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Engine fails to start; Volvo MDI problem?

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High Time View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 July 2016 at 21:03
Volvo D2-40F with 4 button Control Panel.

A few weeks ago High Time failed to start when the start button was pressed. The starter kicked in for maybe half a second before the Control Panel went blank (as if the 'Off' button had been pressed) and the starter dropped out. Second time I tried it started OK. 
Since then this has happened several times but always started OK on the second attempt. 
I thought it might be a poor connection in the engine battery circuit going high resistance when the starter was operated so I checked and re-tightened all associated connections but the problem remained.
Yesterday the fault went critical - each time the Start button was pressed the Control Panel went blank. I must have tried at least a dozen times. I was on the point of jump starting the engine (by-passing the MDI unit) when one final attempt started the engine. Today it started at the second attempt again.
Clearly the problem is electrical - for some reason the MDI unit is dropping out when the starter is operated but the fault is marginal. Initial voltage measurements all look OK.

Has anyone else had a similar problem with the Control Panel dropping out, probably due to a fault with the MDI unit?

Note: Jump starting the engine is possible but the solenoid activation wire (red/yellow) is not easy to access as it is under the MDI and covered by a rubber boot. This could be a problem in an emergency!


Edited by High Time - 10 July 2016 at 21:06
Roger

High Time (415 #038)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2017 at 07:31
Hi did you get to the bottom of this I have had the same problem on our 415 with the Volvo d2 55 currently after changing mdi boxes to no effect and checking all wires the engine will start cold every time but hot all you get is a click and the power goes off , I finally resorted to disconnecting things and have found that with the wire to the temp sensor on the motor disconnected the fault goes away , thus we have a new sensor on order and are cruising without a high temp alarm . The local Volvo agents can't explain and Volvo head office will not provide any details of what should happen and when in the mdi box which has been very frustrating .it seems bizarre that a faulty temp sensor can disable then engine as well as a safety issue .
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Simon L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2017 at 09:04
In addition to J&J's question, I would love to understand how to jump start the engine, should I have such an emergency - how does one access the solenoid, and what does one actually do to jump it?

Similarly how did you turn the engine off again?

Thanks!

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High Time View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Time Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2017 at 10:35
Hi

I did manage to fix the problem eventually. There was a bad connection in the earth circuit to the MDI from the alternator that was difficult to spot. Remaking this solved the problem - hooray.

Regarding the jump start problem, the activation wire from the MDI to the solenoid is colour red and yellow and can be found under the MDI, nearest the engine block on the right - it is the third (last) wire in and is covered with a rubber boot. To jump start the engine, this terminal needs to be connected to battery positive. Battery positive can be found on the middle wire under the MDI (also covered by a rubber boot), coloured red. Be careful not to short the red wire to anything else. The starter will operate as long as the red and red/yellow wires (terminals) are touching. However, be warned, access to the two terminals is not easy. 

I have wired in a permanent push button switch to these 2 terminals so I can completely bypass the MDI in an emergency. There is more info on this, with some pictures, in this thread.

To stop the engine, use the manual stop facility on the injection pump on the other side of the engine. It is clearly marked.



Edited by High Time - 10 January 2017 at 10:37
Roger

High Time (415 #038)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2017 at 18:02
Thanks could you post a photo showing which is the connection that you remade I will check this before replacing the temp sensor , your fix makes much more sense to me
Volvo tell me that the main function of the mdi box is to regulate the alternator , thus they don't reccomend jump starting , when you do jumpstart does the alternator charge normally ? Most frustrating part of this is the lack of info that is available to even the Volvo agents
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High Time View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote High Time Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 January 2017 at 19:16
I haven't got a detailed picture but it was one of the 2 connections to the alternator negative terminal. Make sure both ring connectors are clean and tight.

I wouldn't recommend jump starting either, except in extremis but if the engine wouldn't start immediately in a crisis I would have no hesitation in using the 'jump start button' I've installed. I hope I never have to use it, of course.

BTW I am not aware that the MDI has anything to do with the alternator or charging, unless it is through the Control Panel in the cockpit. On the engine side it only interfaces directly to the temperature, oil pressure and rev counter flywheel sensors, the glow plugs and the starter and stop solenoids.


Edited by High Time - 10 January 2017 at 19:17
Roger

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2017 at 04:16
Thanks will update once I have tried this
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J&J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 January 2017 at 06:55
Changed the temp sensor this weekend and now the engine starts hot so hopefully that's the problem sorted , only time will tell definitely not a fan of volvos mdi box set up . If anyone can get a plain English description of what happens and when in this fancy relay box please post . I heard last week Hanse have reverted to Yanmar !
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Rod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 February 2017 at 09:35
Installed a changeover switch to my 415 such that if the engine start battery dies - as it did recently - I can start the engine using the house batteries . It involves using the Cyrix battery combiner that was standard from Hanse and some wiring that a local guy did for me. Switch is below chart table and once the engine starts you just switch back ! Once had even forgotten to switch back and all was fine for a few days. Now have a new engine start battery !
Hanse 415 - "Ti"
Sail Nbr "UAE 415"
Dubai Offshore Sailing Club
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