How to switch Casita's WH from propane to shorepower? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-02-2015, 09:47 AM   #1
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Name: William
Trailer: Casita SD17
New Jersey
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How to switch Casita's WH from propane to shorepower?

This is on a 2015 SD17.

I turned "Off" the rocker-switch inside the Casita, which I believe controls the propane. So hopefully no propane is still being used.

I turned "On" the rocker-switch outside the Casita in the WH compartment. It was taped "Off", and very difficult to reach. Not sure why they did that.

Is that all I have to do?

Do I have to turn "On" the rocker-switch inside the Casita to see if it is still warming up water (the red light comes on), or would that turn on the propane?

What happens if I accidentally turn on the propane rocker-switch inside the Casita?? It is mounted near the floor, and I am sure something will eventually hit it, turning it "On". Will I die?

There was some black rubber membrane switch, with two "Reset" indentions, in the outside WH compartment. The buttons looked like some kind of siphon button. Do I need to press those when switching to electric?

I think my water is still hot from the propane, so I don't know if the electric is heating the water or not, or how I would be able to tell.
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:17 AM   #2
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In order to run the WH on electric both the switch on the WH and the circuit breaker feeding the WH need to be in the on position. The two switches behind the rubber sheeting are manual reset limit switches for over temperature. Automatic reset safeties are not used in this application. You can run your WH simultaneously on propane and electric .
We sometimes run our WH on propane and electric to shorten the recovery time.
Normally we run on electic only when camping with utilities.
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:30 AM   #3
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Name: William
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
In order to run the WH on electric both the switch on the WH and the circuit breaker feeding the WH need to be in the on position. The two switches behind the rubber sheeting are manual reset limit switches for over temperature. Automatic reset safeties are not used in this application. You can run your WH simultaneously on propane and electric .
We sometimes run our WH on propane and electric to shorten the recovery time.
Normally we run on electic only when camping with utilities.
My circuit-breaker is ON, so I think it must be running on electric. Thanks for answering all my questions!
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:46 AM   #4
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Hey whoot,
The rocker switches inside the trailer are for the water heater and water pump. They don't have anything to do with the propane unless I've missed something along the way.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:03 AM   #5
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Did you not get instruction manuals with that Casita?
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:29 AM   #6
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[/QUOTE]Hey whoot,
The rocker switches inside the trailer are for the water heater and water pump. They don't have anything to do with the propane unless I've missed something along the way. QUOTE=wwig;539109]

I think you may well have missed something. The rocker switch for the HWH does control the propane side of things. The water pump switch is for a whole separate system.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:34 AM   #7
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Ok, after folowing this post I HIGHLY suggest you buy this A-Z Casita Owner's Guide
It will be the best $30 you will spend and answer all of your questions.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:34 AM   #8
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Hey whoot,
The rocker switches inside the trailer are for the water heater and water pump. They don't have anything to do with the propane unless I've missed something along the way.
I have owned two boats with a rocker switch in the cabin to turn the propane on and off at the tank. These switches are available from propane dealers and they are quite popular on boats. Since most boats only use propane for cooking, it's a nice safety feature on a boat but I would not want one in my trailer. It would be a pain to turn the propane on every time I wanted to use the water heater, furnace or stove. They also require quite a bit of 12V power.

While I would never consider putting one on a trailer, someone else might think it was a good idea. It's unlikely there is a propane switch on this trailer but it is remotely possible.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:37 AM   #9
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Water heater switch

Greg,
Thanks I stand corrected.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:39 AM   #10
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The switch doesn't turn on the propane cylinder, like the solenoid actuated tank valve on your boat. (I used to have a boat equipped with one also.) This switch just controls the electrical control circuit for using the propane side of the HWH.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Hey whoot,
The rocker switches inside the trailer are for the water heater and water pump. They don't have anything to do with the propane unless I've missed something along the way.
I think you may well have missed something. The rocker switch for the HWH does control the propane side of things. The water pump switch is for a whole separate system.


Yes, the switch that Greg is referring to controls the water heater . The one I posted about is a main control at the tank.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:44 AM   #12
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Hey whoot,
The rocker switches inside the trailer are for the water heater and water pump. They don't have anything to do with the propane unless I've missed something along the way.
The switch that is located on the drivers side bench seat of the rear dinette controls
the WH when running on propane ( On/ Off ). The electric portion (heating element ) of the water heater is powered through a circuit breaker in the converter . The NEC requires a disconnect within
sight of the WH ,that is why there is a switch on the front of the WH to disconect the electrical power.
Reading the owners manual and familiarizing yourself with the WH is the best answer to the OP's question !!
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:53 AM   #13
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The red indicator light right next to the propane switch only comes on for several seconds (if things are working normally, in such, that the HWH propane burner ignites properly.) Once it powers up and ignites, the red light next to the switch will go out. Power will still be on until you physically turn the switch off. So, if the light goes out after several seconds, how do I see at a glance that I still have the propane control circuit energized. (Yes, I know, you can look at the position of the switch.) But, if you would like a more readily visual indication that the power is on, you can install as small 12 vdc LED light next to the power switch assembly. Hook it to the spade connectors on the back side of the switch. It will glow any time there is power turned on.

