My hot water heater works on gas but not on electric. When I have it on gas, it only takes a few minutes for the water to get hot. When it is switched to electric, the water is only hot for a few swconds and then goes back to cold. Any suggestions?
The GAS system uses a 12vdc control system to operate the LP solenoid, and DSI spark. The ELEC system uses 120vac to control an immersion element in the tank. Based on the fact that your water heater is working on gas...that tells us that the bypass vavles aren't in the wrong position.
Not let's work thru the pathway for the 120vac power...
From your power distribution panel...there should be a circuit breaker for the water heater. I would start there by switching it OFF...then ON again to make sure that it's reset.
From there...the hot wire will go to your ELECT Water Heater Switch inside the camper... Make sure that it's turned on.
From there it goes to a junction box on the back of your water heater...which we'll reserve for later...if nothing else works because it might be difficult to access...
Now, outside...remove the panel covering the water heater. On the bottom left hand corner (behind the gas orifice) on Suburban units, there is a little black on/off switch. Make sure that it's on.
From there...the power goes to the 120v thermostat/hi limit switch. This is under a plastic panel just below the press/temp relief valve. There should be two different thermostat/hi limit switchs... the other one being a 12vdc one for the GAS side of the system. It will have a reset button on it...make sure it's pressed to reset.
From there the element. They wear out...they also will burn out within seconds if energized without being submerged in water. If you're handy with a voltmeter...you can test it. First turn OFF the switch/or safety the circuit breaker to OFF. Remove the black wire... Set the VOM to OHMs...and touch a lead to each terminal on the heating element. (Note: the element probably has a plastic cover over it as well...) There should be continuity. IF you get no continuity...the element has a open circuit and needs to be replaced. If you get an ohm reading...it's probably working.
If you need to...replace the element. IF not...work backwards...
Re-power the circuit...and with the VOM on AC VOLTS... you'll check the voltage across the black and white leads going to the ELEMENT. If you have no voltage reading...there could be a problem with one or the other. If you get voltge when the black wire is touched on one lead...and the other lead is touched to the grounding post (green screw...then you can suspect the white ground wire is loose somewhere. One place for the white GND wire to be loose is at the distribution center's ground strip. Of course there will be a lot of white wires connected there...and it's rare that they would be labeled. The other place it could be loose is that junction box on the back of the water heater.
If you do not get voltage between the black wire and a ground location...then you back up the hot side... going back to the thermostat... then the junction box...then the wall switch...then the distribution center. If you have power to the junction box...but not the thermostat...then the little outside switch behind the gas orifice is inoperative.
I hope reading this will make sense to you. They are really simple devices...but it may take you a little bit to get oriented as to where everything is located.
If you find the faulty component...it's pretty easy to do a seach for the MANUAL's by googling the Manufacturer's name and the model number of the water heater...this is usually on a decal on the unit.
From there...they will have the part numbers.
Then do a Froogle.com (google shopping) with the brand name, and part number. It will list online dealers by price...so you can order the part you need.