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Discussion Starter #1
I have a water heater on my boat. I have the old heater element that apparently broke and was removed and where it was is caped with a plastic plug. I would like to make it work again. I would like a 120 volt element that plugs into an outlet on the boat while i am at the dock. My tank is a stainless cylinder about 6 gal. It has no name or brand or part # on it. I am wondering if it is home made. Where can I find an element for this. Does it have to be marine grade? It has a 1 1/2 in thread opening that it screws into the tank. I have been to defender with the old element and they have not been able to help. I am willing to text someone a pic if they think they can help.
 

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It's a part you can actually get at the big box stores. just make sure it's a 120 volt element and it's the bolt or screw in type depending on how they made your tank. is there wiring still there for the thermostat and over current protection?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There is a black and a white wire near where the element would be. They are both taped over. I assume this is 12 volt. I don't want 12 volt because I don't have a generator. I would just like an element that has a cord to plug into a 120 volt outlet and screws into the tank. My motor is diesel but I do have propane tank on board. Should I be looking for something marine grade that won't create a spark or is something from a plumbing supply house OK? If I need marine grade where can I find it. I have looked but everything I have found is a replacement for a specific tank. As I stated there is no name brand on the tank.
 

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12 volt??? if the wires are black and white it's most likely 120 volt element. they are all made to heat water .. how is that not marine duty? LOL you STILL NEED to determine if there is a a thermostat. Does your boat (still a mystery to us) have a "shore power" panel? Look on the water heater for a spec plate too! since you want provide so little information and make it a "guessing game" it would be good to post photos too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am giving as detailed information a s I am able. To the best of my understanding a 120 volt system will have 3 wires ( pos, neutral and ground). 12 volt has black and white wires only. There is no switch, fuse or otherwise for a waterheater. The old element has a box attached which may have been to regulate temp. I will attempt to photo the old element and post it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Unfortunately I am unable to send a photo with my droid. Howeverif anyone is well versed in this if you send me a private message with your phone # I can send you a pic.
 

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Ground (usually green) may be connected almost anywhere on the WH.
Does yours look anything like this?
 

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Available at Home Depot I think?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Does not really look like any of those. I wish I could post a pic but can't get it to work. I have the pic but it won't download.
 

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AC can be lethal.

You have a lack of familiarity with your boat's systems and what you describe definitely sounds wrong. There should be 3 wires, black, white, and green going to the water heater. There has to be a breaker on the AC panel hopefully labeled "water heater". Water heaters do not have a plug but are hard wired.

I suggest you hire a qualified marine electrician to replace the element and check that everything is wired properly. An error could either cause injury or a fire.
 

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Post pics to a service like photobucket then post the "direct" link from the selected photo to the photo post icon in the tool bar above.

Does it look like this?
 

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The element should be easy to replace. The larger issue is why was it decommissioned? Why are the wires taped over? Why is there not a breaker? Was it on the recommendation of a surveyor who thought it was dangerous? What did your surveyor say about it? Why was the hole in the water heater plugged? If an element dies you just remove and replace, not buy a plug for it.

I reiterate that a qualified person should look at it. It is not worth the risk to just replace the element and wire it to a 120 volt supply, especially without a breaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
There are breakers on the boat . There is not one labeled specifically " water heater". Previous owner said the element went bad and he took it out and plugged it to take it to find a replacement and hot water was a low priority so he just never got to it. As for the wires I stated they are in the area of the water heater and there are only 2 of them. You misread my previous post. I am aware that 120 volt should have 3 wires. The element looks like there were only 2 wires . Logic deduction states there were only 2 wires attached ( unless ground was removed at some time for some reason) so it may be 12 volt.
I feel this does not make sense on a power efficient sailboat with a wind gen and solar panel.
If I find the correct size element with a temp regulator. I could splice a cord on it and the boat 120 volt system breakers ( which are there) will protect it when I plug into an outlet.
This is sufficient for the 2 times a month I will use it.
I have a good friend who is a boat electrition who will verify everything before powering up but he does not want to be bothered finding parts and setting it up.
Thanks for your concern for safety. I assure you I am more familiar and safe than you think of me.
My reason for posting is finding the part. Will try home depot/ models etc. Wm and defenders were of no help.
 

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Jason just replace the element and overtemp thermostat which is the little box with the red reset button. You could run it on a GFI protected, plugged source safely if that is still in the circuit
 
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