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View Full Version : Finding wiring problem - help?


Myka
11-29-2015, 05:20 PM
So, I've been avoiding taking my ATI fixture apart because I don't know how to use the multi-meter for this purpose, and I'm scared of electrocuting myself (which I've done numerous times in my life).

So, here's the dealyo...I checked the fans on a 9V battery and the fans work. I've fiddled with the connectors and can't get the fans to operate in the fixture. So now I have to figure out if the connectors are faulty, if there's a wire loose, or if it's within the control unit of the fixture.

So if I stick each end of the multi-meter in each connector (with fans in operating mode), which setting should I be on, and what am I looking for? I also have a test light if that will do me any good.

I have this one:
http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/Gc4AAOSwosFUW7N4/$_35.JPG

mike31154
11-29-2015, 06:05 PM
Lights function but not the fans, is that the issue? Fans controlled by a sensor? What kind of fixture is this, T5, LED, hybrid?

So far with the info you've given, my gut feel is that if there's circuitry controlling the switching and/or speed of your fans, that's likely the culprit. You've confirmed the fans run with 9 volts applied, so that's a good start. Unless you disturb the connectors on a regular basis, I doubt it would be a loose connection, although corrosion could be an issue, depending on salt exposure etc. Wiring & connections don't generally go faulty unless subjected to vibration and/or extreme environmental conditions.

Assuming the fans are 12 VDC, you can check for DC power at the connector with the multimeter & work your way back to the controlling circuit board. The scale on the meter should be well marked to differentiate DC & AC voltages. Start on the 20 volt setting, if the voltage measured is higher, you won't hurt the meter, it will likely show a flashing 1. If that's the case, move to the next higher scale.

To test the wiring for continuity (broken wire, loose connection) you need to unplug the fixture (no power) and use the ohm scale, again starting on the lowest setting, most likely 200. Back in the day of analog meters, one would touch the meter leads together and zero the meter movement with an adjustment screw on the meter face. This would ensure an accurate resistance reading of the component being measured. It's still a good idea to do this with an electronic meter to ensure you read close to 0 before you start. It lets you know if the battery(ies) in the meter is/are ok. On the ohm setting, the meter will generally show a 1 (infinity) until you touch the leads together. Once done, you check the integrity of a wire run by disconnecting at both ends and touching a meter lead to each end. If you get a much higher reading than when touching leads together, or infinity, there's a problem in that segment.

Best of luck in your troubleshooting endeavour. Again, I suspect it may be a component on the controlling circuit board, probably an IC, transistor, solid state relay etc. Some are heat sensitive & can go bad at any time.

One more thing you might check for before getting into all the measuring, is to look for a fuse somewhere in the fan circuit.

Myka
11-29-2015, 06:28 PM
Thanks Mike. The reason I am hoping it is a loose connection or some such easy thing to fix is because it was shipped to me used and the seller says the fans worked before he shipped it. I will do what you say to do and I will post back.

mike31154
11-29-2015, 07:04 PM
Info on the fixture, model? I'd like to find out more about it. Might help in providing further advice on how to troubleshoot.

Myka
11-29-2015, 07:35 PM
Info on the fixture, model? I'd like to find out more about it. Might help in providing further advice on how to troubleshoot.

Oops. :o

ATI SunPower dimmable T5 6x39W.

http://fastlight.co.uk/acatalog/ATI%20Sunpower%20Dimmable%20MANUAL.pdf

mike31154
11-29-2015, 10:11 PM
Oops. :o

ATI SunPower dimmable T5 6x39W.

http://fastlight.co.uk/acatalog/ATI%20Sunpower%20Dimmable%20MANUAL.pdf

Hmm, yesss. Dimmable fluorescent tubes, some black magic going on there. Fluorescents are generally designed to run at a certain voltage/current & it's tricky business dimming them. In any case, that's kind of beside the point & not helpful with the fan problem. The link to the fixture manual definitely helps in formulating some theories as to what the problem may be. Unfortunately I have a feeling it's beyond the scope of multimeter troubleshooting!

"6. ATI Active Cooling.
Active cooling is managed by the automatic Temperature Management System (TMS).
When the temperature inside the pendant increases the fan speed will increase. If the correct temperature is not achieved by the fans the TMS will automatically dimm the tubes until a workable temperature is achieved and will then automatically increase brightness of the tubes to pre programmed settings.
Operation of the TMS will be shown by a exclamation mark at the top right top of the display (as shown in the diagram right), this is normal and is protecting the pendant and tubes to run within the correct operating temperature."

Not only could there be an electronic problem, but it appears there's some software at work here as well! In addition to an oscilloscope to chase down signals, you might need a software geek. There's a lot to be said for a good old standard non-dimmable fluorescent fixture like a Hagen GLO!

