With an extensive customer base dating back to 1952, Smith Power Products supports surface and underground mining, as well as major drill and service companies, including some of the country's largest public transportation networks in various cities, counties, states and government agencies.
in 2021 Smith Power Products purchased a custom MurCal panel that contained an AMF COMPACT by CRE. The AMF COMPACT is an Automatic Mains Failure unit, which provides complete management of a standby generator by continuously monitoring utility input and starting the generator if there is a power loss.
After about a year, they started having issues and thought their unit had burned out. What made matters worse was that they were dealing with a snowstorm and these difficult weather conditions made it hard to completely understand what the real problem was.
MurCal was able to dispatch our engineers to help using remote technology. Our engineer found out the software was no longer configured correctly so he had to do a backup to re-assess. He was able to help Smith's onsite technician determine the correct setpoints for his specific application since he didn’t have the information on hand and was unfamiliar with the control platform. He also checked wires and made sure everything was connected correctly.
One of the nice features of the CRE controller platforms is the ability to connect them to a laptop. Once connected, our remote team was able to remotely control the laptop and view the settings, make changes, and troubleshoot issues. We were able to help out during the troubleshooting by doing just this. This helped to reduce downtime and offer our support in a timely manner. The CRE i4Gen software suite is a free download and allows us to also back-up the settings and see the real time operation of the system.
From this we learned that sending a new controller as the first option is not always the solution. We must listen carefully to the customer for clues and spend time with the client going over the application and what may have changed prior to the issue that started happening. We can then see if a new firmware update may have changed the way the defaults work. From there, we can help the technician confirm the settings. If we find that everything looks correct, but the problem persists, we can then send out a new, pre-configured unit that should be plug-and-play.
The failure to go through all the steps necessary to correctly diagnose a problem can result in some very expensive service work for such a simple mistake. Hypothermia didn’t help, of course!
Our team noted that it is important to have a settings list in a protective sleeve on the panel and to do a fresh backup of your system before you work on it. Having a backup of known good settings is a best practice. Our team also suggested that the crew use the onboard relays to keep connections to the system better isolated/protected. This is a best practice that helps with the long-term reliability of the system.
Below are some images from the software of what you can see and do remotely via CRE's i4Gen Suite.
There are two main units on the CRE AMF Compact:
Click on the above links for more information.
Our team can create custom solutions to help control, diagnose, and monitor your mission-critical equipment.
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