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Help...CBE PC-100 control System not working


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Hi all,


I've recently purchased myself a converted VW T4 camper with the CBE PC-100 fitted. This is my first camper so I'm a complete novice. I was told by the seller that I would need to charge the leisure batteries before the system would work. I've connected the 240v lead and left on charge for 5+ hours. Even when hooked to the 240v The only light on the control panel is the one that shows the 240v is connected, nothing else works! No lights, no heater, no water pump. I've checked all the fuses, they look ok.


I'm now at a loss as to what to do next. Am I missing something simple?



Any and all comments/help welcome.


Thanks in advance,


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Have you asked the seller for help?


Is it a recognised brand of conversion or a one off or a home conversion?


Did you really buy it without seeing it all working correctly?


What convinced you to accept the seller telling you to charge the battery yourself and why didn't he charge it as he was selling it?


Most people prepare their vehicles to be at their best for selling and sorry but it all sounds a bit iffy to me on what you have told us so far?

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My CBE charger has a red button that you have to depress before it will start charging the leisure battery (the red button lights up when it's on). On mine, it also charges the starter battery.


You should have a CBE fuse box with all the various fuses for operating the 12 volt habitation system. Next to that, you should find the 240v charger with possibly 2 trip switches for the 240v system.


Suggest you make sure the trip switches are in the on position BEFORE you connect to the mains. Plug in the mains and check that the switches haven't tripped. If they have, you probably have a problem with the hook-up lead or elsewhere.

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Welcome to the Out&AboutLive forums Ian.


A CBE PC-100 Instruction Manual can be downloaded from here:




As the ‘battery-charger operating’ light on the control-panel Is illuminated, it’s reasonable to assume that the charger is functioning and should be charging the leisure battery. As the charger won’t function unless it is receiving a 230V mains power-supply, the hook-up connection must be operating.


I hesitate to ask this but - as no 12V equipment works - have you actually switched the system on at the control-panel? (Button 15 on the drawing on Page 11 of the Instruction Manual.)


If the system is not switched on via the control-panel’s main On/Off switch no 12V equipment (lights, heater, water-pump, etc.) will operate. When the system is switched on, even if those equipments do not operate, you ought to be able to get some signs of life out of the control-panel.


If it’s practicable it would be a good idea to follow Tracker’s suggestion and ask the seller’s advice.


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Thanks for the suggestions Robbo. I've checked the charger button is depressed and glowing red and fuses don't trip after I hook up the 240. I'm getting 240v in the sockets so the 240v connection is ok. I've done a bit more reading and tried disconnecting the battery while connected to 240v and still no 12v systems are working, apparently this could mean the charger is the problem.


To be continued.....



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The seller is now ignoring my calls so he probably knew something was wrong.

It's a professional conversion not sure which company however.

There are a number of reasons why I accepted his word for the electrics being in a working order (most importantly price and local convenience) but who, what, when,where and why are totally irrelevant. I am where I am and I need to fix it.

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I'm not familiar with your system so sorry but I will have to think in general terms of what I would do next.

Do you have a separate leisure battery or does all the12 volt kit run off the starter battery?

If you do have a leisure battery can you disconnect it and check the voltage?

Is it possible that it is too flat for the charger to recognise it to begin charging it?

If so removing it and bench charging it overnight might solve the issue or at at least help identify any other issues?


Are there any names or logos on or in the van that might help identify what it is as that might help someone who has or has had one similar to identify how it should be wired?




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Cessman - 2016-03-17 7:11 PM


Thanks Derek,


I've found the manual already.


I have tried pressing the "on" button ;-) As I mentioned, it looks like I'm not getting any 12v supply at all so quite possibly the charger.


I’m doubtful that the battery-charger is at fault.


You have confirmed that the charger’s On/Off button is depressed and glowing red, and that the control-panel is showing a red light indicating that the charger is (apparently) operating. Although those factors do not PROVE that the charger is charging the leisure battery (and starter battery), there’s no obvious reason to assume that it is not doing so.


