electrical mystery (BF17CB) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-29-2013, 04:14 PM   #1
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electrical mystery (BF17CB)

about to replace the Magnatek power center in my Bigfoot 1997 17CB....so I tripped all the breakers and pulled all the fuses to I could identify what is fused where and what color the wires are.....before I yank the PC out.....

to make a long story short... the bathroom light, the rear "sofa" light and the light above the dinette do not appear to be fused!!! (I can pull ALL the fuses and these three lights stay on!)......when I trip the circuit breaker marked "110" that controls all the 110 plugs (except for the "micro" plug that is on it's own breaker)....the three lights go out.

I tried pulling the fixtures out to at least identify the color of the wires to maybe trace them ...no luck, everything's too tight, fixture wires fed through small hole in overhead false ceiling (they don't make it easy do they? "thanks for nuttin' BF")....no "extra wires" found/going to the PC...all accounted for...(????)

I'm thinking there must be a transformer (110>12V) "buried" somewhere (thanks again BF!)....but that don't make much sense....does it? and where's the circuit protection? I'm stumped!

Anybody have an answer to this riddle??? TIA as usual, F
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Old 12-29-2013, 04:24 PM   #2
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Perhaps those 3 lights are 120v?
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Old 12-29-2013, 04:39 PM   #3
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1141 bulb....

and meter says 12.24 volts
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Old 12-29-2013, 04:47 PM   #4
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I would either find a Bigfoot manual with schematics or call Bigfoot. Sounds like maybe a previous owner did some "custom" wiring.

Rick
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:00 PM   #5
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They are obviously not fused. Since you say they are not 110V, they have to be tied to a "hot" line somewhere that is coming directly from the battery. Perhaps they are tied to the tow vehicle's charge wire (it would still be hot even without the vehicle being hooked up, back feeding from the coach battery)

Or it could be the work of Elves or maybe Elvis...
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:19 PM   #6
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electrical mystery

As most of the older Bigfoot information does not exist any more if I were you I would 1- Contact Grant at BigfootRV and ask/email him for his advise as a lot of the old staff still work there. I personally find the factory great to deal with for answering questions, and 2- Post this question on BOCI (Bigfoot Owners Club International) That is specific to Bigfoot owners to see if anyone could help you.
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:36 PM   #7
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To be safe un hook the battery and shore power cord. Then everything should be dead.
Chuck
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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If continue to have trouble call Reace at Escape Trailer Ind. He works on older FG RV's at the factory.
Chuck
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
and meter says 12.24 volts
Where was that measured? At the light socket? Are there any DC outlets? If so, what voltage is seen there? Do the lights work when the battery is connected and the shore power is not? Raz
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:32 AM   #10
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more info...

I should have added that the lights in question work (are powered) even when the batteries are OUT of the coach...shore power plugged in, parked in my driveway, no tow vehicle involved...

lights also work when coach is unplugged and batteries are in and connected... with and without tow vehicle...

the only condition I have not tried is batteries in and then trip the breaker marked "110" that controls all 110 plugs except for "micro" plug...but that's unlikely to add anything as the lights work normally when shore power is not plugged in

voltage was measured at the light socket...lights definitely have a "factory install" look to them and I can't see any added on/connected wires after the fact by a PO anywhere (all visible wiring is in bundles and neatly strapped down)

it's a "headscratcher" alright!.....thanks for the responses
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:56 AM   #11
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The Magnatek converters I've seen supply full wave pulsating ( unfiltered) DC. While incandescent lamps will work fine on this, anything electronic may not work properly. It's possible a previous owner added a filtered DC power supply wired to the 110 volt circuit to power that DC branch. When plugged in a relay connects the output of the converter to the DC distribution panel. Replacing the power supply for the converter connection at the relay is how I would do it. If the voltage at the light socket changes when shore power is connected vs battery connection, then two different sources would seem likely. A shot in the dark. Raz
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:32 AM   #12
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Francois,
I recently replaced the converter in my Scamp and discovered the same thing. All fuses pulled and front drain pump still hot. I have not investigated it yet, as my front closet is full of gear. Possibly Scamp fed the pump from the charge wire and added an inline fuse for wire protection? Mine should be easy to trace the wire since wires enter the trailer through the front cabinet and the pump is right there. On yours you could try to guess where the obvious access points would be like inside cabinets or under floor service areas etc and look for a transformer or inline fuses. It sure seems that someone fed the DC from more than one place, and doesn't seem like the factory would do that without fusing the wire. Maybe there is a tool that puts a tone on the wire that could be sniffed out to see where it runs behind the paneling?
Good luck,
Russ
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
I should have added that the lights in question work (are powered) even when the batteries are OUT of the coach...shore power plugged in, parked in my driveway, no tow vehicle involved...

lights also work when coach is unplugged and batteries are in and connected... with and without tow vehicle...

the only condition I have not tried is batteries in and then trip the breaker marked "110" that controls all 110 plugs except for "micro" plug...but that's unlikely to add anything as the lights work normally when shore power is not plugged in

voltage was measured at the light socket...lights definitely have a "factory install" look to them and I can't see any added on/connected wires after the fact by a PO anywhere (all visible wiring is in bundles and neatly strapped down)

it's a "headscratcher" alright!.....thanks for the responses
...Without hooking up BOTH shore power AND towing vehicle, your mysterious lights still work----> that means...THEY MUST BE FED BY DC INTERNAL POWER SOURCE FROM YOUR TRAILER....IMO, this power source must be DC 12volts, either from trailer battery or some sort of smart charger. The problem now is to find out where is it? If I were you, first I would try to see that "micro plug" role what is its function and where it is connected to. The second thing is to find out from the rear socket of those lights where those wires come from. The easiest way is to loose panels/sockets' housing without disconnect any wire to find out. In your case, leave shore power unhooked, TV unhooked then with a multimeter, loosing housing of either panel or lights' sockets and start from there(@ the lights' sockets). Hopefully it helps. In electrical thing, nothing is...mysterious at all, it must came from somewhere. Just my thought...
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
The Magnatek converters I've seen supply full wave pulsating ( unfiltered) DC. While incandescent lamps will work fine on this, anything electronic may not work properly. It's possible a previous owner added a filtered DC power supply wired to the 110 volt circuit to power that DC branch. When plugged in a relay connects the output of the converter to the DC distribution panel. Replacing the power supply for the converter connection at the relay is how I would do it. If the voltage at the light socket changes when shore power is connected vs battery connection, then two different sources would seem likely. A shot in the dark. Raz
I had exactly the same power unit in my Bigfoot as the original photo shows. Actually this unit came from the factory with both filtered and unfiltered power supply. The blue wire on the top of the 12 V fuse panel supplies unfiltered power to the fuses on the left side and the black wire supplies filtered power to the first 3 fuses on the right. Not sure exactly why Magnatek did this but obviously they did it for years. I recently replaced the converter with a Progressive Dynamics PD4645V from Best Converter and it came with a new 12 volt fuse panel where all of the fuses supply filtered power. My existing wires are exactly the same colors as the first photo. The OP's bigfoot appears to be wired exactly the same as mine but all my lights are fused ???? I do have an inline fuse for the 12V power to the refrigerator. It is located under the seat along the forward dinette seat in the wiring harness by the front bulkhead. The only way I can make sense of the original refer. fuse is that it is 30A and the panel is only rated for 20A fuses maximum so Bigfoot used an inline fuse here.

While the converters from Magnetek were poor the 120 V side of these units was fine and usually does not need to be replaced. The PD4645 is made to fit the Magnetek unit perfectly. It is an easy installation and takes about 45 minutes.
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