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Control panel blackout
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userTenjoe
Posted: 31 October 2020 12:05 PM
Subject: Control panel blackout
 
Just joined

Posts: 10

Location: Cumbria. Frankia I680 ED-G. 2018.


Hi all, yesterday I started prepping our van, a Frankia 680, for a trip and found the control panel, a CBE 300, completely dead. I contacted SMC at Newark. They were helpful but after numerous attempts at fixes over the phone they decided the van would have to come in and probably have a new panel fitted, the earliest date was in 10 days time.
One thing that did seem to work was fitting a fuse to an empty slot on the fuse block in the space designated SOS. This got half the lights working the electric bed and the water pump. As it was late in the day, time ran out on us I never got the chance to ask SMC any questions about this apparent success.
I assume the fuse is somehow bypassing the control panel. Can anyone tell me are there any hazards I should be concerned about if I used this bypass over the next 10 days while on the road.
Also is the leisure battery still charging. The charger, a CBC522, is showing a red light but I'm not sure if this should be green.

I am writing this now knowing that in 10 days time we will probably all be in the middle of a month long lockdown and no one will be going anyhere, but hey-ho, at least we'll all be in it together.

Thanks for any thoughts.

PS. I will get round to updating my signature soon.

userrayc
Posted: 31 October 2020 12:30 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 


Pops in from time to time

Posts: 122
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Location: Wimborne Pilote P740C


Tenjoe - 2020-10-31 12:05 PM


Also is the leisure battery still charging. The charger, a CBC522, is showing a red light but I'm not sure if this should be green.


If it is a CB 522 charger the lamp is red when ON and on EHU . The lamp is in the ON/OFF switch.
https://www.hobbyowners.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Latest-Hobby-Charger-CBE-CB522.pdf
userTenjoe
Posted: 31 October 2020 12:48 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 
Just joined

Posts: 10

Location: Cumbria. Frankia I680 ED-G. 2018.


Thanks rayc, that's solved that one.
userAlanb
Posted: 31 October 2020 2:19 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 
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Posts: 1071
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Location: North Yorkshire


There have been several threads where CBE control panels have failed when the habitation battery has been allowed to fully discharge.

In CBE systems the 12V distribution board does most of the essential work, but several functions are switched via the control panel PCxxx, and these are normally enabled when the control panel is switched.

My earlier CBE system does not have an SOS fuse, but I can conjecture that this fuse bypasses the enabling function of the control panel, enabling essentials such as lights and water pump to operate normally.

In addition to the enabling function, the control panel provides an indication function for water tank levels and battery voltages etc. With the control panel not working, and the SOS fuse inserted it seems that only indications would be lost. Perhaps the most difficult to manage would be fresh water level. The waste water could be emptied on a daily basis.

The mains charger on a CBE DS300 system is normally connected to B2+ and -ve on the DS300, and then directly to the habitation battery (B2), with a 50A fuse in the +ve lead. Wnen on EHU ther is no reason why the charger should not function normally. There is a third output wire from the charger, the "S" signal. This enables mains charging of the starter battery (2A max), and initiates the "mains on" icon on the control panel. This indication will be lost in emergency operation.

On CBE installations charging of the habitation battery from the vehicle alternator is controlled via a "simulated D+" signal which is generated by monitoring an ignition key controlled supply for voltage, >13.2V. This simulated D+ signal operates the split charge relay couple the batteries. It is my belief that the voltage monitoring is performed on the DS300, and an indication only (which will be missing) is displayed on the control panel.

The correct operation of the habitation battery charging systems can be confirmed the use of a multimeter applied directly to the battery terminals. The voltage reading should be 13.6V or higher when on EHU, and over 14V with the engine running.

If the above results are obtained, and you can cope with filling the fresh water tank, all should be OK.

I should add that If the habitation battery has been completely discharged, and left in that condition for days or more, it may have suffered damage, and its capacity reduced.

Alan

Edited by Alanb 2020-10-31 2:24 PM
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 31 October 2020 2:45 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Joe

It might be useful to know when your Frankia was built, as the “680” reference number seems to have been used since (at least) as early as 2008 for A-class or ‘coachbuilt’ models.

CBE control panel references begin with “PC” followed by three numbers and CBE Distribution Boxes (that carry 12V fuses, relays, etc.) begin with “DS” follwed by three numbers.

