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Gem remote malfunction

Old 04-09-2021, 12:48 PM
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Default Gem remote malfunction

Gem remotes for boat lifts can malfunction and raise or lower the lift without warning. This happened to a friend of mine today. Fortunately for him he was home and noticed his boat floating away. He went down to the dock and the lift was still running. A few calls to a dock builder in town resulted in a few more horror stories, one boat was raised through the roof of the slip...The manufacturer says it can happen from “corrosion” in the remote and they suggest turning off the breaker to the lift when it’s not in use. Total BS... I’m just letting the group know what happened.
Old 04-09-2021, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by witchcraft View Post
Gem remotes for boat lifts can malfunction and raise or lower the lift without warning. This happened to a friend of mine today. Fortunately for him he was home and noticed his boat floating away. He went down to the dock and the lift was still running. A few calls to a dock builder in town resulted in a few more horror stories, one boat was raised through the roof of the slip...The manufacturer says it can happen from “corrosion” in the remote and they suggest turning off the breaker to the lift when it’s not in use. Total BS... I’m just letting the group know what happened.
How is it total BS? Things left out in the elements can be subject to corrosion and weathering. How old was the remote? Was it dropped in the water? Submerged in a storm? Is the remote IP rated? I have several expensive remotes on my boat, that handle dinghy lift, anchors, etc. They get removed and stored inside. Periodic inspection of electrical components is advisable, especially something so important. Also, yes, a good idea to turn the breaker off when not in use! Things left outside/in the weather/UV/etc do not last forever.

Go open up the remote and post some pictures.
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Old 04-09-2021, 01:12 PM
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I always put a 4 way switch on 240 volt lift Installs

And a 3 pole on 110 lifts cuts alll power and ground off


Old 04-09-2021, 02:59 PM
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Yes I never leave power on to the boat lifts when not in use.

Jim
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Old 04-09-2021, 03:11 PM
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I was advised when I had my boat lift installed to use zincs, and unplug the power when not actively using. Its very subject to galvanic corrosion
Old 04-09-2021, 03:28 PM
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I always shut off pier power when I leave for the week or for more than a day. I have no experience with Gem remotes so I have no opinion on them, but the reason for that is because two installers in my area (including the guy who installed my lifts) will not install Gem remotes because they feel that they have reliability problems.

That's just what I was told. No experience, no opinion.

D
Old 04-09-2021, 06:48 PM
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bad things always happen to mute friends at THT. Most lift instructions say to disconnect power to lift when not in use. After close to 12 yrs my Gem remote never misfired as I change the batts on it often. There are just so many times you can press that contact without breaking it. Once broken you will get no ups and downs.
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Old 04-09-2021, 06:54 PM
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When I got my first lift 25 years ago, the first thing the installer told me was to always pull the plug whenever I finished lifting the boat.
Old 04-10-2021, 04:20 AM
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Are you talking about the remote fob corroding or the box ourself that’s exposed to the elements 24/7?
Old 04-10-2021, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by jfwireless View Post
Yes I never leave power on to the boat lifts when not in use.

Jim
Do as Jim says... not as I do. Lots of good reasons to flip the breaker. Additional security. Galvanic corrosion. Boat floating away.
Old 04-10-2021, 05:41 AM
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Default gem remote malfunction

Originally Posted by Lazy Bones View Post
Are you talking about the remote fob corroding or the box ourself that’s exposed to the elements 24/7?
The problem was in the fob. It was always kept in a dry box on the boat. Evidently corrosion in the fob can cause the remote to transmit up or down on its own.
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Old 04-10-2021, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by witchcraft View Post
The problem was in the fob. It was always kept in a dry box on the boat. Evidently corrosion in the fob can cause the remote to transmit up or down on its own.
Interesting. Never had a problem with the fobs themselves, but that doesn't mean it can't happen...After 15 years of non-eventful (and faultless) operation, about 6/7 months ago in the morning I went to the dock and turned the lift on to use the boat (we also have a wall switch in the house that cuts power to the lifts when not in use). The boat started going up "on its own". Turned it off/on several times with same result.

