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Condition Air Without Losing Your Hair

Here's an inexpensive add-on that will help you sleep at night and enjoy long weekends without the panic call of a flood in the studio.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 1 The WaterBug warns of leaks by connecting to your remote control.Here’s an inexpensive add-on that will help you sleep at night and enjoy long weekends without the panic call of a flood in the studio.

Winland Electronics was founded in the early 1970s manufacturing sensors and alarms for Minnesota farmers and businesses. The company has grown to 120 employees and is known among the security industry as the “environmental security specialist.”

Among the company’s products is the WaterBug, electronic water detection at its best. Bill Bracken at Infinity Boston’s WBCN(FM) has one tied to his remote control in his transmitter room. See Fig. 1.

Operation is straightforward. When a film of water forms a bridge between the sensor contacts, the unit triggers the alarm output. Fig. 2 shows the contacts on the bottom of the WaterBug.

The unit will not false trigger on condensation or high humidity. If you need to monitor those parameters, Winland Electronics builds a different sensor. You can read about these products on its Web site,

The WaterBug can warn of a leaking roof or water ingress past a door. Place one in the condensate drip pan of your air conditioner to warn of a condensate drain stoppage, as shown in Fig. 3. Add a WaterBug and you’re doubly protected; the pan catches any leaking water, while the WaterBug alerts you to the problem.

Thanks to Bill Bracken for sharing this idea.

. . .

(click thumbnail)Fig. 2 Four contacts sense the presence of water and trigger the system alarm.
While we’re on the subject of air conditioning, Paul Reynolds with the Cox cluster in San Antonio tells about a little episode.

(click thumbnail)Fig. 3 A pan beneath the air handler guards against condensate drain overflow.
Seems he was moving a little 5 kW transmitter to another site. The one-inch conduit that contains the three-phase power needed to be removed as well. The conduit led from an 8×8 duct about four feet above the floor. The conduit went up the wall, close to the 10-foot ceiling. It ran horizontally at this point for about 12 feet, then down about five feet to the top of the transmitter – basically your standard electrical conduit run.

As Paul was removing the conduit adapter and a coupling, he got a surprise. About a quart of ice-cold water started running down his arm! Fortunately, all power was off.

Keeping in mind that both ends of the conduit were open, Paul couldn’t imagine where the water was coming from.

After some investigation, Paul noticed that the 8×8 trough is on an outside wall, and that there were a couple of two-inch penetrations through the wall to the outside. The penetrations are mated to conduit that leads to a transformer and his emergency generator transfer switch.

As it turns out, the path is a nice “air duct” leading into the transmitter room. Near the ceiling, about two feet from the conduit, is a ceiling-mounted air conditioner. The duct was blowing very cold air directly on the one-inch conduit.

The result was the interior of the conduit “breathes” very humid San Antonio air, which in turn was condensed by the air conditioner. The conduit sagged a little and filled with water. Paul had no indication of moisture in the top of the transmitter.

The lesson learned here is to beware of what cold and humid air will do when they meet. Thanks, Paul, for sharing this unusual problem.

Paul Reynolds can be reached at [email protected].

. . .

Alan Peterson found an interesting discovery at Radio America in Washington while installing a new AirTools 6100 obscenity delay.

This delay box has the ability to readjust ESE time clock displays to reflect the time of day adjusted for the delay time; for example, real time could be 11:59:50, but if the box is set for a 10-second delay, it automatically compensates the clock display to show 12:00:00. This means the talent and producer do not need to do math in their heads to figure out the exit time for a program.

Along the way, they discovered the importance of what flavor of time code drives the house. The AirTools likes to see TC 89 code, a standard code generated by ESE clocks. Radio America is driven by TC 90, a slightly different code with the addition of the date. Changing the code at the GPS receiver to TC 89 made the delay box and rack clock display happy, except it stalled out the clock built into their Wheatstone A6000 console! Changing one jumper on the Torpey Time CPU7 clock module (OEM’ed for Wheatstone by Torpey Time) got the clock in step with the rest of the house.

Look for jumpers and alternative means of time code in your studios should you run into these compatibility issues. Early in the studio planning, be sure to ask manufacturers if you will need a timecode converter.

Thanks, Alan, for the solution to this problem. Reach Al at [email protected].

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