Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Any ideas?

A couple of weeks ago, the Systems Monitor on my Forest River Convenience Center went out.  See it in the upper left corner of the photo below?

  
The Convenience Center has all the controls I check to see what's what with The Palms.  On/Off switches for Generator Start,  Generator Hours logged, Water Heater, Arctic Pac (heats the tanks in freezing weather), Living Room and Kitchen lights.  The two bottom switches have plugs in them, I don't have a Slide, and have no idea about the Driver Side Rear Light.

I use all of these things frequently, except the Arctic Pac switch. I've only used that twice in three years when the temps were going below freezing.  I probably didn't need it then, one night of 30 degree temps isn't going to freeze tanks overnight that have a bunch of liquid in them.
 
Anyway, I also use the Systems Monitor corner a lot to check on the grey, black and fresh water tank levels, the battery full level and propane tank level.  As you can see below, pressing on the propane button gives me an E - Empty.  All five give E's when pressed, and they are not empty.

 
I called Forest River Customer Service, and he said to check the fuses, which I had already done - they are all good.  Then he said the wires behind the wall plate might have become loose or burned, and I could check that.


Jeanne and I checked the wires behind the plate and there were no burned wires, and nothing appeared to be loose.  Thanks for helping me out with this, Jeanne.  I hate to be alone when I'm checking anything electrical. 


His next suggestion was to take The Palms to Camping World in Albuquerque (I was going to be driving through that area) since that's one of the repair places Forest River uses for warranty work.  This isn't under warranty, but this Camping World has the diagnostic equipment and the parts (and know-how I hope) to take care of warranty issues.

I called Camping World, and they charge $129 an hour, with a minimum of one hour.  I have no idea how long it would take them to run the diagnostics and then find and fix this problem.

One thing, though.  I can eyeball my fresh water tank under the couch, and the grey/black water tanks are emptied every other time I fill the fresh water thank.  As you can see by the labels on the face plate, my fresh water tank is only 25 gallons, and the grey and black are 27 gallons each.  I need to fill up twice to every dump.  So that takes care of the tanks.  The propane tank outside in it's compartment has a dial on it, so that's obvious, I can check how full it is.  And the battery readout - I have a better readout on my solar faceplate which gives me Amps in, Volts, and Battery percentage full.

So, the Systems Monitor truly IS a convenience, and I've done well without it for three weeks now.  It would be nice to have it working again, though; it's easier to push a button than lift the couch, or go outside to check the propane, or keep track of the water fills to track the grey/black tanks.

Any ideas?  The Forest River guy said something about connections in the battery area, but I didn't get exactly what he was saying.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!

From me and Katie, have a great Wednesday, everyone!  :)

PS - I double checked, and all the wires are connected, none are burned.  I checked the Forest River Forum and found a request similar to mine, and someone posted a link to the Wiring Chart and Troubleshooting Guide.  This is what the Troubleshooting Guide says,

PROBLEM:
DISPLAY INDICATES “E” ALL THE TIME.

TEST:
(1) VERIFY TANK IS NOT EMPTY.
(2) VERIFY WIRE FROM 90 OHM SENDING UNIT TO ORANGE WIRE ON BACK OF PANEL IS NOT SHORTED TO GROUND
(3) CHECK SENDING UNIT FOR DAMAGE OR STICKING.

DIAGNOSIS:
(1) ADD GAS TO TANK AND RETEST.
(2) RUN CONTINUITY TEST ON WIRE, END TO END AND TO SYSTEM GROUND (SHORT TEST).
(3) REPLACE SENDING UNIT IF FOUND DEFECTIVE.

What do you think - sounds easy, right?  

21 comments:

  1. Camping world should be able to give you an estimate of time if you choose to go that way. This kind of makes me laugh to myself because I was just thinking today...why does every thing seem so screwed up and so hard to fix??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find I go a long time with everything going well, and then a few things go out at once. I hope I don't have more coming...

      Delete
  2. If you are like me, you hate having broken stuff. On the other hand, the sensors aren't critical. Obviously, the course of action would be simpler if you had a ballpark figure on the cost of repair. And I'd also be thinking: what if I throw all that money at the problem and it breaks again?

