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Old 07-22-2015, 12:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Oh well, look at this as a learning experience and if you have another electrical situation far from home you'll already be more familiar with your electrical setup.

Ron
Indeed. Live and learn.
Now we have one more item (the multimeter) to carry when we go camping.
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Old 07-22-2015, 02:17 PM   #22
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We found the problem! I haven't seen many blown fuse in my life but this is the prettiest blown fuse I've ever seen. It's not until we put it on the mutlimeter we confirmed it is dead. It is the fuse on the battery. The first thing we checked and first to moved past. I thought these things are designed to be eyeball-ed. Apparently not so.

We are not out of the wood yet. We are checking the pigtail to make sure we don't have it occur again. We ran the multimeter through all the points on the 7-way and found pin 1,2, and 3 are connected (multimeter detected continuity as my hubby said). I inclined to think that they should not have contact or otherwiseowdefeating the purpose of being separate points. We will have to take it apart and have a look later.
Detecting continuity does not mean something is wrong
You may be reading continuity through the lamps on the trailer.
Remember that the lamps are all connected to a common DC negative.
(Brake ,running, turn signal lamps)
Another way to check a fuse is to set your meter on volts and read across the fuse.
(The circuit must be energized) If the meter shows a voltage reading then the fuse is blown.
If the meter reads zero volts the fuse is good.
Make sure your meter has high ohms per volt,
Applying voltage to a meter when the meter is set on ohms will sometimes
burn out the meter.
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Old 07-22-2015, 02:46 PM   #23
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...
Make sure your meter has high ohms per volt, ...
If I may suggest - this is not something anyone in this forum likely has to worry about.

I strongly suspect even the cheapest Chinese-made meter has a sufficiently high impedance for trailer troubleshooting.

I strongly suspect there is not a single wire in an Escape trailer that will be loaded by a meter to the point where the readings are incorrect.

To be clear, I am referring to the trailer wires, not circuit boards inside the refrigerator or other electronics. If you are hunting down a leaky MOSFET gate on a circuit board that is a different animal altogether, and you probably know what you own tool-wise and how to use it.

--
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Old 07-22-2015, 02:50 PM   #24
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Detecting continuity does not mean something is wrong
You may be reading continuity through the lamps on the trailer.
Remember that the lamps are all connected to a common DC negative.
(Brake ,running, turn signal lamps)
Thanks! I didn't know that. But then, I would think all light related pins should show continuity? If I read the diagram correctly, pin 5,6,7 are also lights but these appeared to be isolated from the others...
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Old 07-22-2015, 10:27 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by akoaoka View Post
Thanks! I didn't know that. But then, I would think all light related pins should show continuity? If I read the diagram correctly, pin 5,6,7 are also lights but these appeared to be isolated from the others...
Most - perhaps all - of the vehicle lights are LEDs. They will show continuity only if your connect your tester with the right polarity - if you were not handling polarity consistently, you would not get consistent results. Also, the tail circuit has far more lights on it than the others, so that circuit might trigger the tester (depending on your tester) and not the other circuits.

The brake circuit to ground will also have continuity... at about 1 ohm (for tandem axles). Polarity doesn't matter in this case.

Between the power and ground pins will flow current even without a powered tester.

Pin 7 for lights? According to the industry-standard wiring for the Bargman-style (RV) 7-pin (or "blade") connectors used by Escape (and almost but not quite every brake-equipped travel trailer in North America):
  • pin 1 = "ground" (negative) [white insulation]
  • pin 2 = brake [blue insulation]
  • pin 3 = tail/running [green insulation]
  • pin 4 = power [black insulation]
  • pin 5 = stop/left turn [red insulation]
  • pin 6 = stop/right turn [brown insulation]
  • pin 7 = auxiliary [yellow insulation]
Pin 7 (the round one in the middle) can be used for anything, and is sometimes connected to reverse lights or to a stop (brake) lamp... but I didn't think it was connected to anything in an Escape.

