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#182622 - 12/04/08 07:38 PM Why don't water heaters have this?
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
... An indicator panel with 4 neons, for the elements, l1/l2 and the overload?

Green (lens) across the input voltage
Red across the over temp sensor
Yellow across each element.
For a couple of bucks you would instantly know the electrical status of the heater and with a simple flow chart you could diagnose the problem without ever opening a cover or getting out your meter.
I suppose you also need one between the thermostats if you really want to cover all bases.
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#182623 - 12/04/08 07:56 PM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: gfretwell]
HotLine1 Offline

Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6785
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Perhaps you should send that to a WH mfg! Sound interesting....even a HO could 'see' what's wrong (or right)

Greg...you may become a rich inventor!
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#182625 - 12/04/08 08:08 PM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: HotLine1]
pdh Offline
Member

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 354
Now I'll have an excuse to open the door to the closet where the water heater is located.

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#182626 - 12/04/08 08:19 PM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: pdh]
noderaser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 405
Loc: Portland, Oregon, United State...
The Whirlpool we put in my parents' place has an indicator light on its control panel that is supposed to indicate under/over voltage, element and control circuit failure. However, it wasn't working too good when the circuit board basically melted... Not sure what happened with that one, took half the circuit breaker with it too.
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#182627 - 12/04/08 09:12 PM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: noderaser]
sbi Offline
Member

Registered: 03/01/08
Posts: 47
Loc: indiana
Originally Posted By: noderaser
The Whirlpool we put in my parents' place has an indicator light on its control panel that is supposed to indicate under/over voltage, element and control circuit failure. However, it wasn't working too good when the circuit board basically melted... Not sure what happened with that one, took half the circuit breaker with it too.


The whirlpool you are talking about is known to have alot, of problems with their boards,
Bad part you can't even jump them out to get the water heater going to take a hot shower. IMO Whrilpool screwed up on this design. The board cost more than a new water heater
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#182630 - 12/04/08 09:40 PM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: sbi]
leland Offline
Member

Registered: 08/20/07
Posts: 856
Loc: Lowell area, Ma. USA
"The board cost more than a new water heater"

The only answer. This adds cost. In a world of $1.99 as opposed to $2.00.
Very simple.

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#182632 - 12/04/08 10:32 PM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: leland]
NORCAL Offline
Member

Registered: 09/25/02
Posts: 805
Whirlpool gas "Flamelock" water heaters are the subject of a class action lawsuit, so not surprised that electric WH's are a problem too.

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#182633 - 12/04/08 11:42 PM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: NORCAL]
gfretwell Offline

Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9012
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
There is no reason an electric water heater needs to be complicated. Basically you have a tank, 2 thermostats and 2 elements with a mechanical TPS valve to keep it from blowing up if something goes haywire.
The only trick is figuring which of the 4 electrical parts is bad when you have a problem. Poking around inside is dangerous for the unskilled but if you just kept an eye on the lights when it failed you would have the information to make this a "one part" call when you called someone (most of the time) and keep the service time to a minimum. Everyone wins with that.
I have a mystery problem as we speak and that is why I got to thinking about this. I know it is a bottom element failure but that could be either thermostat or the element.
I know I can probe 2 points to figure it out but I am trained to do this sort of thing and have the appropriate probes.
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Greg Fretwell

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#182640 - 12/05/08 07:56 AM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: gfretwell]
jdevlin Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 402
Loc: welland ontario canada
The water heater at work has 3 LED. One for each element to indicate if they are operating.

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#182644 - 12/05/08 10:01 AM Re: Why don't water heaters have this? [Re: jdevlin]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5299
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Oddly enough, I just worked on a commercial GAS water heater that had something like what you suggest ... to troubleshoot the electronic igniter, and various other safeties.

In this instance, the troubleshooting chart kept leading me to the new damper ... opening it up, we found that the factory had failed to connect a wire. Oops.

I think the key word here is 'commercial.' From my observations, homeowners only see one thing: the price tag. That's the first problem.

The second problem is that many water heaters - General Electric most notably - are made by a generic water heater manufacturer. In such instances, the only way things will change is if a premium brand has some new feature that allows it to start grabbing up market share .... at which time the copy cat does what he does best: follow the leader.

The convenience of the service tech is way down the list of priorities for these folks.

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