    Don't you wish one of those campground mr fix-its with a truck and tools would show up? The solution probably is simple. But only if you know what it is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't even thinking of a ball-park figure, but they should be able to come up with one. If I decide to go there, I'll call first and tell them I'd like an estimate. I'll bet it's the board. It's a very little board, though, so maybe not that expensive. And $129/hour to troubleshoot and fix. I'll be keeping an eye on them after my poor generator service last year at the Rocky Mountain place.

      Delete
  3. I have no ideas but our Trimetric went out a few weeks ago and we're lost. I loved being able to monitor what we were using. Eventually, we'll get it fixed but since we rarely need solar during the summer we'll probably wait until fall. :( Hopefully, someone will be able to fix it and that it's just an easy one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This may be out of left field, but could it be some of the LED lights have burnt out? Happens to our panel all the time.

    Nina & Paul (wheelingit)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's thinking out of the box. They are attached to the board, and each lights up individually. It would be really weird if they all went out at the same time. If that DID happen, I think it would just be dark. Right? If I do end up at Camping World, I'll make sure to mention that, though. Sometimes it's the odd ball answer that is correct. Thanks. :)

      Delete
  5. You might try calling the folks over at Vantastic Vans in ABQ. They specialize in selling class Bs, but I think they work on all types of RVs. 505) 254-7606. My brother in ABQ has used them, and I plan on having them do some work for me when I get up there from PHX.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If all lights are out - check to see if you are getting - what - twelve volts to the unit. Would have to use a volt meter. Could be power supply or fuse. Per hubby!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You might go on facebook and join RV Tips... There are a lot of helpful people over there... To me... It's just got to be a fuse... Did you look in your owners manual? I'd definitely pull the fuse to the control panel and replace it. It is way cheaper to at least try that first. Call a dealership that specializes in your motorhome, their service dept may be able to give you some suggestions also...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Its probably something simple a good tech can repair it quickly. If he lets you, watch what the tech does and if he will, have him explain what is going on in that area. (No real danger in getting shocked by the way, the lights are low current and the switches control relays somewhere else and operate on low current.) Buy a VOM multimeter and have someone explain how it works, its easy and safe and really tells the story.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It sounds like a fuse. Sometimes fuses look OK but they are not. Replace the fuse with a new one for starters.
    Roger

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good comments. Maybe, but probably not the board. most likely one loose wire, the ground or less likely the 12+. Look for a wire connected to the panel and to the aluminum frame of the coach. Also recheck the main fuse for the panel even if it looks ok, pull and reseat it.. Wish you had a 12v light with loose wires to check power out on each side of the fuse.

    The Driver Side Rear Light.switch is for an additional light, usually up high near the rear corner to help with backing into a spot. Try it some night. Maybe there or maybe just be an option like the slide switch.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Barb, don't forget Chip Baker in Elephant Butte. He has always done right by me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Its hard to troubleshoot these types of failures remotely. But since you have lights coming on, even tho its the incorrect lite, I don't think you lost power/fuse. My best guess is, you either had a recent power surge or short that fried all those sending units; or you have a loose or corroded shared ground connection in that system. The ground is not likely in that rats nest of wires behind the panel, its a shared ground bolted to the metal frame somewhere. But there are a dozen other possible causes; unless CW has seen a similar fault before, they could run into many hours chasing the possibilities. The quickest option might be to assume its the sending unit, get a new one and swap it. The parts cost is likely much less than hours of troubleshooting. But I would first ask Forest River where to find the shared ground connection. many times things like this are just a corroded ground that needs cleaning or tightening.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Could a mouse have chewed a wire that messed it up?

    ReplyDelete
  14. So am I to understand its only your propane tank level reading that is not working, then the troubleshooting procedure you added should do the trick, need an ohm meter though...

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete



  18. Found your blog. It is full of really good information. Thank you for sharing. If you ever need service on air conditioning repair please visit us at rheemteamcomfort.com. We would love it if you would have a look at some of our blogs and let us know your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments - we LOVE them!