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Old November 30th, 2021, 07:33 PM   #1
harryting
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OT: Rockwell Techonnect removing VFD support

So I have a form email saying they are removing VFD support from standard TechConnect agreement and it will be an adder in the future.

We have very few AB VFD since we inherited most of our stuff and in fact I was steering our people into AB VFD and this really doesn't endear me to push for their product in our plants.

I guess we still have our local AB distributor to go with but for now I have decided not to include the adder because I can't think of the last time we have to call Rockwell for a VFD issue.

Last edited by harryting; November 30th, 2021 at 07:37 PM.
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Old November 30th, 2021, 10:59 PM   #2
FactoryTalktotheHand
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Of all the issues I've called TechConnect for over the years, I can't remember ever calling about a drive. Scratch that, I can. It was the one time I used Powerflex 527s on a job. Other than that, they're pretty straightforward.
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Old December 1st, 2021, 01:18 AM   #3
Ken Roach
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I got my first job at Rockwell doing telephone technical support for AC drives. It's a lot of troubleshooting hand-holding.
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Old December 1st, 2021, 05:48 PM   #4
harryting
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I guess it depends, I would imaging some integrator or end user would use VFD support a lot. Right now I can't remember the last time I called AB about a VFD issue.

I remember once I was trying to commissioning a project in a mosquito infested MCC with an AB drive that got it's start command masked out. I finally figured out the problem on my own but boy, I was not happy.
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Old December 1st, 2021, 06:31 PM   #5
Ken Roach
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When I first started doing the phone support, they helpfully assigned a very experienced field engineer named Jim Dowling to supervise me (and figure out if I knew what I was doing). We set up extension phones so he could listen in and sit there with me. I had a whole book-case of 1336 and 1336+ drive literature and a test bench with HIM modules and PLCs.

One of the first calls I took was a guy in Alaska with a 200 HP unit on a blower at a power plant. We walked through the troubleshooting steps and narrowed it down to a possible blown DC link fuse.

"OK, I need you to check the bus voltage. Is your meter set for volts DC ?"

"Yes."

"Be sure it's set for volts DC, and in the 1000 volt range."

"Yup, all good. It's a Fluke 87."

"Okay, the two middle terminals are labeled DC- and DC+. Do you see them ?"

"Yes."

"Okay, go ahead and carefully measure the voltage between those terminals."

[BOOM !]

A few seconds pass. Jim and I look at each other in silent dismay. Then a scrabbling noise on the line as the phone gets picked back up.

"It blew up !"

"We heard that. Are you OK ?"

"It blew up !"

"The drive, or your meter ?"

"The meter ! It just blew up ! Hang on, I gotta find my glasses."

At this point, Jim had muted his phone and was red-faced in tears of laughter. I was more terrified that I'd somehow nearly gotten someone killed.

If you use a Fluke 87 long enough, eventually you'll forget to switch the leads from Amps to Volts, and that's what our guy did. That fuse will handle ten amperes, and a whole lot more than that was available on that DC bus.

"What do I do now ?" asked our caller.

"Well, we know the DC bus fuse wasn't the problem. Do you have another meter ?"

Jim told my manager Art Kerchner that "do you have another meter" was when he knew I was going to be just fine in this new job.
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Old December 1st, 2021, 06:34 PM   #6
jraef
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You may have misinterpreted something. Up until recently, Rockwell's tech support for VFDs was free, you did not need a Tech Connect contract. What just changed is that now you do need a Tech Connect contract to get support on VFDs, it is no longer free.

As I interpreted their reasoning, they were the last of the major players not charging for VFD tech support and there were too many newbies calling in asking dumb questions because it was free...
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Old December 1st, 2021, 06:43 PM   #7
harryting
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Oh ken, I know of one incident where someone used a lead that wasn't rated for the high voltage and did got someone hurt bad.

Oh here's the cut and paste from the email I received:

Quote:
Please note that the attached quote does NOT have drive support on it and we will need a count of Rockwell drives that will need to be support in the table below.

As of April 1, 2021, to ensure we are providing the best possible modern support experience for your Rockwell Automation hardware and software; we have made some enhancements to how we support our Drives Products. As part of this change you can expect:

• A standardized support experience for all your Rockwell Automation Drives hardware at your location.
• Access to phone support, mobile friendly Chat, Premium Knowledgebase access on Drives related articles, with options for 24/7 or 8-5 support across all your Drives Hardware.

• New Augmented Reality tools such as our Digital Assist Library to help maintain your drives as well as a new option to receive enhanced support with our Technical Support team via Live View.
• Access to My Services. A new cloud-based portal to keep up with your site’s support interactions with us in real time.

If you would like to take advantage of these enhancements and add Drives Support to your agreement, you have the option to provide us the information so we may add this support to your renewal quote. If support is not needed on these devices, no action is required, and the above quote can be actioned on.

Please confirm your device counts below:
Power Hardware Type Device Count
Low Voltage (below 30 hp / 22 kW)
Low Voltage (31 to 350 hp / 23 kW to 250 kW)
Low Voltage (over 351 hp / 251 kW)
Medium Voltage – Count of MV Drives
Medium Voltage – Count of MV Starter
Motor Control Center – Count of columns with Network Capability
Motor Control Center – Count of columns without Network Capability

Thank you very much for your time,
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Old December 1st, 2021, 09:28 PM   #8
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Last time i called ABB, Lenze or Mitsubishi it was free for tech support.
Who is charging now? Other than AB apparently.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 02:46 AM   #9
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Schneider don't charge either, at least not here. And that's for tech support for their PLCs, drives or anything they sell.

