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Old 01-25-2014, 04:49 PM   #1
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LED dome lights and Circuit Breaker

Hi. I am looking for any helpful information.

I bought 5 led lights to replace the 5 original dome lights in my 1998 International Bluebird (t444e 3800).

I assume they are pulling more current than the original circuit breaker is rated for, as the breaker cuts out. It automatically resets when I push in the dome light switch. I think it is a 20 amp circuit breaker.

Does anyone know how to identify the breaker? There are 9 of them. 7 in line and another 2.

The last diagram that I looked at showed the wire connecting to the dome light circuit breaker as GY (46).
It looked to me like there was more than one gray wire behind the panel.

My goal is to find the breaker and replace it with a higher rated breaker. Say, 30amp. Any precautions or or other information I should know?

Thank you fellow Conversionaires!
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:44 AM   #2
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Re: LED dome lights and Circuit Breaker

first off the circuit breaker needs to match wire gage size (so if wire size is for 20 amps and you replace with a 30 amp breaker...the wire could melt and cause a fire)

Check your wiring first, I can not see how LED lights could pull more power than the factory bulbs

Make sure one of the lights doesn't have the positive touching ground (wires backwards)
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:06 PM   #3
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Re: LED dome lights and Circuit Breaker

Led's are diodes, so reversing the polarity should not have any affect other than the led not lighting up.

I would start by pulling them all out. Reset the current, then install the one closest to the front as that is the first one on the wiring chain. Continue installing, working your way to the back.

I would say it may be a short, or the circuit breaker don't like the low wattage consumption like some flashers don't like it. One way to test this is to use a aux fuse holder, with the wires stuck into where the blades of the circuit breaker go. This way you can start with a normal 10amp fuse, and work your way up to a 20amp max. This is based on my knowledge of the size wire used in that circuit.

Did the lights work before you pulled the bulbs?

Do you hardwire anything?

Cross a wire like the other member mentioned?

How many watts are the led's?

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:12 PM   #4
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Re: LED dome lights and Circuit Breaker

LEDs draw less than the incandescent bulbs they replace - that's why we use them.

Unless you have added many more fixtures than you replaced, increasing the size of the circuit breaker until you find one that does not pop could lead to a wiring fire or destruction of a shorted LED unit. Finding and fixing the problem is what you want to do.

I would suspect a hot wire got pinched against ground in one of the fixtures during reassembly, a mounting screw pierced a wire behind the ceiling during reassembly, or a hot part of a wide LED circuit board is touching some framework in its mounting. I have seen all of these problems.

If you don't visually locate any problems on re-inspecting the fixtures, let all the dome lights hang away from the body and see if the breaker will reset. If it will not, you have a real problem in the wiring harness somewhere or have mis-wired the LED units. If the breaker resets, re-install the LED dome lights one at a time looking for one or more that trip the breaker.

Good luck.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:43 PM   #5
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Re: LED dome lights and Circuit Breaker

If it's a dead short to ground you should see it if you swap back to the incandescent lights (or even disconnect all lights most likely). The breaker should still pop. If it doesn't I would suspect the LEDs themselves.

Are they bolt-in-ready LEDs? LEDs are not themselves a load in the circuit. If you are making something yourself you need to have something to limit the current as just an LED in the circuit is essentially a dead short to ground. The way cheap flashlights do it is to use a resistor. The more correct way is to have some sort of constant current driver in the circuit.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:28 PM   #6
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Re: LED dome lights and Circuit Breaker

Troubleshooting electrical is not my thing but this sounds similar to what I did,

I was installing some new LED lights in my bus, the new light fixture had 2 connectors in the back so I connected the positive wire to one of them and the negative wire to the other one, I blew half a dozen fuses until I realized I was only supposed to connect the positive wire to the fixture, I am glad I had installed a fuse box prior to this otherwise I would have probably melted a wire, ... a+fuse+box
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Old 10-02-2016, 07:53 PM   #7
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Hey guys. I still have not found a solution to my problem. I would just like to make it clear that there was no reassembly of the fixtures. They led bulbs that I have simply screw directly into the socket within the fixture.
There was never any problems when running the original bulbs. Problem only occurred when all 5 original bulbs were replaced with the new led bulbs. These new led bulbs put out a lot of light and draw more energy per bulb than the originals.
When I have 4 leds and 1 original in the sockets, then breaker is fine. When all 5 leds are in, then breaker shorts out.
Please help me. I would like to identify the breaker and replace it.
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:46 AM   #8
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You don't want to put in a higher amperage breaker.... if you 're gonna do that then you need to pull the entire circuit and rewire it with a heavier gauge wire that will handle the current load. Even low voltage wiring will cause a fire if you overload it.

I can't imagine this being the case, but.... check the power rating of the bulbs, if it's over 4A/48W nothing you can do except get some lower power bulbs. Although once you get up into that kind of wattage you're usually talking headlights.... my truck's low beam headlights were 55w, high beams were 65w.
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:44 AM   #9
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To figure out which breaker opens use a volt meter and measure the voltage across each breaker. If the breaker is closed, meaning it is supplying voltage to its load, the voltage measured across the breaker's terminals should be near 0 volts. Maybe a few tens or hundred of mV (millivolts). The breaker that tripped should measure close to full battery voltage across its terminals.

The others are correct: simply replacing the breaker with a higher-amp version is never the right thing to do. The sole purpose of a breaker (or a fuse) is to protect the wiring system. That breaker was chosen by somebody who designed the wiring system to handle a specific amount of power. Excess current can overheat wires, switches, and other devices. This can result in untimely failure or even in a fire.

That said, it's also possible you have a faulty breaker. It does happen. Start by checking the wattage/amperage of your new LED lamps. Do they add up to more than the breaker's rating? If so you need to add another circuit or to replace the existing circuit's wiring, switches, connectors, etc to support the higher current.

If the power of the new LEDs doesn't add up to where the breaker should be tripping then it could be a faulty breaker. Try replacing it with another, or a fuse, of the same amp rating.
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