FWIW I plan on building a completely manual one. Winters are mild here so I might have to kick it on three or four times through the winter. I plan to blow out all liquid lines with air and shut the wash down until it warms up above freezing. If necessary I'll shoot a quick purge of propylene glycol through the lines and do a second purge. As I'm replacing regulators I'm swapping to unloaders and non-weep guns, so I will have to do something different than the usual water weep. My water bills are really high and I don't need a high bill with the slow business in winter.
I absolutely hate the cold, I don’t being out in it, I don’t like working in it, I spent too many years working out in the cold weather. When it gets cold and it stays cold for a long period we shut down the car wash, reopen it when it warms up. We take the guns and wands off put a ball valve on the end of each hose and blow air into each of the hoses though the weep system, I put a “T” just downstream of the weep valve. Then we pump -40 windshield washer fluid into the system and open each ball valve until a solid stream of washer fluid comes out and move on to the next bay. Once we get everything full we blow all the lines down again and collect the washer fluid to use it again. Take off the ball valves from the ends of the hoses and go home. It takes about 4 gallons of washer fluid to do this and about 20 minutes to get it all done. I think last year I was shut down for about 10 days, some of the other operators were shut down 2 weeks. 2Biz built a nice system, there should be pictures somewhere here on the forum. I hate the cold winters!!
I built a system for foam brush and presoak guns several hundred years ago.
It’s been quite eﬀective at preventing freeze ups at temps well below zero.
I contemplated using the same system for the high pressure guns. It will work as long as spot free rinse doesn’t use a shared repressurization pump...mine did, so I shelved that project.
The system blows out each bay, injects windshield washer ﬂuid, and blows out again.
After each use, that bay’s system gets another cycle.
In summer, the system operates the controlled devices with no delay. In winter, product delivery is delayed to prevent unnecessary protection cycles due to customer simply passing through the selection.
I assembled the 8-bay system using IDEC SmartRelays with expansion modules for the additional I/O requirement. Smaller car washes might only need one SmartRelay.
Idec’s current 24volt AC SmartRelay series (FL1F-H24RCA) sells for about $160 with Expansion modules being about $100 each. Idec devices are rebranded Siemens LOGO with a slightly lower retail price. Idec is easier to ﬁnd online at Allied Electronics and Wolfe Automation.
The FL1F is an amazing logic device with impressive features...including an app for monitoring and controlling from your mobile device or computer!
I visited the facility today to assure the new owner that the freeze protection system was ready for tonight’s hard freeze. Still working perfectly...with over 1.5 MILLION inputs recorded.
The complete system needs a Flojet pump, an “anti-freeze” solenoid manifold and drum and all the PE tubing and ﬁttings. Product tubing should be plumbed to the bays inside a heated trough/duct for the most eﬃcient delivery and protection.
While it's unlikely that I recall correctly but I think I spent about $1,200 for the 8-bay fb system components. Since I used Idecs for water softener control, facility lighting, boiler control, and other “gadget” projects, I already had the extra cost programming software.
Obviously, there's a learning curve if you're not PLC savvy ...But, Idec/Siemens function block programming is reasonably easy to figure out. There's even a 300+ page manual and online help to assist with all the Ands, Ors, Nors, and Nots.
I would absolutely love to do this. I’m in Tennessee. Our winters are not terrible here but currently during the winter I have to go down to wash every night and blow out all the lines. I installed some ball valves last year that would let me blow out my lines manually with compressed air. The system definitely isn’t perfect. It does prevent lines from busting and freezing but even after a blow out a lot of the crooks and crevices will still freeze and I end up waiting on that to thaw out before I can open the wash. Some days I’m able to open at 7am other days I need to open at 2pm but that can be difficult bc I have a regular job. I currently don’t have spot free rinse so that wouldn’t be an issue for me. I do pick up on things fairly quickly but I have no experience programming PLCs.
