Newmark Electrocenter - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-30-2006, 10:48 PM   #1
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Name: Per
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I have no way of knowing how many of these converter/chargers are in use, but my 2000 Burro has the model PCS 20RAC. The issue I have with this unit has to do with the 12v fuse block as seen in the picture below.

This one is a replacement for the original block which arced, heated up, and failed to function about 5 years ago. No power late one night requiring emergency fixing. The current replacement failed a couple days ago with a couple of circuits becoming intermittent and failing entirely. This is a fire hazard.

I have tried more than once to contact Newmark and failed. They may no longer be in business or may have dropped this product line. I don't know whether replacement blocks are available from other sources or are generic in the industry. A similar replacement would be worthless anyway: I took the block out and looked at it and realized that it was a faulty design with the lower fuse clips fastened with a type of rivet in a flawed manner. I showed the block to my son who called the design "insane. It may as well have come with a guarantee that it would fail."

How to check: disconnect the batteries and shore power, remove the fuses, and try to turn the clips with your fingers. If any clip turns readily you do have a problem. (The rivet is working its way through the backing and the contact is getting weakened.) Even if none turn the design guarantees they will in the future.

I have implemented a fix which should be permanent (I hope). The picture shows part of the fix.

If you have a fuse block like this I would suggest that you contact me by PM to find out whether you need this fixed. If you have the right tools you can do it yourself or I can do it for you, for the price of the 16 tiny screws etc. needed.

As I mentioned: this could start a fire, so if you have one of these I would urge you to check it.



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Old 08-31-2006, 10:34 AM   #2
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Name: Art
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You can thank the electrical engineer that engineered something that would save the company a penny. They did the same thing in Ford trucks with a block that looked basically the same and caught them on fire. Ford replaced mine in a recall.

An engineer also designed a cruse control that caught the vehicles on fire while turned off and parked in the personís garage and burnt the house down.

Marine catalogs have plenty of fuse blocks that appear to be engineered to very high specifications. Other catalogs such as www.jcw.com have aftermarket blocks that the vehicle restorers use.

Wishing you luck in fixing your problem.
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:44 PM   #3
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Trailer: 17 ft 1986 Burro
Tennessee
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I have heard the engineer that designed the whole system in the Volkswagon Toureg was fired.

Endless computer problems in that car.
I know someone who had one, and it was all electrical grief until he got rid of it.

One time the computer locked him and everyone else out of the car.

To bad too, because it can tow 8,000 lbs set up right.
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Old 08-31-2006, 04:34 PM   #4
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The truth is that every man made item we purchase is designed by an engineer, including some food item, the containers your food is in, gasoline, light bulbs, the computer you're using to read this, the software to make the computer work, the highways you drive on. We hear a lot about the mistakes, but don't stop to think about all the successes. Everybody turns on and off a light switch many several times during a day. You fully expect that the light will go on and off each and every time until the light bulb burns out. Engineers designed the switch, the switch mounting, the light fixture, the wire, the light bulb, further more those engineers didn't talk to each other and it still all works as expected.

Most failures of anything are NOT caused by the engineers, but rather those that try to out think the engineer and don't have all the informtion about why things were done the way they were.


However in Per's case, I agree that the design is not a good one. I don't know what the backing material is. I assume it's some kind of plastic other than bakelite. Most plastics will flow over time and any fastener through them will eventully loosen. I'd look for closely and insulated backing material before replacing the fuse block. Even better is to find a fuse block that uses the newed spade type fuses rather then the 3AG fuses.
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Old 08-31-2006, 06:14 PM   #5
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Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
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I second Bryon's comments; in addition, I am certain that there were many engineers - and electronics technicians, and computer science specialists, and programmers, and managers - involved in the design of the electronic systems of the Toureg (and any other modern vehicle). Rather than assuming that one or all of them messed up the design, I assume that some of the compromises made did not work out as well as planned, and perhaps the design was not implemented as the engineers specified.

