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Old 06-17-2010, 12:36 PM   #1
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Actia Gauges, Turn-Signal Clicks, Alarms 05-09

Been working on an 05 & now an 06 as to dash issues. FYI here are some factoids. These apply to 05-09 rigs including Avalanche. Previous coaches use Borg-Warner gauges and separate Vehicle Data Computer (VDC).

Actia gauge cluster is an array of 5 related parts- 3 gauge faces + 2 alarm light modules (idiots lights). Gauges are Tach (Ltd, Apex & SE) or Tach/Chassis-Air (Avalanche), Speedo w/LCD window for odometer, voltage, cruise-control-active, and text alarms, and 4in1 showing Oil Pressure, Engine Temp, Trans Temp, and Fuel Level. All gauge needles are driven by stepper motors (not coil type needle gauges of your).
Speedo is the "Master Gauge" which includes the VDC to interpret J1939 inputs, and the other cluster parts are "Slave" devices except part of the lower right Alarm Module which also has two air hose connections on the back & sensors inside to give the Lo Air Susp alarm on the LCD along w/audible alarm (or Front/Back air status & alarms for Avalanche which have air brakes; Ltd/Apex/SE use only one air tap; Avalanche uses both). Otherwise all inputs go to the Speedo via twisted pair connection to the J1939 data chassis bus (could be the fuel tank input is analog rather than thru J1939; haven't established that just yet). Top & bottom Alarm Modules are connected to each other w/a twisted pair, & top is connected to Speedo w/a twisted pair; Speedo is connected to J1939 somehow (I suspect w/another twisted pair).

Speedo has a speaker on the back that gives audible alarms as timed "beeps" or steady tones, and makes the turn-signal "click."

On power-up, the cluster goes thru a diagnostic phase which cycles all lights on, & runs gauges to zero, half scale, full scale, runs the LCD panel all pixels then reverse all pixels, cycles the audible alarm thru three tones to check that all is working, then returns gauges & lights to the J1939 indicated status (light off if no issue, fuel gauge to indicated level, temp gauges to indicated level, etc.) and audible to indicated status (no sound if no alarm condition).

If the speaker goes out, you have no turn signal "click" and you also have no audible alarms. Apparently this can be only partial loss of sound w/speaker going bad, or full loss w/zero sound. The 06 I'm working on has no diagnostic cycle & zero speaker; haven't determined the cause(s) yet but may result in Speedo going back to Actia for repair. You need an order number from Actia when you send anything in so they know what to do with it when it arrives.

Actia service person knowledgeable about Alpines is Patrick Yuen, 574-266-2649, and they do have or make service parts or will do repairs when appropriate (e.g. a lower alarm module for the 05 I'm fixing is being mfg'rd, total order-to-delivery time is ~3 weeks). Patrick is very responsive & professional, and located in Elkhart IN so time zones may apply; currently they are on "summer" hours and get off @ 2:00pm Fridays, 07:30 to 16:30 other work days. I'll post some additional how-to info when I figger it out.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:22 PM   #2
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Mike,

That is the same issue I had on my coach in an earlier thread - zero diagnostics, no turn signal or other buzzers on start up. Returned the speedo to Actia via Patrick, as you mentioned, and he was very helpful. Gave us instructions on sending it We got it back within a week and he also installed a new LCD panel in while it was there since some had failed. I think they replaced the speedo unit entirely, not just the speaker. Has worked great since.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:29 AM   #3
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May just have to do this - the LCD panel is almost completely shot on mine. I use my old Silverleaf to view total miles.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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Today removed the Speedo from the 06 mentioned above for shipping back to Actia, but after performing some diagnostics. Turns out that particular coach didn't have the gauge/alarm diagnostic option set to ON in the Actia programming. I turned that ON and still no noise from the speedo speaker. Checked the Gen-Slide-Out condition for warning beep & nothing. In to Actia for repair; called Patrick for an RGA# (whatever that is) and their submittal form which he emailed.

