House 12v contactor is possessed.. i think..

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SCVJeff

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Ho-Ho-Ho....

When I kill the house power, it doesn't shut off but, instead drops to about 10v, and will, so far, eventually shut off. I can?t seem to help it along by beating the contactor. It shuts off when it shuts off, when it feels like it. I have poured over the drawings looking for another 12V path that may be causing this but I keep coming back to the house contactor relay thats somehow getting resistive. If I?m going to tear it out for diagnosis I might as well replace it (although I will open it to see whats going on).

So, has anyone ever had a contactor issue before, and more important, does anyone have a part number for this thing?

Tnx

edit by staff - changed message icon to topic solved
 
Jeff, have you tried to put a load on the 10V (like turning on a couple of lights) you are measuring with the solenoid disconnected? If it stays at 10V with a load then maybe the solenoid contacts aren't fully releasing due to arching crud or whatever.

Here's a link to a replacement: https://www.bluesea.com/products/9012/L_Solenoid_-_12_24V_DC_250A
 
You said 12v, but it's not clear what contactor is involved.  How do you "kill the house power"?  Are we talking the battery disconnect switch by the door? Or something else?    Is this with shore power or genset active, or using battery alone?  Does the voltage drop from something like 13.6 to 10 and stay there?  Does it then slowly decay to zero, of suddenly drop to zero at a later time?
 
You are probably talking about the Battery Disconnect Relay, which is a latching relay. It is only active to change state. The voltage you see may be a small solar panel connected on the House Side of the relay.
 
John Hilley said:
..... The voltage you see may be a small solar panel connected on the House Side of the relay.
That fooled me when I was replacing my Trombetta solenoid, I was still measuring voltage with the battery leads disconnected.
 
That 10v seems reasonably stiff. It will easily hold up the 3 ceiling florescent fixtures, and thats gotta be 5A. As for the solar, I removed that 15W joke years ago. My 1/2 KW system is upstream of the manual house disconnect SWITCH, as well as the contactor. I have a friend coming up tomorrow to show him my spectrum/ Network analyzer, and see if I can lasso him to help chase thing down. The other test I want to do us switch the house 12V Off with the manual switch and make sure this isnt somehow coming from the starting batteries. I may buy a new contactor and swap it while in Quartzsite with nothing to do...  it sure is strange that it can support the load it has when its ?off?. Tomorrow I?ll turn the inverter on and see how it like that..  guess I?m a 1- off on this one. Figured someone else would have run across this in the past. Will report the results..

John: the Blue Sea link appears to be the non-latching variety. I think the issue is coming from the latching main house contactor, and its a push On, push Off mechanical latcher
 
SCVJeff said:
... I have a friend coming up tomorrow to show him my spectrum/ Network analyzer, and see if I can lasso him to help chase thing down. ...
I was recently doing a firmware upgrade to my 2 Ghz Siglent spectrum analyzer (with tracking generator  :) ) and I bricked it. The upgrade looked like it was going well and then hung up. I got an RMA from Siglent America and sent it to them last week to restore the firmware. Thank goodness it has a year left on the warranty.

John: the Blue Sea link appears to be the non-latching variety. I think the issue is coming from the latching main house contactor, and its a push On, push Off mechanical latcher
Couldn't you make that latching by connecting one side the coil to the house side of the battery terminal? When the relay operates by the switch, it closes the contactor and that puts 12V on the coil. You would have open the ground side of the coil to release it.
 
This ones a Agelient 4395A.. it does so much i continue to learn things i didn't know it can to. My friend calls it ?nerd porn?....  just cant stay away from playing with it. I?m building duplexers out of cavities I have laying around, because I can.. :). It only goes to 500MHz as opposed to our other ones at work that go north of 15GHz. But its great for ham work

As for the contactor, i dont want to build an electric latch simply because of power consumption. If i have ti change the mechanical latcher, I will, but im not totally convinced where the problem is yet.. that?ll be tomorrow
 
I looked on fleaBay and ham classifieds for months and months looking for a nice used SA but those were about as much as a new Siglent and no warranty so I bought new. Got a notice from UPS it's being shipped - Yea! I have some low pass filters I need to characterize.

Roger on the current consumption, understand.
 
This VNA was free :)
We we bought a TV group that I was decomissioning the studios and uplink, and found this in the corner of the sat shack. Well we had a quanity of VNA?s that were good to 30GHz scattered around the company, so I pointed that out the the president and asked if he really needed it.. ?Its great for hams? said I... and he gave it to me, recently calibrated and all.
 
Update on the problem...

