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Old 05-17-2012, 09:26 AM   #1
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Dim dash indicator lights

All the indicator lights on our new-to-us 2004 Inspire are too dim to see/read. Even the turn signal lights, and even when the panel is shaded? What if anything can be done? I have the diming switch adjustment as far as it will go but this seems to only effect the other gauges lights and not the indicator panel.

Thanks for any thoughts--

Russ
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:00 AM   #2
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Russ,
I will be reading with interest the replies you get here. I have a 07 CC and mine are also not the brightest bulbs. Was wondering if brighter bulbs could be installed without any problems coming up. I have had enough electrical problem so far.
There is also a C/C group with Yahoo..you could ask the same questions. Not sure if all here are also on that group..I get great info or directions with this site and the other.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:15 AM   #3
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You may have a corroded/loose ground wire either at the panel or the body or low voltage. Check the voltage with a meter grounded to a know good ground. then recheck the voltage with the meter grounded to the panel. You'll be able to tell if is a bad ground or low voltage
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:24 PM   #4
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I have an 05 Inspire and have the same problem. I'm not aware of an easy remedy.
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:31 PM   #5
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Get a volt meter and start measuring.

A couple of sewing needles or shirt pins can be handy.

DO NOT push too hard on any connections as you do NOT want to have an intermittent fix itself.

Start by locating an easy to reach bulb and look for a place to measure the voltage, with any luck you will be able so see bare wire or metal at the bulb to touch the meter to.

If not, then you may be able to follow the wire away from the bulb, then carefully push one of the pins into each wire, but have them far enough apart to not allow them to touch each other or any other metal.

Now measure the voltage, it will likely be less than 12 volts, as it is a dim 12 volt bulb.

Note which one is negative, swap your meter leads until it reads positive voltage, IE no "-" in the reading or the needle swings positive.

The wire with the black lead is now the negative or ground wire, the red lead the hot wire.

Now find a shiny metal part, the brake pedal arm may be a good spot, or a large GREEN wire connected to a buss with a lot of other smaller green wires, this should be the chassis ground.

Move your black lead to the chassis ground and remeasure.

If higher than the first measurement you have a bad ground connection.

If it is the same, say 9 volts on the bulb wires and 9 volts from the bulb hot to chassis ground, you have a dimmer problem or bad connection on the hot side.

Measure between the ground wire going to the bulb and the biggest green wire in the buss or the shiny metal part.

This is called "measuring across a ground" to confirm your ground is making it to where it is needed.

If zero, then confirm ground by measuring from the ground to the other wire of the bulb.

If more than zero then you have a bad connection someplace.

Check for other ground connections as the large green wire may have a bad connection at the other end.

Work you way back to where it is connected to the frame as well as where the batteries connect to the frame.

If the issue is on the hot side, then same process, you need to work backwards toward the source.

The dimmer is the knob you turn to change the brightness, on the back there should be a handful of wires, and you should be able to measure to determine which one is source (12 volts all the time) and the one for the dash bulbs (varies when knob is turned).

Simple measurements will show what it is doing, some homework relating to the part number of what is installed should indicate the expected voltage, it may have a bad internal switch or connection, and it may need replacement, or the dimmer could be bypassed, but that is not suggested as it is controlled by the internal power switch.

This went long, but it can be used to troubleshoot any electrical issue.

Good luck and post your progress!
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TQ60 View Post
Get a volt meter and start measuring.

A couple of sewing needles or shirt pins can be handy.

DO NOT push too hard on any connections as you do NOT want to have an intermittent fix itself.

Start by locating an easy to reach bulb and look for a place to measure the voltage, with any luck you will be able so see bare wire or metal at the bulb to touch the meter to.

If not, then you may be able to follow the wire away from the bulb, then carefully push one of the pins into each wire, but have them far enough apart to not allow them to touch each other or any other metal.

Now measure the voltage, it will likely be less than 12 volts, as it is a dim 12 volt bulb.

Note which one is negative, swap your meter leads until it reads positive voltage, IE no "-" in the reading or the needle swings positive.

The wire with the black lead is now the negative or ground wire, the red lead the hot wire.

Now find a shiny metal part, the brake pedal arm may be a good spot, or a large GREEN wire connected to a buss with a lot of other smaller green wires, this should be the chassis ground.

Move your black lead to the chassis ground and remeasure.

If higher than the first measurement you have a bad ground connection.

If it is the same, say 9 volts on the bulb wires and 9 volts from the bulb hot to chassis ground, you have a dimmer problem or bad connection on the hot side.

