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  • Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

    Hello,
    I would like to take a few minutes to reintroduce myself to this forum. My name is Tracey Demaline, and I was the project /engineering manager of FuelMaker since 2002 until it closed down in April of last year.

    After the sale of the company to FSS (BRC-Compressors), I spend some time down at the Sterling Heights Facility helping the new owners set up a remanufacturing facility for the HRA and VRA product lines.

    At the beginning of July, I was relocated to BRC’s main manufacturing facility in Cherasco, Italy were I remained for the next 6 months. During my stay in Italy, my main responsibility was to help with the Engineering Technology transfer between the Former FuelMaker and the new owners of the FuelMaker Assets.

    At the end of December, my employment contract with the new owners ended, and we parted ways.

    Back in May of last year, I spent a brief period of time on this Forum, but when my employment with FSS began, I was advised not to reveal any of the Proprietary Information about FuelMaker to the general public. After some consultation, I felt that it would be in my best interest to immediately withdraw from this forum.

    This left many unanswered questions, and to those people that I “left hanging”, I apologies.

    Since I am no longer under any obligations to either the old FuelMaker (6 months has expired) nor the new BRC-FuelMaker owners, I am once again free to answer some of your questions. Unfortunately, there may still be some times were I will have to censor my comments to the general public.

    I am looking forward to once again being part of this community, and to help out where I can.

    Sincerely,
    Tracey Demaline

  • #2
    Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

    Welcome Tracey, it will be great to have your Fuelmaker expertise on the forum.
    www.CNGUtah.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

      Hello I looking for infomation on parts and sourses for the C3 .
      And will we ever see a low cost home unit here in the USA. From the Italys?

      With out low cost units for the USA the move to CNG will be slow and a fight all the way.

      if you check out my site {removed per forum rules and terms of service} you will see I do use the C3 I have found it to be e a good work horse.

      just email me any time
      [email protected]
      CNGBOB
      Last edited by Lakewood90712; 01-11-2010, 07:40 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

        Originally posted by CNG Utah View Post
        Welcome Tracey, it will be great to have your Fuelmaker expertise on the forum.
        I will do my best to help out where I can.

        There are many people on this forum who have helped my out over the years, especially when I launched the HRA back in 2005

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

          Originally posted by CNGvw View Post
          Hello I looking for infomation on parts and sourses for the C3 .
          And will we ever see a low cost home unit here in the USA. From the Italys?

          With out low cost units for the USA the move to CNG will be slow and a fight all the way.

          if you check out my site CNGVW .com you will see I do use the C3 I have found it to be e a good work horse.

          just email me any time
          [email protected]
          CNGBOB
          What “parts” are you looking for?

          Unfortunately there are not many commercially available replacement "parts" around. Most of the parts were custom designed. (or tooled)

          If you are looking for "rebuild" parts, your best bet right now would be to try Aavolyn. They have some replacement compressor parts (O-Rings, Seals, etc) as well as some hose assemblies.

          As for a “low cost” unit being available from North America or Italy, I do not for-see anything in the near future. (another 3-6 years?)

          To get the cost down, it takes more than just volume; it takes a major redesign to bring the parts count down.

          Now can that happen? Yes, all it takes is for the right group of people to come together and take the development to the next step.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

            Glad to have you here.
            I, along with more than a few others, have a dead Phill due to the logic boards failing and no way to repair them except replacing them a great expense. I have proposed a group, open effort to replace the Phill logic with inexpensive programmable single board control computers such as the Arduino (http://www.arduino.cc/) . To this end the Phill has to be reversed engineered.

            To this end electrical schematics of the Phill would be very useful. Do they exist?

            The control computer would have to monitor gas pressure, temperature, hours and turn on/off the compressor motor.

            This would be a useful project for this group

            Ron Orr

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

              Welcome back!

              It wasn't just special parts, it was also over-engineering. For example, the exhaust fan on the Phill is very fancy -- over $300 because it has remote variable speed control. The single-speed version of the same fan is $100. And, if they had put a connector on it, it could be field-replaced rather than sending the whole thing back to the factory. The other VRAs are field-serviceable -- it was crazy not to make anything on the Phill field-serviceable.
              02 GX
              01 GX
              03 Crown Vic
              06 GX
              Home Fueler

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

                Originally posted by jenki_putnik View Post
                I have proposed a group, open effort ..
                I agree.

                Everything about CNG needs to be open source. The VRA's, the IP that it takes to convert vehicles, the IP that it takes to make an NGV, everything.


                ?Innovation is driven by having access to things.? -- Gleb Budman, CEO of backblaze.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

                  For CNG to move here in the USA we all have to work as a team. OEM CNG cars and cars converted to CNG. We just need for things to be safe and at a cost that works.
                  For the FuelMakers pumps I will take what ever you have for information books /wiring if there is a cost just let me know.

                  As for a team to build a safe and lower cost CNG Pump I will step up.

                  I can make the frame work and do the work on the compressors end of it.

                  There must be plenty of off the shelf stuff to build this.
                  CNGBOB

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

                    Tracey, can you tell us some generic information like where will fuelmaker sell their pumps and are there any good options commercially available? Jim
                    801 427 2284
                    www.younkincng.com
                    [email protected]
                    Jim Younkin
                    www.younkincng.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

                      Originally posted by jenki_putnik View Post
                      Glad to have you here.
                      I, along with more than a few others, have a dead Phill due to the logic boards failing and no way to repair them except replacing them a great expense. I have proposed a group, open effort to replace the Phill logic with inexpensive programmable single board control computers such as the Arduino . To this end the Phill has to be reversed engineered.

