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Discussion Starter #1
I had a call last night from a company using Gizmos in their business. Last night, it got a little cool here in Minesota; down to 40-50 deg.F. *All* their Gizmos refused to run. Contactors pulled in, but moving the potbox produced no output at all from the Alltrax controllers. But if the car was left on for a while (30-60 minutes), something warmed up and they started working!

That's a weird one. I've seen things like contactors that got wet, and when it went below freezing they "froze" in the off position -- but it wasn't below freezing. I've seen electronics get erratic at very low temperature because they used 0-70 deg.C parts -- but these failures are occurring much warmer than this.

Anyone (particularly with Alltrax controllers) have any ideas? The cars aren't physically here, so I can't check things myself, but we could suggest ideas to try to get them going.

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"Excellence does not require perfection." -- Henry James
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Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart-at-earthlink.net

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Discussion Starter #3
From: Evan Tuer
> Hi Lee,
> The website says that the controller should shut down with
> temperature below -25 degrees C (I guess to protect it because the ESR
> of the caps may be out of spec).
> Perhaps these ones are set around zero degrees C for some reason
> instead. The error code flashed out on the LED will tell you if
> that's what is happening:
>
> 1 Red = Throttle Position Sensor Over Range. Check for open wires.
> 2 Red = Under Temperature. Controller below -25C
> 3 Red = HPD. Throttle hasn't gone to zero during this power on
> cycle.
> 4 Red = Over Temperature. Controller over 95C
>
>(from http://www.alltraxinc.com/Products_AXE.html)

Yes, I saw that and wondered the same things. Unfortunately, the Gizmo controller's LEDs aren't visible without tearing things apart. But it's one of the things I suggested that he check.


--
"Excellence does not require perfection." -- Henry James
--
Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart-at-earthlink.net

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Discussion Starter #6
From: Jeff Shanab <[email protected]>
> All of them?

Yes; *all* of them!

> At first I was thinking of condensation fooling some enable, but
> *all* of them sounds like they have some low-temp safety (or their
> high temp afety value wraps around when cold and it thinks it's
> over heated)

My thoughts as well. Since all of them did it at the same time and temperature, it points to some design flaw rather than a random failure. I posted it to see if anyone else with Gizmos or Alltrax controllers have seen this behavior at low temperature.

Hopefully, Pete will be pulling one apart this weekend so he can see the controller's error lights when this happens. Of course, the outdoor temperature went back up... but he may be able to simulate it with a bag of ice or something. If the controller is shutting down because it thinks the temperature is too low at +40 deg.F, then we have a design or assembly error inside the controller.

--
"Excellence does not require perfection." -- Henry James
--
Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart-at-earthlink.net

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