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  1. #1
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    ESR Communication Failure

    I'm pulling my hair out on this one - looking for advice/input.

    Here's the story (its a little long winded) -

    Got called out to a store today on an E2 alarm - 'ESR Board #4 Device Offline'. The board went offline at approximately 1035 and returned to normal several minutes later. It went offline again twice more - all 3 failures occurring within 20 minutes of one another - and all returning to normal.

    Of course, when I arrive later in the day - there are no active alarms, and the device hadn't missed a beat since the hiccup earlier in the day.

    In poking around the controller, I see this particular board has been a problem child for quite some time with multiple call outs for this issue dating back to January 2011 - and as indicated by the maintenance log, has been changed 3 times since April of this year by the previous servicing contractor.....the most recent being September 18th.

    For point of reference, the controller is mounted in a back room, with a couple Hill/Phoenix pump houses sitting on the roof (low and medium temp). The LT system has a few MultiFlex boards, including 3 ESR's while the MT system also has a few MultiFlex, including 2 ESR's.

    I checked the daisy chain wires/connections obviously - also found and repaired a loose spade connector on the secondary side of #4's transformer.

    I tightened EMS electrical connections on rack, as well as electrical terminal blocks which feed power to fuse blocks/transformers....several connections were less than snug.

    The 460V supply wiring to the rack had been wire tied to a bundle of shielded cable and I noticed a few areas where high voltage wiring was running parallel with network cabling in the wire chases. Both of these issues were taken care of.

    I pulled, poked, prodded, and otherwise molested the wiring on the entire EMS side of the rack - but the entire time I'm on site, the friggen thing doesn't miss a beat - voltage looks good the entire time and she's communicating like a newlywed couple for the duration....so I pack out, do invoicing - and I'm outta there.

    I no sooner walk in the door at home, and monitoring calls me saying board #4 went offline again! (How they got a hold of my work number is also puzzling, but I'm focusing on one problem at a time right now....)

    #4 lost communication twice about half hour after I left - each time coming back online within a matter of a few minutes. It went offline a third time about 5 minutes before I got back to the store........and reestablished communication 2 minutes before I got to the controller.

    It's now dark on the roof and raining like a sumb!tch....and I'm back for a second time on a friggen board that refuses to cooperate with me and fail while I'm present.

    Scraping the bottom of the barrel of tricks, I double check baud rate and board address on all MultiFlex boards in both racks.

    I was concerned that maybe the factory installed daisy chain terminal points at the network cable plug could present a problem if there was a hairline crack at the top of the male connector or a loose/broken wire........so I cut them out and landed the daisy chain wiring directly into the network cable plug.

    An hour on site and no comm loss - no nuthin. Once again I type up a narrative and get signed out. Manager leaves (as by now the store has been closed for a couple hours) and I decide to look through my E2 manual to see what I may have overlooked.....which burned up another half hour.

    By the time I call monitoring to check out, the time is a touch after 0100. As I give the store # to the monitor-er......he tells me #4 went off line again at 0052.

    WTF!!!

    I need to be back there by 0600 and I'm not fuggen leaving until this baby is put to bed.

    Like I said at the beginning, if you've got any thoughts on this ('this' being the communication failure.....not the technician's lack of ability ) I'd be glad to hear them.
    Last edited by markettech; 10-09-2011 at 05:51 AM.
    "The problem is the average person isnít tuned in to lifelong learning, or going to seminars and so forth. If the information is not on television, and itís not in the movies they watch, and itís not in the few books that they buy, they donít get it" - Jack Canfield

  2. #2
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    I have had a couple of ESR board issues. All with Echelon type ESR boards, not the newer 485 type.

    Not sure which you have as I read this, but I *assume* that it is a 485 as it sounds like a newer store.

    Switch the boards around and see if the problem follows the board.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Hampstead/NH
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    178
    I had the same problem at a Target this week. Same board too. Lost the board twice, for about 10min each time. Raining like a bastard, went up checked everything, went back to the controller to see now the reciever sensor was reading shorted, but no lost esr board 4 alarms. The reciever sensor cleared an hour or so later.
    New Hill rack, just started, I'm thinking it was related to the severe rain/wind we were having, something is getting wet thats screwing things up. I was kind of wishing the electrical was inside the rack, sucked opening the panel up in a thunder storm.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm View Post
    I have had a couple of ESR board issues. All with Echelon type ESR boards, not the newer 485 type.

    Not sure which you have as I read this, but I *assume* that it is a 485 as it sounds like a newer store.

    Switch the boards around and see if the problem follows the board.
    Yes, its the new style - Racks were commissioned sometime in 2010.

    I thought about swapping board 4 and 5 - but with 'knowing' (via the E2 maintenance log) board 4 has been changed 3 times since April - and the communication problem still hasn't been fixed.....my gut is telling me I don't think its a board problem as much as a wiring problem.

