Ensuring your flue gas analyser (FGA) is regularly maintained goes without saying, however the hows and whys take a little more digging into. This article breaks down the calibration process and highlights handy tips and tricks for maintenance and best practice.
The Act of Calibration
Calibrating an FGA involves checking the sensors to ensure accurate measurement of a known concentration of certified calibration gas. To do this, the reading needs to be adjusted to match the gas concentration through an initial sensor calibration of the new or existing unit.
Next up is a calibration drift – this is done using existing instruments to bring the reading back after the drift occurs. Measuring the amount of drift in the gauge is a chance to see how far into inaccurate territory it has moved, and rule out measurement errors moving forward.
Regularity is key
Sensors degrade over time with each sensor having a different life span of optimum operation, whether it is an electrochemical, catalytic bead and infra-red sensors. Regular calibration raises the gain levels and brings the sensor back in line to avoid dangerous incorrect readings.
Once the sensor reaches a certain point it cannot be brought back into the correct position and this is the time when a new sensor needs to be installed.
Explaining the calibration procedure
The first step of the process is to set the device to calibration mode. This feeds a test gas of a known concentration onto the sensors to see how they respond. The gain levels are adjusted within the sensor to match the readings to the concentration fed in whilst mitigating drop off.
The new settings are locked into the device’s firmware and a calibration report is produced, creating a PASS or FAIL result.
Best Practice Tips and Tricks
Here are some best practice recommendations to help you maintain your FGA.
- Clear out the water trap regularly – moisture is a by-product of combustion and can get sucked into the FGA when a test is undertaken. Water damage is the primary cause of damage in flue gas analysers, so it is imperative to check, empty and replace the unit’s inbuilt water traps and filters to protect from this.
- Purge the device in clean air before powering down – noxious gases are drawn from the flue and passed over the sensors to gain a reading. After a test is completed and the system closes down some of that gas remains trapped inside. This can cause corrosion damage and shorten the life of the unit, so purging in clean air prior to shut down is a must.
- Take inside to protect from cold weather conditions – to lessen the chances of condensation build up and water damage within your FGA make sure to remove the unit from your van overnight. This also reduces the risk of theft.
- Use approved chargers with outputs tailored for target device – non approved chargers cause damage to the battery and lessen charge retention, or even impairment to the battery and IC chips of the device itself.
- Check the devices’ probes and connector pipes – any splits or cracks in the rubber house will cause incorrect readings. Performing periodic checks on your hoses to ensure they are in good operating condition is a useful habit.
All-Inclusive Service Options
You have multiple options when sending your device off for it’s annual service and calibration:
Send it direct to us
Crowcon’s innovative Autocal jig system manages the end to end calibration process for Sprint Pro FGA’s. An out-of-calibration unit leads to errors in the combustion reports produced and could disrupt your day to day.
Autocal servicing is easy. Simply bring your FGA to one of the DPD drop off locations, your unit will be inspected, tested and calibrated within two days and returned to you using DPD’s express return trackable option.
For more information please check out https://shop.crowcon.com/.
Send it to your local store
Drop your device in to your local trade counter or specialist servicing centre at a time convenient to you and they will work with us to facilitate the annual calibration.
They will contact you to come and collect your device once the calibration is completed.