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Josh Bernbaum 05-28-2020 07:26 PM

WiFi "auto dialer" for gas furnace outages?
It's been on my list to look into for years, but I'd finally like to try to get something up an running that would perform a similar function to what I've heard called "auto dialers" which call your phone number if your safety system shuts off the flame to a gas furnace. But my issue is that I don't have a phone line over at my shop. I do, however, have fairly reliable DSL wi-fi there. So could anyone make a recommendation for some device that might be out there that could be utilized to send me a phone call or text message via the interwebs? I was talking to someone at Instrumart recently (my Watlow distributor) and they seem to know of a solution but it's fairly expensive and way more features than I need for just this basic power signal interruption notification. Thanks in advance.

Eben Horton 05-28-2020 11:25 PM

Proteus C5 - WiFi Electric Load Sensor with email/Text alerts

John Riepma 05-29-2020 05:14 AM

This is what I use for power outage/restoration alerts.

Josh Bernbaum 05-29-2020 08:27 AM

Thanks, you guys are awesome!

Art Freas 05-29-2020 09:44 AM

The other thing to consider is a webcam like a dlink pointed at your control panel. I have a cloud backed dlink in my shop pointed at my controller. My problem isn't so much power outages as surges and partial drops. They don't trigger my power outage alarm but do trigger the furnace safety mechanisms. What I lucked out on is that my cheap century link router resets after power surges and drops. Because my router drops out the cloud loses connection with the camera and notifies me, I then just wait about 2 minutes and then check the control panel to see if we shut down. Has saved me the drive in to town in the middle of the night many times.

Art Freas 05-29-2020 09:46 AM

The dlink also helped me figure out why my motion detectors were getting set off in the middle of the night. Alarm went off and I scanned the hot shop, because it was dark the camera was in IR mode. Saw this fluttering hot spot flying around the shop. It was a bat flying around the shop.

Josh Bernbaum 05-30-2020 07:28 AM

Thanks Art, I do have a wifi cam pointed at both of my furnace controllers, which are super handy and I wouldn't want to run without them now, but they don't give me the alerts when needed. My backwoods DSL is occasionally spotty, and even though I get notifications that the camera is off when there's an issue, it mostly isn't the case for me that my safety system has tripped when that happens, usually just an interruption in the internet signal.

Pete VanderLaan 05-30-2020 12:51 PM

It struck me a long time ago that a foolproof safety system restart would involve two burners. The first is presumably on a blower gas line combo which runs normally when the power is on and has a solenoid valve which is open when the power is supplied to it.

There would be a second burner which would be venturi and would be controlled by a normally closed solenoid that would only open if the power failed. It would be a fairly small venturi but sufficient enough in size to keep the furnace hot in a failure for a long time. It would fundamentally take the place of the "Crash Cart" burner a number of people use.

The only thing more reliable that I can see is using a Venturi with a BASO valve but Venturis are typically more expensive to run continuously . I run a variant of this described setup now and it takes a power failure longer than one hour to make the system shut down. When it shuts down, it turns the whole mess off. It does not shut down in an intermittent power outage. It just restarts.

Art Freas 05-31-2020 01:14 AM

My challenge with something like that would be that my exhaust blowers wouldn't be running.

Pete VanderLaan 05-31-2020 07:52 AM

That would be unlikely in a fairly short term shutdown. The venturi doesn't generate much in the way of combustion gas.

Sometimes nothing you do will help. The worst power failure we ever had was in our overhead fluorine melter. It was an AZS 200lb unit and we had just put about a forty lb charge in it of a cadmium yellow opaque and someone hit a power pole knocking it down. The vents failed and they were big vents running 30,000 CFM from the building. The black smoke began to billow out of the furnace and we evacuated the shop entirely. The failure went on for four hours. They furnace was essentially destroyed throwing stones the size of a clamshell. Never ran it again.

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