I’m familiar with CBE’s PC-100 system as my previous Hobby motorhome (owned from 2005 to 2014) was fitted with that system. Robinhood will have similar expertise, as will some other forum members.


CBE’s “PC” systems are conceptually straightforward. As the schematic on Page 31 of the Instruction Manual shows there’s just a few modules linked together via a "Distribution Box". There may be peculiar problems with a system as a result of how the motorhome manufacturer installs it or adds to it (examples here)






but some standardised fault-finding can be done.


For instance, checking whether or not the battery-charger is actually charging the batteries is simple enough.


1: Measure each battery’s voltage at its terminals with a multimeter when the motorhome is not connected to a 230V power-supply. The voltages should be below 13V.


2: Connect the motorhome to the 230v power-supply.


3: Confirm that the battery-charger’s On/Off switch is depressed and the switch is glowing red.


4: Remeasure each battery’s voltage at its terminals with a multimeter. If the batteries are being charged, the voltage reading of the leisure-battery should now be over 14V and the starter-battery’s voltage should be over 13V. If a battery’s voltage has not risen from the figure obtained for it in 1 above, that battery is not receiving charge.


Your camper’s problem may be simple and easy to fix, but trying to identify it using further guesswork (and hope) is unlikely to be productive as you’ve already covered the basics yourself. If there’s a genuine fault with, say, the control-panel or something in the distribution-box has failed, no amount of button-pressing or fuse-checking is going to repair that.


Some investigation can be done to try to establish where the problem lies (I’d certainly want to check that the battery-charger is working OK) and you MIGHT get lucky if you disconnected/reconnected the control-panel and plugs/sockets in the distribution-box (though I wouldn’t put money on it!) It needs a systematic approach though and that’s going to be difficult due to your unfamiliarity with the PC-100 system and campers generally.


If the leisure-battery’s voltage is reasonably high (which it should be if it is receiving charge from the battery-charger) a PC-100 system should operate to the extent that pressing the control-panel’s On/Off switch should at least cause lights to appear on the panel and battery charge-state and water-tank-contents checks to be performed. It’s concerning that this doesn’t happen in your case.


If you can’t get the system to work yourself, I think your choices will be to contact the seller about the problem or get the problem looked at professionally.


Fortunately (dare I say it...) replacement parts for CBE systems are not devastatingly expensive.





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If you find at the end of the day that your leisure battery is knackered, I might have a cheap solution.


I have a couple of 80Ah Gel batteries which are still in good condition and maintaining their charge. Pick up FOC but I don't know where you live. PM me if you think it might be of help.


It's always helpful to complete your profile ie. Location and details of your van (like wot I do) - I'm using modern terminology, haha!!!

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Cessman - 2016-03-17 4:51 PM.................................. I've checked all the fuses, they look ok. ..........................


I appreciate you say you've checked all the fuses, but just wonder if you've checked the large fuse at, on near, the leisure battery + terminal? If that has blown nothing will work on 12V.

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It will certainly be true that, if the high-amperage fuse in the leisures-battery’s + cable has blown, this will disable 12V equipment in the camper’s habitation area if no other 12V power source is available. But (based on the schematic in the CBE Instruction Manual) it would appear that if the camper’s battery-charger is operating the 12V supply it produces SHOULD allow the camper’s habitation 12V system to become operative.


Plainly it makes sense to check that the leisure-battery’s main fuse is OK, and also to check that the batteries are receiving charge when the battery-charger is running. It would also be worth checking what (if any) signs of life the control-panel shows when the camper has been disconnected from the 230V mains supply and the vehicle’s motor is running (eg. Does Light 8 on the control-panel illuminate to show that alternator-charging is happening?)


