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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers

 > 12 volt fuse box

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RoyB

King George, VA

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Posted: 04/08/12 12:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The beer is going to taste so good when you finally find the problem..

Find the two wires that you know for sure is feeding those lamps and see where they come from. Maybe you can hand trace all the back to the light fixture. Could be blown out lights or bad light fixture ???

Another thought along these lines... How is your light fixture grounded. Today all the DC wiring is two conductor wiring straight from the source. Back in the past it was quite common to only run a HOT wire and then use the trailer frame ground for the return wire. Check to see if both positve and negative leads from the light fixure are connected good.


My Posts are IMHO based on my experiences - PM me
Roy and Carolyn
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2010 F150, 5.4,3:73 Gears,SCab
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jbrowning

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Posted: 04/08/12 12:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yeah at the rate I'm going that beer is going to be frozen solid by the time I get finished with this ""LITTLE"" project.

I'm getting ready to look at the light over the table to see where the wiring is at and in what condition it is in. I'm wondering if they piggy backed these back then. Because for all 3 of them to stop working at the exact same time. It just sounds kind of fishy to me. That is why I was leaning towards a fuse being blown. Because if they are piggy backed and the fuse blew before the first light (light over the table I'm guessing) then that would explain why none of them are working now.

Remember though. I don't do this for a living so I could be totally wrong about this.

Thanks
Jim


2001 Dodge Ram 1500 5.9 Ltr Extended Cab 4x4
1971 21ft Terry Travel Trailer

RoyB

King George, VA

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Posted: 04/08/12 01:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If all three went out at same time just might be the common ground too..

None of us do this for a living... We would all go broke haha... This is where one of the $7-$15 multimeter from Lowes or Walmart would come in handy...

Once you read the voltage then you dont have to guess anymore.

Once it is working again you will think back and say "Man! that was something"

Then you will start wondering why your battery wont stay charged up. It never stops...

westend

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Posted: 04/08/12 02:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ok, well that is just a flat out mess. Sorry,but someone needs to tell you. You maybe know this. This location, where the battery power wire enters the trailer,is where there would be a fuse block. Your lights would be fused on one circuit, any appliances that use 12v on another fuse, and the remainder of appliances or fans or motors on another fuse.
I see that you have the different wires taped but I would suggest you either install a fuse block or, at least, a terminal strip so you can get some organization of the 12v wiring. If two pieces of tape loosen and fall off, you will have another mystery on your hands.
At this point, if you want your lights to work, you need to determine if power is available at the fixture. Twist your light wires together with the battery power wire. Go to each fixture and remove a bulb. You'll probably need to rotate the switches since there is no telling if they are off or on. You will need a 12v test light. They are $1.00 at the auto parts store. You can make one if you have a working bulb and wire. You can then probe each fixture with the tester to the lamp fixture's power terminal and the other wire on the tester to a known good ground. If you have power available the bulb on the tester will light. This will show you if you have a bad ground from the fixture or a bad bulb.
To test to see if you have a good ground on each fixture, connect a power lead to the tester and probe the outside metal of each bulb fixture. If you have a good ground, the tester bulb will light.
These tests can also be done with an inexpensive multimeter and would be less wire to string.


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jbrowning

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Posted: 04/08/12 02:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes West, I know that is a cluster (you know what). Last winter when I got the trailer I wasn't planning on keeping it for but a year or two, now for some reason I have decided to keep it a while longer so I am looking into things that are needing fixed right now. Electrical is not one of my stronger points and I am learning as I am going. Like I have mentioned before there are only 3 lights inside the trailer that works off of 12 volt and the porch light (that does work), there are no appliances that work off of the 12 volt, there is no water pump or hot water heater in the trailer. It is just the 3 inside lights and the porch light (which does work, that was wired in separately).
So yes to answer your question. I do know it is a mess I call it my rats nest. But it isn't going to be like that always. I will get around to replacing and trying to rewire what needs to be rewired and if that means putting in a fuse box there under the seat, then I will do that. But once again I have to read up on it to find out how to do what ever needs to be done.

