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Porch Light Nightmare and a safety issue

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Brownie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 Aug 2020 at 9:37am
Our porch light didn't work when we bought our "new" '18 176T. (Questionable, from Jeff Couch's RV, but for a different discussion). The light fixture itself was bad because the lens was cracked and water got in, rusting the incandescent socket. I figured no problem and contacted the dealer and told them I could repair if they sent a new one. They sent a new lens. Thanks.
 
I bought a new LED fixture and set about installing it. Like any good installer, I connected the light and checked it before finalizing the installation. Nada. Zip. No light. After testing the light with a direct connection to the battery to prove the light was functional, I started checking wires.
 
While tracing the wires I ended up removing the JVC entertainment center, the bottom drawer under the wardrobe, the porch light switch itself and the inverter. Your camper may use different colors, but on this camper, the light starts with a white ground and white/purple tracer hot. The white/purple goes to the switch and the white connects to other grounds in the same space as the entertainment center. From the switch, there is a double white with orange tracer. One splits to the slide out switch in a daisy-chain power supply, the other goes down through the chase and ends up in a wire nut with two other wires near the inverter. This area can be accessed by removing the lower drawer and/or the inverter itself, I opted for both. Make certain there is no 110V power during this operation.
 
I checked everything and the wires seemed ok, but every time I moved something I heard the snap of a small spark and the fan on the inverter started, then would stop. I eventually found the offending wires. Screwed to the floor behind the inverter is a ground block and a 12V master breaker. Both sides of the wire installed on the breaker were loose. While one side with a single wire was snug and just needed a few turns, the other terminal with two wires was so loose the nut may as well have not even been installed. The slightest touch or movement made it loose contact. After tightening both I rechecked the light and it worked.
 
This really makes no sense. The porch light is on the same circuit as the interior lights, and that can be proven by pulling the top 15A fuse. They worked fine with the loose wire. Nonetheless, having found no other loose wires this seems to have fixed the problem and I was able to complete the new light installation. If it ever stops working again I'll disconnect the wires from the nuts and solder them.
 
I urge you to access the same area in your camper and check the wires on the breaker, or do I like did and check them all. A loose connection there can cause things to get hot, not to mention messing with the tow vehicle charging system while connected.
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mcarter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Aug 2020 at 5:56pm
Good post.  Thanks Brownie
Mike Carter
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Kingskerswell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kingskerswell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2020 at 2:23pm
Very well documented..This will be put in my R-Pod file!  Thanks
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