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Old 02-03-2012, 06:03 PM   #1
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Hamsar almost burned down our RV

Our RV has been parked for a week here in the RV park, and we were just sitting around inside tonight, when all of a sudden we smelled burning and smoke was coming in engulfing the place. We looked around outside and found it to be coming from the fusebox compartment under the driver's side.
We were able to pull out the offending device, and found it to be an "Electro mechanical flasher 43017. Hamsar SAE J590 & J945"

In the picture, I believe the burnt one is the hazards, and the working one is the left/right signal.

We need to drive tomorrow, so we have to plug the left/right signal part back in.

We called a hamsar dealer and the part takes 2 weeks to order, so DH is out at autozone now trying to find a replacement. It should be roughly $10. The scary thing is - if nobody was home this could have very well caused a fire, it was so close to a huge bundle of other wires, and was burning bright red (like a cigarette) when we caught it. Everything inside the RV was smoky, it took the 2 fantastics 10 minutes to whisk it out but it still stinks a bit.

I saw in the Monaco section this happened to someone, and he also found it quickly, but not as quickly as us (he burned 3 relays and some sort of board)

Any ideas of why this happens? This is pretty scary - now every time i park and leave the RV i will have to think "what if somethings burning inside!?"
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:56 PM   #2
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Yes, it is very scary, to think that it could have happened while you were gone. I think of something like that often, especially, because I have two little dogs that I have to leave in the motorhome, to go shopping, to restaurants, etc. These little dogs are like our children and yes, it scares me a lot!

I especially think about the "Notcold" refrigerator catching on fire, while we are gone. I have installed an automatic fire extinguisher and have to hope that it works if something happens.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:58 PM   #3
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Smoke damage can be eliminated by using an ozone generator. They can be rented and you will be amazed how well it works.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:51 PM   #4
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:( we were able to get a replacement from autozone, everything works again now (hazards and all signals)
BUT...still dont know why it happened, and if it could happen again!
We put a 20 amp fuse in line with the thing now, hope that wont happen again
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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I'd be tempted to make it a 5A fuse. The emergency flashers shouldn't pull more than 60 Watts and 20 Amps can start a pretty good fire before the fuse blows.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:58 PM   #6
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Wackodacko,
I would check your plug at rear of the rv. See if wires have come loose in the plug. That's the tow plug 7 pin?



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Old 02-04-2012, 10:19 AM   #7
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Those should not do that. If that is a 2 or 3 terminal device, odds are any Truck stop will have a replacement, in a metal can and the HD ones should be impossible to fail in that manner.

The old fashion kind are, I suspect, the best, The electronic kind.. Well that's what caught fire. (The old ones are basically a bi-metal thermostat, the HD ones the metal is wound with a think heat wire, current heats the wire, when the T-Stat is hot enough it snaps closed. Shorting the wire and turning on the 4-ways, then the element cools (since the heater is off) and re-opens starting the cycle again.
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:43 PM   #8
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Happy to hear you caught it in time that could have been catastrophic! I would definitely use a lower amp fuse, it won't save the relay but the fuse should blow before the relay catches fire. What does the fuse box cover say the fuse size should be?
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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hmmmm...it was printed on the actual hamsar device, that it should be used in conjunction with a 25Amp fuse. so we though 20 would be good. but now that i think about it... 20 or 25 sounds too much for blinking lights.
i dont know why Freightliner didnt put a fuse in it if it specifically says on the Hamsar, to use a fuse on it
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Old 02-05-2012, 06:44 PM   #10
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We had a 2008 Itasca Cambria. Winnebago used a Hamsar module to add day time running lights to units shipped to Canada. There was a problem with poor grounding in the module that resulted in fires. Winnebago recalled these units through an NHTSA Recall and replaced the defective module. Sounds like your Hamsar module - albeit a different module - might have had a similar problem. You should consider filing an NTHSA defect complaint for investigation -it might save others.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:02 AM   #11
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Yes, do file a NTHSA complaint with that picture to Freightliner also.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #12
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Yes, we sent wrote to NTHSA and they asked for the part...mailed it to them last week. Hope that helps someone!
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:32 PM   #13
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If this is a Hamsar issue, you might want to replace the other flasher too - peace of mind.

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