The red lead of the LED goes to the red wire on the switch. The black lead of the LED goes to the green ground terminal on the back of the indicator light. (The two thin wires in the picture below.) You will need two 1/4' female spade connector wire terminals, and two double spade connector adapters to allow mounting of both the existing wires and the LED wires.
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:10 PM   #14
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And while we're on the HWH issue, another handy mod is installing an on/off switch in the cabin to control the electric heating element side of the HWH. Here's a cut & paste of my mod that I posted on the Casita forum several years ago.



Adding an interior control switch is a pretty simple conversion to make...


Instructions for Installing a Remote HWH 120 vac Switch, for turning the electrical element in the HWH on/off from inside the trailer).
You need:

A 3 terminal single pole pilot light switch (it has 2 brass screw and 1 silver screw terminals.) Leviton makes one with a switch on top and a red pilot light on the bottom that fits a single electrical rectangular box (see pic below). You can find them at any "big box" store.

* A rectangular single electrical box, specifically designated "for use in old, or existing construction". This model will have a swing-out wing on each side with a screw in each to draw the box up tight to the backside of the bulkhead for mounting.

* A saw, or other cutting device necessary to cut a hole to mount the box, (again, wherever you choose to locate it.) I personally prefer using a Roto-Zip for this, but a drill for pilot holes and a jigsaw with a fine blade will work. If you use a jigsaw, applying some masking tape around the outside edge will help protect the fiberglass or wood damage caused by the vibration when cutting.

* 12/3 w/Ground Romex wire, which will have a Black, White and a Red insulated wire, as well as a bare ground conductor. Allow yourself enough wire to adequately reach your intended location, (wherever you decide to locate it inside your trailer,) and enough extra to carefully route it around the perimeter of any cabinets. I would recommend following and attaching it with zip-ties to the existing wiring bundle running through the trailer to the extent possible. I mounted my switch under the leg area of the side dinette table on the front of the rear bench. (If you choose to mount it there also, then about 6 feet of wire should be sufficient for your installation.)

To begin;

Unplug your trailer's shore power cord. Then remove the converter's cover plate to expose the 120 vac circuit breakers. Locate the breaker which controls the HWH (should be marked on the cover plate) and remove the black wire from the top terminal screw on this breaker. Pull this wire out of the terminal, but keep it handy.
.
1.) Using the BLACK wire of the three insulated wires in the new Romex cable, attach it to the HWH breaker terminal screw in the trailer's converter panel, and connect the other end to one of the gold colored screws on the new switch. (It doesn't matter which one, as long as it is one of the gold screws.)

2.) The RED wire is connected to the other gold screw on the switch, and is then wired back to the original black wire that was removed from the breaker terminal, (you remember the one that you removed from the breaker...yes, that one.) So, one wire will be black and the other will be red at this connection, but this is not a problem, nor code violation. Twist them together well with electrician's pliers, then wire nut and seal it real good with electrical tape.

The switch itself needs to have a neutral wire in order for the pilot light to come on when the HWH element is energized.

3.) Use the WHITE wire for that purpose, and it goes on the silver screw on the switch. The other end of the white wire goes to an empty screw on the neutral bus in the main converter panel below the breakers. Be sure it is attached to the neutral bus, not the ground bus (Yes, they are not one and the same.)

To differentiate the two:
* You will see a large white insulated wire attached to a big screw terminal that has a copper bus bar with several screw terminals on it as well. This is the neutral bus.
* The other copper bar with terminal screws is the ground bus, and usually has a large green or bare wire attached to it along with several ground wires.

4.) Connect the BARE ground wire to the ground screw on the new switch and the other end to the ground bus in the converter panel.

When you are done hooking all these connections up, replace the converter's cover plate and install the new switch cover plate. Then turn your converter panel circuit breaker on again, (and don't forget to leave the outside switch located on the HWH itself in the ON position at all times to make it work from inside, because power still goes through this switch on the HWH itself. Its nice to not have to go outside to turn it on or off each time you want hot water.)

Finally, make sure that your new switch is in the OFF position before re-establishing your shore power connection to prevent burning up the heating element (unless you are absolutely sure your HWH is full of water.)

Remember, you now control the electrical side of your HWH solely from this new switch!

It really helps to be able to see at a glance whether the electric power is still on before you risk burning up your heating element, (which would happen in about 1 minute if there isn't any water in the HWH reservoir.)

I mounted mine in the "leg area" under the rear side dinette bench, but the location choice is up to you.

Hope this helps. Write if you have any questions.

Greg
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