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Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

  • 1.  Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Posted 10 days ago
    So I had a technician install a dampp chaser.  It works well.  Problem is the red light keeps popping up every so often.  The water has just been changed and I assume the pad is already used up already but we hardly had it over 2 weeks.  The tech said that the water needs a particular type.  We used distilled water with no luck.  Any advice.

    Oh yeah, I have been studying on and off on piano technician courses through Randy Potter School but everytime I read through the course along temperaments I have a tendency to put it off.  Like a long time.  I understand 3rds is around 120 bpm at 8 beats and 6ths are at 105 bpm at 7 beats but I am having a hard time hearing the beats.  I can do well with unisons but I can't really hear the beats regarding intervals.  I understand you start with a tuning fork then set the a, then the 10 f below then the third ect, forgot the rest but regarding this scenario I put it off cause of the fact I am having trouble with intervals using a metronome.   Does this mean I need to change careers?

    Trav

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    Travis Balitz
    Associate Member
    Hastings MN
    651-491-8440
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  • 2.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 10 days ago
    Hi Travis:
    Welcome to the business. And the Guild.

    It sounds like you need to find a mentor who can help you along the way. If you can get a tuning device, app or whatever, you can set the notes and then be able to listen to the beats and check yourself. Randi Potter recommends the Sanderson Accutuner, but apps also work well. Learning to tune by ear, starting from scratch can be daunting. Sort of like getting on a bicycle for the first time without training wheels. Sometimes reading about setting a temperament is more confusing than actually doing it. Youtube probably has some good videos to help you to hear what you need to focus on. I'm pretty sure that the Potter course has the Beat Locator included, which will tell you which note to listen to when trying to hear the beats. The Beat Locator sits against the fallboard behind the keys, and you slide the two cards to select which interval you want to listen to, with the indicating lines behind the notes you're comparing, ie., a 5th or a 3rd, etc. If you don't have one, you can contact Coleman Tools, as I think they're the ones who make it.

    Reading where there is a M3 or m3, and all that, require a very focused mind. Tends to put one asleep or into a hypnotic trance. Don't ask how I know!

    As far as the Damppchaser, there is the special liquid that should be used in the water tank to insure the electrodes are able to sense the fluid level. Distilled water doesn't conduct electricity very well, which is why you need to use the bottles of additive they supply with the kit. The pads are probably ok if they are fairly new.

    I'm sure others will chime in here. Good luck.

    Paul McCloud
    San Diego



    Travis Balitz
    So I had a technician install a dampp chaser. It works well. Problem is the red light keeps popping up every so often. The water has just been changed and I assume the pad is already used up already but we hardly had it over 2 weeks. The tech said that the water needs a particular type. We used distilled water with no luck. Any advice.

    Oh yeah, I have been studying on and off on piano technician courses through Randy Potter School but everytime I read through the course along temperaments I have a tendency to put it off. Like a long time. I understand 3rds is around 120 bpm at 8 beats and 6ths are at 105 bpm at 7 beats but I am having a hard time hearing the beats. I can do well with unisons but I can't really hear the beats regarding intervals. I understand you start with a tuning fork then set the a, then the 10 f below then the third ect, forgot the rest but regarding this scenario I put it off cause of the fact I am having trouble with intervals using a metronome. Does this mean I need to change careers?

    Trav

    ------------------------------
    Travis Balitz
    Associate Member
    Hastings MN
    651-491-8440





  • 3.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Member
    Posted 9 days ago
    I am a Certified Dampp-Chaser installer and can tell you that the red light going off every so often is not normal . Pads also last many months unless there is a problem with the water that may interfere with the electrode wires on the smart heater bar that the pads are folded over. A capfull of pad treatment should be added to the watering can when filling the tank. You add the water when the yellow light blinks. There is likely a problem with the smart heater bar which would be the first thing to swap out. If that does not solve the problem the issue may be with the humidistat  unit that turns the humidifier (water tank )  and de-humidifier parst of the system on and off .  the electrical plug for each part of the system are color coded and need to be in the same color sockets on the humidistat.

    If this is a new system the parts and labor to get this fixed should be covered by warranty. The system also needs to be installed properly and I have had to correct some poor installs. There is a serial number on the humidistat that will establish warranty eligibility. Did you get any paperwork from the installer ?