    I'm ripping out the existing daisy chain shielded cable and installing new as I type this. If the #4 still loses communication, I'll swap boards and see what happens.
    "The problem is the average person isnít tuned in to lifelong learning, or going to seminars and so forth. If the information is not on television, and itís not in the movies they watch, and itís not in the few books that they buy, they donít get it" - Jack Canfield

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nesc522 View Post
    I had the same problem at a Target this week. Same board too. Lost the board twice, for about 10min each time. Raining like a bastard, went up checked everything, went back to the controller to see now the reciever sensor was reading shorted, but no lost esr board 4 alarms. The reciever sensor cleared an hour or so later.
    New Hill rack, just started, I'm thinking it was related to the severe rain/wind we were having, something is getting wet thats screwing things up. I was kind of wishing the electrical was inside the rack, sucked opening the panel up in a thunder storm.
    If not for the receiver sensor issue, I could swear we're working at the same store

    I like the Hill/Phoenix rack - it's a well designed system - except for the flimsy-a$$ door panels. Kinda liken it to rolling a brand new Lexus off the assembly line......with hand cranks for the windows.

    I'll have to look up the design ambient/RH parameters for the MultiFlex boards, but that said - it is consistently board #4 that keeps losing communication. A guy would think a high RH problem would manifest itself with comm loss failures on random boards....

    .....And I agree - no fun working around sensitive electronics and/or 460V power in the dark....in a driving rain
    "The problem is the average person isnít tuned in to lifelong learning, or going to seminars and so forth. If the information is not on television, and itís not in the movies they watch, and itís not in the few books that they buy, they donít get it" - Jack Canfield

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm View Post
    Read too fast and missed that.

    I got a little carried away with the detail in my OP......would've been easy to miss amungst all the 'babble'
    "The problem is the average person isnít tuned in to lifelong learning, or going to seminars and so forth. If the information is not on television, and itís not in the movies they watch, and itís not in the few books that they buy, they donít get it" - Jack Canfield

  8. #8
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    termination jumper positions are good?

    Also if EMI is an issue, it doesn't hurt to run 14 AWG as communication wire..lowers the chance of that low signal voltage being scrambled in that small belden wire. Have done that many times, usually with an AO board intermittently dropping offline on VSD's due to the VSD's EMI and the AO wires in close proximity.
    Last edited by Phase Loss; 10-09-2011 at 12:55 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phase Loss View Post
    termination jumper positions are good?
    There are times when I actually even amaze myself at the depth and breadth of my own stupidity.....

    About half way into running new Belden wire I thought "Hey, what if the installing contractor didn't terminate the last board on the chain?" I pulled the MT condenser panel - and sure enough, an un-terminated chain.

    Ya know, I feel like I'm always preaching about starting with the little and simple stuff first when diagnosing a refrigeration system - and then working up to the larger, more complicated stuff as necessary.....but there I am, spending countless hours banging my head against a wall trying to fix a problem that ultimately took less than 30 seconds to repair.

    .....I now know better than to assume a refrigeration installation will be commissioned correctly around here. This issue has probably been going on since day one.

    So, after landing an 11 door EEPR on another board and reconfiguring due to a bad ESR point - finding and repairing the cause of a blown fuse on the primary side of the 480V transformer when I closed the condenser disconnect - and buttoning up my control wires......I can finally go home and get some sleep.

    Sure glad I missed dinner last night and breakfast/lunch today - cuz I've gotta helluva lot of hours I need to eat.
    "The problem is the average person isnít tuned in to lifelong learning, or going to seminars and so forth. If the information is not on television, and itís not in the movies they watch, and itís not in the few books that they buy, they donít get it" - Jack Canfield

  10. #10
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    Dont mean to ask as dumb question or to highjack the thread as im not too familiar with rack controllers. How come the problem is only intermitant with the jumpers not in the correct terminating position? Wouldnt everything be working incorrectly if that was the case? Especially the controls and set points for the condenser? Or am i way out to lunch here?

    Like i said havnt had much experience with controls.
    thanks

  11. #11
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    The communication network starts at the controller. It sends signals out and waits for the signals to come back. The termination resistors let the controller know where the start & end of the network is. If the network is not terminated properly, every once in a while the signal comes back to the controller without all of the information. The reason why it is intermittent is because if the signal is incomplete on one loop, it will pick the board up on the next loop.

    And it is a picky little bastard of a problem because I've seen unterminated networks run fine with no communication issues. While other unterminated networks continually drop boards offline...and sometimes it's not the same board every time.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phase Loss View Post
    The communication network starts at the controller. It sends signals out and waits for the signals to come back. The termination resistors let the controller know where the start & end of the network is. If the network is not terminated properly, every once in a while the signal comes back to the controller without all of the information. The reason why it is intermittent is because if the signal is incomplete on one loop, it will pick the board up on the next loop.

    And it is a picky little bastard of a problem because I've seen unterminated networks run fine with no communication issues. While other unterminated networks continually drop boards offline...and sometimes it's not the same board every time.
    Thanks for the explanation! Definately something I need to get into more and read about, I appreciate your response.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by neumonic View Post
    Thanks for the explanation! Definately something I need to get into more and read about, I appreciate your response.
    Here ya go: http://www.emersonclimate.com/Documents/026-1610.pdf

    252 pages for your reading enjoyment!

    It's 'edge of your seat' stuff.....
    "The problem is the average person isnít tuned in to lifelong learning, or going to seminars and so forth. If the information is not on television, and itís not in the movies they watch, and itís not in the few books that they buy, they donít get it" - Jack Canfield

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