Help!! Wiring issue - not blower pack - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-17-2013, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Help!! Wiring issue - not blower pack

So, I was driving a few months ago and let the smoke out of my switch panel (2005 Elise), but I can't see any damage. The blower speed works, the heat works (more on that in a minute), but the knob that adjusts the flow from the feet vents to the upper ones does not work. It does not seem like the vent flap is stuck since it makes no audible attempt to move. The defrost mode works, but I just can't get it to blow at my face. Any thoughts on debugging?

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Secondly, what is this actuator? It looks vacuum operated, and a nearby solenoid was disconnected.

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Any guidance on these?


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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-11-2013, 12:58 AM
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hi,

the flow is controlled by the distribution unit.

DeRoure Ltd - The most comprehensive Lotus parts site on the web. - Part Diagrams.


i would check for the stepper motor here is working or not, it is directly connected to the front compartment and switch between front and upper dash vents.

when u close both (setting flow on your foot) all goes down.

it's a **** job to remove it....

other parts to check:

fresh air unit in front of heater unit :

DeRoure Ltd - The most comprehensive Lotus parts site on the web. - Part Diagrams.

it is used for recirculation system.

about the 2 white connector they should be for the trynary swich (check if they go to an AC pipe)
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Giorgio

I never bothered with it because the weather had been perfect. The car is at the body shop now, so I am trying to talk the guy into letting me have access to the car with the front clam off. My do the resistor pack mod while I'm in there.

My thoughts are that's it's 1) the stepper motor, 2) the wiring to the control panel, or 3) the the circuitry in the control panel. My money is that #2 caused #3. At this point I just know the diverted doesn't move.

If anyone has experience with this please chime in!


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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 12:40 PM
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Smoke from the control panel is an obvious place to start.
Remove the panel and check the condition of the switches.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Sir Lotus, is there anything between the controls and the motor like a relay, amplifier, junction block, etc?

I can't see any visible damage, but I do think I am going to have to replace it. My only hesitation is this - if there was a short at the motor or wiring outside the cabin, then that will fry the next control panel I throw at it. I'm going to have to find out if the smoke from the control panel is a symptom or cause.

If my memory serves me correctly, I didn't have any immediate problems after the smoke - everything worked fine for a few months. There's the slim possibility that it could've been lint or other consumable unrelated to the diverter.



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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:07 PM
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There is a stepper motor however I believe it is hard to get to.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-02-2014, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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I'm really looking for two things - a way to emulate the controls' output, and a way to measure it. I'd love to be able to remove the controls console, throw a signal at some wires, and see if the motor moves. If it was a plain dc motor, then this would be no problem, but I'm not sure how to do that for a stepper. The second option would be to move the switch while a voltmeter is connected and see if it is working right.

Does anyone on here know how to do either of these?


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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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My car has spent so much time in body shops, I finally got around to playing with this some more. After studying the service manual, I am starting to think the ducting for the face level vents is loose or there is a problem with the physical linkage. @SirLotus , I don't think there is a problem with the switch panel since I can change the direction from feet to defrost; it just skips the face. That is all controlled by the same stepper motor, so it appears to be moving around. I do have a replacement switch panel, but again I don't want to sacrifice it if there truly is a wiring issue.

So now my question is this: can I get to that motor and linkage through the footwell, or does the dash have to come apart?

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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The upper rotary flap is the one I really want to get to so I can feel/see if it is moving.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
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The upper rotary flap is the one I really want to get to so I can feel/see if it is moving.

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If you pull off the 4" duct from the climate control box to the connection just under the windshield, center, you may be able to get your hand in there and feel the flap.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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If you pull off the 4" duct from the climate control box to the connection just under the windshield, center, you may be able to get your hand in there and feel the flap.
Michael
Durr. I should've thought of that when I had it off last night before I went through a lot of work making sure it was well-sealed at both ends. At first it felt like it was leaking more air than it was actually passing into the cabin, haha.

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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-28-2015, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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So I couldn't reach that particular flap through the large duct. I took the dash off today to see if I could reach the upper flap, and I could but barely. From what I can tell, the stepper motor has lost its 'home'. Is there a way to reset that, maybe with the Lotus diag tool?

It feels like the knob is clocked wrong, but I did try a brand new control panel and it behaved the same way. When I turn the knob to 5 o'clock, I get full defrost. When I turn to 12 o'clock, I get no change aside from a little from the feet (mostly just feels like the air that is getting around the flaps). When I turn to 9 o'clock, I get a little bit of both feet and defrost, and when I turn to 7 o'clock, I get full feet.

In other words: whatever the position of the knob, it functions like the knob is another 3hrs clockwise. Since the new panel does the same thing, it's like the stepper motor thinks it is in the wrong position and just needs to be zeroed. It also looks like the entire assembly is riveted in and would be a huge project to replace, so I really don't want to go that route.

On a different note, I found what I assume is a French Toast Stick up under the wiper motor. I have no idea how it go there or how long it has been there, but it is alarming how it never decayed...

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And I am guessing that a previous owner added some high tech noise cancelation that wasn't quite OEM:

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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-30-2015, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Does anyone know how to remove that manifold under the windshield? It looks riveted in; Bueller?


