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Old 06-02-2009, 10:28 AM   #15
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Fuse panel rivets - high resistance

Sounds like this is a problem that maybe out there and just being recognized, or maybe age is catching up with our units! There is NO visible sign of corrosion in my univolt fuse panel. To quick-fix it I drilled a few very small (1/16 bit) holes in the rivet to bond it to the panel. This did help, but the fix was to remove the major short.

Details for those inteerested in reading more: Sorry I didn't take a picture, but my intermittant short was due to (1) corrosion of a connection in the front vent to the fan causing varilable high resistance with humidity increases, and (2) an actual bare portion of the wire where it was pinched under the interior skin and had slowly worn down the insulation. There was a good bit of corrosion at that point. I only found it because I started troubleshooting with a voltmeter, and kept dividing the problem circuits in half til I located the area it had to be in.

This really could have beena FATAL fault.

If the corrosion had not been a slow process with a partial short but caused a dead short this may have sparked/heated enough to cause a fire. I cannot explain why the 20 amp fuse did not blow during these "short-outs". To be safe and to prove out this was the ONLY problem - I changed this circuit to an 8 amp fuse.

Symptoms:
The 12 volt system just seemed to loose power and all the lights dimmed and flickered. I also found that the ground lines in the Univolt also were corroded in the fuse panel capture lugs. Additionally, the fuse holders would get warm to the touch. Thinking this strange, I powered the circuit from the battery using an inline fuse, I measured very low draw with an ammeter and no probelm in the circuit. So I figured it must be the fusse block.

Converter location bad:
I also don't like the converter location - under the shower! I plan to install all electrical upgrades in the first under-bunk bay with an inverter and additional gel batteries. Initially I planned to install fuse panel and controls for solar (near future) in wall adjacent to the bed nearest the rear shower, but I did not want to rewire in the walls, and did not want to extend the feed lines any further than necessary.

Wiring Diagrams From "Experts" sought:
This would be great, and I believe a few have been posted here. In my web searches I have seen a few fairly detailed step-by-step replacement tutorials.

The reality in the RV improvement world is that suppliers (a few have been named above) are often willing to provide great general directions, but I tell myself that (1) their expertise is the basis on which many make their livelihood, and (2) there's always more general and special liability when you are a recognized "expert" and give specific advice. So I understand why this is somewhat lacking. There may be a few (I bet a lot!) of IEEE's here who may be willing to help.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:56 AM   #16
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Great site for 12 volt info

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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
I'm having trouble too. I got the 4045 and am building an electrical system from scratch. Just what AirConditioner (above) said. Can an expert here diagram out an installation with the connects and those fuse locations. The Intellipower instructions are poor....at least not aimed at my limited abilities.
There are numerous folks here having the same problem...we need that expert.

Here's a great site that provides good 12 volt info. There are many others out there in a Google search. This site is also on the BestConverter.com site - RV Technical Articles

We clearly need some more research and maybe we can corral a highly experienced electrics expert member into coming up with a design that's good enough for adaptation to what most of us are looking to install.

Maybe we could start doing the searches and compare notes from here and web searches in the electrical forum??
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:50 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by AirConditioner View Post
Details for those inteerested in reading more: Sorry I didn't take a picture, but my intermittant short was due to (1) corrosion of a connection in the front vent to the fan causing varilable high resistance with humidity increases, and (2) an actual bare portion of the wire where it was pinched under the interior skin and had slowly worn down the insulation. There was a good bit of corrosion at that point. I only found it because I started troubleshooting with a voltmeter, and kept dividing the problem circuits in half til I located the area it had to be in.
Are you referring to the first ceiling vent, counting from the hitch on back, the one in the lounge area? You don't mention your trailer year and model, but if it has the Univolt under the bath, it could be a similar model to mine. The lounge area fan/light works perfectly on our TT.

When we had our first clean & fix-up session with the trailer, I noticed that the ceiling light/fan in the galley area wasn't working, and upon investigating it I found a wasp nest just under the vent lid and the power wire just dangling loose in mid air, above the screen.

Clearly the connection had been made on the "weather" side of the screen, so I pulled the wire through a hole in the frame, then stripped and re-connected it inside, covered by the ceiling light's lens cover. A-OK for that one.

The sleeping area lights, ceiling and individual over-bed ones are, as I mentioned before, intermittant, though. However, they respond to jiggling the fuse, which leads me to think that your idea of checking all the connections for corrosion is a good idea.

But those sleeping area lights are on the same wire/circuit as the bathroom lighting and rear hall light/fan, and that part of our electrical is dead.

How would you troubleshoot that section? All the wiring, with the exception of the connection to the Univolt and the switch I discussed earlier is hidden behind the walls. I sure hope I don't need to take out the floor, endcap, bath, or anything riveted in.

Any other thoughts, Airconditioner?
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:29 PM   #18
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Finding shorts

I have a 1972 Overlander with rear bath. Univolt is under the bath. The wiring follows the main central run towards the front control panel. The wires are accessible at every vent, and run through the AC unit area on the curb side. In a few places I've cut 3x3 openings, installed a shallow plastic electrical box, and covered with 4x4 covers after doing wire splices. I've seen this approach also used on the exterior when access had to be made. A small hatch was installed to give the required opening utility.

