02 November, 2013

Breezair Icon EXH-130 Problems

Last Update: 10th August, 2018.


Index:

Repairs to my EXH-130:

Repair 1: The Motor
Repair 2: The Water Pump
Repair 3: Tripping Circuit Breaker
Repair 4: Another Motor Fault
Repair 5: Drain Valve

Other Repairs (not a complete list):

550 Watt Direct Drive Motor
750 Watt Direct Drive Motor
DD Control Box for 1500 Watt Motor
DD Control Box 750 Watt Motor
Remote Control

Repairs for Others:

DD Control
DD Control Low Power (P/N: 110547)

Other Useful Information:

Fault/Error/Service Codes
Breezair Direct Drive Diagnostic Procedures
Cleaning Remote Control Battery Terminals
Video of a buzzing Breezair 550W Motor (internal short circuit)

Introduction

I'm writing about my personal experience, having owned a Breezair EXH-130 that had numerous problems.

This page contains a lot of technical information relating to the EXH series coolers, but also applies to the EZH, and to a slightly lesser extent, the EXQ, EZQ and EXS model range.  The information here should help you if you're looking to troubleshoot your cooler.  While the information is technical in nature, efforts have been made to make it fairly easy to understand.

My original Breezair unit, an EXH-130, had a troubling history of failures and this was the motivation for publishing the information here.  I'm not the only person that's having trouble with these coolers.

Unfortunately, the newer EXQ series of coolers probably aren't going to be much better.  I've already had some faulty control modules from those coolers come in for repair, and can tell you that they haven't changed much.  They've added some token surge protection to the motor drive circuitry and changed the communication circuitry to accommodate their new MagIQtouch controller, but that's about all.  The rest of the circuitry within the control module appears almost identical to the earlier EXH/EZH control modules.

Another caveat, is that replacement parts for these coolers are generally expensive.  A new motor or control module is going to set you back around $600.00 or a little more.  The drain valve assembly costs around $300.00, a new pump is usually around $130.00, and a new wireless remote, around $350.00.  These prices don't include installation.

As of late 2017, the cooler that this blog page focuses on is no longer with us.  Most of the parts found new homes, and the rest went out in this year's hard rubbish.  It has been replaced with a newer Breezair EXH-210, but thats already needed a new drain valve and water inlet solenoid valve.

During the time I owned the EXH-130, I had to conduct a number of repairs:
  • Repair 1: The motor wouldn't run.  When turned on it would just buzz/groan and wouldn't move.  The motor had developed a short circuit in the windings.
  • Repair 2: The water pump stopped running.  A little percussive maintenance got it going again, but its probably going to die more permanently soon.
  • Repair 3: The cooler started tripping the circuit breaker randomly.  It would work fine for a few days and then all of a sudden the circuit breaker trips.  Resetting the circuit breaker a couple times usually "fixed" it for a few days, then it'd do it again.
  • Repair 4: The motor developed another short circuit and damaged the motor controller IC as well.  The controller IC needed to be replaced, which I've done.  I also managed to get hold of another similar blown up motor (from an EXH-150) and repaired that.  If I wasn't repairing the faults myself, a new motor and new controller would cost around $1200.00 + installation.
  • Repair 5: The drain valve couldn't make up its mind if it wanted to be open or closed (it would repeatedly open and close again).  This is a known issue and replacing the two microswitches inside the drain valve assembly sometimes cures this issue.  In my case, that was not the problem.  The synchronous motor inside the drain valve was the problem.
All of this occurred within 13 months.

In case anyone is interested in knowing more about the faults described above, I'll go over some of the details in a moment.  It would be nice to purchase a new motor and other parts, but the prices of the parts are prohibitive.

Due to these prices and my background in electronics, I've been repairing all of the faults myself.  I also do repairs for others.  You will find my business and contact details below:



Repair Details:

Repair 1: The Motor

The motor used in the direct drive coolers (EXD, EZD, EXH, EZH, EXQ) is a brushless DC motor (BLDC).  The motors are electrically similar to a 3-phase motor, internally wired in a "star" configuration.

The motor had developed what I'll call a "phase-to-phase" short, meaning that there was a short circuit between 2 of the 3 windings in the motor.  Upon opening the motor for the first time, the first thing I was concerned about was the way in which it had been designed.  There are 3 windings in the motor, each winding consists of 20 electromagnet windings in series.  The 3 windings are all offset slightly from each other, and are all wound on top of each other.

There is no insulation, other than the very thin enamel coating on the magnet wire inside the motor to prevent a phase-to-phase short.  In addition to this, I've read various documents from electric motor manufacturers that clearly state that this style of motor should not be used in humid or dusty environments.  Further more, the motor in the cooler is not sealed, and as such, the windings are exposed to both humidity and dust.

I think these motors would be much more reliable if they just had a layer of insulation between the 3 windings.  It'd be even better if the coils weren't wound on top of each other.  The short circuits generally develop close to where the power enters and exits the motor, and this is also where the voltage differential between the windings is at its greatest.  The design of the motor means that the enamel on the wire within the motor needs to be able to withstand a voltage differential of approximately 430V DC.  That isn't a big ask, but it also needs to withstand having dust collecting on the enamel and being exposed to moisture/humidity.

Initially, I was a little unsure about how to go about repairing this motor.  The obvious answer was to re-wind the entire motor, but I could see that'd be a lot of work.  The other option was to locate the fault and either isolate it or render it harmless.  I chose the latter.

To do this, I used a multimeter to determine which two phases had shorted.  The next thing I did was break the internal connection inside the motor where all 3 windings are bonded (connected) together.

After doing that, I took a 12V power supply and a 50W halogen downlight and connected it up in series with the shorted turns of the motor.  The idea of the lamp was to limit the current passing through the motor windings.  Without the downlight or some other current-limiting device in series with the motor, a lot of current would have been drawn and this could have caused further damage to the motor windings as they would have gotten quite hot.

I ran the light in series with the shorted motor windings for a little while and the windings on the motor started heating up.  I then used a laser non-contact thermometer to find where the motor windings were hottest.  This seemed to roughly point to the spot where the short was.

In an attempt to further verify the location of the short, I used a small fridge magnet (thin, rectangular shape) and moved it over the motor windings while still running power through them via the downlight.  This allowed me to feel where the magnetic pull of the motor was strongest and also seemed to help confirm the rough location of the short circuit.

The next bit gets tricky, and I don't know of a good method of doing it.  As I said earlier, the motor is a 3-phase style motor, and each phase consists of 20 electromagnet windings in series.  My plan was to isolate the fault and bypass it.  I figured that if I lose about 1 electromagnet out of 20, it probably wouldn't matter much.  After determining how the motor was wound and which direction the current was travelling around the motor, I randomly cut one wire in two electromagnets in the same phase winding (read that a few times, it should make sense.  In total, I made 2 cuts).  This allowed me to bridge over the fault, meaning that I've probably lost about 1 electromagnet from the second phase.  The short is still there, but it's semi-isolated and sort of harmless.

This got the motor going again, and it worked for about 10 months, until the motor developed another short.

Below are some photos of the motor internals.  As you can see, the 3 sets of windings are all wound on top of each other, with nothing but the enamel on the wire preventing short circuits.  These motors would probably be much more reliable if an additional layer of insulation was placed between each phase.  The phase-to-phase shorts that this motor has developed all seem to develop at the top or bottom of the motor windings, not on the side.  They also tend to develop where the motor collects dust in the windings.

