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Old 06-30-2021, 07:03 AM   #1
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Electrical Smoke

Hi all,

My husband and I were woken up at 6 this morning by the air brake alarm going off in our 1999 Bluebird skoolie (the bus wasn't on). We came up front, and there was some smoke coming from the dash, so we disconnected the battery for the time being.

A handful of lights were on too (similar to when you first start the bus).

Any ideas on what would cause this?

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Old 06-30-2021, 08:06 AM   #2
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Sounds like something failing in the ignition circuit/switch or something in the switch has shorted. Pull the dash apart and take a look. If nothing is obvious... hook the battery back up and locate the source of the smoke.


Could have been a mouse chewing on wiring... they love to do that.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:27 AM   #3
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By all means, take it apart until you find the cause. Could have been rodents, could have been a bad spade connector, a bad relay contact, and countless other reasons.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:27 AM   #4
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before you reconnect batteries

use your nose and sniff around for where that magic smoke was coming from.
See if can find any melted wires.

find that kind of stuff first...

I feel like you have a good shot at NOT burning your bus down right now.

also--- there have been recalls for electrical fires in some trucks. google this subject and see if any seem to match your problems....

It is highly likely the electrical part of the ignition switch is the cause... BUT

find the problem now before you reconnect that battery.

if you can.

It takes less than five minutes to completely burn a vw beetle to the ground.

william
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Old 06-30-2021, 03:58 PM   #5
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All right! So, we pulled apart the dash and found the culprit. The daytime running lights control caught fire. It seems like the control box is made for this (thank god), so it's insulated to extinguish any fires that happen.

What we worried about now is whether this could be a symptom of a bigger issue? It looks like one of the prongs is corroded. We think it's the GND (ground?) one. It's hard to tell because we had to break the connector to get it off, and the plug it was connected too is also melted.

Any ideas?
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Old 06-30-2021, 04:34 PM   #6
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Once it's all figured out, make sure you get some of this to replace what escaped. You don't want to be low on harness smoke.

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Old 06-30-2021, 04:53 PM   #7
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corrosion and heat

What strikes me as odd........ why did this get power and do its thing with the bus turned off?

That being said.... I would ditch the daytime running lights... but I do use headlights on when driving in the daytime.

second option is to replace daytime running light box and evaluate from there.

You sound like the type of person that is capable of undoing the wiring so that you can get rid of DRL and still have headlights that work correctly.

very happy you found source of magic smoke.

loose or corroded terminal build heat fast... now that I am thinking.. corrosion usually means water.... water inside that DRL box could be the cause of the problem... I would open that box and look inside.... IF the inside of the box looks like water has been in there.... then also look around other parts in that dash and check other connections... you dont need other corroded high resistance fire prone problems...

then see if you can figure out where that water came from.

angry pixies - another name for electrons/electricity.

I just saw the pictures of that box.... never mind you wont get that open to look inside. looks like must be a power transistor or three in there.... yea if one went bad I could see current and melt down.

william telephone if I can be of help 7852077600
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Old 06-30-2021, 05:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Once it's all figured out, make sure you get some of this to replace what escaped. You don't want to be low on harness smoke.

I used to buy that by the case load for my TR6. It is really specially formulated smoke for British vehicles. Those of you with English double deckers must make sure you have at least 100Cu Ft of it on board at all times.

So for the OP, glad you found it. I too have DRL on my bus and now that you brought this up, I will need to disconnect them and check to see if I have the same control box as you. My bus is a 2003. Thanks for posting this!
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Old 06-30-2021, 07:10 PM   #9
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We reconnected the battery and haven't had any alarms go off. We also turned the key to just the electric mode, everything seemed to work fine. *fingers crossed* We didn't start the engine since we're supposed to move soon anyway.

We ordered a new running lights control module, but we may end up scrapping that if all keeps working fine.

@magnakansas We think that the failed module was feeding into then ignition system which is why it triggered the alarms even though the bus was off. Maybe it's a safety feature? We had a short in our electrical system before this (we had to have a mechanic fix a bare wire in the engine that caused it to shut down after some rough roads). The mechanic also replaced the fuses that blew, but the module may have had damage, and we've had super high humidity here the last few weeks. So we're hoping it was just a perfect storm. *fingers crossed*

Thanks everyone so much for all the help! We'll be sure to replace the precious smoke lost in the leak.
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Old 06-30-2021, 07:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Once it's all figured out, make sure you get some of this to replace what escaped. You don't want to be low on harness smoke.

Do you have a case price for that?
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Old 07-01-2021, 12:20 AM   #11
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here is what I think happened

when you turn on the ignition, it sends power to the BOX. the box then sends power out to the left and right lights or out to the left and right light relays.. dunno how the chassis is wired....

It looks like some of the internal circuits failed and fed battery power from the BOX backwards through the ignition wire..... so your whole ignition system and every thing connected to it was trying to power up through the BOX.

I would not replace the box.... I would just use the light switch and turn on the headlights when I was driving.....

IF you replace the box.... you need to replace the one pin in the black connector or maybe

you need to replace the black connector and the one pin....... the one pin that got so hot might be melted into the connector and you will never get it out in one piece....

the BOX company should be able to supply you with a new connector and some replacement pins... or

pull needed parts from bus at a junk yard.....

you get the idea..... I cant tell from the pictures.... is the melted pin the same one as labled BATT ?

you can just leave the stuff unplugged look at the wire that is with the pin that got so so hot and check the wire as much as you can for being melted the insulation on that wire might be damaged in some part you have not laid eyes on.....

also check the fuse on the wire labled BATT.... I would check to see that the correct fuse in place... it should have popped a fuse....

I suppose it is possible there is no fuse on the Batt wire....... in which case install inline fuse as close to batter as you can.. keep the fuse as low amp rating as you can and still have it work.

william
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Old 07-01-2021, 06:47 AM   #12
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Do you have a case price for that?
This isn't the right smoke for any bus produced in the US. It's for positive ground systems. Since the Prince of Darkness hasn't heard of that yet I don't think it's available from them.
Upon further research I see that it only works with the old style bullet connectors.
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Old 07-01-2021, 12:48 PM   #13
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This isn't the right smoke for any bus produced in the US. It's for positive ground systems. Since the Prince of Darkness hasn't heard of that yet I don't think it's available from them.
Upon further research I see that it only works with the old style bullet connectors.
Darn. What if my bus was produced in the UK but imported on the gray market? Oops-grey market? Do I qualify then?
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Old 07-08-2021, 02:21 AM   #14
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Ordinarily, the fuse protects the wire.
.
On those amusing occasions the factory-installed smoke is leaking from the wires, my first stop is the fuse box.
I:
* look
* sniff
* slowly approach the vicinity of the box surface with my palm to determine elevated temperature
* jiggle some fuses
.
That never accomplishes diddly, so I get the schematic.
After hours of trying really hard to match the paper squiggles to hidden -- and often mystical -- real-world technical components known as 'gizmos', I accidentally -- through no fault of my own -- discover the problem.
.
This procedure comes with a life-time guarantee -- whatever I think is the issue, that is never the issue.
.
I hope this helps!
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Old 07-09-2021, 01:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr4btTahoe View Post
Sounds like something failing in the ignition circuit/switch or something in the switch has shorted. Pull the dash apart and take a look. If nothing is obvious... hook the battery back up and locate the source of the smoke.


Could have been a mouse chewing on wiring... they love to do that.

or squirrel or pack rat or ants or ??
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