Fantastic fan and flickering of interior lights - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-13-2011, 05:45 PM   #1
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Fantastic fan and flickering of interior lights

I have replaced bulbs in the Burro interior lights with LEDs of the BA15s bayonet base type and having either 36 or 68 smds. Subsequent to replacing bulbs, I installed the the model 4000 FanTastic 3 sp. fan. I first noticed a flickering in intensity of the LEDs when fan is on high. Upon a more focused examination, I believe the LED bulbs are flickering with the fan on lower speeds altho not quite as easily detectable. Immediately prior to posting this, I substituted an incandescent and find that it is also effected altho the flicker is almost undetectable on the two lower speeds. I can understand a temporary dimming as the total load is blipped by the starting current necessary to the fan motor but have never seen anything like this before. Fan is wired with 16 gauge, the hot side (black) is connected to a previously unused 12vdc fused terminal and the neutral to the DC buss bar. Is there some pecularity of DC wiring of which I'm ignorant? Is there a simple solution or a method to troubleshoot this problem?

jack
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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Is the 16 gauge wiring on the trailer side or the fan side?
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
Is the 16 gauge wiring on the trailer side or the fan side?
The wiring of the 12 volt service (fuse block and buss bar) is (I have to assume) predominantly OEM on the converter service side as there is no sign of a catastrophic event (fire) which might demand new wiring harness. On the feed side, there are of course add ons but most are AC receptacles so of course there's some Romex or similar and some SJ and probably bare haywar on insulators if I went deep enuf but nothing I can think would create mysterious interference on DC. All the stuff in the DC fuse blocks looks like 16 or 14awg stranded to me although I haven't slapped calipers on any of the feeds, held up wire drills to cf. or any other proper act of mensuration. The lead from the fan to the box is #16 stranded (18 the recommended minimum).

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Old 09-14-2011, 10:06 AM   #4
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If your lights are flickering when the fan is on high speed (max current draw) then you can probably assume that 16 ga. wire is undersized for the load you are putting on it. I would up it at least to 14 ga. minimum. Another "electrical rule" to also remember is that in starting any electric motor, you will momentarily draw 3X the current that it will require for normal running once it comes up to speed. (The same reason a lot of people have installed a "hardstart" capacitor on their A/C units).
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:55 PM   #5
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I think Gregg is right on and Here is an easy way to check what Greg suggests:

Disconnect the fan. Run 14Gauge (Or Larger) wiring from the fan to either the converter or battery then test again. (This can be like an extension cord) and That will eliminate your 16G wiring during the test.

If it is still bad, then you R back to square one.

If the test is good, then you need to increase the primary wiring to a larger size. There are several ways of doing this and 1. Tape the larger wire to the smaller wire and see if you can pull out the smaller wire wile installing the larger one at the same time. NOTE: Tape a string to the old wire and pull it along with the new wire just incase you pull off the new wire in the process.

2. You could remove both ends of the old wire at the converter and at the fan, twist them together on both ends then install 1 (one) return wire and then connect the twisted ends to the hot side of each end and the return wire at each end. This doubles your hot wire size and it may be easier to tap the return wire to another existing return wire instead of going all the way back.
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:27 PM   #6
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No problem pulling cable. I installed the fan and it's a simple run straight aft off the centerline of the Burro inner shells to the hanging locker over the converter. Piece of stiff wire is all I needed for a snake. Nasty business getting a box connector into the 12 volt side when the converter/service is down on the floor UNDER the propane furnace. I had 12/3 SJ and considered it overkill considering the pigtail off the fan motor is probably 18awg. The run is only 12'. I can troubleshoot as you recommend, Darwin, by taking the trim ring off and bypassing out in the open to check for improvement. This is definitely not a dimming caused by high amperage to start the fan motor; this is a pulse and subjectively I'd say it's synched to the speed of the fan: higher rpm correlates with higher rate of flickering.

