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Fixing a PWM DCC Fan Controller

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Old 10-14-2007, 05:12 PM   #1
Durango_Boy
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Default Fixing a PWM DCC Fan Controller

No, I would not attempt to fix something like this on my own. It's way out of my league.

I'm looking for someone with either experince working with this kid of electronic devise or the education and ability to fix such a devise. To be clear, it's a DCC WPM fan controller.

I hooked it up, and right when it was supposed to turn on the fan it jolted the fan blades and started smoking.

Anyway, following are the pics, and I circled where the smoke came out. I pulled the power as soon as it smoked so I don't know if it was a component that smoked or the resin got hot and smoked. It may be fixable if there is not an internal problem that caused the smoke in the first place.

I have an offer form a really cool guy up in Canada to have a look at it and maybe fix it but it would cost a lot to send to Canada and back and am looking for a more local option first.


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Old 10-14-2007, 06:50 PM   #2
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Matt, pull the damn thing apart outta the car, and disassemble far as you can, see if the electronics are bare naked on a board, with certain power parts (sorta looking like transistors) are mounted on to the aluminum castings/plates that they are visible....

IF the whole thing is encased in some sort of potting (tar like) material, consider it junk......

there shoulr be something called conformal coating over the circuit card, but it's a clear enough coating that sorta looks like many super heavy coating of spray paint.....mega coats....
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:17 PM   #3
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Matt, your probably wasting your time. Most electronics like this are encapsulated for automotive use so that they will hold up to the vibration.
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:29 PM   #4
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Matt, your probably wasting your time. Most electronics like this are encapsulated for automotive use so that they will hold up to the vibration.

I know, I fear that. I was just hoping someone would have some experience with this kind of controller. Brian, the maker, originally said he would take a look and see if he could fix it. He won't respond so I'm exploring other options.
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:48 PM   #5
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Brian, the maker, originally said he would take a look and see if he could fix it. He won't respond so I'm exploring other options.
Shouldn't he just replace it?
After all, you never even got to use it did you?
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:04 PM   #6
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I know, I fear that. I was just hoping someone would have some experience with this kind of controller. Brian, the maker, originally said he would take a look and see if he could fix it. He won't respond so I'm exploring other options.

OH, didn't want to say, as I wasn't sure, but that's the guy I got into about link/fusing and wiring.....

oh well.....

did you hook it up HIS way off the battery cable or battery directly???


or off the alternator, like I said???

how was the grounding routed?? to the frame directly or to the alt/engine??
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:23 PM   #7
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Default What happened to the DC Control Website??

Looks different. I was expecting some jumpers and haven't heard anything for a month or so....

http://www.dccontrol.com/
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:24 PM   #8
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Shouldn't he just replace it?
After all, you never even got to use it did you?

I feel he should at least work with me on this but he's washed his hands of me. He knows of the trouble I had and once he found out I hooked it up to a modified connection at the alternator he got all riled up and refused to help me at all. Can't even get an answer to my email.


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OH, didn't want to say, as I wasn't sure, but that's the guy I got into about link/fusing and wiring.....

oh well.....

did you hook it up HIS way off the battery cable or battery directly???


or off the alternator, like I said???

how was the grounding routed?? to the frame directly or to the alt/engine??

I wasn't really sure what this was all about, he kept mentioning that spat with you in a different thread that just got locked up. I honestly didn't remember it but he was hanging me because of that fight you guys had.

I have a modified connection at the alternator where leads go to the battery and starter. Once he found that out he inferred that it was that connection that killed the unit.

I do not feel the connection was at fault, The unit was connected and and the car was started and was running for several minutes while the engine warmed up. Once the temp probe told the unit to start the fan the fan jolted and then the controlled smoked.

I think, without know, that inside there is a crossed connection of some kind that didn't become a problem until the unit tried to close the circuit to the fan.
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:34 PM   #9
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Default I have mine hooked up from the starter terminal....

and I also got the "filter" unit that he recommended when you do that.

