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Old 08-24-2006, 08:39 AM
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Trinary Switch from Vintage Air

In drawing a schematic that uses the clever Trinary Switch sold by Vintage Air, I drew its various operating modes. The Trinary Switch protects your AC compressor from running when the refrigerant pressure is either too low or too high.

Even better, the Trinary Switch does something else that is very smart - I have never seen this in OEM wiring: The Trinary Switch does not run the cooling fan when the refrigerant pressure is below 220 psi.

Why is that important? Electric cooling fans use power, and your alternator has to produce that power. Fans and alternators have a limited life. When you are cruising at highway speeds, chances are the refrigerant in your system is getting enough cooling and running the fan is not needed. The Trinary Switch is saving your fan and alternator from unnecessary running, which saves wear and tear and a little fuel. It also means more power is available to the tires, for us leadfooted types.

On a really hot day at cruising speed your refrigerant can go past 220 psi and your fan will run, so the Trinary Switch is very smart and automatically handles this.

Both OEM and aftermarket fan controls run the cooling fan(s) when the compressor clutch kicks in, and have no way to read the refrigerant pressure.

AC systems usually employ separate high and low pressure limit switches to save your compressor from destruction. Vintage Air has accomplished this in one switch and added in a 220 psi fan control.

A temperature switch integrates into the fan relay wiring to complete a comprehensive automatic fan control setup. Either the temperature switch or the Trinary Switch can run the fan as needed.

Jon P

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Old 11-14-2006, 08:47 PM
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Trinary Switches

2700 spal fan has burned 3 or 4 trinary switches. Whats the problem.
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Old 11-15-2006, 01:16 AM
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Doc here,

Are you running the relay, and if so, is it wired correctly?

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Old 11-15-2006, 06:46 AM
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Trinary Switch

Yes, It may last as long as a year. It was suggested that the Fan may be pulling to many amps for the switch. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:02 PM
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Doc here,

OK, try this If you like..

Add a Second relay parallel to the first..

A lot of times the collapsing Field From the first relay will set up a back feed to the Control device..this will assure the relay is current capable AND stop any Back Feeding Issues.

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Old 06-10-2011, 04:58 PM
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I'm dragging this up because I've got a question about this and I think it is kind of an important issue.

Like Jon stated, I saw a Vintage Air dealer that had on their website that the fan engagement pressure of their trinary switch was 220 psi.

However, the Vintage Air website states in a few different places that the fan engagement pressure is 254 psi.

I called the VA manufacturer today and talked to 2 people who said that there is no differential and that it will engage at 254 on rising pressure and disengage at 254 on falling pressure. Also, one of the guys said he's worked there 15 years and their trinary switch hasn't ever had a 220 psi fan engagement.

I find it hard to believe there is no differential on the fan engagement/disengagement pressure. All other trinary switches I've seen as well as other fan engagement only switches have a differential to them.

I want to get a couple of these for 2 of my cars but I would sure like to confirm how these work.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:13 PM
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Roger 1 , I would think the trinary switch mentioned would be a differential type, as most are that I have seen . Nothing new about them. They have been around for 15 years or maybe more. It could be the vintage air model is not a differential, but that just wouldnt make sense.
As for the guy who posted he has burnt 3-4 switches allready , the switch is not designed to handle the current of a motor, it is a control device only, as far as a relay burning up and such , use a diode suppressed type relay or just wire a diode in yourself, pretty simple.Just google it to see.I am not going into it here, other than to mention it is a way that suppresses the current discharge from a coil when the magnetic field lapses, as when the power is turned of. Notice that A C compressor clutches ussually have one wired across the terminals for that very reason.
My f 150 (1998) has a dual pressure switch (functions pretty much the same as a trinary ) It acts as a low freon cut off for the compressor and also cuts the compressor off at high pressure situation, such as excessive head temp and heat, or a blockage in the system,It shuts off much higher than the trinary mentioned, as I deduct that it is designed primarily as a control for the condenser fan , and low freon cutoff swtich.
To be completely safe your system should have a high pressure saftey cutoff at around 420 psi to shut off the compressor, not the 220 psi of the trinary.
It would make sense if the vitage air part turns on at 254 and off at 220. The guys on the help desk probably have no clue.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latech
Roger 1 , I would think the trinary switch mentioned would be a differential type, as most are that I have seen . Nothing new about them. They have been around for 15 years or maybe more. It could be the vintage air model is not a differential, but that just wouldnt make sense.
It would make sense if the vitage air part turns on at 254 and off at 220. The guys on the help desk probably have no clue.
Except the help desk/salesman guy transferred my to someone in their tech department and he was the one that was adamant there was no differential. I really don't want it if there is not. But, I just don't buy it. Otherwise the system will hunt and the fans will cycle pretty quickly. I've watched my high side gauge while cycling my fans manually. The pressure moves very quickly.
I sure would like to know the facts before making the purchase.

Two other questions if you don't mind. Do you know the value or number of a diode I can purchase at Radio Shack for this is good for this?