Here is a picture of the top of the motor.  The small PCB contains the following:
  • 3 Hall Effect Sensors.  These are used by the motor control circuitry to determine the current position of the motor.  This information is then used to determine which coils (phases) to turn on next, in order to make the motor move.
  • A voltage divider network.  This is used to set a unique voltage level on one of the pins in the sensor cable.  This signal can then be analysed by the motor control circuity to determine the wattage of the motor connected to it.
  • Two connection points for an external thermostat switch located to the right of the PCB.  The switch is used to shut down the motor if it overheats.
In the picture below, you can see the PCB I've described above, as well as the way the 3 phases are wound on top of each other:


The side of the motor.  Each electromagnet is 3 notches wide, and each phase is offset by 1 notch:



Repair 2: The Water Pump

One day for no apparent reason, the water pump stopped running.  I gave the pump a "smack" and it was off and running again.  The pump lasted until the cooler was de-commissioned and now gets used for testing control modules.  It has become quite noisy.

Repair 3: Tripping Circuit Breaker

Initially it was just a weird event, I reset the circuit breaker and everything seemed fine.  A week or so later, it did it again, so I reset the breaker again.  Over time, it started getting worse, randomly tripping the breaker every 2-3 days.

I pulled the control box out of the air conditioner and examined it.  I couldn't see any problems, and couldn't find any faults.  I re-assembled the unit and put it back into service.

Predictably, it did it again.  This time the fault remained after the circuit breaker tripped.  Usually, after the breaker tripped, I'd measure the resistance between the active and neutral pins of the plug and the reading would be acceptable.  This time, though, I measured just a few ohms.  I initially suspected some of the X2 filter capacitors across the mains, but after disconnecting those (about 3 of them) the short was still there.

I then decided to begin isolating sections of the controller circuitry by removing various common-mode chokes (pictured below).  These components basically filter noise and help reduce interference.  It turned out that the first choke I removed was the culprit.  I suspect that the windings on the choke may have been vibrating slightly and had worn through the insulation on the toroidal core.  This caused a short circuit inside the controller, hence tripping the circuit breaker.

I found a second-hand choke among my scavenged components and re-constructed the below component, then replaced the below component with my newly made one.  The circuit breaker hasn't tripped since.

Here is a picture of the faulty part.  If you look closely you can see where it failed.  On the left, it failed about 4 turns down from the top.  On the right, it failed about 7-8 turns from the top:



This type of failure has turned out to be a fairly common fault.

Repair 4: Another Motor Fault

It's this fault that gave me the motivation to write about the problems with my evaporative cooler in the first place.  The motor developed another inter-phase short circuit, close to where the power enters and exits the motor windings.

I used a different method to find the fault this time.  Instead of running power through the motor and using the non-contact thermometer or a magnet to help locate the approximate location of the fault, I used pressure.  The fault this time was intermittent, the motor would buzz/groan, wouldn't move, but when I tested the resistance of the internal windings with a multimeter (before removing the motor from the cooler), it measured about 20 ohms between any two pins on the motor power connector.  So, I re-connected it, powered it up again... buzz/groan.  Measured it again, this time I had 1.8 ohms between two of the phases.  This confirmed a short in the motor.

I took note of which two pins had the 1.8 ohm resistance and then proceeded to remove the motor.

Once I'd disassembled the motor, I figured out which pins on the motor power connector were connected to which windings.  Once I'd figured that out, I knew which two phases were shorted.

At some point during the diagnosis, the short just disappeared.  In an effort to find it again, I started applying moderate pressure to the coils and eventually located a spot where I could apply pressure and I'd get a short circuit.  So, I knew roughly where the fault was and went about isolating it using the same method as last time, which is basically just cut some random wires and hope for the best.  It seemed to work and I was able to (after a lot of testing & re-confirming my findings) figure out where to isolate the failed winding.

Pictures of the motor on my work bench:



With the fault isolated, I re-tested the motor resistance at the power connector and it seemed to be normal, around 20 ohms.  So I re-assembled the motor and put it back in the cooler.  Buzz, groan.. Urrrggghhh.

I removed the motor again and using the pressure technique, found another inter-phase short.  Then, while messing with the motor again, the short disappeared.  I'd pinpointed where it seemed to be but all of a sudden I couldn't use pressure to make the short re-appear.

Applying pressure to the windings (pinching them):



So, since the short circuit just "fixed itself", I re-assembled the motor and put it back in the cooler (in a very temporary manner), and powered it back up.  Buzz, groan.  I figured that would happen.  So that re-confirmed that there was still a problem.

Further investigation of the motor windings under a magnifying glass and in good light revealed a small section of windings where the enamel had been burnt.  Applying some light pressure to that burnt area resulted in the short circuit coming back.

Here is a photo taken through a small magnifying glass of the burnt area.  That blue mark was supposed to be an arrow pointing to the burnt section:



I've isolated the above short by bridging across the coil on the outer phase rather than isolating the burnt section (which is in the centre phase).  The reason I did that was because I'd already lost a coil from the centre phase in a previous repair, so I chose to even it up a little by isolating the outer coil.

After re-assembling the motor and putting it back into the cooler, it just buzzed.   It wasn't as loud as before and with a bit of encouragement the motor started running but would occasionally jolt or make clunking noises and then go back to normal.

I contacted Breezair/Seeley International to see if they'd be willing to test the control module.  I ended up getting a call from the "Victorian/Tasmanian State Service Manager", but he basically just said that the components of the cooler aren't designed to be repaired and that they have field service technicians that can come out and test the parts to determine the fault.

Since they weren't much help, I continued troubleshooting.  The power to run the motor goes through an IRAMS10UP60B hybrid module.  This module has a high voltage side and a low voltage control interface which also contains some additional smarts.  Due to the motor having had short circuits in the windings, I figured it'd be possible that this module may have been damaged due to that, so I ordered some and replaced it.

This cured the problem.  The hybrid module contains 6 IGBT's.  They're like switches that can turn on and off very quickly.  One of the known failure modes for an IGBT is "latch-up", which means that the IGBT can turn on but can't be turned off reliably, or at all.  My suspicion is that the last motor short caused damage to at least one of the IGBT's, and this in turn caused incorrect commutation of the motor.

Repair 5: Drain Valve

The drain valve developed a fault whereby it would repeatedly open and close.

I bench-tested the drain valve with a 24V AC power supply and re-produced the constant open/closing problem that it had.  I double-checked the microswitches inside the drain valve assembly and they were working fine.  They had been replaced previously, since I was hoping for a quick fix.

The motor inside the drain valve turned out to be the problem.  It's a synchronous motor which has the ability to run clockwise or counter-clockwise at its own will.  The problem seemed to be that, on occasion, the bushing around the shaft that comes out of the motor would catch and seize up, causing the motor to reverse direction.  Hence the constant opening and closing of the valve.

After further investigation, it turned out that the output shaft of the motor and the bushing around the shaft had seized, as the bushing was rotating.  The bushing isn't supposed to rotate with the shaft and would occasionally catch and seize up.  This in turn caused the drain valve to continuously open and close as when the motor seized up, it would reverse direction.

I replaced the motor with a brand new one and the drain valve now works again.  I also re-installed the original microswitches, since they were still functional and were of better quality than my substitutes.

If you are interested in seeing the guts of the synchronous motor, I pulled apart the faulty one and took pictures throughout the process.  Here's the link:

SUH DER SD83-A Synchronous Motor Teardown

My first temporary fix (this unit isn't on the roof, so I can drain the water manually):



That's one of the pad frame clips jammed into the drain valve to keep it closed.  At this point I will mention that this is overall a bad idea.  Salt and other minerals will build up in the water as time goes on.  This will cause white deposits on your cooling pads, shortening their life expectancy.  At some point, the cooler will want to drain the water and it'll be unable to.  This will cause fault code 4 to be reported.  If you're stuck and want the cooler running, you should be able to loosen the base of the drain valve so that it leaks slightly.  This will help keep the water fresh.

