Project 2000 Electric Bed Reset

Love them or hate them, there’s no doubt that having an electric drop-down bed in a motorhome saves a lot of space. But they do seem to give people plenty of grief from time to time. We’ve had cause to learn a bit about the electric bed in our 2017 Benimar Tessoro 481 motorhome; if our experience is of use to one person out there desperately scouring the internet for answers, then this post will have served its purpose…..

OK, so first things first, this is the Project 2000 control panel on our electric bed. If yours looks just like ours, then hopefully it also works just like ours!

Our story starts in early October 2017 when we travelled up to Marquis Motorhomes in Preston, Lancashire to look at the van our internet research had suggested was the one for us. The van had arrived from another branch – but without its bed keys. We also noticed (and reported) a problem with an LED reading light. We looked at “our” van and the bed in another Benimar van and in no time, the deal was done…. On picking the van up two weeks later, nothing had been done about the reading light, and we only received one bed key (the second to be supplied at a later date) – had they just filched a key from another van at the last minute?

Whatever the story with the key was, the bed had clearly not been through any (or sufficient) pre-delivery checks, and over time we worked out that it hadn’t been set up at all. It sort of worked (as in the bed went up and down) but you had to keep your finger on the relevant button (no preset positions as it should have) and the entire operation was accompanied by a red flashing spanner light. We made a note to get it looked at next time the van went to Marquis.

Then, in the first week of April whilst we were on the Isle of Wight, disaster struck and the bed really started misbehaving. Although there is a manual override in the form of a small handle you could turn.. and turn… and turn…. for half an hour or so to raise or lower the bed, we didn’t fancy that. We headed straight to the nearest Marquis dealership and begged for help 🙂

We were given the instructions to reset the bed (the instruction book just helpfully tells you that this can only be done by a dealer) and that, together with the reading and messing-about we’ve done since, means that we now understand a lot more than we did before about how the thing actually works.

Basically, the bed will not be joining MENSA any time soon. It’s a pretty dim piece of kit…. It keeps track of where it is by counting the turns of the belt shaft as the motor raises or lowers the bed, and if it gets interrupted, it has a tendency to lose count. Initially, ours had no preset positions but seemed to chug up and down reasonably happily. When things went wrong, it appeared to have lurched into some kind of “dead man” mode; it really didn’t know whether it was coming or going.

The first thing that we’ve learned is that it really is best if the bed does trigger the limit switch at the end of every cycle. Apologies for the poor photo quality below; this is what the limit switch on our bed looks like. Basically it’s a little black button fastened onto a bracket on one corner of the bed frame. Ours is in the corner just behind the driver’s seat; you can see the bed frame on the left of the photo and a curtain on the right.

I flipped the power off as the bed was coming down a few days ago (the front passenger seat was too far back and the bed would have caught it on the way down if I hadn’t stopped it…. oops….). On turning the bed on again, we got a flash of the familiar red spanner. I took the bed back to the top in an attempt to get rid of the spanner and you could almost hear the sigh of relief as it hit the limit switch, recognised familiar surroundings and knew exactly where it was again…. My feeling is that if you don’t trigger the limit switch for a while, that’s when the bed gets confused and forgets where it’s up to.

The big problem, of course, is that the limit switch is positioned too low. Before we bought our van, the salesman very clearly reassured us that yes, of course you can leave your bedding on the bed. B***ocks! (a technical term used by those who’ve been fed porkies by salesmen….). The bed instructions clearly state that you can’t leave anything at all on the bed; no bedding, and certainly no ladder. The reason is now clear – with bedding on top, the bed can’t get high enough to trip the limit switch.

Here’s our solution. It’s worked great so far (but follow our lead at your own risk of course):

See the small black box at top left of the photo? It’s a piece of hard plastic stuck onto the plastic moulding using double-sided tape so that the limit switch gets tripped that bit sooner. The plastic was cut off some window trim helpfully left behind at our house by a team of window fitters a while back (thanks, Anglian Windows!) and wrapped in black electrical tape to make it look a bit tidier.

