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Old 12-07-2018, 03:25 PM   #1
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2018 20' Flying Cloud
Puyallup , Washington
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 6
Ghosts in the Lights

Hello fellow streamers. I have a very peculiar issue with our 2018 FC 20' FB. This issue has only recently popped up with the temps dropping.

The lights over the front bed will turn on during the night. The switch will still be in the off position and toggling the switch or using the dimmer seems to have no effect. The only way I am able to get the lights to turn off and make the switch function is to engage the battery disconnect switch (I am plugged into shore power). The light will stay on but as soon as I toggle the switch to on, the light turns off. Once the light turn off, I am then able to toggle the switch to the off position and will start working normally.

I have a trip coming up in 2 weeks and unfortunately I can't get into the dealer until January. Anyone ever heard of something like this happening? I've been documenting the issue every time I go out to turn off the lights. Here is a video I took today.

Honestly I felt like the dealer thought I was crazy when I called the service

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Old 12-07-2018, 04:19 PM   #2
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
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That makes me wonder what the innards of those switches look like now... I haven't taken one apart or removed it. I wonder if unplugging that switch would alleviate the problem... if it does, then a new switch would probably cure it.

— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:50 PM   #3
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I don't know and I'm willing to bet your dealer doesn't either. That said, instead of parking it at your dealer for a couple weeks, why not call Airstream tech and see if they can help. You can't be alone and they should be able to think it through. When lights flicker, it's almost always the WFCO converter, heard it for 10 years but this is not the converter yet.
Randy...Converters, Inverters, Trimetric, Surge Protectors, Zamp, Smartplug, AGM Batts
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:14 PM   #4
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2016 30' International
redondo beach , California
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You have a bad switch/dimmer.
Order the part and just replace it.
Or have someone/anyone do it for you.
Forget the worthless dealer.
They could do it in minutes.
Randy and Beth
2015 F250 Titan 50 gallon
2016 30' International ProPride, EasyStart, Michelin 16", 400AH LiFePO4, Victron BMV 712, Orion DC/DC converter, BlueSolar MPPT 100/30, Victron 12|1200 inverter, 300W solar mix, Alpine iLX, Polk MM1, Samsung 42, one small air plant
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:24 AM   #5
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Here is an old thread discussing similar problems, so you might find a clue there:

One potential difference that I see in your case is that the lights remained on after you switch the Use-Store switch to the "store" position. I do not believe that detail was ever mentioned in the above linked thread, so your issue could be different.

One key question to you is "during the video was your trailer connected to shore power, so that the converter was still providing power to the dimmer switch?"

If NO, then I do not believe a bad dimmer is the most likely cause, because your light remained on after the Use-Store switch was put in the "store" position, yet there should not have been 12V power going to the dimmer switch to allow the lights to remain on. It seems to me that the only way the light could remain on in this case is via a back feed of power from another source via a poor or disconnected ground to the dimmer switch or the lights. Please note that the Use-Store switch does not disconnect 12V power from everything in your trailer, so if something that is not disconnected by the Use-Store switch (e.g. propane detector, solar controller, inverter, etc.) shares a ground connection with either the dimmer switch or the lights that remained on, it is possible that a back fed of power was created allowing the lights to turn/remain on, even with the dimmer switch off and the Use-Store switch in the "store" position. Then turning the dimmer switch on, may have allowed the dimmer circuit and lights to find another ground via other devices in the trailer that share that same fused power feed that goes to the dimmer switch in question, which then caused the dimmer circuit to turn off and cause the lights to go out. A poor ground connection could be temperature or vibration sensitive. A competent electrician/technician should be able to test out this theory with a volt/ohm meter during times that the condition can be repeated. I looked at the 2018 Flying Cloud Owners Manual on the Airstream website and unfortunately they do not provide a complete 12V wiring diagram, so I am working on theories based upon a 30 year career in the automotive industry that did include troubleshooting mysterious electrical problems that were often found to be caused by bad ground connections.

If instead the answer is YES the trailer was still connected to shore power, the converter may have still been providing power to the dimmer switch even with the Use-Store switch in the Store position. If so, a bad dimmer switch might be the cause of the light remaining on with the dimmer switch off, in a manner similar to what was discussed in the linked thread above.

I will also note that I have noticed in my own Airstream that the dimmer behaves very erratically when the battery voltage is very low (near or below 12.0V) Sometimes as the dimmer was turned "up" the lamp intensity went "down" and vice versa, opposite of normal. Please make sure your batteries are not run down, to rule that out as a possible cause. Testing while plugged in to shore power with the converter putting oput 13.0+V vs. running on "battery only" might also lend a clue.

Good luck!
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:28 PM   #6
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2018 20' Flying Cloud
Puyallup , Washington
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Posts: 6
Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for the responses. Additionally, I was indeed hooked up to shore power during that video. I know the lights are on again and when I go out, I'll disconnect from shore power before I do anything. Just to see if the results are the same.

Again, much appreciated!

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