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Old 12-22-2017, 10:40 AM   #1
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Bay light switch overheated!

Word of warning to all ... we're a 2003 Dynasty. Rig is parked in an unheated barn. Its been in the 30's last few weeks so I had left the underneath bay lights on knowing they give off a little heat and thinking what harm could it do.

I didn't think, or give much thought that the switch isn't continuous duty rated, and the switch overheated and melted the plastic around it. Thankfully we were around, smelled something funny, and when we removed the cup holder cover, found the wires red hot had just melted their way out of the switch.

Another interesting thing while trying to trace where the fuse was to pull it, in the wiring book the wiring/fuse location is noted as "baggage lights", though the switched is labeled "Bay lights". Kept looking for bay light fuse every where and couldn't find it. And of course neither of those should be confused with docking lights!

Anyway, thought I'd share for everyone else's knowledge. Now on to figure out a replacement switch to use.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:46 AM   #2
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Is that a 120V circuit? Those 120V switches can get hot and melt if the wires/connections are loose.

If that is a 12V circuit (such as my ceiling lights) then it is unusual to have a melt down like yours. The wattage of the circuit is a lot lower and therefore less heat potential. There are a lot of 12V circuits in the average coach that have power on them continuously. But of course it does happen.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:56 AM   #3
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I had an identical 12v switch that powered the fluorescent kitchen lights overheat in our Windsor. The problem was the wire connector on the back of the switch fit loosely onto the spade terminal. I installed a new wire terminal and a new switch and all was well. I do agree I wouldn't leave it on full time.

If you have a 110v extension cord just put a 100w trouble light in the wet bay.
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:12 AM   #4
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Good morning Rob form the Puget Sound area of Wa. Interesting post as I have something to share about your problem. Thank God it did not cause a fire and you were not around. I have had two situations I think that were similar to yours, but did not get as far as your switch problem. In 2003, went to Tucson to buy a 2000 Windsor. On the drive home back to Wa., in the evening while stopped having dinner with the kitchen overhead lights on, that is a make up of 4 sets of the Thin-Lights, the lights started blinking and I could smell something hot. Went and felt the light switch. It was extremely hot. I had stopped at Walmart in north Tucson to shop for the trip home and bought a small tool kit in case I needed something to work with. Pulled the face plate for the switch off and removed the switch. It was in the process of starting to melt. The butt crimped slide on connectors Monaco had on the wires were loose. I crimped the connectors tighter on the wires and reinstalled a switch I got from the front well steps lights. Now the switch was hardly warm. To me it was the loose butt connectors on the wire creating a high resistance at the switch. Got home and soldered new connectors on the wires with a new switch. With all kitchen lights on the switch is cool to the touch. Now I have a 2001 Windsor. Same set up and the same problem when I took delivery of it. Someone had already replaced the switch, but I happened to put my finger on the switch and it was HOT! Took switch out and checked the butt connectors on the wire. Again, they were LOOSE. Soldered the connectors to the wires and reinstalled. Switch is now cool to the touch. To me, it's not the switch, but the loose connecting butt connectors that are crimped on the wires. They are not tight and create a high resistance. If this is the case as yours went extremely bad, I would suggest owners check the connectors if the switch feels warm. I am sure if you had put your finger on the switch for the bay lights, it would have been hot to the touch. Sorry for the long story, but thought you would find it interesting. Make sure the connectors are tight when you put a new switch in. Good luck!
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 8.3Oilbuner View Post
Good morning Rob form the Puget Sound area of Wa. Interesting post as I have something to share about your problem. Thank God it did not cause a fire and you were not around. I have had two situations I think that were similar to yours, but did not get as far as your switch problem. In 2003, went to Tucson to buy a 2000 Windsor. On the drive home back to Wa., in the evening while stopped having dinner with the kitchen overhead lights on, that is a make up of 4 sets of the Thin-Lights, the lights started blinking and I could smell something hot. Went and felt the light switch. It was extremely hot. I had stopped at Walmart in north Tucson to shop for the trip home and bought a small tool kit in case I needed something to work with. Pulled the face plate for the switch off and removed the switch. It was in the process of starting to melt. The butt crimped slide on connectors Monaco had on the wires were loose. I crimped the connectors tighter on the wires and reinstalled a switch I got from the front well steps lights. Now the switch was hardly warm. To me it was the loose butt connectors on the wire creating a high resistance at the switch. Got home and soldered new connectors on the wires with a new switch. With all kitchen lights on the switch is cool to the touch. Now I have a 2001 Windsor. Same set up and the same problem when I took delivery of it. Someone had already replaced the switch, but I happened to put my finger on the switch and it was HOT! Took switch out and checked the butt connectors on the wire. Again, they were LOOSE. Soldered the connectors to the wires and reinstalled. Switch is now cool to the touch. To me, it's not the switch, but the loose connecting butt connectors that are crimped on the wires. They are not tight and create a high resistance. If this is the case as yours went extremely bad, I would suggest owners check the connectors if the switch feels warm. I am sure if you had put your finger on the switch for the bay lights, it would have been hot to the touch. Sorry for the long story, but thought you would find it interesting. Make sure the connectors are tight when you put a new switch in. Good luck!
Thanks for the heads-up! I will be checking the switches on my 2002 Windsor!
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 8.3Oilbuner View Post
Good morning Rob form the Puget Sound area of Wa. Interesting post as I have something to share about your problem. Thank God it did not cause a fire and you were not around. I have had two situations I think that were similar to yours, but did not get as far as your switch problem. In 2003, went to Tucson to buy a 2000 Windsor. On the drive home back to Wa., in the evening while stopped having dinner with the kitchen overhead lights on, that is a make up of 4 sets of the Thin-Lights, the lights started blinking and I could smell something hot. Went and felt the light switch. It was extremely hot. I had stopped at Walmart in north Tucson to shop for the trip home and bought a small tool kit in case I needed something to work with. Pulled the face plate for the switch off and removed the switch. It was in the process of starting to melt. The butt crimped slide on connectors Monaco had on the wires were loose. I crimped the connectors tighter on the wires and reinstalled a switch I got from the front well steps lights. Now the switch was hardly warm. To me it was the loose butt connectors on the wire creating a high resistance at the switch. Got home and soldered new connectors on the wires with a new switch. With all kitchen lights on the switch is cool to the touch. Now I have a 2001 Windsor. Same set up and the same problem when I took delivery of it. Someone had already replaced the switch, but I happened to put my finger on the switch and it was HOT! Took switch out and checked the butt connectors on the wire. Again, they were LOOSE. Soldered the connectors to the wires and reinstalled. Switch is now cool to the touch. To me, it's not the switch, but the loose connecting butt connectors that are crimped on the wires. They are not tight and create a high resistance. If this is the case as yours went extremely bad, I would suggest owners check the connectors if the switch feels warm. I am sure if you had put your finger on the switch for the bay lights, it would have been hot to the touch. Sorry for the long story, but thought you would find it interesting. Make sure the connectors are tight when you put a new switch in. Good luck!