Everything is working well; but when I read this thread I started wondering why my "jumpers" hadn't shown up. Went to look for the website and it wasn't there?? Hmmmm..
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:16 PM   #10
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Matt, I was following that post that you and and the guy who designed your controller were discussing the problem. I couldn't help but feel sorry for you. It was obvious to me he coped an attitude and had no intention of helping you out on this one. An attitude that no one in the business of dealing directly with customer should ever take. Rule #1 -the customer is always right. Rule #2 - If you think you find a customer who is wrong, see Rule #1.
The guy does know his stuff, unfortunately, I personally think he didn't design his system robust enough to handle the extremes of field applications and realistic system failure modes. He was correct in pointing out that the battery is the best place to connect source power for sensitive electronics such as Electronic Fuel computer controllers, etc..and apparently his fan controller also. The difference is, a good electronics design anticipates these, all to common failure modes, and protects against them. He was quick to point out that connecting his controller to close to the alternator, where there wasn't enough wire inductance to block the alternator voltage spikes would over stress the internal power switching electronics. I don't know his detailed design but can only guess that is what he believes was the cause of the failure. The problem is, he really doesn't know for sure, what the real root cause of the failure was. I would also point out that the poor bastard that would have a corroded battery terminal would also be hosed experiencing a similar failure risk. Anyway, looking at your pictures, it looks like the module is potted to protect against tampering and easy repair.
I hate to say this but I think you just experienced an expensive lesson in dealing with people who are not looking out for their customers best interest.

Bullshark

P.S. By the way, it was smart for you other guys to install a filter to suppress the voltage spikes. Always a good idea whenever you have sensitive computer type electronics connected anywhere in your system.

Last edited by Bullshark; 10-14-2007 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:21 PM   #11
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Thanks Bob, it's a really hard lesson to learn and it cost me a lot. I have another connection I can use that's not as convenient as the alt BAT terminal.

The real bad part is I really want a PWM fan controller. I am using a very heavy duty fan that probably won't have to run full out more than occasionally.

If I can get my hands on a new DCC unit, maybe form a fellow member that didn't use theirs, I would be happy to avoid any connections at the alternator. I would make sure it was safely tucked away from the harm an alternator spike could inflict.

Are his units and the SPAL unit the only WPM controllers?
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Durango_boy View Post
I feel he should at least work with me on this but he's washed his hands of me. He knows of the trouble I had and once he found out I hooked it up to a modified connection at the alternator he got all riled up and refused to help me at all. Can't even get an answer to my email.





I wasn't really sure what this was all about, he kept mentioning that spat with you in a different thread that just got locked up. I honestly didn't remember it but he was hanging me because of that fight you guys had.

I have a modified connection at the alternator where leads go to the battery and starter. Once he found that out he inferred that it was that connection that killed the unit.

I do not feel the connection was at fault, The unit was connected and and the car was started and was running for several minutes while the engine warmed up. Once the temp probe told the unit to start the fan the fan jolted and then the controlled smoked.

I think, without know, that inside there is a crossed connection of some kind that didn't become a problem until the unit tried to close the circuit to the fan.
Matt, can you clearly describe this 'modified connection' at the alternator.....you took the power off the alt directly into his controller??

through a fuse, I presume.....30-40 amp should have done it....cover that surge....using say 10 ga wire to the fans on ground and + feeds....

the only reason it could have ever failed is if the voltage spiked to nearly zero crossing in the alt output bridge....that would be a design fault of HIS....MAYBE, have to think about it, and have a schematic to look at.....

or a defective unit....hell that can happen to anyone....
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:36 PM   #13
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Are his units and the SPAL unit the only WPM controllers?
What is a WPM controller?

I read the other thread. Sounds like he included instructions that said NOT to wire it the way you did. You did it anyway, sounds like you are on your own. I wouldn't expect anyone to warrant a product that was improperly installed.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:37 PM   #14
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Matt, I really don't know much about who markets these type of electronics. I personally don't feel they are worth the expense and performance gain. I choose to utilize the dual fan control integrated in my Accel DFI. It is more than adequate and the money I saved contributes to something alot more worthwhile IMHO. Electronic Fuel Injection.

Bullshark
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:04 PM   #15
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What is a WPM controller?

