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Harvey51

Alberta

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Posted: 06/02/16 11:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a habit of driving the motorhome out of a campsite without putting the step up. Usually someone waves a warning but I have driven for quite a way with the darn thing down and even hit it on a curb once.

I set up a little circuit to generate a warning tone if the engine is running with the step down.
[image]
A battery is connected through a resistor and switch to a 6 volt tone generator. Current draw was about 25 mA and a 220 ohm resistor served nicely to bring the battery voltage down to the tone device, providing a hard to ignore squeal.

I tried a magnetic switch first, but the MH step has a bit of play in it - too much to count on bringing a magnet close enough to the switch without hitting it. Luckily I found the microswitch with long stiff spring attachment. It was from a surplus store years ago. If anyone knows where to get them now, I would sure like to know. I had a dozen of them when I was teaching electricity to junior high students but loaned them to another teacher and lost them. The switch needs to be momentary contact with a normally open connection. Any DPST or DPDT microswitch could be made to work with a stiff spring attachment.

The switch with its handy sheet metal mount attached was easily attached to the top of the step frame with a couple of wood screws.
[image]
Note the spring extension in the way of the step as it is pushed in.

For power with ignition key on, I searched the inside cab fuse panel and quickly found an unused fuse position. I played around with a fuse and got a wire soldered onto one side of it - but the heat melted the fuse wire. I found the very thing in a store near the fuse display.
[image]
I wondered why it had jacks for two fuses. It is designed to add another load to a fuse in use and the first fuse limits current to both the existing load in the fuse panel and the new load; the second is just for the new external load. Five amps was the smallest fuse I had after melting my 2 amp one. Anyway, the resistor limits the current to about 50 mA so the fuse is only necessary if the resistor happens to short itself.

I ran the power wire across the cab just behind the seats and is covered with carpet/mat most of the way. The alarm is in an unused corner beside DW's seat and very close to house door, making the alarm suggest something wrong over that way. There happened to be a tiny hole in the floor and caulking beneath that spot under the vehicle so I just pushed the ground wire through and connected it to the switch. I used push on connectors on the alarm so it can be easily disconnected if something goes wrong.

It works beautifully!

* This post was edited 06/02/16 11:20am by Harvey51 *


2004 E350 Adventurer (Canadian) 20 footer - Alberta, Canada
No TV + 100W solar = no generator needed

down home

south

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Posted: 06/02/16 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

you can wire the trans selector switch and install a door switch with two positions.
Door open steps out close steps in. Switch off with door open and the steps stay down. Two wires to trans selectors witch, to door switch and from step motor, two circuits with shared hot.
You put the trans in gear, it automatically pulls in steps regardless of switch at the door or wherever you place it.
When we first had ours I was alarmed that I had left the steps extended. But I hadn't when we put the coach in gear the steps came in regardless of the door switch position. A safety feature, I though all coaches now had.

DrewE

Vermont

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Posted: 06/02/16 11:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That looks quite nicely done.

My motorhome has something very similar from the factory, with a little light installed on the dashboard that comes on if the step is extended when the ignition is on. They used a microswitch mounted to the step motor that the operating arm activates. If you have a power step, this may be a simpler mounting point for the switch as there's much less play in the mechanism there. Of course, if it's a manual step, there's no motor, so it's not an option.

I kind of like the audible alarm, as the dashboard light is sometimes too easy to ignore, particularly as it happens to often be obscured by a steering wheel spoke on my RV.

(My steps, while motorized, are not automatic; there's just a switch like a power window switch at the entryway to make them wind in or out.)





Joe Way

Quincy CA

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Posted: 06/02/16 12:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Harvey51 wrote:

...If anyone knows where to get them now, I would sure like to know...


How about THESE?

Harvey51

Alberta

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Posted: 06/02/16 03:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Those microswitches look good. Thank you! I see they are on eBay.ca as well. This one appears to have a more flexible spring which ought to make it less fussy about how hard it is pushed: eBay.ca

I should have mentioned I have manual steps.

* This post was edited 06/02/16 03:43pm by Harvey51 *

TNGW1500SE

Oliver Springs TN

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Posted: 06/02/16 09:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Water could shorten the life of the switch. What about using a magnetic switch covered in a sealant?

Harvey51

Alberta

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Posted: 06/02/16 10:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I tried a magnetic switch first, but the magnet had to come well within a quarter inch of the switch. The step has too much play to make that reliable.

Thanks for the heads up - I must protect it from water somehow.

TNGW1500SE

Oliver Springs TN

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Posted: 06/03/16 06:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Harvey51 wrote:

I tried a magnetic switch first, but the magnet had to come well within a quarter inch of the switch. The step has too much play to make that reliable.

Thanks for the heads up - I must protect it from water somehow.


And wind
And stuff kicked up off the road

TNGW1500SE

Oliver Springs TN

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Posted: 06/03/16 11:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Harvey51 wrote:

I tried a magnetic switch first, but the magnet had to come well within a quarter inch of the switch. The step has too much play to make that reliable.

Thanks for the heads up - I must protect it from water somehow.


You could replace the weak magnet in the switch with a stronger one and cover the magnetic switch with sealer.
I use these LINK that I got at Home Depot to find drywall screws in the wall at home. I have two of them and when they get together they are a pain to get apart. Talk about strong! They'll operate a magnetic switch!

Video

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 06/04/16 07:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very good solution! We have a detailed checklist that we go over before we start the truck -- is the step in, is the door locked, and so forth.

The only problem is that sometimes we forget to look at the list . . .


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
Our trips -- pix and text
About our trailer
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single list."


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