Thanks for the replies and advice.

jack
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:52 PM   #7
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I suggest you make the experiment to connect your fan directly on the battery which acts as a power regulator. If your fan no longer causes LEDS to flicker when connected direct, you have a solution: running a separate line for your fan.

Suggestion: have a look at RV power converter (110v to 12v) and fan control at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_controldescription and Switched-mode power supply - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. You can tell both fan control and power converter are generating pulses of direct current. I think you are experiencing some odd interference between both pulses.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:27 AM   #8
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Is the flickering occurring only on the converter or on the battery as well? Do you have any LEDs elsewhere that are on a different circuit from the fan that are also flickering?

If only on converter, and if the flicker is at a constant rate, not brightness, at high and low speed you may have a filter capacitor gone in your converter. Apply a load equivalent to the fan at high speed and see if you get the same flicker, same rate.
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #9
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The fan has a dedicated circuit which is what I take to mean a previously unused terminal in the fuse block. How much more "separate" can it get? I will check out the wire guage resistance theory, the filter capacitor theory, and the strait to battery theory. Will have to wait until Sat.

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Old 09-15-2011, 07:08 PM   #10
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If anybody is still interested, I eliminated some theories and isolated the problem with the flick of a breaker. I was thinking about the direct hookup to battery and then it occured to me that ALL the 12 vdc stuff is exactly that with shore power and the converter off so I threw the AC main, turned on lights and fan on high speed. No flicker. So much for the undersize conductor theory.

I'm thinking the culprit is the combo of the converter and the fan as hinted at by the post on current pulse from both converter and fan control. When I turn on the AC breakers, there's roughly a 90 second period of solid lume before the lights once again begin to flicker. Could it be that's the interval to switchover of the DC source? I guess I needs hie me to someone who understands converters AND fans. Or . . . IF I take the fan feed directly off the batt such that the converter is bypassed on shore power, will the converter maintain charge on the battery equal to the fan drawdown?


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Old 09-16-2011, 09:54 AM   #11
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Disconnect the battery and do the test again to see if It could be the charger trying to keep the battery topped off.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:08 AM   #12
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I removed the + lead to the battery this morning. Turned on AC breakers. Got an odd 30 second scream from somewhere in the rear, sounded like from the CO sniffer on the aft bulkhead. Propane sniffer in the galley also stayed solid green for less than a minute and returned to the reassuring slow green blink. (Note: I normally get only a short "beep" in reaction to turning on breakers when the battery is in the loop.) Opened fan hatch with fan on spd 3, turned on LEDs. No flicker. Waited 2 minutes. No flicker. Fiddled with every combination of reversing switch, speed switch, limit switch on the dome. No flicker.

Turned off fan and LEDs. Threw breakers. Went outside and closed battery circuit. Back in trailer turned on breakers, turned on lights and fan on 3. No flicker????? Getting weirder! Is it possible that there is some "reset" sequence on the converter which I have at some point defeated and accidentally restored this morning? Other facts: battery showed 12.5 volts; usually goes to 13.7 on solar charging and settles back to 13.6 at rest. I don't think the converter ever achieves that charge but don't know for certain. I wasn't surprised that it was down a bit with all the fiddling with lights on and off batt and converter juice. Other variable I note. Last week prevailing daytime termperature was high 80s. Today 60F.
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:10 PM   #13
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Sounds like you rebooted something.
In the Army it was code 799. Repaired itself while testing.

Solid state crap and no one can explain some of the behaviors that the solid state crap does.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:57 PM   #14
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I thought a bit about the scream from the CO sniffer and I can see that would be its probable behavior when coming on line (unlike most other electrical stuff almost never off as unswitched except by removal of battery lead) but still wondering if there's a magic sequence that gets things outawhack (technical term) and back in. Keep an eye on the lights; if the flicker returns, I may jump the fan to the fuseblock with a heavier guage wire as recommended.

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