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Old 11-11-2002, 08:34 AM   #15
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We have the tail light monitor covers. Part number 56808.

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Old 11-12-2002, 11:18 PM   #16
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yeah as i said before my cover is missing as well. my indicators are imbedded in a rubber grommet and there are two screws holding it to the side of the trailer when i removed the screws some of the cover was still there....looked like plastic....
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Old 11-12-2002, 11:35 PM   #17
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HEY!

does anyone out there have a picture of there exsisting fully intacted indicator light cover? if so....... could you please post it so i and others can see what it looks like?
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Old 11-19-2002, 08:03 PM   #18
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Ebay

Here is one of the covers discussed in this thread on Ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...tem=1873094090
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Old 12-11-2003, 09:42 PM   #19
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Well Smily it has been 14 months and 2 weeks since you promised photos...should I give up waiting??

Thanks Brett you come thru again!
(You might want to edit away the ebay link which has long ago gone invalid).

For the life of me I cant see what the cover did nor why it was necessary.

What about the clear button or "knob" that Smily mentioned? It apparently is at the lamp end of the "circuit" and maybe magnifies the initial output??

Andy you did not answer whether that part is still available.

My 74 has the indicators but no mention that I find in the service manual.

Were these options or standard?
What years had these? I know 71-77 from posters in the other thread*.

Why were they discontinued ? Seems like a very useful tool.

I suppose they only monitored the tail lamps not the brake lights...correct?

*Another thread concerning these indicators
is mistakenly titled LEDs. (See link above in another post).


$&V
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Old 12-12-2003, 08:39 AM   #20
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Tail Light Monitor

The option "tail light monitor" was Airstreams first use of "fiber optics."

The purpose of the monitor, especially at night time, was to allow the driver of the tow vehicle to see what was happening to the tail light system.

A dim light was seen when the "clearance lights" and "tail lights" were on.

When the brakes were applied, the "stop light" bulbs would illuminate accordingly.

Since the brake light element of the double element bulbs is used also for the turn signals, it of course would blink as govererned by the flasher on the tow vehicle.

It would be very costly to "add" the monitor after production.

They were discontinued only because of cost. Many owners said they did not tow at night time, so why have them?

As with any "monitor" system, safety or additional "whats happening" information was provided by the tail light monitor system.


We have the covers available in plastic. They hold the viewing monitor in place and provide a nice "finished" appearance to the left side of the trailer.

Interesting however, they were never installed on a motorhome.

Andy
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:40 PM   #21
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Question

Here is a sister thread to this one.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...html#post10933

A few questions unanswered in either of these old threads:
  • If the knob on the tail end of the fiber optic line is somewhat melted, is there any fix for it? Can a fiber optic line be spliced or re-knobed ?
  • Is the line shrouded? What color is the shroud?
  • Is it fragile ? Does the optic line deteriorate with age ? Become brittle & fall apart?
  • Anyone know if it is routed in the ceiling (attic) or along the side wall?
  • Has anyone seen this feature illustrated in their Service or Owner Manual? If so what year manuals.
And has anyone after switching over to LED "bulbed" tail lights noticed whether there is still any way to pickup the light and send it along the fiber optic lines.
  • And does the LED cluster put out more or less heat than the filament style? If more the "pickup knob" might not be able to withstand the heat increase..??
Oh I believe on my previous 31' Sovs and Excellas that the indicator was up near the front, street side of course. that's a long run.
  • I wonder if the ones further back (near the water heater) were brighter due to the shorter runs?
  • Lastly the covers that Andy once had, he says are plastic, were the originals (one pictured above apparently) metal?
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:31 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Distantdrummer View Post
Here is a sister thread to this one.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...html#post10933

A few questions unanswered in either of these old threads:
  • If the knob on the tail end of the fiber optic line is somewhat melted, is there any fix for it? Can a fiber optic line be spliced or re-knobed ?
  • Is the line shrouded? What color is the shroud?
  • Is it fragile ? Does the optic line deteriorate with age ? Become brittle & fall apart?
  • Anyone know if it is routed in the ceiling (attic) or along the side wall?
  • Has anyone seen this feature illustrated in their Service or Owner Manual? If so what year manuals.
And has anyone after switching over to LED "bulbed" tail lights noticed whether there is still any way to pickup the light and send it along the fiber optic lines.
  • And does the LED cluster put out more or less heat than the filament style? If more the "pickup knob" might not be able to withstand the heat increase..??
Oh I believe on my previous 31' Sovs and Excellas that the indicator was up near the front, street side of course. that's a long run.
  • I wonder if the ones further back (near the water heater) were brighter due to the shorter runs?
  • Lastly the covers that Andy once had, he says are plastic, were the originals (one pictured above apparently) metal?
I will be out of pocket for a few days in the hospital.

