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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > How to make your Water Heater adjustable for $8.97

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Boatycall

Tacoma, WA

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Posted: 04/11/14 11:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First-- *** disclaimer ***
I am an electrical engineer. If you do not have COMPLETE confidence in your wiring ability, DO NOT DO THIS as you can cause serious damage to you, your TC, your insurance rates, and your liquor stash.

Also---if you have gas AND 110v heater elements, this won't work. You won't have room.

So, I got tired of my hot water not being adjustable for a variety of reasons. I had an old RealLite TC years ago with an old school mechanical water heater, and it had a real, adjustable thermostat.

This is a Suburban water heater, similar to what a lot of us have.
[image]


When you take off the thermostat cover, you see two thermostats connected together with a jumper wire. One is for your working temp of 130 degrees which is of course self-resetting, the other a manual-reset 180 degree safety in case the 130 degree fails.
[image]


Go to Home Depot and get thier LOWER SIDE home water heater thermostat. It fits like a glove beside the 2 existing thermostats.
**Note -- the fact that it is for 220v vs. 12v is irrelevant, it is a SPST switch, nothing more. It is more than sufficient to send the "time to light burner" signal to the computer/circuit board. This circuit carries no actual load, it is just an on/off sensor for the computer.
[image]


Pull the incoming wire off the 130 degree thermostat, wire it to the new one. Likewise, make a jumper wire to go to the other side of the 130 degree tstat. Slightly grind the tab on the other side of the 130tstat then solder (the grinding gives the solder something to stick to)
[image]


Solder on the jumper wire. Attaching it here retains the 180 degree safety in-line with the new tstat. DO NOT disconnect both red wires and run to the new thermostat. By doing so you bypass the safety.
[image]





Old-Biscuit

Verde Valley

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Posted: 04/11/14 11:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cool 'mod'

Why can't mfg. do something so simple [emoticon]


Is it time for your medication or mine?


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dadwolf2

Henderson,NV

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Posted: 04/11/14 11:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, I've wanted an adjustable thermostat on the water heater for years! Do you have a part # for the Home Depot thermostat or is it pretty straightforward which one to get? How is the new thermostat held in place?

Looks like the thermostat is HD model# 15417 SKU# 258417


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mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 04/11/14 11:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Electric water heater tstats are pretty universal.

Makes me glad I have an old-school mechanical tstat on my water heater. 2000 was probably one of the last years you could get something like that.

I really like it because I can set the thermostat to its lowest setting and use straight hot water to shower.


Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

AK49er

Alaska

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Posted: 04/11/14 11:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice idea, does the cover still fit?

Boatycall

Tacoma, WA

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Posted: 04/11/14 12:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dadwolf2 wrote:

Wow, I've wanted an adjustable thermostat on the water heater for years! Do you have a part # for the Home Depot thermostat or is it pretty straightforward which one to get? How is the new thermostat held in place?

Looks like the thermostat is HD model# 15417 SKU# 258417


Sorry, I should have put a clicky in for the TStat.

Home Repo TStat

Fitment--
k, so you're going to think I'm a little nuts, but it fit SOOO close that all I did was run a couple screws against the top edge to compression-fit it.

Also - to make it more accurate, I'm going to run down to Radio Shack and get some heat-conductive goo to put on the back of it. It shuts off about 15 degrees hotter than set right now.

dadwolf2

Henderson,NV

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Posted: 04/11/14 12:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

And don't forget the part # for heat conductive goo too! [emoticon]

msiminoff

Silicon Valley, CA

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Posted: 04/11/14 12:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AWESOME!! Thanks for sharing this Boatycall!
Have you tried rotating the thermostat around 180ยบ? This would make the screw terminals closer to the Therm-O-Discs and might make wiring a little bit easier...
BTW, this is exactly the same thermostat I use for my 120Vac and 12Vdc heating elements.
Cheers
-Mark


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wnjj

Cornelius, Oregon

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Posted: 04/11/14 01:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you wanted to do this without soldering I assume you could just connect to the blade terminal on the left. That would put the 180, 130 and variable all in series. It would also limit the hot side to 130 max which might be a good thing.

Francesca Knowles

Port Hadlock, Washington

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Posted: 04/11/14 02:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I like this very well-explained mod so much that I posted a link to this thread at another Forum I frequent.

And I like your warning-to-novices "Disclaimer" so much that I pasted that in over there, too! [emoticon]


" Not every mind that wanders is lost. " With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien

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