Fuse bank melted - Fiberglass RV
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:35 PM   #1
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '07 Scamp 16' SD
Wisconsin
Posts: 110
Fuse bank melted

Evening all,


Well the last couple times we used our scamp I found that the fuse to the battery in the fuse panel had blown. After it was blown none of my 12v lights or appliances would function. I finally had a chance to start investigating and found a melted fuse panel

Here's what I know so far:

1: the PO replaced the 'American' converter with a PD not purchased from scamp last year.

2: Last time I changed that 20amp fuse, I noticed the fuse block was moving a tiny amount on the board.

Questions:
The schematic shows an inline fuse off of the battery but so far I haven't found one. Can someone tell me where this inline fuse is on the scamp SD models?

The schematic appears to show that the 12v lights should function even if there are issues with the fuse panel, but with that 20v fuse on the panel blown, the 12 v lights don't function. Is that typical, or did someone mess with the wiring somewhere along the way?

Based on the fuse block failure, I'm believing I was an issue with the block itself. Anyone have other things I should check?

Please enjoy the photo I snapped of my melted fuse panel, and thanks so much for the help as always,

Paul
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:56 PM   #2
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Name: Martin
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Hi Paul,
As you suspected, some bad contact or corrosion appear to have created conditions for a resistance that went hot or sparked and burned the fuse panel. Note that battery Inline fuse are often replaced by a auto reset breaker such as this one: so sparks on connecting the battery or very short power surge will not cut the main power.

I often found out RV power converters are not equipped with intelligent chargers. Consequently, they often overcharge the batteries and cause them to boil and dry out. If your power converter is not equpped with an automatic charger a dried battery may simply overheat and self destruct. A shorted battery is likely to blow the fuses between the battery and the power converter charger. Maybe not, but I suggest you check the specs of your power converter and make sure you only use an automatic battery charger to protect your battery, switching your battery in line only when your don't have AC available.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:01 PM   #3
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Name: Ron
Trailer: 2008 13' Scamp
British Columbia
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It looks to me like the hallmarks of poor contact resulting in high resistance and leading to a build-up of heat.

On my 13 FB the fuse you mention was located inside right after the wires entered through the wall from the tongue. It was with all the twist connectors that connect the hitch wiring to the interior trailer wiring.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:32 AM   #4
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '07 Scamp 16' SD
Wisconsin
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I'm currently waiting for a callback from scamp regarding ordering a new panel. Looks like scamp has moved to PD as a vendor, so hopefully the new panel will be high quality.

Anyone have any advice on replacing a panel?
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennco View Post
Questions:
The schematic shows an inline fuse off of the battery but so far I haven't found one. Can someone tell me where this inline fuse is on the scamp SD models?
I dont have a SD but the inline fuses should be in the same location. One outside at the battery and the other inside the trailer like Ron suggests at the point the wiring harness etc comes into the trailer. When I obtained my trailer I had to locate mine as someone hooked up my new battery incorrectly - they did not have the positive to Black as it should be. The inline fuse on mine was buried behind the rat fur and covered in tape making it hard to see or tell apart from all the other connections in that area. Had to put a slice in the rat fur to get at it all.
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:40 PM   #6
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '07 Scamp 16' SD
Wisconsin
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Well, I talked to the folks at scamp today, they stated that they don't have a fuse in the fuse panel that goes directly to the battery. They're recommending I trace my wires to determine what is being controlled by that main wire.

In general they weren't very helpful, but I understand their predicament when someone call from another state asking how the trailer is supposed to be wired.

They do believe I should trace the wires coming out of the fuse block to determine that one of them is not my culprit. Time consuming, but at least I'll know how the camper is wired.

Ironically I bought a newer camper because I didn't want to deal with these issues with an 11 mo old running around. It severely limits the time I can dedicate to this repair job
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:09 PM   #7
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
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It is interesting that it is melted on the supply side. If on the other side of the fuse the fuse would have blown. The other thing that worries me is why do you have a white wire hooked up to that first fuse? the other wires were color coded red or have black wrap indicating hot leads so why the white wire?
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:24 PM   #8
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '07 Scamp 16' SD
Wisconsin
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Well, I was able to trace the origin of the white wire. That wire is actually white with black and goes directly to the battery. There is no in-line fuse outside the scamp, and I can not find one in the front closet. I was able to find where that line comes through the fiberglass, and it does not split or have a fuse prior to going underneath the bathroom.

