Taking the Trouble out of Troubleshooting
This Product Spotlight features a time-saving system that quickly communicates the location of faults.
When an electrical fault in a safety system shuts down an elevator, a technician is called in to troubleshoot the problem — a tedious process of testing individual circuits that can take hours. Is it the door lock? A limit switch? The emergency stop? The governor? If you don’t know where the fault is, you have to jump out each safety circuit until you find the offender.
Barry Black, founder of ESCM Manufacturing, wanted to take the trouble out of troubleshooting, and came up with the ESCM2000 (Electric Safety Contact Monitor), a system that assigns addresses to each safety device and includes car-top and machine-room monitors, taking the guesswork out of finding circuit faults.
The system uses microprocessor-enabled boxes mounted in the hoistway and connected to each safety device. One such device would be the door lock; in this case, as the elevator reaches each floor, the car door cycles. The door locks are going to talk, sending their unique address back to the control board and car-top monitors in real time. If a fault is detected by the control board, the monitors will display the last address that came in, letting the technician know right away the address and location of that fault. In addition to the monitor, each ESCM2000 box has green and red LEDs. Green, naturally, means the circuit is good, but a flashing red LED means the connected safety device is where the problem is. The system monitors the entire safety string, monitoring devices on the car, in the hoistway and inside the machine room. The system also can view the controller cycle test from inside the hoistway; now, you are able to actually see what the safety contacts are doing in real time.
The latest innovation is the speech-enabled annunciator. The system now offers the ESCM2000 Display Board, a panel that not only shows the fault location (with date and time stamp), it can also “talk,” audibly telling the technician where the fault lies. “Now, your door locks actually talk,” Black says in one of his online videos. “All the safety devices talk.” It does this by converting the numerical value (the assigned address for the safety contact; e.g., the door lock) into text and then into speech. When the technician goes to the machine room and checks the panel display, he can press a repeat button to hear the location of the last fault that came in, eliminating the need for unnecessary jumping of safety devices.
Black, inventor of the ESCM2000, is a longtime elevator technician who for many years oversaw the elevators on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He continues to work as a technician, “subcontracting” jobs, but the ESCM2000 has become a passion of his. The system was introduced in April 2017, after receiving certification from CSA Group. It was first used in a seven-stop hydraulic elevator that included the installation of 13 ESCM2000 units, on their hatch doors, slack cable, final limit switches, stop switches, governor switches and governor access doors.
The ESCM2000 works with both relay logic and microprocessor controllers, and communicates through RS485 or CAN bus. Each unit is addressable through a pair of rotary dual in-line package (DIP) switches that can be set from “00” through “99,” for 100 possible addresses, efficiently transforming any safety device into an addressable device. “If there’s current going over your contact, the ESCM system can monitor it and give it an address. We’re not only monitoring it, we’re giving that device an address and a location,” Black says in one of his videos.
The system has been installed with controllers from Virginia Controls, Elevator Systems and GAL Manufacturing Corp.
The ESCM2000 is fused at 800 mA to protect the device being monitored from component failure or short circuit. It also employs a dual-pole, 120 VAC relay for switching the LEDs, which is socketed to allow for easy configuration to different voltages, per manufacturers. The key component of the ESCM2000 is the onboard microprocessor, an ATmega328p. This processor allows for 32 kb of flash memory, 1 kb erasable programable ROM, 2 kb RAM and a two-pin serial port for communication via serial link. The ESCM2000 has the ability to easily identify open circuits in the safety string, improperly wired safety circuits, shorted safety circuits and jumped-out safety devices.
“The goal of ESCM Manufacturing is to continue to form partnerships with controller manufacturers and elevator component developers,” Black said. “The ESCM2000 is the precedent on which safety devices will be monitored for years to come.”
ESCM Manufacturing partnered with CE Electronics to deliver RS485 and RS422 serial displays utilizing the CE3065 driver board and Micro Comm output. This allows the ESCM2000 to display the address of any safety device and location of a fault at the control board or on the car top for real-time safety contact monitoring. The three-wire Micro Comm output displays the address of any safety device on the car top, making safety-device troubleshooting from the car top safe and efficient.
The company has installed 74 units so far: 22 at a hospital in New Jersey; 25 at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan, New York; 14 at a residential building in Bronx, New York; and 13 at a school in Brooklyn, New York.
More information at escm2000.com.