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Old 26-08-2019, 10:49   #1
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Smile Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Hello everyone!

I’m new on this forum. I read a few threads and I found them really useful! So maybe you can help me find a solution to a problem that I have on my Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem.

The symptoms are intermittent, so it makes it difficult to make sure where the problem is. Here’s a list of the symptoms:
-A the beginning of the year the alarm lights of the electric control panel would go on and off WITHOUT the key in the ignition. But at that time every work fine. The engine did start well.
-Later in the season, after a couple hours of sailing when in turn the key to start the engine nothing happens, no light on the panel, no alarm sound, no starter…nothing… I spent a few minutes trying to figure what I would do to catch my mooring without causing any damage… Before initiating my plan, I tried to start it…and it work… but the lights gauges were acting strangely…all the alarm light would go on and off the RMP and fuel gauges would also work on and off.
-Later I find on this forum a way to start the engine doing a short cut at the solenoid so I would have a plan B if it happened again!
-Didn’t had any problem for a few weeks and then it came back.
-Sometimes it works perfectly, sometime a got no power on the panel control.
-Symptoms worst when the batterie we’re ON for a long time. Normally when the batterie we’re off for a few hours and I turn ON the batteries it works well. It doesn’t seem to be related to the temperature of the engine.
-Symptoms have appeared when the batteries are at 12,7 volts.

I try to rotate the batterie (put the stronger one to the starter) but it didn’t help.

I check and clean all the connectors. It didn’t seem to help.

I was suspecting the ignition key since the control panel lights would go on without the key in ignition. I opened and clean the key barrel. It didn’t seem to help.

I’m suspecting the alarm panel «black box». That’s we’re weirdest stuff seem to happen…Volvo reseller told me the electric components are NOT refundable. Since it is a 600$ piece, I would prefer to be sure before ordering it.

I saw that ACDC marine sold new panel for 500$USD. I’m not an electrician and I’m not thrilled about cutting all the Volvo electric connector…there will no easy turning back for me after that step. Does any of you bought an ACDC Marine panel and make that change?

Could it be a relay or a fuse?

Sorry for my writing…English is not my mother tongue.

Thanks for your help!
Nicolas.
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Old 26-08-2019, 11:10   #2
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

First place to look is the fuse block in your second photo. These corrode and give poor voltage to the control panel. Best to simply replace it with a blade-style automotive fuse holder, type with a nice tight cover.

Don't see it in your photos, but if it is there, the black round wiring harness connector commonly also has corrosion and age problems. Although one can get replacements from electronics shops (the connectors are "Amphenol" branded items, one must look carefully for the tiny part numbers on the connector) it is better and easier to cut out the connectors and use good terminal strips instead.

The relay (photo 3) could be faulty, it is a common Bosch part and need not be ordered from Volvo.

The black box with the lights is probably OK, but might be bad. Best way to check might be to borrow another one. Otherwise, a replacement panel might be the best way to go (after exhausting the thoughts above)

Good luck
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Old 26-08-2019, 11:26   #3
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamhass View Post
First place to look is the fuse block in your second photo. These corrode and give poor voltage to the control panel. Best to simply replace it with a blade-style automotive fuse holder, type with a nice tight cover.

Don't see it in your photos, but if it is there, the black round wiring harness connector commonly also has corrosion and age problems. Although one can get replacements from electronics shops (the connectors are "Amphenol" branded items, one must look carefully for the tiny part numbers on the connector) it is better and easier to cut out the connectors and use good terminal strips instead.

The relay (photo 3) could be faulty, it is a common Bosch part and need not be ordered from Volvo.

The black box with the lights is probably OK, but might be bad. Best way to check might be to borrow another one. Otherwise, a replacement panel might be the best way to go (after exhausting the thoughts above)

Good luck
Thank you very much!

I will try all that this weekend!

But if the problem is the fuse or the relay, I still don't understand how the alarm light would go ON without the key in the ignition? How this is possible? Does it mean there is continuous electricity in the panel even when the key is NOT in the ignition switch?

Thanks again! Nicolas
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Old 26-08-2019, 12:12   #4
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Nicolas:

There is power to the panel up to the key switch, but age and corrosion can certainly cause weird problems.

If you don't have a wiring diagram, download this:

https://avdhoeff.home.xs4all.nl/zeil...hop-Manual.pdf

Best
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Old 27-08-2019, 10:36   #5
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Explanation of Volvo panel lights
https://www.dropbox.com/home/VP%2020...ash+Manual.pdf


VP dash & engine wiring https://www.dropbox.com/home/VP%2020...ash+Wiring.pdf
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Old 27-08-2019, 10:39   #6
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Nicholas. When asking for help it is a useful idea to give your general geographic location as this is a very international forum.



Unfortunately in recent years many owners have been scrapping their 2000 series Volvo's someone may have saved the control panel and not need it anymore?.



