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Old 10-07-2020, 04:10 PM   #1
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Where is the coach fuse for the in-dash radio?

The in-dash radio in our 2016 Airstream Interstate takes power either from the chassis (Mercedes) while the ignition is on, or from the coach when the power switch is in the "USE" position. (As an FYI, w've installed a new radio head (Pioneeer DMH-WT76NEX), which is really nice, but I've now realized it doesn't have a physical power switch.

As a result, it looks like this radio draws at least some power from the coach as long as the coach's power switch is in the "USE" position, even when the radio is nominally powered off via software (e.g. touching an icon on the screen that says, "Power Off" and saying "Yes" when it asks whether you're serious.)

This leads me to wondering where the fuse is for that radio, as pulling that fuse would enable some experiments I want to run. (I have already discovered that none of the DC fuses in the power center control power to the radio.) This information would also give me some ideas about how to best shut off coach power to the radio and eliminate a potential parasitic power drain any time we're camping but not listening to the radio.

Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2020, 05:13 PM   #2
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Hmmm . . . as background . . . and to eliminate one possible variable temporarily . . . wondering if you did find the chassis fuse for the radio, and have removed it? [or flipped a chassis breaker off] This might simplify things while you R&D finding the coach's 12-volt radio power supply? Will the radio run at all with the chassis fuse removed?

Any chance there is an in-line fuse buried in the dash someplace?

Did the prior owner do any mods which might have resulted in a hidden fuse/switch someplace? I recall idroba installing a hard on/off switch for his Pioneer radio, to turn off the "disco light show" which was a significant phantom draw on this batteries. BTW he had a 2014 FC20 same as ours . . . . maybe AS did weird radio installs back then? [2014-2016]

[click on orange arrow to go to this 2016 post . . . apologies for the length . . . he knew his stuff! . . . RIP]
Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
CruzinDux, and others.

To better understand why the radio does what it does you first have to understand that it was built for use in a car or truck, it is not a specially made unit for an RV, and certainly not for an Airstream.

As designed by the maker, for a car the radio has two 12 volt input wires. One supplies the power to run the radio when the car is in operation, that is when the car key is on either in the running mode or accessory mode. It supplies the power to run the radio circuits and amplifier as well as the display. It switches on and off with the key. Thus the display shuts off every time the key is off. Works great in the car.

The other input wire is connected directly to the car 12 volt system in a location which is always hot. That is full time 12 volt power, never turned off unless the car battery is disconnected, as when it is changed for a new one. This wire controls the radio station pre sets, runs the clock (but not the clock display), and in general keeps the memory hot all the time. It takes relatively little power to do this, maybe 10 to 15 mA in many cases. Since the car is used frequently, the large car battery is not run down and stressed by this situation. It is recharged by the alternator, and the car can sit probably a month or so with no real issues. No lights are on in the display.

Now, when that same auto radio is put into an RV such as an Airstream, what does the manufacturer do with the two input wires? There is no Ignition key switch to allow things like the display lights to be turned off when not needed. So what normally happens is the two wires are hooked together and the display lights and clock (if the radio has a clock) are always on. Turn the radio off, the clock time displays. Unfortunately this can take a LOT more power 24/7/365. The display may take 100 mA to almost 1 full amp in the case of the disco/demo display on the Pioneer radio in question. In a car, the ignition switch turns the display off, not so in the RV, as there is no ignition switch. To further drive you nuts, the default mode, if the total power is removed, comes back on. In this case the default mode is the disco light display. So, if you remove all power from the radio, back to square one, like it was new out of the box.

In the Airstream all power is removed from the radio if the USE/STORE switch is placed in STORE and the trailer is not plugged into grid power. Now lets say you are storing the Airstream in a location where no grid power is available. You have the switch in STORE, all is shut down, you believe. And mostly it is. The radio is shut down and no power is being used by it at all.

But you stop in to check it out one day, and on entry, you hit the USE button so you can have some lights for a short time. That turns the radio on (in the default mode, the disco lights). It is behind a cabinet door and you don't see the lights on. You go out and forget to push the STORE mode. Or you deliberately say, hell, I am going to be back next week, and I didn't leave any lights on, so no big deal. But it is a big deal, the radio went active and is taking a full amp (the measurement on mine) to run the disco display which you could not see was activated. 24 amp hours a day will kill the batteries in a few days. If left on a month by accident, the batteries probably will be ruined and will not recharge properly, ever.

So, the problem Airstream faces is what to do? They are using a car radio in an application it was not designed for.

My solution is to put a switch on the radio so I can be sure that all power is shut off to both wires, and even if the U/S switch is accidentally or deliberately turned on there will be no detrimental affects. The downside is that the station memory is always removed, and that I have to reset the disco lights to off when I do want to use the radio. So, I have to remember how to do that, and as you know, it is not an intuitive process.

