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Exercise Timer Modification


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  #1  
Old 08-06-2017, 10:18:01 PM
Steve Dawkins Steve Dawkins is online now
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Default Exercise Timer Modification

This question is not Onan specific, but there have been discussions regarding exercise timers recently, and I think the Onan forum gets more activity than the other generator forums.

When I set up my generator system, I built a remote control panel to monitor and control the generator from the garage, without having to go outdoors. The exercise clock is a digital 7 day timer that operates on 12VDC. The generator exercises once a week, which I feel is too frequent for home standby use. Onan used to have a digital exercise clock in some of their transfer switches that could be programmed for a 14 day exercise interval. Some other transfer switches that I worked with had jumpers on the circuit board that would allow you to program 7,14,21, or 28 day exercise intervals.

My exercise clock works fine, and I would like to continue using it instead of modifying the face of the remote control panel. In an ideal world, I would like to add a module that would connect to the clock output, but start the generator every 2nd, 3rd, or 4th week, instead of every week. I'm envisioning a programmable counter circuit with the following features:

- operates on 12-15 VDC.
- accepts a dry contact input or ground signal from the existing clock.
- programmable output via DIP switch or other means to set exercise interval based on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th input signal from the clock.
- provide a ground start output signal for the generator.
- output remains active for the duration of the input signal.
- counter resets after output is active.
- possibly have LEDs to indicate the input count status prior to the output being active. (This would be nice, but not necessary.)

The Deep Sea controller on the generator requires a ground start signal for the remote start. At the remote panel, I have a SP switch wired in parallel with the exercise clock contacts for the remote start. One side of these switches is connected to ground. I suspect the current for the remote start signal is only a few milliamps.

I have worked with electronic circuits, but don't have the smarts to design a circuit like this from scratch. I looked online for something that is readily available for this application, to no avail. As an industrial electrician, I have worked with air compressor systems that use duplex, triplex, or quadraplex alternator modules to control multiple compressors. These devices are an overkill for what I need, not to mention they aren't available in 12 VDC. If anyone is aware of a device that is available, or can sketch out a circuit, I would greatly appreciate it.
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  #2  
Old 08-07-2017, 03:02:22 PM
akirkland akirkland is offline
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

Check out Omron H3CA series of digital relays.
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:44:39 PM
JohnnyC JohnnyC is offline
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

At this point I have nothing of value to contribute to this thread since I just took interest in ATSs, controllers, and timers and at the bottom of the learning curve. Just wanted to say I have great interest in controls for our gensets and will be reading all the responses. Maybe someday I will have something of value to contribute.

JohnnyC
New Jersey
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:57:28 PM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is online now
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

I would have to see the programming guide but are you SURE your timer won't do alternate weekly or monthly testing? In any case, timers are available that can.
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:50:00 PM
Steve Dawkins Steve Dawkins is online now
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

This timer can be programmed for up to 42 events over a 24 hour or 7 day period. Unfortunately, it cannot be programmed beyond 7 days. The manufacturer, Grasslin, was owned by GE Industrial Systems when I bought it. They have since been sold to Intermatic Corp. According to Grasslin's website, they still offer 24 hr/ 7 day timers in the flush mount style, similar to mine, but nothing beyond 7 days.

Cummins/Onan has or had a digital exercise timer that was programmable for more than 7 days. I think it could be programmed for a 14 day schedule. It was DIN rail mounted on the inside of the ATS door, and operated on 24 VAC. I looked up the catalog number online, but couldn't find it. It may be a timer that was built specifically for Cummins.

I would like to keep my timer, as it works fine and is easily accessible from the front of the control panel. If I have to replace it, I would like to find something with a similar mount for ease of access for programming. The panel is mounted on a 12x12x4 box that is recessed in the wall. I can put a control module or counter that doesn't need access inside the box and wire it to the timer. A DIN rail or surface mounted timer won't be feasible, as I would need to mount it inside the box, and the control panel would have to be removed to access the timer.
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:54:53 PM
PnishrPW PnishrPW is offline
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

You might look into a 4017 decade counter based circuit for a solution. A low parts count circuit based on the 4017 chip can be built for under $10 (unless you TRY to buy parts at Stupid Shack...), would give you your choice of 1 - 10 intervals ( IE 1 - 10 weeks) for delay. Output could be selected easily via dip/rotary switch or simple jumper. Google "4017 decade counter circuit" for sample circuits. Would need to wrap the timers output around the 4017, use the 4017 output strictly as an enable - timer output would still set run time. Basically timer would run as normal, gen wouldn't start until 4017 circuit enables it every (2nd, 3rd, 4th etc time the timer "trips").

I've used variations of this circuit run things "every so often", like initiate a "flush", "purge" or similar cycle every X operations. Good cheap solution.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:15:04 PM
Steve Dawkins Steve Dawkins is online now
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

PnishrPW: I will look into the 4017 decade counter circuits. That sounds like what I'm looking for. Thanks! I have worked with IC circuits before, and can build a circuit. I just don't know how to design one.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:25:57 AM
PnishrPW PnishrPW is offline
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

Pretty much a textbook circuit, 4017 just needs to trip a relay (via a transistor driver). Don't skimp on decoupling/filter caps and pull up/down resistors. 4XXX series are CMOS, static electricity precautions apply. I'd use a socket for the 4017.

I'd power it via a 78L09 or 10 reg, good overhead on a 12v supply and not stupid dissipation (compared to 5v), can use a smaller capacity (and physical size) reg. The "L" denotes a smaller TO-92 package with less output. If input voltage isn't stupid high, they'll do almost .5 amp, way more than you'll need.
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:02:31 AM
stretch67 stretch67 is online now
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

Hello Steve

I use the Omron H5S timers at work. You can get them for 7 day or 1 year timing cycle.

The kicker is that they are either 24 VDC or 120 VAC.

Here is the part numbers H5S-YB2-X 120 VAC
H5S-YB2D 24 VDC.

Flush mount they are well.

Good luck with your project.

Jeff
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:24:20 AM
Steve Dawkins Steve Dawkins is online now
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

stretch67: I checked out the manual for the H5S series timers. That is an interesting controller. Unfortunately, it appears the yearly models only have 4 yearly events per output circuit. Those would be events that occurred on a specific day of each year. There are 16 yearly holiday events that can be programmed, but they are "non-operating" events. I assume the holiday events would override a normal schedule that typically indexed the output ON. There are 48 weekly events that can be programmed. The bottom line is I don't think this timer would work for my application, even if it was available in 12 VDC. (That is, if I interpreted the manual correctly.) Thanks for the tip though. I will keep it in mind, and may be able to find a use for one on another project.
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:02:39 PM
stretch67 stretch67 is online now
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Default Re: Exercise Timer Modification

Hello Steve

How about a really cheap low end PLC? Automation Direct has a great line up.
I use them at work as well.

Yeah they dont come in 12 Volt DC them timers, problem for you but not for me at work.


Good luck.

Jeff
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