By the way regarding your 2003... check the condition of your damper connection for wear, IF bad there is a solution.
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Old 27-08-2019, 18:32   #7
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Hello Nicolas,
I have the same control panel as you, on a 33 year-old Volvo 2003. I think they might have changed the panel design several years ago. I bought a new panel about 5 years ago but it did not fit. So make sure the new panel is exactly the same as your existing old panel (or get detailed instructions on how to modify it) before paying money.
The reason I bought the new one (then returned it to our local agent for refund) was because all the warning lights and sounds slowly stopped working (probably due to corrosion). I have now been running the engine for 5 years without any warning indicators - not recommended!
I also had one occasion when the engine would not start because everything stopped working on the panel - lights, starter etc. It was a loose connection to the fuse bank.
Kim
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Old 27-08-2019, 19:16   #8
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

By the way, if the gauges work, it's pretty easy to add new idiot lights, you can use 12 volt led indicator lights from any auto parts store. You can also work in the buzzer using diodes to isolate the idiot lights.

Just remember that the oil and temp senders switch to ground when wiring it all up.

When my panel started failing, that's what I did. Been fine for 3 years now.
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Old 27-08-2019, 20:39   #9
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by coastalexplorer View Post
Nicholas. When asking for help it is a useful idea to give your general geographic location as this is a very international forum.
Unfortunately in recent years many owners have been scrapping their 2000 series Volvo's someone may have saved the control panel and not need it anymore?.
Good point! I'm in Plattsburgh, New York.
Thank you,
Nicolas.
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Old 27-08-2019, 21:31   #10
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Check and double check all the negative connections.
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Old 28-08-2019, 07:29   #11
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by millsie View Post
Check and double check all the negative connections.
By negative connection...do you mean «ground» or «bad or poor» connection?
Thanks,
Nicolas.
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Old 28-08-2019, 12:04   #12
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

By now you have probably figured out that you aren't the first one to have problems with marine electrical systems. But you have gotten some good advise here, especially the part about cleaning connections.

My guess is that you have a failing ignition key switch, and this is because:
1. All the power to the panel goes thru the ignition switch and for the panel to be energized without the key even in the switch means that there is an intermittent short in the electrical portion of the switch. (Probably an intermittent open as well)
2. VP instrument panels of that era occasionally had problems with mystery engine starting that was eventually traced to flying bridge power boats where the panel was exposed to the elements. Water would make its way into the key slot and down into the electrical switch portion, causing short circuits that started the engine without the key in the switch or even without anyone onboard the boat. You will notice there is no protection for the key slot.

The fix was a redesign of the ignition switch to include a spring loaded cover over the key slot as well as better isolation of the electrical part of the switch from the mechanical portion. This mostly solved the issue. See the attached photo.

As I see it there are two options for a bad switch:
-Replace the old switch with a new one. Very much a plug and play operation...
If you decide to go this way I can offer new type key switches very inexpensively.

- Replace the key switch with two seperate water proof switches, one a simple "on/off" toggle switch to power up the panel, and the other a momentary push button switch to function as the start switch.

I recommend the latter option, as it's basically fool proof, and water proof switches are available everywhere. This is what I did for my VP panel which is a later version of yours, and it's worked well for years. You do, however, give up the security function of the key.

Hope this info helps.
DougR
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Old 28-08-2019, 22:12   #13
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Yes Nicholas check and recheck the Ground or negative wires.
when unusual things happen on Dc circuits it is most likely to be a loose or bad ground.
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Old 04-09-2019, 22:25   #14
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamhass View Post
First place to look is the fuse block in your second photo. These corrode and give poor voltage to the control panel. Best to simply replace it with a blade-style automotive fuse holder, type with a nice tight cover.

The relay (photo 3) could be faulty, it is a common Bosch part and need not be ordered from Volvo.

Good luck

Thank you so much! You were right! You just save me 500$ USD and a lot of trouble!

I found on the web the 3 tests the check the relay with a multimeter. It seems to work fine!

But when I touch the red wire coming in the fuse box my girl friend told me the panel lights were going on and off...BINGO!

I tested the continuity of the fuse box and it was not good. I was able to have intermittent continuity only on one fuse out of 4...

I went to a car parts dealer and he told me that he had nothing to replace that!

Can you send me a link or a picture of what I should buy please so I can show him!

Thank you so much! You rule!
Nicolas.
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Old 06-04-2021, 21:55   #15
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Re: Volvo Penta 2003 - Electric Control Panel Problem

mate i fought these issues for the last years of my motor life here in fiji. the moisture in the air eventually corroded all the old connections, esp the gang plugs in the harnesses. save your self tons of aggravation and get rid of the gang plugs and the old key and instruments. i had the whole thing rewired new instruments and keyless ignition here locally and was done with it. i prefer to sail than chase wires around
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