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- The display does not come on or is weak.
Check power and ground connections.
- The meter's flow reading is approximately fixed either near zero or near full scale regardless of actual line flow.
Differential pressure sensor may be damaged. Avoid installations that can subject sensor to pressure drops in excess of 75 psid (15 psid for “Whisper” Series instruments). A common cause of this problem is instantaneous application of high-pressure gas as from a snap acting solenoid valve upstream of the meter. Damage due to excessive pressure differential is not covered by warranty.
- The controller's flow reading is approximately fixed either near zero or near full scale regardless of actual line flow.
Differential pressure sensor may be damaged. Avoid installations that can subject sensor to pressure drops in excess of 75 psid (15 psid for “Whisper” Series instruments). While in most cases the valve will help to protect the sensor against large pressure drops, a sudden change in pressures can subject the sensor to high pressure drops if the valve does not have enough time to adjust. Damage due to excessive pressure differential is not covered by warranty.
- The meter's flow reading is fixed at zero regardless of actual flow rate.
Alicat mass flow meters are equipped with a tare function via grounding a specified pin. Please check electrical connections to ensure this pin is not grounded. Pin out diagrams are available in the back of the manual for your reference.
- The meter reads negative flow when there is a confirmed no flow condition.
This is an indication of an improper tare. If the meter is tared while there is flow, that flow is accepted as zero flow. When an actual zero flow condition exists, the meter will read a negative flow. Simply re-tare at the confirmed zero flow condition. Also note that while the meter is intended for positive flow, it will read negative flow with reasonable accuracy (it is not calibrated for bidirectional flow) and no damage will result.
- The meter does not agree with another meter I have in line.
Volumetric meters will often not agree with one another when put in series because they are affected by pressure drops. Volumetric flow meters should not be compared to mass flow meters. Mass flow meters can be compared against one another provided there are no leaks between the two meters and they are set to the same standard temperature and pressure. Both meters must also be calibrated (or set) for the gas being measured. M Series mass flow meters are normally set to Standard Temperature and Pressure conditions of 25° C and 14.695 PSIA. The standard temperature and pressure can be changed via the front panel and serial communications. It can also be ordered with specialty standard temperature and pressure.
- The flow flutters or is jumpy.
The meters are very fast and will pick up any actual flow fluctuations such as from a diaphragm pump, etc. Also, inspect the inside of the upstream connection for debris such a Teflon tape shreds. Mass flow devices feature a programmable geometric running average (GRA) for both pressure and flow rate measurements that can aid in allowing fluctuating flow to be read. This can be adjusted via the front panel or serial communications.
- The output signal is lower than the reading at the display.
This can occur if the output signal is measured some distance from the meter as voltage drops in the wires increase with distance. Using heavier gauge wires, especially in the ground wire, can reduce this effect.
- My volumetric meter reading is strange, inconsistent, or incorrect.
Make sure you use a volumetric flow meter only under low pressure (close to atmospheric) and with little to no back pressure for accurate readings. Mass meters should be used for higher pressure applications.
- The RS-232 Serial Communications is not responding.
Check that your unit is powered and connected properly. Be sure that the port on the computer to which the unit is connected is active. Confirm that the port settings are correct per the RS-232 instructions in this manual. When connecting multiple devices to a single COM port, please ensure that all devices have a unique unit ID.
- The device is responding slower than specified.
Mass flow devices feature a programmable geometric running average (GRA) for both pressure and flow rate measurements that may lead to a slower perceived response time. This can be adjusted via the front panel or serial communications. Controllers also have programmable valve tuning available via the front panel and serial communications which can further improve the response time.
- The device jumps to zero at low flow.
Mass flow and pressure devices feature a programmable deadband or zero band. The factory setting is usually 0.5% of full scale. This can be adjusted via the front panel or serial communications.
- My device is locked and 'LCK' is showing on the screen
Alicat devices come with a locking option for applications in which the buttons may accidentally be pressed changing crucial device settings. Devices with newer firmware revisions can be unlocked by pressing and holding the outer four buttons on the front panel. All devices can be unlocked via serial communications. Please follow the steps below.
- Download Serial Terminal from www.alicat.com/support/software-drivers.
- Make sure all drivers associated with the cables are installed. Please look for any discs that came with the cables.
- Open the “Control Panel” and then open “Device Manager”.
- Under “Ports”, find the COM number the Alicat is connected to and write this down for later.
- Open Serial Terminal
- Serial Terminal will ask for the COM port and baud rate. Enter the COM port you found in part 2 and a baud rate of 19200.
- Type A$$U and press enter.
- Your device should now be unlocked!
Occasionally the device unit ID may be different than A. If A$$U does not unlock, try B$$U or C$$U, etc all the way to Z$$U. To change the unit ID back to A, you can type *@=A and press enter to give all connected devices a unit ID of A.
- My device has a specific gas listed in the part number. Can I use it with other gases?
Absolutely! The gas that appears in the part number is what your unit has been pre-selected to when you received it from the factory. You will still have access to Gas Select™ 5.0 which has 98 or more preloaded gas calibrations to choose from as well as our COMPOSER™ firmware which allows you to create up to 20 custom gas compositions.
- I accidentally selected the wrong gas. What can I do?
Both the mass flow rate and volumetric flow rate depend on the viscosity of the gas. If a different gas is selected than what is flowing through the device, the flow rates will be off by approximately the ratio of the viscosities. Simply take your reading and multiply by the ratio of the selected gas’s viscosity to the desired gas’s viscosity.
A detailed description with examples can be found at www.alicat.com/faq/accidentally-wrong-gas-selected-can.