After getting sick of opening up the cooler each time I wanted to drain the water, I decided that putting a tap on the drain pipe would be a better solution.  I got the tap and PVC pipe from a hardware store, in the garden section:




The problem with this solution is that it drains rather slowly in comparison to how it would without the tap interfering with the water flow.  Generally, I can't be bothered waiting for the tank to drain through that tap, so I just unscrew the whole assembly at the base of the cooler and let the water flow out rapidly.

The above has been a summary of all of the repairs my first Breezair cooler needed.

Other Breezair-related Repairs:

I'm often repairing evaporative cooler and heater control boards of all brands.  In addition to that, I'm often given faulty items or buy them from people who don't want them.

Below is an incomplete list of predominantly faulty Breezair components I've purchased or been given:
  • 550 Watt Direct Drive Motor (P/N: 822396)
  • 750 Watt Direct Drive Motor (P/N: 822426)
  • 1500 Watt Direct Drive Motor (P/N: 822440)
  • DD Control Box - High Power (P/N: 110554)
  • DD Control Box - Low Power (P/N: 110547)
  • DD Control Box - Low Power (P/N: 110066)
  • DD CPMD (P/N: 108988)
  • Motor Control DD (P/N: 109138)
  • Sensortouch Remote Control 1
  • Sensortouch Remote Control 2

Most of these parts were purchased knowing they were faulty, others were donated.
Repair Details:

550 Watt Direct Drive Motor:

This motor was repaired exactly the same way as documented above.  The motor had an inter-phase short.  The shorted section of the motor was isolated and bypassed.  After the repair, the motor was put back into service and worked for approximately 3 months.  It failed again just after the summer of 2013-2014.

Because this motor is now basically junk, I decided to experiment with it.

Firstly, I did something fairly insane and against my better judgement.  I pressure washed the motor stator (the windings) with normal tap water and a pressure washer.  That got it nice and clean.  The motor was then left to dry a little, wrapped in a towel.  It was a hot and windy day and I didn't want debris getting into the nice clean motor, hence the towel.

I then finished drying out the motor by connecting the 3 phases in parallel and running 12V AC through the windings from a heavy duty transformer (12V AC @ 13 Amps).  This heated the motor windings up to about 65c.  It was left to dry like this overnight.

Experimenting further, I purchased the necessary items to build a small vacuum chamber.  It basically consists of a high-vacuum pump, a 50 litre stockpot, a 20mm thick piece of perspex (the lid) and some internal bracing rings to strengthen the pot and prevent it from imploding when under vacuum.  The lid is sealed to the pot by a rubber gasket made of 3mm thick rubber sheet.  The vacuum in the chamber holds the lid on and forms an excellent seal.

What I'm doing here is partially "potting" the motor windings, using an epoxy-based compound designed for this purpose.  It has very high dielectric strength (it's a good insulating material) and it provides good thermal conductivity, which helps with heat dissipation.  It's also somewhat flame retardant.  Once cured, it becomes rigid and will prevent movement in the windings.  It will also prevent moisture and dust from coming into contact with the motor windings in the potted area.

The motor windings are potted under vacuum, hence the need for a small vacuum chamber.  The idea is to make any trapped air bubbles as small as possible, as well as helping to draw the potting compound (the black stuff) into the motor windings.

What I'm hoping to achieve by potting the motor in this way is a reduction in the failure rate.  This motor has already failed twice, so under normal circumstances, it should fail again very soon.  By potting the part of the motor where the shorts tend to occur, I'm hoping that any vibration in the motor windings will be eliminated and that dust and moisture will be kept out and the repair to the motor will last longer.

Unfortunately, this is pretty much a one-way process.  There's no way that I know of to remove the cured potting compound without damaging the motor windings.  If the motor does fail again, it's basically junk at that point.

Due to the experimental nature of this, I also took the opportunity to embed a K-type thermocouple into one of the potted sections of the motor windings.  I did this so that I could measure how hot the potted part of the motor was getting during operation, but I needn't have bothered, as it doesn't get hot at all.





Since doing the initial potting of this motor, I have improved the vacuum chamber by adding four banana plugs to the lid, which will allow me to feed power into the chamber and also give me the ability to monitor the temperature of the motor windings while doing so.

The idea is to feed power to the motor while it's under vacuum and being potted so that I can speed up the potting process by heating the motor windings and in turn the potting compound.  I've also purchased a digital thermostat that can take a K-type thermocouple input to turn a relay on/off at a set temperature.  My plan is to use this to keep the motor windings at a pre-set temperature while they are undergoing the potting process.

This motor hasn't failed yet, but it's not being used in a cooler either.  I currently use it to test control modules.

Update on the 550W motor and the vacuum chamber:

The 550W motor is still working and hasn't failed again to date.  It's about 2 years later at this time of writing.


750 Watt Direct Drive Motor:

This motor failed the same way as the others, and was on its way to developing its next failure.  You could technically say this motor has failed in two locations.  The first location I found and repaired.  I then tested the motor and discovered seemingly random incorrect commutation.

I had my doubts about the controller I was testing the motor with, so I swapped it for another known-good one.  The problem persisted, and upon further examination of the motor, I found a second area where the enamel wire had been burnt.

This motor has been repaired and potted also.  Neither of the potted motors have failed yet.  One of
them sees frequent use during the warmer months as a test motor.

Vacuum Chamber:

The vacuum chamber was improved as mentioned above and this motor was the first one to be potted in the improved chamber.  Photos of the vacuum chamber as well as some explanations of the equipment in the photos are below:


Above: Improved vacuum chamber, initially you couldn't see inside and there was only a port on top for the vacuum hose (brown hose seen above).  4 banana jacks were added to the aluminium plate, two are used for sensing the temperature of the motor windings while the potting process is being completed (red and black).  The two white jacks are used to bring 24V AC into the vacuum chamber to heat the motor while potting.

The black box on top is a temperature controlled relay.  It is pre-set to keep the motor at 80C and also shows the current temperature.  Heating the potting compound initially reduces the viscosity of the potting compound, which helps it get into all the small gaps in the windings, as does the vacuum itself, in theory.  The other advantage is that potting a motor only takes a couple of hours as opposed to doing it at room temperature, which takes about 8 hours.  The next improvement would be to add a vacuum sensor and automatically run the vacuum pump as required, as there is a very small vacuum leak somewhere.

There are two wooden rings in the chamber, one below the motor stator (the white plastic part) and one above it.  They are there to help prevent an implosion of the vacuum chamber.  There's a piece of extruded aluminium rod in the centre, you can clearly see the pattern of the extrusion where the lid is being pushed down by the ambient air pressure due to the vacuum inside.

Due to the implosion risk, the potting process is a largely unsupervised process.



Above: Left to right - ignoring the frame of the hydraulic press, we have a box with a transformer in it which is a 24V AC transformer with a maximum output current around 10A.  There's some kitchen scales there for mixing the potting compound up (it's a 2-part epoxy resin that needs to be mixed by weight).  The vacuum chamber in the centre, and the vacuum pump on the right.  The vacuum pump needed a new motor and I happened to have a ~500W motor laying around from an old Breezair belt-drive evaporative cooler, so I used that.  The vacuum pump is very old but also made in Australia and still going strong.



Above: Photo of a potted motor.  The top part has been potted first, then the bottom part.  You can see the mould I made for the potting process, which is what the motor is sitting in.  Not much likes to stick to polyethylene plastic, which is what the mould is made of.  That said, if it does stick, the plastic can be broken away from the base to free it, as it's only held there by superglue.


Above: The finished product, still going 2 years later.