I would have thought that, even if the leisure-battery were completely discharged and/or its main fuse blown, once the vehicle is on a 230V electrical hook-up, a PC-100 system should not be as ‘dead’ as this one. Similarly, when the vehicle’s motor is running.


Trouble is that, although I know how a PC-100 system behaves when it’s working normally, I don’t know what symptoms will be produced when it’s not.

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Agreed Derek. However, I was wondering: if the CBE can't see the battery at all, it would presumably record no volts, and may therefore have shut down the 12V side on the assumption that battery voltage is below 10V, as under the description of operation of the Minimum Voltage Control on p13. Bit of a wild card, I know, but I never tried my CBE with (effectively) no battery present.
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...indeed. I have had experience of only one failure of a CBE charger. That was in my Rapido from new. It would go through a charging cycle to the maintenance charge, and then switch off. It would not, however, automatically switch back to the charging cycle when the battery voltage dropped below the required level (without manually switching the unit off and on again). I can't even remember how I found it, but I do know it was immediately replaced.


My concern is that the seller prescribed charging the batteries in order to resolve any problem. If we take this at face value, then there are a number of possibilities.


We know that the panel won't (shouldn't) work properly if the voltage drops below a given level (albeit one should be able to bring it back to life for a short while). Attempts to charge fully depleted batteries via the on-board charger can have very odd effects (which, as Derek acknowledges) are difficult to define unless you've been there with a particular unit. The charger may simply refuse to function, or any charging circuit protection may blow. (which is why I mentioned the output fuse internal to the charger).


It really is "back to basics" to check things out. Derek's starter set of tasks will give a decent indication on the existing state of the batteries, and the charging if any. The results, if posted, should give us chance to comment further.


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My Hobby 725 has a CBE PC-100HB 12 volt distribution box; note the HB suffix which means Hobby specific, this box may not fit other vans.


These units can fail completely in my experience; I am on my third box!


The first one failed 3 months after purchase (new van); no 12 volt to fridge and electric step, not charging leisure battery. Which seems similar to the problems that you are having.


Brownhills [the then imoporters] diagnosed the problem as a faulty CBE PC-100 HB distribution box and replaced unit under warranty.


That second unit failed six months later! same symptoms, again replaced under warranty along with the the leisure battery that had failed because of not being charged properly.


The third unit has now worked well for the past 9 years.


If I were you I would fit a new CBE PC-100 box or have yours tested.

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As Robinhood advises, resolving Ian’s problem demands a back-to-basics methodical approach.


There’s a reasonable likelihood that the Distribution Box is the culprit, but it would be galling to spend £100+ on a replacement and then find that this does not cure the problem. Similarly with the control-panel - if that were replaced and the problem persisted that would have been about £70 wasted.


I could envisage Ian being able to replace a defective control-panel (as it’s a pretty straightforward task) but not a defective Distribution Box as that’s a much more complicated process.


Although Ian should be able to do some basic trouble-shooting, if nothing obvious shows up and he can’t obtain feed-back from the vehicle’s previous owner, there seems to be no alternative but for him to seek help from a professional who has the necessary experience to diagnose the cause of the problem and (more importantly perhaps) will take full responsibillty for fixing it.


Your caveat about the potential for CBE systems to be ‘bespoke’ is very valid. The warning is repeated here




and control-panels can also be motorhome-manufacturer specific.


It’s not known what PC-100 variant is fitted to Ian’s VW camper, but this would need to be established if major replacement components proved to be necessary.


There’s a generic wiring diagram here




but I’m doubtful it will help with Ian’s problem.

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Derek Uzzell - 2016-03-20 8:23 AM


As Robinhood advises, resolving Ian’s problem demands a back-to-basics methodical approach.


There’s a reasonable likelihood that the Distribution Box is the culprit..........


....on a "bespoke" conversion, with no access to a wiring diagram, and no results from basic diagnostics, at this point it is just as likely to be a 10p blown fuse.........


"Back to Basics" is the only way....

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