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mikew8760

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi,
New to this game, so please bear with me.
I'm trying to fix my father's golf buggy, which has a 1228 - 2730 controller. It seems this has some sort of intermittent fault, and despite many years in the electronics industry so far I have failed to nail it!
I started by trying the 'diagnostic' flashing LED, which gives various (wrong) codes.  So now I've tried the PC programming software, which variously fails to connect, or gives seemingly random error messages.  I've scoped the RS232 signals, Rx and Tx, and notice that sometimes the signal from the controller is only about 3 volts, other times there is no response.
I am beginning to think the PIC is faulty, and begrudge buying the whole controller for such a fault;  Curtis UK refuse to supply just the PIC.!
So, if anyone has a 'spare' Microchip 16C74A for sale I would be very interested in buying it - if only to gain more insight into the nature of the problem.
Thanks in advance.

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ampman

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Reply with quote  #2 
I've contacted Curtis UK a couple of times and never had any luck with them.
You probably know more than they do by the sounds of it!
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mikew8760

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi,
Thanks for the reply, or possibly commiserations?
I can understand Curtis not supplying what they call 'spare parts' for the controllers; I guess they wish to maintain proprietorial rights over their products. 
I found a few places that offer a repair service, but the flat rate seems to be nearly as much as a new unit.
The other thought that crossed my mind was to re-jig the whole thing to suit a different, i.e. much cheaper, controller.  Do you have any thoughts and advice on that possibility?

Regards.
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mikew8760

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Reply with quote  #4 
Bump!
I'm not getting anywhere with this problem - and Dad is getting frustrated that his golf buggy is still stuck in the garage...

I just wonder if anyone out there in EV land has a Curtis 1228 controller that is broken, faulty, in need of repair etc. that I can possibly use to cannibalise one working unit.

I'm prepared to pay reasonable postage charges. 

Any offers?
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ampman

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Reply with quote  #5 
Is it a Series wound motor or a SepEx motor?
I did exactly that, using a cheaper controller rather than repairing a Curtis on a vehicle I had. I bought a Kelly controller, was about £200.
Worked well but I would advise getting a higher rated controller than you would think you would need, as they advertise them under peak values

Do you know how many amps the motor is?
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mikew8760

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi,
Thanks for the response.   I'm sure it's not a sepex motor, as I understand these have separate field and armature windings.  Whether it's a shunt or series motor I can't tell.  The buggy is a Hillman, but the minimal 'User Manual' so-called has several mistakes and discrepancies with the actual wiring.  The Curtis controller is supposedly rated at 110A, so I guess any replacement would need to be similar.

If the controller cannot be fixed it would almost be cheaper for him to get a new buggy - but I can see that suggestion going down like a lead balloon.  "You're an electronics expert, why can't you fix it?"

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ampman

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Reply with quote  #7 
You would need maybe a 300amp rated controller to be on safe side
http://kellycontroller.com/kdz4830024v-48v300aseriespm-p-953.html

With import taxes it could end up being over £200 , so as you say, whether to go that route depends how much you think the buggy is worth.

Just out of interest what is the battery pack condition like? Im guessing its 48v set up?, some of those buggies have 8 x 6v batteries
That's another expense because often the batteries need replacing after a buggy is left standing a long time so repairing these things can be expensive
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mikew8760

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi,
The batteries are two 12V gel type.  Actually, that's another sore point, as he had left them discharged for some time over the winter and they were not in good condition.  I managed to borrow a couple of small size lead acid ones to get it going again - or so I thought!  I asked dad why not charged 'Oh, the charger blew up, so I didn't bother'.  As a separate issue I had looked at the charger, and sure enough it was toast.  Spent quite a time fixing it, so I'm trying to avoid having wasted so much time for no result.   Grrrrrr....
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mikew8760

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Reply with quote  #9 
Bump..
Thanks ampman for the feedback.  One thing I've not mentioned before, and would be interested to hear any comments;  the motor and battery conections on this controller are 1/4 inch spade type, and I noticed that the motor ones had obviously been quite hot - so much that the insulation had melted.  However, the battery connections were still sound.  It was my first expectation that this was the cause of the trouble, but re-making them made no difference.  My conclusion was that the contact resistance had increased over time, due to some slight corrosion, which had not affected the battery terminals.  (As an aside, I was surprised to see such connectors were expected to carry the current rating of the controller; others use 6mm nut and bolt type.)
Has anyone experienced this type of failure?   I've also wondered if arcing at the poor contacts could cause enough conducted EMI to be responsible for the failure of the PIC micro.?
Any comments welcomed!
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ampman

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Reply with quote  #10 
Yes contact corrosion can be an issue for sure.

Is this machine a ride on 4 wheeler car type, or is it just the golf bag carrier. The fact its only 24v volts confused me!
If its the latter then it wouldn't need the 300amp controller I suggested!
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mikew8760

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Reply with quote  #11 
Hi, ampman
Thanks for getting back to me.   The buggy is indeed the 4 wheel ride on type.  Had another look at it last week (Dad lives a few miles away from me).  I had previously missed the electromagnetic brake - the four wires going into the motor had fooled me for a while - obviously the two 'thin' wires can be traced exiting the motor under a plastic cover and re-entering what I presume is the brake.

The controller is rated at 110A, but no idea what the continuous rating might be - certainly not 110A judging by the gauge of the high current cables and connectors.

Do you have any experience of arcing due to poor contacts causing failure of the controller?  This is my presumption at the moment, and the main candidate for getting zapped is the PIC.

I have told Dad he should forget the buggy for the time being and get some exercise walking round the course - but I suspect he's hiring a club buggy!

Regards.
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mikew8760

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hi all,
My tribulations with the Curtis 1228-2730 controller continue!  Now I have a working USB/Serial adapter I have been able to look at its innards, so to speak.  But I'm puzzled by the inability to program it so that it works.  I have it on the bench with a set-up with the key-switch, 5K pot., diagnostic LED, buzzer, and a resistor in place of the EM brake.  I can program it to change, for example, the type of speed controller, including the auto-calibration for a wig-wag type.  The monitor shows the changing speed pot values, but on cycling the key-switch it always shows the LED flashes for a High Pedal Disable fault.  In fact, disabling the HPD fault has no effect.
I am coming to the conclusion that although it's taken off my dad's "working" golf buggy ( he says it was working!)  it is in fact, toast!!

Perhaps someone with more experience of these controllers can tell me if I'm missing something, or is the damn thing U/S?

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