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Old 04-13-2015, 09:26 AM   #1
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Multi-plex switches - Pro & Con?

We have started our search for a new DP, looking at 2015-2016 model years. It seems all the new coaches now have multiplex (?is this the right name?) switch panel 'banks.'.

We are hearing mixed reviews and would appreciate hearing from those already owning coach with multiplex switches - pro & con what your personal experiences have been?

Some examples we heard/personally observed at dealer so far are:

Salesman/WBG Grand Tour (ph) - "switches must be touched in just right spot"

Our dealer visit & Newmar Londonaire w/sillouette(?) shade upgrade, powered shades seemed difficult for us to understand up, down, and double tap to stop midway/close sillouette ? (not sure how to explain this, but small light on switch panel was only on / off, no real indication for Up/Down/close or open sillouette?)

Friend's new Tiffin Allegro 32SA (yes gas, but we assume same switch panel parts/system on all Tiffins?). They took first trip and were frustrated, writing to us, " Switches are in groups of 4 or 6 flat panel switches. Each about 1", lettering too small to read (edit note by me: we and they are retiree mid-60's). In addition, bank of switches in living area includes ones for extending/retracting slides, along with light switches...a miss-step of the finger and...well, you get the idea. Same thing in bedroom. Also, you can't see them to turn the lights ON, so chance of error even better. ......last problem, each has an indicator light to tell you if the thing it controls is on or being operated, but the switch that controls those indicator lights in all other switches is on the panel in the kitchen area which you need a light to see before you can turn it on.". [note: they added motion control LED by entry door and bath switch panels, and flex neck mini-book light in bedroom to 'pre-light' switch panel to see which switch to press. Hearing what they had to do to be safe using multiplex in their Tiffin seemed like a design faux pax to us?]

Feels like most mfr now use multiplex, so we will need to live with it on a new DP.

So, we would like to hear from other current owners, and any DP coach brand...what is your pro & con experiences using multiplex lighting in your DP? And, are multi-plex wiring switches reliable?

Safe Travels To All

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Old 04-13-2015, 10:31 AM   #2
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We have multiplex switching in our '04 American Tradition. Mostly it is a benefit for the coach builder, making the wiring simpler and cheaper. However, it allows some modest extra gee-whiz features, like opening our entry door turns on interior lighting and the porch light (at my option), and we have an "All Lights" override to turn everything on or off. Whether or not a particular coach maker & model chooses to do those sorts of extras is up to them. It also makes for a nice central location for switches and fuses and a common, easy to test, power source. It also makes it easy for the coach maker to provide switches for an item in multiple places, for convenience.

As for the switches, ours do indeed tend to be hard to read and I've added labels of my own above them (we are 70 years old)

Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:45 PM   #3
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Id you are talking about Touch Screen Controls.....

I think the idiot who came out with the idea of Touch Screen controls on the dash of a motor vehicle should be tied to a ring in the middle of a freeway for the 30 to 45 seconds it will take someone looking at their touch screen to wander onto the center line and SPLAT him.

And I'm serious about that.. It would be a deal breaker for me

Home is where I park it!
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Old 04-13-2015, 01:00 PM   #4
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I hate the multiplex switches, but you cannot find a new DP that doesn't have them.

They are quirky, hard to read, and prone to failure. The average RV mechanic cannot fix them.

If I am sitting on the sofa and want the light on or off, I have to get up and go over to the wall switch to do it. Likewise many other lights. On my old coach, all I needed to do was to reach over the the desired light and switch it on or off. No such convenience with this "improvement".

I have one wall switch panel replaced twice under warranty for failure. Warranty is about to end, so next time it is my dime.
Marc and Jill, Wellington FL
2013 Entegra Anthem 44SL
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Old 04-13-2015, 01:26 PM   #5
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We've had four American Coach's all with multiplex wiring and switchs. We have had no problems what so ever and we fulltime. Could be problem with certain brands.
American Tradition 42R-Cadillac SRX Blue Ox Koni 5050XL MCD Scangauge D Samsung rf197
Fulltime since 2012
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:13 PM   #6
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Some of the switch panels use a communications link, i.e. multiplex system. Others that may appear very similar are just low voltage control panels. The benefit of those using a communications link is that any switch can be programmed for any function. Low voltage control systems are much simpler. The switches simply control a remote bank of relays.

The biggest concern with the multiplex systems is obsolescence. Even if the manufacturer doesn't go away, some discontinue a product or supporting software.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:47 PM   #7
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Our new coach has them and I originally thought they would be the cat's meow....not so much. As noted, we were use to going over to the light and turning it off. Now we have to go to a panel and select the correct button. It takes some getting use to.

On the pro side of this, you can turn on lights in the rear of the coach from the front. Our bed has a panel underneath the overhead cabinet. It's convenient to turn on the bedroom lights and the front lights from the bed.

As we use the coach more, we've learned what buttons do what and can pretty much operate them without looking. If I were to order a new coach, like my Dutch Star, I would have a panel installed within arms length of where I routinely sit in my recliner so I could control lights in the front of the coach.
Don & Mary
2014 Newmar Dutch Star - All Electric - 450 ISL
2016 GMC Canyon 4WD Crew Cab
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:59 PM   #8
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I don't like all this BS crap they are putting on new coaches. My friends new Anthem has had Six window motors replaced in Six months and you can't raise or lower the shades individualy it's all up or all down on the whole side. I like my old switches just fine and manual shades are a lot less problems. Think I will keep my 05 coach. Just my two cents.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:22 PM   #9
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Does that mean you want to go back to points and condenser on your coach engine, or a mechanical diesel. It's like someone who says they'll never buy a car with power windows because they'll eventually break. electronics have made life better for EVERYONE. Sometimes it takes a few years to get the reliability built in, but I certainly don't want to go backwards!
Don & Mary
2014 Newmar Dutch Star - All Electric - 450 ISL
2016 GMC Canyon 4WD Crew Cab
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:01 PM   #10
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I thought the discussion was the use of multiplex, not going back to "points and condensers", that's straying a tad OT.

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Old 04-14-2015, 12:42 AM   #11
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At least I could change points and condenser without an expensive computer to analyze my problems. I am all for progress but my old simple switches are really dependable.
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:14 AM   #12
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There is something to be said for "dependable". I understand that this technology makes the wiring much simpler in some ways and consequently cheaper but that is to the benefit of the manufacturer, not so much the end user especially if the end user has to spend time and effort just trying to figure out how to turn a light on and off or close a shade. The idea that one has to get up, go to panel somewhere just to turn on a light that you were sitting in arms reach of does not seem like an improvement to me. It certainly hasn't made coaches any more economical for the end user. Funny that.

1999 - National Tropi Cal
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