DD Control Box for 1500W Motor:

This control module needs a new IRAMS10UP60B hybrid module, since it has failed rather explosively.

Here is a picture of two of the hybrid modules.  The top one has failed explosively.  The one below it is physically in-tact, but internally has one or more failed IGBT's:




DD Control Box 750 Watt Motor:

This one might scare you.  To be honest, it worries me.

It's another case of a common-mode choke failing.  The failure is similar to the one documented above, which occurred in my cooler.  Fortunately for me, mine didn't catch fire, but this one did!

I've repaired this board by using the choke from another board that was damaged beyond reasonable repair.  The common-mode choke failed, causing a short circuit from mains active to neutral, via the toroidal core.  The short circuit/arcing caused the plastic cable tie to get hot and catch fire, dripping flaming plastic drops onto the components and parts of the controller casing below.

The collateral damage was the two wires that go to the circuit breaker and the mains power socket.  I decided to replace the damaged wires with ones from a parts controller.  The power socket wasn't damaged enough to warrant replacing it.

Here are a few pictures from the insides of the controller.  First up, the choke that caught fire:



Burnt spots inside the controller casing.  This appears to be where flaming drops of melted plastic from the cable tie around the base of the choke have dripped down onto the bottom of the plastic casing:



The image below shows cosmetic damage to a capacitor close to the common-mode choke that caught fire.  It also shows damage to the two brown cables that go to the circuit breaker, as well as minor damage to the mains power connector (the pitting around the edge is not supposed to be there):



The scary thing is that this failure could happen at any time.  The common-mode choke that failed in this case is continuously powered up by the mains.  It doesn't matter if your cooler is turned on or off at the wall control/remote.

Here is a close-up of the damaged area:



In the picture below, which is otherwise the same as above, I've highlighted where the copper turns of the common-mode choke have melted away and gone open-circuit:



Remote Control:

I recently purchased a faulty Breezair Sensortouch remote control.  It was advertised as "New" and the description said that it would freeze after the first command.

I purchased it not being sure what its problem would be, but I had my suspicions.  I was hopeful that it wasn't a fault in the microcontroller inside the remote control, since I couldn't replace that if it was damaged.

There was no evidence of battery electrolyte leaking onto the circuit board, however, one of the pads for the buttons on the front of the remote was measuring as low impedance (about 100 ohms) while all the others were measuring about 700K.

As there was no evidence of any sort of contamination on the circuit board, I traced what the pad was connected to.  One side of the pad was connected to battery negative, while the other side of the pad was connected to a HEF4021 IC and another component in a SOT-457 package labelled as "B2" (which I suspect is an NXP PMEM4010PD).

Since I had the HEF4021 chips in stock and they're easy enough to replace, I did that, suspecting that the chip had possibly been damaged by static discharge or something like that.  It made no difference.

Not having the "B2" part in stock, I de-soldered it and then re-checked the resistance across the pad.  It changed, but not much, so there was still a low impedance short somewhere, and the only place left was the pad itself.

Here is a close-up of a couple of pads.  They are gold-plated contacts, in a fork configuration:



Somehow, one of the pads had become conductive and this was telling the remote control that someone was pressing and holding the economy button.

I cleaned the circuit board with PCB cleaner multiple times and it didn't fix it.  Since the obvious failed, I decided to use a clothes pin to dig shallow trenches in the gaps between the gold fingers on the pad in question.  This resulted in the resistance of the pad increasing substantially and cured the problem.  The remote control is now fully functional.

As a precaution, I also cleaned the button membrane with dishwashing detergent and an old toothbrush, washed it off and then thoroughly dried it.  For completeness, here is what the back of the button membrane looks like.  When you press the buttons on the remote, the conductive pads make contact with the gold fingers and this lowers the resistance of the pad.  This in turn is detected by the remote as someone pressing a button:




Repairs for Others - DD Control (P/N: 110066):

I was contacted by someone who had a faulty control module.  He provided me some high-resolution pictures of the visibly burnt parts of the unit and I basically did a remote diagnosis of the problem from the photos I'd been provided.  Obviously, I couldn't check everything or poke around at all the components I wanted/needed to.  He was in Perth and I'm in Melbourne.

The person in question ended up sending me his control module.  My plan was to take a look at it, do a proper diagnosis and attempt a repair.  If the repair failed I was prepared to cover the cost, even though I didn't really want to.  I figured that if the repair failed and the controller went up in smoke when I tested it, then really, I'd failed in my attempt to repair the unit and the customer shouldn't be expected to pay for that.

So I did the diagnosis, ordered parts, waited in excess of a week for them to arrive, kept the customer informed throughout and eventually did the repair.   Unfortunately, I was hit by a power company screw-up at this time and I wasn't able to test the repairs to my own satisfaction.  I ran his repaired control module from a pure sine wave inverter for 5 minutes to test it.  Normally, I'd have run it for much longer, an hour or more.

I've since found out that the repaired controller is working well.  I'm happy that I've managed to save someone $600 or more.


DD Control Low Power (P/N: 110547):

This control module suffered a failure in the Power Factor Correction part of the board.  There was evidence of arcing across the PCB beneath the MOSFET, however there was no trace of what caused it.

The MOSFET still tested OK, but was replaced as a precaution.  Ceramic capacitor C151 was replaced as it had been permanently discoloured on one side by the arcing.  The two surface mount transistors were also replaced, mostly as a precautionary measure but motivated by the fact that I couldn't test one of them in-circuit.

Below is a picture of some of the damage.  To the left you can see R102 and R103.  In the centre is the location of the MOSFET and you can see something nasty has happened.  I suspect that the arcing (tracking as it's known) occurred due to the PCB having become contaminated, or maybe it was just a spider in the wrong spot at the wrong time.  Death by spider seems to be a fairly common occurrence in these control modules.



Other Useful Information:


Fault/Error/Service Codes:


Below is a list of the fault codes and briefly what they mean:

Fault Code 1: Communications problem - check communication cable between wall control and cooler for damage.

Fault Code 2: Water not detected at salinity probes (usually within 8 minutes) - water turned off, solenoid valve faulty, no power to solenoid valve (should be around 24V AC at solenoid valve terminals when cooler is in cool mode) or faulty (open-circuit) salinity probes.

If you receive fault code 2 within 10-15 seconds of turning the cooler on, then you likely have an EEPROM corruption problem (see fault code 3).

Fault Code 3: EEPROM Failure or Corruption.  The control board stores a small amount of data related to settings for the operation of the cooler in an EEPROM chip.  If this data becomes corrupt, you will often receive fault code 3.  This fault code isn't documented but it is repairable by replacing and/or re-programming the EEPROM.

Fault Code 4: The cooler wanted to drain the water from the "tank" at the bottom of the cooler but after waiting 4 minutes, water was still detected by the salinity probes.  This suggests either a faulty drain valve (not opening) or a blockage in the drain pipe.

Fault Codes 5 & 6 aren't documented and I'm not sure if they're even possible.  If you have either of these fault codes then please get in contact with me.

Fault Code 7: Mains power supply frequency is incorrect.  In Australia, we have a nominal 50Hz power supply frequency.  Fault code 7 will be produced if the mains frequency is outside the limits of 46-54Hz.  This can be caused by contamination to the circuit board in the control module (eg. spiders and other insects), generators, loose/bad connection at the power entry IEC connector or other internal faults (eg. dry/cracked solder joints or electronic component failure).

Fault Code 8: A brief power failure has been detected.  Nothing to worry about in general.


Breezair Direct Drive Diagnostic Procedures:

I've written a short document detailing some procedures that can be used to diagnose your Breezair evaporative cooler.  This document applies to direct drive models only, such as the EXH/EZH/EXQ/EZQ series.

