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Old 01-20-2022, 02:45 PM   #1
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Replace BIRD with a BIM on an older Newmar coach?

I read through this older thread as best I could:


https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/bir...im-236021.html


My issue is this: I have a 2005 Mountain Aire 43' DP. Using testing procedures that others on the forum have so generously offered up, I am reasonably sure that the solenoid on the BIRD system has gone bad. In researching these BIRD systems, the failure of this solenoid seems to be common enough that the failure of the solenoid is almost a when rather than if situation.



I ordered a replacement from Newmar, and what showed up is not the mechanical type solenoid that's in there now. It's a newer style solid state looking unit called a BIM. In reading through what I could find on the net, it seems to be more advanced in the way it operates, and it's got fewer if any moving parts. Whereas the older style "clunk - clunk" mechanical solenoid in the BIRD system seems to be a common point of failure, apparently these BIM type units are relatively trouble free.


I'm not a wiring guru at all. I can pull and replace the older style solenoid easily. What I can't do is start re-engineering the system. What I have in the coach now is an mechanical solenoid controlled by the Intellitec Bi-Directional Isolator Relay, essentially a small black box hooked up to the solenoid that's the brains of the operation. The box decides what the solenoid should do and sends the appropriate signal to the solenoid to clunk into the appropriate positon to charge, start, etc.



Looking at the schematic of this older setup on the Intellitec paperwork, it seems the the solenoid has a terminal for each of the two battery banks (chassis and house), a ground terminal, and a terminal for the wire from the switch in the cab that allows for the house batteries to be used to start the engine when the chassis batteries are low.


The BIM225 manufactured by Precision Circuits, Inc that Newmar sent to me has 5 terminals. They are marked Batt A, Batt B, Ign, Gnd and Sig. It would seem to my relatively uneducated perspective that this BIM is not a simple bolt in direct replacement. On the BIM, the Batt A, Batt B and gnd terminals are easy and self explanatory. I have no idea what wires got to the IGN and SIG terminals, as neither wire is accounted for on the current solenoid.


While I really am attracted to the enhanced reliability of the BIM, I'm not sure about how to get it hooked up and running. Another key question is will it even work with the little black box brain that's in the coach now. Is the BIM even compatible with that?



If there's a real quick easy explanation of how to hook it up with the wires that are currently on the old solenoid, and IF it's compatible with the black box part of the system that's there, I'll use it. If not I'll just bolt in the old style system. What would you guys do? What do you think? Is it even worth trying to switch over to the BIM or should I just stick wth the BIRD?
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Old 01-20-2022, 04:03 PM   #2
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You should be able to switch the wires from the BIRD to the new BIM wire for wire. This is what each do:

You already are familiar with the coach and chassis battery wires which are hooked up to Batt A (the coach) and Batt B (the chassis. The ground is self explanatory.

The Ign is the circuit from the chassis' electrical system that is hot when the ignition is on. It is required to be hot for the BIM or BIRD to be active. Use a voltmeter to find which one it is on the BIRD. The SIG terminal is the output of the Aux Bat or Aux Start switch on the dash. Also use a meter to find which one that is by pushing the switch and see if the suspected wire goes hot.

Attached is a pdf of the BIM 160 data sheet, a lighter duty version of the 225 (unless you have the lithium version, which I doubt). Also attached is a pdf of the BIRD data sheet. The five connections: chassis battery, coach battery, ground, Ign and the Aux Start switch are all shown.

David
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Precision Circuits BIM 160-Rev7-1.pdf (711.5 KB, 22 views)
File Type: pdf Intellitec BIRD 53-00362-100.pdf (105.0 KB, 24 views)
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Old 01-20-2022, 04:12 PM   #3
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I got a new solenoid made in USA off Amazon for about $70 and problem solved, im pretty sure the old one was original so I expect it to be the last one I need.

https://www.amazon.com/Trombetta-114...bap_m_rp_32_sc


Just my .02
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Old 01-21-2022, 05:07 AM   #4
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I thought you were going to use a multimeter to gather voltage readings so we can help you diagnose the existing system? This is not rocket science.
Don't confuse the situation by introducing new equipment into the mix. Lets find out if the original system is really broken.
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Old 01-21-2022, 06:07 AM   #5
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It appears the ign terminal is some sort of optional connection and is not needed. So it is basically a plug and play device.

However you would want to bypass the existing Bird controller so only the Emergency start signal gets to the Sig terminal. That would be easy enough.

But one thing this device does not take into account. On may diesel models the Bird controller has a Generator sense line which disables the Bird Controller when the RV is running and the Generator is also running. This prevents some complaints your Alternator Fail Light may report. It is not a major issue and often turning on some loads such as the headlights calms things down.

The factory setup on your rv is not bullet proof and yes those solenoids do need to be replaced sometimes. But so does your oil filter and no one complains about that. It is just hard to explain to folks that some electronics do wear out. They are electromechanical.

The new BIM you have is also mechanical. It states it has a metal contactor that slides on or off but the power to do that is only needed for a brief time.

Since you don't want to reengineer the system I would highly suggest just replacing the old solenoid. And take the old one apart to take pictures of to post so folks can see the internal issues.

It looks like the BIM is a good choice for those more adept and modifying electronics.

Your write up was one of the best I have ever seen posted.
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Old 01-22-2022, 12:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RKins View Post
I thought you were going to use a multimeter to gather voltage readings so we can help you diagnose the existing system? This is not rocket science.
Don't confuse the situation by introducing new equipment into the mix. Lets find out if the original system is really broken.
Rick,
I did check it. First thing I did was have my wife hit the switch that links the house and chassis batteries together to start the engine when the chassis batteries are low. Nada - it doesn't work. No clunk, no click, no joining of battery banks together, nothing.
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Old 01-22-2022, 04:22 AM   #7
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What voltage are you seeing on the heavy lugs of the big relay? You can also measure the trigger voltage on the wire coming from the "Relay" contact of the BIRD. That would tell me if the BIRD is trying to activate the big relay.
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Old 01-23-2022, 12:09 PM   #8
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Sorry for the lack of response, Rick and everyone. I'm on the road on an extended trip for work, I won't be hone until late Tuesday.
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