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Old 11-22-2018, 10:29 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by aerogoat View Post
Insert an auto resetting circuit breaker available at autozone
Please don't use an auto reset breaker. It might trip and reset constantly and eventually overheat wiring causing a fire.

Fixing the problem is the best solution. Use a MANUAL reset if you must.
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Old 11-22-2018, 10:46 AM   #62
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Larry-NC. Great tutorial. I've done a lot of 12V trouble shooting over the years and the 12V light is a GREAT simple idea. Way easier than a DVOM Meter.

FYI, I'm going to use it in the future. Thanks.

David, consider light switch mounting screws rubbing on the wires, defective light fixtures, wrong bulb in fixture, (two filiment bulb in a one filiment socket ..... seen it many times), factory screws and staples run through wires as well as the usual, wires rubbing on metal framing.
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Old 11-23-2018, 10:45 AM   #63
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Will do

I will have the tester set up tomorrow and start testing on Sunday. Not my favorite thing to get up in the cold early in the AM. Thats why I moved to AZ. All 5 lights are LED. The two over the dining table were filament but I swapped them out several years ago for LEDs way before this started to happen. I will indeed check the easy stuff first.

I did not get an auto reset CB. I have to push the button to reset it. What do you guys think of this? Since this happened one time as the rig was sitting at the house overnight I may install the tester, leave the battery on over night and check it in the morning? In this manner I can see if it happens at the coldest time of the night. Any risk letting it just sit there with the bulb in the failed state? I have a solar panel but would check first thing in the AM.

Hope you all had a good Turkey Day
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Old 11-23-2018, 11:37 AM   #64
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Sounds good to me. Glad to hear you have the manual reset breaker. Let us know results.
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Old 11-23-2018, 08:29 PM   #65
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No risk

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Any risk letting it just sit there with the bulb in the failed state? I have a solar panel but would check first thing in the AM.

Hope you all had a good Turkey Day
No, there is no risk leaving it in the failed (shorted) state. Having the bulb in series guarantees that no more than 1.8 amps will flow. That's way lower than the maximum the fuse allows, 15 amps. It's no different than leaving a light on.

The only thing to watch for is that the 1141 lamp can get pretty warm itself. Let it hang in free air, not in contact with anything that could be damaged.

Thanksgiving was great, thank you. We spent it at the stick-and-bricks house of folks whose trailer is across from ours at the resort. Great food, great company.

Larry
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Old 11-23-2018, 09:16 PM   #66
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An old trick

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Since this happened one time as the rig was sitting at the house overnight I may install the tester, leave the battery on over night and check it in the morning? In this manner I can see if it happens at the coldest time of the night.
There's an old trick where you put a clock on the circuit in question and look at the time displayed when it stopped.

In this case you would use a fuse or your manually-resettable breaker and plug a 12 volt analog clock with hands (or lower voltage clock with voltage reducer) into one of the lamps. I could work through the parts list and assembly with you but it's more complicated than the lamp.

Larry
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Old 11-23-2018, 10:09 PM   #67
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David, if/when, with the bulb replacing the fuse it acts up ( bulb goes bright with nothing on) then would be the time to try to tap on switch areas, climb under the unit and gently wiggle the wiring, while someone else watches the bulb. If itís still bright you could then pull the 2 light switches and unplug the wires and see what happens. The real fun will start when the bulb gets bright! Jay
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Old 11-23-2018, 10:39 PM   #68
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When I have a short in a large control system that is intermittent and can not find I put several fuse's in the system wiring to try and pinpoint the overload or short. By putting several fuses that are fused to meet amp load of just that component or circuit. A fuse amperage rating of 3-5 amps should work with a 15 amp fuse in the main fuse panel. The fuse that has a 3-5 amp rating that blows has a problem in the circuit past that fuse. That is how I have found intermittent problems.

