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  • Prior to contracting with Electro-Motion, we did our own maintenance, which was very little due to lack of qualified staff and budget concerns. We have four diesel units at our various high schools and none were in great operating condition. Electro-Motion came in and provided us with professional services and brought our generators up to full operational capability. We are also considered emergency shelters due to unforseen natural disasters; and we need our generators to support this type of operation.

    John Schultz
    Director of Operations/Maintenance/Health-Safety & Transportation
    Jefferson Union High School District

    Elevator Pre-Signal Relays

    August 21, 2014

    Are you in the planning/design phase of retrofitting your elevator systems to be in compliance with current ASME codes and standards? If so, these new elevator systems require the installation of pre-signal relays. Why is this?

    With old elevator controllers, it didn't matter if the Automatic Transfer Switch transferred when the elevator cars were moving. But now, when elevator controls are upgraded from relay logic to solid state controls, the cars can no longer be in motion when the Automatic Transfer Switch transfers between hot power sources. The solid state logic in the new elevator controllers cannot handle this and it can result in damage to the controller. To circumvent this problem, a pre-signal (a delay to transfer) is sent to the elevator controller prior to transfer, allowing cars to reach the nearest floor and open their doors. The system resets after the Automatic Transfer Switch transfers and the cars are then ready to move again.

    Electro-Motion is experienced at installing pre-signal relays in the San Francisco Bay Area to address this issue. If you need to have pre-signal relays installed, call us today at 650-321-6169.


    Diesel Particulate Filters

    June 30, 2014

    A diesel generator's exhaust releases a significant amount of unwanted particulate matter (ranging from carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon to volatile organic compounds and hazardous pollution) into the air. This is unwanted in any circumstance but is particularly undesirable when situated near a school, daycare, or nursing home or the generator is positioned in a way that the exhaust can be sucked back into your building's ventilation system.

    A diesel particulate filter (DPF) traps particulate matter - also known as soot - from the engine's exhaust; maximizing the reduction of particulate matter emitted by your generator (up to 90% or more) as well as minimizing diesel smoke and odor. Additionally, when the engine exhaust reaches a certain temperature, the particulate matter captured in the filter is oxidized and burned off; effectively cleaning itself (this is called 'passive regeneration') and extending its usefulness. Some DPFs are also designed to reduce the noise level of the engine, eliminating the need for a separate silencer or muffler.

    A number of different regulatory, environmental, noise, and smell factors are increasingly creating challenges. A combination of the right engineering and new offerings from DPF manufacturers can provide a custom solution for most situations. Look into a CARB Level 3+ verified DPF system, designed for diesel engines of all operating conditions. This could be a great solution for your Emergency Standby Power System.


    Dual Starting Systems

    February 19, 2014

    Do you have generators with dual starters & battery sets for redundancy? How many battery chargers are supporting your battery sets? If you answered “one battery charger”, this is your primary risk area.

    If your only battery charger fails, you no longer have the ability to charge all four batteries, and therefore have lost the redundancy that was designed into your starting system. Dual starting systems for generators and fire pumps should have dual battery chargers to ensure the highest level of reliability.

    For life safety systems and mission critical systems, dual battery chargers for 24 volt systems can reduce starting risk when your systems are called upon during a power outage or fire.


    Quick Tip: Run Your Unit Every Week!

    October 15, 2013

    The single most important step you can take to preserve your equipment's value and dependability is to...

    Run Your Unit Every Week!

    Why is this so important? Quite simply, engines are made to run - not sit idle in readiness for an emergency. When they sit, all sorts of bad things can happen. Air can get into the fuel lines, lubricating oil can drain from the rubbing parts, water can condensate on electrical parts, and many more. In contrast...

    By running your unit each week (called "exercising the unit"), you accomplish the following:

    a) make the unit happy by preventing bad things from happening and, equaly important,

    b) you get positive verification your unit is ready for a power outage.

    Most units have some type of "exercise clock" that will automatically exercise the unit. If you are not sure, call.


    Common Maintenance Mistakes: Failure to Maintain Your Automatic Transfer Switch

    August 30, 2013

    Unless you maintain your Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) each year, you risk failure of your emergency power system just when you need it -- and that’s when the power goes out.

    All the ATS makers, without exception, recommend an annual maintenance. This includes Zenith, ASCO, Westinghouse, Onan, Kohler, etc. The makers know their equipment best, so if they require it every year, it’s important to listen.

    NFPA110 (the National Fire Protection Association) calls for a yearly maintenance on all ATS units. NFPA is the most commonly used standard in our industry, and your local Fire Marshall probably uses this standard as well. Please call us for a copy if you don’t have one.

    Your ATS is 50% of your system. Obviously, if your generator set doesn’t perform you won’t have emergency power. Likewise, if your Automatic Transfer Switch doesn’t perform, you won’t have emergency power. Both are critical, and both should be maintained as intensively as possible.

    Important next steps:

    1) Check Your Records. If you haven’t had this ATS maintenance work done in the last year, that work is due.
    2) Get Information: Begin to gather the information you’ll need to understand how this work must be performed and how to manage the potential internal disruption. Call us and ask for “Automatic Transfer Switch maintenance...what do I need to know?”  We’d be happy to talk you through the impact to your facilities.
    3) Call us to Schedule the Work. We are flexible and can schedule this work during off-hours to minimize disruptions..

    Remember: Your maintenance program must include an Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance or -- by definition -- it is not comprehensive!


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