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Not Your Average Software Bug

When I used to write technical manuals for medical devices, I discovered a bug in a new version of software and showed it to the engineer who wrote the software.

The engineer said “That can’t happen”.

I haven’t had any more of these alternative reality encounters until today when I discovered a bug in my RV’s Victron equipment, in particular the Victron Touch 50 display.

First off, the Touch 50 is a remarkable piece of engineering. At a glance, its display shows where and how much power is flowing in your RV:

The Touch 50 Display at Work

However, after doing some work in our RV today (chassis grounding the inverter case), the Touch 50 display looked similar to this:

0W in and 0W out? What the hell?

After powering on several electrical devices in the RV, nothing changed – the display still showed 0W in and 0W out.

I reset the display and inverter several times, but to no effect. What the hell?

Time to Google . . . I found this on the Victron Support web site:

Multiplus II – AC Input Suddenly 0

And then I discovered the “fix” . . .

Is Anyone Working on . . .

The fix is to shove a 3.5 mm headphone jack in and out of the Victron’s Current Sense jack:

Aside from the sexual overtones, this work around seems just absurd, like trying to fix a flat tire by turning on the windshield wipers. Nevertheless . . .

After jacking the Current Sense hole several times, I checked the Touch 50 display:

It worked!
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nj #

    Double “Huh”!

    July 14, 2022
  2. Sister Mary #

    EGAD!! What next.. a chipmunk standing by with a bobby pin??
    Sister Mary knew you’d find the answer.

    July 15, 2022
  3. Tom #

    Sounds like the same kind of goofy instructions Windows did years age. Close all windows and power cycle. Glad you got it working. Keep the phone Jack handy may need it again.

    July 15, 2022
  4. Lou Schneider #

    Actually, it makes perfect sense. 1/8″ jacks have a set of contacts that open up when something is inserted into the jack, that’s how your phone or PC knows to mute the speakers when you plug in a set of headphones. Over time these contacts can get dirty or corroded, fooling the Multiplus into thinking something is inserted into the jack so it uses the (non-existent) signals on the jack instead of it’s internal sensors. Inserting and removing something into the jack several times exercises these contacts, making them work for a while until the dirt or corrosion returns.

    July 16, 2022

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