Ever roll a truck on a service call only to find out that you have no idea what was wrong because the installation now works? How frustrating is that? - for both you and your customer! Well, (no pun intended) there's a way to solve this problem.
In a past article, I discussed pump protection and why I thought it was a wise investment for each and every installation. It turns out that most modern electronic pump protection devices also double as "event loggers". Basically, they record the electrical conditions of the system at the time a given fault occurs.
Let's review some of the faults typically recorded:
- Dry Well (cavitating or "pumping air")
- Flow restrictions (dead-head)
- Over current (jammed impeller)
- Over voltage
- Under voltage
Once the protection device is calibrated, it will keep track of the above faults with run-hour time stamps as well as pertinent voltage, current and power conditions. These events will be saved indefinitely in non-volatile memory - even when the power goes off (to a limit of 10 to 20 faults depending on manufacturer)
Beyond the basic details surrounding the faults, several other useful data points are usually stored, including:
- The protection device's model number (to help when calling the manufacturer for support)
- Real-time voltage, current and power measurements - what's happening right now.
- Highest & lowest voltages and currents since the last calibration
- Total pump run-time
- Number of pump starts
As you can see, by retrieving the exact conditions when the fault occurred along with the "complete story" on the entire system, your field service personnel will very easily determine the corrective action to take -and you'll have a satisfied customer - what more could you ask for?
You may be asking, "How do we see these events? Pump savers don't have displays." Well, as a practical matter, including a display on each & every pump protection device is cost prohibitive. The display alone would double the cost of the unit - and we all know how cost-conscious our customers are! Two manufacturers have taken similar yet very different approaches to solve this problem - both involve wireless technologies:
- Franklin Electric chose to use high-frequency wireless technology to interface their Pumptec® protection product to the popular hand-held palm pilot & pocket PC devices.
- SymCom chose to use infrared (IR) light to interface all of their PumpSaver® protection product line to a rugged, hand-held Informer® - also built by SymCom.
Both approaches work fine. Franklin's approach assumes the service folks will have a belt-holstered, wireless enabled, palm pilot or pocket PC available to them. SymCom's approach assumes the service folks will have an Informer® in their tool box (one per truck is all you need). Whichever solution you chose, diagnosis will be "hands-free" and very safe...
In conclusion, consider installing pump protection for its event logging capability - it sure will make your service calls far more productive! Remember, it's your business - and your call...
VP of Marketing, SymCom
Jerry is a degreed Electrical Engineer from the University of Colorado with numerous patents to his credit and over 25 years of experience. He was a Senior Design Engineer at Texas Instruments, Rockwell International, Siemens and Bell Labs. In other corporations, Jerry has held various positions including: VP of Marketing, VP of R&D, VP of Sales, Executive VP, Managing Director and President. He can be reached at