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Old 08-22-2013, 06:29 AM   #1
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Flashing inside lights

Greetings. I am Brad, new to the forum, long time Airstream owner, but I am in my new 2010 27FB Classic for our first night out. We just found this barn queen. It has never traveled and hardly been used. It has these nice hanging lights over the table and over the bed. The look like upside down wine cups. Anyway, one of them over the table was missing a bulb, which didn't raise any concern till last night.

One of them over the bed started coming on and off last night without being touched. The switch was clicked off. To get some sleep, I took the bulb out and put it in the lamp over the table. About an hour later, it started going on and off by itself.

Two weird fixtures in one trailer points to a larger problem.

Any ideas?
Thanks in advance
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bbelk View Post
Greetings. I am Brad, new to the forum, long time Airstream owner, but I am in my new 2010 27FB Classic for our first night out. We just found this barn queen. It has never traveled and hardly been used. It has these nice hanging lights over the table and over the bed. The look like upside down wine cups. Anyway, one of them over the table was missing a bulb, which didn't raise any concern till last night.

One of them over the bed started coming on and off last night without being touched. The switch was clicked off. To get some sleep, I took the bulb out and put it in the lamp over the table. About an hour later, it started going on and off by itself.

Two weird fixtures in one trailer points to a larger problem.

Any ideas?
Thanks in advance
Yes. Your Airstream is haunted! 2010 27FB Classic, I hereby dub thee, "Spooky"! Or maybe "Casper" if you have any artistic talent and want to paint the name complete with a cute cartoon ghost. But I like "Spooky" better.

Seriously, though, replace the bulb. Same bulb flashing by itself in two different fixtures, almost got to be the bulb. If the flashing doesn't happen anymore, problem solved. If the lights continue to flicker with new bulbs, then you've just eliminated one potential cause and can move on to the next suggestion.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:40 AM   #3
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I agree with Protagonist. When moving bulb to different fixture, you isolated problem to likely be the bulb.

Questions..
Is the bulb an LED or standard filament?
Post a pic?
Also, does the switch control only one bulb?
Do other bulbs work ok in those?

I vote "Spooky"...
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:46 AM   #4
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One of them over the bed started coming on and off last night without being touched. The switch was clicked off.
If you're certain the switch was off, then that wouldn't be a bulb problem.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:58 AM   #5
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If you're certain the switch was off, then that wouldn't be a bulb problem.
Maybe. But one of the basic rules of troubleshooting is, "Try the easy things first." Replacing a bulb is easy, and cheap. And if it doesn't solve the problem, then the owner can start taking apart light fixtures to track down an electrical problem.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:23 AM   #6
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Does this circuit have a fuse or a resetting circuit breaker? the flickering could be caused by the breaker tripping and resetting continuously. if there is only one switch to these fixtures, not 3 way or 4 way switches, then the voltage would have to be coming from a defective switch or possibly feed back from some other device. Another good reason to check for voltage with a volt meter before working on any circuit, even after the switch/breaker is turned off Ask me how I know this one!
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:29 PM   #7
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Lights still Flashing when off

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
If you're certain the switch was off, then that wouldn't be a bulb problem.
Yep the switch is off on both lights. I needed at least one new bulb anyway so I bought some. The symptoms did not change.

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Does this circuit have a fuse or a resetting circuit breaker? the flickering could be caused by the breaker tripping and resetting continuously. if there is only one switch to these fixtures, not 3 way or 4 way switches, then the voltage would have to be coming from a defective switch or possibly feed back from some other device. Another good reason to check for voltage with a volt meter before working on any circuit, even after the switch/breaker is turned off Ask me how I know this one!
tim
I am sure it has a fuse. No breakers in the FB model and over the bed and the table, the matching light on the other side does not have the issue.

I suspect the dimmer switch is bad, but its weird to have two of them at the same time in a camper so new.

This problem is falling to the back of the list as the new one that showed up this morning has trumped it. Thanks for the help here and please see the next topic.

