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Old 05-07-2012, 07:34 PM   #1
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Turn signal light very dim

I just cleaned up the grounds I could find under the trailer and wired in a new trailer 7 pin coupler, but I still have a turn signal light that is so dim you can hardly tell that it's blinking. The other side is fine. Anywhere else I should be checking?
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:48 PM   #2
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I know this sound stupid but I have seen bulbs plugged in backwards and single pin bulbs in a duel pin base. If you have a 12 volt test light get a good frame ground and touch the bulb base if the test light lights you have a weak ground.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:44 PM   #3
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Good tip, I'll try it.
Thanks,
Rich
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:23 AM   #4
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You might try a new bulb.
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:51 AM   #5
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Rich,

To add to what has been said, if the bulb is plugged in the socket correct (yes, I too have seen them reversed too, some of the sockets allow the 2 pins to still weaseled in there backwards.) and or the blub is not correded up, then this almost comes down to,

1. The hot wire to the tail light has corrosion on it robbing you of voltage.
2. The ground wire to the tail light has corrosion on it robbing you of voltage.

Both could have the problem buried in the wall where a splice was made. To figure out which is which you can start with a VOM meter or a piece of wire long enough to hot wire the socket.

I would start with a meter looking for resistance to ground but using a piece of length of wire to a known good ground and then touching the outside of the light socket may show some pay dirt if it brightens up.

If that still does not work, a voltage check from the hot wire at the tail light to your ground at the tail light will tell you the voltage. Is it 12 volts or higher? If less then try to the good ground wire you just ran around with and if it is 12 volts or higher then you are fighting a ground at the socket issues. If neither come up with 12 volts or higher then the hot wire is not delivering it. If the filament is just barely glowing orange you may be in the 3 to approx 8 volt range.

Odds are corrosion has got you somewhere. Good luck and hope this helps

John
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:52 AM   #6
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Thanks for the tips. This morning I took a few minutes to check the bulb base with the test light as mainah had said and here's what I found. First, the bulb is a new, out of the package 2057 (I think that works the same as an 1157 which it originally called for? It's what I found in my stash of bulbs) and it is in correctly (one pin lower on the base than the other) and with only the turn signal on, I get a normal brightness and blinking of that filament, but when I turn on the running lights, the blinking filament gets very dim. Then, with both the running lights and turn signal on, I checked the base connectors with a test light clamped to one of the chassis ground connections and the test light burned brightly from both the running light connector and the blinking turn signal connector.
I did this before reading JohnB's post, so I'll have to wait until I get home tonight to do those checks.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:33 PM   #7
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mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
I think it's a ground issue I believe it's getting the ground through the filament in the parking light side that is not unusual. Touch the brass side of the bulb with the grounded test light while it's dim it should either cause the bulb it get bright or light the test light if the ground is poor.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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I found this quote online

A 2057 (2cp) is @ 30% weaker in output to a 1157 (3cp) for running light
Fyi. bulb differences 1157 vs. 2057 - Team Camaro Tech
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post
I found this quote online

A 2057 (2cp) is @ 30% weaker in output to a 1157 (3cp) for running light
Fyi. bulb differences 1157 vs. 2057 - Team Camaro Tech
Hmmmmm.

Rainy night, so I didn't check anything, but I had previously run a wire from a good ground to the side of the bulb with a very slight change in brightness to the running light filament. I don't remember if there was much, if any change to the turn signal filament, but if there were, I'm sure I would've noticed.
Tomorrow.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:06 PM   #10
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I liked this link from that page above: Brake Light FAQ

Gives details and specs.


And everything you ever wanted to know about light bulb specs.... http://www.taillightking.com/light_bulbs.htm
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:30 AM   #11
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Thanks for the links JIm Bev,
This morning I decided to run power to the bulb without the socket, so I wired my good chassis ground to the bulb base and then ran a jumper first from one tab and then from the other (in the bulb housing) to the pins on the bulb. That worked just fine, so I figured I must have a bad ground in the housing or in the wire from the housing to ground. I then put the bulb back into the socket and everything worked fine So, unless this is an i intermittent situation (time will tell) all is working and I'm not messing with it. Electrical stuff and me have usually not seen eye to eye if you know what I mean.
Thanks for all the help
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:19 AM   #12
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Glad you found and fixed the problem so easy. Ahhhh! The fun of owning a recreational vehicle.

When I had a light problem I would first, check the bulb. Not just looking at the filament but checking for corrosion in the socket. I would use a small brass brush to brush the base of the bulb for better contact. Then I would spray with WD40 in the fixture. That did usually fix problems. Have you ever noticed how a flashlight will corrode? The campers 12V system is a large flashlight and no telling where the corrosion will begin.

Since changing to LED lights on my camper and utility trailer I've not had any problems with lighting. If/When I do I will bet on a wiring problem before it being the fixture. I know it has cost money but my time and parts cost money also. Especially the down time while camping so I don't get a ticket for improper equipment on the way home.

Happy camping!
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:30 AM   #13
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Makes sense.
Rich
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:17 PM   #14
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mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
12 volt wiring is tricky poor connections have a huge effect because even a slight voltage drop is dramatic. 1 volt at house voltage will never be noticed but is a big percentage when you only have 12 volts to play with.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
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.... Then I would spray with WD40 in the fixture. That did usually fix problems. ...
That has worked for me for almost everything electrical for many years. The only time it didn't help was on a high voltage flyback transformer on a small television. WD40 doesn't hold up well over 10,000 volts.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:40 PM   #16
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Hell, I don't hold up well over 10,000 volts, LOL! I sprayed distributers with it that had been water logged after steam cleaning engines. Put the cap back and drive away. It does displace water good. If it displaces the water it will help hold the rust out.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:14 AM   #17
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mainah is an unknown quantity at this point
WD 40 is great for moisture that is what it really was made for it can be used for all kinds of things. What I use on low voltage contact points is a product called Deoxit it removes oxidized crud from the contacts and lives a protective film. It maybe a little hard to find locally unless there is an electronics supply store in town.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:25 PM   #18
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Is that the contact cleaner sold at Radio Shack? We use that on radios that get scratchy.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:33 PM   #19
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I don't buy much from Radio Shack so I couldn't say Deoxit is the brand name but a contact cleaner from the shack should work too.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:23 AM   #20
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Our town is small, I guess, and only has one good hardware store and two Radio Shacks. The hardware will order anything we want.

I keep a postit in my wallet with stuff I can't remember. You know, like address and home phone number, LOL! Anyway it helps me when hunting for things. Deoxit is now on the list. Thanks!
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