In your case it sounds like there is a spliceor wire failure at one of the points towards the fault. Work towards the fault verifying you do or dont have power progressively. Worst case is you have to use an existing wire to pull a few new ones (and a pull string for future!). Make a diagram of your wiring and your findings as the puzzle unfolds.

It's also possible to use more advanced wire fault detection tools - Home Depot and electrical supply houses sell units that can trace along the wire to determine exactly where the fault is without cutting or physical attachment.

I think it's great for us to document our findings as best as possible so others can use as a guide or verify their work. My experience here is most of the faults exist are similar in many other units.
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Old 06-03-2009, 03:32 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
I have the '74 version of the same trailer, and I have the exact same issue with the bathroom lights and the ceiling fixture over the little hallway where the two closets face each other!

I found that if I wiggle the fuse for the purple wire on the Univolt (circuit #2 IIRC), the sleeping area lights will come back on, however not the bathroom or hallway ones. There doesn't appear to be any serious corrosion on the fuseholder, by the way.
When I started to troubleshoot this problem, I used my voltmeter probes to start probing voltage at the univolt fusebox. When I probed the upper right Circuit 2 fuse, I heard like a little click and the bed lamps and overhead came on. Later when I replaced the overhead switch with a longer one to put in a bright new lamp cover, the bath lights suddenly worked. I was using about a 15 ft lead with alligator clips on both ends in conjunction with the voltmeter to trace any bad circuits, but I did not have to even go that far. Hope I have not used up all my luck for the year!
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:56 AM   #20
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Eureka! ThankYouThankYouThankYou! :D

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When I started to troubleshoot this problem, I used my voltmeter probes to start probing voltage at the univolt fusebox. When I probed the upper right Circuit 2 fuse, I heard like a little click and the bed lamps and overhead came on.
Exactly what mine did, too. The little click, then on again. However, mine would go off again, if, say one of the lights was turned off (or on). We clearly have the same fault.

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Later when I replaced the overhead switch with a longer one to put in a bright new lamp cover, the bath lights suddenly worked. I was using about a 15 ft lead with alligator clips on both ends in conjunction with the voltmeter to trace any bad circuits, but I did not have to even go that far. Hope I have not used up all my luck for the year!
Wow, so maybe what happened was that there was a short in the original switch that was somehow cutting out the bath lights! I'm going up to the camp today, so I will certainly have a close look at it, and take along some CAIG DeOxit switch cleaner with me (it's great stuff).

That switch isn't a simple one though, is it? I mean, it turns on the 6 lamps in banks of two, so it's a four-position unit: OFF, 2,4,6 lamps.

Where did you find one with a longer shaft? Can you tell I'm replacing lens covers too?

I found a source for longer cranks for the other three covers that hold openings and/or fans (Can-Am RV), but I just bent in the cover enough to get the original knob on for the ones I already did.

Jeez this place is incredible. Never thought I'd get help on the exact problem I'm having. It is VERY annoying not to have lights in the bathroom!

Thanks very much for helping me out!

Cheers,
Aage
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:18 AM   #21
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Where did you find one with a longer shaft? Can you tell I'm replacing lens covers too?

Aage
Inland RV or Vintage Trailer supply.

BTW, you can take the old switches apart, clean the contacts and resurrect them.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:28 AM   #22
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Wow, so maybe what happened was that there was a short in the original switch that was somehow cutting out the bath lights! I'm going up to the camp today, so I will certainly have a close look at it, and take along some CAIG DeOxit switch cleaner with me (it's great stuff).

That switch isn't a simple one though, is it? I mean, it turns on the 6 lamps in banks of two, so it's a four-position unit: OFF, 2,4,6 lamps.

Where did you find one with a longer shaft? Can you tell I'm replacing lens covers too?
Cheers,
Aage
I don't think that it was the switch that was bad but rather the act of undoing and retightening the wire nut connections. Conveinient source for switch is Vintage trailer supply http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/Airstream_Rotary_Switch_p/vts-432.htm

Light covers at Inland RV supply Inland RV Center Inc.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:31 AM   #23
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I was able to get my univolt out and replace it with the Intellipower. Back screws were a son of a gun to get out. I used the old fuse panel and mounted it to a piece of angle iron. Nice not to have the "buzz" anymore.

Hey, afn10694, I just realized you are just down the road from me!
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:18 AM   #24
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BTW, you can take the old switches apart, clean the contacts and resurrect them.
Hmmm(n)... Looked at the switch and the only way to open it is to drill out the rivets. That's fine, but I don't have any rivets that small, nor any at all with me.

I do a lot of work on radios and old hifi stuff, and CAIG is THE stuff for old corroded controls, but usually those controls have some kind of opening that the DeOxit can be shot into. Not so on the AS's pot in the light fixtures.

I think that the idea of undoing the wires in the wirenuts and re-doing them points to the fact that it's probably not a good idea to just wire-nut them together: they should be soldered. 35 years of exposure to air can't be good for those connections.

Next trip up here, I'm bringing my soldering iron!

The battle isn't over, it's just beginning!
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