Measure between the ground wire going to the bulb and the biggest green wire in the buss or the shiny metal part.

This is called "measuring across a ground" to confirm your ground is making it to where it is needed.

If zero, then confirm ground by measuring from the ground to the other wire of the bulb.

If more than zero then you have a bad connection someplace.

Check for other ground connections as the large green wire may have a bad connection at the other end.

Work you way back to where it is connected to the frame as well as where the batteries connect to the frame.

If the issue is on the hot side, then same process, you need to work backwards toward the source.

The dimmer is the knob you turn to change the brightness, on the back there should be a handful of wires, and you should be able to measure to determine which one is source (12 volts all the time) and the one for the dash bulbs (varies when knob is turned).

Simple measurements will show what it is doing, some homework relating to the part number of what is installed should indicate the expected voltage, it may have a bad internal switch or connection, and it may need replacement, or the dimmer could be bypassed, but that is not suggested as it is controlled by the internal power switch.

This went long, but it can be used to troubleshoot any electrical issue.

Good luck and post your progress!
This is fabulous help and I thank you so much for taking the time to inform and educate this electrically-challenged owner. It seems this will take some time--at least for me--so don't expect the "results" in the near future. But it does sound fairly straight forward.

I was at Freightliner for other "issues" today and they were appalled how dim the lights were. But alas they did not want to attempt troubleshooting and suggested I go to the manufacturer for help. While waiting for them to complete their work I went through the wiring diagrams I got with the (used) coach and found something on everything electrical in the coach EXCEPT the idiot lights. Murphy strikes again!
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:12 AM   #7
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I have the dim indicator light problem as well on our 05 Inspire. I have read that this is a common problem. I recently had the dash apart and did the voltage and ground troubleshooting. All was fine. The bulbs are fairly bright when out of the dash socket. I believe the problem to be the tint on the lens is too dark. The question now is what to do about it, I don't have the answer to that.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale C View Post
I have the dim indicator light problem as well on our 05 Inspire. I have read that this is a common problem. I recently had the dash apart and did the voltage and ground troubleshooting. All was fine. The bulbs are fairly bright when out of the dash socket. I believe the problem to be the tint on the lens is too dark. The question now is what to do about it, I don't have the answer to that.
Dale--

Was the dash easily removed via the top and side screws, or was there more to it than that?

I am wondering if replacement LED bulbs is the answer. The other aspect I will checkout is to see if CC has a replacement panel that is not so dark.
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:33 PM   #9
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Yes, Russ the dash is removed by removing the top and side screws, I believe it is only 4 screws on mine. You actually don't remove the dash panel, remove the screws and dash piece slides back toward the windshield allowing access to the dash components.

(Does that make sense?)
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale C View Post
Yes, Russ the dash is removed by removing the top and side screws, I believe it is only 4 screws on mine. You actually don't remove the dash panel, remove the screws and dash piece slides back toward the windshield allowing access to the dash components.

(Does that make sense?)
Yes, Dale, it does make perfect sense and I will take a look on Sunday. One never knows what one might find doing these sorts of things--I found a flashlight the other day when I removed the end panel from an overhead compartment
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:51 PM   #11
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Bad ground somewhere. Try running a separate ground and see if they brighten up.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:39 PM   #12
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I was planning to do this once the dash was removed. It seemed like an easy check, as does trying a new blub for the turn signal. Then I will move towards the checking routine suggested by TQ60.

Thanks for the suggestion and interest in my issue.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:37 PM   #13
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Please let us know what you find. I, for one, am interested.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:57 AM   #14
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Someone else had mentioned the bulb seemed bright if removed.

One should check the difference between that condtion, removed but in the harness and lit to removed and connected directly to 12 volts, the bulb may be brighter on 12 volts.

BUT it may not be.

Our older coach has a dash made with multi-layer plastic, it is black onthe front and white in the back.

The lettering that is to be lit up is cut away with an engraver allowing the light to pass through the wite part.

They are not the brightest, but they seem ok to us.

What to do if the bulb is OK.

Do NOT replace with a brighter bulb, that will create more heat which may melt something.

One could go LED, but I do not know if there are direct replacements for these bulbs.

We have a light panel with 60 lights (for irrigation status) that we need to convert, but are too lazy to start...

One could locate a source for the bright LED, DigiKey or harvest from other ites such as free harbor freight flashlights.

Then bust out the bulb from the base unit and solder the LED and resistor if needed into the base.

It is a different wavelength and brightness, not sure if it would work better, but it could be a good rainy day project to convert bulbs...

If you got creative you could use different colors.

Keep us posted.
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