Suburban water heater convert 110 V to 240 volt

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 16:45
ThreadID: 142685 Views:1061 Replies:5 FollowUps:11
I have a SW6DEA Suburban LPG / 110 V electric water heater in an imported RV.

Has anyone converted these to 240 Volt from 110 Volt US spec ?

I can see 240 volt elements on ebay for $ 50 but the PC boards appear to be around $ 350 each and thermostat $ 110 each.

Is there a cheaper way to do this or not worth it ?

Is there anyone in NSW who services / repairs these ?
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Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 17:30

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 17:30
Vroom Vroom
Is it possible for you to fit/have fitted, a step down transformer, ie 240 down to 110 for the circuitry power source, fairly straight forward, and fit a 240v element to the unit and have the 110 operate switch a relay to turn element on and off? A competent electrician should be able to achieve that!
AnswerID: 638213

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 17:41

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 17:41
Technically all sorts of solutions will work.
Legally it will be cheaper to replace the HWS.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
AnswerID: 638215

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:00

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:00
Vroom Vroom, I assume that you are the original importer of this RV?
My info is a bit dated, but I recall that imported RVs can be used by the original importer more or less "as is" from an electrical perspective, but that they can never be sold (or even given away) until they totally comply with Australian regulations. That means every AC appliance and every AC component (including the actual wiring) must be either approved to the local regs or replaced. Modifying and approving most stuff will often cost more than it is worth, although a water heating element might be an exception if the local model is effectively identical and just the element needs to be changed.
Fitting a transformer is not an option in this case. It may be if you don't intend to ever sell the vehicle.
So what you should do now, may well depend on your future plans for the RV.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome


AnswerID: 638216

Follow Up By: VroomVroom - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:15

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:15
thats handy info , we are the third owner , it was imported from USA and sold to someone , then damaged by flood and purchased by us.

I am in the process of replacing other electrical equipment anyway so now i know i have to pull through new cables to replace the american stuff which is quite easy.

You have made up my mind to replace the HWS rather than replace the PCB and element.

the importer and seller would have both broken the law before we got it ....
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FollowupID: 916541

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:20

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:20
Is it registered?
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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FollowupID: 916542

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:39

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:39
.
Peter, the "information" that you mentioned possibly came from Collyn Rivers who published such subject in several places but most comprehensively here.
It certainly is a matter of concern.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: VroomVroom - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:50

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 19:50
Peter , It was previously registered but unregistered when sold to us.

We intend using it as a site accommodation while we build a home so we wont be getting rego.

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FollowupID: 916545

Follow Up By: VroomVroom - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 20:03

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 20:03
Allan

Thankyou , i wasn't aware of the requirement to use double pole switched GPO outlets for the 240 V

Lucky i didnt buy the 240 v outlets yet.

Now to find where i get double pole switches from ? :(

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FollowupID: 916546

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 20:56

Tuesday, Oct 05, 2021 at 20:56
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Double pole switches and power outlets are available from all electrical suppliers and even Bunnings.

But I am bound to advise you that they should only be installed by a licensed electrician.
Cheers
Allan

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FollowupID: 916549

Follow Up By: Member - Racey - Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 11:08

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 11:08
The last double outlet I bought was $32-00, 2 to 3 time the price of a standard outlet. :-(
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 15:37

Reply By: qldcamper - Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 08:23

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 08:23
Good advice Allan, all the work he speaks of should only be performed by a licensed sparky, and gas fitter too.

Correct me if I am wrong but isnt there something in the regulations about the access door to the living quaters being on the RHS that affects the sailability of american built motor homes here too?
AnswerID: 638224

Follow Up By: VroomVroom - Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 09:44

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 09:44
Correct

They fit a new door on the LHS before or at point of import but the RHS door is retained.

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FollowupID: 916562

Reply By: Member - LeighW - Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 11:04

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 11:04
Looking around the net it seems the only difference between the 110V version and the 240V unit is the element. It appears the module is the 12V igniter when running on gas.

I would however contact the manufacturer to ensure the switch and thermostat are rated for 240V. If that is the case any Suburban repairer/caravan repairer etc should be able to change the element for you.

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AnswerID: 638228

Follow Up By: Zippo - Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 11:33

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 11:33
If that is the case with the heater, the only (remaining) issue for the OP is the original cable (voltage rating) and the power outlets.

Also to note that although the OP's stated intention is for on-site accom during a build, what then? The prospect of on-selling and registration leave these conversion issues unresolved.
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FollowupID: 916565

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 18:44

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 at 18:44
Zippo, whether it is road registered or not it remains a transportable structure. The title of AS/NZS-3001:2008 is "Electrical installations—Transportable structures and vehicles including their site supplies"

You will see in the preface

"This edition was prepared to update the requirements for electrical installations associated
with transportable structures and vehicles (formerly known as relocatable premises) and
their site supplies following the issue of AS/NZS 3000:2007. It includes provisions for the
connection of electric power to various types of transportable structures and vehicles,
including caravans and various temporary structures such as tents used for domestic and
commercial purposes. "
PeterD
Retired radio and electronics technician

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