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Old 05-17-2020, 06:03 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 6
Espar d5 - no start, no error codes

I'm a relatively new SMB owner (2010 EB50) and have run into some issues with my Espar D5 unit. This board has been super helpful for trouble-shooting, but now I'm stumped. Importantly, I have not been able to get any error codes from the controller, even after going into dA mode, nothing shows. I do have the altitude kit and I have read in some places that this will prevent error codes showing. Fact or fiction?

Attached are photos of my system. Here's the chronology of the problem and things I've tried.

Switched on the "system", "furnace" and "hot water" toggles. Recirculation pumps come on, D5 fuel pump clicks, D5 winds up, no start. It tries again, then quits. No error codes. I shut everything down and retry x4-6 times.

Pull the fuel filter from the pump, looks pretty clean, but I soak with isopropyl alcohol and replace. Still no start.

Go to the gas station and fill the fuel tank (was at about 2/5 full) and test the water heater again, but the van engine is hot. Lots of hot water and hot air from furnace (note, this is not a D4 furnace, just hot water circulating from engine or D5). The heat now is not from the D5 unit, just from recirculation off the engine coolant.

Next morning, I try to start the hot water heater but now no fuel pump clicking at all. Just recirculation pumps and nothing else. Argg, going backwards now.

I pulled the wiring harness to the fuel pump and hot wired 12v battery to fuel pump directly. It makes a single click each time I pulse power. Is that what it should do?

I was worried that all my restart attempts have locked up the control unit, but I can't tell for sure. I have pulled all three fuses (D5 and Altitude under the bench seat, and the 20A in the main fuse section) to attempt a reset. All look fine. Note that I did not need to remove any fuses during the 6-8 restarts the day before.

Now I am out of ideas. Without any error codes I am in the dark. Does anyone else have the high altitude kit with the D5 and know if you can see error codes? Any ideas what to try next?
Attached Thumbnails
full control panel.jpg   espar unit.jpg   ESPAR D5WS.jpg  

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Old 08-04-2020, 03:26 PM   #2
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Help is on the way 18009256260 ask for Mike. he can help. Good luck

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Old 08-04-2020, 09:51 PM   #3
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^^^^Ditto the above. You have tried everything I would have tried, I do not have the high altitude kit. Rixens knows their stuff, call and ask or pull and send, they will get you straightened out.
“Flint” - 2016 SMB Sprinter 4x4 144" RB 150S w/ PH
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Old 11-11-2020, 07:00 PM   #4
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I am posting a follow up and resolution of the problems with the Espar D5 unit in my van. Big thanks for the recommendation to contact Rixen. Jim and Mike know their stuff like nobody else. Also, they are super helpful over the phone and got me well on the way to a fix.

So what happened to my system? Most likely an electronic lock-out (050 code) due to too many failed starts, which was caused by low fuel level in the tank (052 code). The fix for the lock-out is to read the error codes on the electronic control unit (ECU) and clear them (see below for how to do this on the 801 ECU).

Now this is where it gets interesting. The ECU communicates with the burner via the purple wire. However, the altitude kit also uses this wire to communicate and prevents error codes from being seen on the ECU. That’s why I could not see any codes.

So the altitude kit does in fact prevent error codes from being read.

The purple wire of the altitude kit will typically be spliced into the purple wire going between the ECU and the burner. This needs to be removed temporarily to enable code to be read. While you don’t need to read error codes too often (hopefully!) it might make sense to wire a switch in there instead of under a yard of e-tape.

In my case, the folks at Rixen were able to describe exactly how the wiring should be done between the ECU, the 4 switch panel, altitude kit, and burner. There were multiple errors in the way my system was wired. I don’t know if this was from the previous owner or the original build. In any case, once wired up correctly, minus the altitude kit, I could see the codes and clear them.

Still no start. I was very sad. But I now saw a new error code “071 - overheating sensor.” As luck had it, I was planning a road trip that would take me within 100 miles of the Rixen shop in Oregon, so I scheduled an appointment for a few weeks later. Once I got there, Mike had the unit fired up and running in less than an hour.

Earlier in the summer I had taken the van to another shop (not to be named) to work on the Espar. They did not diagnose the problem, even after taking the unit apart. When they reassembled it, apparently they did not seat the heat sensor correctly, so that was the reason for the no start after the lock-out was cleared.

I hope this helps others troubleshoot their systems in the future. When in doubt, pick up the phone and call Rixen. They are the definition of good people.

----------- Diagnostics instructions ------------
With the heater switched on at the ECU, press and hold “instant on/off” key (top right with wavy lines) until the display shows ‘dA’. The blue LED will briefly illuminate. Release the key. After a short time the LED flickers momentarily during diagnostic data transfer then goes off. The display shows FO followed by its fault code then automatically scrolls through any previously stored fault codes, up to a maximum of 5.
Typical fault codes:
10 = Over voltage - Check battery charging system.
11 = Under voltage - Check battery voltage.
12 = Overheating - Check air ducts for obstruction.
52 = Safety time exceeded - Check fuel supply.
For other fault codes consult your local Eberspächer dealer.
Press “up arrow” and “down arrow” keys together to erase stored fault codes and display shows ‘EE’. To exit diagnostic mode, press and release the “instant on/off” key.
If stored fault codes cannot be erased consult your local Eberspächer dealer.
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Old 11-11-2020, 07:11 PM   #5
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Great to see that you posted the follow-up with your problem resolution. Too many people never post back after getting an issue fixed.

SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
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