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  1. #11
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Sudbury, MA
    Tractor
    Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    After removing the combination relay, I checked all the switch connections at the 2 connectors which go into the combination relay. Everything appeared OK. I then hot-wired the starter at this same connector making sure it wouldn't actually start and move (defeating all the safety interlocks at this point) and it turned over just fine. The electrical contacts look extremely clean so I doubt that is the issue. At this point, I'm 99% sure it has to be a faulty combination relay. For the replacement part cost of about $125 shipped, you can't buy even a used riding mower of this quality level. Mine is 19 years old now, and I can imagine it has lots of life left.

  2. #12
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    130
    Location
    Ontario
    Tractor
    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Okay, here's an update:

    When I went to start the mower a couple of days ago and it failed, I again started hitting the combination relay box with the key turned to "start". This time it didn't start right away and took quite a number of "hits". Clearly this is a hit-or-miss solution and may eventually stop working. One of these days I intend to dissect the relay box and replace the relay(s) with affordable ones from my local electronics store.

    Meanwhile, while trolling another forum I learned more about this problem and a way to bypass the combination relay box. When you short the black/white and the black/blue wires on the 4-wire plug on the bottom of the relay box, it bypasses the safety relays inside. I spliced into these wires and installed a push-button near the key switch. Now, whenever it won't start, I push the button while turning the key, and it starts.

    WARNING: WHEN THE BUTTON IS PUSHED, THE SAFETY INTERLOCK RELAYS ARE BYPASSED, SO MAKE SURE YOU'RE IN NEUTRAL AND THE PTO IS DISENGAGED!

    (My seat switch is permanently shorted so I can climb all over the mower when cutting on hills and slopes and use body english to get traction.)

  3. #13
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Sudbury, MA
    Tractor
    Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Got the replacement combination relay in the mail today. Installed it, and I'm back up and running. For $125 it was worth having a weather sealed part, and maintaining the safety interlocks as my teenage son is using the H3011H more. Now I'm going to cut open the bad one and see if it can be repaired so I'll have a spare.

  4. #14
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    130
    Location
    Ontario
    Tractor
    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Keep us informed on the dissection of the old relay box, maybe post some pictures. I'd like to open mine up sometime, but if everything is potted in tar or epoxy, it would be a waste of time. I'd be curious to see if this $125 box just contains 2 or 3 $7 relays.

    While the cost of the relay box might be fair if one was fixing a mower they bought for $2500 new (just guessing what these mowers sold for), I'm holding back because I paid $400 for my H3011H and think that was probably high.

  5. #15
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Sudbury, MA
    Tractor
    Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Cut open the old relay. Without question, it is not repairable. It's not even worth posting pictures. You thought the electronics were just in a weather sealed box? It's way beyond a weather sealed box; the entire inside appears filled with some type of non-conductive potting compound. Maybe at it's heart there are only some simple relays, but you'll never gain access to really tell. I carefully cut around the perimeter of the box about .75" from the connector end. At some point I though the case would slip off, but it didn't. Had to cut clear through the cross section to see what was inside (only at that cross section). The only thing worth salvaging for another day are the connectors. With a rotary tool you could cut them out after slicing through the entire box and expose enough of the ends to solder the connections to something else. That might have some value so you wouldn't have to cut-off the original connectors on the wiring harness.

    I'm just glad the part finally failed completely making the diagnostics fairly straight forward with nothing more than a multimeter (really just for continuity testing), 1 piece of wire to hot wire the starter and some jumper cables.

  6. #16
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    130
    Location
    Ontario
    Tractor
    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Thanks for posting back, Gord. I suspected the innards may be potted in some compound to protect them from moisture and vibration (and prevent owners from fixing things cheaply). I'd love to see a schematic of what's inside. I'd also like to see a legible wiring diagram of this mower. The one in the on-line owner's manual is so rough it's impossible to identify most of the wires.

