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It’s a Tie! Two Winners for February Fluke News Plus

Posted on: April 1, 2011

As many of you know, we ran a survey and contest in the February edition of Fluke News Plus asking readers to identify the innovation in a Fluke tool that has made the biggest difference to them on the job. We received entries from all over the world, and boy did we learn a lot!

Our congratulations to Rick Aaser of Bismarck, North Dakota and Laurie John Hayton of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, who tied as Best of Show winners. The contest judges decided on a tie between the two entries because both presented excellent accounts of their chosen innovation, and yet were very different in perspective, the tools used, and the industry they serve. The judges considered whether safe practices were followed and the impact of the Fluke tool’s features on the success of the project. Each winner received a Fluke 376 True RMS AC/DC Clamp Meter.

Field service technician uses record feature to be in two places at the same time


Rick Aaser
Field Service Technician
Titan Machinery
Bismarck, North Dakota


Photo courtesy of Rick Aaser

Rick Aaser has worked as a Field Service Technician for 36 years, starting with Krider Equipment in 1974 and continuing with Titan Machinery when it purchased Krider in 2003. The business is based in Bismarck, but Aaser covers the entire state of North Dakota, and parts of Montana and South Dakota. He specializes in electronic service and repairs on construction equipment—primarily mobile cranes, man lifts and overhead hoists—and is the only one in the central and western part of North Dakota who is certified to work on GMK cranes. He also is certified to work on Grove cranes and man lifts, National cranes, and overhead hoists.

In his winning Best of Show submission, Aaser cites the “Record” feature on the Fluke 289 digital multimeter as the innovation that has made the most difference to his job. “The record feature was the reason I got the 289 because there are a lot of times when I’m at the controls and my meter is hooked up on the other side of the machine and I can’t see it so I just record everything and then look at it after the test,” Aaser explains. In the following paragraph Aaser describes how the Fluke 289 saved a great deal of time in searching for intermittent problems with the controls on a 165-ton GMK crane.

“I had my Fluke 289 hooked in line to measure the control amperage at the hydraulic pump and set it to record the amperage. Then I hooked my 87V in line at the controls in the cab where I could watch what was going on. After my testing I compared what I had written down from the 87V results, to what my 289 had recorded and was able to determine that there was an intermittent interruption of the control signal going to the pump. I was losing half of my milliamps at the control valve. So that sent me to a couple of connectors in the harness where I found the problem right away.

I would not have been able to operate the machine and check two measurements at the same time without the record feature on the 289. The entire process took only about 20 minutes and cut my diagnostic time by 75 percent.”

Control systems technician follows the trend to isolate elusive sign fault


Laurie John Hayton
Control Systems Technician
Digital Engineering
Thunderbay, Ontario, Canada


Photo courtesy of Digital Engineering, Inc.
with permission of Mr. Laurie John Hayton

Laurie John Hayton has worked at Digital Engineering since he started his career in industrial automation 1981. His experience with Fluke products dates back to about 1985, when the company began to move to using mostly Fluke handheld instruments. Hayton has been using the Fluke 123 ScopeMeter® since shortly after its introduction in the late 1990s. “The 123 ScopeMeter® has been our old faithful,” Hayton notes. “We were especially impressed with the isolation that you get from it. With the old scopes you always had issues with the chassis ground being referenced to the logic ground and creating potential shock hazards. When Fluke came out with the isolated scope it made those types of measurements a lot easier.”

The data trending innovation and MIN/MAX feature of the 123 ScopeMeter played a major role in Hayton’s winning submission to the Fluke News Plus contest, as he describes:

“I was working on an outdoor digital messaging display, which was operating very intermittently. The sign had been giving its owner continued grief for long periods of time. Even the original manufacturer was unable to solve this elusive problem. There were a few additional problems with the sign, but the biggest problem causing the failures was the dc power supply. Most of the time when a measurement was taken it would be at the proper level. However, the sign would still fail after a period of time.

I used the TrendPlot™ feature on the Fluke 123 ScopeMeter to trend the dc output of the voltage for about a week. Eventually we saw on the trend graph that the dc output voltage of the power supply would dip below acceptable levels then return to normal, causing the sign to reset and operate intermittently. The MIN/MAX feature on the unit also confirmed that the voltage had definitely dropped below levels that were acceptable for the sign to operate. We replaced the dc power supply and the sign operated properly without any issues.

The Fluke 123 Scopemeter's innovative feature made a difference as it allowed long-term monitoring of an electrical parameter that was intermittent in nature and thus difficult to detect with 'snap shot' readings. It allowed us to solve and correct the problem and return the piece of equipment to a reliable operating state.”


Courtesy of Digital Engineering, Inc. with permission
of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Find out more

In this issue you can also read about the Runner Up winner in the February Fluke News Plus contest »
Learn more about the Fluke 289 True RMS Industrial Logging Multimeter with Trend Capture »
Learn more about the Fluke 123 ScopeMeter® »