It appears that white/black wire is also carrying charge back to the battery from the converter, which can be seen as the 10awg yellow wire going into the top of the board.

My current hypothesis is that when the old converter burned out, someone ran a new hot wire from the battery back to the fuse panel, and now the fuse panel is required for everything.

Another odd wrinkle I found, I looked at the hot connection on the bardman, and it is in rough shape. There was no continuity between that connection and the battery + cable. I also found that there isn't any power coming from the power side of my TV any longer, and my 30amp breaker for that hot wire is currently fried.

I'm attaching a pic of the back side of the fuse panel that melted, as well as a sheet of paper that came with the camper which shows the layout of the fuses.

If anyone has any ideas I'd appreciate hearing them, and hopefully someone with more experience can guide me in the right direction for continued troubleshooting.

Thanks,

Paul
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:48 PM   #9
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Between changes that the p.o. made and unknown wiring issues and a very difficult to accomplish melt down, I would sleep better at night only after I had pulled everything out and installed a new power chassis and fuse block system. My weapon of choice for that task has always been the Progressive Dynamics PD-4045.

It will provide a new 45 amp converter, a smart charger for the battery, new AC distribution panel and a 12 fuse panel with pigtails all ready for your existing and future circuits. Well under $200 on-line and about a 3-4 install time should put everything behind you.



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Old 07-31-2013, 06:46 AM   #10
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Trailer: 1984 19' scamp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Between changes that the p.o. made and unknown wiring issues and a very difficult to accomplish melt down, I would sleep better at night only after I had pulled everything out and installed a new power chassis and fuse block system. My weapon of choice for that task has always been the Progressive Dynamics PD-4045.

It will provide a new 45 amp converter, a smart charger for the battery, new AC distribution panel and a 12 fuse panel with pigtails all ready for your existing and future circuits. Well under $200 on-line and about a 3-4 install time should put everything behind you.
Unfortunately, I'm with him. I would ring out every wire for continuity and to every possible hot accessory, and to ground before installing, also. It sucks, but without fully checking, the next time could be much worse. I think you have a short to ground on the hot supply side from what I'm picking up, and it's fried the hell out of your hot side. If I was a betting man, the no tow vehicle power, bad continuity in the harness, bad circuit breaker, and fried fuse panel, were all caused by the same thing.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:50 AM   #11
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '07 Scamp 16' SD
Wisconsin
Posts: 110
I'm thinking I agree with you all. To determine if the issue is just with the fuse panel, I need to test each circuit coming off the board to see if they short to ground anywhere, the. I need to install a new panel, and converter just to be safe.

The 4045 seems like an excellent unit, it's a bit larger than the unit that's in there now, as well as a heavier due to the integrated converter. I'll likely need to fab up something for it to mount appropriately.

Question on troubleshooting the wiring. Do these campers ground to the frame at all, or does everything just go back to the battery?

Thanks again for all the help!

Paul
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:56 AM   #12
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There may be a ground to the frame, but it should all be done through the wiring. I'm 99% sure they all were grounded through the wiring out of the factory, and 100% all trailers should be. Frame grounds are the biggest problem in trailer wiring, along with scotch-locks. I would say the two of them account for 90% of the wiring problems I've dealt with on trailers.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:49 AM   #13
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
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If you have trailer brakes and a breakaway switch you need a ground from the battery to the frame. Scamp ties the brake ground to the frame when hooked up to tow. The tug provides the ground and power during the tow and in the event of a brakeway the power switch is pulled and power from the battery provides braking to stop the trailer. since there is no tug the ground has to come from the battery to the frame to provide the negative side to the brakes. Without trailer brakes and a breakaway switch there would be no need to ground the battery to the frame if you ran a ground wire to each of your circuts. very few actually do this they tie the grounds to the frame and use it as ground so they can use less wire.

