1. #1
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    Default Pump panel question.....

    Hey fellas. I have another question for yall.

    Our newest engine that we got about a year ago has a digital pump pressure adjuster instead of manual. Basically instead of having the usual knob that you turn on the pump panel to adjust the pressure there is a digital panel with buttons on it that you push to adjust it and it gives you a digital readout of the pressure. I am personally a fan of the manual pressure knob (I know I am probably using the incorrect terms but you get the idea of what I am talking about). Shortly before we got our engine one of our mutal aid departments got a new engine also with a similar set up. They were operating at a fire and there was a short in the wiring that completely shut down their pump. Thank goodness there was another engine there that was able to take over within a few seconds, but it could have gotten bad. I noticed right after we got ours that there is no manual backup to the digital panel. So from my understanding if the panel shorts out then we have a dead pump. Am I correct? Have you guys ever heard or seen such a thing occur? It seems to me that it is dangerous to not have a manual backup. Just wanted to get your opinions on this.

    Stay safe out there.

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    I think you must be talking about the throttle control, not neccessarily the pressure control, even though the rpm of the engine does have alot to do with how much pressure you will generate; thus the ability to pump water.

    Yes I have heard of these failing. I have seen them fail. I think they're neat, but I don't like them. I have seen backup throttle controls on some trucks that have these controls, but I have never seen one retrofitted. A fail-safe or redundant system is a good idea, but not always practical due to costs involved.
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    With the advent of electronically controlled diesel engines, the days of "manual" or Vernier Throttle (linkage-connected) controls are long since gone, much like the horses, not using SCBA, gasoline engines, etc etc etc. Your concerns are certainly valid, however fortunately failures of electronic controls are few and far between. I wonder what our forefathers might have said about losing a steam-powered, horse-drawn pumper to one of them new-fangled gasoline-powered self propelled jobbies- "What if the dern thing breaks? At least the horses could have gotten us there!"

    It is a change that unfortunately, we have no control over (pardon the pun!!!)
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    With the advent of electronically controlled diesel engines, the days of "manual" or Vernier Throttle (linkage-connected) controls are long since gone, much like the horses, not using SCBA, gasoline engines, etc etc etc. Your concerns are certainly valid, however fortunately failures of electronic controls are few and far between. I wonder what our forefathers might have said about losing a steam-powered, horse-drawn pumper to one of them new-fangled gasoline-powered self propelled jobbies- "What if the dern thing breaks? At least the horses could have gotten us there!"

    It is a change that unfortunately, we have no control over (pardon the pun!!!)
    Quite true... the cables for vernier throttles can rot through or wear down.
    When the electronics go screwy, most of the problem is the multiplexing.

    The pump controls and aerial controls should have their own wiring as a failsafe system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    The pump controls and aerial controls should have their own wiring as a failsafe system.
    Exactly Gonz. IMO, pump and aerial controls should not be part of multiplexed systems. I even think (gasp...) that maybe the NFPA should adopt that into 1901. But don't tell anyone I said that.
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    Default add an overide

    We have manual overides on our pumpers. Since all engines are electronically controlled, they are obviously not "true" full overides though.

    The new pump governors have many electrical inputs, all subject to potential failures, usually at the worst moment. They may include a 12V power source, multiple pressure sensors, flow meters, interlocks, etc. Take a look at a governor wiring installation guide to see what I mean.

    We put a seperate vernier-style throttle with a bypass switch in our specs. If any of the pressure sensors or other wiring fail, flip the switch and it goes back to "manual control". Now it is a straight data-link cable from the throttle control back to the engine without any other electrical inputs.

    But if the engine electronics fail, well then ................

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    We had far more failures of throttle cables and pilot valves on manual relief valves than we have with the electronic governors. We've also had much better luck with electronically controlled intake valves mounted inside the panel than the exterior mounted types.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    I think you must be talking about the throttle control, not neccessarily the pressure control, even though the rpm of the engine does have alot to do with how much pressure you will generate; thus the ability to pump water.

    Yes I have heard of these failing. I have seen them fail. I think they're neat, but I don't like them. I have seen backup throttle controls on some trucks that have these controls, but I have never seen one retrofitted. A fail-safe or redundant system is a good idea, but not always practical due to costs involved.
    Actualy it is more than likely a electronic pressure governor. Throttle control with built in pressure/RPM monitor mode.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    Actualy it is more than likely a electronic pressure governor. Throttle control with built in pressure/RPM monitor mode.
    You would be correct sir.
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    Thanks for the info guys. Sorry if my original post wasn’t well written. I was on my last hour of a 12 hour shift at dispatch after being up for over 30 something hours. So I was very tired.

    The mutual aid department I mentioned was the first department in the county to go with these new digital throttle controls. I think they were on their second fire when all of a sudden some wires fried and the pump completely shut down. This was right around the time we were getting our new engine. So the next day a maintenance guy from the manufacturer came and fixed their truck first and then came to our station and re-wired our truck so it wouldn’t happen to us.

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    I would highly recommend a formal day long pump operator training class for your pump operators, especially now that you have the new electronic controls.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Quite true... the cables for vernier throttles can rot through or wear down.
    When the electronics go screwy, most of the problem is the multiplexing.

