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Old 07-14-2019, 08:12 PM   #1
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AS luck would have it

We are leaving in a week for a couple month long vacation to Alaska. I am trying to get everything ready to go when my 5 button duotherm thermostat starting giving me trouble. All was working well until I went inside the unit and it was warm inside. Hmmmm I looked at the thermostat and only zone 1 was displayed. When i tried to page to zone 2 or 3 or 4 the display screen was blank. Only zone 1 was showing.

I popped it off the wall and disconnect the rj11 connector in the rear and replugged it in. Viola.. everything started working. About 30 minutes later again the last 3 zones would not display thus the other 2 ac units would not run. Yes it had 4 zones programmed into it but only 3 heat pumps installed. Zone 4 has always been dead with nothing attached.

I fooled with it for the past 2 days with no luck. I reset the thermostat by mode and zone button and turning it back on. Now I only have one zone showing and cannot find the information on how to program additional zones into it. Besides getting mad and irritated this is kicking my rear since i cannot find the info on how to program my heat pumps, additional zones and my furnace located below. Time is of the essence since we are leaving in a week.

Does anyone know how to step by step program these 5 button duotherm thermostats with the above information??

Any help would be appreciated...TIA
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:25 PM   #2
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Is this it? https://www.manualslib.com/manual/83...09228-001.html
Need the troubleshooting guide? http://bryantrv.com/docs2/docs/ccc5.pdf

Try using Duck Duck Go search engine, it has worked better than Bing or any of the others for me.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:36 PM   #3
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Hello Tanman32225,
What you are experiencing is a "broken communications" line between your thermostat and the AC/Heat Pump units. Having experiencing this problem and totally understanding how the system works, let me shed some light on this subject.


1. First, the thermostat does not program the AC units. Each AC unit has a control board with DIP switches. These DIP switches set the "address" for each unit - i.e. zone 1, 2 or 3
2. When you did a reset on the thermostat, and lets say the communications link is "broken" with zone 2, only zone 1 will appear.
3. Now for the real problem: You have to go up on the roof and remove the cover for each AC unit. Once the cover is off, there are two items to look at.
4. Each control board has a cover to it. You need to remove this cover to get at the RJ11 connectors/wires. Remove each connector a couple of times and reinsert them. This creates a "wiping action" for the contacts. Once this is done, them re-program the thermostat once again to see if the additional zones appear.
5. If this does not solve the problem then you are in the next PIA solution. You need to remove the plenum to get at the RJ11 connectors as shown in the picture I have posted. Again, remove and reinsert each connector going into the coupler.
6. Finally, when you tried to "establish" communications between the thermostat and the AC units, remember to reset the thermostat each time. Luckily, if the links are again established, after resetting the thermostat, the zones will reappear.


Unfortunately, this is a very lousy way of making the connections between the thermostat and the AC units. It is prone to failure. Motorhome electrical designers should be shot, hung, and left out to dry using such an inferior system. Any car manufacture uses a secure, water tight connector, not cheap RJ11 wires and connectors.


If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.


Best Regards
Dutch Master
2008 Newmar KSDP
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:26 AM   #4
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Thank you Dutch... I am leaning towards exactly what u said. Last night after extensive research into the thermostat i concluded they must pick up each ac unit by the dip switch settings of each ac unit board.

Now here is where it takes a slightly different turn. This all began after the technician working on the roof lost his balance and fell onto the #1 ac unit cracking the cover. Did he fall hard enough to damage the board I dont know. But when I picked up the unit it was hot as hades so i started the genset which I knew would start the overhead units as I drove home. Only one started and the rest did not which I thought odd. When I got home I found a circuit breaker tripped. Hmmmm that has never happened but I reset it and the ac units all came on in a few minutes. Problem fixed..whew... NO..only beginning.. that is when unit 2 and 3 both went blank on the thermostat. When I unplugged itthe thermostat all the units came back on line and I figured like you said a crappy way to establish connection but it all seemed to work.. an few minutes later ac #2 an 3 were both back off line. It continued like this over and over. Unplug the thermostat and all would come back on line for 20 to 30 secs then #2 and 3 would disappear.

What I can fathom is both units going off line at the same time or are they daisy chained?? Meaning if 2 goes down, does it take out #3 also???

Is this a random event or did the tech damage the board when he fell on the ac unit.. He told me he just barely cracked the top but I did not see it.

Any more advice would be appreciated by you or others.. Im in a pickle here trying to do last minute dr appts etc before we leave which at this point is never until the ac's are all up and running properly.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:11 AM   #5
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Hello Again Tanman3225,
You are correct - the units are "daisy chained" using the RJ11 wires and connectors. Each control board has an input and output connector (via parallel connection on the board). I rather doubt that the control board was broken when the tech fell on it, but could have disturbed the RJ11 connections. This bears out your comment when after you reset the circuit breaker and units 2 and 3 came back online. The RJ11 couplers in the picture I posted are located within the plenum, which is a very hard plastic and therefore protected. Sounds like one of the RJ11 connectors got "rattled" on the control board - which would be the most likely the culprit. Sounds like the connection between unit 1 and 2 got disconnected. This is where I would start - unit 1 to unit 2 connection on the control board - found on either of the control board #1 (output) to control board #2 (input). If this does not solve the problem, then the next task is to go to the couplers found within the plenum. Once the communication line is established between unit 1 and 2, I bet unit 3 will also come online

I am attaching the Dometic 5 button control manual for your further review. This is how I gained knowledge to troubleshoot my problem. But my explanation is a "cliff notes" of what the manual describes.


Best Regards
Dutch Master
2008 Newmar KSDP
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File Type: pdf Dometic Comfort Control Center (5 button).pdf (672.6 KB, 3 views)
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:01 PM   #6
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Thank you, Dutch...
I did not proceed any further into it as time is passing fast and we are scheduled to leave Fla on Saturday. Last minute dr appts and chores precluded me BFE. If not I'm a happy camper.

The tech did leave me another extra thermostat he had just in case mine is the culprit on the road I would have another to plug in and try.

Again thank you for all your assistance and the manual I will save with my other docs. I now have a much greater understanding of how the system works for the future.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:43 PM   #7
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sorry about the above.. i think some of it got deleted probably from my fat fumble fingers hitting the keys too fast ...but thanks again
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