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Old 02-15-2021, 01:55 PM   #1
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Looking for input on Micro-Air EasyStart installation failure

Hi gang!

I, again, look to the collective brilliance and experience of those who offer their assistance to us newbie RVers. Several of you have already been indispensable with regards to my electrical/battery issues so I'm hoping some of you might have a similar troubleshooting issue with these MicroSoft EasyStart 364 units.

I installed two of these this past weekend on my two Penguin 13.5k AC units. (I'm pretty sure they are both Penguin 1 models based on the pictures in the installation doc--location of and actual parts are a match.) Although, oddly, the rear AC does not look the same as the front AC--maybe one was replaced along the way? The front one has a slotted cover and there is very sturdy white styrofoam casings around the front of the unit; the back one doesn't have any styrofoam or anything else inside--just some poorly seated foam instulation taped to the top to pad/seal the unit when the cover is back on. Otherwise, they appear to have the same parts and wiring and I wired them both the same way (with a different mounting location for the EasyStart).

I double-checked the wires against the diagram before I closed up. The only thing I could not confirm were the "C", "H/HERM", or "other (Fan)" designators on the top of the run cap (I didn't see any legible markings) so I did (I hope not incorrectly) assume that white wire cluster is "C" and red wire cluster is "H" (and brown wire is fan).

One of the challenges is that I don't have access to 50A shore power here (or even 30A) so I have to rely on the onboard generator for power when starting these up. Installation instructions say shore power is preferred but it is acceptable to use generator power (without eco mode turned on). My generator is a Onan QD 8000 HDKAK Spec K, which I'm pretty sure has plenty of power to do what's needed. And, as far as I can tell, there isn't an "Eco mode" feature (so no way to disable such feature). So I think I should be ok there.

But here is where I ran into trouble: when I first turned on the AC/heat pump units via the Comfort Control wall thermostat (which give you 30 seconds or more to make settings before it actually activates the units), everything looked good so I turned both units (Zone1 and Z2) to Cool and set them to 50 degrees. I waited for something to happen and, after about 30 seconds, the Comform Control display panel went "mostly" blank: the zone numbers were still visible at the bottom of the display but all the rest (temp, mode, settings) disappeared and they would not come back on when pressing any of the buttons. Should I expect this during the learning process? I couldn't find any troubleshooting info for this specific symptom so not sure if I should've expected this.

I waited several minutes in case it was operating normally to see if any air started coming out of the vents but no luck so I turned off the AC thinking maybe it's just too cold today for it to turn on. Then I turned the unit back on and put them both on heat, instead, and set it to 80. Same results. But then I caught the note about the EasyStart not restarting within 3 to 5 minutes after being shut down so I shut them off and waited 5+ minutes and tried again--this time only the Z1 (turned Z2 off) and put it back on AC but lowered to 40. Still no luck and display went off again and would not come back on (until after I turn off and back on again). I turned it off and then tried the same on the Z2 -- one of these should work, right? But same result.

I'm going to go out and try again (after I disconnect shore power so there can't be any confusing input to Inverter); I'll run only the generator and only one zone at a time. If still no luck, then I guess I'm climbing back up on top to remove covers and watch components to see if the fan ever comes on, let alone the compressor, and to see what light/error code comes up on the EasyStart units. But I'm hoping someone who reads this will have experienced this same symptom (the display panel going blank) and might be able to point me in the right direction before I get too deep (or more blisters on my knees from crawling around on the roof! ).

Thanks in advance for any and all time and advice!
--Bill
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Old 02-15-2021, 05:42 PM   #2
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To follow up on the original post before anyone does any digging or writing on my behalf, I went out and tried both AC units independently and still no go. And, to clarify, the Comfort Control display does not "shut off"... I still see the zone numbers at the bottom and the backlight comes on when I hit the Mode or other buttons--there just isn't any information on the display.

I did fid the manual for both the board installation and the control operation and I'm guessing that's why the electrical boxes were a little messed up when I got there Sunday--someone upgraded the original boards in these units to adapt to the Comfort Control unit. And I found reset info where you can reset the Control unit by--with the unit turned off--pressing the Mode and Zone buttons simultaneously and then turn the unit on while still pressing those buttons. It's supposed to show "FF," which it does up until I let go of the buttons but then it shows "EE" (communication problem I think). So I'm thinking in my wiring exercises, I either accidentally flipped a DIP switch or pulled/damaged a connector/wire. Guess I'll be climbing back up on top tomorrow to see if this is an easy fix. ::fingers crossed!::
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:38 PM   #3
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Well, that didn't work... so if anyone has any suggestions or past experience with this problem, I could really use some ideas. I went back up on top of the rig and checked out both AC units. As far as I can tell, all the wiring is correct. And I confirmed with Micro-Air that the EasyStart units shouldn't have anything to do with the Comfort Control Center (CCC) unit not working. In fact, the unit won't even turn on now since I tried resetting it--I am stuck on the "EE" message on the display, which is supposedly an issue with communication wires (which I didn't touch--at least not intentionally--and which appear to be fully seated on both units).

