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Electrical problems DC lights


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#1 mtpizza

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:06 PM

My wife and I own a 2003 Travel Supreme Select 41' motorhome with a Xantex Freedom Combi inverter. When we turn on the bathroom vanity lights all lights in the motorhome will flicker/fade, and then all lights go off. That does not seem to happen with any other lights we use, just the vanity. If I then go the the inverter and do a reset they will come on. Not sure what is going on and since I am not that sharp on the whole electrical system in a motorhome and I don't really know what to look for. Seems like there might be some sort of short in the vanity lights to cause that problem or possibly too much drain on the batteries. I had the batteries checked and they are full and good, so I don't think that is the problem. Any insight into the problem would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 TBUTLER

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:51 PM

Are the vanity lights incandescent or fluorescent lights? Florescent lights sometimes do strange things if the voltage is low which could be caused by insufficient wire size or weak connections, the batteries could be fine but getting the electricity from the batteries to the lights could be your problem. It is possible that when you reset the inverter that drops its draw on the batteries enough to allow the voltage to "start" the fluorescent lights. Incandescent lights are not subject to these problems.

Most lights in motor homes are 12VDC, not 120VAC. Resetting the inverter suggests that your lights might be 120VAC though I would be surprised at that. When the inverter is turned off (unplug shore power) do your lights work? If they do, they are 12VDC from the battery and the inverter would not be in that circuit. If the lights are AC and don't operate unless the inverter is turned on, then it makes sense that resetting the inverter would restore the lights. That would suggest a breaker in the inverter is tripping due to a short somewhere in the vanity lighting. If this were the case then I would expect that one of the usual two AC circuits coming from the inverter are lost and lots of lights and/or equipment would not operate.

If the lights are incandescent one suspect could be a faulty switch which is shorting out as it goes from off to on. This could be tripping a breaker somewhere which is reset by resetting the inverter. Once the switch is on, the lights may come on and stay on. When you say all the lights go off are you referring to all the lights in the motor home or all the lights on the bathroom vanity?

A little more information should help us diagnose the problem.
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After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

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#3 Smosher

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 04:15 PM

After Buying a new Monoco, Camelot and of course getting it home almost five hundred miles from the dealer I had some trouble with my 12 volt light I believe mine is Multi plex Mine was in the small bathroom, Dont remember exactly what the problem was but called the service center and was told to undo the panel that had the light switches in them. Small panal that had six switches in it. Then was told to unplug the wiring plug into that panel and was told to wait a little while I guess while the electrons was deciding to go on strike or to act right. It seemed that they decided to behave and it fixed the problem. I was told not to use a light probe on these as this will screw up all of the lights. Don't know if this is your problem but all of these are going thru a compurter and has been programed from the factory. Maybe others can be more of help. Steve Mosher
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#4 desmo

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 12:11 PM

I too have flickering 12 volt dc incandescent lights in the bathroom when connected to shore power or not. The flicker occurs about every 12 seconds when for a an instant the light dims ever so slightly. Also, about 50% of the time I get a low voltage warning from my equalizer leveling system when retracting this can happen when using any power sources, shore, generator or battery.

I've cleaned battery terminals, ground connections where ever I can find them.

Do all motorhomes have electrical ghost?

Desmo
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#5 wolfe10

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 02:26 PM

I too have flickering 12 volt dc incandescent lights in the bathroom when connected to shore power or not. The flicker occurs about every 12 seconds when for a an instant the light dims ever so slightly. Also, about 50% of the time I get a low voltage warning from my equalizer leveling system when retracting this can happen when using any power sources, shore, generator or battery.

I've cleaned battery terminals, ground connections where ever I can find them.

Do all motorhomes have electrical ghost?

Desmo
2008 Charleston

Put a digital voltmeter on the house battery. See if voltage varies when this occurs. Some converters and chargers do cycle on and off. When off, battery voltage falls from charging levels until it comes back on.

If no variance in voltage at the battery and no variance in brightness of other incandescent lights, look for what else is powered on the same circuit as the bathroom lights. If no wiring schematic, pull the fuse and see what else doesn't work.

Brett Wolfe
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#6 desmo

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 01:56 PM

Put a digital voltmeter on the house battery. See if voltage varies when this occurs. Some converters and chargers do cycle on and off. When off, battery voltage falls from charging levels until it comes back on.

If no variance in voltage at the battery and no variance in brightness of other incandescent lights, look for what else is powered on the same circuit as the bathroom lights. If no wiring schematic, pull the fuse and see what else doesn't work.

Brett Wolfe



Thanks for the help Brett,

I'm still in rv electrical 101 mode. I don't have a digital voltmeter and will soon get one, in the mean time I do have a magnum energy 2012 console that shows voltage but I don't know if the reading is coming from the house batteries or the chassis batteries. I can't find a selection on the "me" console. Normally when shore connected, the voltage reading is 13.5 and when unconnected the voltage reads 12.8. The display seems to be quite steady.
How can I tell which battery bank, house or chassis, is being displayed?

Also I did notice one of my bedroom flouresent lights sometimes will not fully turn on and other time it's just fine and it is on the same electrical circuit as the bathroom light.

Desmo
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I apologize for the lack of rv electrical knowledge and hope there is an electrical seminar at the upcoming INTO area rally on 1/20/2010.
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#7 wolfe10

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 06:27 PM

Thanks for the help Brett,

I'm still in rv electrical 101 mode. I don't have a digital voltmeter and will soon get one, in the mean time I do have a magnum energy 2012 console that shows voltage but I don't know if the reading is coming from the house batteries or the chassis batteries. I can't find a selection on the "me" console. Normally when shore connected, the voltage reading is 13.5 and when unconnected the voltage reads 12.8. The display seems to be quite steady.
How can I tell which battery bank, house or chassis, is being displayed?

Also I did notice one of my bedroom fluorescent lights sometimes will not fully turn on and other time it's just fine and it is on the same electrical circuit as the bathroom light.

Desmo
2008 charleston

I apologize for the lack of rv electrical knowledge and hope there is an electrical seminar at the upcoming INTO area rally on 1/20/2010.


The inverter/charger should be connected to the HOUSE battery bank. Therefore most remotes display house battery voltage.

But once you have the digital voltmeter (Santa can find them starting under $20 at Radio Shack, Sears, etc) tracing can be very easy. If only the house battery bank is charged by your charger, the voltage of the remote display will be very close (assuming minimal 12 VDC things are running and inverter off) to that you find at the house batteries and different from chassis battery.

If both banks are charged by the charger, just leave it unplugged from shore power with some 120 VAC items on in the coach running from the inverter. Go back a couple of hours later and check voltage at the batteries. The one supplying the inverter will be lower than the one that has been "at rest".

Brett Wolfe
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