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How to troubleshot a strobe system problem

Discussion in 'Strobe Lighting' started by Strobesnmore, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Strobesnmore

    Strobesnmore Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    With all the questions on strobe system problems I thought I would make a quick post with some troubleshot suggestions and tips.

    The biggest issue we see this time of year is strobe system failures. 9 times out of 10 its a bad connection where the bulb plugs into the cable running to the power supply. On most Whelen power supplies you will get a buzzing or humm coming from the power supply. On the Nova and Show Me/Able 2 paks they will just shut down or one strobe will not fire. To find a bad bulb turn on the system and unplug the strobes one at a time till the system starts to run again. If its just one then locate the bulb and clean the connector with a small wire brush, remove any moisure with an air gun, then replug in the strobe and try it again. If that does the trick unplug it again and throughly coat both ends with di electric grease and plug it back in, Its good if the grease comes out the back of the plug. This should do the trick. Another thing to consider if this is happening a lot is switching to waterproof connectors. This is the one true way to eliminate the problem. They cost more which is why most guys pass on them initially but with many of todays trucks there is not much to stop mud, snow, road salt etc... from getting to the light assembly and connectors. The problem with taping the connectors is once the water gets into them its harder for them to dry out.

    Another issue we see is bad grounds. We generally will use a star washer on our grounds so they get a good bite and good contact. If the system will not fire at all try wiggling the ground. If that does the trick use a good lock washer and if you can make sure you have good contact with the vehicle.

    Lastly power failures can be caused by loss of +12 volts. This can happen 2 ways if the system was installed properly. The main power runs to the battery and should be fused at the battery. If a none waterproof fuse holder was used they can get wet and sometimes the fuse will trip. You can test this at the power supply with a test meter. The second issue you could have is loss of power at your switches again something you can test with a test meter at the power supply.

    Overall the issues we see are all the bad strobe connection. We have the waterproof connectors for 5.99 each and you will need a male and female for each strobe tube you want to change out. They only take a few minutes to change if the lights are easy to get to.

    I hope this helps. Louis