Finding a short. Tips wanted.

Discussion in 'Wiring' started by MyName, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    My internal and external LED lights flicker, or don't turn on. Sometimes I can get one to come on, but as I turn more on they all go out. When I am connected to AC the light work perfect. I know my battery is good because A separate circuit I ran for my USB ports works perfect (DC only). I have had flickering issues before, but I traced it down to a bad vampire clip. I was able to get the lights to sort of work this trip, but I only removed and replaced a few wire caps. I think the short is between the battery and the Converter (Magnetek Series 6400 Model 6415). Could the Power Convert be the cause of the DC short? One Idea I have is to bypass the convert and see if the light work.
    Any Ideas?
     
  2. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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  3. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    Are these replacement bulbs for the original fixtures, replacement fixtures, or something else? Sounds to me like the bulbs aren't getting enough voltage from the battery.
     
  4. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    5 new fixtures, 1 replacement bulb. They have run off the battery for the 3 previous trips. The last short I fixed only affected the ceiling lights (the 5 new fixtures). Now it includes my orange outside night lights.
     
  5. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    If you replaced the bulbs yourself, it's possible it's the bulbs themselves. I bought some knock off led bulbs from Amazon and had the same flickering issue worked fine for a few minutes then flickering. Put my old bulbs back in, no issue. Ended up buying new led bulbs and worked fine. Just throwing that out there. Hopefully it is something as simple .
     
  6. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

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    First of all, I'm going to call what you think you have as an 'open', not a short. A short is when 2 wires get crossed together and usually result in a blown fuse. An open is when a wire is broken, or a wire nut is loose and things are only making an intermittent connection, causing things to flicker on and off. You usually don't blow a fuse on this, (unless the end of the open wire 'shorts' to ground). Having said that, I may not be able to help you track your problem down too much. I also think it sounds like a weak battery, although you think its in good shape. When you're plugged into AC, as you said, they all work good. Thats because they are running off the converter. When you unplug from AC, they run soley on the batt. I guess it could be possible that there is a problem between the converter and the batt, so you might want to be chasing that wire to see what kind of shape its in. Don't just visually inspect it, you need to actually grab it and wiggle it around to see if things start flickering. Grab it and pull on it (but don't go overboard) to see if you can find an area where the wire might have broken inside the insulation. The wire will seem to stretch, but it shouldn't, you can't stretch copper strands. Pull on it about every 6 inches or so to see if there is a problem. The cutoff safety switch always are a source of problems it seems. Check that out. Thats the one in the flip over galley. Maybe its dirty inside. Maybe the LED's draw so little current that it can't fight its way through the dirt in the switch. So, with everything turned on, manually push that switch 5-10 times to see if helps things settle down.
     
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  7. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    It's not a short or you would be blowing fuses. You have an intermittent connection, broke wire, bad crimp, corrosion, bad fuse holder, etc. Cut all the lights on and start moving wires and connections slowly. Start at the battery and work toward the converter. You could by-pass the converter to see if it is internal. A digital meter responds quicker than an analog meter when playing with wires. I see Wrenchgear posted, also.
     
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  8. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Does not sound like a short, A short usually blows a fuse probably a loose connection somewhere you might end up opening every light to check for a lose connection.
     
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  9. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Yes 'open' sounds like the correct terminology. That would explain why the lights sort of started working when I was testing connections (opening and closing wire nuts) by the converter. I must have accidentally tugged on the 'open' and cause it to partially close. This is good. I have a great idea where to start looking, between the battery and converter.
     
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  10. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend replacing those screw on wire nuts with crimped or soldered connections. Or at least, with new wire nuts. Although those things are widely used in RVs they weren't designed for long term mobile applications.
     
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  11. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    I have been replacing the vampire/wiretap clips with Wire Nuts when I can. There is just so many. My ground wirenut has about 7 wires in one giant nut.
     
  12. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    May be part of the problem, you should think about replacing it with a buss bar
     
  13. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    I agree with SteveP on buss bars. I like the ones with covers. I had a factory wire nut connection fail twice. I finally soldered and then put the wire nut back on.

    I commented on an etrailer video, which was never posted, where the guy was using wiretap clips (Scotch Locks) installing a brake system. These are not waterproof and salt/brine will eat the wires out in no time. So, no brakes when you need them.
     
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  14. Fless

    Fless Active Member

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    Have you tested your DC voltage at the lights, both on and off shore power?
    _
     
  15. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    I found the open circuit. It's at the battery on the positive line on/by the online fuse. You have to position it just wrong to make it open and I move/connect this wire when I install my battery every trip.
     
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  16. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

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    Glad you found the problem, those things can drive you nutz!
     
  17. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations on the find. You may want to look at a battery cut off switch, so you don't have to clamp and unclamp every trip. The clamps are soft lead and distort easily every time you tighten. Most wires are not made to flex or move a lot, unless it is something like fine stranded welding leads or elevator cables.
     
  18. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Do you mean battery cable clamp or battery charger clamp?
    I use terminal rings and a butterfly nuts. I store my battery in my garage to keep it trickle charged. I think the inline fuse is in a bad spot. it sits at the edge for the batty box. The wire is too short to move it in a better one.

    Now my solar panels and trickle charger use battery charger clamps ...
     
  19. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that wirenuts are not designed or recommended for mobile applications.
     
  20. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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