Specifying Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation Systems: Top 10 Best Practices

For many of us in the commercial kitchen ventilation industry, we have seen major evolutions in Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation (DCKV) over the last 20+ years. Some have been good – codes once prohibiting automatic variable-speed fans now allow them and often even require them. And some have been bad – several manufacturers have gone down-market to the point their controls are saving very little energy if any at all.

Cook using DCKV with visual optics to adjust fan speeds based on his cooking activity.

The general trend has been positive though because DCKV is no longer a niche but a mainstream solution across the U.S. and increasingly around the world. Running exhaust and make-up air fans at 100% speed all day long regardless of the actual cooking load is antithetical in the sustainability and IoT age in which we now live. As buildings, cars, and everything else get smarter and more efficient, it is only logical that kitchen ventilation systems do as well.

As the original pioneer and market leader of DCKV since the early 1990’s, we at Melink Corporation want to continue helping building owners save energy – safely, cost-effectively, and efficiently. Having installed over 15,000 systems worldwide, we have assessed the most common problems in the marketplace and feel uniquely qualified to provide the following Top 10 Best Practices for specifiers.

TOP 10 BEST PRACTICES

1. Unless the foodservice consultant has knowledge and experience with fans and motors, he/she should consider letting the consulting engineer specify the hoods and DCKV system. The reason is, DCKV is a control system for the exhaust and make-up air fans on the roof. Though the kitchen hoods are ducted to these fans, they are comparatively simple stainless-steel boxes that only contain the rising heat and smoke from the cooking operations. The actual work of removing this heat and smoke is performed by the fans and motors on the roof along with their controls. Foodservice consultants, of course, provide a vital service in specifying the kitchen equipment below the ceiling, and this can still include the kitchen hoods and DCKV system if they have the requisite knowledge and experience of the rest of the ‘system’ above the ceiling. Otherwise, costly errors such as those described below are apt to occur.

2. The DCKV drives must match the fan motor ratings on the roof. If the foodservice consultant cannot obtain the voltage, phase, and frequency information from the ‘M’ drawings, or provide the fan package along with the hoods to ensure a proper match, the wrong drives can be specified and sent to the jobsite. This often causes frustration, time delays and extra costs. Moreover, the DCKV drives should come from tier 1, brand-recognizable manufacturers that have enough confidence in their product to offer a 3-year warranty. These highly sophisticated electronic devices are the beating heart of every DCKV system and therefore should not be selected based on low cost only. Performance and reliability should be the top consideration.

3. The DCKV system must be compatible with the make-up air heating (and cooling, if applicable) system. If the foodservice consultant does not communicate the minimum speed setting of the drives or provide the fan package with the hoods to ensure proper matching, the wrong type of make-up air system can be specified and sent to the jobsite. Not all make-up air systems are capable of heating and/or cooling at low-to-medium speeds and therefore the assumed energy savings by the foodservice consultant will not be achieved for his/her customer. This often causes frustration to everyone involved, and most importantly buyer angst and future bad-will because the purpose in he/she agreeing to buy the DCKV system was to maximize energy savings.

4. The specifier should weigh the risks vs benefits of adding modulating dampers inside the grease ducts for the following reasons: a) Dampers are obstructions inside grease ducts and such ducts are better designed to be completely open for the easy removal of heat and grease/smoke; b) These obstructions add resistance to airflow which force the fan motors to work harder and expend more energy, not less; c) Modulating dampers add another level of moving parts to the system which require regularly scheduled maintenance; d) These dampers are mounted inside the duct and above the ceiling where they are either likely to be damaged by hood cleaners or never seen again and maintained; e) When–not if–these dampers fail, the consequences can be serious if the heat and grease/smoke accumulate to the point of causing a fire; f) These dampers are often used in high-rise applications where only one duct can be run up to the roof and connected to one fan – making the consequences of a fire all the greater because there is more property and human life at stake; g) If more than one damper closes, the fan can cause such a severe negative pressure inside the grease duct that it collapses and renders the entire system unusable and in need of replacement (yes, we have seen this before). Most all engineers agree these risks are not worth the potential benefits.

Please see the photo below of a damper causing almost 100% blockage inside a grease duct. Also see the photo of a hood collar and fire suppression system coated in grease which can act like a ‘glue’ to the dampers above.

5. The engineer should design a dedicated exhaust fan for each kitchen hood whenever possible to improve reliability and energy savings. This allows each hood/fan system to operate independently according to the actual cooking load. It also eliminates the risks of a multi-hood system connected to a single fan which include the following: a) There is no redundancy in the event the single fan goes down due to a fan, motor, drive, or belt failure; b) There is no justification to use modulating dampers inside the grease ducts to achieve energy savings (see above).

6. The engineer or consultant should specify direct-drive fans whenever possible to further improve reliability and energy savings. In the old days, fan and motor pulleys and belts were used to adjust the fan speed to achieve the proper airflows during the original air balance. But today, the DCKV drives can be programmed for a minimum and maximum speed and thereby eliminate the need for these pulleys and belts. This improves reliability because belts are the infamous weak-link in most every HVAC system; and it improves energy savings because belts just create additional efficiency losses in the system.