I hope this helps in understanding the Pioneer Radio dilemma. I am sure the Sony is similar. There is just no easy work around in this case, for Airstream or the Airstream owner.
"rdroba disco light show Pioneer" -- other posts etc.: https://www.google.com/search?q=idro...=airforums.com

Good luck,
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Old 10-07-2020, 05:31 PM   #3
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Yeah, thanks for that. Just so we're clear, this is *not* a trailer question. It's an Interstate Motor Home question.

Fact is, my use is in the equivalent of a "car," given this is an Interstate, built in a Sprinter van. So this use case is different from any trailer. There are two different power sources that will run the radio, as I noted above (e.g. the screen, the actual radios inside, the sound coming out, and so on; so, *not* just maintaining the radio's memory). The first source of this power comes from the chassis (e.g. the Mercedes), and the second source of this power comes from the coach. I can totally kill the radio without any problem as long as I turn off the ignition and switch the main "USE / STORE" switch to "STORE". So, that's not the scenario.

If you'll re-read my query, my scenario is this: I'm dry camping and I don't want my coach batteries attacked by power vampires, but I do want the switch in the "USE" position. So, when I turn the radio off by pressing the right icons on the radio screen, I want that radio to really and honestly shut down, except for the milliamp feed that keeps the memory going. If I can't get that, then I want to find the power cable that runs from the coach batteries to the radio, find the fuse in that line, and yank it out to verify that putting an additional switch on that line would put the radio to bed for real, whenever I want to do that.

Clear as mud now, I hope?

Thanks to any Interstate owners who have looked for this fuse before and have a good idea where it may be hiding.
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Old 10-08-2020, 07:20 AM   #4
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I spoke to our installer about this. He says the simplest solution is to interrupt the main power cable just before it enters the radio and add a switch there that we can control from the dash. I'm fine with that, as it will definitely work, though I'm still quite interested to know where the fuse is for the power to the radio that comes from the coach. As with all fuses, someday I will probably need to know where that thing is.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:07 AM   #5
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So there are many threads on this. I just got around to installing the switch(es) Wachcho(sp) for my next 10 days at the race track w/o power.

Turns out on MY2016 AI, the wire harness colors are different then others. Also, the wire that is supposed to be to my ignition actually is, no one else had that.

Background: for our 2016 AI, in the big harness going into the radio should have a red wire at one end. This is power coming from the coach batteries. The wire next to it would be yellow and comes from the chassis side. What I found On mine was my red was yellow and the ignition wire was orange not yellow. Since my ignition wire only has power with the ignition on I just had to put a switch on the yellow (red to everyone else) and stopped the power draw.

BTW I am still chasing power draws down to 0.4amps. I have switches so far for solar, alternator, coach batteries, radio and inverter (the Magnum monitor bleeds power Even when not on). If anyone can think of another spot for a switch, let me know I bought a box of them �� Forgot to say I do have the propane switch off so I am thinking the propane detector is the 0.4amp draw.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:35 AM   #6
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This is a level of detail I was hoping for, despite not identifying the fuse location. Thank you!

I will take this information with me tomorrow when I go see my installer to add the power switch, and with this information maybe we can put the switch on the line for the coach's power to the radio instead of simply putting one on the main power input to the radio. I go see them tomorrow morning at 9am EDT, and will report back on what we decide to do based on what they find inside the dash when they pull out the radio to have another look.

They didn't do anything wrong on the installation, btw. I told them not to change anything wrt the radio's power inputs because I like that the current arrangement allows me to power the radio via coach batteries if I want music. The problem is that this particular radio never really turns off when power is supplied, even if you tell it to shut down. I would call this a bug in Pioneer's firmware programming for the device. Otherwise, I am very happy. The new head unit is far more responsive, it supports CarPlay (both wired and wireless) and Android Auto Wireless, the speakers are immeasurably better, and when I crank up the new subwoofer, it sounds amazing.

Hmm...speaking of the new subwoofer, I should really ask them how the amplifier and subwoofer are powered and where their power lines are in case I need to add yet another switch or two. I don't want power vampires hiding under the seats and coming out to bite me later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heckler56 View Post
So there are many threads on this. I just got around to installing the switch(es) Wachcho(sp) for my next 10 days at the race track w/o power.

Turns out on MY2016 AI, the wire harness colors are different then others. Also, the wire that is supposed to be to my ignition actually is, no one else had that.

Background: for our 2016 AI, in the big harness going into the radio should have a red wire at one end. This is power coming from the coach batteries. The wire next to it would be yellow and comes from the chassis side. What I found On mine was my red was yellow and the ignition wire was orange not yellow. Since my ignition wire only has power with the ignition on I just had to put a switch on the yellow (red to everyone else) and stopped the power draw.

