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Thread: Micro Commander issues

  1. #1

    Micro Commander issues

    I have MC controls and they have been acting up. The batteries test at 13v, so I know it is not a power issue. My starboard side control will periodically idle too high. Normally, in neutral it idles about 700 or 800 RPM. When it doesn't recognize it correctly it idles at about 1100. This obviously isn't a good thing when shifting in and out of gear. I have had some luck jiggling the handle and once knocking on the outside of the controller but that was on the lake. While docking, there isn't much choice.

    Port controller has been fine.........until yesterday. We were on a cruise and I went to neutral to just float a bit because it was so nice. Well, I put them in neutral and the port side started beeping? I wasn't sure what was going on so I shifted back into gear but it didn't go. I shut the engine down to see if I could get it to reset. Well, needless to say I couldn't get it to start because it didn't know it was in neutral. It thought it was in gear and wouldn't start.

    I thought it was a voltage issue so I took the battery charger to the back and plugged it in. Battery was fine. It was fully charged. That is when I figured out it didn't realize it was in neutral, thus would not start. I started to head back to the dock on the starboard motor. I was tinkering with the port and it finally realized it was in neutral and I started it. I was approaching the dock and there it went again...........BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. ugh. I quickly shut it off to stop the beeping and was able to dock fine with the starboard motor. Thank god it was calm. lol

    I'm not sure what is worse, the failure at the dock or the loud beeping that makes the situation more stressful. haha

    Anyway, has anyone had issues like this? I'm assuming it is the controllers and not the computers. Is there a way to test them? Am I able to replace the controllers or do the controllers need to match the actuator/control box?

  2. #2
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Nashville, TN
    I typically drive from the upper helm and had a similar problem with my SB engine doing this. When trouble shooting, I had to lift the lower helm up to get to the wiring, which would pull a lot of the wire harnesses tight when it was lifted up. When this happened, I noticed the issue went away on my upper helm, but later would return. So, whenever it did, my wife knew to run downstairs and lift the lower helm (pulling the wires tight) and the issue would go away again. I later identified the wire splices in the lower helm where the upper helm came together with the wires from the lower helm. I massaged the slicing areas on the 2 sets of wires (port & SB) and the problem has gone away since. It's worth noting that the problem never occured with the lower helm controls.

    If you have upper and lower, does you problem exist with both sets? If so, try my solution noted above.

    There were a couple other boats at my dock that had some MC issues where they had to mail off their whole units to get rebuilt. Their symptoms were similar to what you've described too. Unfortunately, their repairs cost them a boat buck for each controller + S&H. If you do ship it off for repairs, you better insure the crap out of it!
    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

  3. #3
    This was from the lower helm last night. I have had some issues with the upper but more so they just don't match the lowers. The RPM's aren't even close to be accurate and to get both sides to match one is much further forward than the other.

    My neighbor has the same boat only a year older. He had to replace the whole system a couple years ago. Control boxes and everything. I'm hopeful this is just a controller issue and not the boxes. THOSE are pricey!!!

    The boat is 20 years old this year and now I'm starting to have the expensive stuff pop up. That said, it's been a great boat since I bought it about 5 years ago.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    A rapid beep beep beep ..., usually means the MC had trouble pushing/pulling the shift or throttle cable attached to the actuators.
    I suggest you check your cables and linkages for binding first.

  5. #5
    Senior Member easttnboater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Depending on the age and model of the units, they will also throw an error code. If you have a display on the units, then the error code will show there. You can find the user and installation manuals online. You should down load them and go through them.

    You might also switch the wiring from side to side at your helm. It will be confusing because port will be starboard and vice-versa - so do it out in the lake. If the problem changes sides, then it is in the wiring or the helm controls.

  6. #6
    It wasn't a rapid beep beep. Basically the same cadence as when you turn the key on before I press the button to tell it which station will be powered.

    I will check the cables though. I just think it is odd both sides are doing something different. The battery voltage was fine but I think I need to test the voltage at the controller before I go any further. I tested teh battery but it could be losing power to the units themselves.

    Unfortunately, it is supposed to come off the lake today for winter storage. I can do the voltage tests but won't be able to do any switching of units.

    They are 20 years old. I was really hoping to possibly put thrusters on this spring as my project and not all new controllers and boxes. lol yikes, that will be expensive. It's one thing having a mechanical problem. It's a whole different issue when you just don't know how it will react in a tight situation. Or, don't trust it to do what you want.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Raystown Lake in PA
    I have actually seen both problems you are describing on boats I have had. First, with the slow beeping, I know you said you checked the voltage on the battery and it was 13 volts, which is great and you are planning to check the voltage at the controller which is a good plan as well. My suggestion is to check it specifically when you shift. For whatever reason, I have seen the battery voltage drop enough during a shift that the controller cuts out and turns back on just like when you use the key switch. Watching a voltmeter on the dash, I've seen this happen at about 12 volts. It actually didn't happen every time I shifted, but I could see the voltage drop each time I shifted. As far as the actual cause, I replaced my battery and it fixed the issue. The old battery would start the engine fine but with the new battery, the voltage would not drop as low as the old one did.

    On the idle speed issue, the most likely cause could be that the controller is not pulling the throttle cable all the way back to the idle stop on the carb. The cable should be adjusted to remove any slack in the cable so you always come back to idle and never leave the throttle partially cracked. There is actually another possibility if the controller is pulling the throttle to the idle stop. The MMC controls have a high idle setting capability. You can read about it in the manual if you have one. The feature raises the engine idle speed to 1100 rpm. It is enabled by a jumper setting in the control box and is engaged by pressing the button on the shift control lever. It is very confusing to use this feature with dual engines because the high idle for one engine can be engaged when you turn the key on and press the button to start the other engine. Good luck troubleshooting!

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