BE THE ONE TO SAVE THE DAY

A Little Bit Of Electrical Knowledge Goes A Long Way

Right in the middle of a recent week-long trip into the Victorian High Country, the inevitable happened. My fridge stopped working. We were only halfway through the trip, but miles from anywhere. The kids were on board and all of our supplies were jammed into the Engel. It was certainly not the best of situations.

Connecting the multimetre to measure the battery’s charge.


Connecting the multimetre to measure the battery’s charge.

In my line of work, there’s always a lot of pressure on me and my gear. Everyone expects my equipment to work seamlessly. Everyone puts me at the front and says, ‘you go first’ or, ‘give it to Adam, he’ll sort it out.’
So before splitting up our food and squeezing it into everyone else’s fridges, it seemed reasonable to try and determine the problem. If I tried to fix it, I would cop a lot less flack from my mates, who were bound to give me heaps, as more often than not the shoe is on the other foot.
I dug deep into my drawer full of tools and pulled out a test light and multimeter. I thought I would start at the beginning with the auxiliary battery system. I popped the bonnet and found my Redarc solenoid working. I switched the multimeter to volts and checked that the solenoid was switching and the alternator was charging the auxiliary battery and then checked the battery voltage as well.

Checking fuses, with the test light connected to the bottom tab the fuse has power.


Checking fuses, with the test light connected to the bottom tab the fuse has power.

After finding that they were OK, I checked the fuses to the rear power socket. Now, as I have wired it all up myself, I fitted a second fuse box so all my auxiliary power runs through the one area. The trusty test light works a treat. Most of the fuses have metal tabs on the rear of them so you can earth the test light and touch the probe onto the tab to check for power.

The power socket has come loose, which is what caused the short and the  fuse to blow.


The power socket has come loose, which is what caused the short and the fuse to blow.

A good fuse will light up the test light when touching both sides of the fuse, whereas a blown fuse will only light up on one side. Well sure enough I found a blown fuse. An easy fix, I thought.
As I was fitting up the new fuse it instantly blew again. It is never as simple as it seems. There must be a short or a fault in the circuit to cause the fuse to blow straight away. The next place to look was the power socket itself. I checked it and found it loose where it was fitted through the panel. Removing it from the panel, I found that the socket had come completely loose, which was causing a short. After re-tightening the socket and refitting the panel correctly, then fitting up a new fuse, which didn’t blow, I checked and tested the socket for power and found it to be working. I plugged the fridge back in and it fired right up.

With the power socket secured and a new fuse fitted the problem was solved!


With the power socket secured and a new fuse fitted the problem was solved!
With a big smile on my face and about half an hour’s work I was able to save face, but more importantly, save the day.
GO NUTS!

Qualified motor mechanic Adam Adler has spent half his life under the bonnet of a 4WD and has worked for some of the top accessory companies and workshops. He knows what it takes to get your vehicle out there and back home in one piece. He runs the online aftermarket store www.nutsabout4wd.com.au.


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