BTW I am still chasing power draws down to 0.4amps. I have switches so far for solar, alternator, coach batteries, radio and inverter (the Magnum monitor bleeds power Even when not on). If anyone can think of another spot for a switch, let me know I bought a box of them �� Forgot to say I do have the propane switch off so I am thinking the propane detector is the 0.4amp draw.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:54 AM   #7
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My rig is older than yours, but I believe there are fuses under the drivers seat in mine, so that may be a place to check.

If I remember correctly, that’s where the one for my radio is, as it was replaced early in my ownership of this one.


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Old 10-08-2020, 11:49 AM   #8
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Is this your manual Rocinante?

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...manual-192.pdf

On p. 5-18 [PDF p. 60/148], at the lower, left it says that Circuit 8 in your 12-Volt Distribution Panel controls the "radio power relay" [among other things]. [10 amp grey wire]

On PDF p. 58/148 it seems to say that this 12-volt panel is at the base of your driver's seat, similar to Maggie's setup.

Is your 12-volt panel at the base of your driver's seat, and does the radio go off when you flip the Circuit 8 breaker? [Edit -- or pull that fuse? -- see below]

Edit -- How about, in the Maintenance section at the back of the manual, in the numerous pages of 12-volt schematics starting on p. 9-20 [PDF 124/148], is your setup covered?

On the top right of the first page, there is an "(8) Gray" label for what looks like a fuse, about 1/2 way down the list.

Do you have this same setup?

Happy trails,
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Old 10-08-2020, 12:10 PM   #9
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I failed to mention I pulled the coach fuses and chassis fuses, even at the same time, no power shutoff. It was at that point I had to commit to the on/off switch.

I thought of replacing the Kenwood but since my wife does not want to listen to music and I rarely do, save the $s.
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Old 10-08-2020, 12:44 PM   #10
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You may have a different model Interstate [2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext]. The owner's manual just linked in Post #8 has different electric info for different models.
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Old 10-08-2020, 02:29 PM   #11
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Where is the coach fuse for the in-dash radio?

Thanks, all.

Since nothing was clear or obvious, I tried pulling every single DC fuse, one at a time, from the main coach panel in back under the driver-side jump seat. Not a single one of those fuses affected power to the radio. I should also mention that the actual fuse map printed on the label next to the DC fuses in our power center bears little resemblance to the one in the manual.

As suggested, I found the manual again, and looked in-depth at the schematic on page 9-34, (138 of 148 in the PDF). It is of course confusing, but I think my installer might be able to make some sense of it. Again, worst case, he'll simply put a switch on the main DC power line that powers the radio for normal operations (not the memory power line), just before it enters the radio.Click image for larger version

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Old 10-08-2020, 03:01 PM   #12
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Talking

Thanks for the update . . . and the good laugh!

Well I hope that Airstream's technical writers -- who write these "follow the cookie crumbs" manuals -- are having a good laugh some place, you know, as if to say "you can fool most of the people most of the time!"




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Old 10-09-2020, 07:05 AM   #13
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Since mine had the original Kenwood I went to that schematic to further diagnose the situation. Surprise, even their plug wiring code was different then what everyone else had!

I am thinking that is why Airstream went the Kenwood. This is all a big test to see how savvy the owner is and how much pain or $s your welling to embark on to resolve issues.
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Old 10-09-2020, 07:16 AM   #14
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Thumbs up

Bingo!



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Old 10-09-2020, 07:55 AM   #15
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Good one, haha. I'm at the installer's shop now. Because of the uncertainty regarding exactly how the existing Airstream wiring works, he's going to pull the main power wire from the radio, add a switch to the end of that wire, discretely mount the switch, and then run the switched power line to the radio. Should neatly and simply resolve any questions, bypassing the Airstream-originated rat's nest.
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Old 10-09-2020, 07:19 PM   #16
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The switch idea worked beautifully. It's a small, unobtrusive, rocker switch on the driver's side of the console, down low, not too far from the Mercedes ground release lever. The switch kills the radio, allowing us to dry camp without the new radio leaching power when we're not using it. Aside from this one oddity, we are very happy indeed with the DMH-WT76NEX, speakers, amplifier and cameras they installed for us. The radio is far better than the old Kenwood, the speakers sound so much better, and the cameras are great. The wireless CarPlay feature is really great, too.

The camera they installed above the door enables us to see the bumper and a bit farther behind the van (a definite improvement). The wide angle camera they installed in the trim just by the license plate enables us to see a clear view behind the van at all times.

We feed the above-door camera to the rear view "mirror" like before, and we feed the lower camera to the radio's 9" screen. While driving I use the rear view mirror as a mirror (that smoky glass actually does a decent job being a mirror when the screen is off), and I have the radio showing me the lower rear camera view. Between the mirrors and the cameras, we have an excellent view of cars all around us. When reversing, both cameras light up so I can see everything behind me. I will have no excuse whatever if I still manage to back the van into something, because it will have been clearly in view the whole time.
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Old 10-11-2020, 04:34 AM   #17
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Thanks for the update.
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