Also, when the fans are turned off but turning from highway speed air flow, is there any kind of protection needed from the resulting generated voltage or, can that be ignored?
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roger1
Except the help desk/salesman guy transferred my to someone in their tech department and he was the one that was adamant there was no differential. I really don't want it if there is not. But, I just don't buy it. Otherwise the system will hunt and the fans will cycle pretty quickly. I've watched my high side gauge while cycling my fans manually. The pressure moves very quickly.
I sure would like to know the facts before making the purchase.

Two other questions if you don't mind. Do you know the value or number of a diode I can purchase at Radio Shack for this is good for this?

Also, when the fans are turned off but turning from highway speed air flow, is there any kind of protection needed from the resulting generated voltage or, can that be ignored?
The " windmill effect" as I like to call it, where the fans turn as a result of roadspeed and airflow at the condenser, is handled by the relay being off, no way it can backfeed to anything, as far as diodes, If you think you need them for the coil circuit on the relay to protect the trinary,
this is good for reference and specifications and part numbers.
http://www.digikey.com/
I would think a diode for power that can handle 18 volts with a peak inverse voltage (PIV) of say 75 volts would be sufficient
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:54 PM
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also this one is good
http://www.jameco.com/
Oh and you are spot on about the fans hunting and excessivley cycling with a trinary that does not have a differential. That is what leads me to think the tech guy didnt know, or there switches arent perfected yet.
You need the differential to run them long enough to shed the excess heat, otherwise they run for a few seconds, shed some heat, turn off, then the heat is back almost instantly and they are on again and the same thing over and over.
I have suggested hooking the fans to a relay that is powered with the AC on and the relay coil runs from the brake light switch. Think about it, if you are at a stop light , you are on the brake, Right? Naturally you would need to diode that circuit as well for obvious reasons, and I could go on for days, but it was a suggestion for a good place to start, that s all.

Last edited by latech; 06-10-2011 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:41 AM
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I think I saw where the VA switch turns the compressor off at 406*

I would also be inclined to believe the the head pressures will be above
220 most anytime the AC is running.

My fans come on about 5 seconds after turning the AC on, and I have yet to see them cycle off with the AC on------not saying they should not, but I have not noticed on my car.
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan59EC
I think I saw where the VA switch turns the compressor off at 406*

I would also be inclined to believe the the head pressures will be above
220 most anytime the AC is running.

My fans come on about 5 seconds after turning the AC on, and I have yet to see them cycle off with the AC on------not saying they should not, but I have not noticed on my car.
Head pressure will be at or around 220 on a good hot day with high humidity.when the fan kicks on it should drop to around 200 ideally. Things like excessive oil in the system and blocked cooling fins tend to keep head pressure up and still work OK.I have seen some systems run at 250 and drop some with the fans but that is really too high as it is hard on the compressor.
Obviously those systems had one of the hidden problems as mentioned or the head pressure would be lower.
A system pressure needs to be stabilized, after the system runs for 5-10 minutes and the car is comfy inside, that is when the pressures should be read as operating pressure, unless the car is cool inside, you are reading pressure when the system is in heavy thermodynamic transfer and it will allways seem high.
Some cars have the AC fan run with the AC compressor, chrysler and others like cadillac and all, have a pressure transducer hooked to the PCM to ramp the fan speed up or down as required, older cars just come on and off at a threshold value along with the compressor.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan59EC
I think I saw where the VA switch turns the compressor off at 406*
That would be the high pressure safety cut off which is a different wire off that switch than the one that controls the fans.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:10 AM
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If better or more accurate specificiations for the trinary switch exist, or if anyone has hands-on measurements, I am glad to edit the drawings to reflect the knowledge.

I didn't put a kickback diode across the relay originally, but if running a digital or transistor controlled thermostat it is a must. Will be editing the drawing anyway, so if anyone has added information I can pop it on there.

Jon P.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latech
also this one is good
http://www.jameco.com/
Oh and you are spot on about the fans hunting and excessivley cycling with a trinary that does not have a differential. That is what leads me to think the tech guy didnt know, or there switches arent perfected yet.
You need the differential to run them long enough to shed the excess heat, otherwise they run for a few seconds, shed some heat, turn off, then the heat is back almost instantly and they are on again and the same thing over and over.
I have suggested hooking the fans to a relay that is powered with the AC on and the relay coil runs from the brake light switch. Think about it, if you are at a stop light , you are on the brake, Right? Naturally you would need to diode that circuit as well for obvious reasons, and I could go on for days, but it was a suggestion for a good place to start, that s all.
Thanks for that info.
I'm using a Dakota Digital controller that has an input on it for A/C control. This is where I will connect the wire from the trinary switch. The Dakota Digital controller also has 2 speed capability. So, I'm using the same 3 relay setup that GM uses for half-speed/full-speed (series/parallel) for my dual fan setup.
Since factory PCMs also use the VSS signal as a parameter, I assume they cut off fans above a certain vehicle speed. Do you know what that speed typically is? If I had to guess, I would say around 40 mph.

To gain that functionality, I have ordered one of these:
Speed Activated Switch

An argument may exist whether this is really necessary because the fans should be turned off anyway from the other sensors at highway speeds. And that may be true most of the time except for very high ambient temperatures or an unusually high engine load.
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