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September 25, 2012 // Comments ()
My first exposure to power monitoring was the WT series. I started out in the warehouse shipping them. Then I progressed to stripping the wires used for the CT shorting assembly. After that I assembled them, put them in enclosures, and added the shorting switches when they were ordered. From the warehouse I moved to the sales department where I got to enter orders for WTs. Finally, I moved to tech support where I got to recommend, sell, and troubleshoot WTs. I am not ashamed to say that it was one of the most difficult challenges. Power monitoring, the WT in particular, made me cringe. High voltage/high current electricity is dangerous. While the WT was a fine product; it was very hard to troubleshoot - especially over the phone. 

Then Kele had a significant breakthrough: The PT-9000 Series PowerTrak Monitoring Interface. Even the name is cool. It had 9000 in the series name long before Internet memes taught us that 9000 = cool. The PT-9000 went way beyond the WT. It was like adding indoor plumbing. The PT-9000 has 2 configurable 4-20 mA outputs and a pulse output for kWh. It also has lights, wonderful lights that tell the full story of how the unit wired - a gift to the telephone trouble shooter. To top it off it has an auto configure feature that corrected CT/phase wiring errors. Not long after the launch came the communication abilities (BACnet, LON, N2, Modbus) that made the user capable of capturing parameters never dreamed of by the WT. 

And now we have the EnGenius Intelligent Power Monitor with its 58 monitored parameters, easy to use interface, installer focused design, standard NEMA 4X enclosure, I could go on for quite a while with this. I’ve only played with the beta but I’m pretty sure it can change Coke to Pepsi and find your car keys. It’s that cool. All kidding aside the EnGenius launch is very exciting for me. It truly is the evolution of power monitoring. Check it out for yourself at Kele.com/engenius/

The WT series is still alive and working in many installations around the world and we still get the occasional tech call about them and they still scare me a little, but that doesn’t stop me from helping when I get those calls. Truth be told the WT did make me a better tech support person, kind of like the fat football coach that always made you run, called you horrible names, and yelled at you all the time. Sure you hated him, but he made you better.
August 08, 2012 // Comments ()
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Get Ahead of the Curve

 

Understanding and then selecting the right temperature curve might seem like a daunting task. To a newbie, it might seem impossible but there is a logical, systematic method to selecting the right temperature sensor.

 

Basically, the thermistors we use in our systems have negative temperature coefficients meaning as the temperature rises, the corresponding resistance decreases; but, the relationship is far from linear.

 

We refer to thermistors by their resistance value at a specific base temperature, usually 77°F (25°C), and a “Type” number that designates the specific relationship of resistance to temperature throughout the relevant range.

 

This relationship depends upon the mix of materials from which the thermistor is made, and for simplicity’s sake, each recipe is assigned a different designation. These are listed in product specifications, ordering information, and the Technical Reference sections in both your Kele catalog and the technical reference section of Kele.com.  To make it easy, you can also click here..

 

For example, the Precon ST-S3E Executive wall sensor uses a high-quality Precon Model 3 thermistor. This sensor has a resistance value of 10 kΩ at 77°F (25°C), and varies according to the Type III temperature/resistance curve.

 

The important take-away from this is to make sure that both the base resistance and the type designation for a thermistor sensor match up with the BAS to which they’re connected.

 

RTD sensors have positive temperature coefficients, meaning as the temperature rises, so does the resistance value of the sensor. Like thermistors, RTDs are classified by a base resistance value, but at a different base temperature, 0°C (32°F). RTDs behave in much more proportional way than thermistors as the change resistance.

 

Each controller is designed and manufactured to use a specific temperature curve. Using the wrong curve will lead to poor control due to inaccurate temperature sensing. Easier still, call Kele and ask for Technical Sales. We’ll help you pick the sensor that’s right for your application!

 

July 25, 2012 // Comments ()

Every decent-sized Building Automation contractor should have a sensor whisperer; the guy who knows instinctively exactly where each sensor should go…even when there’s no plan. If your company doesn’t have a sensor whisperer, we can help. Our technical support staff can always help you with just the right touch for perfect sensor installation guidance.

But for the rest of us sensor newbies, we offer these 6 obvious and not-so obvious tips for spotting and installing wall-mount temperature or humidity sensors:

  1. The most obvious factor of all is to confirm that the sensor location is in the space served by the air handler (or other terminal unit) with which it is associated. If the ceiling is in place, it’s best to at least have a chat with the folks who installed the sheet metal – make sure nobody decided to do some re-zoning without informing you.
  2. Treat sensors like vampires, avoid sunlight. In fact, it’s better to stay at least several feet away from any portion of wall that gets direct sunlight. Surface temperatures of sunlit walls can be as much as 20°F (11°C) higher than room air, and this heat can be conducted to a nearby sensor.
  3.  Avoid outside walls, unless the only other choice involves direct sunshine.
  4.  Avoid other sources of heat within the space. If not yet occupied, ask where electrical equipment will be placed. A temperature sensor on a wall above a copy machine can make a room mighty cold. If sensing humidity, an elevated temperature at the sensor location will cause it to report lower values than a sensor at actual room temperature.
  5. Avoid the supply air stream. Sometimes this can be a challenge. Even if the room’s supply air diffuser is a good distance away from the wall, its output may travel across the ceiling and down the wall, causing false readings at the sensor. If a diffuser cannot be avoided, line up the sensor with the corners of diffusers. If all else fails it might be time to get creative. We’ve seen cases in which shelves had to be built to shield a sensor from direct blasts of supply air.
  6. Avoid leaks. Even in interior rooms, the air from the space within the wall can be warmer or cooler than the conditioned area. In some cases, the moisture content can be very different, too. Seal the holes, including the hole for the sensor cable.

