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Author Topic: Flickering interior lights  (Read 4454 times)

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wmwel@embarqmail.com

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Flickering interior lights
« on: December 16, 2013, 01:19:32 PM »

I got such great input on my anchor light issue, I thought I would seek guidance on an even thornier electrical issue.  BTW, as Stu always reminds us, I checked the C 34 forum before posting this and found posts regarding anchor light flickering but nothing on  what we encountered last night.

As we were enjoying a good book on anchor last night, we both noticed lights in the cabin flickering. Sometimes it would go away, but most of the time they flickered. At one point, all of the cabin lights went out completely, albeit for just a few seconds. Weird.

I am freaked out thinking that a major rewiring is in my future. We love it here in SW Fl (sailing in December for example) but the salt corrosion is horrible. Our boat is a 1990 C 34 so she has some sea miles on her.

Thoughts appreciated. Thanks, Bill Welsch, "Sophie Rose"
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Stu Jackson

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 03:06:23 PM »

Hi, Bill,

Intermittent in electrical almost always (99 1/4%) means a bad connection somewhere.

If ALL of your interior lights are flickering at the same time, then I would first go to the connections on switch/breaker.  If you have fuses, just change it out or clean the ends.  Next would be the main connections to the light wiring from the switch to the lights:  should be two different circuits per the wiring diagram in the manual (see the C34 Tech wiki if you don't have one); one is port, forward, galley to aft cabin, other is nav station and head.  The blue butt connectors installed by the factory have been reported to be a recurring issue.

That's where I'd start.

Did anything start that you associate with the flicker, like your fridge?

Good luck.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 04:19:58 PM by Stu Jackson »
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Fred Koehlmann

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 06:31:49 PM »

Hi Bill,

I agree with Stu that you've probably got an issue with one of your connectors. They can loosen over time because of vibration, expansion/contraction (at least here up north), or as in our case they can start to short out when they get wet. You can take a look at one of our burnt out connectors here: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,7030.msg47150.html#msg47150.

Take a close look at your wiring starting from the cabin lights fuse/breaker.

Good hunting!
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Stephen Butler

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 02:55:15 AM »

We sail 1023 out of Tampa Bay (when in the US), so know the warm salt water issues and their effect on electrics.  Having said this, as Stu and others have commented, it is most likely a connection or two.  As for rewiring the boat, this is not a difficult task on a C34.  The wires are easily reached, and there is a wealth of information on the site and also with Mainesail on how to make the connections.  And you do not have to do the entire boat at one time....take it in sections and just replace like for like (with better materials and junctions than the factory used) and it will come out right.  Hope this is of help.
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wmwel@embarqmail.com

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 06:07:38 AM »

Thanks for the great suggestions. Will dive in and let you know how I do and what I learn.
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patrice

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 07:15:37 AM »

Hi Bill,
Just to let you know, same thing happened to me last summer.
Opened the control panel, and the wire was loose in the connector.
Cut it and put a new connector, problem solve.

Buy a bunch of these connector, and replace them.
Pull on the wire gently and might find a few loose one.

Have fun.
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wmwel@embarqmail.com

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 08:50:38 AM »

Hi - Removed the panel and found that the bolt securing the breaker switch to the ground "bar" was not tight. I tightened it and that seemed to fix the flicker--although it was a little hard to be sure in day time. Will check at night to be sure, but I think I may have gotten it.

How stupid do I feel? Perhaps a pretty easy fix.

Thanks to all for the support. Love the C 34 Association and website.
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Kevin Henderson

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 10:37:39 AM »

Bill,  Don't feel stupid for checking the panel and finding a loose connection!

Not exactly on the topic but still related concerning electrical connections and vibration which NEVER occurs aboard a boat.   :liar

Check out Mainsails latest addition to his website entitled the "Hall of Fail".  It will make you super dilegent about checking all of your connections and puts the fear of God into you if you don't.
:shock: :shock:   :abd:

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/hall_of_fail
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RobertSchuldenfrei

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2013, 12:58:27 PM »

Hi Bill,

Don't feel stupid at all.  I had a career in the software business.  When you are on "tech support" the first thing you should ask is: "what is happening?" and/or "Is it plugged in?"  In the 1970s there was this great book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.  The book was not much about Zen nor motorcycle maintenance, however, it did have one gem of maintenance and repair advice.  It is better to say the motorcycle will not start than I think I have a fuel problem.  Go from the general which you are sure of, as in the cabin lights flicker, to the specific, a loose connection.  It is a journey, and the C34IA forum is the perfect road map.  And, as you know, with a boat it is always something.

Cheers,

Bob
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Robert Schuldenfrei
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BOB FLEEGE

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2013, 02:14:42 PM »

Sophie,  Had a similiar problem.  I had to eyeball the light wires from the starboard side and back around to the port side to the sliders over the instrument panel.  Use a light and mirror in hard to see places.  Look for any kind of press fitting or break attached to the wires.  Also look for any wire repairs like heat shrink repairs.  This drove me crazy too but I found a weak section that had a pressed fitting that attached a light fixture.  Good hunting and hope you get lucky....P. S. Also turn the cabin light switch on while you are hunting and shaking and wiggeling the wires.... a flicker might be get you  close to a solution.  Regards, Bob Fleege Partager
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Ron Hill

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2013, 12:39:54 PM »

Bill : Flickering cabin lights you say?  I can almost guarantee that its a "blue" connector in the cabin light wiring gone bad.
 
There is one of these connectors at each cabin light.  Look in WiKi or other "Cabin light posts" for a replacement connector.  I'd replace all that you can get to.

Good hunting
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Set2sea

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2013, 11:33:04 AM »

I am really surprised nobody mentioned the splice connectors that are right in front of the port vented stanchion. All my flickering had been due to those. One spring project is to look into removing those. Not sure exactly how yet but I would think that has been done?
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Paul Barrett

Stu Jackson

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2013, 03:00:59 PM »

Not sure exactly how yet but I would think that has been done?

Paul, just look at Frederick's reply #2.  Whatever you have there, just cut it out and install butt connections.
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Ron Hill

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Re: Flickering interior lights
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2013, 04:55:25 PM »

Paul and Bill : If you look at Fred's post that Stu mentioned, you'll see the BLUE 3 way connector that I am talking about. 
As I mentioned there is one of those cridders at each cabin light!!  Hunt down the bad one which is probably the first in line - the salon aft port cabin light!!

My same thought!!
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