Some notes on Gauge removal:
1) You get to gauge hardware & wiring by removing the screws in the berl-wood panel & tipping if out toward you.
2) Gauge is held to the berl-wood (yeah, I know I'm mis-spelling, but I do so willingly to disabuse readers of the notion the dash is real burl) dash panel via a large plastic panel "nut" on the back side. It was really stuck, and Patrick said if I needed to remove it by carefully using a Dremel to cut the nut, he would replace the nut in the return package (but cautioned me to include the cut nut so he would know to send a new one). However, being stubborn , I used a needle oiler and all the brute force and awkwardness I could muster (along w/a bunch more more from Jerry Smith , the owner). After some work, it suddenly released. Try holding the gauge face w/the rubber grid stuff the wife uses to keep dishes from sliding around, and press the 5" or so nut from different directions. We cleaned the oil off & Jerry boxed it up.

If your coach does not do the gauge/alarm test on startup, and you would like to add that, it is one of perhaps only two options you can set in the gauge software, as follows:
1) press both 'M' and 't' buttons on the speedo simultaneously, then turn ignition key ON (don't need to turn it to START).
2) the LCD "message center" will come on to the Settings menu
3) scroll thru the settings till you get to "Self Test" choice. It will show YES and NO with one of them backlighted, which is the current setting. Below that will be
OK Exit TOGGLE
You activate OK by pressing M -button on lower left of LDC, TOGGLE by pressing t-button on lower right, or Exit by pressing both at the same time. Pushing t-button will change a NO to a YES.
4) Then press both M and t-buttons simultaneously to Exit the Settings menu series.
Gauge set, idiot lights, and audible alarms should go direct to the self-diagnostic routine, sending gauges to zero, then half-scale, then 100%-scale, then indicated level based on J1939 data bus info from the coach.

On a trip I like to start the day w/first start cycle letting the gauges run thru the diagnostic so I can see all lights, warnings, and gauges are functional. After first start of the day, next & subsequent starts I'll just turn ignition key straight to START location which bypasses any part of the diagnostic that hasn't completed.
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Old 06-19-2010, 11:48 AM   #5
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Thanks Mike for your timely thread, as I too am about to remove my Actia gages to send them in for repair. On mine, several of the LCD display lines are missing, which makes it hard to read, and the voltage reads 11.2V all the time even though voltage at the batteries is normal.

There is also a continuous, high-pitched noise coming from the dash area when first starting the engine during very cold weather. It fades away once the coach warms up, and doesn't happen when outside temps are above about 45. I'm going to check for an air leak.

It's interesting that so many coaches have the same problems at similar ages/mileages.
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Old 06-19-2010, 12:43 PM   #6
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If you have an air leak at the dash, it will have a very plain vanilla air leak "hiss."
If you muck around w/the air nipple/tube on the bottom light cluster and you make it hiss (don't ask me how I know this is possible), the nipple attaches to the back of the module w/a threaded connection w/a small flat plastic washer between the nipple part & the threaded socket.
To remove the air line, carefully press the plastic ring top part toward the base; it will move when you get enough press on it, moving maybe close to 1/8". It is now in the release position & you can remove the tube w/some amount of pull on the line, but you have to keep the top ring depressed toward the assembly while pulling the tube out.

You may find a cut-in ring, a sort of annular depression or groove about 3/16" from the end of the 1/4" O.D. plastic air line. Before reassembly, I suggest carefully trimming 1/4" off the end of the line in this case, so the worn groove doesn't reseat with a sloppy fit. I think you can easily make the fitting leak by "re-using" a groove-worn end, and a clean end will reseat cleaner in any event. You may also need to do some refurb of the little plastic washer between nipple & threaded socket; you can or replace it w/a new o-ring if you can match it size wise. Actia does not sell the nipple fitting separately, thank you very much. If you snafu the nipple, the Limited/SE/Apex coaches have an unused spare right next to the air line fitting (this is used on Avalanche or air brake units and is not a spare in that case); you can unscrew the middle unused fitting and replace the lower-left occupied nipple w/the spare. Don't screw up the spare, as a new module is about $150.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:09 PM   #7
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Need to correct trun to turn in subject line. Searches for turn signal do not work and a lot of valuable information is lost. I don't know how to do this, perhaps someone else can correct it. Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:54 PM   #8
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I contacted the administrator and he changed the title.
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