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Old 08-11-2008, 12:08 PM   #1
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We had an interesting experience with the SmartBeds yesterday which someone else may have figured out. After arriving at our destination, I first slid out the passenger side SmartBed to remove some gear, and for the moment left it open about 14 inches. Then went to the opposite side to open the driver's side Bed. After hitting the "open" switch, there was no noise, but the SmartBed itself seemed to fall open about 3 inches. It wouldn't go in or out, and there was no noise whatsoever. When I tried to retract the passenger side, which was already out, it too was silent and would not move. I did *not* try sliding the rooms out, or extending the jacks, as I didn't want to compound the developing problem.

After trying in vain to find how the heck one could get the SmartBeds back in, I found myself fiddling with the SmartBed switch on the driver's side -- the one where the problem seemed to start. Suddenly it started working again -- and when it did the other one retracted normally as well. Being not too far from Guaranty where we were staying, I decided to extend the slides, jacks, etc, and everything worked normally. This morning everything retracted as usual, and we've continued on our travels.

My suspicion is that somehow the driver's side SmartBed switch might be failing -- though I'm not sure how or why that might have caused the other side to stop working as well. We'll be taking the unit in for a look see with our local RV mechanic, who is familiar with Alpines, but I'd be interested to pass along any insights others might have. Could this be a "switch" issue? And if so, has anyone been able to find a replacement switch? Perhaps those of us with the SmartBeds might want to consider carrying a spare?

Thanks for any info or suggestions...
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:08 PM   #2
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We had an interesting experience with the SmartBeds yesterday which someone else may have figured out. After arriving at our destination, I first slid out the passenger side SmartBed to remove some gear, and for the moment left it open about 14 inches. Then went to the opposite side to open the driver's side Bed. After hitting the "open" switch, there was no noise, but the SmartBed itself seemed to fall open about 3 inches. It wouldn't go in or out, and there was no noise whatsoever. When I tried to retract the passenger side, which was already out, it too was silent and would not move. I did *not* try sliding the rooms out, or extending the jacks, as I didn't want to compound the developing problem.

After trying in vain to find how the heck one could get the SmartBeds back in, I found myself fiddling with the SmartBed switch on the driver's side -- the one where the problem seemed to start. Suddenly it started working again -- and when it did the other one retracted normally as well. Being not too far from Guaranty where we were staying, I decided to extend the slides, jacks, etc, and everything worked normally. This morning everything retracted as usual, and we've continued on our travels.

My suspicion is that somehow the driver's side SmartBed switch might be failing -- though I'm not sure how or why that might have caused the other side to stop working as well. We'll be taking the unit in for a look see with our local RV mechanic, who is familiar with Alpines, but I'd be interested to pass along any insights others might have. Could this be a "switch" issue? And if so, has anyone been able to find a replacement switch? Perhaps those of us with the SmartBeds might want to consider carrying a spare?

Thanks for any info or suggestions...
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:33 PM   #3
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Welcome to smart bed hot spot. Assuming you are talking about those nice push pad switches, attached to the side of the coach, here is the story as I can determine it with a little added information to maybe help you.

The manual states, and the dealer told me to not open any of the smartbeds prior to leveling up the coach, and never put out the slides without being leveled with the jacks down. With that being said, I always have to open the SB just aft of my main entry door,(40' MDTS) and that will become apparent as you read my descripsion below.

They have a high rate of failure, mine lasted about three weeks, the driver's side does not work at all now, and to open those, I have to use the backup switches in the services bay (services bay=fresh water hookup, fresh water filters, soap dispenser and possibly the outside shower if so equipped) for that side, which means the HYD pump switch need to be on.

The passenger side are intermittent at best, and I normally use the switches on the HYD pump bay just aft of the front wheel, and again, you need to turn on the manual rocker switch (on the panel above the HWD pump) to get them to work from those positions.

If the original switches are working a little, it sometimes helps to push the "in" button, hear the pump start up, and then push the "out" button, at least that works for my Passenger side most of the time.

I also would suggest keeping things arranged in such a way, that the side that works best/easiest, is the place to put the initial stuff you need for setting up when you arrive at the campground, or equipment you will use a lot, i.e., gas grill, outside chairs, etc.
For instance, (40' MDTS Model), I put all my leveling blocks for my jacks, our entry door foot cleaner/step, and chocks (if needed) in the compartment aft of the entry door.

I keep my tool box, and all my outside chairs, electictrical/electronic/satellite equipment in the SB forward of the entry door.

In the smaller SB on the driver's side (forward one), we keep extra pots and pans, extra oil, coolant, chemicals we need for maintenance on the coach, stuff I don't need all that often. I don't keep any Clorox near any organic liquid because of the chemical fire possibility.

On the driver's side, in the large SB, I keep the little ladies exercise machine, our extra 25gal gray water tank, walking sticks, extra sewer hose, and a special hose I only use for flushing out the black/gray tanks after dumping the tanks. Since that bay is just forward of where all those things will be used when dumping.

I have a little tool box which (waterproof) I keep in the services bay, it has all the fresh water equipment, washers, pressure regulator, "Y" Faucet adapter, anti-siphoning valve, stuff like that. If I'm in a sewer spot, I will use the anti-siphoning valve on one side of my "Y" adapter to flush the black/gray tanks after dumping. As you know it prevents water from being sucked back into the fresh water system when you turn off the main water valve.

Everyone has their own system for packing the coach with stuff, but because our smartbed switches are marginal at best, I worked hard to come up with a plan so I won't be into them very often because of the difficulty of making them work. The way I have it organized seems to work well for me.

