Creative Financing Pays for Itself with Intelli-Hood

2020 has been the most unique year that I can remember, especially when it comes to our economy. Coming off 2019, the economy was strong, companies were reinvesting and spending money, and it looked like 2020 would be another great year — until March. Enter COVID-19; companies that could endure the pandemic had to pivot fast. Predictions for a record year were gone in a moment. For months, businesses across the country were shut down.

As Melink (and many other businesses) are trying to come out on the other side of COVID-19, many feel more timid than ever before about spending cash, and understandably so. Numerous projects are on hold as capital expenditure budgets are frozen for 2020, 2021, and even 2022 in some cases. 

Melink’s company mission is to change the world one building at a time by helping decision-makers implement energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions into their commercial facilities. Intelli-Hood® is a Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation (DCKV) system that saves money by reducing monthly operating expenses in commercial kitchen facilities. Often, Intelli-Hood can pay for itself in one to three years, making it a very attractive energy conservation application.

Intelli-Hood

The question arises: How do we continue to change the world one building at a time when spending has been put on an indefinite pause? 

I was recently working with a university that wanted to implement Intelli-Hood in a kitchen. Without any utility rebates taken into consideration, the $62,000 project was going to pay for itself in less than three years. Everything was moving right along until COVID-19 put everything on pause. But Melink is committed to working with its customers and customizing energy solutions, so discussions were continued with the university. We were able to come up with a creative financing solution that is a win/win for all parties: an Equipment Loan Program. This allows the customer to pay nothing out of pocket, while simultaneously being cashflow-positive the second we walk off the job site. Working with a lender, we can get the $62,000 financed for the university over five full years at monthly installments of $1,287 for a total investment of $77,220.

At Melink, our proposals come turnkey, along with a custom Energy Savings Report. These reports give you an idea of how much money you will save with Intelli-Hood. In this instance, the customer was going to save more than $18,000 in energy savings the first year alone, resulting in a positive cashflow of almost $3,000. On average, utility rates go up 3% every year, meaning that with the customer locked into an installment payment of $1,287 for 60 months, the positive cashflow will continue to increase year over year. After five years, the loan will be paid off in full and the benefits really kick in, saving more than $20,000 per year. 

Looking at a 10-year period, the customer is going to save more than $130,000 without having to pay anything upfront. While a traditional purchase would save more money ($148,000) over the same 10-year period, it would require the full upfront cost paid in full. 

Intelli-Hood Return on Investment

So, if your business is in a similar position where your budget is paused but you are still interested in saving energy, reducing greenhouse gasses, and cutting operating costs – maybe this creative financing can work for you, too. We can continue to work together to change the world one building at a time, all while exploring realistic options in the current economic climate. 

Professional Development: ASHRAE & Melink

Melink Corporation is passionate about supporting the HVAC industry through its clean energy solutions. To share our field knowledge in commercial kitchen ventilation, as well as test and balance, several employees serve on professional boards like the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

ASHRAE logo

What is ASHRAE?

ASHRAE is a professional association to advance the design and construction of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. The international group has more than 50,000 members in more than 130 countries. Most members are building service engineers, architects, mechanical contractors, building owners, and equipment manufacturers. ASHRAE is known for supporting research projects, offering education programs, and publishing technical standards.

Overall, ASHRAE’s technical standards support safety, occupant health, and energy efficiency. These standards establish consensus for testing methods for use in commerce, as well as the performance criteria to guide the industry. ASHRAE publishes the following three types of voluntary consensus standards:

  • Method of Measurement or Test (MOT)
  • Standard Design
  • and Standard Practice.

ASHRAE does not write rating standards unless a suitable rating standard will not otherwise be available. ASHRAE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and follows ANSI’s requirements for due process and standards development.

Melink & ASHRAE

Jason Brown
Jason Brown

For many years, Melink Corporation has supported ASHRAE. Employee-owners, including CEO Steve Melink, have written journal articles, technical standards, and presented at conferences. Most recently, Jason Brown (Senior Sales & Applications Engineer) and Bryan Miller (Vice President of Technology) have volunteered their time and expertise.

