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The Value of Fault Codes

Every once in a while, something goes wrong. Many things, like a flat tire, are easy to diagnose. “Sounded like BANG Whomp, Whomp, Whomp. Looks like a flat tire, must be a flat tire. “

Other things are more complex. Let’s stick with tires for the moment. Newer vehicles come with pressure sensors in the tires. At some point, a low-pressure level triggers an alarm. A light on our console indicates the alarm. Fancier cars even tell you which wheel. The problem is, when you rotate the tires it now shows the wrong tire unless it was re-calibrated. Another problem is these sensors are battery powered inside each wheel (including the spare). When the battery fails, an alarm comes on even if the air pressure is good. Fortunately, although the indicator may be accurately indicating a flat tire, it will not prevent you from driving on it until the tire is un-repairable and the rim also has to be replaced. “No honey, I didn’t have a flat last night. But the car was driving funny and making a noise like “Whomp, Whomp, Whomp.”

This all goes to show that diagnostics can be correct some of the time, incorrect some of the time and inconclusive some of the time. Yes, they are a valuable tool and extremely helpful, but should not always be blindly followed. The user needs to know the equipment and possess common sense at all times. Today we expect an internal diagnostic to trigger an alarm or text display, and then, not only explain what is wrong but also guide us through the repair or correction.

For example: “Open Door C, lift the Blue Lever marked C3, turn the Green Knob YY two turns to the left and remove the paper jam.”

What if the jam sensor is the broken part? Will the report get out by the end of business today?

I often see specifications defining the diagnostics and fault codes, which are written by someone whose job is writing.

They have never fixed or operated a machine in their life. The specification request may require a log of the previous 100 faults. I would hope there is a thought that just jumped out and said, “What do I care if the cause was for a fault 100 events back?” What is the last fault? Maybe the last five but be realistic when you ask for a feature. Another good one was a request for an indicator lamp to indicate loss of power! Yes, it can be done, but how about the obvious- if the lights are off, there is no power.

What happened to the folks who knew the equipment? There were craftsmen who could feel or hear if something was a little bit off and needed an adjustment before damage occurred. Those craftsmen are here with us in West Virginia.

We design fault codes to help the average user find a problem if one exists, but we also back up the automated diagnostic with real technicians and engineers in real time. Give us a call, we would love to talk and introduce you to equipment made as it should be made.



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FCX INC. : U. S. Navy / 270 Volt DC Aircraft Power

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FCX INC. : Dallas / Fort Worth Airport Motor Generator Sets

FCX INC. : Edwards Airforce Base / F-22 Raptor 270 VDC Power Supply

FCX INC. : Grand Bahamas Shipyard 50 HZ, 2,000 KVA Solid-State Frequency Converter

FCX Systems Makes An International Footprint


Replacing Diesel Generators for the Patriot Missile System. Patriot Missiles, the defensive anti-missile system designed by Raytheon, are installed around the world to protect cities subject to missile attack. While utility power around the word is either 50 Hz or 60 Hz, the Patriot system incorporates several elements that require reliable 400 Hz power. Therefore, […]


Engineering Complex Power Supply for F-22 Test Program In the early 2000s, the engineering staff from Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) distributed an inquiry regarding a power supply for a 270 VDC military aircraft. FCX did not initially respond to the inquiry, however no viable solutions were presented by the 11 companies that did respond. […]


Powering F-35s Aboard Aircraft Carriers Anticipating the deployment of F-35 airplanes aboard aircraft carriers, the U.S. Navy issued a requisition for development of a system to feed power to 400 Hz AC and 270 VCD aircraft with a minimum impact on the existing equipment and space. FCX used its experience with the 400 Hz AC […]


Solid-State Frequency Converter for a Floating Dry Dock. In 2008, a large floating dry dock – containing motor loads for cranes, capstans, ballast pumps and fire pumps – was transported to the Grand Bahama Shipyard. The dry dock required 50 Hz power, while the Bahamas utilizes 60 Hz power. To supply the 50 Hz power […]


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