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Old 09-23-2015, 01:11 PM   #1
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Changed markers to LED, now no power to Control Panel

If there is another thread on this issue, I was unable to find it - so I have posted this in the broader "systems" category.

We are on the road after just changing out marker lights to LED (in fact, I took pictures because in the front, two lights were not connected - the wires were back inside the skin - so I was going to document and post the "fishing" process, which was a success - the markers work - but this may have something to do with what follows; so I've stated this at the outset.)

1976 Overlander - original panel above the stove, but PO changed out the Univolt to newer system

We found we "apparently" have no power to the control panel, thus no water pump, "power" (and panel) light does not light, tank monitor rocker switches, etc. Also no power to the electric jack.

We DO have interior lights and porch light, etc.

When we hook up to shore power, no change.

When we hook up to the car, we have water pump, the jack works, etc. Everything appears normal.

I have checked the in-line fuse to the water pump - appears okay.
I have checked the main fuses which also appear okay; also checked the inline fuse that is at the right END (as you face the control panel) and it appears okay. I wiggled a few wires in the back where it comes from the wall with the water pump switched ON just to see if there was an apparent loose wire; no joy.

We are between Missoula today into Victor (Driggs) Idaho tonight.

Any ideas for my next step?
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:56 PM   #2
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Without insight into your knowledge level or available tools, I only offer an overview based on my assessment of your statement; 'We found we "apparently" have no power to the control panel.'

Do you mean you have no 12v when hooked to shore power? If so, then check at the converter termination end where power is split between 110v & 12v. Its quite possible one or the other terminal screws loosen and one of the 12v connecting wires has come loose. If that is the case, you are not recharging your battery bank. Hence no 12v until hooked to your TV. You can check for power output on the 12v side of the converter with a meter to confirm the converter is working.
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Old 09-24-2015, 06:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeMore View Post
Without insight into your knowledge level or available tools, I only offer an overview based on my assessment of your statement; 'We found we "apparently" have no power to the control panel.'

Do you mean you have no 12v when hooked to shore power?
No... as above, when hooked to shore power, we have lights, electrical outlets, furnace, but no water pump, and the electric jack will not work. None of those are (except somehow the jack is affected) go through the control panel.

When hooked to the TV, we have everything - lights, electric jack, and water pump. That was one thing that I couldn't figure out - why okay with the TV but not working on battery or shore power).

The battery is charging both from the TV and from shore power. So, in other words, everything works when on the TV, everything except the water pump and the panel indicator lights, tank indicators, including the panel "status light" which is dark. None of that works except on the TV - not off the battery alone, or from shore power.

If so, then check at the converter termination end where power is split between 110v & 12v. Its quite possible one or the other terminal screws loosen and one of the 12v connecting wires has come loose. If that is the case, you are not recharging your battery bank. Hence no 12v until hooked to your TV. You can check for power output on the 12v side of the converter with a meter to confirm the converter is working.

Since i AM recharging the battery, I don't think this is the issue. I've checked a lot of connections, in-line fuses, etc. It seems to be the control panel that is not getting any power, so really, the tank levels and water pump are all that are affected. It all works, and charges, when hooked to the tow vehicle, and it charges and lights, sockets, etc. work, when hooked to shore power.

Other ideas? And... thanks for the response!

Dave
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:17 PM   #4
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Sorry for the confusion, I thought you meant the power control panel instead of the tank level display panel.

Tracking down a short can be a tedious task and best done when you have plenty of time and a meter. I hope you have a copy of the electrical diagram that matches your trailer in the documents the PO left behind. It is essential to determining where to look and what you should/might find.

If I was resolving the conditons you described in your last post, I'd study the wiring diagram and then use my meter at each junction point along the route to each device to determine where power/continuity exists or not. My trailer is much newer and wired differently so I can't suggest where your issue might be located given the symptoms described. If I read your reply correctly, some items work on 12v when connected to the TV but not otherwise - very strange!

The power jack is a wholly separate circuit from the panel discussion. I have not encountered a power jack that is not connected to the battery bank. Typically, the wire from your positive battery lead should be routed directly to the jack power head with an in-line fuse. You may have a bad jack motor, a short in the activating toggle switch, or some other issue like a poor connection at the battery terminal end. You must check for power at each step along the way using a meter. No meter = no insight, wiggling doesn't count.

The control panel issue is another matter. On my unit, there is a separate power path to the water pump than the tank level indications. I have no idea if yours uses the same power lead to the back of the panel and then splits into separate circuits. Try checking for power after removing the face plate to gain access to the wiring behind.
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:33 AM   #5
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For some reason the PO or factory left the front lights disconnected?? Disconnect them again to return to the "before" situation and add one change/light at a time. Thus maybe isolating the problem.
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:19 AM   #6
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As to the jack, mine was acting up, sometimes working and others not. It wasn't until I tried after dark did I see the problem. The ground bolt was loose enough to cause a lack of current so I took the bolt out, cleaned up the area and reinstalled the bolt. I covered it with electrical grease and was good to go. You problem sounds like a grounding problem. Maybe the LEDs is wired backwards -- pos to ground
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:27 AM   #7
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Your problem goes way beyond the change to LED light.