Hope this helps Tim
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:17 PM   #69
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Ready to Rock & Roll

Tim; That is a good idea if it fails and I cannot find problem. I imagine most of the wiring is in the walls and I wont have access to it but it would help narrow things down. I will call that step 2 if I can't find it with step 1.

There is a low moving in later this week and it is supposed to chill down so I think I will wait until Wednesday to plug in the lamp. I will have a better chance of the short presenting itself.

I will do my best to keep all of you that helped up to date.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:22 PM   #70
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Test Fixture Plugged In

So, there are 5 LED lights on 4 switches. Three singles and a double. I was VERY surprised to see how little the LEDs draw. None of the 4 switches by themselves lighted the bulb enough for me too se it glow. Even if I wrapped my hand around the bulb to block the light. I need to have at least 2 switches on for me to see the glow. I know it will be at full bright on a failure. We have some weather moving in possible snow lows about 34 the next couple of nights so I will check on the bulb as early as possible for the next few days. If I get to it too late it might warm up enough for the short to go away as in the past. On this initial power on all was well. No short.

Again, thanks for everyones assistance.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:43 PM   #71
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you can also have someone watch the light and bang, prod and move anything you can find near the circuit and the estimated path from the panel to the load.

The cold is probably just moving something, maybe able to manually trip it when its not as cold.
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Old 11-29-2018, 05:11 PM   #72
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You're doing great!

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So, there are 5 LED lights on 4 switches. Three singles and a double. I was VERY surprised to see how little the LEDs draw. None of the 4 switches by themselves lighted the bulb enough for me too se it glow. Even if I wrapped my hand around the bulb to block the light. I need to have at least 2 switches on for me to see the glow. I know it will be at full bright on a failure. We have some weather moving in possible snow lows about 34 the next couple of nights so I will check on the bulb as early as possible for the next few days. If I get to it too late it might warm up enough for the short to go away as in the past. On this initial power on all was well. No short.

Again, thanks for everyones assistance.
David, this is exactly the right approach. Keep at it. I know you're gonna get this.

Can you imagine how difficult it would be to get it serviced? You would be without the vehicle for weeks! And when it finally does get cold they wouldn't remember to check it that day! And how many hours at $100/hour?

By flipping light switches and watching the test lamp you may be able to isolate the problem to one or more of the lights. And if it lights with all of the switches off, then the fault is between the fuse panel and the switches.

Larry
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:02 PM   #73
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Bright as the Moon

So I went to the rig and the bulb was lighted full bright. That means that sometime between me leaving the rig yesterday afternoon and me showing up the AM the short manifested itself. Long story short. I dropped all five lights and physically removed the two switched from the wires. Tugged on everything (managed to pull apart a wire connector) and nothing, lamp still lighted. I was alone so no sense going out to tug wires. Anyway it is 36 degrees and sleeting and raining. I shut off the battery and will return tomorrow to see if the short is still there. I didn't check to see if the wiring color code was consistent for all 5 lights. I will also pull the distribution panel and look at the wire color at it. If it is all the same might help troubleshoot it. That is if FR didn't use the same wire everywhere. If my theory holds up and it gets warmer (have no idea what warmer is ) the short should go away. I understand expansion and contraction but what is going on is really strange. I was thinking condensation and that might be true today but usually here in good ole AZ we experience 11-15 humidity. I wonder if I am missing something?
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:16 PM   #74
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Were you able?

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So I went to the rig and the bulb was lighted full bright. That means that sometime between me leaving the rig yesterday afternoon and me showing up the AM the short manifested itself. Long story short. I dropped all five lights and physically removed the two switched from the wires. Tugged on everything (managed to pull apart a wire connector) and nothing, lamp still lighted. I was alone so no sense going out to tug wires. Anyway it is 36 degrees and sleeting and raining. I shut off the battery and will return tomorrow to see if the short is still there. I didn't check to see if the wiring color code was consistent for all 5 lights. I will also pull the distribution panel and look at the wire color at it. If it is all the same might help troubleshoot it. That is if FR didn't use the same wire everywhere. If my theory holds up and it gets warmer (have no idea what warmer is ) the short should go away. I understand expansion and contraction but what is going on is really strange. I was thinking condensation and that might be true today but usually here in good ole AZ we experience 11-15 humidity. I wonder if I am missing something?
Were you able to identify where the wires run from the main body to the slideout? And wiggle those wires? Chafed wires are a good possibility.