Also, how confident are you in the seller's story about everything being functional before he/she shipped it? May well be true, not trying to cast doubt on an individual, but.... Could have been mishandled during the shipping process too. Was the parcel in good shape on receipt?

Again, hope you're able to get the fans working, but I fear it's an electronic or software issue. The ultimate solution may be to hard wire the fans somehow so that they run full bore any time the fixture is on if you wish to salvage the light. May be more work than is worthwhile and not confident that a multimeter is going to help very much, but who knows!?

EDIT: I assume you've run the diagnostic test shown at the end of the user manual, para 10. Problems and diagnostic testing?

hillegom
11-30-2015, 01:34 AM
If the fan increases in rpm the hotter the fixture gets, maybe all that is wrong is the sensor that detects the degree (amount) of heat. If that sensor is bad and only reads itself "cold", then the fan would never turn on.
Hopefully, something has disconnected during shipping.
GL

Myka
11-30-2015, 02:04 AM
Mike, yes I know, KISS!!!! :D The fans are a known issue with these fixtures. I assume the seller was telling the truth, and I have no reason to question that. It's neither here nor there, besides possibly tracking down why the fans aren't working. :) Today didn't work out quite as planned, so I didn't get a chance to work on the fixture, but hopefully Thursday or Friday.

If all else fails, I will just re-install the fans and run a wire out to an outlet and they can be on 24/7 for all I care. I little extra air movement around the tank should doesn't hurt anything.

If the fan increases in rpm the hotter the fixture gets, maybe all that is wrong is the sensor that detects the degree (amount) of heat. If that sensor is bad and only reads itself "cold", then the fan would never turn on.
Hopefully, something has disconnected during shipping.
GL

I can set the fixture to demo mode which goes through all the dimming and the fan dimming too, and they don't turn on during the demo either.

Myka
12-12-2015, 01:48 AM
So, claynelson came over yesterday, and while he was here he took a peek at the fans. Says, "There's power at the connections." Well, I'll be darned. So he re-stripped the wires and inserted them into the connections properly (that was another problem), and VOILA! Well, that was easy.

http://www.e2campus.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/easy-button.jpg

mike31154
12-12-2015, 01:59 AM
Lights function but not the fans, is that the issue? Fans controlled by a sensor? What kind of fixture is this, T5, LED, hybrid?

So far with the info you've given, my gut feel is that if there's circuitry controlling the switching and/or speed of your fans, that's likely the culprit. You've confirmed the fans run with 9 volts applied, so that's a good start. Unless you disturb the connectors on a regular basis, I doubt it would be a loose connection, although corrosion could be an issue, depending on salt exposure etc. Wiring & connections don't generally go faulty unless subjected to vibration and/or extreme environmental conditions.

Assuming the fans are 12 VDC, you can check for DC power at the connector with the multimeter & work your way back to the controlling circuit board. The scale on the meter should be well marked to differentiate DC & AC voltages. Start on the 20 volt setting, if the voltage measured is higher, you won't hurt the meter, it will likely show a flashing 1. If that's the case, move to the next higher scale.

To test the wiring for continuity (broken wire, loose connection) you need to unplug the fixture (no power) and use the ohm scale, again starting on the lowest setting, most likely 200. Back in the day of analog meters, one would touch the meter leads together and zero the meter movement with an adjustment screw on the meter face. This would ensure an accurate resistance reading of the component being measured. It's still a good idea to do this with an electronic meter to ensure you read close to 0 before you start. It lets you know if the battery(ies) in the meter is/are ok. On the ohm setting, the meter will generally show a 1 (infinity) until you touch the leads together. Once done, you check the integrity of a wire run by disconnecting at both ends and touching a meter lead to each end. If you get a much higher reading than when touching leads together, or infinity, there's a problem in that segment.

Best of luck in your troubleshooting endeavour. Again, I suspect it may be a component on the controlling circuit board, probably an IC, transistor, solid state relay etc. Some are heat sensitive & can go bad at any time.

One more thing you might check for before getting into all the measuring, is to look for a fuse somewhere in the fan circuit.

Yay, you got it working! Kudos to claynelson. How wrong I was about it being a software issue!

Myka
12-12-2015, 02:03 AM
Yay, you got it working! Kudos to claynelson. How wrong I was about it being a software issue!

You were assuming I was doing a good job of inserting the wires into the connectors. In all honesty, I thought I was too. :o I've done lots of wiring on my old logging truck - if you couldn't figure out wiring you weren't going to stay on the road. So I'm surprised it was that easy too. Thanks for your help!!!