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  • My head hurts…

    My head hurts… 1 fixbear updated 1 year, 8 months ago 1 Member · 22 Posts
  • My head hurts… 2

    guest

    Member
    April 30, 2018 at 12:00 am

    I had it in HERE most of the day trying to resolve a problem:

     

    My head hurts… 3

     

    So, I’ve got a head-ache….My head hurts… 4

     

    I fixed it though.

     

    That is all.

  • My head hurts… 2

    john

    Member
    May 1, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Good job solving the issue. What are we looking at–and what’d you have to do?

  • My head hurts… 6

    ectofix

    Member
    May 1, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    John, that’s an industrial-grade SMOKER, capable of smoking 2000lbs of meat in a cook session.  Made by Enviro-Pak. 

    Enviro-Pak Smokehouses, Ovens, Food Processing Equipment 

     

    We have two of them.  The one pictured above is a 1995 model which was upgraded to newer controls (computer, PLCs and such) in 2014.  Unfortunately it’s still congested with the original wiring, switches and chart plotters – all of which are no longer used.

     

    These smokers have a damper box on top (requires an 8′ ladder to access) which either lets in smoke or fresh air.  On this older unit, neither appeared to be working. Controlled by special motors.

    • One damper motor was sticking (a simple spring return). I got it cleaned up and lubed.  It’s fine now.
    • The other?  It appeared to be unresponsive and I was scratching my head over it for w-a-y too long – for my not understanding its theory of operation.  I know how to do a forced system operation (with the computer) for just about everything else this smoker does – EXCEPT this one damper.  The schematic and manual were no help.

     

    Later on, I called the factory…when they finally opened.  They’re in Washington State.  Tech support explained it to me.

    Turns out the motor uses a built-in modulating control board.  I’ve never seen anything like it…and still don’t fully understand it (I hate it when that happens).  However, he walked me through testing it. 

     

    I always wanted to know why there’s a milli-ammeter in the control box…so, now I know.

     

    There wasn’t actually anything wrong with it.  SO…the problem was all in my head (or NOT). 

    My head hurts… 7

  • My head hurts… 2

    fixbear

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 5:24 am

    Interesting. Are those mercury contactors?  Never seen that design.

     

      Lower left of panel you have 3 white blocks, one on each wire. What pray tell are they?. 

     

    Not impressed with how they shortcutted wiring over the top of the IO’s so you can’t see the LED”s.

  • My head hurts… 2

    john

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Why not remove old wiring and other internal components that are just taking up space? I can understand not removing old switches or items that would otherwise cause holes in the external case, but just comparing the two is giving me a headache. 

  • My head hurts… 2

    fixbear

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    And hence why the old relay logic, electro-mechanical has given way to computerization.   But the real problem is those who worked on it before Ectofix.  Losing wire covers, not maintaining the box seals, jumpers.  And who ever tied in the new control didn’t even bother placing the wires into the wire way.  And it would take a follow-up person 4 times as long as the original conversion to straigten it out.  To many dollars.

  • My head hurts… 6

    ectofix

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    All of that old wiring/ toggles switches remain there because (I think) there were concessions were made in the price for upgrading it.  A factory rep did the upgrade.  He flew out (Washington to TN) for the upgrade of the old smoker and to start up the new smoker. 

    I’ve considered removing it all myself, but then the unit’s schematic would be way wrong…and I don’t have the time.

     

    Their leaving those toggle switches there has caused some problems in the past – when someone in the kitchen flips them on for not knowing any better.  Both of the resident senior Sous Chefs tell me that they don’t use any of them.

     

    Understand that…the OLD smoker was designed to use electricity, water, live steam, chilled water and compressed air to make all its of its ORIGINALLY designed features to work. 

     

    SO…the most recent problem (thanks to those switches that were left in the circuit) arose just a few weeks ago – and was THE MOST problematic and elusive one for us to figure out.

    Bear in mind that, since they’re not used, I tend to forget they’re there:

     

    Without going into a bunch of details (unless you ask me), the problem was that the BUILDING was having some MAJOR water problems.  Faucets throughout the building were spitting/spewing air and dirty brown water. 

     

    Over the course of TWO 3rd shifts and my OWN two 1st shift periods…TWO DAYS (a dozen guys and MANY man-hours TOTALED?) the problem eventually got narrowed down to a system within that old smoker where compressed air and water comes together.  A system controlled by JUST TWO of those toggle switches – which were turned ON.  Switches for operating a feature that they NEVER use. 

     

    I FINALLY figured out (through some intense troubleshooting) that this ONE designed, much maligned…NEVER USED feature – was injecting 110 psi of compressed air into the building’s 100 psi water plumbing.

     

    I immediately disabled those two switches, so THAT shall NEVER happen again!

  • My head hurts… 2

    fixbear

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Nice, now about the proportional vent controller. Is the actuator a Honeywell?

