Troubleshooting with RV-C

Today, when a car enters a garage the mechanic's first action is to plug his service tool into the port under the dash. He immediately gets a diagnostic “scan” on the engine and other systems. When an RV-C enabled coach enters a service center, the procedure is exactly the same.

The diagnostic tool is most likely a laptop computer equipped with a special adapter. The software performs an initial “scan”, identifying every component on the network and getting an initial diagnostic condition report. The technician can then zoom in on any particular component and get more detailed information. In some cases they may be able to configure or control the device, and perhaps perform more detailed tests.

RV-C defines a diagnostic method, but the RVIA does not supply the actual tool. That tool shall be provided by private vendors – SilverLeaf Electronics has announced that they will have a tool available in 2004, and they will likely have some competition. Regardless of the tool vendor, the product should be able to provide diagnostics for products from any vendor.

The availability of electronic diagnostics opens a new avenue towards warranty and service cost savings. If the experience of the automotive industry is a guide, mis-diagnosis rates will be dramatically lowered. Time spent in troubleshooting will be slashed. And the potential exists to reduce paperwork as well. The diagnostic information could easily be printed in a standard form, or even e-mailed to the warranty center for processing. The total cost savings could amount to hundreds of dollars per RV.

The one type of failure that the standard tool can't solve is a wiring glitch. Fortunately such glitches are rare in the field, and the bus topology lends itself to easy troubleshooting using just an ohmmeter and basic wiring tools.