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  • I have had the pleasure of working closely with Electro-Motion on my fire pumps and emergency generator. They correct problems on the spot and report on anything which may need to be corrected in the future, keeping equipment in top working order saves us all in emergency repairs and costly down time.

    Scott W. Varady
    Director of Engineering
    San Ramon Marriott Hotel

    The Weakest Link in Your Emergency Power System

    April 2, 2015

    The #1 reason for service calls is because the generator did not start.

    The #1 reason the generator did not start is due to a battery system failure.

    And simply put, if your unit doesn't start, it can't perform. Therefore, your starting system (consisting of the battery, battery charger, starter, starter solenoid, cables, etc.) is of critical importance to maintaining dependable and reliable performance. And among these starting system elements, the battery is the most important. It also happens to be the item most likely to cause trouble.

    Under ideal conditions, a battery can last 4-5 years or longer. Unfortunately most starting batteries work under average-to-poor environmental, application, and maintenance conditions. This shortens their life considerably. NFPA110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems, 2013 edition states that "it is recommended that lead-acid batteries be replaced every 24 to 30 months." Based on our experience, we recommend replacing small batteries every 2 years and large batteries every 3 years, using an industrial-grade battery specifically designed for standby generator duty. Remember, this isn't like waiting to replace your car battery until it fails. Wait that long and you risk not having emergency power when you desperately need it. Replacing your batteries every 2-3 years is the "cheapest insurance" you can buy to make sure your emergency generator is dependable and starts when needed.


    Common Maintenance Mistakes: Not Performing a Load Bank Test Every Year

    March 4, 2015

    What is a Load Bank test?
    A Load Bank test is run to determine the ability of the engine to perform properly and to remove unburned fuel deposits from the combustion chambers and the exhaust system.

    How is it performed?
    Because providing sufficient load from the building may not be practical, an electrical load (usually portable) is connected to the generator set so the engine can be run at its rated capacity (100% load).

    Why are Load bank tests important?
    Engines -- particularly diesel engines -- run "dirty," leaving behind unburned carbon deposits that can damage the engine and degrade performance. This is known as "Wet Stacking." More importantly, wet stacking can create a significant fire hazard. Therefore, these deposits must be removed periodically. In addition, the Load Bank test also verifies the engine and its components can still produce 100% of its rated load and can take a full power transfer without pause or delay.

    Why does this test have to be done every year?
    Deposits can build up rapidly when engines are run under light to no-load conditions. Also, degradation of performance capability can happen very quickly under certain conditions. An annual Load Bank test confirms your equipment is in peak condition, ready to support you during the next power outage.


    Electro-Motion Now Performs LIVE Power Analysis and Load Monitoring for Your Buildings

    January 26, 2015

    Energy monitoring is important. Whether you're thinking about adding loads or reducing energy consumption, identifying electrical issues or assessing a building's power usage; if you want to manage your building's electrical capabilities, you need to measure it first.

    Electro-Motion now offers LIVE power analysis and load monitoring, providing you with a detailed report showing volts, amps, hertz and power factor per phase so you have a clear understanding of how your electrical power is being utilized. We can test everything ranging from an individual panel to an entire building. This electrical analysis service is available in 7-Day or 30-Day tests for any building or property from 100 amps to 1200 amps and is performed to NFPA 70E standards by a C-10 licensed electrician.


    Are You Getting TRUE Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance?

    December 17, 2014

    Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance may just be another line item on your service contract, but are you getting what you think you're getting? Some service companies just press the "test" button or visually inspect the switch and clean the exterior cabinet. But are they:

    • Isolating the switch from all live power sources so that the switch itself can be thoroughly inspected for carbon tracking, cracks, and corrosion?
    • Disassembling the switch all the way down to the contact level for cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting?
    • Checking all power and control connections for deterioration?
    • Re-torquing the switch according to manufacturer's specifications?

    If they're not, what they're selling you isn't really maintenance, and not something you should be satisfied with when it comes to an important piece of equipment like your transfer switch - especially if you want to adhere to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 110) standards. This is the standard Electro-Motion uses when it comes to transfer switch maintenance, the end result of which is a transfer switch that is as good as new and can be relied upon to do its job in the event of a power disruption.


    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.


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