7. The specifier should consider DCKV systems with both temperature and optic sensors for maximum energy savings on Type I hoods. This is because there are two main by-products of most cooking processes: heat and smoke/steam. If the DCKV system only senses heat, it will not quickly respond to a fast-rising plume of smoke/steam into the canopy. As a result, the hood will ‘spill’ this smoke/steam into the kitchen space and cause comfort, health, and other concerns. The typical way to counter this problem is to program the DCKV system at a high minimum speed of 80-90% with a low-temperature duct-stat so that the fans operate at 100% even with the slightest amount of heat. However, this eliminates most of the fan energy and conditioned air savings that your customers want during idle-cooking conditions.

We recommend both temperature and optic sensors–to detect both heat and smoke/steam. This allows the DCKV system to be programmed at a much lower minimum speed of 30-50% with a wider temperature span so that average fan speeds can be 60-80% and quickly go to 100% only when there is cooking smoke/steam present inside the hood. Though the optic sensor adds a slight cost premium, the additional operating savings will typically more than offset this cost within 1-2 years. If designed smartly, you will only need one optic sensor per hood, not one optic sensor per appliance. And if designed smartly, you will not have to worry about the optic sensor getting fouled with grease over time because it will be out of the air stream and protected by other capabilities (ie. air-purging, auto-calibrating) to ensure maximum energy savings each and every day.

Of course, if the cooking operations are mainly ovens and do not produce smoke/steam, then the optic sensors can be deleted from the specification to reduce first cost. But optic sensors would provide future flexibility in the event new and different appliances are installed. Moreover, optic sensors are fast-acting whereas temperature sensors are slow-acting, and this complementary combination makes for a safe and reliable control strategy. The lessons being learned from Boeing’s failure to use the right number and type of sensors as well as time-tested algorithms in its new 737Max airplanes are in some ways relevant to our industry. A first-cost obsession can be dangerous.

8. The specifier should be willing and able to logically argue against efforts to reduce the first cost of the DCKV system in the name of value-engineering. As indicated, we live in a world that often thinks in terms of first-cost only rather than total life-cycle cost. And this means that sometimes the optic sensors, if not the entire DCKV system, get value-engineered out of the specification. This is another reason why the consulting engineer is often better suited to specify the DCKV system. He/she is typically better able to make an informed argument to the architect and building owner that a well-engineered DCKV system is fundamental to the safety, health, comfort, and energy efficiency of a kitchen and these should not be compromised.

Having said this, we have also worked with highly-qualified foodservice consultants who have taken the time to learn the savings, costs, risks, and benefits of the various technologies and are just as capable of making this argument.

If a first-cost mindset continues to prevail, then the engineer or consultant should rely on the DCKV manufacturer to provide a comprehensive ‘energy savings report’ to show the expected financial payback and ROI based on the pertinent operating assumptions. The architect and building owner need to understand what they would give up in energy savings if they just install a code-minimum, auto on/off system. Fortunately, the world is increasingly trying to lower its carbon footprint – and this means maximizing energy savings, not just meeting code minimums for safety purposes.

9. Specify the DCKV system to be commissioned by the manufacturer or its trained/authorized representative for every installation prior to turnover to operations. It is our experience that too many systems have not been tested to ensure the owners will ever realize the energy savings they have been led to expect. Without this service, countless systems are operating at 100% speed all day long. We have found this problem at many locations where we are called to investigate as an independent commissioning firm. Invariably, the facilities managers state the systems have run this way for years. Verification and commissioning are essential.

10. Specify the DCKV system to have remote monitoring capabilities to ensure proper operation and energy savings for the life of the system. Like a car or any mechanical/electrical system, proper operation and performance are essential to ensuring a happy customer for life. And, therefore, remote monitoring is a highly beneficial and even necessary feature. Unfortunately, very few DCKV systems are equipped with this capability and so the specifier and the customer need to know which ones are and are not. In this day and age every facility manager should be able to ‘see’ how his/her systems are performing online.

If you follow these Top 10 Best Practices, you will not only save significantly more energy for your customers and the world at large, you will likely improve your reputation as an expert and be more successful in growing your business. At the least, be mindful that DCKV systems ‘touch on’ multiple professions and trades and therefore we encourage you to help promote good communication between the foodservice consultant and consulting engineer.

DCKV as a technology has grown leaps and bounds over the last 20+ years. We hope you and your customers fully benefit from all these advancements well into the future.

Contact us here or call us if you have any questions at 513-965-7300.

Intelli-Hood 3 Faults

Is an Intelli-Hood 3 (IH3) system installed in your commercial kitchen? In this post, we will cover common IH3 system faults.

Clearing IH3 Optic Faults

Optics need to be cleaned periodically. Melink recommends cleaning your Intelli-Hood 3 optic sensors a few times each month. If there is a large amount of buildup on the lens or a simple obstruction in the hood, the touchpad will show an optic fault. 