The goal of the document is to establish that you have communication between the wall control or remote control and the cooler on the roof and then to determine if you have a defective motor or control module.  The document is aimed at coolers that have motor or fan-related faults, as these can be difficult to diagnose correctly.

You can download the document from the following link:

Breezair DD CTRL Motor Test Procedures.pdf


Cleaning Remote Control Battery Terminals:

I've just had to clean the battery terminals of my original remote control.  One of them in particular had turned completely green.  This was caused by the leaking alkaline batteries.

Normally I'd take a rotary tool and carefully grind it off and make the terminals look pretty again. 

This time I tried vinegar.  It may have worked a little, but it wasn't good enough.

Next, I thought I'd try a different acid.  I got a small amount of Ranex Rust Buster (phosphoric acid) and drowned the terminal in that.  It immediately started fizzing and ate away the corrosion.  The contact it left behind (on the left) is pictured below:



While I was soaking the terminal in Ranex, I started wondering if the Ranex would do any harm to the plastic case of the remote.  So I put some on a cotton bud and rubbed it on the plastic where the old batteries had left a rust stain.  It cleaned up well.  Here are the before and after photos:

Before:



After:




Video of a buzzing Breezair 550W Motor

Below is a video of a Breezair 550W Direct Drive motor with an inter-phase (or phase-to-phase) short circuit.  It's the common type of short circuit that the older green coloured direct drive motors tend to develop.

This motor has since been repaired (for the second time) and seems to be running fine again.  Running the motor, knowing its got a short circuit in it is a risky thing to do as it could damage the control module, but I did it anyway for the sake of making the video and potentially helping someone diagnose their cooler in the future.





All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


A Quick Note About Comments

Firstly and most importantly, make sure you check the "Notify me" check-box before submitting your comment if you want to be notified when I reply to you.  If you choose "Notify me", you'll get a copy of my reply to your comment e-mailed to you.

I do my best to promptly reply to all comments left below.  I'll delete comments that don't provide any value to the general audience, just know that it's not personal.  I read every comment and will generally reply to every comment.  I often delete my own replies if they provide little value to other readers as well.

43 comments:

  1. Hello Robert,

    I'm an ex Qantas ground engineer in the field of aircraft component test equipment (1959 -74). I'm absolutely impressed with your report and attention to detail. Easy to follow.

    You've adapted some really brilliant strategies to get things working however, there's one thing I believe might help for the future.

    You mentioned interwinding shorts at the top and bottom of the windings but not at the sides. I remember similar problems from my Qantas days. Believe it or not, the shorts come from the deposition of microscopic amounts of "hard" dust in the atmosphere which accumulates on the windings.

    As you are no doubt aware, windings are in themselves small electromagnets and without a hard setting varnish to encapsulate them they actually vibrate, wearing the enamel coating from the wire and allowing turn to turn bridging to occur. Simple gravity causes the dust particles to be "shaken" from the windings at the sides.

    Aircraft components adopt highly critical technology because of the need to save every gram and cubic cm of space for lightness, This necessity does away with the luxury of inter winding insulation. In order to overcome the problem of winding movement wearing away the enamel, all electric motors, new and rewound were dipped in a conventional winding varnish but inside a vacuum oven to remove air bubbles. Once the varnish was set, nothing moved and the weight saving using this method was considerable over hundreds of motor units per aircraft. A real pain in the backside to implement. Of course, simply dipping a commercially made stator in air drying varnish would no doubt do the job, Unfortunately quality in manufacture goes on a holiday in competitive manufacturing environments.

    Horizon Control.

    Mt BreezAir RC unit packed it in after the Mallory batteries decided to leave their contents inside the controller. Time for the metho/toothbrush routine. which got it kind of working again. Probem remaining was that the controller worked but the LCD display didn't so it was like hit and miss braille to get the aircon working.

    I decided to have a look inside the RC to see what could be done. I discovered while the unit was in two halves with the batteries installed that if I twisted the half with the LCD display, some of the characters would show, allowing me to use it. So that's how it is ATM because I'm not paying $380 for a remote that has virtually zero innovative technology.

    Hope the comments have helped you and others

    Richard Crawshaw,
    Perth, WA

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    Replies
    1. Hello Richard,

      Thanks for your comments, that was interesting, especially the info about the "hard dust" :)

      I found that the leaking batteries damaged some resistors and made them go open-circuit (some failed after the first bunch of repairs were done as well). The electrolyte also seemed to eat PCB tracks and in my case it also ate/corroded the legs off a couple of ICs as well.

      It also managed to stuff up my keypad, which is on the other side of the board. It turned all the nice golden pads into brown/black looking pads, which then also became conductive (as if the button was permanently pressed).

      If you haven't already, maybe check the condition of the pads under the LCD. Its also fairly trivial to trace back all those tracks to the MCU (main chip) and you could then check the conductivity from the LCD pad to the IC pin it goes to.

      You could also check all (or as many as possible) of your through-hole vias, the battery electrolyte can cause them to go open-circuit and there are a number of those around the LCD (at least in my remote).

      Rob.

      Delete
  2. I have an EXH170-H Breezair cooler and everything works except the motor. There is no error code on the control pad but 2 green and 3 red lights flashing in the control box inside of the unit. Has anyone suffered the same problem and what is it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello denrose,

      You won't get an error code for any motor related problems, so that part is normal.

      Try setting your cooler to vent mode, then look at the lights on the main control box in the cooler. If it clicks but none of the lights come on on the left hand side, then the controller probably has an internal fault.

      If you turn the cooler on in vent mode and the motor makes a buzzing or groaning noise, then the motor has probably developed an internal short circuit.

      I can repair some of the control boxes that have failed, but it depends on the part that failed and the extent of the damage to other circuitry.

      You may e-mail me directly and we can troubleshoot further if you wish: rmdavidson (at) gmail (dot) com

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  3. Hello Rob,

    I also have Breezair Harmony EXH210 installed 2008. After 6yrs used it's now showing problems. When you switch it "On" the wall controller displays [Auto-Cool-preparing to start]. After few minutes when the pads are saturated the motor fan starts providing cool breeze air.

    However after about 10-20 mins it shuts down. This is an ongoing process and I finally decide to investigate. At the Main Cooler control box (110554) I looked at the diagnostic indicators. The DIAG red LED flashes twice and the SAL red LED flashes once. Do you know what that refers to? How & whats the fix?

    At the moment we can use the cooler in Man-Cool mode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Eddy,

      My original reply disappeared, so here we go again...

      I suspect your problem has something to do with the salinity probes. If the probes are starved of water, the cooler will turn itself off after a while.

      The reason for this, going from what you've told me, is probably not due to any fault of the salinity probes, but rather a faulty water inlet solenoid (not opening fully and restricting water supply to the cooler) or a faulty float valve.

      I would suggest you turn the cooler on, in cool mode, and then go up to the roof and watch what its doing. Note if the tank is slow to fill, and note whether the pump drains most of the water from the tank when it turns on. If it does, you have a problem with the water supply to the cooler - most likely the inlet solenoid (located underneath the cooler).

      If the salinity probes become starved of water, the cooler detects this and turns off after a short time.

      You may also get error code "2" on the wall controller in this situation. It is basically hinting at a water supply issue - aka a restriction in the water supply to the cooler, preventing the tank from filling and staying filled when the pump first turns on.

      If you have a different error code on your wall control, please let me know what it is and I will tell you what it means.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  4. Hi Rob,

    I don't know what happened to my reply last night. Here's another one.

    Well, you confirmed my suspicion that it is a water issue and not the electronics.

    After running for few minutes the cooler does shut down and the wall controller flashes "Service and error code 2".

