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Major/Minor electrical problem

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Joined: 26 Sep 2005
Posts: 236
Location: Peoria, AZ

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 8:06 am    Post subject: Major/Minor electrical problem Reply with quote

Hey everyone! Some of you may recall that I had a problem with my truck (Buzz) when I first put the new batteries in last September. I went to turn it on and go for a ride and had no power. I tested everything I could, to no avail, so I decided to call it a night, plug it in and sleep on it. The next day, I had power! I went for a short ride and about a half mile from home, it quit again. I sat at a stop sign for about 20 minutes turning it on and off trying to get it to go. After I don't know how many tries, it just worked... and everything went well until March. I never could figure out why it stopped working and then started again.

I was on my way home from work one day, in a bit of a hurry because I was late for a dentist appointment, and as I was accelerating on the on ramp to the freeway, it quit. NO POWER! Nothing... nada... zip... bupkiss! I coasted to the sholder and started trying to figure it out. I eventually had to call a tow truck. How embarrassing to have my pride and joy quit and get towed home. Embarassed You can imagine how difficult it was to explain how great it was to have an electric truck and not buy gas when the tow truck guy is pulling your truck up onto his flatbed. Anyway, it was late, and I was late for my appointment (didn't want to go anyway Wink ) so with the help of the tow truck driver, we pushed Buzz into the garage and I plugged it in thinking that I would try to figure it out the next evening after work.

I went out the next morning and it worked. Perfectly! How frustrating! Mad It worked fine until last Friday. On my way home from work, with my wife along, we stopped at a quick errand and when we started off again for home, I was pulling out of the parking lot and all of a sudden; nothing! I had driven about 30 feet and it just quit! AGAIN! Evil or Very Mad

Luckily we were only about a mile from home and it was a really nice evening so we had a nice stroll home, got the big truck (Dodge Ram Quad Cab, long bed, its a real land yacht) and pulled Buzz back home. I tried all weekend to figure it out. I tested everything I could figure, thinking mostly that it was either the charger interlock or the neutral interlock. Let me tell you, figuring out the charger interlock was not easy. Anyway, after looking and looking at the schematics for the truck and sleeping on it for a couple of days, it finally came to me. The control box was not getting power. The thing that was confusing was that when I turned on the lights in the truck, the guages all lit up like they were getting power. What finally got me on this track was chasing down the power/ground wires inside the control box. The guages all get power from a different source (an orange wire) than the main control box's keyed 12v power (a white wire), but are grounded through the same 2 pin molex. So when I disconnected that plug, all the lights went out and I figured it was working right. I was wrong. The lights went out because the ground was disconnected, not because the power was disconnected.

Here's the deal... On the front of the control box there are 3 molex connectors; the first one is a 4 pin, the next one is a 2 pin locking, and the last one is a 2 pin. The 2 pin locking has a white wire and green wire. The white wire is the 12v keyed power input for the two control boxes inside the console. The green is the main ground wire for just about everything in the console. If you chase the white wire up into the dash, it snakes it's way (along with the orange wire) over to the fuse box on the left side of the dash by the driver's door. About an inch from the fuse box, it is spliced into the 12v keyed power line. On mine, they used a cheap splicing connector that just wraps over the line and locks on, making a slight cut into the insulation, and then a spade is plugged into this little splicing connector. In my case, the connector was made for a 10 guage wire and the wire is acutally about 16 guage so the connector is loose. This caused the connection to fail.

In order to get to this connector, I had to take the front panel off the dash. Not an easy task, but doable if you are careful. I jiggled the wire, turned on the key, put it in forward and SHAZAM! I had power! Very Happy

If anyone else has this problem where all the systems are working but not the controllers, check the 12v keyed power plug at the control box first. That could save you a lot of frustrating, mind bending, sleepless nights trying to figure out why it won't go.

Good luck to all!

Jeff Wilson
US Army (Ret)

Plug in the cord... not the pump!
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Joined: 26 Sep 2005
Posts: 130
Location: Port Washington WI

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip, Jeff. My truck has stopped working like that twice, but luckily only while sitting at home. I think I'll go track that wire down and make a better connection than the tap splice. It's a critical connection and you don't want to have it cut out when you really need it.
Tom Hudson
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Joined: 27 Sep 2005
Posts: 119
Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jeff,

These types of shared experiences will help all of us keep our EVs on the road.

Terry Merrell
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