There is no way plugging into the TV should have any effect on the jack or water pump. The jack should be wired directly to the battery positive terminal. The marker lights should only see power when plugged into the TV and the head light switch is on.

The first thing I would do is disconnect the TV and shore power and check the output side of each fuse or breaker.

I would then trace the battery power wire from the TV into the trailer and see that it only goes to the positive terminal of the battery and is not carrying any other load.
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:32 AM   #8
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Doing more continuity/resistance testing is something I realize I have to do... I did some, but stopped in the middle wondering if there was a place to focus (plus, we were leaving to get to Jackson, WY). That's what prompted the first post.

Two things have changed in the four years we've owned our AS. One, Airstream of Spokane just put in a new Suburban furnace, and opened up the control panel to look at why the red water pump status light went out - bulb? Wire? Wiggled this and that. But couldn't figure out why (but the water pump, and switch, still worked). It was a little thing - we said, "We can live without it."

Second, the redoing of the marker lights - as in the first post, I had to fish for the hot wire and twice caught a green wire - but never pulled on it or forced it, but catching it could have loosened or caused a disconnection of it (the green wire) from something else - so that's a possibility.

I haven't anything but the most basic wiring diagram that is in the 1976 manual - and it, and the trouble-shooting guide, offer little help.

Thanks for these suggestions - I can only hope someone who knows more than me can help me learn more about why you can push something you can't see, called electrons, into one end of a solid wire, and somehow they come out the other end... (oh, they travel ON the wire... who knew???)

Thanks for these responses - hope someone else can offer a place to start... disconnecting the two marker lamps to see if that "returns it to normal" is a good next option (we're on the road in the Tetons and likely this will happen when we get home next week.)

On edit, I see Macofpei's suggestion - the jack works connected to the TV - it doesn't work when on the battery, or on shore power.

The lights being wired backward is another possibility - although they do work.

HowieE's observation is correct - while I don't know how the jack is wired, it is a wonder to me that it works OFF the TV, but not OFF the coach battery/shore power. The marker light DO only come on when plugged into the TV and the head light switch is ON. Checking for battery power wire from TV into the trailer and "not carrying any other load" could yield further clues. Thanks, both of you.

Again thanks to all for the responses....

Dave
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Old 09-25-2015, 12:03 PM   #9
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Who knows, your panel could be wired the same as my '69 Tradewind .

The power from the TV goes to the monitor panel to a glass fuse looking circuit breaker then on to the battery . The panel may be wired on the TV side of the breaker thus the jack and other stuff works when powered by the TV. If the breaker is defective this would explain whats happening.

BTW, electric is made of smoke and when it gets out , no electric
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Old 09-25-2015, 12:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenritas View Post
Who knows, your panel could be wired the same as my '69 Tradewind .

The power from the TV goes to the monitor panel to a glass fuse looking circuit breaker then on to the battery . The panel may be wired on the TV side of the breaker thus the jack and other stuff works when powered by the TV. If the breaker is defective this would explain whats happening.

BTW, electric is made of smoke and when it gets out , no electric
Getting into, and trying to fool with (emphasis on the "fool") the control panel is something I can do on the road. With the old panels, I've always considered that it would be a great way to re-do - in other words, modernize - and free up a lot of space. I'll use my mirror-on-a-stick and at least look back there to try to find the circuit breaker. And, I will consult the rudimentary wiring diagram in the manual to see if I can see there about the TV to battery....

My Dad once told me... only remembered now... that it was easier to trace a wire on a diagram than to put the leads into both ends.... Thanks - that will at least get me to more understanding!

Smoke??? I thought that was only when the solder melted?
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Old 09-25-2015, 01:06 PM   #11
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Somehow the AS battery power is NOT getting to your components. Check for bad fuse/ connection. It is possible when you tugged on wires a fuse blew.... Or was pulled loose.
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Old 09-25-2015, 01:09 PM   #12
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Dave according to the Prince of Darkness electricity is not electrons but rather it is smoke. When it escapes the wire you have a problem.
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Old 09-25-2015, 02:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OilnH2o View Post
If there is another thread on this issue, I was unable to find it - so I have posted this in the broader "systems" category.

We are on the road after just changing out marker lights to LED (in fact, I took pictures because in the front, two lights were not connected - the wires were back inside the skin - so I was going to document and post the "fishing" process, which was a success - the markers work - but this may have something to do with what follows; so I've stated this at the outset.)

1976 Overlander - original panel above the stove, but PO changed out the Univolt to newer system

We found we "apparently" have no power to the control panel, thus no water pump, "power" (and panel) light does not light, tank monitor rocker switches, etc. Also no power to the electric jack.

We DO have interior lights and porch light, etc.

When we hook up to shore power, no change.

When we hook up to the car, we have water pump, the jack works, etc. Everything appears normal.

I have checked the in-line fuse to the water pump - appears okay.
I have checked the main fuses which also appear okay; also checked the inline fuse that is at the right END (as you face the control panel) and it appears okay. I wiggled a few wires in the back where it comes from the wall with the water pump switched ON just to see if there was an apparent loose wire; no joy.