    As you suggested i went up the roof and observed how the water enter and fill the reservoir. I took the wall controller with me and using a short test lead i plugged the wall controller to the the Main Control Unit.

    I press the "ON' button and the inlet solenoid energized and let water through. However the rate of flow is slow and restricted. This explained why the "preparing to start" cycle is taking ages.

    It took more than 5 mins for the water to reach the required level and eventually the float switch stops the water entering the reservoir.

    At this point the Salinity probe are shorted via the water and the Tornado water pump start pumping water through the pads till they saturate. After awhile the fan starts and blows cool air inside the house.

    As the water pump keep pushing water through the pads the water in the reservoir decreases, the water level then drops and the Salinity probe is now open circuit. Since its taking ages to replenish the reservoir with water (to short-out the Salinity probe) the Main control unit then see this as a problem and hence stops the cooler from operating.

    When I find time I'll have a look at the inlet solenoid and check what's causing the problem. Maybe you can give me some tips.

    I'll keep you posted of the outcome. BTW thanks for the prompt reply.

    Regards,

    Eddy

    ReplyDelete
  5. Have just found my EXH210 is draining water all of the time, got on the roof and I have the dump valve cycling up and down. The unit is only about 3 years old and it replaced an EXH10 which was 20 years old and NEVER gave any problems. I am planning on putting a small plastic tap on the drain line (it is well sealed) and restricting the drain flow to about 10 litres / hour. till i get time to strip the dump valve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Squidlips,

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      As you may be aware by now, the older coolers are generally more reliable than the newer models. Lets hope that changes at some point.

      If your cooler is only a few years old like you say it is. then it is likely still under warranty! I believe you should have gotten a 5 year warranty as standard when your new cooler was installed.

      So, maybe find the paperwork for your cooler, the receipt, etc and give a Breezair service company a call, and get it done under warranty.

      Alternatively, if you don't want to do that for some reason, or if you find your cooler is out of warranty, I do sell the motor you most likely need and the microswitches, so that you can refurbish your dump valve.

      The bad news is that I only have 1 motor left in stock and there are supply issues which is preventing me from getting more of them for the time being. At this stage, the earliest that I will have any more motors will be mid-March, but there are no guarantees.

      So, if you need one, act quickly. Very quickly.

      Delete
  6. So I bought an EXQ / EXS (?) unit with Magiqtouch controller for my lad last November and he has just had it installed today.
    So I ask how its going and he said it ran for 10 minutes and it just shut down. )-:
    Evidently he called the installer and he came back, checked everything and all lights etc were ok with no faults registering. It just wouldnt run.

    I haven't been around there but will probably get to see it tomorrow night, any suggetsions, just in case it may be something simple??

    We'll be chasing up warranty tomorrow morning.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Squidlips,

    I'd suggest that it'd be best not to play with it at all and let it be delt with under warranty. I wouldn't do anything to it that could give Seeley a reason to void the warranty.

    If the cooler doesn't respond to anything that you do on the Magiqtouch controller (eg. if you put it into cool mode and it doesn't do anything at all, eg. doesn't close the dump valve, doesn't let the water in) but the Magiqtouch seems to operate normally, then it could be a communication issue. The Magiqtouch can be reset to factory defaults using the reset button on the back (using a straightened paper clip, press the button for about 5 seconds). The Magiqtouch will ask for a PIN code, which is 7378. From there, you can tell it to reset the entire system. The Magiqtouch will reset itself and take you to the configuration wizard, which you need to complete.

    That said, it may not be a comms issue, it could be something else. Probably best left for a qualified tech, due to the warranty issue.

    Regards,
    Rob.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Rob,
    AS you say as its under warranty We'll let Sealey fix it.
    Its a bit dissapointing it's failed 10 minutes after 1st running.
    We're having 40 degree days and it is stinking hot.

    I bought it as a wedding present for them so it has turned out a bummer.

    I'll let you know what they find.

    Cheers, Squid

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Squidlips, it'd be good to hear whats happened.

      Unfortunately they didn't really make any improvements to the EXQ control modules. The circuity is almost identical to the models of the last 12 years or so (EXH/EZH series). All they've done from an improvement perspective, is add some basic surge protection to the motor control circuity.

      They changed the communication interface circuitry as well, but thats unlikely to improve reliability.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  9. Hi Rob,
    Thanks for a great blog. We have a Breezair EWC in Adelaide that's about 5'ish years old with a wired controller. 4 or 5 times this summer while the system is off, we have noticed that the water is running and draining out of the tank. We hear the water run in the pipes and flow out the gutter into the street. Does the drain valve stay open when the system is off? Could the inlet solenoid randomly open? Where would I get a replacement inlet solenoid valve?
    Thanks, Cyle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cyle,

      It's normal for the cooler to drain after a while of no use. By default, this is 36 hours. When you use the cooler in cool mode, it will close the drain valve, fill with water and start pumping it over the pads to cool the air. When you turn off the cooler, it doesn't open the drain valve. It keeps the water in the cooler for 36 hours (default setting). If you haven't turned the cooler back on and used it in cool mode within 36 hours, it will drain the water. It can do this in the middle of the night or day and does not need to be "on" to do it.

      You can manually drain the water from the cooler by turning it off and then holding the up and down buttons for about 5 seconds. "dr" will flash on the display and the water should drain. It won't refill until you go to use the cooler in cool mode again.

      That said, if fresh water is running into the cooler and then being drained straight back out, you have a fault. It can be the dump valve failing to close, but you'd be more likely to notice this when the cooler is on and you'll probably get service code "2" flashing on the wall control if it remains open.

      The solenoid valve can also fail and not open or close when it should. Likewise, the drain valve may open and fresh water may flow through the solenoid valve and down the drain.

      The electronics that control the dump valve and solenoid valve inside the control module hardly ever fail, so it isn't likely to be a fault in the control module.

      Regarding parts, I won't recommend any suppliers on the blog.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  10. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your blog and I chanced on it after looking for common faults with a Breezair EXH190-H evaporative cooler, installed in December 2011 and now 11 months out of warranty. I maintain/clean the unit yearly and have never noted any issues.

    Today, being one of the first hot days in Melbourne, I fired up the cooler and it performed well on both low and high fan speeds.

    Later that afternoon, the fan ceased yet the (wired) control panel still reported it was set to MAN @ mid-fan speed, no service errors. I turned it off, drained the water and went to have a look.

    I cleaned the bleed O-ring and scrubbed where I could, then fired it up. It filled as expected, pump running water down each side ... but no activity on the fan. The control panel I noted only sometimes has the "preparing to start" display 50% of the time. The control panel on the cooler itself has 2 short flashes on DIAG and one red flash on SAL, which I believe is normal. In the house you can hear a low drone sound which we have been used to when the unit is in operation.

    Would you have any pointers? I live in Viewbank 3084.

    Thank you,

    Jordi

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jordi,

      The fan motor circuitry doesn't have the ability to communicate any fault information back to the control panel, so the cooler will appear to be working normally if you take the control panel at face value.

      What you should do is put the cooler on manual and VENT modes and then go and check if the POWER LED on the front of the control module is illuminated. If it isn't, then the control module is faulty.

      The next step is to determine if the motor is likely to have caused the fault or not. In your case, given the age of the cooler, it's fairly unlikely, but definitely worth checking out.

      There's a diagnostic guide that I've put together to help people troubleshoot the fan related problems, which is linked to on this blog. You'll find it under the "Breezair Direct Drive Diagnostic Procedures" section.

