinette seats, or somewhere close to breaker panel etc. What make is your breaker panel/ converter have on it?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    I Have to step out for a couple of minutes, but will check back shortly to see what you found.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    OK I'm back, any news?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    Find anything, or did ya give up for now?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    DId you check voltage when water heater trying to ignite/running?

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    No need to cover panel, just see if you can get a voltage reading from one of the lights or something with all lights turned on, or in one of those 12 volt sockets, or auxiliary battery even, but make sure all lights are on if you can so I can see what you get with a load on the system. Also, pull connector off circuit board at water heater and check for corrosion, and clean contacts on board with a pencil eraser.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 06, 2010

    ok, no problem. I had to step out again, so I thought I might have missed something.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 07, 2010

    See if you have any WD-40 or similar to pull connector(s) off and give it/them a good spray to remove any rust.corrosion that may be in there as well as try to push wires further in to connector, as they sometimes will work their way out a little and not make good contact with igniter board. Do it before and after you put connector back on board. I see you cleaned it already but double check down inside that connector and give contact points on board another rub with eraser, or even a light rub with fine steel wool is good too. 12.4 volts should be sufficient to operate properly. If that doesn't cure it, check at any RV dealer/ service dept, and they should have another connector you can buy for a few bucks, and try that before replacing ignitor board. I haven't run in to too many boards with bad connectors, only dirty, and cleaning usually cures that, but it's possible, but I'd try changing that connector first as it's a much cheaper fix if it works. Keep me posted. Good luck.

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