The AC side of things the frame must be grounded to the incomming power supply ground line to provide shock hazard safety. You dont want anyone grabbing trailer metal and being the short to ground fuze. It is concivable that a trailer being on wood or plastic blocks and rubber tires to be isolated from ground. A power short to metal without the frame being bonded to service ground wont trip the breaker and would expose a person to a shock hazard if grabbing the frame and standing on the ground.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:11 AM   #14
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
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If someone used that white wire all the way to the battery you were set-up to fail. In the RV world white wire is ground. someone could have easily reversed the battery connection seing white is supposed to be ground. this could easily took out the converter and burned this circut. why the fuze didnt blow and prevent total meltdown I dont know.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:21 AM   #15
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
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In looking at your pictures your heavy yellow wire is hooked to the hot side of your fuze. in my view this is the hot line from your converter. But in your first picture if this is the same yellow wire then why would it be hooked up to the white wire on the board below. this looks to me to be a short from the converter ground to the battery hot through the fuze pannel. I dont get the full shot of how its wired but it looks wrong to me.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by glennco View Post
Question on troubleshooting the wiring. Do these campers ground to the frame at all, or does everything just go back to the battery?

Thanks again for all the help!

Paul
Paul for what it worth I am not an electrician nor do I play one on TV but I do know that on my Scamp the converter is grounded to the frame as is the 120 breaker box, as well as the brakes. There may be other grounds. The trailer is as wired from the factory as no handy man specials have taken place on the trailers wiring, thankfully.

I also know I had a hard time finding the inline fuse from the battery at the point it entered the house. A lot of connections in that area with lots of tape... had to run my fingers down the wire until I felt the small bump of the fuse.

There is a Scamp wiring diagram in the Documents center here if you havent seen in it which may or may not help you.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:45 AM   #17
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Yes, mine is grounded to the frame on the 120v side. I honestly don't think the 12v is, I'll have to ring it out and check. I know I didn't wire my brakes to the frame at all. The tv ground and trailer battery ground are hooked together, and the brakes are wired to them.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:58 PM   #18
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '07 Scamp 16' SD
Wisconsin
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Well, I spent a fair amount of time troubleshooting my issue this evening and here's what I've found

1: No circuit in the camper shorts to ground
2: I've tested the main circuits and they are all in good shape
3: the power connection to the vehicle is in rough shape, I'll attach a picture below.
4: TV power enters the camper through circuit 2 in the fuse panel, then put to the battery through the battery fuse.
5: I was unable to find an in-line fuse for the battery, I currently believe one does not exist.
6: the PD 4000 series is too large to fit in the existing opening, so I don't believe I'll be able to use a combined unit. I'll likely need to continue to utilize a separate converter and panel, the converter is currently a PD 9000 series
7: main power from the battery comes into the panel and gets distributed out to the the rest of the circuits. Power from the converter does the same

It seems likely that I'll be unable to test individual components until I reconnect power to the system.

My next step is likely to order a new panel so I can begin testing

Any other thoughts?

Thanks,
Paul
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:31 PM   #19
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Yes, mine is grounded to the frame on the 120v side. I honestly don't think the 12v is, I'll have to ring it out and check. I know I didn't wire my brakes to the frame at all. The tv ground and trailer battery ground are hooked together, and the brakes are wired to them.
Somewhere near where the 120 cord comes into the trailer the "Green" wire form the 120 is attached to the frame and ground (round hole) on all 120 outlets. The converter may or may not have 120 outlet it's plugged into, it could be hard wired. If it hard wired there's a green wire on it that connected to the same green wire on 120 volt cord. The green wire on the converter is connected to all exposed metal, (required by law). The negative 12 volt at the converter is also connected to the exposed metal.

If you check with an ohm meter you'll find the 12 negative connected to the frame. Because the frame is exposed metal it's required that the frame is connected to the 120 Volt ground when plugged in. For clarification this ground is often called "safety ground". In the case of our trailers there is no other "ground". There's +12 or positive 12 Volts and - 12 or negative 12 Volts. There hot and neutral for 120 volt.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:59 PM   #20
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It looks like you've done a good job checking it out. The only other hint I could give would be to shake the wiring going into the trailer, in case it's intermittent.

When you do start hooking it all up, put a very small amperage fuse in first, with the circuit off. If it fries the fuse, you know you have a problem. I would rather blow a 1-2 amp fuse with a short, than a 10-20 amp one.
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