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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #1  
Old 09-11-2010
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Default Any good way to find a short?

I've been searching for a short in my overhead running lights. The 20a fuse blows the minute you turn them on. I tried a tone tracer but being shorted am unable to trace anything.

I've put a 12v lamp in series with the short and it comes on. I was hoping to wiggle some wires and if the short went away the lamp would dim but no luck with that either.

I'm tearing everything apart and running out of ideas?
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Old 09-11-2010
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Try hooking up a light and a flasher. Then use a small hand held compass to trace the line. When the compass is near the wire, it will move with the on-off current flow. When you go beyond the short it will no longer move. It isn't rocket science, but it can help in locating where the current stops flowing. There are other tools, but with a dead short it is often hard to find.
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Old 09-11-2010
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Thanx Gardner.. I'll have to find my box of cracker jacks and get a compass. I have not heard that one before... sounds interesting.
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Old 09-11-2010
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Michael. I'd start by testing the circut breaker. They can fail.
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Old 09-12-2010
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I was partners in a motorcycle shop and the dealerships didn't like to pay a tech to diagnose anything so we got lots of electrical gremlins to find. I have used Gardner's trick but with an induction ampmeter. The kind you put over the battery wire on the back of an alternator. You just put it over the wire(s), move it along the wires and watch for the needle to stop moving. Small compass is cheaper. You can also put a circuit breaker in place of a fuse so it will continue to reset. Sometimes I just put the resetting circuit breaker in the circuit and feel for a wire getting hot. Can also find a wire getting hot with an infared heat detector. Most 14 or 16 gauge wires will stand 30 amps if it is cycling.

-Rick in Ohio
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  #6  
Old 09-12-2010
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Michael the lights only have one wire and the light assembly is ground if I remember correctly. So I would pull the overhead light and start there first and the odds are pretty high thats where the short is, either in the socket itself or a chafe in the wire going out of it. Good luck.
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Old 09-12-2010
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Mike- I had a short in one of my clearance marker lights that was pretty interesting- when the little china-man assembled the spring and wire, he put an overly large glob of solder on the wire in the bottom of the socket. The result was that on occasion, the bottom of the socket would short into the side (ground) of the socket. I had the single-wire lights too. If you leave them in the skin of the bus and just remove the lens and bulb- you can easily look down into the socket and see if that's happening to you.
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  #8  
Old 09-12-2010
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Ok.. getting closer. Removed all the bulbs from the marker lights. Found some very corroded, some with an wire twisted around the base of the bulb for a ground, some leaking and one UPSIDE DOWN. The drain hole was UP letting the water come right in. So found my mysterious passenger side water leak.

Have the front above the dash torn completely apart tracing wires. I was able to cut a splice and isolate the front and two sides from the rear. Now have voltage the front, drivers side, and two on the passenger side. The rear passenger side and rear of the bus remain shorted.

Getting closer!
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Old 09-12-2010
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Michael.

I know the upside down lens issue. an easy mistake, but you would think the installer would notice. , The short is usually the wire through the hole in the body.
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  #10  
Old 09-12-2010
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hmmmm.. All the lamps are out, old, rusty... Time for Dupree Products and get some LEDs in there.
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78FC35SB & 83FC35SB Wanderlodge - "Putz'n Around"
'90 GL1500 Goldwing | '67 VW Rail | '82 CJ5 Jeep
eMail=Mike.Putz@cox.net | Web=http://mikeputz.com/
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