I recently had not one but two MDI failures on my D2-55F's. Both port and starboard engine went out within a few days of each other, both around 450-475 engine hours. Without the MDI the button panel does not work so engines cannot be started (OK, yes, they can be started, but you're going to have to hotwire them). It took me about a day to trace all of the wiring harnesses for continuity to determine the problem was definitely inside that black box. VP had that figured out too in just fifteen minutes with their fancy pin board tester.
It should also be noted that inside the black box is solid state and several boards. No knocking it with a hammer to kick loose a stuck relay...that was not our problem anyway.
Volvo Penta were able to replace both MDIs in Las Palmas
before our upcoming crossing to the Caribbean
. We had excellent support from Volvo Penta in Las Palmas
and Lanzarote. But apparently the MDI part is extremely difficult to find. Stocks worldwide were reported to me by VP to be low. A problem with the current
part number or batch? Was the timing of my TWO failures just coincidence or is there something wrong with electrical installation
? VP made me think this is more of a batch MDI issue, as it was reported to me to be rather common and something they have seen a lot of lately. One of the technicians even told me it was more common on engines installed in FP catamarans, but offered no other data to support this...
Anyway, those of you considering venturing far with yet-to-be-trusted newer engines should consider carrying a spare MDI or better yet, know how to start your engines without it. VP will swear up and down that there is no way to start them without the MDI, but all that's necessary is to get batt power to your start solenoid. I would never recommend doing this unless it's an extreme emergency
, but we should all know at least how to do it just in case. The engine starts and has normal function for the mechanical controls. You do not have guage data or tach, as all this goes through the MDI black box. Additionally you will have to manually stop the engine by pushing the stop solenoid lever on the engine since the button panel stop button of course runs through the MDI. I still have questions on impact to alternator
, though I believe alternator
output is also controlled by MDI.
Has anyone else experienced problems with relatively new engines or MDIs? Any thoughts on whether my two failures are just coincidence or if there may be more at play with a bad electrical