Here’s a closer look at Melink’s support of ASHRAE:

Bryan Miller
Bryan Miller
  • ASHRAE operates through committees. Through the committee structure, members decide policy, develop procedures, and direct the organization’s activities. Brown and Miller have been active for several years on two ASHRAE committees. Brown is a voting member of the following committees, meaning he has influence on what does and doesn’t pass in the committee proceedings:

    Technical Committee on Commercial Kitchen Ventilation (TC 5.10) Technical Committees (TC) are responsible for identifying research topics, proposing research projects, selecting bidders, and monitoring research projects funded by ASHRAE. Information about research programs is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Research Subcommittee meeting. For instance, the TC 5.10 Committee, in which Brown serves, is concerned with the design, construction installation, commissioning, and sustainable operation of code-compliant commercial kitchens. The committee is also involved with revisions/updates to model codes such as the International Mechanical Code (IMC) and writing/revising ASHRAE Standards. Additionally, the TC develops sessions for ASHRAE’s winter and annual conferences.

    Standards Committee for Commercial Kitchen Ventilation (SSPC 154) This Standards Committee provides design criteria for the performance of commercial cooking ventilation systems in regard to kitchen hoods, exhaust systems, and replacement air systems. Serving on this committee primarily has entailed attending and participating in meetings that occur twice per year.
  • Brown and Miller have assisted with updating sections of the ASHRAE Handbook. The ASHRAE Handbook is a series of four volumes covering HVAC Applications, Refrigeration, Fundamentals, and HVAC Systems 7 Equipment. One volume is revised each year, ensuring that no volume is older than four years. In relation to the committees previously mentioned, TC 5.10 is responsible for Chapter 34 (Kitchen Ventilation) of the ASHRAE HVAC Applications Handbook, which was last revised in 2019. The chapter focuses primarily on kitchen ventilation systems in restaurants and institutional food service facilities. Brown and Miller provided content and graphics about demand control kitchen ventilation (DCKV) systems and variable frequency drives. In addition, for other handbooks, they have provided content on HVAC test and balance commissioning.
Excerpt from 2019 ASHRAE Handbook
Graphics example from 2019 ASHRAE Handbook
  • For further professional development, the Melink employee-owners have attended ASHRAE’s conferences. “Normally we meet biannually for a few days in conference settings, but we have a few virtual meetings in between to vote and discuss topics that are requiring attention in the industry,” said Brown.

Read more about other ways Melink employee-owners volunteer their time and expertise.

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy: Fighting Climate Change with a One-Two Punch

To invest in energy efficiency or renewable energy? A question often pondered by building owners, design engineers, investors, energy engineers, performance contractors, and anyone in between who has a say deciding how to invest money to make the strongest financial and environmental impacts. In an ideal scenario, one can invest in both efficiency and renewable energy.

Integrating Efficiency and Renewable Energy

When it comes to the materials we use in everyday life, we have all heard the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Well, there is a reason why reduction is mentioned first! It can be argued that the most sustainable energy source available is the energy that we never have to use.

Of course, there will always be energy used no matter how efficient a building is. But, in the energy spectrum, renewables reduce the cost for the electricity that must be used. Renewables also offer many other benefits, such as protection against fluctuating energy costs, incentives like federal tax credits, net metering, shaded parking lots… the list could keep going. And research confirms that investing in both energy efficiency options and renewable energy is a smart move. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) collaborated in a 2007 study, reporting that investments in both energy efficiency and renewable energy are essential for the United States to create a secure energy future.   

Boxing gloves

Creating an Energy Synergy

Think about it like this… If a boxer has a great right hook but a poor defense, he may win some fights but could easily lose to an opponent with a solid defense and a timely counterpunch. Combining two strengths to be stronger overall is called synergy. That is when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. When energy efficiency and renewable energy are combined, they complement each other in a way that can maximize the total impact, both environmentally and economically. Consider this…

Right hook: An upgraded utility plan to reduce HVAC costs.

Left jab: Intelli-Hood®, Melink’s demand control kitchen ventilation system to further reduce HVAC costs.

And for the knock-out uppercut: A solar array made of super-efficient photovoltaic modules that meets the entire energy load of the building (taking into account the reduced energy usage from the previous energy efficiency measures).

And what’s even more of a win? By reducing the facility’s entire energy load, the upfront cost of the solar array is reduced. Plus, the quick payback as a result of the energy efficiency measures creates additional cashflow to help pay for a renewable energy source, like solar array (or even geothermal!).

Accounting for Energy Opponents

But what if? Let’s say that the uppercut was blocked in this scenario because, in many cases, the availability of renewable energy is limited due to geography and available space. For example, in the hills and valleys of Southern Ohio, wind energy is not going to be near as effective as compared to the plains of Northwest Texas.

Or, while solar performs well in Ohio, a building could have very limited space for an array. For the counterpunch here, one could implement new energy efficiency technologies and maximize efficiencies on existing equipment. Then, for the knockout, a smaller solar array like a parking canopy could still be very impactful.