  • The touchpad will show which hood has the optic fault.
  • Verify there are no obstructions in the hoods.
  • Verify that the optics are aligned. You can do this by navigating to “Status” under the Menu, then “Hood Controllers.” Select the appropriate hood controller using the “Next” button, and you’ll be able to check the voltage displayed as actual signal versus calibrated signal (ex. 1.32v/1.67v).
  • If the touchpad displays “Calibrating” or a low signal (0.02v/1.84v), the hardware is working properly but may have an obstruction causing the signal to be too low.
  • Many optic faults can be prevented through routine hood cleaning and system maintenance.
  • Verify that the cables are also connected tight on the hood controller. If your fault says “Emitter Missing” or “Receiver Missing,” it is indicating a possible bad connection or failed component. Check the connector at each optic sensor for a loose plug or, less commonly, corrosion on the terminals.

Clearing IH3 Temperature Faults

Temperature sensors installed in the hood monitor the temperature of the exhaust air.  The Intelli-Hood 3 system can be programmed to turn on and off automatically by hood temperature. 

Signs of a temperature fault include fans running at 100% and the touchpad stating that a “Temp Fault” is occurring. Therefore, it is important to understand that a temperature fault could turn your system on or off at inappropriate times. In most cases, the fault will simply cause the fan to run 100%, which will allow cooking to continue but prevents you from saving energy.

If you experience an Intelli-Hood 3 temp fault…

  • Make sure that the sensors are clean. It is not always necessary to clean the temperature sensor unless there is a large amounts of grease or build up.
  • Check the connections that go from the temperature probe to the controllers. Also, verify that the number of temp sensors match the number of temp sensors programmed. Under the Menu, select “Status (1)” followed by “Hood Controllers (3).” Then select “Enter.” If a temperature sensor is not connected properly or isn’t working, then it will show as “Missing.”
  • Check for any damaged components.
  • On the hood controller, there are different ports that can be used to connect the cables for temperature sensors. Swapping those may help to get rid of the fault.

If your Intelli-Hood 3 system is still experiencing issues, we encourage you to check our other reference documents.

Access Intelli-Hood reference materialsFAQs, and how-to videos. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) via web request or by calling 877-477-4190.

Intelli-Hood 2 Fault Codes: “My system fault is not in the manual.”

In this post, we will dive into specific fault codes for the Melink Intelli-Hood 2 (IH2) system…

Over the years, Melink Corp has designed and implemented three Intelli-Hood® systems: IH1, IH2 and IH3. Each system has its own specific configurations. While all work on the same basic principles, they DO NOT have the same parts or interfaces. Not sure what system is in your kitchen? Click here.

Intelli-Hood 2 Faults

The IH2 reference guide does not list every possible fault. Instead, it includes a code guide, which can be confusing to interpret, especially if the system has multiple hoods.

Please note that everyday kitchen staff should not be expected to understand these faults; the intention is for a contractor or electrician to be handling fault issues.

Intelli-Hood 2 Fault Code Guide

This code guide should be used for diagnosing IH2 fault codes.

F = Fault

1, 2, 3 or 4 = Identifies the hood number, i.e. H-2 means Hood 2

h-1-e = 100%

H or h = Temperature fault

H = Sensor fault code relating to high temperature or open circuit/high resistance

h= Sensor fault code relating to low temperature or low resistance

U = VFD fault
Note: U faults will normally be followed by another code. If you don’t have a second code, the system is not recognizing the VFD, i.e. no power is going to it.

O = Optic fault
o on bottom of display = Low optic signal
o on top of display = High optic signal or saturation

F-PH = Phone line
Note: Either the phone line connected to it is no longer there or the modem itself is bad.

More Information

Read the following for more information about fault codes:
Temperature and Optic Sensor Faults
VFD Faults

For full code troubleshooting details, consult your IH2 troubleshooting guide.

Access Intelli-Hood reference materialsFAQs, and how-to videos. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) via web request or by calling 877-477-4190.

Understanding Your Intelli-Hood VFD

Melink’s Intelli-Hood® controls modulate the speed of the exhaust and fan motors with variable frequency drives (VFDs). Understanding and knowing how to troubleshoot your Intelli-Hood VFD will make maintenance easier.

The VFDs receive commands from a central controller, which receives its input from the optic and temperature sensors. This post will cover Intelli-Hood’s VFD locations, connections, faults, and troubleshooting.

If you are looking for information on Intelli-Hood optic and temperature sensor troubleshooting, click here.

VFD Locations

The Intelli-Hood’s VFDs are located in a variety of spots, and this will vary from site to site. Some common locations are:

  • End cabinets connected to the hood
Intelli-Hood VFD located in end cabinet mounted to hood
  • Remotely mounted cabinets located in or near the hood
Intelli-Hood VFD located in or near the hood
  • Maintenance or electrical room where service breakers can be found
Intelli-Hood VFD located in mechanical room
  • Above the hoods where the lines for the exhaust fan motors have already been run
  • On the roof (Some facilities require NEMA 3R enclosures, which are waterproof and meant for mounting outside the building. Commonly these units are placed near each fan/motor.)