We are between Missoula today into Victor (Driggs) Idaho tonight.

Any ideas for my next step?
That sounds a bit screwy. If I remember the marker lights originally run on a completly different 12 v circuit that runs off the tow vehicle. I wonder if a PO has changed the wiring around when he changed out the Univolt? Does your trailer battery charge OK?
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Old 09-25-2015, 02:20 PM   #14
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Check the fuses with a meter. They can look good but be blown.
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:46 PM   #15
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Thanks, Dan - if I had smoke I never saw it! I thought I had everything turned off, disconnected and etc. There was power to the wire I had from the adjacent (driver's side upper corner) marker light. The first of the (center) three from the drivers side, and the middle marker lights (of those three) never did work (even when I put in new bulbs several years ago) and when I removed them, the wires merely came out of the hole with them (i.e., they were not connected)

My first fishing expedition was adjacent to that working upper corner marker light, and I got a red wire (after a little bit of frustration, of course... that's why it's called 'fishing') and tested the continuity and the meter pegged to the right. I had (I believed) the connecting wire to that light. From there, I spliced new wire from marker light to marker light. It was doing the middle that (as stated in previous posts) I caught a green wire - but never pulled so hard that it released tension - so I thought I had merely taken up slack, let it go and continued fishing.

I suppose somewhere in all this I've done something - a blown fuse could be the answer and I've checked the ones (in-line) at the water pump, end of the control panel, etc... every fuse I could easily find. Actually, if in the end that is ALL it is I'll be lucky. I did not TEST the fuses and HiJoeSilver has a great point - I'll do that.

Lumatic - I agree that the markers should run off only the tow vehicle (hence the threads on how to turn them into "party lights" at night while parked to run them off the house battery). The battery charges fine - both from shore power and from TV. But the big problem is not the marker lights - they work well and look sharp. Nothing on that '76 era control panel works: the tank level indicators, the "panel lights" that illuminate those tank level guages, the water pump switch or the red "panel" light that indicates it is energized. BUT the lever that turns on/off the overhead vent fan DOES work (but I think that fan lever merely opens up the door as it switches (somehow) the circuit). And... to complicate it... the electric jack works from the tow vehicle, previously worked from the house battery, but now only works from the tow vehicle.

Thanks to all of you - I very much appreciate every bit of your input and I'll check these as I can this weekend (we're in the Tetons) and will be home Tuesday so probably won't post anything on the thread until something has changed.

I'd post one of those smiley faces holding flowers but it's just not my style... but I do, very much, thank all of you who have responded. I'll keep you posted because I think, once this problem is solved, it can help someone else.

Best,

Dave
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OilnH2o View Post

Nothing on that '76 era control panel works: the tank level indicators, the "panel lights" that illuminate those tank level guages, the water pump switch or the red "panel" light that indicates it is energized.


Dave
Most control panels from that era do not have working tank indicators due to the sensors in the tank long since giving up the ghost. You kinda need switch for the water pump. Check if you have power coming in to the rocker switch.
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:39 PM   #17
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I am presently working on a 76 Overlander and found that the only way to get the tank level indicators to work was to clean the 2 pin plugs that are inline near the tanks. May work for you as well.
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:31 PM   #18
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On my tank level panel with the pump switch and volt meter etc the pump switch gets power from a junction in the wire feeding positive to the panel if that makes sense, so it's somewhat independent. Might be a loose junction behind the panel, it's a mess of wires I know but once you eliminate the many tank wires you'll probably find the positive to the panel and pump switch are inter connected and probably loose where they split.
Do you have 2 switches that operate the pump, or a second in the bath? Rear bath?
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:30 AM   #19
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Hello,

Macofpel may have hit on something as well as Lumatic, and others.

Electric circuits are just that. "Electric Circuits", a loop.

Because you have full system operation when you contact the TV, it could be that you are acheving ground for one side of the affected circuits when connected. Otherwise. No ground no workie. In such a case the volt ohm meter will show fuses, etc are ok.

It is possible that the PO or the others that worked on the AS did some Southeren Enginerring somewhere in the AS and ground was being established thru a ground lead to the clearance lights.

Led lights don't play games with ground. If not wired correctly they do not work at all. And you can not get to ground thru them when a potential (power) is not applied.

The fishing for a connection for the front lights may not have done a thing to you. The PO may have hooked up ground with a press fitting and during the fishing trip the grounding pulled loose. Either could be the case.

To test this wild guess, at the TV 7 way connector from the AS pull back the cover, remove the screw for ground and pull the wire loose, and see if the problem does NOT go away. If it does, reconnect ground and see if all is now ok. (Remember to have trailer on the ball)

If this tests true, the offending circuits are not being grounded because the PO found a wire to ground something and hooked up to wrong side of clearence lights. It worked ok.

You found the problem when you went to LED lighting, regular light bulbs are really only a shorted wire in a glass bulb that glows when power is applied. (When shorted tween positive and negative post of battery)

Hope this blurb does not confuse the situation.

Happy trails.
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Old 10-01-2015, 11:45 AM   #20
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Dave-

Are the cable ends OK ... not corroded or loose at the batts?
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