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  1. #1
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    Default Winter pump problem

    Had an issue with our Rosie Pumper/Tanker last night. We had an auto aid call where we had about a 30 minute drive in 25 degree weather. The pump (Waterous 1250 gpm midship) was dry (packing starting to leak, next on list to fix) and when we got there I couldn't get the electronic governor to allow me to increase past idle and the pressure gauge on the governor showed zero. I shut the pump down and verified I had water in the intake manifold (pump to tank is air operated) to rule out a valve problem or the check valve being frozen shut.

    After sitting in the station over night, worked fine this morning.

    Any ideas? To me it seemed like the line to the sensor on the electronic governor was to blame
    Last edited by mitchkrat; 01-31-2010 at 11:58 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchkrat View Post
    Had an issue with our Rosie Pumper/Tanker last night. We had an auto aid call where we had about a 30 minute drive in 25 degree weather. The pump (Waterous 1250 gpm midship) was dry (packing starting to leak, next on list to fix) and when we got there I couldn't get the electronic governor to allow me to increase past idle and the pressure gauge on the governor showed zero. I shut the pump down and verified I had water in the intake manifold (pump to tank is air operated) to rule out a valve problem or the check valve being frozen shut.

    After sitting in the station over night, worked fine this morning.

    Any ideas? To me it seemed like the line to the sensor on the electronic governor was to blame
    What governor are you using?
    Is it reading actual pressure or set pressure?
    Do you suppose the sensor was iced up enough that it wouldn't respond to pressure applied to it?
    Assuming you were in "Pressure Control" mode, did you try going to "Throttle Control" mode?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchkrat View Post
    Had an issue with our Rosie Pumper/Tanker last night. We had an auto aid call where we had about a 30 minute drive in 25 degree weather. The pump (Waterous 1250 gpm midship) was dry (packing starting to leak, next on list to fix) and when we got there I couldn't get the electronic governor to allow me to increase past idle and the pressure gauge on the governor showed zero. I shut the pump down and verified I had water in the intake manifold (pump to tank is air operated) to rule out a valve problem or the check valve being frozen shut.

    After sitting in the station over night, worked fine this morning.

    Any ideas? To me it seemed like the line to the sensor on the electronic governor was to blame
    Being from Canada and useing celsius here I am assumeing your talking 25 fahrenheit. which should work out to about 4 celsius. That being said it is unlikely that it was frozen in my opinion (but not impossible) I would have started with the basics and reset everything and if still nothing I would have tried to prime the pump. We have run into an issue on our tanker where it siad it wasn't in gear and making pressure when it actually was it was simply the sensor to say "yeah i'm working right" went bad. they replaced it and it works fine now. are your pressure gauges electronic or the actuall pressure gauges? Do you run heat shields on your trucks and pump heaters? (might be a solution if this turns into a regualr problem and it's beacuse it was frozen)

  4. #4
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    I'll wait until the Chief gets an answer to his questions before saying too much.

    I will say this much though. I have yet to see a sensor "freeze" up, even when 3 of our newest rigs went to a 3 alarm fire at -15F, that was 30-45 minutes away. Not sure if keeping a wet pump makes a difference or not, but they are kept wet.

    I'll stop there, and wait for the responses.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    I'll wait until the Chief gets an answer to his questions before saying too much.

    I will say this much though. I have yet to see a sensor "freeze" up, even when 3 of our newest rigs went to a 3 alarm fire at -15F, that was 30-45 minutes away. Not sure if keeping a wet pump makes a difference or not, but they are kept wet.

    I'll stop there, and wait for the responses.

    FM1
    I would have to say you are one very brave dept to keep your pumps wet during winter. I've seen our rigs freeze up doing a 10 minute run in -1C or -2C if the pumps aren't drained. Now in saying that, no the whole pump didn't freeze but caps discharges and valves did as well as our primer and drains which we all know would make the pump virtually useless. I don't know what kind of winters you experince there. I know ours are a very damp cold here, maybe a dryer cold might make a differnce in the way the pumps freeze.

