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Old 05-21-2012, 08:47 PM   #15
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Today I did as suggested and "slide" the back cover forward to reveal the backside of all the dash wiring. Actually this is nice and easy access. I removed several of the small "idiot" lights and as mentioned by others they appear to be bright. Nonetheless I cleaned several lights as well as the inside of the panel (with alcohol and quitips). There was little change. I measured the voltage at 11.6 volts, not much off 12 and to me not enough difference to cause dimmer than "normal" lights. My flashlight showed the panel notifications clearly, however. Replacing the lights with LED seems impossible since they seem to be not replaceable (integrated into the plastic housing for mounting.

Tomorrow I will try re-grounding one of the lights to see if the light gets brighter. I hope directly grounding the green wire will not trip a breaker, burn-out the bulb, or melt something I do not want melted. I will let you know the results.

TW has approved and expenditure for CC consulting service so I will likely go that route tomorrow as well.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:29 PM   #16
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Thanks for the update Russ! Interested to hear if the ground does any good. I ran out of time when looking at mine and have not had a chance to get back to it yet.

I did purchase a couple of piezo buzzers for a few bucks and tied them in with the turn signal indicators so we aren't driving down the road with errant signals. They work well and aren't overly annoying.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:03 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale C View Post
Thanks for the update Russ! Interested to hear if the ground does any good. I ran out of time when looking at mine and have not had a chance to get back to it yet.

I did purchase a couple of piezo buzzers for a few bucks and tied them in with the turn signal indicators so we aren't driving down the road with errant signals. They work well and aren't overly annoying.
I have been rethinking the situations, which is always a hazard, and now feel the 11.6 volts is not right and the cause of the dim dash. Thus I will checkout this aspect today as well. I will let you know the results of all.

No chance for errant signals on ours as there is a very loud buzzer (like a trash truck backing up) that is in our case quite annoying, apparently thanks to the previous owner.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:26 PM   #18
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Bulbs cannot be replaced?

That is odd...

11.6 VDC, not too far from 12 volts, BUT what was the nominal voltage?

Engine running or off?

If off, then measure at the battery, the current drain of the bulbs may not be much. but DC is a funny thing, rather the low voltage is a funny thing.

The resistance in the wiring makes a huge difference when the source of power is at the other end of a 40 ft coach, you may have 50 to 60 cable feet of wire between the battery and the load, and the smallest wire size needs to be short.

a 5 watt bulb at 120 VAC is only 0.04 amps, so wire size does not mater much, but at 12 volts it is 0.41 amps, still not much current, but have a handful of bulbs combined the amps add up, ad length of wire to the sensor or switch, resistance of all connections and you can drop a volt.

If you have a 5 watt @ 12 volt lamp then it is only 4 watts at 11 volts, 5.82 @ 13 volts so a small change in voltage makes a considerable difference.

So you may have a large wire feeding the front, then a wire maybe too small from a breaker to the light source.

So measure voltage across battery confirm starting point.

Then measure voltage at dash, if too low then connections need to be checked, as instructed above, measure voltage across suspect connections to determine the bad ones.

You may just need to replace a wire with a larger one, or a bad circuit breaker may have a voltage drop across it.

Regarding the LED conversion, a quick search at DigiKey for LED bulbs got this
Optoelectronics | LEDs - Lamp Replacements | DigiKey

No photo, but a source for one type, and as they say, where there is one there may be more, one would suspect that if one had the lamp number for the replacement lamp they could search by adding LED to the lamp number and possibly locate off the shelf dirct replacements that would do the trick.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:30 PM   #19
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For what it is worth, which is not much since nothing has improved, this is what I did today. Rather than explore voltage drops and bad grounds, I cut off one of the lights that stays illuminated during startup. Then I connected it to a very good 12+ volt source (ie ignition switch) and a good ground, and re-inserted it into the panel with the coach running. To me there was little or no difference in the readability of the message from what it was like prior to dismantleing the dask and cutting wires. .

I called CC tech support and they are looking into the matter. The fellow I talked with had not heard of the problem but said he would ask around and get back with me in a day or so.

It sounds like the issue is not that common, which given my "test" results make me wonder if it arrises after the miles/use increase. This coach has 55K miles and is 8+ years old. Maybe others have this issue just waiting to raise its ugly head when the heat of blub use reaches some threshold and "discolors" the plastic panel?

I suppose the bulb can be removed from the plastic insert but I could not budge it with my fingers and was afraid to try other extraction methodsfor fear of breaking it.

Does this "test" make sense or did I miss something? Again, I am not an electronics wizard by any measure.
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:52 AM   #20
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Makes perfect sense, we might have suggested the same thing, but did not want to risk suggesting cutting wires etc.

Since others have complained of same thing, then the issue could be other than a loose wore or voltage drop unless all units have the same "too small wire" someplace.

You may be on to something with the heat from the lamp causing damage to the plastic.

If you can remove the bulb from the hole, you may be able to look into the hole with a mirror to see what it looks like.

Possibly with a q-tip you may be able to clean off residue.

Another option if discolored is a pencil eraser.

Start with the orange one, and maybe step up to to a white one.

The round eraser on a stick allows one to buff off the spot inside the hole, then use a straw or small hose to blow out the residue.

Of course, try it on an easy one, and just a little bit at a time to test first.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:09 PM   #21
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Your idea of the pencil eraser is interesting, though my sense is the hole is too small. I did the q-tip exercise with several solvents, and then swabbed with the head of a long sheet metal screw wrapped with cloth (which barely fit). The panel seems a bit brighter but not by much, but I think it is clear--pum intended--that the panel itself is the culprit. No call back from CC yet.

If others have notions on what to use to scrape the inside of the panel surface I would be interested longterm. For the present I buttoned things up this pm and will live, or die, with what I have. Unless CC comes up with a sure-thing solution--how about that a second pum

Thanks to all for support and suggestions. BTW I took some cell phone pics and would be glad to send them if someone wants to know what the area and bulbs look like. Just PM your email address, as I haven't a clue how to get them from phone to forum for posting here.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:03 PM   #22
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Sorry your quest wasn't more fruitful was hoping you'd solve my problem for me. I basically jumped to the same conclusion on the lens... but hadn't done all the due diligence, yet.

Thanks for all the informative posts from everyone.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:10 AM   #23
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An Update.

As he said he would Gregg, as tech with CC, called back yesterday to report his findings. (Imagine that someone followed up!! I can't even get a call back from Camping World relative to now shocks! 3 cheers for CC). Anyway, the problem is known and frequent, the solution is unknown. He said several tried brighter lights and ended up melting some of the plastic housing. This fact alone suggests, at least to me, that the basic problem is the plastic has deteriorated in the inside surface due to extended exposure to heat from the bulb.

Thus the solution to me is a) place a ink eraser (if still available in this high tech time) in a drill, b) grinding the inside surface to an unknown degree/extent, c) attaching a small straw to my shop vac and extract the refuse, d) again re-install the dash and enjoy the sight of bright lights once again. Easy
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:57 AM   #24
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We have that issue on our 20 year old Eagle where the odometer display is, you can't read it. Hubby took it apart and I washed and cleaned the plastic display, made the rest look brighter but did little for that area. My eyes aren't the greatest either and with a flashlight I can read it. The rest of my gauges except for the hour meter on the generator which doesn't work are mechanical so ok. It says no prog, if they can't fix it we are going to an hour meter on the generator and hubby said put one on the engine too.
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