I read the other thread. Sounds like he included instructions that said NOT to wire it the way you did. You did it anyway, sounds like you are on your own. I wouldn't expect anyone to warrant a product that was improperly installed.
Zy, he was saying to run a heavy wire from the battery or the starter post to his unit directly....having run stuff like that years ago, I had all sorts of troubles, and wasn't untill years ago getting my first DVM, that I decided to find out just what was what with these SI series alternators and their sense wires, and what requirements were....

so I did a series of tests and found out the truth of the situation.....

problem is, that upsets the charging circuit when the fans are on....

gives false indications to the alt...battery is not happy...it never sees full charge voltage ....

the thing that finally set me off was he didn't require a fuse in the circuit leading to his controller.....oops....

that is MY take/rememberance of the discussion at any rate....
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:04 PM   #16
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He was correct in pointing out that the battery is the best place to connect source power for sensitive electronics such as Electronic Fuel computer controllers, etc..and apparently his fan controller also.
Bull, what about the starter terminal, halfway between the alternator and battery? Obviously, running a new cable back to the battery is a PITA in a C3. I'm installing an underhood fuse box (rather ironically right next to the alternator), but if it will keep everything from blowing up I'm willing to run a new wire across the engine bay to the starter.

On that note, I want to run a heavier wire from the alternator to the starter lug, but I can't find a fuseable link heavy enough to match the gauge of wire I'd prefer to use, and I'm not sure what size circuit breaker to use. Anyone have any suggestions?
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:12 PM   #17
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Bull, what about the starter terminal, halfway between the alternator and battery? Obviously, running a new cable back to the battery is a PITA in a C3. I'm installing an underhood fuse box (rather ironically right next to the alternator), but if it will keep everything from blowing up I'm willing to run a new wire across the engine bay to the starter.

On that note, I want to run a heavier wire from the alternator to the starter lug, but I can't find a fuseable link heavy enough to match the gauge of wire I'd prefer to use, and I'm not sure what size circuit breaker to use. Anyone have any suggestions?

40 amps....found that in a later shark....82?? 81?? factory installed instead of fuse link.....may have been a circuit breaker....auto reset type....not sure....long time ago....I think you can find them on the sales racks of parts houses....bubble packs...of course this assumes nothing thinner than 10 ga, and should be 8 ga.....thinner than 10 ga is renders that 40 amp fuse as a 'no blow' fuse.....fry the wire first....
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:25 PM   #18
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Bull, what about the starter terminal, halfway between the alternator and battery? Obviously, running a new cable back to the battery is a PITA in a C3. I'm installing an underhood fuse box (rather ironically right next to the alternator), but if it will keep everything from blowing up I'm willing to run a new wire across the engine bay to the starter.

On that note, I want to run a heavier wire from the alternator to the starter lug, but I can't find a fuseable link heavy enough to match the gauge of wire I'd prefer to use, and I'm not sure what size circuit breaker to use. Anyone have any suggestions?
Sam, Using the starter lug is probably better than up front, only because it is closer to the battery and has that relatively short BFC running back directly to the battery. The risk is keeping a reliable low impedance connection down there. As Gene stated many times, it is desirable to keep the battery charging circuit as designed if you can. MAD electronics website talks about this and gives you some design guidlines if you choose to change it.

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Old 10-14-2007, 10:37 PM   #19
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I think basically the guy [who builds the units]is out of business. The people at the other forums [mustang etc]can't buy the unit either. He used to be a member of this forum, but I don't even remember his last name. I haven't used mine yet but I'm planning to hang onto it for right now. I am however going to run a special line for mine from the battery. Evidently doing it that way you keep any surges to the electronics down as the battery acts like a capacitor absoring or slowing any voltage spikes put out by the rest of the system. That last statement is an uneducated guess by an amatuer so your mileage may vary. But I think that is probably the way to go. After reading about the dual spals performance verses the mark viii I'm wondering which way to go on that as well.
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Old 10-14-2007, 11:23 PM   #20
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Sam, Using the starter lug is probably better than up front, only because it is closer to the battery and has that relatively short BFC running back directly to the battery. The risk is keeping a reliable low impedance connection down there. As Gene stated many times, it is desirable to keep the battery charging circuit as designed if you can. MAD electronics website talks about this and gives you some design guidlines if you choose to change it.

Bullshark
I'll take a look over there. With the CS144, I'm afraid that the factory 10ga alternator output is going to be too small. I'll coat the terminals down there with dielectric grease and use starlock washers between the terminals - that should keep the connection in good shape.

Plan is to run a 4ga wire from the alternator to starter, and another 4ga back for the new fuse/relay box. The fuse box is going to handle the power distribution for my amplifiers, headlights and Mk.VIII fan, along with anything else that comes to mind, so I want to make sure I have plenty of capacity. It's overkill, but I'd rather spend some money on cable than have something melt.
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