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Old 07-31-2017, 10:45 PM   #1
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Hopkins Taillight Controller Failure ...

Well that didn't take too long.

My FR dealer completed the Curt recall on my Solera a few months ago, installing the replacement Hopkins controller. I've now encountered rain twice while driving. This evening I discovered that I have a slight amount of right rear taillight lighting when the unit is off.

It's actually a little odd. There's only maybe two or three LEDs lit, in the two non-backup light taillights. It doesn't correspond to any of the standard tail / turn / brake light combinations. I've got a diagnostic plug for the seven way socket and that shows the 12 volt feed (which maybe should be on?) and the right turn light. The right turn isn't blinking - it's on solidly.

My guess is that the Hopkins controller is leaking a bit of current to the right turn output but not enough to really light up all the LEDs in the taillight fixture. I dunno, seems a bit odd in any case.

It does seem as though the lights work more or less correctly when chassis power is on - the taillights go on and off appropriately, the turn signals blink on and off correctly, etc. Just a few of those pesky LEDs stay on when everything should be off.

I pulled the inline fuse back at the bumper and that has shut everything down for now. Maybe things will dry out (or whatever) in the next few days.

In the meantime, I expect I'll be spending some time on the phone with FR...

Dave
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveJordan View Post
Well that didn't take too long.

My FR dealer completed the Curt recall on my Solera a few months ago, installing the replacement Hopkins controller. I've now encountered rain twice while driving. This evening I discovered that I have a slight amount of right rear taillight lighting when the unit is off.

It's actually a little odd. There's only maybe two or three LEDs lit, in the two non-backup light taillights. It doesn't correspond to any of the standard tail / turn / brake light combinations. I've got a diagnostic plug for the seven way socket and that shows the 12 volt feed (which maybe should be on?) and the right turn light. The right turn isn't blinking - it's on solidly.

My guess is that the Hopkins controller is leaking a bit of current to the right turn output but not enough to really light up all the LEDs in the taillight fixture. I dunno, seems a bit odd in any case.

It does seem as though the lights work more or less correctly when chassis power is on - the taillights go on and off appropriately, the turn signals blink on and off correctly, etc. Just a few of those pesky LEDs stay on when everything should be off.

I pulled the inline fuse back at the bumper and that has shut everything down for now. Maybe things will dry out (or whatever) in the next few days.

In the meantime, I expect I'll be spending some time on the phone with FR...

Dave


When we got the recall notice, we were on the road, and the easiest thing for us was to stop at the factory for the repair. It took a few conversations, but the arrangements were made, and we took our 2017 SunSeeker MBS 2400W to Forest River back in March. We stayed overnight in their parking lot with an electric hookup, and they did the work pretty quickly first thing in the AM the next day. The Hopkins controller was mounted inside a nice sealed box, and we have had no issues since then. I think the Curt controller would have worked fine in this box. Nice people, great service!!!
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Old 08-01-2017, 04:59 AM   #3
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Can you post a picture of the sealed box that the factory repair used and it's placement. I think we are all going to be making that change if the Hopkins controllers are failing like the curt controller due to exposure. I'm curious to see if they used the solutions posted by members on the threads or an alteranate. Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2017, 05:41 AM   #4
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I'm surprised that more people don't notice their LED lights glowing dimly. This is very common with these lights. LED's require such a small amount of electricity to operate, that even the slightest residual, (leakage) of electricity can cause them to glow. You'll see this quite often during Xmas time with people decorating with LED lights. Moisture seems to compound the phenomenon and I witness it every year.
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Old 08-01-2017, 09:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveJordan View Post
Well that didn't take too long.

My FR dealer completed the Curt recall on my Solera a few months ago, installing the replacement Hopkins controller. I've now encountered rain twice while driving. This evening I discovered that I have a slight amount of right rear taillight lighting when the unit is off.

It's actually a little odd. There's only maybe two or three LEDs lit, in the two non-backup light taillights. It doesn't correspond to any of the standard tail / turn / brake light combinations. I've got a diagnostic plug for the seven way socket and that shows the 12 volt feed (which maybe should be on?) and the right turn light. The right turn isn't blinking - it's on solidly.

My guess is that the Hopkins controller is leaking a bit of current to the right turn output but not enough to really light up all the LEDs in the taillight fixture. I dunno, seems a bit odd in any case.

It does seem as though the lights work more or less correctly when chassis power is on - the taillights go on and off appropriately, the turn signals blink on and off correctly, etc. Just a few of those pesky LEDs stay on when everything should be off.

I pulled the inline fuse back at the bumper and that has shut everything down for now. Maybe things will dry out (or whatever) in the next few days.

In the meantime, I expect I'll be spending some time on the phone with FR...

Dave
Well this certainly confirms the theory that many of us have had and contradicts the position of FR - the controller has no business being installed on the rear bumper directly in line of spray from the rear wheels.

Also wonder if FR will have to recall the units that have already had the recall performed where they simply replaced the Curt with the Hopkins on the aluminum plate attached to the bumper.

I too would be interested in seeing the "nice box" and wonder if it's a variation on what some of us have done on our own and posted on this forum.
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:56 AM   #6
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Update ...

I went out this morning and reexamined the situation - trying the lights in various combinations of on and off and blinking, etc. I also took a couple of pictures - one where the LEDs were dimly lit and one (with the fuse out) with the LEDs off. I sent the pictures and a fairly lengthy explanation to Dan Dobecki and Josh Cavitt at Forest River.

Now, about an hour after my email went out, I got a call back from FR. They're going to send a replacement controller next day air, so I should have it by Wednesday or so. They also want the old controller back to see if they can determine the cause of the problem.

I asked if they've seen other failures - they said they've only seen one or two with the Hopkins controller. They also said that they had done some testing with the Hopkins, including leaving one in a bucket of water, without seeing any problems.

Bottom line - I'm not sure how much faith I have in the controller...and, most likely, it's mounting position...but I'm very pleased with the quick response from Forest River and their willingness to send the controller directly to me (I'm more than 100 miles from their nearest dealer.)

Thanks FR!

Dave
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:18 PM   #7
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Hopkins controler

I contacted Hopkins months ago about the controller mounted back by the bumper exposed to the weather, and posted their response in the forum. They told me it was to be installed in a trunk or other closed space away from exposure. I encased mine in a milk carton box that I made, while I waited for FR to do something about it. To date they have done nothing to my knowledge. Only 5k miles into the 2400W and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:12 AM   #8
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Update 2

The replacement controller arrived yesterday and I did the installation. Haven't had the toad hooked up to do a complete test, but everything I checked with the motorhome alone appears to be working fine. I did add some extra sealant around the ends of the controller where the wires penetrate though the case.

The failing controller has been packaged up and will be on it's way back to FR later today.

While it's unfortunate to have a problem like this I am more than pleased with FR's quick response.

Dave
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:43 AM   #9
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Thanks for the prompt update Dave. Had my original controller replaced on recall haven't noticed any problem yet will keep that in mind.
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