  7. #17
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Sudbury, MA
    Tractor
    Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    I believe what Honda (via custom Omron part) has done is just as you describe. My understanding is such treatment is common when environmentally sealing a part. When I considered making my own little PCB w/ a PIC micro and some relays + supporting components, I was going to glob it with non-conductive potting compound as well. I don't prescribe any evil plot by Honda making the part as described in order to make it difficult for DIY types to fix. After all, how many people would even figure out the problem to an extent where they pin pointing the defective component let alone break open a sealed part in order to save a relatively small amount of money. Most people would just let the servicing dealer fix it. I went beyond that as I've started to consider the local Honda power equipment dealers either somewhat clueless or WAY overpriced for the services they provide. I left it with an authorized dealer over last winter so they could poke at this problem. They actually suggested I scrap the unit and buy something new because if it was the relay the part alone was around $300 or more before labor. I compare the cost vs. having to use a lawn service instead of doing it myself. $125 is pretty inexpensive in comparison! I think Honda was just using good engineering practices. It is an expensive part, but they also have costs associated with maintaining an extensive parts inventory on equipment they haven't sold for a very long time. Also, as a custom part, their costs were no doubt much higher than stock components (i.e. custom tooling, etc). You could argue the equipment might be a bit overbuilt, but then you're approaching Home Depot type disposable power equipment rather than something built to last a very long time (mine is 19 years old and can see it going double that).

    Regarding the electrical diagram... At least it's included in the manual. On the small side, and not in color, but still usable. You could scan it, enlarge it and maybe even color code signal lines with markers to make it easier to use. I've seen component data sheets (e.g. Bosch accelerometers) which are truly disasters and horribly difficult to use. I wouldn't expect to see sub-components (e.g. combination relay) detailed in any public documentation. Wouldn't be at all difficult to map out the various states of the combination relay and program an inexpensive ($2 - $3) microcontroller. Once mapped out, you could probably do it without a micro - didn't think it through to that level. I considered doing it, but there are actually much more interesting projects I'd like to tackle, so rejected that approach. Also, my lawn continues to grow, and wasn't waiting for me to come up with an alternative. Luckily, my neighbor mowed my lawn with his 30+ year old John Deere while I waited for the part to arrive.

    Sorry - just realized you're trying to use the on-line manual rather than the paper copy one. Haven't looked at it, but could believe it's not great resolution. If it would help, I'd be happy to scan the one from my paper manual at high resolution and email it to you. Let me know.

  8. #18
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    130
    Location
    Ontario
    Tractor
    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by gordonrosco View Post
    I left it with an authorized dealer over last winter so they could poke at this problem. They actually suggested I scrap the unit and buy something new because if it was the relay the part alone was around $300 or more before labor.
    If at first it was just an intermittent problem, then I can see a dealer not wanting to dig into it. Obviously, dealer cost on the relay must not be any different from what we find on-line.
    Sorry - just realized you're trying to use the on-line manual rather than the paper copy one. Haven't looked at it, but could believe it's not great resolution. If it would help, I'd be happy to scan the one from my paper manual at high resolution and email it to you. Let me know.
    Yes, the diagram in the low rez pdf is a graphic and most wire color labels are unreadable. I'd greatly appreciate a legible scan. If you can't post it here, I'll PM you my email address.

  9. #19
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    130
    Location
    Ontario
    Tractor
    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Well, I finally broke down and ordered that pesky combination relay. I was using a workaround kludge with a pushbutton to short a couple of wires to the combination relay, plus I had to disconnect a grounding wire to the ignition. Then, to stop the motor, I had to reconnect that wire before the key would stop it. In addition, I found that the motor would start in gear with the blade engaged, i.e., no safety interlock at all. That's when I decided to replace the relay, no matter what the cost. ($170CAD, you get raped on shipping to Canada).

    I had a lot of trouble ordering from boats.net. I made a mistake and ordered the wrong part (the harness instead of the relay) and couldn't see it until after PayPal. It took a week of back-and-forth before I was sure the order was cancelled because I kept getting emails saying the order was being shipped. Anyway, the relay is on the way and I hope it lasts as long as I have the mower because it's costing me more than the machine is probably worth.

  10. #20
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1
    Location
    Huntsville
    Tractor
    H3013HSA

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by oldyellr View Post
    Thanks for posting back, Gord. I suspected the innards may be potted in some compound to protect them from moisture and vibration (and prevent owners from fixing things cheaply). I'd love to see a schematic of what's inside. I'd also like to see a legible wiring diagram of this mower. The one in the on-line owner's manual is so rough it's impossible to identify most of the wires.
    My problem is with the engine dying while mowing. I suspect the Relay Assembly and found the attached wiring diagram that may be of some help.
    -mower-elec-jpg

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