If your Frankia was built fairly recently (say from 2015) it’s likely to have a PC380 control-panel (image attached below) and a DS-470 Distribution Box - anyway, that’s what the 2018 Frankia Operating Instructions say in the Electric Systems section of this document

https://www.frankia.com/fileadmin/user_upload/downloads/2018_Frankia_Bedienungsanleitung_E.pdf

The “SOS” fuse is mentioned on Page 40 - In emergency case you can insert a fuse (any value) to activate basic functions

but there’s more information on this feature on this 2014 CBE webpage

https://www.aboutcampbtob.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/N7_CBE.pdf

A useful and innovative feature on the new DS470 is the so-called SOS function. Although CBE products are built to the highest quality standards, these components too might be sensitive, e.g. to electric shock or external disturbances. In the rare event of a failure to the control panel or distribution module, a drawback of modern systems is that more often than not almost nothing is working, not even basic users such as the heater, water pump and lights. On the contrary, thanks to the DS470 built-in SOS function, end customers just need to insert a fuse in the fuse casing, to provide direct power for the heater, water pump and lights. This allows end customers to ensure that their vehicle will complete its journey before being brought in for servicing.

CBE’s information indicates that inserting a fuse in fuse-way 4 (the normally empty SOS fuse-way) should not be hazardous even if the motorhome were driven indefintely with a ‘dead’ control-panel.



(PC380.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments PC380.jpg (17KB - 87 downloads)
userTenjoe
Posted: 31 October 2020 4:03 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 
Just joined

Posts: 10

Location: Cumbria. Frankia I680 ED-G. 2018.


Thanks Alanb and Derek, I feel more confident now about using the van with the SOS fuse in place. It is a 2018 model so it is fitted with the newer control panel.
I now need to establish why the panel has failed and if it is due to a discharged Habitation battery, what caused the discharge. First step will be to get hold of a multimeter.
Thanks again chaps.
Regards,
Joe.
userTenjoe
Posted: 31 October 2020 4:12 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 
Just joined

Posts: 10

Location: Cumbria. Frankia I680 ED-G. 2018.


...just another thing. If the cause of the panel going blank was a discharged habitation battery, would that mean the control panel needs to be replaced or should it revive with a healthy battery.
I’m sure SMC will enlighten me on this but a second opinion is always useful, cheers.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 31 October 2020 6:00 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Logically, if the control-panel were damaged and required replacement if the habitation-battery were dischaged below a certain point, disconnecting the habitation-battery to fit a new one would also require control-panel replacement (or a special procedure would need to be very carefully followed whenever a replacement leisure-battery were needed).

Without knowing the technicalities behind the SOS feature (ie. what putting a fuse in the SOS ‘slot’ on the CBE Distribution Board actually causes to happen inside the DS unit) it seems reasonable to assume that the water-pump, electric bed and the lights that work are still getting their 12V power from the leisure-battery. I’d certainly expect electric bed operation to demand a substantial 12V power, so I suspect your control-panel being ‘dead’ is not due to your leisure-battery’s state of charge being low.

Chances are that SMC’s diagnosis of a faulty control-panel is correct.
userAlanb
Posted: 31 October 2020 7:48 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 
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Location: North Yorkshire


Derek Uzzell - 2020-10-31 6:00 PM

Logically, if the control-panel were damaged and required replacement if the habitation-battery were dischaged below a certain point, disconnecting the habitation-battery to fit a new one would also require control-panel replacement (or a special procedure would need to be very carefully followed whenever a replacement leisure-battery were needed).

====================================================================================

Yes but in the above scenario, there is a step change in battery voltage. The threads that I recall reading, related to control panel failure after a habitation battery had been allowed to slowly discharge.

I note that Joe has partial power with the SOS fuse inserted, but is this from the battery, or from EHU via the charger?

I assume that possible failure of the habitation battery fuse, has been eliminated.

These CBE modules are quite expensive to replace, so I would recommend proving that the control panel has failed to work with a healthy 12V supply, before considering replacement. One suggestion for a last ditch test that I have seen posted is to power down the distribution board, unplug the ribbon cable for the control panel at one end, and leave for several minutes. Restore in reverse order, and try again. However if it the panel has been proven faulty, I would not be very hopeful.

As an alternative to replacement, it may be possible to have a faulty unit repaired.

Alan
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 1 November 2020 8:42 AM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


Alanb - 2020-10-31 7:48 PM

...I note that Joe has partial power with the SOS fuse inserted, but is this from the battery, or from EHU via the charger?...