I'll have to search my archives for the program. I believe I wrote it in 2010 or 2011. If I can find it, you'll need the $79.00 working copy of Idec's WindLGC programming software to transfer the program to the SmartRelay.
Understand, I've been out of the "bidness" for a while and technical support is no longer one of my strong suits...
Some folks will disagree with that statement, "You were NEVER good at tech support!"
How many self serve bays is your facility?
Your manual system could be improved by adding a dose of windshield washer fluid to the bay plumbing. And then, blowing the system a second time. Look for photos posted on this forum by 2Biz for his system design.
The automated system uses these parameters:
10 seconds of air @ 40psi
5 seconds of washer fluid injection from a FloJet G57 at 40psi
5 seconds of dwell time
10 seconds of air @ 40 psi.
Each bay is treated individually rather than all at once.
This timing sequence has proven reliable in Colorado with the initial sequence starting at 34*F .
Welcome back CantBreak80! We seem to go through this every year about now! LOL...Last winter I used about $75 of WF to winterize 8 hoses...The system is flawless and saves a fortune! Now I might be able to retire some day, Just Like You!
I'll have to disagree with that statement! "You were NEVER good at tech support!" I miss the good 'ol days. You've been a excellent mentor to everyone on here!
Here are a few links when we were Workin' the logic and programs out. I haven't adjusted my system timing from what we eventually ended up with back then. Works down to a tested -16° below zero for me....I can't remember the last time I've had a frozen hose. The link goes from start to finish on the project, so some of the programs I came up with (and posted) in the beginning had flaws. I have to give CB80 all the credit for the final code....He's the Idec Guru! And don't lose site of the new controller with the Astronomical Function Block to control interactive bay lighting. Mine is still flawless. The Idec Relays are still holding up fine. Not a single failure. Another fortune saved on bay lighting!!
The second link has a few pics of the semi-automated blowdown system that uses air and WF pumped from the Flojet from the Idec controlled system. This system is used when I shut bays down and blow out the lines. I've found its better to leave WF in the lines. This keeps the inside of the hoses from drying out and flaking at startup, which plugs the nozzles. Ever since doing it this way, I've never had a plugged nozzle when opening back up.
The CW is kinda boring now that I have all this fancy automated stuff that does all the work for me! Maybe the next time I have trouble with my softener, I'll put an Idec on it like CB80 did! I need another challenge!
Would there be interest to share PLC or Programmable Relay programs and Knowledge here on the forum? I don’t want to step on any toes... That’s why I would like opinions as to whether this would be Politically Correct on the forum or not. I have an Idec Controller coming that I am going to use...
My first winter in the water pumping/dispensing business (car wash). We have weathered a few overnight lows a little below 30 with no ill effects, weep is working and although my laser thermometer cant detect any heat on teh cable, the heat cables must be working as we didn't break any poly...
I found it!
It needs a bit of modification to take advantage of the newer FL1F's features...but it'll work as-is.
A 4-bay foam brush system needs (1) Idec Base Module and (2) expansion modules. Approximately $325.00.
Additional components include an enclosure, a 120VAC SPDT relay to activate the system from a WeepMizer or, a temperature controller/thermostat, a 4-port solenoid manifold, PE tubing and fittings, a G57 pump, air pressure regulator, etc. (I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something!)
Assembling the entire system will likely cost $650 - $750, depended on how nice you want to build it. (2Biz's panel probably came in for a couple hundred bucks more!)
The program takes over the operation of the foam brush system:
Bay switch outputs are connected to the Idec inputs
Air, Soap, and Antifreeze solenoids are connected to the Idec outputs.
This allows the system to operate the air solenoids for foam production and Air Blow Out.
I used the system for my 8-bay...so, 2 Base Modules and 4 Expansion modules!
The FL1F has more I/O so, I'll have to play with adding more bays.
BTW, the program features User Adjustability which is probably not needed. Since the default timing works in CO and OH without any issues, it should work everywhere...even in Alabama! (Obviously, it has to be properly installed.)