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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default InControl problems

    Is anyone else having any troubles with the FRC InControl system? I have read many threads and it sounds like everyone is in love with this system. We are a volunteer department and I understand that training is at the heart of the problem, but it also seems like this system has some flaws. For instance, if you are discharging at 90psi, for example, and you run into a low water situation. Low water, not cut off water. The engine ramps up and tries to build pressure. As long as there is a little water to work with, maybe there is just a gradual loss of water, the pump will sometimes be able to maintain just over 45 psi and keep it from going into low-water mode. You will then experience the thrill of having the engine ramp up to 2400+ RPM; what is that for the pump, about 4600 RPM; and keep going up until you either burn something up or manage to hit the IDLE button. This situation seems likely in the event of a water line collapse or if relay pumping a tanker dry. Sometimes it will go into low water mode, but rev up and down a few times before trying to settle at 1100 RPM. The rev up is sometimes able to surge the needed 45 psi out of the pump and take it out of low water mode. You then the the same result, a 2400+ RPM ride. It is an interesting experience and I would be curious to hear if anyone else has any experience with this.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004


    I do not think you are dealing with a problem
    The electronic engine controls have done this for several years
    I first experinced this in the early 1990s
    And it was explained that if the pump does not sense discharge pressure
    The engine will will automaticaly throttle up to try to bring water pressure up to a minimum of at that time 25PSI
    If the engine can maintane 25PSI it will continue to run at governed speed WOT
    If the pump does not produce 25PSI the engine will/ should go to idle
    This is done for the safety of the fire fighters
    The reasoning as it was explained and made perfect sense is simply this
    If there are fire fighters fighting a fire interior or otherweise and during the operation the pump experinces a lack of supply water
    The pressure transducer on the pump will tell the engine governor to throttle up
    If engine/pump can build and maintane a minimum of at that time 25psi water pressure it will continue to do so
    If cannot it will shut down after 1 minute
    Safety reasons
    If firefighters on hand lines no water BAD
    If engine/pump can build ans supply minimum pressure GOOD fire fighters can safely back out GOOD if not the engine/pump will run and maintane until either firefighters are safe or water supply is properly restored or engine pump burn up but engine/pump will go down trying
    If engine/pump cannot supply minimum water pressure it will go to idle as does no good to burn up

    Yes the engine/ pump could burn up but given the situation
    Engine/Pump can be rebuilt or replaced as these are expendable tools

    Last time checked Firefighters not so easy to replace
    If the system did not operate this way it would be very hard to explain to the family that your loved one saved the engine/pump
    Equipment can be replaced
    As I understand that is why the governor is set up that way

    First time it happens will scare the heck out of you
    Also if the engine looses Oil Pressure or Overheats on fire will not shut down same reason Equipment can be replaced
    Stay safe and safety is no accident
    This is just how I understand this works
    Thank you

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    Simply, there is a pressure transcuder <sp?> in the pump discharge manifold. There may be something wrong with it. It occured with a rig I'm famillier with from down south due to a cruddy water problem.

    Ray is very correct with what he noted... but if all the human variables are within correct limits, there's probably an equipment problem.

    Everything I state on here is to support and aid my fellow firefighters. Everything I post is my opinion only, and in no way should be taken as an official opinion of any Company, Department, or Municipality I represent... oh and this includes Pierce Mfg, as so their legal department has advised me; since they apparently also invented the right to control "Free Speech".

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.


    FRC has tech people on staff who will be glad to discuss your problem with you and explain what is happening and/or offer a solution. An 800 phone call is all it takes. Most likely it is as Ray describes.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Somewhere in Illinois


    We had a new pump operator encounter the same issue when he opened his five inch supply only maybe a quarter open, so the pump controller did this same throttle up nonsense when he tried to flow two or three lines at a drill. Of more concern to me was the state instructor that really had no idea what was going on...

    I've always just chalked this up to the nature of the beast, and is one of the reasons why the pump operator never need be more than hearing distance away from the pump...

    This may be worth investigating though with Fire Research.
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Bryn Athyn, Pa.


    Try to send it out too fast, or try to send out more than you're getting in, guess what's gonna happen! Open up slowly, slowly, s l o w w l y, especially with LDH.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Hamlin, NY


    We have a FRC InControl on our newest engine, just under two years old. Ours operates fine under every scenario we have encountered. We operate the engine as initial attack, on a hydrant supply and at draft for tanker operations. Our 1997 engine has a FRC Governor Pro-S that has also worked fine as well. There are sensitivity and response settings that may not be correct on your particular unit for your operations. You need to get the service department of your dealership to review its operation and tweak it if necessary. The InControl is a sweet option in our opinion.

    Hope you find a solution.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2000
    SW MO


    Right out of the FRC InControl owner's manual...

    No or Low Supply Water

    There are situations during pump operations when there may be no or low supply water. This can be due to an empty water tank, a problem on the intake line, or when switching the water supply source.

    In pressure mode the INControl will increase the engine RPM and attempt to maintain the selected pressure setting. If the discharge pressure drops below 45 PSI but stays above 15 PSI the INControl will go into a low water cycle. It will set the engine to 1100 RPM, if the pressure does not rise above 45 PSI in 7 seconds the INControl will set the engine at idle RPM. The INControl will repeat the low water cycle as long as the discharge pressure is between 15 and 45 PSI.

    If during the prime cycle the discharge pressure drops below 15 PSI the engine will be set at idle RPM. When the discharge pressure rises above 45 PSI the INControl will resume normal operation.
    Like RFREY1 said, the governor will attempt to increase the pressure when you run out of/low on water. Once the sensors realize that the pressure is not increasing above the required PSI, it should drop to idle.

    We've got one of these on our pumper/tanker and have never had a problem. We've not had it idle up for long, as we constantly have a pump operator at the panel, especially when the indicators show 1/4 tank or lower. However, I can't imagine it kicking up RPM for long at all.

    The Class 1 governors on our quints at my career department do the same thing when low on water. They'll shut down after a few seconds as well.

  9. #9
    Forum Member evtrandy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Kuwait in body, NC in my mind

    Thumbs up

    Sounds to me like the gov. is working as advertised. You can call, 1-800-645-0074 and ask for Bart. He is the FRC answer man!

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