No one seems to be able to locate a source for those switches, and no one it seems knows of an aftermarket replacement either. I wish I had not gotten the smartbeds, as getting into them is more trouble than they are worth. The manual method storage compartments would have been far easier for me.

I am confused about one part of your question, "the smartbed dropped about 3", please explain a little more clearly for me, because if it dropped down, some part of the support system must have failed, and you have a larger problem than the just the switches.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:40 PM   #4
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Oh, forgot one thing I cannot explain fully. After my coach has been sitting in our storage facility for a few days, and we go back to it. One or two of the smartbeds have opened up about 1/4-1/2". I don't know if this is being caused by heat, hyd fluid leaking past the valve or what. I cannot pull it open any further when it's found open, so I don't think someone is doing it. The coach is powered down fully, and all smartbed access is disabled. It's usually the one on the Drivers side forward, since you only have one on each side, this may not apply to your coach.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:47 PM   #5
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Let me tell you what we did after the first year of the switches working intermittently.

Tris removed the switches and found that they were not wired together very well and that the hole was so small they were crimped. He enlarged the hole, rewired them, and then he put silicone behind the switch to seal it from moisture. We have not had a problem now for a year with them not working.
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Old 08-13-2008, 04:45 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">After my coach has been sitting in our storage facility for a few days, and we go back to it. One or two of the smartbeds have opened up about 1/4-1/2". </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Monty, this is most likely caused by a leaking solenoid valve that allows fluid to pressurize the cylinder as it expands with heat. On Monday, HWH replaced a solenoid on our coach as the fix for a bed that creeped out 2-3 inches on its own in the Texas heat.

The leakage could be caused by debris stuck in the valve. Try running the bed in and out numerous times to perhaps dislodge the debris. Worth a try.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:46 AM   #7
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The SE's do not have the switches on the outside, that are giving the Apex owners problems, only the inside ones they use as backup.

Tom,

The best I can guess about your problem, would be that you have a wiring connection problem. The switches are stout and even if one failed it shouldn't cause the problem you mentioned. Having no wiring diagram does complicate diagnosing problems while not there to check it out, but from what you said, I would check the wiring on the drivers side. The wiring on that side is exposed behind the door to the AquaHot, inverter, etc, someone working in there could move or pull the wires.
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:33 AM   #8
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SWANS:
Are you using the old style thin touchpads or the "new improved" (NOT!) thick model? After 5 or 6 failures of the thin model, I have already had two of the thick model fail. Now without a source for parts, I am looking into the cost of eliminating the touchpads and fiberglass/paint the holes.

When you talk about enlarging the hole, did you cut a larger hole in the side of the coach or dig out the foam in the sidewall to allow more room for the wiring?
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:35 PM   #9
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Basil, went and got the coach today, none of the beds were out, so maybe it has fixed itself, thank you for the information. Today I pulled out all the battery watering system, and put caps on all the cells. Three were down, (figured all would be down) so the old system seemed to do some good, just not great. I like the idea of the caps, and checking it manually about once a month.
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:54 PM   #10
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Basil - Tris actually cut the hole bigger - there was no insulation foam around it. And it was the replacement switches that we found were no better. Try doing what Tris did (he says he put tape on the wires so they wouldn't pull apart) and siliconed around the switch after he mounted it (so no moisture could get in)and we have had no problems with them since he did this about a year ago!
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:43 PM   #11
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How did the switches come loose? I have heard you heat them up with a hire dryer, but I don't know about that, there are no screws as I can tell, and gaining access to the back of them is not possible, because there is no plate to remove as I can see. They are higher than the SM beds, and mostly behind the refer on the passenger side and behind the couch on the drivers side, don't even see any wires.
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Old 08-14-2008, 09:32 PM   #12
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They pry off (VERY CAREFULLY) and you cut around them first so you don't pull the paint off - & you have to reglue them if you use the same one to put back on.
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:20 PM   #13
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Thank you for the information. I will undertake this job, when I have someplace covered to do it, later this year when we have the shop.
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:46 AM   #14
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To close the loop: We're fortunate to have a master mechanic that's quite familiar with Alpine not more than a half mile from our home in Florence, OR. I'd printed out the forum responses to the question I'd posted here -- only to find he already reads this forum (!). Whatever, after thoroughly tracing all the wires to and from the hydraulic manifold, he found what may have been the culprit -- which is worth noting here in case others might have a potential similar issue in the future. Most of the wiring was apparently quite secure -- EXCEPT for the grounding strap. In addition to being a borderline gauge wire, it was "crimp" connected, and the connections at both ends were loose enough so that the wires could wiggle a bit inside the crimp connection. I'm told this could be enough to cause the issue we experienced -- though nothing is ever certain with "intermittent". Whatever, he used a larger gauge wire and soldered the connections, and we might now be good to go.

Learned one other interesting tidbit in the process. Apparently HWH advises that if the hydraulic jacks get stuck in the extended position, one is instructed to unscrew the front end of the jack solenoid to make them retract. Keith advised a better approach is to carefully unscrew one of the four 5/8 inch fittings on the top of one of the solenoids, being careful not to lose a spring, etc -- and that will relieve the pressure enough to let the jacks retract. A small bit of fluid will spill out. Doing it the HWH way can apparently result in having to replace the entire manifold.
Pls understand this non-tech person is not attempting to give advice here -- merely to report on a couple of items learned from someone who seems to be very well schooled in Alpine coaches.

Thx to all who took the time to respond.
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