Verifying VFD Connections

Intelli-Hood VFD connections will also vary depending on the facility and types of drives used. There are generally two options: direct control by the Intelli-Hood system via the Cat5e modbus connection or analog control via the Intelli-Hood system.

The modbus control uses our VFD port on the controller and provides 2-way communication with the drive. This allows the actual drive status/data to be displayed on the Intelli-Hood touchpad. If your IH3 touchpad is displaying “VFD Lost Comms,” it usually means the drive has lost power or the connection has been broken, either physically or by some programming change. Verify the Cat5e cable is securely connected at the drive and system controller and if further investigation is needed, contact our technical support for assistance.

If you have an analog-controlled drive, this normally means the drive was either existing or supplied by others and could not be directly controlled by the Intelli-Hood system. In this case, we are telling the drive when to turn on and how fast to go with analog wire connections but do not receive any feedback data showing drive status or faults. In most cases, when a problem occurs with a fan, you have noticed because the kitchen is noticeably quieter or getting hot and smokey. To check the connections, you will need a multi-meter to check DC voltage and continuity. You will likely want to have your facilities team or electrician look into the issue.

Understanding VFD Faults

The VFD is in place to modulate and protect the motor against incoming power from the service breaker to the VFD and from the VFD to the serving motor.

If a fault is detected, cycle power at the service breaker for approximately 1 minute. The display on the VFD should go blank at this time. After 1 minute, turn the breaker back on and cycle the power to the Intelli-Hood system. If the fault persists, contact Melink Technical Support.

VFD Troubleshooting

The following are examples of advanced troubleshooting you may be able to perform on site. However, if you are uncomfortable working with electrical equipment, contact Melink or your local licensed electrician.

Over Voltage Faults: Check for water in the disconnect. Adjusting the deceleration scale on the VFD may help this issue from motor regeneration on the BUS voltage.

Overload Faults: Check the motor nameplate FLA, VFD Programmed FLA, and the actual AMP draw. If over-amping occurs, reduce the maximum frequency from what is currently programmed. This would suggest that the motor is working harder either due to age, belts that are too tight, or a combination of both.

Under Voltage Faults: Check for voltage on all three phases to make sure that all three legs are steady and at the appropriate voltage. This fault may be caused due to a temporary voltage drop from dirty power or loose connections.

Earth Faults: Check for ground connections. Also check the motor for insulation leaks and proper grounding.

Special Notes for Intelli-Hood VFD Faults

VFD issues are the most common Intelli-Hood troubleshooting issues. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support. Depending on the circumstances, issues may be resolved through phone support, remote diagnostics, remote control, or a technician may be dispatched to test and replace components based on field conditions.

Access Intelli-Hood reference materialsFAQs, and how-to videos. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) via web request or by calling 877-477-4190.

Intelli-Hood Fault Codes: Optic & Temperature Faults

In this post, Melink Technical Support shares tips for diagnosing common Intelli-Hood fault codes. We primarily will cover faults common to Intelli-Hood® optic and temperature sensors. (If you are looking for information about VFD faults, click here.)

Please note that fault codes caused by optic and temperature sensors will NOT stop a kitchen from operating. However, they will cause the hood fans to run at full speed until the fault is cleared. Until they are resolved, the system will not save energy.

Getting Started

If your system has a fault code, it is important to determine which version of Intelli-Hood you have. Fault codes and how they are displayed vary among IH1, IH2, and IH3 systems. For instance, IH1 uses a combination of a numeric display and bar graph. The bar graph will light up to report which sensor is experiencing an issue.

To diagnose faults, consult your product’s reference guide. Click to download for IH1, IH2, or IH3. Please note that everyday kitchen staff should not be expected to understand these faults; the intention is for a contractor or electrician to handle fault issues. After consulting your system’s reference guide, if you cannot determine the fault or need additional help, contact Melink.

Common Intelli-Hood Fault Codes

Melink Technical Support shares the most common Intelli-Hood fault codes:

F4 = This code signals a loss of power. The system will display this code whenever the power is disconnected.

F5 = This is a very common code relating to an internal voltage issue. In about 75% of cases where this code is seen, the system drive is going bad. The other 25% is caused by a bad connection, bad motor, or bad curb voltage.

F7 = F7 is directly related to the motor. When the motor exceeds its pre-programmed motor limit, the error is displayed. It is caused by something causing express resistance to the motor such as an over-tightened belt, the motor bearings wearing out, or something caught in the fan blades.

F8 = This is a common variable frequency drive (VFD) fault code, signaling when the heatsink goes over a certain temperature. A common cause of this is buildup in the system. (The VFD has a cooling fan that needs to be checked periodically to make sure it’s not clogged.) In some cases, the buildup can be removed with compressed air. In extreme cases where the VFD is totally filled with grease, you have to replace the drive.
Example: An IH2 customer reported that their system was overheating and displaying an F8 error. Upon inspection, the cooling fan was caked with a brown powder. There was a hot cocoa station near the system, and cocoa powder was being sucked in through the cooling fan. The cocoa dust was blown out, the fan cleaned, and the system resumed its normal operations.