  6. #6
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    Default Reply to questions

    Questions from Chiefenineer11

    1. Governor is a FRC InControl 300
    2. It was showing actual pressure (zero) on master discharge and it was showing 2# vacuum on the intake - both are electronic guages on the InControl 300
    3. I was only in pressure Ė didnít think about switching to rpm mode but I think it still would have shut down due to no pressure

    Questions from Mcolley

    1. We did pull primer and it did discharge water.
    2. Master gauge is electronic built into the Governor
    3. No heat shields on any of our trucks

  7. #7
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    well having never delt with elctronic gauges I'm at a loss there. Maybe a stupid statement yet again but did you actually try and discharge water? or because the truck said no pressure you didn't bother trying? not trying to sound like a smart *** just sometimes in my experince the most obvious things are sometimes over looked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchkrat View Post
    Questions from Chiefenineer11

    1. Governor is a FRC InControl 300
    2. It was showing actual pressure (zero) on master discharge and it was showing 2# vacuum on the intake - both are electronic guages on the InControl 300
    3. I was only in pressure – didn’t think about switching to rpm mode but I think it still would have shut down due to no pressure

    Questions from Mcolley

    1. We did pull primer and it did discharge water.
    2. Master gauge is electronic built into the Governor
    3. No heat shields on any of our trucks
    MG3610 and I were kicking this thing around a while ago on Facebook. I had made the comment about the pressure transducer or sensor possibly being iced up. We agreed that would assume some very unlikely situations, one of which would be that the transducer would be on the bottom of the pump case instead of the top where most of them are. We also speculated on the possibility of a contact being broken due to the extreme cold, then reestablished once it got warmer. Both possible, but not likely. MG pointed out that it would be next to impossible to replicate without a repeat of the circumstances.

    If you pulled the primer and got water, one would think that the pump had water in it. In that case, going to throttle mode should have produced a result. Even if the pump were dry, I would think the engine speed should have come up, then returned to idle after seeing no water.

    Is it possible that the InControl, in the pressure mode, takes an input from the pressure gauge as well as the transducer? And needs data from both before it will let the engine speed increase? If that were the case, the culprit could be whatever provides a signal to the digital pressure gauge.

    Quite honestly, I'm guessing at it here. I looked on FRC's web site at their interactive tutorial. I know that the Pump Boss tutorial at one time had a troubleshooting section at the end. I was trying to find one for the InControl but wasn't having any luck. Maybe someone else could take a crack at it. And I'll keep digging, too.

    FireMech, what's your read?
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 02-02-2010 at 10:48 PM.

  9. #9
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Really hard to say what happened and/or what could have caused it. The discharge line could have been frozen that the transducer reads from. Just a small pocket of water even with a dry pump could be the culprit. I doubt it, but is possible. Same with water right at the pressure sensor, doubtful, but possible.

    Some pumps with the IC300 don't have the normal discharge gauge on the pump panel. Some do (as ours). When they do, the transducer should be in straight line with the discharge feed line, and not at the elbow/"T". That connection is what the gauge should read off of.

    If I was to do anything, I'd put some dielectric grease on the terminal connectors of the transducer. I know it's a weatherpack type connector, but who knows. I would probably replace the transducer as well, as insurance and we've had issues with them before.

    By any chance, did you hit the menu button to see what, if any error code(s) were being displayed??? If it shuts down, or won't do anything, the menu button will tell you why by giving you a code. But you have to hit the menu button to find it.

    @ MColley... I live in Nebraska where we get temps in the -20F range ( -30C ) quite a bit from Dec-Feb. Damp or Dry, wet tanks works well with us.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  10. #10
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    @ Firemech1....Do you mean wet pumps? or tanks? Sorry could just be a typo on your part just want to clairify. And all I have to say to your temaptures is damn thats cold. LOL

  11. #11
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    Default Thanks for the suggestions

    I didn't try opening a discharge valve (should have but we were in staging on a snow covered dirt road and didn't want to make any bigger mess).

    With our setup we don't have a mechanical master pressure guage - just the guage on the govenor.

    Probably for peace of mind I'll replace the transducer to be safe.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  12. #12
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MColley
    @ Firemech1....Do you mean wet pumps? or tanks? Sorry could just be a typo on your part just want to clarify. And all I have to say to your temperatures is damn thats cold. LOL
    Sorry about that, yes it is a typo. We keep the pumps AND tanks wet.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    My department had a problem with our FRC pump control at a fire scene, shutting down the rig and restarting it did not help, however switching over to the rpm side from the pressure side did work for us. This problem was in warm weather. This was about 3 years ago and we have not had anyproblems with it after that. Just remember to switch to the rpm side to kinda override it at the scene.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchkrat View Post
    With our setup we don't have a mechanical master pressure guage - just the guage on the govenor.
    Why not???

  15. #15
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    Default That's how Rosie built it

    Dealer talked convinced us that the digital guage was all we needed - buyers remorse

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchkrat View Post
    Dealer talked convinced us that the digital guage was all we needed - buyers remorse
    Can you retrofit? I would.

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    If I remember right, your truck and our Rosie are sister trucks. The way they set up our FRC governor was to put the sensors on a tee behind the testing ports on the panel. With them there, I could see where water trapped in the line between the pump and test ports freezing and not allowing the discharge sensor to detect any pressure.