It is a good thing for us that our trailers (except Per's, which I hear has more wire than my house...) are dead simple compared to any modern car. We demand an astounding array of features in our cars, and I am impressed with how nearly trouble-free they are, given the required complexity and difficult operating conditions.
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:02 AM   #6
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Per

Having "messed - about" with boats for many years, I've survived the thrill of smelling burning insolation and the lights go out while night sailing. Plan "B" consisted of a hand held,
self powered spotlight shining up the length of the sail. (Yo- Ho-Ho and a bottle of whatever)

Many times we'd find some "creative wireing" by a former owner................... just like we find in some of our eggs.
The fuse block system is a good place to start, After you've DISCONNECTED the BATTERY.
Once you have all of your wires in order, I would suggest installing a Blue Sea Systems
AGC Fuse Block, model #167747 from www.westmarine.com. You will be sooooo proud.

I'm not an engineer, but I am a GRUMPY old Tinkerer and learned early on that most equipment has a service-life. Even a hammer!

Thanks again to those who taught me.



Bill
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:30 AM   #7
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Name: Per
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Bill:
The Blue Sea systems block looks like a winner, but I have to see if it fits inside unit, aside from deciding how to consolidate into 6 instead of 8 circuits. On the other hand, I salvaged the present block before it fried, so no real damage was done and the repair may be overkill, but I'll bet it won't conk out. The first block arced and ate up at least one lug and melted part of the backing plate.

Byron:
The backing plate is some kind of plastic, not Bakelite which would probably have held up. The aluminum blocks were riveted on near one end, and the rivet head was actually inside the hole, presumably held with a small shoulder inside. Vibration and the tension from the wires, especially the heavy battery one, put a small torque on the aluminum block so that when looking at it from below all the blocks had separated from the plate and were on their way out. I used 6-32 truss head screws to replace the rivets, grinding the nuts on opposite sides to avoid interference and lock them in, plus internal lockwashers. The blocks themselves were also drilled and tapped for one more screw as you can see. The clamping surface on the back is therefore greatly increased. The blocks seem well locked down now.

Brian:
You may be right. I have what is called Obsessive Wiring Installation and Experimentation syndrome (OWIE). It goes like this:
(Pulling into the stubbornly free Oregon Weigh Stations. My wife glances at the readout.) She turns to me accusingly and says:
"Added more wiring, didn't you?"
(Penitently) "Yes."
"12 gauge?"
(Eyes downcast) "10."
"What's the draw?"
(Head down) "A little over 2 Amps."
"What's the run?"
(Almost inaudibly) "About 3 feet."
(Sighing) "You need help."
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
...I would suggest installing a Blue Sea Systems AGC Fuse Block, model #167747 from www.westmarine.com...
That appears to be exactly the model offered by Go-RV / Coast, as their item number 12547 (167747 is West Marine's number, the manufacturer's part number appears to be 5015)

Blue Sea has various fuse blocks, but it seems that their glass fuse versions only have the six circuits. If you are willing to use blade fuses, they go up to 12 circuits, such as the model offered by Go-RV / Coast as item 12541.

By the way, all of my Go-RV links specify a dealer in Canada; for U.S. pricing, change dealers by going to the Go-RV home page.
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Byron:
The backing plate is some kind of plastic, not Bakelite which would probably have held up. The aluminum blocks were riveted on near one end, and the rivet head was actually [b]inside the hole, presumably held with a small shoulder inside. Vibration and the tension from the wires, especially the heavy battery one, put a small torque on the aluminum block so that when looking at it from below all the blocks had separated from the plate and were on their way out. I used 6-32 truss head screws to replace the rivets, grinding the nuts on opposite sides to avoid interference and lock them in, plus internal lockwashers. The blocks themselves were also drilled and tapped for one more screw as you can see. The clamping surface on the back is therefore greatly increased. The blocks seem well locked down now.
Per,

You might want to add a touch of thread lock, just to threads that go into the nuts. Otherwise I think it's a good fix.
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