If the lamp remains lighted with both switches disconnected. the problem HAS BEEN ISOLATED to the segment from the fuse panel to the switches. Can you mentally visualize how the wire runs from the fuse panel to the switches?

Condensation is not conductive enough to be an issue on 12 volt systems. If it were, we could never drive our cars at 65 mph in a rainstorm. Everything underhood would go bonkers.

It might be this simple: Is the fuse panel in a metal box or a plastic box? (My WFCO 9855 is in a plastic box.) If yours is metal, check that the wire insulation isn't cut as it exits the metal box. The fix might be as simple as a strip of black electrical tape.

Larry
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:22 PM   #75
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David, as a simple test to make sure you're on the right path, string a temporary wire from the fuse panel to the 1st light switch in the series. If the light never comes on, you verified that the wire that goes from the fuse panel to the 1st light switch is where your problem exists. That way you're not spending a lot of time looking at lights and light switches.
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Old 11-30-2018, 03:53 PM   #76
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PK, you're writing as if this were a 120 vac problem. It's not. It's on the 12vdc side.

The thoughts are good, but the procedure doesn't fit.

Larry
You're right Larry. Forget the third (green or bare) wire. The rest stands. :-)
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:38 PM   #77
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If I Only Knew

Hey John;

Now I need to figure out which is the first switch. On the pancake lights the switch is physically on each light. I need to figured out how the five lights are wired so I can to the first one. I am thinking the LAST light will not have a splice to the next light. Don't even know if I have enough slack to really see the connections.
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Old 11-30-2018, 07:00 PM   #78
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Hey John;

Now I need to figure out which is the first switch. On the pancake lights the switch is physically on each light. I need to figured out how the five lights are wired so I can to the first one. I am thinking the LAST light will not have a splice to the next light. Don't even know if I have enough slack to really see the connections.
It helps if you draw out the circuit as you think it is, and work from there. When it's not shorted out, use your meter or test light and try to figure out where the power starts entering the circuit. Disconnect it and see if all of the lights quit. Then work your way back to the fuse panel from the disconnected wire.

Sometimes it is just easier to run a new separate supply wire to the lights from the panel and cap off the faulty wire on both ends.
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Old 11-30-2018, 07:30 PM   #79
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Visualize it

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Hey John;

Now I need to figure out which is the first switch. On the pancake lights the switch is physically on each light. I need to figured out how the five lights are wired so I can to the first one. I am thinking the LAST light will not have a splice to the next light. Don't even know if I have enough slack to really see the connections.
David,

You may be able to visualize the wiring sequence. The wires go in the walls before the paneling goes on. The wiring is likely to be straight-line. From the fuse panel to the closest lamp, then to the one closest to it, then to one closest to it.

This wiring has to get to the slideout somehow. Have you been able to figure out whether it comes through the floor (more likely) or the ceiling (less likely)? Once you've found it, under the slideout, have you seen any splices there? You might see bundles of wire in split wire loom (see attachment) under the slideout. The loom is split up the side. You can non-destructively open it, peel it off, and check the wires inside.

There could be hidden splices within the walls, but it's not generally done (never on 120 VAC, rarely on 12 VDC which is what you are working on).

Larry
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Old 11-30-2018, 07:36 PM   #80
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Haven't looked yet

I need a decent day to look around. From memory I think the wire bundles run along the bottom of the main box and then enter the slide after being routed along the flexible plastic brace. I will take a much better look for chaffing and stuff before I start cutting wires. I need a dryer day. I am also still going to check out the color code and see if that can point me anywhere.
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