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Old 07-16-2007, 06:57 PM   #15
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In automotive use, bulbs are subjected to varying voltages due to the state of charge in the battery. The voltage regulation circuit allows higher voltages from the alternator to the battery, (and everything connected to the battery) until the battery reaches full charge. Voltages of 14 voilts or higher are common and yet we don't see this problem in automotive usage. A loose or corroded connection on an individual light will cause a voltage drop across the resistance of the bad connection. That should not cause higher voltage across the lamp in fact just the opposite. An interrupted circuit caused by a loose connection can cause a voltage surge when the circuit makes again and if that connection were say at a battery post, a surge can occur but that would blow every single bulb that was on at the time. Maybe you have one fused circuit with multiple bulbs connected in parallel that is interrupting, causing all bulbs on that circuit to blow. My 1990 AS has all circuit breakers for the 12v circuits. Maybe you have a bad circuit breaker or more likely a loose screw holding a wire at a circuit breaker. I would check all the screws on the circuit breakers, it's possible the factory forgot to tighten one srew. If you do, disconnect one battery cable at your battery(s).
It doesn't sound to me like an excess voltage problem, but more like a surge problem. I remember as a kid I was driving my dad's car, at night, that had a 6 volt battery. A loose battery cable caused every light bulb that was operating to burn out. Headlights, tail lights, every dash panel light etc. Fortunately I was able to switch to high beams and drive home before the connection interrupted again. Charlie E
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:06 PM   #16
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Hi, burned out bulbs or broken filiments? Broken filiments can be seen by looking at them and sometimes by tapping on the glass. Burned out bulbs, sometimes but not always, turn colors. [Black, silver, or cream] If the bulbs have turned colors when burned out, it could be high voltage, unstable voltage, or vacuum leak in the bulb. Broken filiments can happen due to vibrations or just weak / cheap bulbs. So the first thing I would do is determine if the bulbs are burned out or have broken filiments.
As for all the lights burning out on a car; It is caused by the chargeing system putting out too high a voltage. A bad voltage regulator or a bad battery connection can do this; the chargeing system needs the battery for reference to determine how much voltage to put out. Without the battery, the regulator will spike the voltage to whatever the generator is capeable of putting out.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:43 PM   #17
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Just to add something else to the mix. We replaced our over-the-sink light in the kitchen (not the Airstream) with a new halogen fixture about 18 months ago. We went thru about 5 bulbs in that darn thing the first year. About 6 months ago, I tested the fixture with a multi-meter and found about 6 volts on it with the switch turned off. Replaced the wall switch and everything is normal since.

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Old 07-17-2007, 05:27 AM   #18
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The overhead bulbs in the new trailers are halegon 12 volt dc bulbs. They were originally designed for the low voltage light applications used in homes. The overhead bulbs in older trailers use backup automotive bulbs that are also 12 volt DC bulbs but were designed to be used in autos. The halegon bulbs operate very differently than the old auto bulbs. The temperature is much hotter. This can cause them to overheat the fixtures and warp the plastic part of the glass lens holders, if the fixtures are not properly mounted the way they are in houses. Airstreams do not have the room to properly mount the fixtures and Airstream engineers may not have properly accounted for proper cooling and have forgot they need to remove all thermal insulating material from around the fixtures to allow them to cool properly. Household halegon bulbs were not designed to endure road abuse. They are also designed to be powered by simple transformers from houshold 120 volt power which is more closely regulated than power you may be receiving from your converter on your trailer.

If you read the packaging for the replacement halegon bulbs, they caution against handling the bulbs with bare hands. Improper handling can shorten the bulb life dramatically.
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi
The overhead bulbs in the new trailers are halegon 12 volt dc bulbs. They were originally designed for the low voltage light applications used in homes. The overhead bulbs in older trailers use backup automotive bulbs that are also 12 volt DC bulbs but were designed to be used in autos. The halegon bulbs operate very differently than the old auto bulbs. The temperature is much hotter. This can cause them to overheat the fixtures and warp the plastic part of the glass lens holders, if the fixtures are not properly mounted the way they are in houses. Airstreams do not have the room to properly mount the fixtures and Airstream engineers may not have properly accounted for proper cooling and have forgot they need to remove all thermal insulating material from around the fixtures to allow them to cool properly. Household halegon bulbs were not designed to endure road abuse. They are also designed to be powered by simple transformers from houshold 120 volt power which is more closely regulated than power you may be receiving from your converter on your trailer.

If you read the packaging for the replacement halegon bulbs, they caution against handling the bulbs with bare hands. Improper handling can shorten the bulb life dramatically.
The bulbs in my overhead (ceiling) lights have a round base with pins on both sides and a glass glove containing a filament. When installing you line up the pins on the bulb with the slots in the socket, press against the spring tension then twist into its seating area. They look just like the standard tail light bulbs in my 64 Corvette. Are these halogen bulbs ?

I had to change one halogen bulb in the light (looks like a trac light) over our bed, and just as you mention, the instructions stated not to handle with bare hands. This bulb was much smaller and had a flat area with wire terminals that pressed into the socket. This bulb has been fine since installation.
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:54 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Just to add something else to the mix. We replaced our over-the-sink light in the kitchen (not the Airstream) with a new halogen fixture about 18 months ago. We went thru about 5 bulbs in that darn thing the first year. About 6 months ago, I tested the fixture with a multi-meter and found about 6 volts on it with the switch turned off. Replaced the wall switch and everything is normal since.

Jim
Thanks !! I'll check mine to see if something similar is happening.
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:56 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone !!
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Old 07-17-2007, 04:26 PM   #22
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They look just like the standard tail light bulbs in my 64 Corvette. Are these halogen bulbs ?
unlikely, however there are many grades of common automotive bulbs (you get what you pay for!)

you may want to try a napa and ask for heavy duty replacements, thicker filiments more support wires etc.

your originals wern't made overseas by any chance?

john
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