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Old 30-08-2013, 22:24   #1
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Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

Background:
Late last year replaced plates.
All good. Cycled perfectly.
January this year. Major collision. Boat off the water for months.
Had left salt water in lectrasan. (Wellington, NZL)
Recently. Out sailing. Had to heave to for an urgent moment.
Flushed and fast blinking (Low voltage) at 5 seconds!
Somewhere I read that an acid treatment would sort this.
I also did check voltage which was over 13.5 volts at the unit (Not operating). Very fat cables do run to unit.
Have just done the acid treatment and left in for a few hours.
No difference, 5 seconds and low voltage.

Any ideas?
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Old 31-08-2013, 05:58   #2
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

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Originally Posted by wynmead View Post
I also did check voltage which was over 13.5 volts at the unit (Not operating).
Sorry I don't know much about Lactrasan operation ( other than they draw a lot of current during some parts of their cycle), but the first thing is to check the voltage (at the Lectrasan end) with it working.

A high resistance connection will give normal voltage with no load, but the voltage may be dropping too low despite your fat cables.

It is such a common a problem it is certainly worth eliminating, before suspecting a problem with the unit.

While you are at it use a clamp on multimeter to measure the current draw.
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Old 31-08-2013, 06:07   #3
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

Quote:
Originally Posted by wynmead View Post
Background:
Late last year replaced plates.
All good. Cycled perfectly.
January this year. Major collision. Boat off the water for months.
Had left salt water in lectrasan. (Wellington, NZL)
Recently. Out sailing. Had to heave to for an urgent moment.
Flushed and fast blinking (Low voltage) at 5 seconds!
Somewhere I read that an acid treatment would sort this.
I also did check voltage which was over 13.5 volts at the unit (Not operating). Very fat cables do run to unit.
Have just done the acid treatment and left in for a few hours.
No difference, 5 seconds and low voltage.

Any ideas?
Just dealt with the identical problem. Inspected the circuit board with a magnifying glass. I found two very small resistors burnt. Replaced the circuit board assembly (215 USD from Raritan or 159 USD from a secondary supplier)

Now it works as advertised.
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:15   #4
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

Measured voltage at unit with motor on. 14volts and then started cycle and dropped to 13.9 volts.Stopped after 5 seconds with low voltage blinking.
Is there any other possibility or is the only choice a new circuit board.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:57   #5
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

Wynmead.

Pull the board (4 push snaps and 1 ribbon connector) look at the components with a magnifier. Most likely you will find an obviously fried component. You may be able to get an electronic repair shop to replace the defective parts.

These boards seem to be damaged by attempting to operate the unit a a lower than specified voltage.

You have accomplished all the trouble shooting that the techs at Raritan will direct.

Time to crack open the treasure chest if you want the thing to function.

GOOD LUCK
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Old 27-09-2013, 23:20   #6
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

Hi Jim,
yep, pulled the board, evidence of burns on the underside of the board, in two spots. New board and all ok.
Thanks
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Old 28-09-2013, 06:35   #7
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

Glad to be of assistance. Now if someone knows why components on a circuit board protected by fuses self immolates let me know.
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Old 28-09-2013, 11:16   #8
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It's a common myth that fuses protect components on boards. Fuses protect wiring. Many components on a circuit board can fail in such a way that they overheat without opening a fuse.
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Old 28-09-2013, 11:20   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wynmead View Post
Hi Jim,
yep, pulled the board, evidence of burns on the underside of the board, in two spots. New board and all ok.
Thanks
You should discuss your installation with Raritan. You may not have large enough wire or the connections may not be sufficient. The current drawn by these units is very high for short periods of time and it takes big wire to avoid low voltage which can cause things to overheat.
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Old 28-09-2013, 11:32   #10
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

Fuses at the power source protect the wiring. Fuses at the cct. board are supposed to protect the cct. board components. However they don't do a very good job of that because the engineers spec. component values that are to low. Sloppy design/construction of the cct. board IMHO. I have seen it all through my career.
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Old 28-09-2013, 13:06   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Fuses at the power source protect the wiring. Fuses at the cct. board are supposed to protect the cct. board components. However they don't do a very good job of that because the engineers spec. component values that are to low. Sloppy design/construction of the cct. board IMHO. I have seen it all through my career.
I don't know if sloppy design is the problem or not. Fuses are simple devices designed to limit current. But heat requires voltage and current at the same time. There is no way for a fuse to tell if some downstream component is hot. Corrosion can cause heating and there is nothing a fuse can do about it.
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Old 28-09-2013, 13:21   #12
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

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Corrosion can cause heating and there is nothing a fuse can do about it.
True, but when two resistors are burned out it is usually because the power rating chosen was to low. 1/8 watt rather than 1/4 watt, etc. I have seen it in many pieces of electronic equipment, from ham transceivers to large scale computers (well, they were large scale in their day), radar units, signal processing computers, etc, etc. Usually one could see from the voltage drop that the power rating was to low.
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Old 28-09-2013, 13:47   #13
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I like to keep a bottle of vinegar next to the head. Can it be used with the Lectrasan?
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Old 28-09-2013, 15:15   #14
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Re: Lectrasan low voltage at 5 seconds

Also, maybe of interest, when inspecting all the fuses the B fuse was really distorted eroded by current I expect but still working. Popped in a new one. A and C looked as new.
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