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Old 01-22-2011, 07:06 PM   #1
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1972 23' Safari
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5
Flash of Light !!

Hello----I'm a new member of this site as far as posting any threads.

I have tried doing a search for my question/problem but was unable to find anyone else with the same situation .

I have a 1972 23ft Safari. It is connected to house current. I was going to add a short string of small x-mas lights in the area above the cookstove and sinks. I was going to temporarly hold them up with some binder clips from an office supply store. The lights were not plugged in.

I clipped one end of the string to the left front corner of the "rim" that holds the filter over the stove. I started to attach a clip to the left rear corner of the rim, and all of a sudden there was a big flash of white light. There was no noise and I felt no shock. Yikes!

My first thought was that the skin of my AS had become "hot". I retreated to my shop to get my Pen-type AC power detector. I touched the pen to a corner of the filter rim and got another flash of light. I dragged the pen underneath the overhead cabinets and when I got in the area over the sinks, I got another flash of bright light.

I checked the polarity warning light on the outside of my rig and it was out. I have had this rig for over ten years and have never had such a situation before. I got an outlet tester (the one you stick into an outlet and it has three lights on it) and started at the outlet where my rig was plugged into and then went inside the rig and plugged the tester into a number of outlets and all the tester lights showed as being a correct connection. Anyone have any more suggestions? ---Don---

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Old 01-22-2011, 07:55 PM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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Welcome to the forums.
It may be as simple as a light bulb with a loose filament in the galley light fixture. It briefly makes contact if you move it just right.

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Old 01-22-2011, 11:09 PM   #3
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Morrill , Nebraska
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How big of a flash was it?
Do you have carpet in the trailer?
Has the wind been blowing hard around there?
Was the flash of light where you copnnected the clip or was it a near by light fixture?
Is the tongue of the trailer supported on a block of wood?
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:22 PM   #4
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TG Twinkie, congrats on 600 posts!
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:45 AM   #5
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Oracle , Arizona
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Are you a regular church goer?
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:00 AM   #6
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1981 27' Excella II
mays landing , South Jersey
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Maybe you shorted the 12V wire going to the exhaust fan. Just a wild guess. Sal.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:08 PM   #7
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1972 23' Safari
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5
"Flash of Light" Update

Thanks for the replies. I typed this message out once before, but lost it somewhere, so here goes: Overlander63---the lighting fixture in the galley is the original 3-bulb 12vt unit, and it was not on.

TGTwinkie---the flash seemed quite large, of course my nose was about a foot away from the first flash, I do have carpet on the floor in that area, the wind has been blowing quite hard at times and may have been doing so about that time, the flash was not near the light fixture, the trailer tongue is setting on a concrete block.

Ahab---my "church going" is mainly for marryin's and buryin's !

Noreen---I don't think the exhaust fan wire is the culprit, because the last of the 3 flashes occurred while running the AC tester pen under the cabinet over the sinks, over 2 feet from the stove area.

I was out to the trailer last night and I could not duplicate the flashes. Also, why did I get the first flash when I installed the SECOND clip and not when I installed the FIRST clip. ---Don---
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:16 PM   #8
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1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
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There shouldn't be any AC going to your over the stove vent. The only AC in an Airstream should be to outlets. Even the refrigerator plugs into an outlet behind it. No lights, vents, or fans are AC, originally. I'm not sure what kind of AC tester you are using. Most volt meters will test for DC as well as AC.

DC will still make a spark, but you will not be shocked by 12v DC, which is a good thing. Have you checked your (DC) fuses after the flash incidents?
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:16 PM   #9
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My guess is; especially with the fact that you can't seem to duplicate the problem. It could have been static electricity. If your trailer doesn't have a good earth ground to the skin. You would be surprised how much static electricity can build up in the hull (skin) when the wind is blowing. I would check the 120 volt AC power panel and make sure there is a wire going from the ground buss (not the neutral buss with the white wires) to the skin of the trailer and that it has a good connection to the skin.
The reason I asked about the tongue jack is that with it setting on the concrete block and rubber tires on the trailer. If there is not ground wire in the 120 Volt AC panel. The hull could act like one great big capacitor.
When you did the thing with the string of lights you may have caused it to discharge.
I know it sounds goofy. But airplane hulls when flying, build up static electricity.
A ship going thru water does the same thing. That's why both have what is known as a sacrificial anodes. These anodes are consumed when there is electrical current present. It is called electrolysis. The sacrificial anodes are the protection from the hull being damaged by electrolysis.
The wind blowing across the skin of the trailer is no different than a plane flying.
This could be the reason that some trailers show severe skin damage, especially where there are multiple layers of metal.

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