                      To this end electrical schematics of the Phill would be very useful. Do they exist?

                      The control computer would have to monitor gas pressure, temperature, hours and turn on/off the compressor motor.

                      This would be a useful project for this group

                      Ron Orr
                      Hi Ron

                      I agree that “replacing” the HRA or VRA electronics boards can be a rather expensive undertaking.

                      Although the boards themselves are fairly inexpensive to produce, (far less than the cost of the Arduino board after all of the other circuitry is added) the manufacturer and distributor mark-ups drive the cost up quite significantly. (FuelMaker Cost + FuelMaker Overhead & Margin + Dealer Overhead & Margin + Installer Overhead & Margin + Shipping etc)

                      Perhaps the less expensive (and dangerous) approach is to set up a repair network instead of trying to develop your own board. In the vast majority of cases, the circuit board repair is fairly straight forward. There are only a few cases were a complete board replacement would be necessary.

                      Please note in the above paragraph the words “and dangerous”. I cannot stress the word DANGEROUS enough. These machines are not toys, nor are the control programs simple. If you make even the simplest mistake, you, your family and your neighbours may die. There are reasons why every line of the FuelMaker code had to be verified and tested, not only by ourselves, but by two separate outside verification agencies.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

                        Originally posted by freedml View Post
                        Welcome back!

                        It wasn't just special parts, it was also over-engineering. For example, the exhaust fan on the Phill is very fancy -- over $300 because it has remote variable speed control. The single-speed version of the same fan is $100. And, if they had put a connector on it, it could be field-replaced rather than sending the whole thing back to the factory. The other VRAs are field-serviceable -- it was crazy not to make anything on the Phill field-serviceable.
                        Just a few comments about the exhaust fan.
                        First of all, there is a reason why the exhaust fan on the Phill had to be very fancy. We tested dozens on fans from several manufactures and only one of them met the design requirements. This $100.00 single speed version of the SAME FAN that you talk about does not exist. There are fans available in the same Frame Style, but the performance characteristics are drastically different.

                        1) The compressor generates a lot of heat, and this heat has to be removed. If the cylinder wall temperature exceeds 83 degrees C, the rings start to extrude, and the piston crashes. To put it in simple terms, if the wall temperature is 80 C, the rings last for several thousands of hours, if it is 83 degrees, they last 10’s of hours.

                        2) The Fan has to be encapsulated in order to prevent water damage. In the case of the HRA Gen 1.0 machine, we had a very high failure rate due to this encapsulation. (design issue with the supplier)

                        3) The fan on the Gen 1.0 machine had to be variable speed in order to meet the audible noise requirements. (imposed by the customers, and municipal bylaws)

                        4) The HRA also had to meet very strict EMI noise requirements. In order to do this, the Fan connections on the Gen 1.0 machines had to be EMI grounded directly to the power supply. This prevented FuelMaker from using a connector)

                        Note: Although the Gen 1.0 HRA did not have a field replaceable fan, the Gen 1.5 HRA does. FuelMaker did not anticipate having any Fan Failures, but unfortunately, when you buy something “off the shelf”, you must rely on the manufactures Quality and Design. (you no longer have direct control)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

                          Originally posted by jblue View Post
                          I agree.

                          Everything about CNG needs to be open source. The VRA's, the IP that it takes to convert vehicles, the IP that it takes to make an NGV, everything.
                          Great concept, but in my opinion, totally unachievable.

                          Right now all of the FuelMaker Intellectual property (disclaimer, to the best of my knowledge) is wholly owned by Honda, and I doubt that they will just hand it over to the public domain.

                          Since Patents last a long time, perhaps a totally new design is the way to go. The question is how do you raise the 10's of millions of dollars to develop it and yet still keep it "public" domain.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

                            Originally posted by CNGvw View Post
                            For CNG to move here in the USA we all have to work as a team. OEM CNG cars and cars converted to CNG. We just need for things to be safe and at a cost that works.
                            For the FuelMakers pumps I will take what ever you have for information books /wiring if there is a cost just let me know.

                            As for a team to build a safe and lower cost CNG Pump I will step up.

                            I can make the frame work and do the work on the compressors end of it.

                            There must be plenty of off the shelf stuff to build this.
                            CNGBOB
                            Ya, I though of that too,

                            Unfortunately when I checked out to my local hardware store they were out of stock on all of their ceramic piston sets. They might be able to get some with a .010 clearance, but 2 micron sets are on backorder.

                            Seriously, there are very few components commercially available, almost everything has to be custom designed and manufactured.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Former FuelMaker Manager says Hello

                              Originally posted by HRAguy View Post
                              Great concept, but in my opinion, totally unachievable.

                              Right now all of the FuelMaker Intellectual property (disclaimer, to the best of my knowledge) is wholly owned by Honda, and I doubt that they will just hand it over to the public domain.

                              Since Patents last a long time, perhaps a totally new design is the way to go. The question is how do you raise the 10's of millions of dollars to develop it and yet still keep it "public" domain.
                              Seems like the the FM and FMQ's have been around for a while. Patents last 20 years I think. I guess a simple patent search under Fuelmaker (that's the name they were filed under?) with the USPTO should show how many patents exist and when they expire.

                              There is at least one patent attorney on this site, it would be interesting to see what he thought.

                              It is likely that in the not to distant future, if not already, patents for Fuelmaker will expire and will allow a free for all duplication of design.

                              With some small changes, I'm ok with the FMQ2-36. Especially if cheap parts are available along with cheap service. I think that's a better alternative than spending 10's of millions on a new unproven design for a market that is not yet mature.
                              Adrian

                              Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
                              Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
                              Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

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