Brad
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:21 PM   #8
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As an electronics technician, there is some basic information missing here.
1. Are you on shore power, generator, or battery power when the lights flicker?
2. What type light is this; AC or DC?
3. Are both lights on the same electrical circuit?

If the lights are DC and on an inverter, the inverter may have a bad ground. I have seen this in Aircraft with floating grounds.

You might try to duplicate the problem while on different power supplies to narrow the problem to one system. Then a multi-meter would come in real handy.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:44 PM   #9
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As an electronics technician, there is some basic information missing here.
1. Are you on shore power, generator, or battery power when the lights flicker?
2. What type light is this; AC or DC?
3. Are both lights on the same electrical circuit?

If the lights are DC and on an inverter, the inverter may have a bad ground. I have seen this in Aircraft with floating grounds.

You might try to duplicate the problem while on different power supplies to narrow the problem to one system. Then a multi-meter would come in real handy.
I have not seen the problem except on shore power. It is too hot here to be in the camper without A/C so I have not spent much time unplugged.

The light is 12v. DC

The bed lights and the dinette lights are on separate circuits and both the weird lights share circuits with other lights of the same type that work properly.

I am thinking the little dimmer which is part of the fixture itself is leaking. When the light goes on and off it is sometimes partially dimmed.
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:34 AM   #10
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I agree with your troubleshooting assessment. Either change out the switch or the fixture if it is still under warranty. Many times the dimmer, which is a simple "potentiometer" or "rheostat", is the culprit. If you cannot source a replacement fixture, you may be able to repair yours with a replacement from an electronics supply house.
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:48 AM   #11
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I think 2010 was the first year with LED's that had dimmers - and I vaguely recall hearing others had problems with them. I don't remember the spotlights having dimmers though - only the overhead lights. (But then I don't have a classic).

I wonder if taking the switch apart and cleaning it would help.

Paula
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:01 AM   #12
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I agree with your troubleshooting assessment. Either change out the switch or the fixture if it is still under warranty. Many times the dimmer, which is a simple "potentiometer" or "rheostat", is the culprit. If you cannot source a replacement fixture, you may be able to repair yours with a replacement from an electronics supply house.
Not so simple. Under the base there are nine connections. A device that looks like a tiny potentiometer that has five tiny wires leaving it and going into an epoxy glob that by they way was very warm to the touch without using the light.

I replaced all that mess with a toggle switch that works fine for now. The whole fixture is $20 new on e-bay, but the seller is on vacation. $40 at the dealer.

I will probably put a toggle switch in the other busted light as well and call it done.

Thanks for the input
Brad
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:44 AM   #13
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I understand your attitude with this little booger. LED are micro-voltage devices that are much more sensitive to current back flow through the ground. As you have stated that the dimmer device was warm to the touch, I can almost assure you that the diode inside the device is kaput; allowing the current to flow back and fluctuate as the AC to DC power inverter fluctuates with the shore power. BEWARE this may be indicative of a marginal inverter unit which could lead to more electrical troubles on the DC side. You may want to test this with a voltage meter while under load.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:02 PM   #14
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I understand your attitude with this little booger. LED are micro-voltage devices that are much more sensitive to current back flow through the ground. As you have stated that the dimmer device was warm to the touch, I can almost assure you that the diode inside the device is kaput; allowing the current to flow back and fluctuate as the AC to DC power inverter fluctuates with the shore power. BEWARE this may be indicative of a marginal inverter unit which could lead to more electrical troubles on the DC side. You may want to test this with a voltage meter while under load.
The bulb is incandescent and not LED. The trailer had two bad batteries in it from sitting up with zero charge for two years. I replaced them and they were both charging at 13.5 volts, so I think the inverter is ok.

While I am at it, I would have expected LEDs in a camper this fancy, but it has fluorescents for the overheads and the little incandescents for the accent/reading lights. I never had a problem with the fluorescent in my Class B Van, so I guess they are ok.
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