These 6 tips are what all sensor whispers know instinctively, for the rest of us, there’s Kele. We can help with your sensor installation. Remember, at Kele we have more than 100 combined years of technical expertise in Building Automation and some of us might even have…the gift. 

 

June 13, 2012 // Comments ()

In the current economic times it can be difficult to convince a client that it is necessary to remove a working valve just to change out the pneumatic actuator controlling it.  Re-piping and draining the system alone means down time and extra labor that probably isn’t in the budget.  The obvious solution is to leave that valve there and upgrade the actuator.

There are companies out there, like Belimo, which have an entire section of business dedicated to retrofitting other company’s old valves though there are limitations to this. They mainly focus on the most common valve lines for the major valve manufactures.  

Here at Kele we work daily with many of the manufactures that have been making valves that are still working away after 30 years of service.  All it takes is a valve body model number and we can do the rest. Though sometimes the valves are just too old and the designs have changed so much that there is no way to mount a modern actuator on it; more often than not we can offer an option.  

If you have a situation where you want to try to retrofit but don’t know where to begin, start by getting as much info from the parts on sight as possible.  First is the valve number, which is hopefully on the tag that no one has torn off in thirty years.  If there is no tag (very common) write down all of the markings on the body itself and if possible take a picture.  While you at it take down all of the info off of the actuator as well.  

It is important to note that it is never possible to choose a new actuator for a valve based on the old actuator number when going from pneumatic to electronic.  This can only be done with the valve number.  The info on the actuator is helpful however, and can give up clues to things like normally open or normally closed.  Plus if an old valve with no tag has an old Barber Colman actuator on it that will at least point us in the right direction.  

As you can probably tell, this really isn’t an exact science but it is a viable option.  We are always happy to try, especially if it means saving you time and money.  So, next time you are staring at an ancient valve and don’t know where to start, give us a call. 

March 08, 2012 // Comments ()

We’re always adding new products to our lineup here at Kele. As the leading supplier of building automation products, we have partnership with more than 300 great manufacturers worldwide.  And, our newest catalog has added over 130 product groups and is more than 1200 pages. If you don’t have a copy, you can request a copy online.

Few new products, however, are generating as much excitement as the Honeywell WebStat Controller and T7350H Thermostats and Sensors we’ve just added to our inventory.

In my opinion, this is a game changer for HVAC and Building Automation companies looking to source this popular web-enabled controller that allows the system manager to monitor and control up to 20 thermostats and sensors using the internet.

Our customers have been asking for a solution like this for years. We’re delighted that Kele can sell these products and ship anywhere in the U.S. Now our customers can buy the WebStat and compatible thermostats and sensors from us, and get Kele’s same-day shipping and legendary technical support.

We sold one of these controllers the first day it was available and we hadn’t even launched it yet. Some of my colleagues have asked me why the customer demand for WebStat and its communicating thermostats and sensors is so great.

I tell them WebStat provides a way for our customers to step up from standalone thermostat control to web-enabled monitoring and control of multiple thermostats without incurring any excessive cost or complexity. Wireless device options and automation features, such as alarming, trending, scheduling and network accessibility, combine to deliver significant operational savings through remote monitoring, alarming, floor plan visuals and user privileges.

User friendliness is also a big plus for WebStat installers and users. It makes remote control simple and convenient by allowing Internet accessibility and flexibility for assigning user privileges. A single WebStat system can support up to 20 T7350H thermostats and sensors, so it offers ideal control for a wide range of building types and styles.

Because WebStat lets you track everything from temperature and humidity, to discharge air temperature and outdoor air temperature, users can remotely troubleshoot and monitor their entire system. They can preset alarms to notify designated people in the event of an unwanted change, helping to catch problems early and reduce downtime.

While many thermostats limit programming to a 7-day schedule, this system offers 365-day programming allowing users to easily maximize energy savings. Programming can mirror the building’s occupancy schedule without requiring special changes for holidays and events. The user can create up to 10 unique schedules to meet a variety of scheduling needs.

Many customers see the extra value in purchasing Honeywell WebStat and T7350H Thermostats and Sensors through Kele because they know Kele will have it in stock, ship it the same day and bundle it into a single invoice with any other purchases from the other more than 300 manufacturers’ available through Kele. Plus, Kele’s seasoned techs are always just a phone call away.