I'm thinking I'll have to get a really long wire and try putting an ohm meter on the ends of these wires to make sure none of the wires are broken inside the sleeve or at one of the pins but, beyond that, I'm at a loss.

Any other ideas?
Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2021, 05:34 PM   #4
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What's the purpose of the Easy Starts???
You already have starters for your AC's.
Here is a search for Easy Start maybe something in it will help.
Reading this search Easy Start with one Gen for two AC's, your Gen can run both AC's with out a problem so do not see ES necessary in this case.
Is it because you want to run two AC's on a 30amp supply at state campground so 30 amp will be shifted between the two AC's, what happens when you want to use Micro or your coffee pot, than run Gen.
If your Ac's got a new control the circuit boards in both AC's would have been changed to operate off the new AC control.
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Old 02-20-2021, 05:54 PM   #5
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Your QD 8000 is a variable speed, inverter generator.

I didn't read the bulk of your posts but your going to need steady power to set the micro things up properly.
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Old 02-20-2021, 06:17 PM   #6
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Twinboat why would he even need this setup??? Glad you know what he may be up to, my age is catching up with me in all this new stuff.
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Old 02-20-2021, 08:12 PM   #7
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Haven't had a chance to catch up on this thread....going to school again on the Airbus.

I can take a minute to explain what benefit having an Easy Start device adds. They don't all apply to our Newmars.

1) The most common use is to allow the use of smaller sized portable generators to run an Air Conditioner. Lot's of folks boondock with smallish Inverter generators...2,200 to 2,800 watt. They don't reliably defeat the locked rotor amperage while trying to spin up a compressor motor. The Easy Start is a Masterful remedy to this problem.

2) Running an Air Conditioner off of the Inverter. Alone...running a rooftop air off inverter is a tough challenge. Locked rotor amps is only part of the problem. We found that you can run one rooftop AC for maybe four hours. At that point you'll have 50% charge...right when you need them to be fully charged to get thru the night. I discounted the whole thing. Then CoreyWP asked...what about while driving. NealC already had added the selector switch and Easy Start and did a trail. The BIM when using Lead Acid batteries ties beautifully. This gives your bank a certain level of assist from the generator. Leece-Neville Alternators come in different amperage. Ours, as I recall are around 240A. The larger 300+ A models are commonly used to run rooftop AC units on School Busses. Ours will work...especially if it is assisting a Solar equipped coach.

3) 30A campgrounds. The Easy Start winds up again saving the day. This is an added bonus. I figured it out while camping at Ft Clinch SP. Very few sites are 50A. We wound up with a 30A only site. With two easy starts...I thought I would try to run two Air Conitioners off 30A. I set the AGS for backup...we went to the beach for a quick look...and came back to the generator running. After thought...I figured out the 30A shore is adequate to run the two air conditioners with Easy Starts...but throw the residential fridge on top of that...and it sheds. With AGS set to Temerature on Ext. INPUT --- the AGS cranks the generator when the load shed occurs. The idea crossed my mind....I can run the entire coach during daylight hours off solar. So, with the ME-ARC remote you can program triggers for the inverter. I selected a state of charge trigger. So, with AC-IN set to SOC of 80%...the Inverter switches to battery power until the batteries run down to the 80% setting. This means everything we need can run off the inverter...freeing all 30A of shore power to run two air conditioners. This means leaving Oasis AC1 and AC2 off...or if you do leave one on, it will shed everytime both air conditioner are running. You can fire up the diesel burner for hot water. The induction cooktop is also sidelined during dual air conditioner use. The fridge, microwave, entertainment system, outlets, lighting, all run off battery power using the Inverter. The great thing is...our Solar is keeping the batteries fully charged the whole time. When night falls...we simply turn one air conditioner off...and allow the inverter to reconnect to shore power. One air conditioner does a great job of cooling at night. But you really need two during the day when its 90 degrees and your site is in full sun. Many people would care less...and avoid 30A campsites as a rule. We live in a hot summer climate in Florida...and over the years have a few places we used to camp in our 30' fifth wheel that was 30A. So, with a 40ft motorhome...all electric...you normally would have to either pass on 30A site opportunities...try to live with the heat...or run your generator during the day. With Solar, Easy Starts, and the ME-ARC remote...the 30A site isn't really a hardship. For me...this is my favorite reason to have them. Similar benefit would be realized for the folks that like to driveway surf or moochdock on a relatives driveway. Using a 20A shore power cord...and the same management practice...you could at least have one air conditioner on 20A...while using solar for the rest of the systems. Dont have a residential fridge? Then your solar doesn't have to be as big...but it can afford you comfortable living when 50A isn't available...and running the generator would be a nuisance.
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Old 02-21-2021, 12:11 PM   #8
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Thanks for that explanation, Charlie, I was getting there after reading some more of web site, boondocking must be the way to go these days.
I think I'LL stick with the old stuff from now on to old to start learning about all that's out there these days, you newbies sure like to have fun.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Your QD 8000 is a variable speed, inverter generator.

