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It is always something… Upkeep on an Older RV


When I bought my 1993 Dolphin 32D diesel pusher, my intention was to have it for casual use. A weekend here and there, a vacation now and then. Didn’t quite work

The Fish Bus the day I bought it....

The Fish Bus the day I bought it....

out that way and I guess that is a good thing.

I try to be proactive when it comes to fixing things or getting ahead of maintenance items. One thing that has been nagging at me was a problem with the DC distribution panel. The Old Girl came to me with the original Magnetek 6345 45amp single stage charger /converter. I changed the guts of it out for a newer smart charger which I talked about here. Even before the swap out, I was having problems. I would just be sitting around minding my own business and all of a sudden I would lose about half of my 12 volt

The Old Girl's Electrical Distribution Panel

The Old Girl's Electrical Distribution Panel

circuits. Lights, water pump, stove hood fan and light — all gone! I traced the problem to the DC distribution panel and usually a good jiggle or whack would set things right. I had taken it out before and tightened all the wiring connections so I knew most likely that it was not a short. It had to be something in that little printed board that I could not get apart because it was riveted together like a sandwich. This afternoon it happened and no amount of judicious whacking could coax the lights to come back on again.

So what now?  I have a 16 year old motor home with a hosed DC Distribution board.  Where in the crap are you gonna find one of those?  If anyone happens to have an old Magnetek laying around, shoot me an email– please!   Well, I figured that board was toast anyway so I spent the next 90 minutes sitting in the floor by that board trying to be the electrician I’m not.   Best I can figure is the little board has some printed circuits in between the sandwich that carries the power across to the top of all the spade fuses.  For some reason, that circuit

Can you see the red jumper to the left of the 20amp fuse?

Can you see the red jumper to the left of the 20amp fuse?

had broken half way across.   On a spade fuse terminal one side is hot and the other one is hot when a good fuse is inserted.  Only half of the tops of my fuses were hot.  Since I could not get inside to look at the cause I could only do one thing.  I took a very short piece of 14ga wire and inserted it into the top of the last hot fuse and held it in place with the inserted fuse.  I took the other end and inserted it into the top of the first dead fuse holder and held it in place with the spade fuse.  That jumper wire now carries the power across whatever interruption there is on the circuit board.

I am thankful in a way that my motor home is from a simpler time.  I have upgraded and repaired most of the systems on the Fish Bus.  I doubt I could have done that on one of those whiz bang newer models.  That experience and level of knowledge of what makes the Old Girl tick sure paid off today.

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