I put my Amp Clamp on max hold across the charge lead coming from the Trik-L-Charge to the house batteries with all the lights on, about a 10A load. Current between the two batteries was zero. So I turned off the house batteries from my emergency disconnect swx AT the batteries...  house lights did NOT go off. Went to look at the current on the Amp Clamp and saw that the Trik-L-Charge is supplying the entire 10A house load from the starting batteries!  Thats 10A backwards.. Thats not supposed to happen at all. And it was obviously warm too.

Its not that important since I have a 5A tap from the solar controller, but its presently clipped out of service.
 
Oh my gosh Jeff! Good troubleshooting,  :)) I've been meaning to buy a DC clamp meter for years.  It would be interesting to tear the Trik-L-Start apart and do a post mortem.

(My spectrum analyzer arrived yesterday afternoon - yea!)
 
John Canfield said:
Oh my gosh Jeff! Good troubleshooting,  :)) I've been meaning to buy a DC clamp meter for years.  It would be interesting to tear the Trik-L-Start apart and do a post mortem.

(My spectrum analyzer arrived yesterday afternoon - yea!)
i think I?ll do some open heart on it. Since I have a 5A tap off the solar controller I don't really need this one at all. I?ll let you know when that happens (after Q).

BTW- I have my eye on an 8920B to go with my VNA. That will give me way more test horsepower than I?ve ever had, even when working in a radio shop and get back to a little mountaintop ham radio work again :)
 
SCVJeff said:
i think I?ll do some open heart on it. Since I have a 5A tap off the solar controller I don't really need this one at all. I?ll let you know when that happens (after Q).
I'm very curious.

BTW- I have my eye on an 8920B to go with my VNA. That will give me way more test horsepower than I?ve ever had, even when working in a radio shop and get back to a little mountaintop ham radio work again :)
I had no idea HP made a service monitor. I have a Wavetech Stabilock SI 4031, a huge beast. Should have bought an IFR 1200S instead.
 
I?ve been asked several times the difference between the 1200 and 1500? I really don?t know because I?ve been using the 1500 for over 20 years, and before that an FM10CS into the 70?s. Do you?

I really don?t know allot about the 8920 but I have several friends with them, and the big selling point when working on 420 linked UHF systems is that I don?t need a calculator to set offsets from a 420 rx to the 440 TX. This think has separates TX and RX modules so you can literally split anywhere with direct freq input.

The other thing that this has is adjustable audio filtering, so if I?m doing E-E through the system I can generate my carrier and tone to open the decoder, but on the TX side I can set the insturnment Rx to filter out the PL passed through the system and display only my test tone.  Dunno if you know what the Cactus intertie is, but the Texas side of it (Dillo) goes right by your house on the way to central TX. This instrument was built for that system because when dealing with links, there is no standard offset.
I still might go for an IFR because I have so much time on it, but the 8920really is what I should have. But beggars.....
 
I don't know much about the 1200S but there is (was) a guy that services them so that's why I was interested. He only works on the 1200 for some reason, maybe the 1500 and later models have parts that are unobtanium. Motorola used to make a service monitor and I had my eye on those when I was shopping. There's a German ham on utube (trxbench or something like that) with a nice service bench that uses a Rhode and Schwartz monitor - I like it, a bunch.

Got a chance to play with my Stabilock - I had reports of low audio on my Icom 2 meter radio and I looked at the deviation on the Stabilock and it was okay. Interesting to note that most adjustments on that Icom are done via the menu. I didn't think about checking the PL tone just to play with my monitor. Since mine is German, lots of the built-in tests are setup for European coms and not useful. There was a version of it with the capability for SSB testing, wish mine had that.

I've had a Telepost LP-500 on order (actually on the waiting list) for about three months, that should be a fun addition to the shack.

Cactus intertie? Not a clue what that is.  ???
 
Cactus Intertie is a network of ham groups from all of Calif, stretching east to a large portion of Texas, Nevada, Utah, and I think S.Idaho, and of course Az and NM. These are all UHF repeaters linked on 420MHz the entire way. There are one or two VoIP links to the east coast, but thats it, everything is done on 420.

We obvbiously build the repeaters, but we also have been building ?Cactus Standard? control systems for over 30 years. All the radios have the same control system. I can talk most of the way on an HT from my house to yours with very little loss in coverage the entire way.

If you google Cactus Intertie, there are several maps showing the paths and where the repeaters are located. We even have one overlooking Quartzsite on Guadalupe Peak ..
 
I don't think we have a 440 repeater in our area  :p . My new Tashijan tower is being delivered tomorrow  :)) - I wasn't planning on a 440 beam but I'll reconsider, maybe I can hit something to the west of the QTH.

Back to the Trik-L-Start - did you ever open it up?
 
Not yet. We?re at Quartzsite now, so maybe thats a fun project to pull it and Dremel it open
 

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