The bottom line? There are many options at play when it comes to the powerful combo of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Together, this combo helps to reduce peak demand charges, which can be astronomically higher than off-peak charges. For example, if a new energy-efficient HVAC system is added to an office building, that building will still see high peak demand charges (although lower than before the upgrade) from the utility. However, capturing a renewable energy source, like wind or solar, can greatly reduce the impact of peak demand charges.

Renewable energy wind turbine power

Winning the Fight on Climate Change

In summary, combining energy efficiency and renewable energy delivers the greatest environmental and economic benefits. Melink Corporation can help building owners, engineers, and designers with both energy efficiency and renewable solutions. We know this combination works from experience, too. With our own Zero Energy Building and another LEED Platinum building, Melink does not just talk the talk, we walk the walk.

Contact us today to protect your business from the volatile energy market, commit to sustainability, reduce utility costs, and fight climate change.

Intelli-Hood in the Indian Market

Melink’s Intelli-Hood® demand control kitchen ventilation (DCKV) system has long been a global product. But, more recently, we introduced Intelli-Hood in the Indian market.

Developing a New Market

We have officially been working in India for 2.5 years now, but it is still a fairly new and developing market for us. Introducing a company into an already mature market with similar products is very challenging. It takes attention, care, and a product that adds more value than its competitors’.

Before committing to the Indian market, we did our homework. We researched the competitors, key differentiators, competing products, and how we could best offer customer support. We put ourselves in our customers’ place to really understand their needs so that we could ensure we had a valuable product and support team that could help them meet their goals.

If we felt our customer service would be compromised by distance or communication barriers, we would not have entered this market. Melink Corporation prides itself on being a customer-focused service company. From the beginning, it was important to have someone on the ground in India to speak with customers, visit sites, and work with the home office in the United States. (That’s where I come in!)

Speaking of the home office, a critical component to entering the Indian market has been the support of the Intelli-Hood’s U.S. team. They have worked continuously with promptness to provide all the technical details that our customers need, which is the biggest boon to earn customers’ trust. I am really thankful for all the team members who supported the launch of Intelli-Hood within my region. Together, we are bringing an end-solution to save energy in our global environment.

Early Success in India

Because of all the behind-the-scenes work to enter the market, we have seen success.

One of our biggest Indian projects that has been successfully retrofitted with Melink’s Intelli-Hood system is a project in the operation kitchen of a large resort. The kitchen contains all kinds of cooking appliances to prepare food for different cuisines, like Indian, Chinese, Italian, etc. For almost a full year, we have continuously monitored the system from Day 1 of installation and commission. With these real-time result readings, we were able to prove the benefits of our product in regards to energy savings and return on investment, which has paved the way for the approval of many other projects.

Here are examples from this project. You can see the energy savings:

Main Kitchen – Fan Speed Profile
1/1/2019 to 12/31/2019
This kitchen includes five hoods and two exhaust fans. With Inteli-Hood, the customer gained an electrical savings of 1,17,496 kwH/year.

Intelli-Hood in Asian Market Case Study example 1

Secondary Kitchen – Fan Speed Profile
1/1/2019 to 12/31/2019
This smaller kitchen includes two hoods, one pizza oven, and one exhaust fans. With Intelli-Hood, the customer gained an electrical savings of 25,077 kwH/year.

Intelli-Hood in Asian Market Case Study example 2

Based on this information, we are working with the client to analyse more data to help them to be more energy efficient and to lower their operating costs.

What’s Next for Melink in the Indian Market?

Moving forward, we are working with our partners to customize Intelli-Hood system designs to meet their site requirements. We look forward to future projects in existing kitchens (retrofits) and also new projects spread across Asia.

If you have a project in India and would like to learn more about Intelli-Hood, please contact me. I live and work in India full-time, and I would welcome the chance to introduce you to Melink’s products. Email me at [email protected].

Why LEED Buildings Make Financial Sense

The University of Notre Dame chose sustainable, LEED-approved construction options and why you should, too.

Recently, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded the University of Notre Dame with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for the design, construction, and operation of three buildings attached to Notre Dame Stadium. These building are Duncan Student Center, Corbett Family Hall, and O’Neill Hall. Your next statement may be “So what?!” Why should the folks at Notre Dame care, and why should anyone else involved with owning, managing, and operating a commercial building care?

The answer? Money.

LEED Gold Certification seal from the U.S. Green Building Council

According to research from the U.S. Department of Energy, LEED buildings consume 25% less energy and 11% less water than non-LEED buildings. That translates to lower utility bills. If you could build the same facility but pay 11-25% less in operating costs, why would you choose otherwise? And this isn’t even taking into account all the environmental benefits of LEED buildings!

