Caravan lights misbehaving

Submitted: Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 14:50
ThreadID: 88564 Views:1880 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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Hello. We have a 2005 Concept caravan, and are currently half-way around a Perth to Perth lap of Australia.

Our lights have started misbehaving (it seems after a fairly lengthy lay-up near Sydney) and we are struggling to get the problem resolved. The symptoms are:

- All inside lights are working, except for the LED lights above the kids' beds. These faded over time and then stopped working.
- The inside lights do appear to be dimmer than they were, whether on 240v or 12v, as do the two outside lights.

- The parking lights at the back of the van do not work.
- Nor does the back light above the licence plate
- The brake lights and indicators work perfectly
- Five of the six side lights, and those at the front of the caravan, also work.

- Our fridge does not work on 240v, although the element and thermostat have been tested and work fine. Could this be related?

My knowledge of auto-electrics is limited - but could it be that the power is leaking away somehow?

Any ideas on what I could check for would be much appreciated!

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Reply By: Member -Dodger - Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 15:25

Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 15:25
For the 12v side.
Check that all earths from the lights and 12v appliances are in good order.
On many vans there can be a combined earth point somewhere on the chasis or components of. If yours is thus the screw or fixing may be loose.
(This is what happened on a Regal I owned.)
Also check that the earth in the vehicle to van coupling is good plus where it earths on the vehicle.
For the 240v side.
Check if someone has not inadvertantly turned the power to the fridge off at the power point connection. Usually hidden in a cupboard.
If not it maybe the 240v thermostat on the fridge which will require a specialist to fix.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 462973

Follow Up By: AlexaM - Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 17:44

Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 17:44
Thanks for the reply. I'm afraid of seeming a bit dim, but I am not exactly sure what to look for in terms of the earth points. I have checked under the chassis of the van and can't see any leads obviously attached to the chassis as an earth.

The only cables I could see are for the emergency brakes - should the caravan decouple.

Where should I be looking? And is it usually just single thin wire I should be looking for?

The battery connections look pristine, so that shouldn't be the problem. I also swapped the caravan battery with the second one from the car to rules that out as a factor.

I'm happy to take it in to an auto-electrician, but I have been told that here in Northern Queensland they have all gone off to the mines! It would also be nice to be able to sort this out 'myself' if it is relatively straightforward!
FollowupID: 736796

Follow Up By: snoopyone - Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 18:05

Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 18:05
Dont know about your make but mine had about 6 wires on a bolt on the inner side of the chassis rail just back from the inner end of the A frame legs.

Check the terminal connectors on the batteries are tight.

Not all the sparkies will be at the mines. Google Auto electrcians Cairns or similar.

Caravan repairers even. There will be someone and if you really dont know what you are about would be the best way.

Doesnt pay to play with power if you are not sure of it.
FollowupID: 736804

Reply By: Andrew - Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 15:47

Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 15:47
Agree with checking earth's.

the fact that things started to fade could indicate increasing resistance at an earthing point.

if they look OK it's worth undoing the screws, bolts or whatever and cleaning the contact surfaces as you may have a slow corrosion build-up.

No harm in adding an extra earthing point or two and seeing if that helps.

Pull of your battery terminals too and clean them as they can develop crud even if they appear tight


AnswerID: 462976

Reply By: snoopyone - Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 15:49

Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 15:49
If you mean the reversing lights at the back of the van they dont usually work as they are on pin 2 on your connection from the car and that is normally used for AUX power to the van. (usually for the fridge 12v)

Check the connections in both the plug and socket from the car are tight .
Normally why marker lights etc dont work.
Or check the bulbs themselves. They get a hard life and can break It sounds like you have an earth fault on the fridge and if you had it tested why did they not fix it.
AnswerID: 462977

Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 18:25

Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 18:25
Buy yourself a digital voltmeter from Bunnings or other Hardware store. Check the voltages at all the points where you are having trouble; they should be close to the same as the battery voltage.
This will also allow you to check the earths to see if there is a voltage drop somewhere.
You can also test for the 240V but be careful with the probes.
If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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AnswerID: 462999

Follow Up By: Cruiser .- Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 09:45

Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 09:45

In the original post he says "My knowledge of auto-electrics is limited"

Not trying to be a smart ar$e, but if his knowledge is limited, do you think he will know what to do with a voltmeter (multimeter)

Best thing he can do is seek professional help, especially the 240V side.


FollowupID: 736871

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