Alan


As the primary objective of the CBE SOS feature is given as follows

...thanks to the DS470 built-in SOS function, end customers just need to insert a fuse in the fuse casing, to provide direct power for the heater, water pump and lights. This allows end customers to ensure that their vehicle will complete its journey before being brought in for servicing.

it stands to reason that 12V power for the motorhome’s heater, water pump and lights (and in Joe’s case, also the electric bed) must come from an onboard source and not from a 230V EHU feeding the battery charger. As the motorhome is to be driven with the SOS feature functioning, the 12V power source MIGHT be the vehicle’s starter battery, or even direct from the vehicle’s alternator somehow, but the PC380 + DS-470 ‘kit’ has CBE’s time-honoured modular format - control-panel + distribution box + battery charger + 230V circuit-breaker box - so it’s much more likely that the leisure battery is the 12V power source.

The retail asking price of a complete ’generic’ kit seems to be around £450 to £500, with the PC380 panel alone's price around £190. However, it’s quite possible (as I’m sure you are aware) that the PC380 and DS470 components on Joe’s motorhome might be ‘bespoke’ Frankia units.

Joe’s motorhome is a Frankia i-680 ED-G with an original price starting at £87K and, as he says it’s a 2018 model, it may still be within the Frankia warranty period. Presumably, when Joe takes the motorhome to SMC Newark for attention, the first thing they will do is fit a new panel to see if that cures the problem. As removing a PC380 control-panel should be a very quick and easy task, it might be worth Joe trying the 'unplugging’ ploy you’ve suggested, but I’d be tempted to let SMC deal with this fault.

I’ve also seen comments on other forums suggesting that CBE control-panel failure might have been due to leisure batteries being allowed to become badly discharged. This was just guesswork as far as I’m concerned and, in any case, I’m pretty sure that, if Joe checks the state of charge of his Frankia’s leisure battery with a voltmeter, he’ll find that it’s OK.
userTenjoe
Posted: 1 November 2020 11:21 AM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 
Just joined

Posts: 10

Location: Cumbria. Frankia I680 ED-G. 2018.


I see what Dereks means about damaging the CP each time the leisure battery was disconnected, that makes sense.
I will be contacting SMC next week and will try and talk to a techie who can hopefully talk me through some checks and maybe diagnose the fault before my 400 mile round trip, although I suspect with lockdown rules my visit to Newark will have to be postponed. The warranty runs out on Nov 15th but I would expect to still be covered.
Thank Alan and Derek for all the advice. I’ll let you know how I get on.
userDerek Uzzell
Posted: 1 November 2020 12:06 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 


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Location: MODERATOR - 2015 Rapido 640F LHD 2.3ltr 150bhp


As SMC at Newark currently seem to be the only UK Frankia agency, any under-warranty work will need to be done by them.

I note that SMC have already unsuccessfully attempted numerous over-the-phone ‘fixes' at addressing the problem, but - if a new control-panel turns out to be the only cure - there won’t be anything you can do yourself or SMC can do without them having access to your motorhome.

If you can take a voltage reading of the leisure-battery, at least that should confirm whether there is any likelihood of the battery’s state of charge being the culprit, and you might want to mention to the SMC technician Alan’s suggestion about disconnecting the control-panel.

You should definitely highlight to SMC that your Frankia’s warranty will expire on November 15 and confirm that the warranty will meet all costs relating to curing the problem. (Suggest you do this by email rather then just rely on a telephone confirmation).

(Isn’t your motorhome due for a Frankia water ingress inspection in November? If so, perhaps you can have the inspection and control-panel work done at the same time.)
userTenjoe
Posted: 3 May 2021 5:49 PM
Subject: RE: Control panel blackout
 
Just joined

Posts: 10

Location: Cumbria. Frankia I680 ED-G. 2018.


I thought I would update this thread as I finally got to SMC at Newark and have had a new CBE control panel fitted under warranty.
I was told the panel had failed, as they sometimes do?? and if it happened again I would have to foot the bill, new panel approx £350 - £400, so fingers crossed.
These panels apparently are programmed at the factory for each make of Motorhome. Making a quick test before leaving SMC we noticed one strip of our lighting system wasn’t working, a technician came and sorted this out by adjusting the settings in the back of the panel, so for anyone who has a new control panel fitted do make a thorough check that all is as it should be.
Anyhows, it’s good to be back on the road at last,
Thanks again for all the help from the experts on the forum,
Happy trails,
Joe.
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