How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

Discussion in 'Class C Motorhomes' started by rodskid, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    We recently purchased a 1988 Catalina Ford E350. The monitor panel inside just above the entry door does not display anything. It should show us water levels, LP level and battery level but we can't figure out if it has an on/off switch or if it should display something all the time. The manual we got with the motorhome just tells what the "typical" monitor will do and that "your dealer will be happy to explain", but there is no longer a local dealer. Does anyone know? Thanks.
     
  2. Pillaz

    Pillaz Senior Member

    RE: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Hi Rodskin and welcome to the forum. You will get a lot of good info here.
    While I am not familiar with that particular model. Most models have a "monitor" button or switch which when turned on will give you readings. The monitors generally work on DC power. Check to make sure you have power to the monitor. It sounds as though you do not. or the unit has gone bad. Is your battery disconect switch turned off? These meters usually give approximate values anyway.
    Congratulations on the new coach. Have fun with it. From my experience buying a used coach will teach you lots of things. Spend a little time to get to know the unit and travel and see the sites.
    There are lots of people that may know about your exact model but at least you have a place to start.
     
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    RE: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    The monitor should work only wehn u press a button ,, but how does the other 12 volt stuff work in the rv ??? as Pillaz said ,, u need dc power to the monitor ,, plese post us back on u'r findings ,, and welcome to the forums ;) :approve: :approve: :)
     
  4. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Hey thanks for the welcome. Well most everything else in the motorhome works. A few hiccups here and there but we're tackling each one at a time. I did remove the monitor from the wall and tested posts marked filtered and unfiltered 12V. I get 12.4 +/- at these posts. Note the switch for the water pump is also in this panel and it works fine. I'm assuming there are LED's in the monitor to show a bar graph of the levels. None of these lights. I would really think there would be a switch somewhere to turn it on so it wouldn't drain the battery when we weren't using it. Any ideas where we might look for a switch or a fuse? Thanks for any suggestions or experiences.
     
  5. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    I would ck the ground circuit.
     
  6. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    I've checked ground & hot both seem fine. I've still got to believe (even it's broken) there should be a switch somewhere to turn it off/on. I've traced wires and looked in cabinets and can't find anything. Hoping someone might have had one of these animals. The monitor board itself feels like it could have microswitches in it but they're not apparent when you look at the circuit board. Thanks for advise.
     
  7. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Does yours have the switches you just press for the different monitors such as one for the house and chassis, one for the fluid and lp levels?
     
  8. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    That's just it...I don't even know where the switch/switches are. There are no rocker style switches. If there are any switches there they are the style you would find on your microwave because the panel is completely flat. There are rectangles that could be vertical bar graphs or buttons that are about the size of your thumb from the first knuckle. These are marked Gray 1, Gray 2, Holding, Batt, LP and one for the fresh water. There is also a horizontal bar well above these marked "Batt" with I believe 5 LEDS that seem to indicate battery strength. Nothing happens when you push on any of the rectangles. They don't even feel like they "give" when you push on them. Again, I know there is good DC and Gnd at the panel. There's also a globe emblem in the upper left corner above the pump switch. I know the panel was manufactured by KIB Enterprises and I have an email to their service dept but haven't heard back yet (it's only been a day). Please keep the thoughts, ideas, experiences and advice coming. Thanks for responding!
     
  9. mondo

    mondo New Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Rodskin, I just purchased the same RV myself and am having the same issue. You have described it perfectly as there doesn't appear to be a way to turn it on or off. I do believe I am having a power issue with my vehicle though (possible alternator) or just an old battery from the previous owner. I will do everything you have done just to familarize myself with the RV. It seems like a great RV and I have high hopes as it drives great. An issue I have is the interior lights appeared dim after driving for 45 minutes and stopping the vehicle. I let it sit for twenty minutes and then started it up and the lights seemed improved at that time. any thoughts?
     
  10. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Mondo, that is the symptom of a battery going bad.
     
  11. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Hey Mondo. Glad you joined the thread and glad to finally find someone with the same motorhome although I wished your monitor worked and you could tell me how to get mine working. Anyway...I am new to motorhomes but I'm a fanatical DIY'er. Most regular vehicles with alternator problems eventually won't start or will start spitting & sputtering and just quit once you've drained the battery from firing those spark plugs. A voltage measurement across the battery terminals while running would give you around 14.4V if alternator is doing it's job (again this is a regular vehicle, not exactly sure about an RV). TexasClodhopper most likely has more experience with motorhomes than I do. If there is anything I can check on our RV to help you out, let me know. I'll keep posting here as I find things out about the monitor. If your monitor is identical, visit the KIB Enterprises website to get info on their monitors (www.kibenterprises.com). Something I found there leads me to believe we have one of their "J" monitor's. Our previous owner only had it for a year and when I asked how the monitor worked he said "you'll have to read the books" so I suspect it never worked for him. Any chance your previous owner could shed any light? Will keep you posted!
     
