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Old 21-12-2009, 17:04   #1
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PathMaker Battery Combiner Override

I have a PathMaker model 100-3 combiner that has lost its brains. I've read the stories from the Manta group owners that report continuing problems with these units, so I'm not real enthusiastic about spending money to replace the logic board. I do have the remote control switch, but it will still not combine the banks as it should when I put that switch to manual ON. The only thing the unit does for me is show the yellow light when the house bank voltage drops below the threshold setting.

I can combine all banks by connecting a jumper from a battery B+ voltage to the solenoid actuating circuit (purple wire). As it sits now, only the house bank gets charged unless I jumper the solenoids this way - and that explains why my starting batteries were flat recently.

Anyway, I plan to just hard-wire a toggle switch to activate the combiner solenoids instead of replacing the "brain" that should do this automagically. I have a lighted (LED) switch so that I shouldn't forget and leave the banks combined.

Anyone see any problems in doing this? I'm just replacing the unit's brain with my own.... in the hope that I'll be smarter than a 5th grader...
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Old 21-12-2009, 18:31   #2
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PathMaker check-out

What happens when you:
1. Remove the remote plug from the PathMaker
2. Disconnect all battery positive connections to the PathMaker
3. Reconnect the battery positive connections.
4. Attempt to use the local switch to force a "manual" combine command.

??
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Old 22-12-2009, 05:41   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
What happens when you:
1. Remove the remote plug from the PathMaker
2. Disconnect all battery positive connections to the PathMaker
3. Reconnect the battery positive connections.
4. Attempt to use the local switch to force a "manual" combine command.

??
Rick - I've not tried any of these steps but will today. I did try jumpering the system negative and negative-on-remote terminals as called out in the manual. That had no effect either.

Thanks for the reply. Hopefully I'll post results tonight.
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Old 22-12-2009, 18:52   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
What happens when you:
1. Remove the remote plug from the PathMaker
2. Disconnect all battery positive connections to the PathMaker
3. Reconnect the battery positive connections.
4. Attempt to use the local switch to force a "manual" combine command.

??
Rick here are the results:

#1: No effect at all

#2&3: I disconnected both the large battery cables and the sensing leads that connect to VB1,2,3 on the terminal strip. VB1 is my house bank to which all charging sources are connected. When I re-connected VB1, the solenoids closed and the green 'Connected' lights, both local and remote, came on briefly, then faded out. The solenoids released shortly thereafter.
Exactly the same behavior happens when I remove the system negative lead from the terminal strip - as suggested in the manual to reset the unit.

#4: No effect.

I connected a fused jumper from VB1 to the Coil / purple lead on the terminal strip and the solenoids closed. The green 'Connected' light on the remote and local panels lit. When I disconnect my jumper, the Connected light goes out, but after 15 seconds or so. A few minutes after that I hear the solenoids kick out.

So - what do you think I have here?
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Old 22-12-2009, 21:11   #5
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Why not hard wire in a simple battery selector switch.
Like one of these.
Bep Marine 721 Heavy - Duty Battery Selector Switch, Marine, Bep Marine at Sportsman's Guide

I found that after a quick google search. I'm not sure if it is the same as what we use on fire engines. The ones we use are a simple switch with the battery cables connected to the back.
Hope that helps,
Scott
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Old 24-12-2009, 10:42   #6
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Sad to say that the circuit board is potted and you can't get to the device that is bad in order to fix it. I may have a spare board somewhere.
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Old 24-12-2009, 11:15   #7
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Thanks for the help Rick - much appreciated!
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