F12 = This code signals that something is exceeding the system’s drives over all limitations. Motor issues normally cause this code to appear. The motor could be dead or dying. The support team has also seen this in cases where someone replaced the motor but used the wrong size.

F13 = This means there is a direct short to the ground somewhere, and the drive is protecting itself by throwing out an error code. On the motor side, one of the legs or wires is touching ground or arcing to ground when it fires up.
Example: A customer unsuccessfully tries to reset the system on his/her own to clear a fault, does not contact Melink’s Technical Support, and the system results in the same fault over and over again.

F33 = This code relates to the automatic restart limit, which is predetermined at five resets. You will see this code when the drive has attempted to restart itself and hit the same fault five times consecutively.

Special Notes for Intell-Hood Fault Codes
  • The IH2 system uses a coding system on its touchpad to signal faults. Click here for further instruction on IH2 faults.
  • The IH3 fault code system is the most detailed; it displays full error codes on its LCD touchpad. Some of the terminology may be confusing to customers. Click here for further instruction on IH3 faults.

Access Intelli-Hood reference materialsFAQs, and how-to videos. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) via web request or by calling 877-477-4190.

Intelli-Hood Wiring

This post covers how to check your Intelli-Hood wiring connections and how to replace a cable. There are several connections that compose the Intelli-hood system, making this a broad subject.

As you review the following video and pictures, please note that cable colors vary by Intelli-Hood system. Learn more about IH1, IH2, and IH3 differences here.

How to Check Intelli-Hood Wiring Connections

First, it is important to verify that all the cables are shielded and tight with no corrosion. Also, check that the output and input are not switched.

Intelli-Hood wiring connection points
Make sure the cable connections are not loose.

Next, begin to check the connections. The connections go as follows:

  • Optic cables are connected from the sensor to the Air Purge Unit (APU)
  • The APU and temperature sensors are connected to the hood controller and in the correct ports
  • The hood controller can be connected to another hood controller if more than one hood is connected to the system. Also, the hood controller is connected directly to the system controller.
  • There are also connections that go from the drives to the internal operating processor. If there is a communication issue, it could be from bad connections from the drive or the receptacle. If there is more than one drive, plug the drives one to another in a daisy chain, keeping only one drive plugged to the system controller.

Check also that the motor connections are tight and cables shielded. A loose cable will cause a short especially at the disconnect switch. Water or moisture can also cause the system to trip.

How to Replace Intelli-Hood Wiring

In some situations, replacing a cable can be downright easy. However, applications change from site to site and what should be easy may turn out to be time-consuming. For this reason, it is important that when replacing a cable, you are familiar with the system and how it’s set up. If you are uncomfortable with replacing a cable, you should contact Melink or your local certified electrician.

  • When replacing any cable in the system, it is important to determine how it is run. Some sites will have cables inside conduit for every run, and some will have conduit only around the hood area. For systems with multiple hoods or hood controllers, there is a cable that will run between the controllers. For these situations, you may need to have your own termination tools, fish tape, and possibly a second set of hands. Some recommend using the original cable you are removing to pull the new cable. Others recommend using fish tape to avoid kinking or breaking the new cable; they adhere or tape it to the old cable, pull it through the conduit, and then use the fish tape to pull the new cable. When replacing a cable, you should be cautious not to make hard bends or kinks with the cable and not snag the RJ-45 connectors on the ends. Breaks in the shielding can allow unwanted noise from external RF signals and nearby equipment to cause faults in the system.
  • For the Intelli-Hood 3 system, the cables connecting the individual sensors and control boards are made of 24AWG 4-pair, Plenum-rated, and shielded Category 5E cable. These cables are available premade/terminated in several common lengths, as well as in bulk for uncommon runs from our Intelli-hood Technical Support.
  • Common cables that need checked when you have faults are the optic emitter and receiver cables, the temperature probe cables, VFD cables, and the hood controller cables.
  • The optic cables and temp probe cables run to a hood controller and are typically between 5 to 15 ft., depending on the hood size and hood controller location. One hood controller can accept up to four temp probes but only one optic emitter/receiver. From the hood controller to the system control cabinet, there is a “home run” cable. This cable connects the system controller to the hood controllers and all sensors in this chain. There can be multiple home run cables for systems with many hoods, and you will need to verify that you have the correct chain.
Creating a daisy chain between
Daisy chain between variable frequency drives (VFDs)
  • The variable frequency drives (VFD) are also connected to the system controller with cables at the VFD network ports. The VFD network ports can have several VFDs on each chain but one home run for each. Normally VFDs are mounted in a bank of sorts and will daisy together in series using the same cable in a shorter length.

Access Intelli-Hood reference materialsFAQs, and how-to videos. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) via web request or by calling 877-477-4190.

