Howdy! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-11-2013, 10:34 AM   #1
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Name: Francois
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Howdy!

recently bought a 97 Bigfoot 17CB, I'm on central Vancouver Island, just moved from sailboats to "land yachts" (my first RV)...previous owner was/is not much help when it comes to info about the systems and the build of this trailer. I hope I will find some answers to questions here....and I got LOTS!

first on the list: Can somebody fill me in on the TV wiring as it came from the factory...I found the cable connection (left front corner low) and the tv cable/antenna/cigarette plug box (right rear corner up high)....out of this box is the antenna connection that turns into two orange wires (appears to be factory install/connection)....and that's where the trail goes cold, the orange wires dissapear behind woodwork and they are tight. I have no idea where/how they go...or if a previous owner abandoned/removed something. Here's a couple of pictures...any help, info or wild guesses greatly appreciated. TIA, F
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
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Those wires look like the 12VDC power leads for the antenna amplifier and the DC outlet. They may go to separate fuses
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:31 AM   #3
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thanks Bob...in the pic there are four wires...the two smaller ones are the power feed (dedicated 12V fused circuit from panel)...the two large white wires are coax...one is labelled "cable" (on the box) goes from there to the front of trailer....the other is labelled "antenna" and goes into a "converter" (coax to two wires, like you'd use to hook up an old tv set to cable) and from that the two orange "mystery" wires emerge and go into the woodwork....
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:42 AM   #4
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Now I see a bit more. The mystery wires aren't connected to the TV outlet at all.
They look like they are just passing through that point on their way somewhere else. Being adventurous I would just cut them one at a time and: a) see what stops working and b) Check them for voltage, then splice them back together again.

Because fiberglass construction always requires two wires, I'd look at lights first.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:49 AM   #5
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Francois, if case you havent seen it yet the forum has a Document center where people have scanned and submitted manuals for their trailers and appliances etc. There are a few owners manuals for Bigfoots in the Document Center without downloading I cant say for sure if any are in the right age group or your trailer or if the manuals include a wiring diagram.

There is also an Electrical section in the Document center that may have something helpful.
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
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thanks Carol....

maybe better pictures would help.....I'm just throwing this out there in the hope that maybe somebody ran into this exact problem and/or knows how the factory install was originally... these pics will be better...and I'm just wondering where the two orange wires go...or were supposed to be connected to what (that may or may not be on my trailer anymore)....worse comes to worse I'll just get an antenna and connect to the two orange wires.....but this is worth a shot before I snip and abandon those wires.....Regards, F
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:14 PM   #7
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Ah Haa... The real question is "Where is the other end of the two antenna wires?"

For that I would first look on the roof for any signs of a mounting pad for an antenna. It may be a part of the original mold for added strength.

The next place I would look is tucked inside any of the roof vents, take off the inside vent moldings and take a peek in there. Builders often stash wires there for ease of locating if an option is added later.

Also look in the back of the upper and lower cabinets on that same side of the coach.

Another possibility is to look for pics of same series trailers in the want ads and see where those might have antennas installed.

There is also a device that can be connected to the wires that will send a signal through them that can be traced with a sensing wand, but I think that the look and see method should yield results.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:44 PM   #8
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OK, I'm going to take a few guesses based on the pictures.

1. The black block looks like a balun, a device for converting from a 75 ohm unbalanced cable (the thick white coaxial cable) to 300 ohm balanced cable (the two orange wires) which go to an antenna mounted somewhere inside the camper (i.e. between the ceiling and roof or between the inner and outer walls). In my wife's cousin's Bigfoot it is in the wall on the street side by the refrigerator and is just a section of the orange wires that have been pulled apart and run in two directions to act as a (very inefficient) antenna.

2. The switch is to change the input between a roof mounted antenna which may or may not be actually installed on your unit and a cable input port. If you have a cable port it will usually be a white square covered box on the street side of the camper. Under the lid will be a type F connector.