(Colours shown are for the RV standard, not the SAE J560/J1067 standards intended for other connectors... but the colour doesn't matter anyway, only which pin and what it is connected to)
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Old 07-22-2015, 10:32 PM   #26
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As long as you know which pins are power and ground, and a battery is hooked up, you can test the rest of the circuits with just a wire - no meter or tester required.
  • Connect power to each lighting circuit, and the appropriate lights should come one.
  • Connect power to the brake circuit, and the brake magnets should click on.
  • Don't connect power to ground!
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Old 07-22-2015, 11:51 PM   #27
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Or, you can blow about 8 bucks and get a cheap meter like this one. It will let you check the ground cable, your battery voltage and the converter output as well as confirm voltage from the battery is reaching the panel and power is reaching each circuit.

1. This is ground cable that goes to your battery. Escape does not run a continuous cable. This one goes to a ground on the frame. Further away the battery negative goes to the frame. In time these connections will corrode and start causing problems. Being able to confirm the ground is indeed grounded is important.

2. This is the converter output terminal. Connect 1 and 2 without the battery connected and you should have 13.6 volts.

3. This is the incoming power from the battery via the main fuse and shutoff switch. Connect 1 and 3. If you get battery voltage then the problem lies "up stream" in the panel.

4. These fuses protect your converter from accidental reverse polarity. If you were doing some wiring and had an arc and whoops moment these would be good to check.

5. Each circuit is protected by a fuse. You have to remove the fuse and look at the side to tell if it's blown. If not sure substitute a known good one.

6. The red leds sometimes, but not always, light up when the fuse is blown but don't depend on it.

7. With the negative lead connected to 1. touch each of the output terminals in turn. They should read the same as direct battery voltage. If one is lower, even if the fuse looks OK and especially if it's the circuit under suspicion, redo #5.


As you can no doubt tell I think every trailer should have one. Many problems are easily tracked down with a meter. Why pay for a service call or loose the use of a device when you can probably track down the problem yourself.

A basic, about 8 buck meter, like the one shown will do a lot of the things you'd want to do. I have many, including some higher end ones that do things I'd never have to do trailer trouble shooting. I wouldn't recommend spending too much more but there are two features that are very handy to have:

1. Make sure the meter has alligator clips. This allows, for example, that the negative lead be clipped on to the negative terminal leaving that lead "hands free".

2. An audible tone is very handy for testing for continuity. Especially if you're in an awkward position, you don't have to be able to see the display.

Ron
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:44 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
...
1. This is ground cable that goes to your battery. Escape does not run a continuous cable. This one goes to a ground on the frame. Further away the battery negative goes to the frame. In time these connections will corrode and start causing problems. Being able to confirm the ground is indeed grounded is important.
.....Ron
Ron,
When we visited Escape last November, I asked about whether there is a wired ground, and during the noon factory tour I wanted to confirm that. Crystal got one of the electrical installers to join us in the electrical bay of the factory. They both confirmed that it is a wired ground. I did not see the actual installation.

Now, I'm concerned, because I am an absolute advocate of wired grounds, both for reliability, and for low impedance energy transfer. I've debugged many friends' trailer and vehicle wiring problems over the years, and the great majority of the problems center around chassis ground paths and poor connections.

Maybe it's time to contact ETI with a very specific question/instruction?

Comments anyone?

Thanks.


P.S. I concur with Ron. An inexpensive meter, along with a short period of time spent learning some basics about the meter and electricity, is very valuable. Gremlins don't show up at home before the vacation; they're always in the middle.
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:31 AM   #29
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ETI does provide a wired ground but it isn't continuous. All ground connections go to the frame at various points. The lug is screwed into the frame and even when my trailer was only months old some rust was visible. Each point has the potential to corrode and degrade the conductivity, especially for those who use them in wetter areas.

Even the brake grounds go to the frame individually.

On my trailer I've installed a common stud and have run cables from each of the ground points to it. Lug to lug contact is better than lug to rusting frame contact.

Ron
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:41 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
ETI does provide a wired ground but it isn't continuous. All ground connections go to the frame at various points. The lug is screwed into the frame and even when my trailer was only months old some rust was visible. Each point has the potential to corrode and degrade the conductivity, especially for those who use them in wetter areas.

Even the brake grounds go to the frame individually.

On my trailer I've installed a common stud and have run cables from each of the ground points to it. Lug to lug contact is better than lug to rusting frame contact.

Ron
Ron,

Where did you place the common stud? Looks like it might have been where the battery ground was located?

Bob
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