Intelli-Hood Cleaning

To maintain your kitchen’s system, regular Intelli-Hood cleaning is important. If general cleaning is not performed, the Intelli-Hood® system’s optic sensors can trigger a fault and will operate the fans at 100%, thus eliminating any opportunity for energy savings. Below we will cover tips to clean the temperature sensors, optic sensors, hood exterior, and touchpad.

Most system damage is related to improper cleaning. Before any cleaning procedure, it is important to consult your system’s reference guide. The general optic and temperature sensor guidelines below apply to all systems (IH1, IH2, IH3).

Cleaning the Optic Sensors

The most common Intelli-Hood cleaning issue is owners not taking proper precautions to protect the optic sensors. Each set of optics has an emitter and a receiver; these pieces have a resilience coating to protect them from general moisture. For Intelli-Hood to function properly, site staff needs to keep the optics clear of obstructions and clean the optic sensors periodically with non-abrasive, non-corrosive cleaning products. We recommend only using a mild cleaning detergent, such as Dawn dishsoap.

Cleaning Intelli-Hood optic sensors and emitters
Intelli-Hood Optic Sensor Box

How often should I clean? The time between cleanings is largely dependent on the volume of grease being exhausted. Optic sensors in kitchens with lots of grease-cooking may need to be cleaned several times a month. On the other hand, some kitchens may have sensors that can go several months between cleanings.  If sensors get too much build-up on the lenses, an optic fault will occur. The fans will run at full speed until the sensors are cleaned and reset.

How should I clean the optic sensors? Press the push-button latches on the sides of the optic box to remove the cover. Then wipe the lens of the optic circuit board with a soft, damp cloth. Replace the cover of the optic box ensuring that the green cable connecting the cover to the optic bracket is not in front of the lens.

Cleaning the Intelli-Hood optic sensors
Remove the optic box cover to clean the internal components.

Is hood cleaning safe? When performing a general cleaning of the kitchen hood, hood cleaners must be careful to keep the Intelli-Hood components dry. The optic sensors are water-resistant but not waterproof. The optic box should be sealed with thick tape and plastic wrap before using high pressure water, steam, or other cleaning chemicals in the hood. Hood cleaners should not soak any parts of the system. Harsh cleaning chemicals can lead to scratching of the optic lens. Care should be taken around the fire suppression device (ANSUL pipes) when cleaning; sometimes when cleaning, these can shift the placement of the optic sensors.

Cleaning the Temperature Sensors

Temperature sensors are encased by a round cylinder to help prevent contaminant buildup on the sensor itself. They rarely need to be cleaned.

Intelli-Hood cleaning temperature sensors
An Intelli-Hood temperature sensor

However, if extremely large amounts of grease or other contamination build up on the sensor, the probes should be brushed or wiped clean with a soft cloth. Do not wipe down the temperature sensors with force; it is not necessary for them to be absolutely spotless.

Pressure cleaning is not recommended. If water soaks the temperature sensors, the water will work its way back through the threads, reaching the center of the Intelli-Hood processor.

Cleaning Intelli-Hood’s Electrical Components

Touchpad: The touchpad may be wiped clean, but it should not be soaked with excessive water. If the face is damaged, special care must be taken to prevent water from getting through the label to the electronic components behind the face. 

Cleaning Intelli-Hood touchpad with soft cloth
Clean Intelli-Hood’s touchpad with a soft cloth.

If holes start to wear in the touchpad’s keypad, contact Melink for replacement parts. You may need to replace the labels or the entire touchpad, depending on the damage. If you do not fix the holes, the internal parts may get wet, eventually leading to system failure and kitchen downtime.

If a touchpad is replaced, caulk should be used to seal the backside. This sealant will help protect the touchpad from kitchen cleaners that are sprayed in its vicinity.

Hood Light Fixtures: The hood light fixtures must be kept dry, too. If water gets inside a light fixture, it could create a short on the circuit and damage the Intelli-Hood processor, which powers the lights.

End Cabinet: If an end cabinet is present, take care to avoid getting components on the inside wet. Generally, these cabinets are completely open from the top. 

Cleaning the Hood-Top Equipment

On top of the hood, you may find a number of Intelli-Hood components including the air purge unit, hood controllers, temperature probes, and control cables.  These components must remain dry.

If a hood cleaner or anyone else needs to be on top of the hood for any reason, they must be careful to avoid stepping on these components in order to keep them dry.

Access Intelli-Hood reference materialsFAQs, and how-to videos. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) via web request or by calling 877-477-4190.

A Day in the Life of a Melink Engineer

Engineers serve a variety of roles at Melink Corporation — application, project, tech support, product design, and field service. In honor of National Engineer Week (Feb 16-22, 2020), Melink employee-owners are sharing what they do. Read along in a day in the life of…

Tom Critchfield
Quality Engineer & Field Service Engineer

I am currently in a dual role at Melink. As a Quality Engineer, I typically wake up early and log on to our internal server to see the Test & Balance queue status. I’ll catch up on emails and have a check-in phone call with the Field Service Manager to see if there is anything urgent from the customer service team or field technicians. The rest of my day consists of reviewing submitted reports, providing feedback to technicians, and planning potential quality assurance audits for the following days or weeks. Depending on the day, I will also be involved in meetings and technician education programs.