3. The black and white wires are 12VDC to power the television.

4. I don't see any DC injection hardware on the pcb so doubt if it is wired for an amplified antenna. If I remember correctly there was no amplifier on the crude antenna in the wall of the Bigfoot I looked at.

5. The best way to check it out is to connect your TV to the antenna port and, if it is a 12V DC unit, power it with the 12V cigarette lighter port on the cover plate and see if you get signal. If you have the "cable" port on the side of your camper try connecting an antenna to it.

If you have further questions give me a PM and I'll see if I can be of further help.

73
Orlen
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:08 AM   #9
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thanks Orlen....

all good points to consider in my "search"....I feel a little bit like "Sherlock Holmes" digging into this...LOL...the possibility of a "homemade" antenna (just a wire buried in the original build) is a good possibility, especially given Bigfoot's desire to keep holes in the roof to a minimum. The funny part is I'm not sure I'll ever use the TV all that much...but if a system is in there I want it to work as designed.

12V power does go to series of transistors or resistors (???) before going to the cigarette plug....there's certainly "something" going on there...just not sure what (see picture)

thanks for your response, F
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:29 AM   #10
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Actually the 12vdc leads appear to go "To" the circuit card shown, but not "through" the circuits. It just uses the circuit card as a terminal point.

The circuit card is an (approx.) 10dB gain amplifier for the incoming antenna signal and needs to see a tiny bit of 12VDC current to operate.

Our Lil' Bigfoot didn't have this connection, maybe someone with the bigger rigs will answer up

Back in the day, Sunrader FGRV's (Slide in campers and mini-motorhomes) had a sheet of foil glued under the roof surface that worked as a TV antenna. Later Sunraders ran a lead through the roof to a 2 piece luggage rack that became a fairly decent folded dipole design TV antenna. .

Now, if this becomes an insurmountable problem, you can always send us a P.M. and, as a 17' BigFoot is exactly what we are currently shopping for, we will be happy to make an offer! (LOL?)
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:58 AM   #11
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I have the same style outlet on my Scamp and believe it was installed in the factory by Scamp.

On mine when you hit the switch over to antenna the little red light comes on. It is my understanding that this will be sending 12v power to the antenna if it has a built in amplifier as some do. When switch is on the cable connection their is no red light thus no power.

Could be wrong on the above though! LOL

I use the 12V plug in for charging up batteries and phones sometimes as well as plugging my battery monitor and my 12v vacuum.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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I still think that the circuit board is just a down stream amplifier (Meaning it amplifies what come DOWN from the antenna.) Hopefully it doesnt send anything up to the antenna, as a 12 VDC charge would smoke most modern powered antennas that usually want 5-6 volts from their 120 VAC power supply. As such you can also connect them directly to the USB port found on almost all newer flat screen's as well.

Gotta remember, although it's hard to think so, HD and Digital TV and associated antennas didn't even exist as consumer items in North America much before 2000 (If at all!)
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
I still think that the circuit board is just a down stream amplifier (Meaning it amplifies what come DOWN from the antenna.)
Bob I suspect you are 100% CORRECT on the above.
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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EUREKA!!! (I think) :)

geez, you guys are good.........here's the deal: yeah, the neg side just goes through circuit board to the cigarette plug....EXCEPT it also goes to the little indicator light to power that....and the voltage there is 5.5V!!!

the center pin of all coax receptacles are connected to pos. from the circuit board.....BUT I couldn't get any reading when I connected to the negative feed, little switch on or off....

so I'm thinking it's made to be married with a specific antenna....that somehow completes the circuit when it is grounded....

the reason I couldn't get any power (center pin of coax to neg feed) is probably testing it that way, by me or a previous "tester", probably blew something up on the circuit board (5.5v) not sure there

Anyway, I'll have to hunt around garage sales or Salvation Army store to see if I can find an old antenna to match this thing and see what develops...Cheers and thanks for the help, F
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