    Did you happen to try it in RPM mode? I would think it would have overrode any safety features that wouldn't allow you to kick up the pressure when no pressure is indicated on the governor.

    The only problem we've had with ours was when the discharge sensor went out. It wouldn't allow us to do anything in pressure mode, but we could in RPM mode. Like yours, we don't have any other guages. What we ended up doing was using the individual discharge guages go determing PDP.

    On a side note, we haven't been draining our pumps (on engines, we drain the smaller pumps) during these cold snaps. We drain all of the intake and discharges, but leave the pump filled. When we arrive on a scene the guys kick it into gear and recirculate the tank water. They'll kick up the RPM's just a touch and gate back the tank fill valve so it'll create some friction to heat the water, and will restrict the water going back to the tank enough to heat the water in the pump a bit.

    We sat on one scene with single-digit temps (negative teens wind chills) for about 3 hours on a scene where personnel were needed and not the truck. Ours was one of only two that had all of the gauges working at the end. The other was a department I was helping to pump and we did the same thing when they weren't flowing water (shut off the intake). Everyone else had frozen gauges that were inoperable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    If I remember right, your truck and our Rosie are sister trucks. The way they set up our FRC governor was to put the sensors on a tee behind the testing ports on the panel. With them there, I could see where water trapped in the line between the pump and test ports freezing and not allowing the discharge sensor to detect any pressure.

    Did you happen to try it in RPM mode? I would think it would have overrode any safety features that wouldn't allow you to kick up the pressure when no pressure is indicated on the governor.

    The only problem we've had with ours was when the discharge sensor went out. It wouldn't allow us to do anything in pressure mode, but we could in RPM mode. Like yours, we don't have any other guages. What we ended up doing was using the individual discharge guages go determing PDP.

    On a side note, we haven't been draining our pumps (on engines, we drain the smaller pumps) during these cold snaps. We drain all of the intake and discharges, but leave the pump filled. When we arrive on a scene the guys kick it into gear and recirculate the tank water. They'll kick up the RPM's just a touch and gate back the tank fill valve so it'll create some friction to heat the water, and will restrict the water going back to the tank enough to heat the water in the pump a bit.

    We sat on one scene with single-digit temps (negative teens wind chills) for about 3 hours on a scene where personnel were needed and not the truck. Ours was one of only two that had all of the gauges working at the end. The other was a department I was helping to pump and we did the same thing when they weren't flowing water (shut off the intake). Everyone else had frozen gauges that were inoperable.
    Catch certainly presents a plausible reason for the sensor (transducer) not reading pressure. But I would certainly hope that an apparatus builder would not do that. One would expect the transducer to be in the main pump discharge port. If it isn't, I, for one would want to look at relocating it. There should be several plugged 1/4" NPT ports in there somewhere, any one of which could be used. One caveat though. The transducer wires may be a shielded pair cable. If the wiring that is left is too short, you may want to consult with FRC about a longer cable. Cutting and splicing would not be the thing to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    Catch certainly presents a plausible reason for the sensor (transducer) not reading pressure. But I would certainly hope that an apparatus builder would not do that. One would expect the transducer to be in the main pump discharge port. If it isn't, I, for one would want to look at relocating it. There should be several plugged 1/4" NPT ports in there somewhere, any one of which could be used. One caveat though. The transducer wires may be a shielded pair cable. If the wiring that is left is too short, you may want to consult with FRC about a longer cable. Cutting and splicing would not be the thing to do.
    If it's like ours, there's a wadded up bundle of cables just under the pump panel.

    I hadn't really thought about relocating ours until I read your post. Thanks for putting something else on my list of things to do.

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    MColley, I live about 175 miles west of FIREMECH1 and it does get cold. I have heard stories of guys coming out of the structure with wet gear and their gear starting to freeze solid before they could get to a vehicle. Needless to say, when it's time to shut down lines we have someone at each coupling to break it down and roll it.

    We also run wet pumps. We keep the discharge drains open in the winter, we stage the tank to pump fully open and tank fill 1/4 open and engage the pump as soon as we stop. We have two engines with cross mounts that are running before they leave the station. All have pump heaters except for one engine and one ladder. We have never had a problem with the ladder. Heard there was a problem with the engine when they went to deliver toys on Christmas but it doesn't make sense to me. I was told the pump froze but the operator had the pump engaged and when they got to the station they ran water through the pump. I'm thinking if it froze the pump wouldn't turn and water wouldn't run through from the intake. Unfortunately I wasn't there so this is all second or third hand via e-mail.

    Considering that the truck is setting inside a 70 degree station and all the cast and water are at that temperature it takes a while for it to start forming ice. We cover 272 square miles so we do have a couple longer runs.
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