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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 01:37 AM
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hi cyo...

don't have to remove it, approach the problem in a different way.

the panel is directly connected to the air distribution unit, see here:



distribution unit has a stepper motor directly connected to the AC panel, sorry for professional schema



So we have 3 possibility now:

- AC panel is dead
- stepper motor on the distribution unit is dead
- wiring short or mechanical problem

as u have the AC panel replacement i would check the stepper motor to verify if work or not... to do that there's a trick!!

it is exactly same stepper motor used for the heater:



so:

- remove wiper motor (holded by 4 bolts)
- remove Air distribution unit , hold by those 2 rivets
- remove stepper motor from ait distribution unit and connect it to the connector of heater flap. Verify if it works or not.
- u can also check for the wiring in case.

at this point u will go for exclusion
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 04:40 AM Thread Starter
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hi cyo...

don't have to remove it, approach the problem in a different way.

the panel is directly connected to the air distribution unit, see here:



distribution unit has a stepper motor directly connected to the AC panel, sorry for professional schema



So we have 3 possibility now:

- AC panel is dead
- stepper motor on the distribution unit is dead
- wiring short or mechanical problem

as u have the AC panel replacement i would check the stepper motor to verify if work or not... to do that there's a trick!!

it is exactly same stepper motor used for the heater:



so:

- remove wiper motor (holded by 4 bolts)
- remove Air distribution unit , hold by those 2 rivets
- remove stepper motor from ait distribution unit and connect it to the connector of heater flap. Verify if it works or not.
- u can also check for the wiring in case.

at this point u will go for exclusion

The last two pics didn't show

The motor works, and feel free to be as professional as possible. I can tell from everything that I have tested that the stepper motor is moving but only through half its range. I don't think it is binding but has lost its position.


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post #16 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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So to summarize where I am now:

The front ducting has been removed, but I can't reach the flap I need from there very well.

I can feel the foot-level flap move, but again, I can barely reach it with my fingertips.

The face/defrost vent also does move, but only enough to turn the defrost channel on or off. After it goes from defrost on to defrost off, it is supposed to rotate a little farther to turn on the face vents. THIS does not happen.

Looking at the control know, it is acting like the potentiometer is clocked wrong. The voltage output from that poti is roughly 3V to 9V with a 12V supply. That seems perfectly reasonable to me, and I have tried two different control panels with the same results.

So it seems like the stepper motor is being told where to go and the vents are free to move there, but it does not go to the right position. It moves, but to the wrong position. My experience with stepper motors is limited, but this screams "lost calibration" to me.


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post #17 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 07:14 AM
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or simply dead step motor..... as the heater flap stepper motor is same and u know it's working, what's happen if you attach the stepper motor there?

if it work, then is the AC control panel , if same malfunction it's stepper motor ...

about 100$ i think.... i also have a working spare in case
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post #18 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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or simply dead step motor..... as the heater flap stepper motor is same and u know it's working, what's happen if you attach the stepper motor there?

if it work, then is the AC control panel , if same malfunction it's stepper motor ...

about 100$ i think.... i also have a working spare in case
No, the stepper motor IS working, not dead. It moves, but just not exactly how it is supposed. Both stepper motors in the whole system (AC/Heat and face/feet/defrost) move.
The stepper may very well be malfunctioning, but is moving so not dead. I swapped the AC control panel with a brand new one, and that didn't change anything. I don't suspect the wiring in between the two to be the problem either since that would more likely result in a complete failure rather than what I am seeing.

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post #19 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 01:27 PM
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if the wiring is the problem attach it to the connector of the heater flap (same) that is working perfect at the moment as problem is only air distribution

if stepper move differently (make all rotation) so the problem could be the wiring , if it move same as when attached to it's original coonector no....

if answer is no only 2 possibilities remains

a) stepper motor is not dead so it moves but internal gear are dead
b) stepper motor is ok but the distribution mechanism in the air distribution pleunum not move right, i mean the mechanism moved by the stepper motor
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post #20 of 34 (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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if the wiring is the problem attach it to the connector of the heater flap (same) that is working perfect at the moment as problem is only air distribution



if stepper move differently (make all rotation) so the problem could be the wiring , if it move same as when attached to it's original coonector no....



if answer is no only 2 possibilities remains



a) stepper motor is not dead so it moves but internal gear are dead

b) stepper motor is ok but the distribution mechanism in the air distribution pleunum not move right, i mean the mechanism moved by the stepper motor

I doubt crossing the connectors would help - they have different ranges of motion and could physically bind if I ask the motors to do otherwise.

I don't see how internal gearing can be a problem since it doesn't start moving until the knob is turned well counterclockwise of 12 o'clock. At that point it moves, but it should've started to move sooner. That tells me that there is not an obstruction, the gearing is fine, the wiring is fine, the knob is fine, the plenum moves freely so it is fine, but the motor clocking is off.

My two options are to either replace the stepper motor or get it to re-learn its home position. Trust me, it acts like the motor clocking is off, so I need suggestions on how to fix that or any other problems that would act similarly.


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