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Author Topic: Mystery electrical issue  (Read 882 times)

SargeW

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Mystery electrical issue
« on: May 07, 2016, 10:27:11 AM »
This is a little long, so I will post the condensed version. I have been having issues with my on board Wifi set up for awhile now. Seems like most places I am at the on board system has been weak at best. Even when cell signal in the area has been pretty strong.

My system consists of a 3G Verizon USB modem, Cradle Point router, and a Wilson power booster connected to a Wilson Mini Trucker antenna mounted on the ladder on the back of the RV. Visually everything seems to be OK and in working order. I have used the same system for several years now though. The whole system is in the back closet mounted on the wall. Both the router and the power booster are plugged into timer which is plugged into a 120 volt receptical which is powered by my on board inverter on the road. The timer turns the set up off at night and back on in the morning.

Yesterday while on the road to Salt Lake City, on I-80 in the middle of now where, Diane remarks that the Wifi just disappeared. A check on different systems (PC and smart phone) shows no Wifi from our RV. 

When I finally get set up at the destination and start checking, I thought I would find that the plug had popped a breaker. Nope, the plug was on, and the timer still had the correct time on it, so it never lost power. What I found was that both of the 12 volt power adapters had failed at the same time.  Checking with a digital VOM showed each one putting out a max of 1-3 volts max. Neither had any sign of damage, burnt connections, or smell. They look like brand new. 

I replaced both with backups from other devices with the same plugs, and both are working like new. What? I am at a loss to explain why both adapters would fail at the same time in the same manner. We did drive through some rain and lightening, but not at the time of the failure, and the outside antenna looks fine. 

I don't even have a WAG on what happened.  Anyone else?
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
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Larry N.

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Re: Mystery electrical issue
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2016, 12:30:32 PM »
Well, your description does sound as if there were some sort of power surge, since they died at the same time. Of course some of those adapters are cheaply made and don't tolerate a lot of voltage/current variance. Possibly the switching on and off has gradually worn them down, since that always puts some degree of stress on electronics, though the better stuff usually has protection from that problem.

Do either of the new ones get more than slightly warm when running? That affects product life, though I wouldn't think it would get them both at the same time. Perhaps it's a combination of factors weakening the adapters, then a surge finished them off?

Just thoughts off the top of my head...

Edit:
Quote
This is a little long, so I will post the condensed version. I have been having issues with my on board Wifi set up for awhile now. Seems like most places I am at the on board system has been weak at best. Even when cell signal in the area has been pretty strong.

Either there's something not right with the antenna system or one or more of the components are no longer working as well as they should. Although it's possible, I doubt the weak signal problem is related to the power adapter problem, especially if there's been no improvement since you replaced the adapters. One other thought, though, is that somehow the voltage from what the adapters are plugged in to is running low (more current draw) or too high (potential long-term damage).

Static electricity (zap from touching something) can also weaken electronic components.

Perhaps someone else has better ideas, or perhaps I've triggered a thought you can investigate -- hope so.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2016, 12:37:26 PM by Larry N. »
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
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SargeW

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Re: Mystery electrical issue
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2016, 04:32:53 PM »
Do either of the new ones get more than slightly warm when running?
The booster can heat up some when running, but the power adapters never did. The router has never shown any signs of getting warm at all.

Edit:
Either there's something not right with the antenna system or one or more of the components are no longer working as well as they should.

That was one of my thoughts as well Larry. I ordered and swapped in a new power booster from Wilson, now called "We Boost".  It is designed for 4G and 3G signals.  It performed not near as good as my current Wilson booster does. So that is going back.  The router seems to be working OK, and I have no clue how to test a modem card.  That leaves the outside antenna, but visually it looks OK, and is in fact not that old.

I tested the voltage on the plug first thing and both sockets read 122 volts. My whole RV just about is wired to run off of the Inverter when I am not plugged in, and everything else it is powering seems to be working as normal.

But I appreciate your input!
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

Larry N.

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Re: Mystery electrical issue
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2016, 05:50:48 PM »
Sorry I couldn't be more help, Sarge. If you're still having the problem after I get to Yellowstone (a week now), perhaps we can look it over a bit.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
  de N8GGG

John From Detroit

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Re: Mystery electrical issue
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2016, 07:48:20 PM »
From your description of the system I am not sure you are not confusing Wi-Fi with Wireless.

Wi-Fi is between your devices in-house and the house router.. If your laptop can see her laptop on yoru "Home network" wi-fi is working.


Wireless is your Verizon device to Verizon's toweres. and though they CLAIM you can always see one of their towers.... They Lie.

It is that simple.. They lie.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

SargeW

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Re: Mystery electrical issue
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2016, 10:13:27 PM »
It's been going on for a while Larry, I am sure that it won't disappear before then....

Your right John, I have been using those interchangeably. It seems that the issue ping pongs around a bit. I have chased a variety of different solutions with little results at this point.
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
Cummins ISL 450 HP/Powerglide chassis
Visit our new travel blog! http://www.mytripjournal.com/rvnchickTNG
Support your local Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Military!

John From Detroit

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Re: Mystery electrical issue
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2016, 06:30:01 AM »
No single wireless carrier offeres true nationwide service, they all have dead spots.. I've stayed in places where the camp host was rather pleased that Verizon did not work (AT&T did, and my phone (T-Mobile) at that time worked just fine with AT&T towers).

As for Wi-Fi.. IO know from time to time I loose Wi-Fi to the park and have to reset my device (In my case it is a modem, not a "Wi-Fi" card or dongle. but .. Well this setup here is a tad Rube Goldburg)  the vintage Linksys Game Adapter that I connect via needs occasional resetting.

Then there is the Belkin router in my RV which "Phones home" to make sure it's connected.... and if not even though it has an I/P address, will not let me out of the house.   But I can still see my network.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

 

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