Then, as a Field Service Engineer, a large chunk of my time is spent traveling and getting to the various T&B job sites. This includes driving, flying, and speaking with border agents to gain access to Canada. Once on site, I speak with the site superintendent, mechanical contractor, electrical contractor, and anyone else I’ll need to be working with to complete the job. This is followed by data collection and report construction. The rest of the time is just balance completion and finishing the report.

Josh Gerlock
Business Development Manager

With my engineering degree, I have become a technical sales consultant for Melink. I often start my day studying industry news and learning about the latest technology trends that my customers are following. From there, I check for any emails that came in the night before while I was not at work and take care of any pressing replies. Next, I move on to new projects by finalizing proposals and creating an energy analysis. The energy analysis is used to show our potential customers how much energy and money our Intelli-Hood® system can save them. On any given day I could be presenting the analysis to customers through a webinar or over the phone to help make sure they understand everything. Part of the day involves being reactive as well by fielding calls and answering customers’ questions. With products that are very technical, there are plenty of times I do not have all the answers, but I always know where to go to make sure I find them or connect my customers with someone who does. Almost three years in, I am still learning new things, so I am always on my toes!

Anna Rusconi
Account Engineer

The Account Engineer role at Melink varies from day to day from working with the customer to working with the technicians to collecting data analytics.  When we receive a Test & Balance quote request from one of our national accounts, I look through the mechanical prints to prepare a quote. The quote covers the scope of work for the visit, as well as the estimated time needed for an on-site technician. Before our technicians visit on site, I make sure they are equipped with all the information they need to successfully complete the job. If the technician has any questions while on site, I work with them and our site contacts to ensure the visit goes as smooth as possible. Once the T&B is completed and the final report is sent to the customer, I will work with the customer to help them understand the information. 

Also, when we visit customers or have customers visit our office, we provide them with an overview of their project data from the previous years. I work with the National Account Manager to pull data to present to the customers. I really enjoy this position because each day is different, and it is rewarding to help the customers and the internal team. 

Darren Witter
Vice President of Human Resources

Earlier in my career, I applied my engineering education to more “traditional” engineering vocations. These included product development, manufacturing, design, commissioning, and green building construction and operation. These experiences were incredibly valuable, and I enjoyed them immensely. Now, after more than two decades into my profession, I apply my engineering principles and training in other ways. Though different from what I first envisioned as an engineering student, these ways are equally exciting, challenging, and fun! I help fellow Melink employee-owners with career development by providing training on technical concepts, soft skills, company values, and lessons from my personal experience. I meet students and prospective employees and explain our unique company mission and culture, our products and services, and career opportunities.  I provide tours to visitors of Melink’s Zero-Energy headquarters, one of the greenest buildings on the planet, and inspire them to be more sustainable in their lives. I seek ways to improve processes and strengthen our businesses. And, most importantly, I help to care for our greatest asset at Melink… our employees. Years of solving technical problems as an engineer have helped prepare me to now solve business challenges, to guide and mentor others, and to make the world a better place!

Sarah Evans
Embedded Software Engineer

As an engineer at Melink, my job is to take the ideas for what we want PositiV® or Intelli-Hood® to do and implement them. Since I started working at Melink, my main focus has been on PositiV, our building health monitor system. My work includes programming the PositiV devices, maintaining an application for setting up the devices, collecting and analyzing data, and testing. While all these tasks involve software development, each problem is unique and can require a number of different solutions. Essentially, my day-to-day includes solving puzzles, which I really enjoy.


Want to be a Melink engineer? Check out our Careers page.

Which Intelli-Hood is in My Facility? How to Identify Intelli-Hood Systems

How can a facility manager identify Intelli-Hood systems at his or her various properties? Different systems may be installed, and each system has its own unique reference guide and troubleshooting tips.

Background

Over the years, Melink Corporation has designed and implemented three Intelli-Hood® systems: IH1, IH2 and IH3. Each system has its own specific configurations. While all work on the same basic principles, they DO NOT have the same parts or interfaces.

So how can you determine which system is in your facility? You can determine this by physical attributes and the system’s serial number. Watch our how-to video and consult the steps below…

How to Identify Intelli-Hood Systems

There are three methods to identify your Intelli-Hood system:

Serial Number

The serial number is the absolute best way to identify your system version. On the inside of the system’s panel door, you will see the unit’s serial number. The color of the label may vary, depending on your system. IH1 normally has a white label, whereas IH2 and IH3 have blue labels.

As for the numbers themselves, IH1 systems began with serial V1000 or V001000 and continued until the late V3999 numbers. IH2 serial numbers started at V4000 or V004000 and counted up from there.

Identifying your Intelli-Hood System by IH1 and IH2 serial numbers

At the beginning of IH3 we changed the starting point slightly and began with V300000. All serial numbers in the V300000 and V400000 are IH3.

