RV fluorescent lights gone dim – What gives?


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

An RVer who was hooked up to shore power reported a sudden “dimness” in his fluorescent lights. Then a short time later, they simply failed to turn on. Meantime, his incandescent lamps were shining away brilliantly. At first he wondered if it might be a ballast or tube issue, but since the problem was afflicting ALL his fluorescent fixtures, he knew something more had to be going on.

Well, RV Tech Detectives, what do you think?

A little probing with a voltmeter on this issue soon pointed out the source of the mystery. Since fluorescents can be adversely affected by a.c. “ripple current,” you may find your “flowers” to be wired directly to the house battery. In this case, the house battery bank was “on it’s way out,” and registered less than 9 volts — far below the needed startup voltage for a fluorescent fixture. The incandescent lighting circuit, however, was drawing plenty of power from the RV power converter and still giving effective light. But switching off the power converter left everything in a grave dimness.

Prescription? Replace that house battery bank!


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