If the decision is made for the non-LEED option, then that is saying you know you could spend less operating this building, but you want to pay more. You know you could improve the income flow of your building, but you choose to make less. Why? 

LEED Buildings: Financial Common Sense

Perhaps the concern is that a LEED building might cost more to construct than a non-LEED building. Depending on where you are building, there are notable tax benefits and incentives from states and municipalities (AKA free money). Choosing to build a non-LEED building is essentially saying you don’t want free money.

Finally, since a commercial building is an investment, the core factors of occupancy rates, lease payments, and long-term tenants are very important to cash flow. Citing the USGBC, LEED buildings retain higher property values than non-LEED buildings. LEED buildings are healthier for the occupants, and 79% of employees say they would choose a job in a LEED building over a non-LEED building. All of these point to greater demand (occupancy), longer term leases, and higher property appreciation. Money, money, money.

LEED Building infographic from U.S. Green Building Council
Source: USGBC

Intelli-Hood: A Solution for LEED Buildings

As I write this from Melink’s own LEED Platinum-certified headquarters, nicknamed HQ1, and across the street from our newly opened HQ2, which is a Zero-Energy Building, I am very happy for Notre Dame. I am also very PROUD that Melink’s Intelli-Hood® variable speed kitchen hood controls were a part of all the conservation measures that helped them achieve this certification. Within the three buildings that achieved LEED status, Intelli-Hood was installed on eight kitchen hoods. Intelli-Hood is now standard on any new hood installations, as well as retrofits, at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame opted for the sustainable, energy efficient, and financially smart option of LEED construction. What will you choose?

 

Intelli-Hood: Preventive Maintenance Is Critically Important (Not Just in Times of Crisis)

Preventive maintenance is truly important to your business’ operation. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, many business owners are continuously evaluating their corporate strategies to determine contingency plans. However, as we ride this roller coaster of uncertainty together, it is important to not just strategize for short-term implications of the virus. Now is the time to determine the best steps — like preventive maintenance and reducing the risk of damage to unoccupied buildings — to assist your company on the road to recovery.

And, just like any rollercoaster at an amusement park, the beginning and end have a pinnacle moment. Currently, we are adapting to the changes being implemented to minimize the impact. How we adapt will influence what the pinnacle moment will look like as we return to normalcy.

Of course, it is anticipated by many that financial strains will be incurred by companies across the United States as well as the world. In recent years, the buzzword “resiliency” has swept many energy tradeshows. One thing to add to this — although not glamorous — is the critical importance of executing preventative maintenance on equipment. A few benefits of preventative maintenance include:

  • Maximizing the efficiency of the equipment
  • Reducing downtime cost
  • Avoiding costly, last-ditch-effort service repairs
  • Improving reliability

Therefore, during an economic challenge, it is critically important to the bottom line of any company to have its systems operating correctly.

Intelli-Hood preventive maintenance

Intelli-Hood Preventive Maintenance

Melink Corp has implemented Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation (DCKV) systems across thousands of kitchens as an energy control measure to reduce operating costs. When preventive maintenance is not performed, it can lead to expensive repairs and downtime. Consider these examples…

Systems are designed to “fail safe,” meaning even a simple error can result in all associated fans operating at 100% speed.

One VFD reaches its end-of-life cycle and fails. Instead of replacing the component, Operations decides it is best to bypass the VFD, which now has fans operating 24/7.

These examples have obvious implications to the facility’s bottom line and operating costs.

And taking the idea of preventive maintenance even further, businesses should plan for staff turnover. For example, if a system was installed 15 years ago, the likelihood of the same staff on site is low. Therefore, it is important to have all individuals trained on the equipment to understand standard maintenance operations.

Taking Preventive Maintenance Steps

So how can your business prevent fix-on-fail for DCKV systems and other equipment?

Discuss with manufacturers to see if preventative maintenance services are offered. The cost of a service is low compared to the potential savings that can be lost with a system not operating correctly. The goal is to have a company maximize its bottom line to become financially stable or, should I say, resilient.

Think of preventive maintenance actions as opportunities. Take advantage of the opportunity to complete a preventative maintenance service. This is the time to make adjustments to maximize efficiency and provide training to your team. All this assures your facility’s DCKV system is operating correctly to maximize comfort within the work environment.

We shall all remain hopeful and confident that through working together, we can ride out the roller coaster ride of COVID-19. Melink’s team of technicians is available to help with Intelli-Hood preventive maintenance or troubleshooting. Or maybe you’re wondering if it’s time to discuss a facility upgrade for your aging system. Contact us today.  

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.

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.