Identifying your Intelli-Hood System by IH3 serial numbers
Cable Colors

Cable colors are different among systems. If your system has white/grey cables, it is an IH1. If your system has blue cables, it is IH2. Green cables signal IH3.

Touchpads

The main touchpad on the kitchen hood can distinguish your system.

IH1 has a single digit “HOOD” display.

Intelli-Hood IH1 display

IH2 has a four-digit “HOOD” display.

Intelli-Hood IH2 display

IH3 is our first system with a full LCD display.

Intelli-Hood IH3 display

Knowing Your System

To accurately troubleshoot system issues and to order replacement parts, you must supply the Melink Technical Team with your system model (IH1, IH2 or IH3). Most issues can be solved over the phone with a facility manager and/or contractor capable of performing the work on site.

If you are purchasing replacement parts and you are not on site, please verify the system model with the site beforehand. If the system model cannot be verified, Melink cannot guarantee the replacement parts are correct. There is a restocking fee for parts ordered in error.

If you cannot determine which system you have, Melink Corp does maintain an internal database. However, we cannot guarantee your facility is in the database. Frequently, restaurant sites change ownership and names. For instance, what was once “Joe’s BBQ” may now be known as “Bob’s BBQ.” If no one has contacted Melink to update the original site name, it will not be searchable in the database.

Access Intelli-Hood reference materialsFAQs, and how-to videos. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) via web request or by calling 877-477-4190.

Intelli-Hood System Basics: Using the Touchpad

The Intelli-Hood® touchpad is the primary user interface of the system. Every Intelli-Hood is equipped with at least one touchpad; some systems have multiple touchpads. Touchpads vary by system model; consult this guide for help determining your system. In this post, we will focus on the IH3 touchpad.

IH3 Touchpad Navigation

Fans Button: The Fans Button is typically used to change the state of the system between “Standby Mode” (exhaust fans off) and “Energy Saving Mode” (exhaust fans running).

Lights Button: This turns the lights of the hood on and off. This function is optional and may not be used in all applications of Intelli‐Hood. Consult the design documents for your system to determine if this button is used.

Soft-Key Buttons: Two soft-key buttons below the display screen can be used to navigate functions displayed on the screen. In normal operation modes, the right button is used to access programming and help menus, and the left button is used to active the “100% Fan Speed Mode.” These functions vary when the user is navigating the program settings.

Arrow Buttons: The two arrow buttons are used to scroll through configuration parameters and can be used to change programming values.

Status Screen: The status screen shows the operational state of the Intelli‐Hood system.

Faults Screen: The faults screen shows active system faults that need addressed. Once a fault is cleared, it will no longer be displayed here.

IH3 System Modes

In Standby Mode, the fans will be off and users will see the Intelli‐Hood logo splashscreen. The right soft key can be used to enter the menu.

In Energy Saving Mode, at least one fan associated to the touchpad is in Energy Saving Mode. This may not pertain to all fans. The display will scroll through the hoods and fans that are active and display their respective operating speeds. The left soft key can be used to send the system to 100% or Bypass Mode, and the right soft key can be used to enter the menu.

In 100% or Bypass Mode, the display will scroll through the hoods and fans and display their respective operating speeds. The left soft key can be used to send the system into “Normal” Energy Saving Mode, and the right soft key can be used to enter menus.

In the Menus Home Screen, the user can locate System Status, System Configuration, the Help Menu, and the About Menu.

Intelli-Hood touchpad menu navigation

IH3 Menus

System Configuration Menu: This is where the system can be configured by adjusting the number of hoods, fans, and many other parameters. The System Configuration Menu will be locked with a specific pass-code in order to prevent accidental modification of system parameters. Users should not attempt to modify the configuration without the help of a certified Intelli-Hood professional.

Help Menu: The Help Menu contains instructions for how to contact your local rep or the manufacturer for technical support and other information.

About Menu: The About Menu simply provides system information such as the firmware version, serial number, IP address, date, and time.

Intelli-Hood Touchpad Maintenance

Most damage to the keypad is related to cleaning. Do not clean the touchpad with any harsh or abrasive chemicals. If the surface needs to be cleaned, use a mild dish detergent like Dawn dishsoap. If holes start to wear in the touchpad, contact Melink for parts to replace the labels or the touchpad itself. This is to avoid the internal parts from getting wet, potentially leading to kitchen downtime.

Intelli-Hood Touchpad Troubleshooting

If your touchpad screen is frozen, the system has most likely “lost” its configuration. Contact Melink Technical Support so that the appropriate configuration can be reloaded. 

If your touchpad is frozen and it is not a configuration issue, you may want to verify that the LEDs on the circuit board are illuminated.  Power the system down at the controller and pull the cell battery off the baseboard, replace the battery, and turn the system back-on.

Access Intelli-Hood reference materials, FAQs, and how-to videos. For advanced troubleshooting, contact Melink Technical Support (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) via web request or by calling 877-477-4190.