    The pump controls and aerial controls should have their own wiring as a failsafe system.
    At least with the older rigs there was something you could do if the throttle cable broke. With the electronic stuff, you really have no secondary control or bypass if something fails. My biggest concern with the electronics is it appears with the multiplexing, a short or other problem in one part of the apparatus can have systemic affects across the entire apparatus.

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    my old VFD order an engine with a old style manual throttle on it about 5 years ago now. They wanted to have the same controls that were on the 2nd out engine. (and more importantly they didn't want to change). Oddly enough the black/red throttle knob was connected with wires to the truck computer that then increased the RPMs of the truck. No direct throttle cable insight. In most of the new trucks i have worked on the operator can't even throttle up with the gas pedal in the cab. Is it still possible to have a throttle cables directly from the contol to the engine? Maybe some on with more knowledge can answer that for me.

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    Yea, sophistication and progress is scary. No insult intended, there.

    As someone else pointed out, the manual processes also break. Actually, they were pretty prone to breakdowns.

    The only way to battle breakdowns of any kind is to frequently inspect and operate the equipment.

    BTW, our newest pumper has the electronic controls, but it's still a knob that you turn. We all liked having that incremental "feel" of spinning a knob.

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    We had a failure on a scene in the pressure governor system with two guys in a garage fire. Just luckily this was on a corner lot and the second in piece parked where we could use a line off it. After discussing with our repair shop there is 4 instances where sensors not working correctly (this was intermittent)where the pump will disengage. This particular model there are no indicators, it is a guess which one is the problem. if it is a sensor problem it totally takes control of the engine and you can't even build pressure in the cab (tried that too).

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    We have the same throttle control on our new heavy rescue that has a small pump on it. Not a fan of electronic but I guess it's the industry trend. It has that familiar "knob" to it so it feels the same. It is supposed to be more reliable than manual.
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    We have both the digital panel (FRC In Control if memory serves me) and the vernier style which of course is electronic.

    We have had problems with the vernier style not wanting to throttle up once put into pump gear unless the button in the knob was pushed prior to disengaging the pump. If it doesn't throttle up you have to disengage, push the button and reengage the pump. Not a good thing. Not sure why it does that, and I would love to blame the manufacturer, but to solve it we train our guys accordingly and placed a placard to remind them. The vernier style is just something familiar looking that is still electronic and prone to failure.

    We like the FRC In Control because it gives you all your information, good control and it really cleans up the pump panel but each to his own.

    I would love to get rid of all the electronic gee whiz stuff that makes things so simple because of the many potential points of failure but that will never happen. As a result we will just have to do more homework to make sure they system we are getting is as close to "fire service proof" as possible.
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    Funny story while we are on the topic…..

    I was about a year into the fire service. I was technically still a “rookie” and got still real over excited when we got tones for a fire. We were at the station actually working on the pump on our older engine because the throttle cable broke. So one of my fellow firefighters was actually up inside the pump area trying to figure out what was wrong. Just as he got into the pump tones dropped. His words to me were “if they are for us your going to have to help me out of here.” As soon as dispatch said “Fisher Ferry primary…” I took off running for my gear and left him up in the pump. It wasn’t intentional, but like I said I still got over excited at the time. So I am in the engine getting ready and then he gets in the jump seat next to me. His words were “Your and a**hole you know. Thanks for leaving me in there.” I was funny afterwards and I got to put out a house fire also.

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    Part of the problem is they are using commercial spec electronics instead of mil spec. It also seems there should be a great deal of redundancy built to prevent crashes and failures. You would think for something this crucial that would put in the good stuff. Got to love low bid and the bargain hunters that drive it.

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    o sorry forgive us small revenue strapped departments that cannot afford the best of the best. we only get to replace a rig every thirty-five years or so. guess we should prolong it so we can afford to pay more than low bid.

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    as for the op we have the vernier electric style and have had no issues

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    Quote Originally Posted by elk1544 View Post
    o sorry forgive us small revenue strapped departments that cannot afford the best of the best. we only get to replace a rig every thirty-five years or so. guess we should prolong it so we can afford to pay more than low bid.
    I would think you would want something reliable, the added cost would be a couple of hundred dollars. Doesn't do a bit of good to race through town at 60mph with a $200,000 truck if a 50 cent part keeps it from pumping.

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    again going on three years with our low bid truck and not one issue. the issue does not rest with low bid but the standard for the electronic control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    I would think you would want something reliable, the added cost would be a couple of hundred dollars. Doesn't do a bit of good to race through town at 60mph with a $200,000 truck if a 50 cent part keeps it from pumping.
    Here is the thing wiz genius, do you realize how close seat sensors and seatbelt sensors are coming to a new apparatus near you? anymore if you go lesser, you pay more. We checked on going away from the throttle governor thing on the last truck and was told to go with a regular vernier control on THAT model it would cost more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elk1544 View Post
    again going on three years with our low bid truck and not one issue. the issue does not rest with low bid but the standard for the electronic control.
    OK, you don't get it. Using mil spec parts cost maybe twice as much when it comes to electronics. Now if I can build a control using commercial parts vs mil spec, I cut the cost of the control. The builder of the truck looks for least expensive control that meets their needs. They cut cost anywhere they can to reduce the overall price of the vehicle. Mil Spec electronics have a wider temperature operating range and are more reliable as they are built to higher standards. Failure rates on mil spec components are much lower than the commercial counterparts. Then again the military is working in life and death situations.

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