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Old 01-21-2009
Frank W. Frank W. is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Woodbridge, VA.
Posts: 1,035
Default LUMINESCENT DASH LIGHTS / EL Dash Panel Inverter Replacement

Topic: Replace EL Dash Inverter.

Bus Type: 1985 BlueBird Wanderlodge FC Date: January 21, 2009

My Electroluminescent (EL) lower dash display stopped working; only history is that about 3 years ago same problem developed and I replaced the existing OEM Endicott units with the same type. These units worked fine then subsequently just “faded away”, after a estimated total time of perhaps 20 hours use.

I bought a new inverter from Cape Innovation (also trading as Dupree Products), this is a different unit and seems much more robust.

Inverter Location & Dash Access:

For clarity, I’ll use the term lower dash to mean the lower switch panel just underneath the steering wheel that has most of the function switches, gas and volt meters. Upper dash refers to the panel forward of the steering wheel with the tachometer and speedometer and other gauges. My repair did not involve the overhead dash with the altimeter, spotlight and AC controls. This overhead dash EL panel is supplied by another inverter located behind this panel (based on the soft buzzing I hear from the OEM inverter).

The OEM inverters look like two “blue ice cubes” with yellow warning labels. They are mounted behind the upper dash in the center of the console. To gain access to the entire area you remove the outer edge trim from around the lower dash, once removed this panel can be lifted up and forward about an inch. In the center bottom edge of the upper dash there is a metal brace with a screw that holds the upper center portion of the upper dash secure, remove this screw. Look next for a large headed screw in the lower left corner of the upper dash, remove it. The right side is secured by the rearmost screw on the CB mike holder; once this is removed the upper dash is free to move forward about 2 inches. The mass of wiring makes further movement difficult. If needed, you can disconnect the harnesses and remove the panels, but I did not have to do this. Look in from the top and you should see the “blue ice cubes”

Checking Inverters and Wiring:

The inverter(s) are supplied with 12 volts when the headlight switch is “on” and the dash dimmer rheostat is turned up. Look for your power supply coming off the rheostat and test for 12 volts DC and good grounds going to the inverter(s), these were black (+) and white (-) on my coach. Look carefully under the dash panels…the 120 volts supplied via the inverters is delivered via wires (green & black) that terminate at “silicone blobs” on the dash panel…be careful here, do not pull the wires off the panel. Check for 120 volts AC coming out the inverter feed terminals with the wires attached. Do not run inverter with no load. Some installations use two inverters in a 120 volt parallel output set-up. Why I have no clue as this makes no sense to me.

Next, I suggest that if you have good wire attachments, 12 volts going into inverter(s) and nothing coming out, you’re in the same boat I was. Get a new inverter and replace the old one(s).

Clean your rheostat and headlight switch with spray type electrical contact cleaner, (NOT WD-40!). I replaced my two OEM type blue ice cubes with one new inverter. The inverter I received from had no markings, wiring code is RED=12 volt + DC; BLACK =12 volt DC ground; WHITE is 120 volt AC out. Attach wires and secure the inverter behind dash. Mine fit well on the left side behind the upper dash secured to the wood.

Carefully check all your dash lights and wiring before you reassemble dash…it is easy to pull off a gauge wire and not notice until you have it all back together.

Photo 1: shows OEM blue cubes. 2: shows new inverter output. 3: new vs old Inverter
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Frank W.
Woodbridge, VA.

Coach photos & comments:

Last edited by Frank W.; 01-21-2009 at 10:46 PM. Reason: Photo explaination text
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