One reason we came up with the black box idea is that our bed got somewhat confused again just a few days after Marquis reset it for us (and went back to working as it had done when we picked the van up – flashing spanner and no more presets). We fashioned a makeshift black box from a stack of cardboard (to put us on until we got home to the plastic stash in the garage!) and reset the bed again ourselves. We’ve had no trouble since – fingers crossed that’s sorted it.

So – moving swiftly on to the actual resetting of the bed. I’ve no idea why they don’t hand out the instructions for doing this when you buy a van; even if your van’s bed has been properly set up, what are the chances that the technician has put the presets exactly where you want them? These instructions were given to us on a printed sheet of paper entitled “Benimar Bed Setting” by Marquis Hampshire. We shall be eternally grateful….. The instructions include steps for setting up two preset positions. We only use one preset but I set both (with the second a couple of cm below the first) just in case skipping the second one somehow confused our poor dim-witted bed.

The first thing to do is to find the “secret button” which is between the “Up” and “Down” buttons on the control panel. It isn’t marked but you should be able to feel a slight bump on the panel where it is. The instructions involve quite a lot of pressing both the Secret Button and the Down Button….. Where it says “move the bed”, use the normal UP and DOWN buttons.

Starting with the bed at the top (so the limit switch is activated):

  1. Turn the bed ON using the key and press the small “Reset” button (you’ll need a ballpoint pen or similar)   See Update at the bottom of the post if this doesn’t work
  2. Hold the Secret Button and the UP button for 6 seconds until you get a solid green spanner light
  3. Move the bed down to where you want the first (higher) preset to be
  4. Press the Secret Button and the DOWN button – the UP and DOWN lights should flash
  5. Move the bed down to where you want the second preset to be
  6. Press the Secret Button and the DOWN button – the UP and DOWN lights should flash
  7. Move the bed up so that it’s about 10cm from the top
  8. Press the Secret Button and the DOWN button – the UP and DOWN lights should flash
  9. Move the bed up to the top position (so the limit switch activates)
  10. Our printed instructions now tell us to press the secret button and down button again so the up and down lights flash – but that doesn’t work for us. When our bed hits the limit switch, all the lights go off – the bed seems to realise that the task is complete.
  11. Turn the bed OFF using the key – it should now be reprogrammed – then ON again to test it.

The first time I reset the bed I was particularly slow about it and the bed seemed to give up part way through – I didn’t get the flashing light from holding the secret button and the down button. Going back to the top and starting again worked absolutely fine (and with the benefit of a bit of practice I was much quicker second time round!).

The bed now works as follows: If we turn on with the key and press down, the bed scoots straight down to our first pre-set position. The next morning, we turn on and press up and the bed travels by itself (not quite at scooting speed) up to the position we set 10cm or so from the top. We then have to press and hold the up button to take it up the last few cm. As soon as it hits the limit switch, the motor cuts out and the job is done.

We were lucky in that there wasn’t anything at all mechanically wrong with our bed. I do wonder how many of the problems with these beds reported on internet forums are just down to “bed brain” problems like ours. It really would help if the manufacturer and / or dealers handed out complete (and accurate) information and instructions at point of sale……..

Update (26 May 2018): Our bed has gone nuts again! FFS! This time it’s decided that its fixed “stop” position is about 3 inches higher than it should be. Oh, and the reset button doesn’t want to work (pressing and holding the reset button is no longer putting the bed into reset mode and the green “spanner” LED isn’t coming on – though the light itself it definitely OK as it’s still flashing briefly, along with all the other lights, when you turn the key). We managed OK last night by just using the ladder at full length and slurping coffee in bed this morning in a recumbent position… It’s worrying though….

I’ve spent some time faffing around this morning and reading all the posts I could find online for an answer. For a slightly different model (without a reset button), someone had said to press the secret button and UP to put the bed into reset mode. Guess what – that works for ours too! Our bed is now reset and we’ll just have to see how we get on. My next task is to contact Marquis and get the reset button problem noted as something that needs looking at when the van goes in for its first habitation check in August.

 

 

2 comments

  1. That will be really useful for those with the same or similar bed! Crazy that the design puts the limiter so high, you’d have thought they would realise that everyone would want to leave the bedding on the bed.

    Like

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