Thank you
Jim

jbrowning

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Posted: 04/08/12 02:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RoyB wrote:

If all three went out at same time just might be the common ground too..

None of us do this for a living... We would all go broke haha... This is where one of the $7-$15 multimeter from Lowes or Walmart would come in handy...

Once you read the voltage then you dont have to guess anymore.

Once it is working again you will think back and say "Man! that was something"

Then you will start wondering why your battery wont stay charged up. It never stops...


Can you suggest a good multimeter Roy> I have bought 3 circuit testers in the last 2 months and not a single one works now. So I'm not sure if I'm just buying cheap ones, or if I just don't know what I'm doing and I'm frying them somehow.

Well time to put the trailer back into storage till next Friday when maybe I can get this figured out or I just say forget it!! I will just use the 110 lights.

Thanks
Jim

RoyB

King George, VA

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Posted: 04/08/12 03:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This one is sold at WALMART I think. These are available at alot of places and will work just fine. You just need something to read DC volts and AC volts to troubleshoot most of the RV problems... This one is listed for $12 at AMAZON.com. I carry one in my glovebox in my truck all the time. Being in the business i have the high dollar FLUKES but these little guys do the same job...



When you get this problem all figured out I got a few ideas for you with some BLUE SEA Marine products to make all of this safe as well as being able to troubleshoot things. As old as your trailer is whos knows what has been wired in over the past 40 years..

Fused circuits not only protect the appliances it is feeding but also protects the wiring from burning up. The batteries when shorted out down the circuit somewhere can draw a bunch of amps. Melt that puppy down in a heart beat.

You may even want to install a good converter so that it take care of your batteries automatically and let you be able to camp off the power grid for extended times. If you are serious about camping off the grid alot then two batteries is a minimum and you need to be setup with LED lighting and also be able to re-charge your battery bank in a short 2-3 hours period by connecting your shore power cable directly to a 2KW generator.

We stay out a couple of weeks at a time with our POPUP and make it back in one piece everytime haha... Watch HDTV, light up our corner of the camp ground, and I play with my Ham Radio every night.

clearnetedm

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Posted: 04/08/12 02:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I noticed in your last pic of the wires there is an exposed black wire. At least it likes it to me. Was that always the case? If the lights are run in series just one missing line will take them all down like old christmass tree lights.
Best of luck.


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jbrowning

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Posted: 04/08/12 04:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Roy, normally I am plugged into 110 when I'm out camping. I just wanted to get the 12 volt system up and running on the trailer because it (the trailer) had been neglected for so many years. When I got the trailer they had yanked off the 7 wire connector and had rigged up a cheap 4 plug connector and the propane system hadn't been used in years also. So I'm just trying to put some pride back into her and get things running like they should have been running all along. So as far as camping off of the grid. If I do that it would only be one night. I will be interested on down the line on how to get a inverter/converter/charger set up so my battery will stay charged. But like I said, right now I'm just trying to figure out how to get the 12 volt system working again. The funny thing is yesterday morning all four lights worked fine. Then I turned them off came inside the house and 15 minutes later when I went back outside to the trailer none of the inside lights would come on. Ok so on to the multimeter. I will stop by Lowes or WalMart before next Friday and pick me up on and see if I can figure out how to use it.

Now Westend you had suggested getting a fuse box to put into the seat area under the seat. Do you have a suggestion on which one to get and how it would need to be installed so I can clean that area up a little bit.

Thank you both for your help
Jim

jbrowning

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Posted: 04/08/12 04:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

clearnetedm wrote:

I noticed in your last pic of the wires there is an exposed black wire. At least it likes it to me. Was that always the case? If the lights are run in series just one missing line will take them all down like old christmass tree lights.
Best of luck.


I will check out that black wire you spoke about and see if it is supposed to be used or not.

Thank you
Jim

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