Electrical problems

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by markymark, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. markymark

    markymark Read Only Funster

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    Morning everyone
    I have my first problem with the in 8 months.:Sad:

    Last week while away at Ullwell Cottage in Swanage we noticed a very faint burning smell coming from the cuboard which houses the electrics and water boiler. Had a look around inside and couldnt locate where it was coming from. At this time we were running the heating and had the telly on.(EHU)
    No different to what we have been usung over the last 8 months.
    Later that evening whilst watching telly with heating on one of the main fuse tripped in the cuboard, the telly went off as did the power to both 3 pin sockets and the heater stopped working. All lights and water pump still worked.
    I unplugged the telly and flipped breaker back on, heating worked for about 20 minutes and then tripped again. i then plugged our 600w oil rad on and the same happened again.
    Located the smell to the electric box which house circut breakers and could hear a faint crackling noise like a dodgy plug makes when switched on. you can only hear it when using electric.
    Any ideas? Tried the test button on breaker box and that works fine. How do i take front off box to inspect security of wires and see whats melting or burning?
    Van sat getting cold and damp
     

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  2. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Unhook from mains, remove cover from distribution box and make sure all the bolts/screws that are holding the wires are done up properly
    It is a peculiarity of AC that very often clamping bolts/screws seem to work loose
    I suppose I should know why or be able to offer some clever reason but for the life of me I cannot !

    But there really is every chance that is all the problem will be, so a nice cheap fix ! :Smile:
     
  3. markymark

    markymark Read Only Funster

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    Cheers Jaws

    That was my thought about loose connection(i pray and hope) I have removed screws from top and bottom but it stays firmly on. I am big and daft:Rofl1: much to my wifes amusement and am worrird about cracking casing. so just get screws out and keep tugging?
     
  4. markymark

    markymark Read Only Funster

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    Got the front off and found the problem
     

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  5. wireman

    wireman Read Only Funster

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    check down that hole in the top, prolly a screw deep down in there.

    The reason screws loosen with AC mains is because it is alternating current and switches polarity at 50hz which sets up a small but significant vibration (of 50hz frequency) which is what eventually can loosen screws.
     
  6. markymark

    markymark Read Only Funster

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    Thanks wireman

    Has this been caused by a overload?
    The van has never tripped out and i test it every time we settle anywhere before use.

    Was there a loose wire and its been arking out type thing?

    Is it now a case of just replacing the damaged breakers?
     
  7. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    I always thought it might be down to the 50 cycles but after doing some fairly ( read daft and a waste of time but I was bored ! ) experiments in the lab I could not emulate it..

    Anyways, quite happy to accept it is merely the ac qrg that causes it :thumb:

    Unlikely to be an over load merely, as stated, a loose screw that has allowed the wire to arc and cause burning.
     
  8. wireman

    wireman Read Only Funster

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    Looks like arcing to me, with that much burning I would have expected an overload to have tripped the breaker and since it did trip when tested with the heater I guess its working.

    So replace the breaker and make sure the screws are done up tight.
     
  9. markymark

    markymark Read Only Funster

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    silly question but never touched one before.

    How do you get it out? Is it clipped or screwed in somehow. Does the whole lot come out in 1 go?
    Would i look at somewhere like screw fix for a replacement?
    Many thanks for all your help
     
  10. stagman

    stagman Deleted User

    Look underneath the mcb and rcd , and you will find a small slot , put your screwdriver in and lever it away gently and it should release.:thumb:
     
  11. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    There are a few different types but pretty much all fit the same rails.

    If you look in yellow pages for a electrical supplier ( Denmans is nationwide for instance as is ( I think ) Newey and Aire, but there are lots of others ) you should find one locally ok.
    Cost is about £3.00 around here, so should be about the same where ever you are :Smile:

    If you pop along there, taking the remains of your existing one with you, they will be able to match it up no probs
     
  12. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    definately a loose screw causing arcing.

    do take the old one with you as there are different physical sizes and some wont fit the rail AND be in the same position to refit the cover.

    if its the same physical dimensions, including the fixing clips, and the same amperage (probably 10a for sockets) then it doesnt matter which make.

    City electrical and the electric center are national companies
     
  13. markymark

    markymark Read Only Funster

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    Many thanks for the help and advice today, will have a go at removing tomorrow. Have to go and get my dancin pants on for a shindig with the mrs.

    Happy New year to you all:thumb:
     
  14. Tony Lee

    Tony Lee Read Only Funster

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    Happens with DC connections too. Generally attributed to thermal ratchetting. Current varies all the time so heating of joint varies too and this continuing expansion and contraction can cause screws to unwind over time or as is more often the case, it causes the strands of the cable to readjust their position and nestle closer together which results in a loose joint. Can happen in crimped joints too if poor quality crimpers are used.

    When doing up a screw terminal clamping bared cable, wiggle the wire vigorously as you do the screw up so the strands bed down better. Also good practice to re-tighten all switchboard connections after a few months.
     
  15. westbury01

    westbury01 Read Only Funster

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    Electrical Problems in Ducato

    Hi Guys

    I have just purchased a 1992 Ducato Dsl (capri) and just finding my way here...! had to replace the engine as it blew up..! but I now have a similar electrical fault, but the Transformer unit will not switch on, no light emiting when pressed on and no output to sockets etc - there is 12 volts going in but seems to be dead. I will take the cover off tomorrow and see if anything is loose, but can these items be replaced or repaired easily?
    Book says its a KT12 transformer, have to confirm that one..

    Thanks
     
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