I didn't read the bulk of your posts but your going to need steady power to set the micro things up properly.
Thanks, TB! I'll keep this in mind. The installation and setup instructions recommend 50A hookup (or at least 30A and run learning cycles for only one at a time) but it also said that, if shore power is unavailable, that a generator with enough power to run the AC will work.

That said, what you say makes sense--I don't know enough to confirm that the QD 8000 will *not* work for this part of the process but I understand how that might pose a problem. However, I can't even power on the thermostat unit now (CCC); so after I rest the CCC, I'm unable to get to the point where the AC unit would try to start up through the EasyStart--all I get is the EE message and I haven't found any other way to reset the control panel so that I can try turning the units on.

I'm going to try calling Dometic again tomorrow to see if they can provide any additional reset or troubleshooting info. I couldn't call last week because they are on the East Coast, they close at 2PM my time M-Th and at 11AM on Fridays so they are first on my list of things to do tomorrow.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Thanks for that explanation, Charlie, I was getting there after reading some more of web site, boondocking must be the way to go these days.
I think I'LL stick with the old stuff from now on to old to start learning about all that's out there these days, you newbies sure like to have fun.
Yes, thanks for chiming in, Charlie!

007: what Charlie said. Primarily, I'm hoping to be able to run at least one of these AC units when we visit our son's family (with our two grandsons) in Nevada and I'm pretty sure we will not have more than the 15 or 20A connection when parked in front of their home. And it would also help when using Harvest Host, Boondockers Welcome, or other 1 or 2 night stopovers between resorts where generators are often frowned on or not allowed even. But some do offer 15-20A connections.

Theoretically, I could return everything to the way it was on one of these two units so long as I can get the other to work. But that said, with the crowding in RV parks, it would also be nice to have the option and ability to run *both* units on hot days when we are relegated to a 30A campsite because all the 50A spots are already taken.

I'm not too worried about heat--we can run a space heater or the furnace for heat if needed (albeit with some tradeoffs and additional cost for propane) but it would be nice to be able to run the heat pumps in these two AC units when needed in cold weather, as well, without needing to run the generator or to have a 50A connection.

But, so far, this seems out of reach for me... everyone in all the reviews I read said this process (installing EasyStarts) was so easy and went so well! I only wish I knew what I did wrong or what is different about my setup that has me stymied. Maybe tomorrow will bring good news... ::fingers crossed::
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:59 PM   #11
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I didn't label these...but found them on my phone.

I can pull a cover next time I'm up cleaning panels...to sort which is front and which is rear.

This is how my dip switches were configured before I did the Easy Start. Took photo for reference in case I accidentally bumped one.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:33 PM   #12
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The top picture is the front AC, no zone is on. The second picture is the second one from the front (rear if you have two. If you had a third the zone 3 would be on.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:59 PM   #13
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I would double check the phone cable on the back of the CCC first as it's the easiest. Your front AC should have one from the CCC and next to it another one that connects to the second AC. Mine plug in at the bottom of the control board in each AC. If you think the cable is bad pick up a 20' and plug in to the AC on the roof and run it in the door to the CCC. When you call Dometic ask which one of the two phone cables in the front AC is from the CCC, I don't know if it's marked.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I didn't label these...but found them on my phone.

I can pull a cover next time I'm up cleaning panels...to sort which is front and which is rear.

This is how my dip switches were configured before I did the Easy Start. Took photo for reference in case I accidentally bumped one.
Yep--that's what I learned from the Dometic support team last week (she was great, by the way! =). And it turned out that I didn't bump any of those--they were and still are all set the same way as in your pictures with only heat pump and furnace turned on for both units and zone 2 is on for the rear unit. And I think I'll need to turn on the last switch on both units, too, when I install the AGS unit eventually. So no DIP switch issues.
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