SARV goes dead then recovers

For all issues involving the Smart Alternator Regulators, V1, V2 and V3

SARV goes dead then recovers

Postby geoffph on Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:41 pm

I've got an SAR V3 fitted to a motorhome, wired so that  whenever the ignition is turned on, the input from the Solar Panels is switched off, and voltage from a supplementary alternator fitted to the vehicle's engine is regulated by the SARV 3, and directed to the house batteries.

It has worked pretty well for several years, but every now and then, it just goes dead: no output, no LED lights, no life. When I check it out (I'm not an electrician.) I check that it's getting power, I check the earth leads— everything's always perfect, so then I scratch my head. But usually, (after me rummaging about for a few hours) it fires up again and works perfectly. It's done this (say) three times in (say) eight years. At the moment it’s dead; all wires connected as usual, but no lights. Disconnecting the multi-pin plug has no effect.

I'm inclined to think that it's in the environment rather than the wiring and it's switching itself off and hiding rather than put up with a hostile environment; maybe too hot, maybe something the panels are doing, a short circuit... can you shed any light on it?

I can live with it since it happens so infrequently, but it's a mystery. Any advice you could offer would be welcome, as I’m in Australia, and it’s not easy to find an auto electrician who knows about recreational vehicles let alone smart regulators.

Since I wrote the above, it did it again. I disconnected the multi pin plug, and after about an hour, when I plugged it in again, Bingo!
geoffph
 
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Re: SARV goes dead then recovers

Postby Coulomb on Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:44 pm

Small amounts of corrosion, (maybe not visible to the naked eye) in the in-line fuses or connector can do this, especially as the temperature changes causing mechanical changes in size and contact pressure.
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Re: SARV goes dead then recovers

Postby geoffph on Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:15 pm

Thanks, Coulomb, but I thought I'd indicated that when the thing dies, I check that everything's okay, and it always is. All the battery leads show positive voltage, the earths are all good, but the thing is dead. After a little while, though, sometimes overnight, it starts itself up again. At the moment, it's been dead for about two days. I think it's terminal, this time. I should add that no fault can be found in the wiring.

BTW: I thought that this forum was monitored by Ample Power. Is there no way I can ask them for advice? Even to just have them recommend that I chuck it out? I emailed them, and they said to post here. Here I am, and where are they?
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Re: SARV goes dead then recovers

Postby Coulomb on Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:20 pm

If it's not an external wiring intermittent then it must be something on the PCB, maybe the socket that has the processor. Finding that kind of problem is difficult to impossible since there appears to be no way to trigger the problem.

Replacing the unit with a spare may be the only solution.
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Re: SARV goes dead then recovers

Postby geoffph on Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:28 pm

Thanks for that coulomb, but it's what I'd hoped I wouldn't hear. I guess I know in my heart that it's dead, but when you buy what's supposed to be the Rolls Royce, and pay a premium for it, it sticks in my neck to throw it out, and buy another one; they're over eight hundred dollars here, in Australia, and I can buy a newly produced, locally made (Aussie), one for considerably less.

I suppose I was hoping that the manufacturers would poke their heads in and say to reset the fridget-fradget or something, and my worries would be over.

Thanks all the same.
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