  • My head hurts… 6

    ectofix

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    You said relay logic.  Here’s that old smoker before its renovation:

    My head hurts… 14

  • My head hurts… 6

    ectofix

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Are you talking about the modulating damper box I’d mentioned earlier? 

    Yes, a Honeywell.  I took a picture, but it’s in my phone at work.  You apparently know about those.  I know nothing. 

    At 58, I’m STILL lernin’…My head hurts… 16

  • My head hurts… 2

    fixbear

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    There what is used in a dehumidification kiln to control the dampers that control the suction pressure. They change the amount of cold air that goes through the condenser versus the evaporator.  I took care of 2 of these for many years for Lincoln Logs.  They used 12 HP and 15 HP R22 compressors with R12. I worked directly with Nyle kiln in Maine for refrigerant conversion. A real pain in the A__. Finally found R416 worked. We are talking head temps of 260F to 290F and the  directional baffle held 70 to 76  suction.  One has to learn refrigeration all over to work on these. 15 HP double squirrel cage blower moved the air. Nine 3 hp fans to circulate the air in the kiln. Forward and reverse every 3 hours.

  • My head hurts… 2

    fixbear

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Using live steam direct to the food is scary. Most house boiler systems use a lot of chemicals to protect the boiler like chrome mates. and phosphates.

     

    As for the vent controllers, most used are the spring return ones that just go open or closed.  With a proportional accuator, it can hold anywhere from full open to full closed.  It has to have a position sensing and feedback curcuit for this. It may be a minimal as a varistor pot, or as complex as a digital hall effect. Motor is fed DC current to run forward or reverse. Then you have sensor wires for position. I have seen motors that have a common, forward, and reverse. 5 wire instead of 4

  • My head hurts… 6

    ectofix

    Member
    May 3, 2018 at 8:25 am

    From memory, I Googled the name on the motor’s data sticker.  This looks like the one, although the one we have might be an older rendition.  Looks the same, though:

     

    Honeywell Series 71, 72, and 76 Modutrol IV™ Motors 

     

    From what I saw inside of it, the auxiliary switches are there – but aren’t connected into the circuit.  A milli-ammeter in the smoker’s control box indicates the signal going to the actuator.  That’s the meter in there that I never knew the purpose of until just the other day.

     

    It reads 4 mA in one position and 20 mA (I think) in the other.

     

    This thing is simply something never seen in standard cooking equipment that I’m experienced on.  I guess it’s used more-so in larger, industrial-grade applications – which these smokers are.

  • My head hurts… 6

    ectofix

    Member
    May 3, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Yes, mercury contactors used to power the 480v heating elements – obviously because those contactors are better suited for constant on/off cycles in temperature regulated applications. 

    • The two 3Ø ones power the main heating elements inside the smoker. 
    • The two-pole mercury contactor powers a huge question-mark shaped element for the sawdust heating plate located in a separate smoke generator (smoke generator not pictured). 
    • The 3Ø mechanical contactor powers a VFD for the huge, top-mounted blower motor. 
    • The two-pole mechanical contactor powers the smoke generator’s hopper system for the sawdust.

     

    What are the white blocks? 

    Those are three sets of three-terminal banana-style connectors for the RTD temperature probes.  A dry bulb probe, a wet bulb probe and a meat probe.  The wet bulb probe is there because the smoker injects steam into the cabinet for establishing a preset cooking humidity.  It wears a sock which wicks water from a small water reservoir below it inside the cooking compartment.

     

    Presently – both smokers use live steam from the building’s central boiler…which is regulated down to 15 psi.  Incoming steam is controlled by pneumatic solenoid valves.  

    How they allowed live steam to be used for direct contact with food is beyond me.  Maybe local codes permit it.

     

    Before the old smoker’s retrofit to modern controls (and the installation of that new smoker), a POU electrode steam generator was used as the source of steam for the old smoker. 

    THAT thing fascinated me!  Everything I’d ever seen beforehand simply used heating elements to heat water for steam.  Then I come across this electrode steam generator – which could produce steam almost immediately…from cold water, by running high-voltage electricity through THE WATER!

    I kinda hated to see that setup go, since it was such a phenomenon to me.  However, the tanks (made of plastic) had a very short lifespan (three months) as the electrodes corroded or calcified…and were about $1000 each.  We always kept a spare on hand at our warehouse.

  • My head hurts… 2

    fixbear

    Member
    May 3, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    That is the same as I’ve seen and worked on before.   They are used in a lot of industrial app’s for dampers and valves.  But the machine manufacturers are responsible for the control current.  Each does it different.  But most all come down to a controlled voltage and a variable resistor that senses pressure, temperature or motion.  Sometimes with a amplifier circuit added.

  • My head hurts… 2

    john

    Member
    May 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    I used to work at a local TV station, and we had similar problems with lazy wiring jobs that plagued upgrades. Of course, with the abysmal budget allocation from big brother corporate, and a “that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude, I’m surprised they weren’t still using actual newsreels. 

