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Old 04-15-2021, 03:39 PM   #1
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Electrical problem with lights

I have a problem with my camper lights that just started. Half of my interior lights are super dim, the other half work good.

I've tried the good bulbs in the bad lights, same deal, it's not the bulbs. Bad bulbs work good in good lights.

I took my tester out and checked the battery, plugged in to electric and unplugged battery reads 12.76 volts.

I then went inside to lights with battery only and tested light sockets, nothing, no voltage. Not even good lights turn on when only on battery power.

I then plugged back in to electric and re-checked bulb sockets.

Good lights give me 13 volts, bad lights I get 6 to 7 volts, it varies.

Is it my converter that's bad or something else? Any other tests I should run?

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 04-15-2021, 03:56 PM   #2
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Do you have 6 volt batteries and did you recently do any battery cable work ?

If yes, post a picture of your battery cables.
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Old 04-15-2021, 04:13 PM   #3
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No, 1x 12v battery, it's a Forest River Salem trailer. I haven't done any work at all. Only thing I did was replace all incandescent bulbs with led bulbs. Worked good for a week or two, now this happening.

Last year I had a rear left brake light that is constantly on, won't turn off. Not hooked up to truck, just won't turn off. Started after last trip. Trailer wasn't hooked up all winter, just plugged back in a month ago to get ready to camp this year, haven't tested brake light yet, not sure if related.
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Old 04-15-2021, 04:49 PM   #4
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False alarm, had a 15amp fuse blown. I checked then a few days ago, must of missed this one.

That brings a good question, if a fuse was blown why was there still 6 volts reporting on those lights? Shouldn't they have been zero?

Still have the brake light problem, left brake light is on, constant, no vehicle hooked to it. I have to take the bulb out to turn it off. Thoughts?
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Old 04-16-2021, 06:25 AM   #5
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Are these incandescent or LED bulbs? Incandescent bulbs can light up when there are ground issues in a circuit.
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Old 04-16-2021, 04:39 PM   #6
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The brake light that is still causing issues is incandescent.
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Old 04-16-2021, 05:32 PM   #7
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You might have a break-away switch activated.???

Pictures of your umbilical cord and connections would help.

Your umbilical cord is always suspect do to weather and abuse and critters making a meal of them.

A light that is on means it is getting power from somewhere.

As for the low voltage indication. That happens when lights are losing their grounds and they feed in series with other bulbs. It can be really confusing but easy enough to shake out.
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:33 AM   #8
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Attached are pictures of the brake light problem. Thanks for all the help!

Don't see how it could be the emergency brake cable, since the brake itself isn't on, I can pull freely and all tires move, press my brake and it brakes normal.

Also, right brake light isn't on, only left, I'd imagine if it was the emergency brake cable both would be on.

When I press my brake pedal right side comes on fine.

What could I do to test this?
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:42 AM   #9
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You have some loose wires in the trailer light plug or crushed wires in the cable going to it.

Your brake lights are also turn signal lights and one wire must be touching the battery charge wire.
If you disconnect your trailer battery that light will go out.

First stop is to check the cable for cuts or crushing. Then open up the trailer plug and check for wires partially pulled out of the holes.
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Old 04-17-2021, 01:08 PM   #10
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With that mess in the socket I would have every light and socket dangling out clear of any mounts. Those need to be replaced but only after the wiring is checked.

Do NOT throw parts at it because it is too easy to mess up and add to the misery.

With those dangling out you can test the ground wires and here is how to do it.

Get a long wire to connect to the Positve lead of your battery. Then clip the loose end to a 12 volt test light.

Tape the probe shaft all but the last small bit. Press the sharp end onto the frame of the vehicle and see how bright it is. Then touch the negative battery terminal as well.

This will give you a reference.

Now go to each socket that is dangling out and touch each wire and the socket mount which should be grounded as well.

Doing this you should be able to find which socket pin is ground and determine if the mount is grounded as well.

Go to your opened plug as twinboat has suggested and do the same test. You should be able to identify which pin is the ground and if there are any shorts on the other pins.

With all the bulb out and sockets hanging you should not have the tester light except on the ground pins.

Be sure to tag the wires and take plenty of pictures.

Once this is sorted start with just one socket and replace it. Install a bulb.

With your tester still connected to the positive battery post you can insert that voltage onto the opened plug again. When you find the bulb filament it should glow, however not fully bright. If the bulb has a brake and running filament it should glow when touching two different wires.

Once you have one light working as it should just move one one at a time. And I mean one at a time, testing each time. It is too easy to get a bulb inserted improperly or the wrong bulb in the wrong socket. So go slow.

Only after you have everything working properly should you even consider closing them up.

These crappy wiring setups can drive even the most seasoned technician off the rails. Be patient and you should not have to do this for many years.

Some light vaseline on the contacts or specialized contact grease is fine. Do NOT try to silicon out any water. Water if manages to intrude needs to get out, and not be trapped in.

Ok, gonna catch grief for the vaseline comment using it as a dielectric but it works. Light coat.

Sometime with wiring it is just easier to strip it back to bare bones and start over. They use crappy connectors and jumpers sometimes to get them off the assembly line.

You may find that you have to "ground" your own sockets in places if they have lost their grounds. Or find where they were originally grounded but good luck there.
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Old 04-22-2021, 11:59 AM   #11
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I can test that socket over the internet. It is bad. Replacing it may not fix the problem, but it needs to be done.
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Old 05-16-2021, 06:13 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone! Found a crimp I didn't see in my truck to trailer cord, pinched one of the wires and was causing it.

Thanks all!!
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