We now have metal tail light monitor covers.

Greg can asnswer your other questions, if you wish to call him.

Andy
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:08 AM   #23
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My monitors lights work but the cover is long gone. From the driver's seat I really cannot see them when lit. Will puting a cover on help? Or any other way to brighten them up?
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:49 AM   #24
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My monitors lights work but the cover is long gone. From the driver's seat I really cannot see them when lit. Will puting a cover on help? Or any other way to brighten them up?
It will help, in that they will be shaded, and you will be able to see the contrast better.
The fiber optic inlets are located behind the taillight bulb mounts. Remove the bulb, and make sure the inlets are securely mounted directly facing the bulb. There should be a rubber lip on each one that will hold it in place. Many times this lip will slip out, and the inlet won't be directly facing the bulb anymore, which will cause the monotior to not be very bright.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:02 PM   #25
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‘Drummer, I might be able to help a little here. I work with fiber optic cable every day and have also rebuilt the tail lights on my ’73 Overlander. I was fascinated to find out that a 1973 Airstream incorporated fiber technology.

There is a lot of difference between today’s fiber and early 1970’s fiber. The fiber we have today is much smaller and of better quality due to advances in technology. Today, we can transmit at speeds of over 40 gigabit on a single pair of fibers (radio waves, instead of “light”). The fibers in my ’73 Airstream were used to simply transmit visible light from the tail lights to the little orange “snake eyes” on the roadside of my camper. There are actually 7 (IIRC) different fibers inside the cable in the Airstream version. You can count them by looking in the snake eyes with a magnifying glass. You should see 7 separate light sources on the side of the camper per snake eye. In the modern version used to transmit RF, there is one fiber per cable.

Now, to your specific questions.
  • If the knob on the tail end of the fiber optic line is somewhat melted, is there any fix for it? Can a fiber optic line be spliced or re-knobbed?
The “knob” we refer to these days as a connecter. In my ’73 it is made of simple plastic. On modern cables, they have a connecter that makes a positive “click” connection to the device it is attached to. The ’73 version is just a big round “knob”, as you accurately pointed out. It is seated into a rubber fitting that collects the light from the bulb in the assembly and transmits that light to the snake eyes. I would look into a way to “polish” the plastic part of the knob so that it will again transmit light from the bulb to the fiber itself. Be careful not to overheat the “knob” as it will ruin the fiber itself. The fiber can be spliced, but it isn’t cheap (especially considering there are multiple fibers in the same sheath). Look in the yellow pages (or ask anybody you know that works in the CATV or Telephone biz. Avoid I.T. people who claim to know something about it, unless they have actually welded fiber recently).
  • Is the line shrouded? What color is the shroud?
Yes. In my ’73 the cable looks a lot like about a #14 gauge sized wire in a plastic jacket. It is black in color and has white lettering on it.
  • Is it fragile? Does the optic line deteriorate with age? Become brittle & fall apart?
It is fairly fragile. The cable itself will deteriorate over time and may become disconnected from the connecters on both ends. As said above, I was surprised that mine was still in good shape. It expands and contracts with heat and cold. The company I work for has fiber that has been in service for over 15 years with little degradation in service. If it has radical bends in it, loss of light will occur. Modern cable light-loss is measured in loss of DB’s per kilometer (typically, only a fraction of a DB per kilometer). I would think that in the short run in our campers, the loss would be fairly low, unless the cable has other issues.

Anyone know if it is routed in the ceiling (attic) or along the side wall?


In my ’73, it runs from the back of the tail light assemblies around the walls about waist high directly to the snake eyes on the side of the camper (two separate cables, one for each tail light).
  • Has anyone seen this feature illustrated in their Service or Owner Manual? If so what year manuals.
Not as I recall, what year is your camper?

LED’s put off very little light, BTW. I’ll have to think about how to transmit that light to the fiber if you replace the incandescent bulbs with LED’s.

Let me know if you need more information or if I have not explained something well.

Jim
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:50 PM   #26
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I will be out of pocket for a few days in the hospital.


Andy

we have had our posts in the past.....

but i do hope everything will be alright with your hospital visit...

lee
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