      If you need the control module repaired and/or tested, or if you need further clarification, please call me (during normal business hours) on 1300 765 246. Leave a message if I can't answer the call and I'll call you back.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  11. Hi Rob,

    I have a problem that sounds similar to Summat's post above.
    I have a EXH210 breezeair eac. A few months ago during winter it was turn on with vents closed for a few seconds accidently and then switched off. Went this week to turn it on with the warm weather and no air air flow in vent or cool mode.
    With the unit off at inside wall controller but control box on I have the double green flash and red SAL light on solid as no water filled. Double green indicating ok i think.
    With the unit in Vent mode of the 4 left LEDs the "power" and "thermal ol" are green and "fan" and "hall efect" LEDs off, fan not rotating.
    All else works, fills and drains in cool mode just no air flow motor rotation.

    Ive checked resistance of motor and getting ~18ohms. I couldnt get any readings with unit off amd checking the motir terminals at the controller in diode mode on my multimeter? I'm not sure if was doing something wrong with the multimeter.
    So at a loss right now; is there anything i could do or check?
    Thanks in advance.
    Hilton in Perth


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hilton,

      The best thing to do might be to get someone else to turn on the cooler (in vent mode) while you're up there observing what happens.

      It's possible that there's a fault that's causing the motor to run at the wrong speed. In this case, the control module will shut down the motor, but no faults will be reported on your wall control. It can shut it down before you have time to get up there to observe what's happening (30 seconds).

      Another possibility is that the circuitry that boots the DC voltage inside the control module up to about 430V DC may have failed. If this circuitry fails, the control module won't run the motor, but the power and thermal O/L LEDs will come on.

      I'd suggest you observe whether or not the motor tries to start at all when someone else turns on the cooler in vent mode, but before they do that, make sure that all motor-related LEDs (all of them in the left column on the front of the control module) are off.

      If it doesn't even appear to try to start the fan motor (no clunk, no buzzing or groaning from the motor) then I'd suggest you send me the control module for testing/repair, at least that way you'll know if it's the motor or control module, and if the module, it'll probably be repairable.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  12. G'Day Rob, I have a breezair es125-dv6 evap, with 240 spit phase motor belt drive on the smallest pulley drive setting, the motor speed hunts on the lowest setting, but not a problem if run at 3 bars on wired controller,the control board is a later model than the evap it is cpmd MK2 Pn670454c 18.09.06. I have had to change over the years dump valve to 24v model from 240v, water sol, saline sensor, water pump, float valve, even repaired damaged fan blade on squirrel cage,I now have a fault that has stumpted me , Error 7, frequency drift, story is last season it ran with vent only all day , with cooling on cut out about 1 hour, reset remote controller same again, Ahh! I know what that is, moisture problem, I will fix in winter months, [I do believe in fairies]. This year switched on all ran perfectly for two months , Bloody fairies, back to no7 again now progressed to cutting out in about 15/20 min on vent and cool, I got on roof immediately as I was sure it was a moisture problem, removed controller removed casing, { they really don't want you in there do they], found the c/b remarkably clean and dry and in very good condition regarding solder joints etc. I cant figure out what part of the circuit monitors freq, I want to bypass this part as I don't see the need for freq monitoring on a split phase motor, I live in Perth where power supply is not a problem, [I also tried with solar inverter off] Please can you help, As an electrician I found your blog very absorbing even if I did not have evap interest . Regards Ron Fry

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ron,

      Typically, you won't be able to bypass the frequency monitoring as the microcontroller that runs the cooler probably wants to see a 100Hz square-wave at one of its pins to be happy, and there's no bypassing that.

      Any bad connection in the wiring from the distribution panel up to where it enters the control module inside the cooler could cause the problem. Someone I've spoken with in the past had a problem with the terminals becoming loose in the IEC plug. You could try wriggling it gently while the cooler is in operation to see if you can get it to shut down.

      Dry/cracked joints around the IEC socket, the base of the transformer, and the mains power switch/isolation switch on the board would be good places to check thoroughly.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  13. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for all the great information here.
    I've run into a problem which is a bit similar and yet different to others people have posted here and hoping you might be able to help.
    Post a brown out we had here in SE Melb about a week ago my EXH170 stopped working.
    The wired remote just show "Service" when connected (no codes) and getting up on roof and having a look at the evap unit show SAL led constantly on and Diag 2x blinking Green.
    Unit is completely dry, I don't see it even trying to let water in and since the remote just shows "Service" I can't try putting into Vent only o see if the fan still goes.
    The controller was replaced a few months ago by a Sealy tech but otherwise everything else is original from 10 years ago.
    Would you have any ideas?

    thanks,
    Maks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maks,

      On occasion, after a blackout or similar, the control module can lose the pairing with the hard-wired remote (called a "Wall control" by the manufacturer). Even though the wall control is hard-wired, it still needs to be paired with the control electronics inside the cooler.

      To pair the wall control, hold down the "down" button for 10-15 seconds or until the word "Service" goes away. If it hasn't gone away within 15 seconds, try turning the mains power off to the cooler for 10 seconds and then turn it back on and try again.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  14. Hi Rob,
    I have a breeze air evap around 6 yrs old, no real issues until now.
    The fan is not working, but spins freely by hand. There are no led lights on at all in the unit itself, but has power because the pump still works and the indoor controller still works, with no faults listed.
    Any ideas appreciated.
    Regards Matt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Matt,

      The control module in the cooler has most likely failed. You don't get any error codes for fan motor or fan circuitry related faults.

      If you want me to have a look at the control module, then contact me directly using the details in the business card image on the blog.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  15. Hi Rob, my breaker keeps being tripped randomly, weird thing is it seems to be able to trip while the unit itself is turned off and the magiqtouch controller is on standby. They’ve replaced the breaker and also the control module but still seems to trip after a couple hours of being back on or on standby. I did check the fault logs and it appears fault code 01 has occurred twice at some stage, but wouldn’t of thought this could be related to the breaker tripping.. don’t suppose you’ve heard of any similar scenarios?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jesse,

      The breaker shouldn't ever trip and there's no good reason why it could or should be, other than a fault somewhere.

      I'd suggest you turn the breaker off, unplug the cooler inside the roof and then turn the breaker back on and leave it like that for a while. If the breaker trips with the cooler disconnected, then you most likely have a fault in the wiring in the house between the distribution board (meter box) and the outlet in the roof, or somewhere else on that circuit if it isn't a dedicated circuit.

      If the breaker doesn't trip, then you could run an extension lead to the cooler and power it from a different outlet in the house, to see if it trips a different breaker. If it does, then the only possibility that I can think of is that the power cord coming out of the cooler may have been damaged. While not impossible, it'd be unlikely that you'd get two defective control modules failing in the same manner.

      If you find that the cooler still trips the breaker when powered from an extension lead, then you could replace the power cord from the cooler and hopefully that will solve the problem. As a further test, you could power the cooler using a standard computer power cord.

      As your cooler sounds fairly new, you should either get your service company to try these things or do them yourself but don't mention it to anyone, as you will void your warranty if you start playing around with the cooler and they discover this.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  16. Hi Rob.
    I am looking at a Breezair unit for a friend of mine with controller 112954. They initially replaced a faulty pump then after this the unit would not run. The Diag led is flashing continuously, the Sal light stays on until the unit fills with water then when the water level is up to the sensor the Sal LED flashes every few seconds.
    Pump starts but the fan dose not start up. It dose not show any other fault lights on the controller or no faults showing on the remote
    The sensor wiring checks out good, no shorts and good continuity from probes to connecting plug.
    I am thinking maybe the control unit has a problem. I have checked for dry joints on the circuit board but all looks good.
    Regards.
    Rod

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rod,

      Please download the diagnostic PDF file and run through the preliminary communication test and the fan motor tests on page 3.

      The PDF is linked to on the blog.