Another project for the list, thx for information. Happycarz informed me at QZ last year about all the 120v junction boxes, transfer switch box etc. checking lugs, connectors and such. When servicing A/Cs, the junction box in each unit had loose connectors.
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:29 PM   #7
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Is that a 120V circuit? Those 120V switches can get hot and melt if the wires/connections are loose.

If that is a 12V circuit (such as my ceiling lights) then it is unusual to have a melt down like yours. The wattage of the circuit is a lot lower and therefore less heat potential. There are a lot of 12V circuits in the average coach that have power on them continuously. But of course it does happen.
I bet it's 12VDC. My bay lights for example draw about 20-25 amps on the DC side of things as all my bulbs down there are still incandescent, and it's likely over 80 feet of wire round trip. A loose or corroded spade connector on the switch (or even corroded switch internals) could cause a cascading failure like this on prolonged continuous use.

Had similar happen on one of my motorcycles... one of the the spade connectors coming directly off the generator got dirty, then got hot and melted the whole plug and harness into a blob of a mess. I replaced it with soldered connections and some weatherproofing due to it's proximity and exposure to the elements coming off the front tire. Being a bike the charging system barely put out 20 amps yet this happened, so I can certainly see it's feasibility on the bay lights due to the amperage draw.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:39 AM   #8
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Thanks for the heads up! I will be checking all of my switches also! Will get out the soldering gun! Rail!
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:58 PM   #9
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I noticed on our last trip while running the gen while driving that the generator switch by the driver was very hot. I will pull the panel and check the connections.

thanks!
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