  12. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    For Mondo & any others who happen across this discussion, I got this straight from the manufacturer (KIB Enterprises). "...the J21 monitor panel...is an obsolete type. There is no test or off/on switch for the panel, battery or tank level checks are made by pressing the touch switches on the panel face." They responded within 3 hrs of my email (my ISP's aggressive spam filter archived it and I was lucky to find it). They would perform an evaluation to determine if it could be repaired which would cost $40 plus parts OR a new K series could be installed but the wiring would have to be changed. Still weighing the options. If I recall there are only a few external components on the circuit board so if any one of these is the culprit it should be an easy fix for a savvy electronics person but if it's the circuit board, I'm sure I'm out of luck. Here's what is printed on my circuit board: KIB PCBK1 X13041 Mar 2 1988. It may be a while before I get this one resolved but I'll be checking this thread for any comments or advise.
     
  13. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Think i would just bite the bullet and install the K series if I could not just repair the old one myself. keep us posted
     
  14. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Finally got a weekend to work on it. Took the panel out of the RV and started probing the circuit board. Checked the voltage regulator and found it wasn't working on the output side. Fortunately I had a variable power supply and was able to supply the 15V the regulator was supposed to be supplying. Finally got to see how it works! You push on one of the squares/buttons and the row of LED's at the time of the panel light up (all of them light up now I suspect because there are no leads connected to the tanks). Ordered what I believe is the proper voltage regulator (only 56 cents!) and will attempt to install before the big Labor Day weekend. Will keep everyone posted.
     
  15. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Larry, that's some good component level troubleshooting! I can appreciate it! ;)
     
  16. ironart

    ironart New Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Great Work Larry, :eek: :eek: :) :) :) :) :) You just saved yourself some bucks and now know a lot more about your RV.....Very Very Good

    Now you can come over and help my with my fuel gauge problem....In your spare time, Of course... :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  17. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Thanks! Well so far so good. It works after replacing the bad regulator but only time will tell for sure. For anyone who reads this that has the same problem and has a basic understanding of DC electric & soldering, check the black chip on circuit board marked "7815CT". The input side of this voltage regulator should be 12V, the output side should be 15V. I replaced mine with one from Digikey (www.digikey.com) p/n MC7815CTGOS-ND. It was only 56 cents but shipping on my entire order was over $7 (other parts I ordered were around $7). Anyway, some desoldering and soldering in tight spots had to be done but for now it's working. I'm no expert, just a DIY'er that's learned from mistakes (I've been shocked, tripped breakers, blown fuses and fried components in my days). Like Nike says...just do it! I'll keep checking here if anyone needs more info. Thanks again for all the help!
     
  18. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?



    Larry, just to be picky :laugh: , the output side should be 15 vdc, but the input has to be over 3 vdc higher than the output for the gadget to perform it's regulation task.

    Usually there is a switching power supply circuit (a DC to DC converter) in front of a regulator like this to boost the 12 vdc up to around 20 vdc. This regulator allows the 12 vdc battery (coach battery) to vary up and down in voltage (during normal use), but the circuits in the monitor panel always see a constant 15 vdc (in this case).

    Isn't this fun? :clown:
     
  19. Paul235

    Paul235 New Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?



    I'm going to start pasting all these great tips in a scrap book and keep it in my coach.

    Do you make house calls?
     
  20. rodskid

    rodskid Junior Member

    Re: How does Coachmen monitor panel work?

    Thanks for the lesson TexasClodhopper. At least this time I didn't get zapped or destroy anything to learn something. By the way, what's your thought's or experiences on how these monitors work? I'm guessing each sensor/probe (there's 5 vertically spaced and glued into holes on each tank) changes the resistance going to the monitor. Now a question that's off this subject...when we flip the switch on our Norcold fridge from LP to off, there is a buzzing inside either the circuit board box or the ignitor box. I replaced the relay on the circuit board so it now works on AC or LP but that buzzing (or arcing!) bothers me. Thanks for the comments, lessons, suggestions!
     

Share This Page