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Author: Subject: Do car electronics suffer from periods of storage?
Sanzomat

posted on 7/8/21 at 06:48 PM Reply With Quote
Do car electronics suffer from periods of storage?

I'm reasonably okay with the oily bits and nuts and bolts. I even think I'm reasonably okay with wiring generally. Its the electronics bits that seem to baffle me.

Several months ago I bought a BEC Locost that had been off the road since 2015, garage stored. I've been working through all the recommissioning things you'd expect and some upgrades but it seems most of the electronics are dead or dying and this has taken me by surprise.

Fuel was running on Megasquirt. It seemed to work(ish) for a while but has now died.
Ignition was running off the original Yamaha bike module but not running well.
It had a Tech Edge wideband controller that seemed to be working for a while but soon after pushed out an error code and now won't work at all.
The Smiths electronic speedo and electronic rev counter are both doing odd things.

Hence the question in the title. Do electronics suffer during storage, or indeed just old age? The car was built/SVA'd circa 2002 and it seems the Megasquirt and WB controller are from that era based on the models. The instruments will be that age too. I guess we think ourselves lucky if our home gadgets still work after nearly 20 years but I kind of thought electronic items should last kind of for ever.

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David Jenkins

posted on 7/8/21 at 07:40 PM Reply With Quote
One of the biggest issues can be corroded connections, especially earths, particularly if the car's been sitting around in a garage for a while.

A good start would be to take apart every earth connection you can find (one at a time!) and clean all traces of corrosion off with a wire brush, emery cloth, or similar, then clean the earth post/screw hole itself. Then reassemble/reconnect. You would be amazed at how many problems this can fix. Pay particular attention to the battery terminals, where the battery's negative lead connects to the chassis, and where it's positive connects to the car's system. Oh - don't forget the earth strap between the engine block and the chassis.

Also pull each fuse in turn and replace it a few times. Separate & reconnect all connectors a few times to clear corrosion.

See where you're at after all this!





The older I get, the better I was...

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Sanzomat

posted on 7/8/21 at 08:07 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
One of the biggest issues can be corroded connections, especially earths, particularly if the car's been sitting around in a garage for a while.

A good start would be to take apart every earth connection you can find (one at a time!) and clean all traces of corrosion off with a wire brush, emery cloth, or similar, then clean the earth post/screw hole itself. Then reassemble/reconnect. You would be amazed at how many problems this can fix. Pay particular attention to the battery terminals, where the battery's negative lead connects to the chassis, and where it's positive connects to the car's system. Oh - don't forget the earth strap between the engine block and the chassis.

Also pull each fuse in turn and replace it a few times. Separate & reconnect all connectors a few times to clear corrosion.

See where you're at after all this!

Thanks David. I'd class the earths, fuses etc as electrical rather than electronics and within the areas where I have at least a little competence. I did all those things you've suggested as part of my initial recommissioning. All was actually remarkably good in those respects. I've been over all the connections to the failing electronic components and the live feeds are within a few hundredths of a volt of the battery voltage and the resistance of the circuits (both live feeds and ground runs) are all negligible/zero.

I remain baffled as to why several electronic components should all fail within a short period of being brought back into use. Seems too many for them to be coincidental. I can sort of understand the Megasquirt and the WB controller suffering as they were both originally supplied in DIY component form so there is a common link in that the soldering was done by the same DIY person. Having said that the circuit boards themselves look fine with no obvious visible abnormalities/defects. They just no longer work!

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Schrodinger

posted on 7/8/21 at 09:12 PM Reply With Quote
Is there a battery of any kind in the components?
Damp atmosphere would not help and could corrode inside the electronics.





Keith

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perksy

posted on 8/8/21 at 08:38 AM Reply With Quote
Damp is not good, hence the little silica bags that come in the boxes
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Bluemoon

posted on 8/8/21 at 11:45 AM Reply With Quote
Alternator not overcharging? i.e. regulator not working and charging at a higher the normal voltage?

[Edited on 8/8/21 by Bluemoon]

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BenB

posted on 8/8/21 at 12:24 PM Reply With Quote
If its moisture one option with dials with "normal" (ie non led) bulbs is wire them up with the bulbs on. The heat can radiate into the dial and dry them out.
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Sanzomat

posted on 8/8/21 at 01:05 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bluemoon
Alternator not overcharging? i.e. regulator not working and charging at a higher the normal voltage?

[Edited on 8/8/21 by Bluemoon]


I've checked all my logs in MegalogViewer and voltage varies between 13.8 and 14.2v so charging voltage seems to be fine.

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obfripper

posted on 8/8/21 at 03:00 PM Reply With Quote
More age than damp, but 2 tantalum capacitors on my ms1 failed a couple years ago.
It was easy to diagnose as the failure mode was short circuit with no power/comms to processor, and it melted a track on the pcb due to this. A bridge wire and replacing all the original tantalum caps at this point sorted out the problem.
If you have a megasquirt stim, you can diagnose most problems by working through the assembly manual and checking for the appropriate voltages as you go.

When i first built the ms1 i did also have the injector fet driver fail, the original spec chip was very sensitive to voltage spikes. In my case it failed locking the injectors open at ignition on, the later spec chip has not given any problems though.


Dave

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Sanzomat

posted on 8/8/21 at 03:45 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by obfripper
More age than damp, but 2 tantalum capacitors on my ms1 failed a couple years ago.
It was easy to diagnose as the failure mode was short circuit with no power/comms to processor, and it melted a track on the pcb due to this. A bridge wire and replacing all the original tantalum caps at this point sorted out the problem.
If you have a megasquirt stim, you can diagnose most problems by working through the assembly manual and checking for the appropriate voltages as you go.

When i first built the ms1 i did also have the injector fet driver fail, the original spec chip was very sensitive to voltage spikes. In my case it failed locking the injectors open at ignition on, the later spec chip has not given any problems though.


Dave

Interesting to know. I don't have the stim. A friend who knows a lot more about standalone ECUs than me took a look at it (the MS2) and determined that the MS2 daugterboard (in a v2.2 main board) was dead but didn't get as far as diagnosing why. As well as fixing it, to make it run the ignition would have required a VR module adding and the ignition drivers sorting as they were missing from the build. He had a spare Speeduino pretty much ready to go left over from a project that never happened so he let me have that at cost and that is now happily running the ignition and fuel. If any of the MS bits are of use as spares let me know.

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Sanzomat

posted on 8/8/21 at 03:46 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Schrodinger
Is there a battery of any kind in the components?
Damp atmosphere would not help and could corrode inside the electronics.

As far as I know no batteries in them.

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gremlin1234

posted on 8/8/21 at 04:12 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by obfripper
More age than damp, but 2 tantalum capacitors on my ms1 failed a couple years ago.
It was easy to diagnose as the failure mode was short circuit with no power/comms to processor, and it melted a track on the pcb due to this. A bridge wire and replacing all the original tantalum caps at this point sorted out the problem.
If you have a megasquirt stim, you can diagnose most problems by working through the assembly manual and checking for the appropriate voltages as you go.

When i first built the ms1 i did also have the injector fet driver fail, the original spec chip was very sensitive to voltage spikes. In my case it failed locking the injectors open at ignition on, the later spec chip has not given any problems though.


Dave

I have heard of many electrolytic capacitors failing due to drying out. - but I think they usually fail open circuit. (and spew their guts out though expansion)
its good to know that tantalum ones do also fail, and their mode of failure.
makes fault finding just one bit easier

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