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Thread: Interior lights not working, possibly causing battery drain.

  1. #1
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    confused Interior lights not working, possibly causing battery drain.

    Hi,

    Happy new year to everyone. I have a strange problem. Around a week or two ago, my interior lights stopped working - just the front and rear courtesy lights. They don't switch on when the doors are opened, not when switching them on manually. I thought it was probably a fuse, and put it on my 'to do' list.

    Yesterday, I had a flat battery - completely drained, the car wouldn't turn over at all. I hadn't driven the car for three or four days. It jump started without issue, and seems to be starting normally now.

    So - here's where things get a bit weird. I've pulled out every fuse from the fusebox next to the glovebox - and none are blown (that's where the interior lighting fuse is?). What is suspect is that there is a short somewhere in the lighting circuit that is causing the battery drain. Anyone had this before or can offer any advice?

    Thanks,

    George

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    Regular Member SlowCoach's Avatar
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    Sounds like either alternator issue to me. Had that happen to me. It was a faulty starter motor. So check both.

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    Could a problem with the alternator or starter more cause the interior lights not to work? I realise this might not be related to the battery draining, could well be coincidental that they stopped working just before the battery drained.

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    I've just realised I've included no details about my car. It's a 2007 Vectra SRI estate.
    No mods at all except for an aftermarket stereo - no subwoofer or anything like that though.

    Thanks

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    Regular Member rich r's Avatar
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    Interior lights plug in to the REC and associated fusebox in the boot. Check the ribbon cable hasn't come adrift from there. Also take out the interior light units and check for 12V at the plugs.

    Fuse 12 (15A) on the dashboard end fusebox is the fuse that supplies power to the the interior lights I believe, as well as various other things. You might like to check all the fuses in all three fuseboxes (under bonnet next to battery, end of dashboard, and the one in the boot - and actually electrically check the fuse with a multimeter or test lamp, not just look at it. It's quite possible for a fuse to blow but look intact.

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    Regular Member paz_badboy4life's Avatar
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    My interior lights & alot of the members on here have the same problem where interior lights stop working when doors/boot are opened and closed, but work perfectly fine when using on/off switch on the lights. To date there is still no conclusion to what causes it or how to fix it. Many things have been suggested such as door sensors, broken ribbon cables, fuses, some people have even tried new interior light fixtures and even replacing all the bulbs. It really annoys me that I have lost this feature but what can you do. Good luck. I hope you get to the bottom of it.

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    Here's a theory : The vectra uses control units to activate electrical items like window winders, windscreen wipers and interior lights and various exterior lights. So when you press a switch for something you are not sending a nice beefy 12 volts directly to the unit you want activated; instead you are sending a low current signal to the ECU and the ECU then activates the appropriate relay in the appropriate control unit to switch on the requested circuit. For example if you leave your map light on, the ECU switches it off after about a hour even though the map light switch is still pressed.
    ARE YOU STILL THERE ???!!!

    Well the problem is that the low current signal to the ECU is easily messed up by bad connections, corrosion and dampness. Wipers behave strangely when very cold, interior lights don't work off the doors and other mysterious happenings.
    Don't know what the solution is except clean the relavant contacts including any earthing points related to the control unit in the area giving trouble.

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    Regular Member TonyP2020's Avatar
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    The REC in the left side of the boot can be affected by water.
    Check under the boot cover and spare tyre for water, if water is found then remove the padding on the left side of the boot and check the REC.
    Have you checked your rear lights and boot light are working properly?? Heated rear screen OK?
    The REC is not just a fuse or relay board, but a proper computer.
    Not trying to frighten you, but you need to check, hope it's an easy fault and good luck sorting it.

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    Thanks to everyone who has responded. I've still not figured it our yet, but I've done some more checks, including:

    • Replaced fuse 19 in rear fusebox and 12 in dashboard fusebox. I don't have a way of testing just now, so thought best to rule those out. (Those two fuses are mentioned on other posts)
    • Checked ribbon cable connected to REC and to front lights. No visible damage to cable. Not sure how to get in to the rear lights though.
    • No signs of water anywhere
    • Boot, glovebox, external and instrument lights all working fine
    • No problems with heated rear screen or any other functionality
    • Dash recognises when doors are open
    • Switches don't operate lights either. Are any computers involved when pushing the switch? I'm trying to figure out of this is a purely electrical fault or something more complex.


    Thanks

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    I've been doing some more forum trawling and suspect a problem with ribbon cable - I'll explain how I arrived at this conclusion, and some of you knowledgeable types can maybe give me some feedback. I can fix guitar electronics and computers, but auto-electrics aren't my thing! It may seem like I'm going off at a tangent, but stay with me!


    • For the past year, I've had an intermittent problem with the car displaying 'Safeguard' on the display.
    • I understand this indicates an alarm issue.
    • I can get rid of the message by disconnecting the battery for a few minutes - and it stays away for a few months by doing this.
    • If I understand correctly, the ribbon cable coming from the REC to the roof connects to both courtesy lights and the ultrasonic sensors


    So - does it seem reasonable that the ribbon cable is my problem here? How difficult is it to replace?

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