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Old 10-24-2012, 10:15 PM   #1
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burnt interior light switches

1st time posting so here goes....

The wife and I are full timers and have a 2013 Grey Wolf 28BH. We love the trailer but it has come with a few quirks. My latest one has me stumped. I have gone through 4 switches on my interior lights in three months. It seems to be getting too hot and causing a mechanical fault in the switch after the lights are on longer than an hour or so. The one that has damaged the most switches is over my bathroom sink which happens to be the one we use the most. There is some discoloration to the leads on the back of the switch and the bulbs are getting pretty warm with a little mild discoloration.

Here's my question: Do I have some kind of short or is the heat simply overcoming the cheap little switch that I cannot find anywhere? I don't think it's a short or I would be blowing fuses. Seems to me the switch isn't able to take the heat the twin bulbs put out. These switches are all from the same type of double bulb standard fixture. Dealership wants me to bring in the light and said they will order an entire light assembly to replace it but unless I have something else going on the replacements will do the same thing. I have of course checked the leads and the fuses thoroughly many times at this point and can't find anything wrong. I have a little electrical background and am a pretty handy guy but this one has me stymied.

Being full-timers we use this light every single day. My thoughts for a decent fix would be 1. bigger/sturdier switch to take the heat, 2. replace bulbs with LED to reduce the heat(which bulbs to put out the same amount of light?) or 3. new light fixtures that aren't so frail. Those are my options if it isn't a short. Any suggestions would be very welcome.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:36 PM   #2
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It sounds to me like the light bulbs in the light fixtures are to high of a wattage... I would check them and ask the dealer if you could get some bulbs with a lower wattage or better yet, like you said, ask for them to be replaced them with a LED bulb replacement.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:42 PM   #3
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Wire size to small?
Loose connection at light?
Bad or loose ground would be my guess.

I've left a light on for days without incident.

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Old 10-25-2012, 08:59 AM   #4
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All of the connections are tight. So tight I have to use a pair of needlenose to disconnect the switches. It's happened in two light fixtures now which both happen to be the ones we use the most. It's the factory wiring so I don't think its too small. I'll look at what guage the wires are. I've made sure that the wires aren't getting hot and checked as far back as possible to see if there's anything out of the ordinary with the insulation or a short. I'm thinking there's too much heat for the 3A 14V switch with two bulbs on the same switch. My dad has had similar problems with heat in his Freightliner with the same size switch but hasn't burnt out any switches. I tracked down extra switches at Grainger but they're the same amps/volts. If I get a bigger switch it will probably be a physically larger switch so I'll have to make some "adjustments" to the light to make a new switch fit.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:44 PM   #5
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I went to the dealership today and it didn't go so well. They wanted me to haul it in for 1-3 days while they chase down an electrical gremlin that probably is not there. As stated we're full timers and that didn't sit too well with us. Especially since I firmly believe its a cheap light problem and not a short or fault of some kind. If it were a true electrical problem and not the light I would be melting wires or popping fuses at least.

So here's what we came up with: I brought them three light assemblies that had discoloration and bad switches. They authorized replacement of all three with newer units they had in stock. I also bought two LED bulbs to do some theory testing.

When I got to the trailer I broke open the packages and looked at the switches. The newer models all have 10A 13.2V switches with smaller metal reflector plates. The old lights had 3A 12V switches with huge metal plates that would conduct all of that heat throughout. I installed the two LED bulbs over the vanity which is the light we use the most and the other two with regular bulbs in the center trailer positions which we use second most. I will be watching all three very carefully and share what happens.

If nothing changes and I keep blowing switches/lights they agreed to send out a technician to at least evaluate before I commit to an endless amount of time in the shop.

If the newer switches handle the same size/type of bulbs we'll know its a faulty light problem and the service agent agreed to replace the rest of my lights if it proves to be the problem. I have 7 more in the trailer. They also mentioned that if the LED option worked they might be able to work something out if not exchange every bulb. It just so happened that the two bulbs that fit my light were $30 each at the dealership. They knocked off 40% for my troubles though so the coals I got raked over didn't hurt too much.
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