A quick call to our good friends at Gem and the tech said, "... you probably have some corrosion on the remote interface card and that remote version (the little yellow one) has been supplanted with a newer version. Go to the website, buy the newer version, and perform the installation of new board as shown on the instructions..." Well I opened the lift box, removed the board from its plastic bag and yup, saw just the smallest bit of corrosion on the backside of the board. I sprayed corrosion block on it and left to do something else. In the afternoon, after letting the corrosion block do its thing, turned the lift on and voila, back to its 'boring' operation. For the hell of it, I did the smaller lift as well...

Of course, I've been forewarned... Few things in life are more reliable than a Gem remote...
Old 04-10-2021, 06:49 AM
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Sounds to me like maybe in addition to unplugging power, maybe a dock line could prevent float aways..... ?!?!?
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Old 04-10-2021, 01:35 PM
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Happened to me a few years back. Came in from fishing, got her on the lift and tucked in for the night. The one time I didn't turn off the key that powers the remote controller....go figure. Left the remote control on my outdoor dining room table, rain came thru and soaked the remote, shorted it out and the lift went to its full vertical position.

Next morning, having a cup of tea and look I out to the dock and see the skiff pointed to the heavens....crapped my shorts. The ass end was hanging way over the end of the bunks and had no idea why it didn't slip off! I got a ladder and tied off the bow to a piling until help came. Never leave the remote outside and keep it dry!




Old 04-10-2021, 02:56 PM
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Just last year purchased a house with a lift and GEM Remotes setup. The first thing I was told was to flip the power switch in the panel after every use just to avoid this from happening. We have a lot of lightening, so I was more concerned about a surge setting it off and goodbye boaty. I know you're trying to GEM Remotes harm by this post, but this is not the topic that will do it.

Now I could complain about GEM Remotes in other ways for a few minutes ... but I digress. Overall it's better than nothing, but dang does that product need some updates and improvements! Still I'd choose to have more than not any day of the week.
Old 04-10-2021, 06:59 PM
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I'm really not trying to "hurt" Gem. I'm just trying to let anyone interested to know what can happen. I don't even have a remote for my lifts...As stated by others, the safe thing to do is shut the power off at the breaker every time you're done with the lift...I know there are a ton of folks that have remotes and don't shut their power off, that's all. As for my believe that it BS for GEM to engineer a product that can default into a mode that is potentially catastrophic for a boat owner, I still believe that. For full disclosure, I haven't read every page in a GEM manual, maybe there's a page that states " Warning, our remotes can default to the run position due to corrosion with no prior warning. Disconnect power when not in use" at least that would be a heads up.
Old 04-10-2021, 07:16 PM
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Turning off the lift breaker is kind of lift 101 for all I know with lifts, including myself. Do you leave your key in the on position in any vehicle you drive? A switch in a remote is just 1 switch of many. You have the gem box with boards in it too. Something needs to eliminate its source of power. Breaker is the way to do so. Your talking about a $50 remote that calls the shots to put your several thousand, to hundred plus thousand dollar boat up and down. And don’t think it’s just GEM, your talking about a simple key fob and not a military grade pelican box remote!
Old 04-11-2021, 11:18 AM
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Doesn’t the control box have a power switch? I have a Gem remote, replaced the fob after about 8 years because it was eating up batteries.
I see absolutely no reason to leave power on to lift when not in use. I have a switch before box, power switch inside box. Keeps from inadvertently activating and curious hands off too.Trip breaker when away.
I don’t think op or friend has any bitch with Gem.
Old 04-12-2021, 10:12 AM
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I flip the breaker when not using the boat for extended periods, but there's also a toggle switch in the box itself. I always turn that off. Will the system still activate the lift with the toggle switch off, or do you have to flip the breaker to be certain?
Old 04-12-2021, 10:41 AM
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I was instructed to spray the motors and the Gem case annually with PB blaster silicone spray. The advice on keeping the remote dry makes sense.

I'm not too concerned about the boat floating away as I have a pair of solid braid lines with a clamp loop in each end. One end goes around the PVC guide posts, gets looped and then is fished into the midship cleats. 2 keeps the boat in place and I use it to single hand the lift up and making sure the boat is seated perfectly in the bunk. I have another poly pair on hand to do the same on the stern cleats and guide posts but don't usually need them.

If I'm away for an extended period I expect I will flip the breakers at the house sub panel to deter thieves. The rumor I've heard is that the Gem remote master code was leaked and that thieves go up and down residential canals trying to drop lifts, wait a day or so, then come back at night and steal boats. It is a rumor though and I really like my Gem remote; mine has up and down limit switches which are great.

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