Not that I've often needed it to be fair.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 08:21 AM   #10
Ken Moore
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Siemens provides paid and non-paid support. Non-paid is low priority, and they may take a day or two to get back to you, but it is free.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 08:42 AM   #11
Frost999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryting View Post
I guess it depends, I would imaging some integrator or end user would use VFD support a lot. Right now I can't remember the last time I called AB about a VFD issue.

I remember once I was trying to commissioning a project in a mosquito infested MCC with an AB drive that got it's start command masked out. I finally figured out the problem on my own but boy, I was not happy.

I don't like to lose much time like that before I just dump them back to OEM and run back through setup from scratch.

We had a brand new Powerflex 755 that got a simple I/O card added (like 100 others) and the start signal would generate an error (that I forget now) that would indicate multiple start sources or something of the like. I went through the list of usual suspects and I just could not find it. I hunted around for 45 minutes and eventually just did an OEM re-load, set the motor params back up (just like before) along with a few other options, and BLAM; everything worked as intended. The parameter setup list that I was using was the same as when I had the issue. I never found the root, but that corrected it's operation.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 09:05 AM   #12
IanM8040
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Roach View Post
When I first started doing the phone support, they helpfully assigned a very experienced field engineer named Jim Dowling to supervise me (and figure out if I knew what I was doing). We set up extension phones so he could listen in and sit there with me. I had a whole book-case of 1336 and 1336+ drive literature and a test bench with HIM modules and PLCs.

One of the first calls I took was a guy in Alaska with a 200 HP unit on a blower at a power plant. We walked through the troubleshooting steps and narrowed it down to a possible blown DC link fuse.

"OK, I need you to check the bus voltage. Is your meter set for volts DC ?"

"Yes."

"Be sure it's set for volts DC, and in the 1000 volt range."

"Yup, all good. It's a Fluke 87."

"Okay, the two middle terminals are labeled DC- and DC+. Do you see them ?"

"Yes."

"Okay, go ahead and carefully measure the voltage between those terminals."

[BOOM !]

A few seconds pass. Jim and I look at each other in silent dismay. Then a scrabbling noise on the line as the phone gets picked back up.

"It blew up !"

"We heard that. Are you OK ?"

"It blew up !"

"The drive, or your meter ?"

"The meter ! It just blew up ! Hang on, I gotta find my glasses."

At this point, Jim had muted his phone and was red-faced in tears of laughter. I was more terrified that I'd somehow nearly gotten someone killed.

If you use a Fluke 87 long enough, eventually you'll forget to switch the leads from Amps to Volts, and that's what our guy did. That fuse will handle ten amperes, and a whole lot more than that was available on that DC bus.

"What do I do now ?" asked our caller.

"Well, we know the DC bus fuse wasn't the problem. Do you have another meter ?"

Jim told my manager Art Kerchner that "do you have another meter" was when he knew I was going to be just fine in this new job.

hilarious


do you still do phone support for them?
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 09:45 AM   #13
Tom Jenkins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jraef View Post
...
As I interpreted their reasoning, they were the last of the major players not charging for VFD tech support and there were too many newbies calling in asking dumb questions because it was free...
I always considered answering dumb questions from newbies a low-cost technique for building my future customer base.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 10:24 AM   #14
boardmaker
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These are reasons I've slowly been moving our company to their competitors.

I rarely use tech support. Maybe 1 every two years, but for what I have to pay...

ABB's VFD support is free. Auto Direct is free.
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Old December 2nd, 2021, 10:24 AM   #15
JesperMP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Roach View Post
When I first started doing the phone support, they helpfully assigned a very experienced field engineer named Jim Dowling to supervise me (and figure out if I knew what I was doing). We set up extension phones so he could listen in and sit there with me. I had a whole book-case of 1336 and 1336+ drive literature and a test bench with HIM modules and PLCs.

One of the first calls I took was a guy in Alaska with a 200 HP unit on a blower at a power plant. We walked through the troubleshooting steps and narrowed it down to a possible blown DC link fuse.

"OK, I need you to check the bus voltage. Is your meter set for volts DC ?"

"Yes."

"Be sure it's set for volts DC, and in the 1000 volt range."

"Yup, all good. It's a Fluke 87."

"Okay, the two middle terminals are labeled DC- and DC+. Do you see them ?"

"Yes."

"Okay, go ahead and carefully measure the voltage between those terminals."

[BOOM !]

A few seconds pass. Jim and I look at each other in silent dismay. Then a scrabbling noise on the line as the phone gets picked back up.

"It blew up !"

"We heard that. Are you OK ?"

"It blew up !"

"The drive, or your meter ?"

"The meter ! It just blew up ! Hang on, I gotta find my glasses."

At this point, Jim had muted his phone and was red-faced in tears of laughter. I was more terrified that I'd somehow nearly gotten someone killed.

If you use a Fluke 87 long enough, eventually you'll forget to switch the leads from Amps to Volts, and that's what our guy did. That fuse will handle ten amperes, and a whole lot more than that was available on that DC bus.

"What do I do now ?" asked our caller.

"Well, we know the DC bus fuse wasn't the problem. Do you have another meter ?"

Jim told my manager Art Kerchner that "do you have another meter" was when he knew I was going to be just fine in this new job.
I have to admit, I have done the practically the same, and with the same result (or worse), and with a similar famous-last-word-quote (mine too !).
Colleague: "are you sure that there is power supply".
Me: "yes power is on, look here" - putting the meter in AC volts mode and placing the meter leads on the input side of a circuit breaker. *** BOOM *** ears ringing, eyes blinded, the smell of burnt hair.

Since then I only use meters that have an integral alarm buzzer for when the leads are placed in the wrong sockets.
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