     

    As an aside, they’d have me record the day’s news on a DVD, which is fine if you’re just burning a data disc, but the boss would have me record it similar to a VHS… the same way you recorded TV shows many years ago. Have to sit there, press record, watch each video, press stop, cue next one, etc. For some reason, I couldn’t just create a video timeline, press record, and walk away because then future reporters would have to search the video timeline (oh no, so difficult!!!) to find the video.

     

    This was all done on a computer, by the way. So someone took the time to link an old school DVD burner, that was intended to connect to a TV, to a PC instead, and took a backward roundabout way to archive footage of that year’s craft fair.

     

    It took more than a year for me trying to explain to someone who’d listen to turn this hour-long process into a 30-second one. I wasn’t trying to be lazy. The job was just taking a ridiculous amount of time.

  • My head hurts… 2

    john

    Member
    May 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    It’s interesting that the compressed air was being shot back into the plumbing line– wouldn’t it be intended to go into the smoker instead, assuming they need an air water mixture to keep a certain moisture or humidity level? And this was messing up the whole building? 

     

    So someone was just flipping switches on this seldom-used smoker unit? 

    I’ve been waiting to use this question in this thread so, did you ask them…

    What

    they

    were

    smoking!!!??! 

    Bahahahhaha! 

  • My head hurts… 2

    fixbear

    Member
    May 3, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Compressed air going back is a real problem  There should be a check valve on the water supply line for code. And a vacuum breaker.  Surprised that the air isn’t regulated below 90 psi for safety standards. What is the original year of manufacturer.  Before OSHA got heavy?

  • My head hurts… 6

    ectofix

    Member
    May 3, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    John B (Parts Town Admin) wrote:

     

    It’s interesting that the compressed air was being shot back into the plumbing line– wouldn’t it be intended to go into the smoker instead, assuming they need an air water mixture to keep a certain moisture or humidity level? And this was messing up the whole building?

    Funny that THAT problem wasn’t the catalyst to this thread, but in retrospect – it WAS a bigger headache than the problem I’d originally posted here about!  LOL!

     

    The air/water mix doesn’t have anything to do with humidity.  The steam does that.

     

    Here are the details.  You shouldn’t have asked:

     

    When that air-in-the-water-lines scenario was into its SECOND day of all these guys (HVAC [air], then the PLUMBERS [water]…and our KITCHEN MAINTENANCE crew [the smoker]) chasing it down…and was confirmed to be from this smoker, I called Enviro-Pak to ask WHERE IS IT  that air and water come together …and WHY.

     

    The tech support explained it to me.  It’s a PRODUCT SHOWER feature.  Although, I didn’t ask WHY we’d want to WASH the product.  I just simply didn’t ask.  The Chefs have NEVER used it, so I didn’t care.  I just wanted to make the problem go away.

     

    Now that I’m thinking about that, maybe I should call them back and ask them…out of my OWN curiosity…My head hurts… 26

     

    Enviro-Pak told me that air pressure fed to the smoker shouldn’t be above 40 psi.  As long as water pressure was higher than that (which is typical), then we’d be good.

    However, I found the air pressure from the source in the mechanical room showed 110 psi.  I didn’t see ANY regulator in-between to step it down.

    On the smoker, there’s water line CHECK VALVE (which I’d inspected on day 1) that’s supposed to prevent air from bleeding back into the water line.

    Given these findings, I don’t think the smoker was EVER properly set up so that product shower could be used.

     

    Like I’d alluded to earlier, it took a minute to bring all these things together in my old head – when I happened to discover that the the TWO solenoid valves for this system (air/water):

    • located on TOP of the unit only accessible via an 8′ ladder…
    • within a pocket comprised of a complex convergence of OTHER plumbing/conduit…
    • surrounded by darkness from a dropped ceiling…
    • and coated with TWENTY+ YEARS of smoke leakage…

    Led me to narrow it down to system which is NEVER USED…but was ENERGIZE!

     

    It took me a moment to finally find it.  I’d decide to take a break, study the smoker’s schematic over a cup of coffee…and eventually stumbled upon a revelation that – there are TOGGLE SWITCHES!

     

    Right there, in my FACE – on the control panel!  TOGGLE SWITCHES were doing it!

  • My head hurts… 2

    john

    Member
    May 4, 2018 at 9:09 am

    The older Enviro Pak smoker is a 1995 model– we’ve been at it so long I had to go back and read again! 

  • My head hurts… 2

    john

    Member
    May 4, 2018 at 2:16 pm

     

     

    Here are the details.  You shouldn’t have asked:

     

     

    Heh, precisely why I did ask. I wanted to know ^^ 

     

    I am really curious about the product wash as well. If I ever have to call Enviro Pak, I will definitely ask about it as an aside. Maybe there’s some product documentation about it somewhere.

  • My head hurts… 2

    fixbear

    Member
    May 4, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    John, when you smoke meat, most operations do do a rinse to remove fly ash from the smoke generator.  In other words, SOOT

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