Fuel Oil News

Fuel Oil News - June 2016

The home heating oil industry has a long and proud history, and Fuel Oil News has been there supporting it since 1935. It is an industry that has faced many challenges during that time. In its 77th year, Fuel Oil News is doing more than just holding

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28 JUNE 2016 | FUEL OIL NEWS | www.fueloilnews.com E lectronics and electricity can be a fickle, but obviously unavoidable combination. That has been true since the analog days, when at least back to the 1980s (when this writer served) the common pro- cedure for the startup of a military vehicle involved making sure the radio was turned off. Startup could create damaging electrical irregularities such as power spikes that could damage equipment. Those issues only became amplified (pun intended) with the digital age. Surge protectors became the baseline norm for home computer use, and uninterrupted power supplies that both mas- saged current issues and provided some backup power in case of power failure (usually to facilitate a safe shutdown) became the norm for business computing. So, it was interesting to find a company that developed a solu- tion to address the power needs of onboard computing in work vehicles, such as those used in the deliverable fuels industry. While the problem is not universal, it does occur in this industry and others. The solution is a product called the MDP-25, developed by Kussmaul Electronics in West Sayville, N.Y. It is designed to maintain voltage at 12V consistently during engine starts. That is when voltage in the batteries can drop excessively or spike, depending on what's going on with the engine, said Colin Chambless, Kussmaul's vice president of sales and marketing. "By doing that we maintain the power distribution to sensitive electronics," Chambless said. The company made its start in the emergency vehicle market, but it is branching into other industries that are facing the problem as well. Chambless noted the product was actually developed for a fire department in New York that was having issues with its data terminals. The deliverable fuels industry is considered a core market for the unit, and for other products offered by the company. "If you look at the computer in your office, you probably have a battery backup that is charging all the time with an internal battery," Chambless said. "If the power goes off to the plug that powers your computer, the battery backup will keep it running and that is almost identical to this system except instead of being in a stationary AC environment it is applied in a mobile DC environment. It also acts as a surge protector for voltage spikes." One company in the industry that has adopted the technol- ogy is Jacobus Energy in Milwaukee Wis. The company provides mobile fueling (using trucks virtually identical to those used for home heating oil delivery) and delivers heating oil as well. The fuel marketer was having some issues with its onboard electronics rebooting every time the truck was started. That was acceptable in the morning, but during the day that added an extra 20 minutes or so to getting on the road after an engine shut down. "Each time the truck started so much power would be drawn that all of our mobile electronics would reset themselves," said Ken Houston, Jacobus' national fleet specialist. "So we were Truck Electronics and Electricity A solution exists for onboard electronics suffering with power issues BY KEITH REID

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