      Regards,
      Rob.

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  17. Hi Rob
    Thanks for all the fantastic info you have on here.
    Can you please answer a general question about evap cooler controllers and compatibility with remote controls?

    My LCB250 has a control unit with the part number 107752 (Serial A07460223)
    The control unit died and I acquired a second hand replacement control unit with the same part number 107752 (Serial B04340277)

    The current remote control unit details are:
    Part Number 110165
    Serial: C07450507
    Software: 07R1206

    I have installed the new control unit. The system switches on and from the remote display perspective seems to run, however the sequences that I expect the unit to run do not happen.
    My question is:
    Is there a possibility that my existing remote control unit is not compatible with the new controller even though the old and new control units are the same part number? I.e. different firmware versions?

    Thanks
    Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Richard,

      The firmware versions aren't likely to be the problem.

      What is the sequence you are expecting and what isn't happening?

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  18. Hi Rob.
    Thanks for clearing that up.
    The system appears (when looking at the display unit) to run through its pre-cool cycle all ok and then start cooling.
    It 'runs' like this and no errors are reported at all.
    In reality up at the unit the inlet valve does not open and no water is fed into the system so effectively the unit never starts the first sequence.
    I wanted to rule out the display compatibility so I can now fault find at the unit.
    I guess if the display was not compatible then it would not display any data, never mind basically the correct data.
    Is a 4 pin telephone cable (4P4C) suitable for me to use to fault find at the unit?
    The control unit is showing a flashing green LED so that is all good, and the red LED is on.
    I'm guessing that my replacement controller might be faulty too, but surely if the system did not fill within x minutes it would not appear to move to the cooling sequence?

    Any pointers that you can provide would be much appreciated.
    Thanks
    Regards
    Richard




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Richard,

      What you're describing is basically what happens when the communication cable is damaged or the incorrect cable is used.

      The cable isn't a standard phone cable as such. The cable itself is of higher quality and the cable is wired as a crossover cable, not straight through. eg. it's a 4-pin plug on each end of the cable, and the wire on pin 1 at one end will be at pin 4 on the other end.

      The display is showing you what the wall control thinks the cooler is doing, not necessarily what the cooler is actually doing. The display doesn't indicate that there is necessarily any communication happening with the cooler electronics up at the roof, only that the wall control has power. Even with the wrong wiring, the wall control will usually light up but will be a bit slow to respond to some button presses. It will look like it's working, but the commands won't make it up to the electronics on the roof, so nothing will happen up at the cooler.

      Your best bet is probably to find a curly cord off a phone (or buy one) and make sure that each end of the cable is wired differently, by looking at the colour of the conductors inside the connectors on each end. If you hold both ends of the cable in the same orientation, you might have a yellow wire on the left of one connector, but it should be on the right of the other connector.

      The reason (I believe) for the extra copper in the conductors inside the proper cable is for the backlight power. Thin phone cables present too high a resistance over the length of the cable for reliable operation of the wall control.

      Regards,
      Rob.

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  19. Hi Rob
    Thanks for the info.
    I carried out this test with a curly phone cable and what happens is the same as when the remote is connected downstairs:
    1. The remote shows a flashing 'o' (Lower case letter o) at the top row for a few seconds.
    2. The pre-cool cycle appears as before to start all ok, but in reality nothing happens.
    I did not have to modify the curly phone cable at all and the wiring pin outs are as you described.
    This rules out wiring?

    To look back at it, I opened my old controller which died and have seen bad corrosion on the PCB near the green LED.
    I'm guessing that the old controller might have died and has damaged the remote?
    Initially until you pointed out otherwise I thought that the remote was simply a display, not a integral part of the controls.
    I guess the next step is to swap out the remote?
    Thanks for your help.
    Regards
    Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Richard,

      That would rule out wiring as the issue.

      The hard-wired remotes are generally quite reliable, but you could swap it out with another one to see if that solves the problem. The corrosion you mentioned on the control box PCB is a fairly common issue, and while it can cause the control module to malfunction, it doesn't usually cause any other damage.

      Alternatively, you could send me the remote and a control box and I could test them both to find where the fault is. That'd cost you $44.00 (plus return postage if you need it posted back).

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  20. Hi Rob
    Thanks for the info. I'll probably be sending you both controllers and my remote shortly...!
    One quick question to satisfy my curiosity since I don't have a spare remote and am basically stuck without a known good controller.
    If I had a working remote and working controller and powered them up on a work bench with no peripherals attached, what should their sequence of operation be?
    (Is this test even possible or will it fail due to no peripherals being connected?)
    I'm guessing:
    1. The remote shows a flashing 'o' (Lower case letter o) at the top row for a few seconds. I'm assuming this is the remote booting up.
    2. The system attempts to fill by energizing the inlet solenoid and displays 'pre-cool cycle'.
    3. The system times out because the fill cycle is unsuccessful?

    Thanks
    Regards
    Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Richard,

      That's mostly correct. In cool mode, you should hear a relay click to close the drain valve, then about 10-15 seconds later you should hear another relay click to send power to the solenoid valve and allow water to fill the cooler. The remote should show the "preparing to start" message, then after about 8 minutes, the control box will shut down and the remote should display SERVICE on the screen. If you then go to press the power button again, to turn it back on, it should briefly flash up fault code 2.

      If in vent mode, then you should hear a relay click each time you press the on/off button on the remote.

      Each time the control box receives a valid command, the DIAG LED should also blink a long green flash.

      All testing should be done with manual mode selected.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
    2. Hi Rob
      Thanks for the info. The issue was indeed the controller. I got another replacement and thanks to your tips on the start up sequence was able to confirm that the second replacement was indeed working.
      I installed it and my system is working again.
      Do you need any faulty controllers for exchange stock?
      Thanks again for the help.
      Regards
      Richard

      Delete
    3. Hi Richard,

      It's good to hear you've managed to get the cooler up and running again!

      I'm not really after any Braemar LCB control boards at the moment. They're generally quite reliable, so I don't have much demand for them. If they were Breezair DD boards, it'd be a different story.

      Thank you also for the update on your progress.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  21. Hi Rob,

    Great page this one, thanks for all your tips.
    I have an issue and hope you can help.

    This morning my EXH190 starting tripping the circuit breaker.
    This only happens when switching to COOL mode.
    It runs fine on VENT mode,fan runs and vents but when you select COOL you get the Preparing to start message, and then probably a minute later the unit trips the circuit at the DB outside.
    I switch it back on, and the same happens. Runs fine on VENT mode, but trips shortly after changing to COOL mode.
    Could this be an issue with the pump as the issue only appears once the pump is engaged.
    Any idea how I can test this to rule out anything else ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It could be the pump or the board. You can try running the cooler in cool mode with the pump disconnected.

      It would be good to run the pump first for a while to increase the humidity inside the cooler, as sometimes the board will only short when the humidity in the cooler is high.

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete
  22. Hi,

    I have an EXH210 I would like to use with a MigiQtouch control. I am guessing that the change from a 4 wire to 6 wire control cable from the EXH to EXQ is only to supply additional power to the touch controller on the outer pins, and the data format is exactly the same.

    Do you have any insight into this? Is the voltage supplied on the new pins the same voltage as used to power the old control units?

    I assume I could change the DD box to that of an EXQ model, but I can't find the proper part number of the DD box to suit a EXQ210. Any suggestion there?

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi dancormode,

      You'd need the change the control box to an EXQ model, it's more than just a couple extra wires for additional power. They have moved from a 5V serial communication system over to a differential signalling system and I imagine that the protocol is completely different as well now, due to the ability to now have a network of devices (multiple coolers and heaters among other things).

      Regards,
      Rob.

      Delete

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