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    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 4.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 9 days ago
    Distilled water is acceptable, Travis. It will keep the humidifier clean much longer and the pads will last longer. BUT if you start with distilled water and DON’T add the pad treatment liquid, then the red light won’t go out. The red light is connected to two wire sensors that go along the length of the heater bar in the humidifier tank. Electrolytes in the water complete the circuit by connecting the two sensor wires. Distilled water is an insulator, not a conductor, so it won’t shut off the red light. You can easily test to see if the red light sensor is working (it’s called a “Smart Bracket”). Reach up over the humidifier tank with a finger and touch both wires at the same time. Your finger will complete the circuit and will turn off the red light if the system is working properly.
    So far I haven’t seen a case where one capful of Pad Treatment did not provide enough electrolyte to shut off the red light. The purpose of the Smart Bracket is to shut off the humidifier if the sensor circuit is not complete. If the customer is gone and the piano doesn’t get watered for two weeks, say, then the humidifier will become dry and its heater bar will turn into a small dehumidifier when HUMIDIFICATiON is called for.

    Bob Anderson, RPT
    Tucson, AZ




  • 5.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Posted 9 days ago
    I wont lie. This stuff goes over my head.  About all I understand is that first try chemical with water.  I have a pianotech account.  What would I need to buy?

    All I know about it is that I fill this tube with water with gallon on the line.  We just installed this 2 weeks ago probably about the 4th time filling it.  I will try to reach out to the technician.  But the red light goes on and off which I assume is the pad.  I do not even know how to change it out.  What pads do I need and first would changing it solve problem?  I will have to really look when I get home cause I have not looked into the parts itself so when it comes to making circuit with hand I will look.

    Trav


    ------------------------------
    Travis Balitz
    Associate Member
    Hastings MN
    651-491-8440
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 9 days ago
    Hopefully you had a knowledgeable tech do the installation. But since it's apparently not working correctly I would think that the technician that did the installation owes you a follow-up no-charge service call to correct what could be either a mistake in setting the system up or a faulty control unit. That person should also be, (should have been), responsible for making sure you know how to service the system. This is important! If the system is not set up or maintained correctly, it will actually create instability issues and, depending on the weather where you live, advance problems it's designed to prevent to occur.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 7.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 9 days ago
    Travis, take the Free! on line Pianolifesaver installation course.

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    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 9 days ago

    Travis, in the short run focus on the yellow light: is that flashing? If so, check on the tank, to see if it is low on water. Then add an appropriate amount. 

    Theer are a few reasons the red light may be flashing intermittently. One is that the wet pad isn't fully seated on the rod and sensor at the top of tank. Maybe the tech didn't seat in properly, or there's something wrong with the pads. Some years ago there was a run of the humidifier pads that weren't sufficiently hydroscopic, I.e. the pads aren't soaked with water.

    As others have said, if you aren't using the Dampp-Chaser additive there may not be sufficient electrolytes in the water.
    Finally, some systems have problems with the connections between the humidistat and the sensors. It may be that the plugs/jacks aren't properly inserted, or there may be defective parts. fortunately the Dampp-Chaser parts are warrantied for 5 years.
    Have the installer come out and diagnose the situation.
    it's important to NOT fill the system based solely on the red light's behavior. Otherwise you are likely to overfill the tank & have water all over the floor, and the bottom board if your piano in an upright.



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    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA
    978-663-9690
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  • 9.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 9 days ago
    DC recommends regular tap water I believe. The solution is for mold prevention. The sensor will not work if water doesn't have enough electrolytes 

     

     

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    George W.R. "Bill" Davis, RPT, SERVP

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    bill@pianoplace.net


    Sent from my iPhone





  • 10.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Member
    Posted 8 days ago
    Hi Travis,
    Everyone pretty much covered the solutions. I will add two.. Make sure the plastic sleave on the humidifier rod are under the smart bar and not covering it. That can cause the red light to go on as soon as any moisture where the pads hang over are dried up. The moisture that wicked up to the top of the pads has to always be in contact with the. two tines of the smart bar. These days the sleaves and smartbar are aleady in place when they arrive to me but always check this. The other thing I recommend that Dampp-Chaser does not give in their certification training is when the electric grid surrounding the system is prone to black outs, brown outs. and power surges, the humidistats can get fried. Altough they come with fused power plugs, they can not always prevent spikes that fry microcircuits. For the first time I have had to replace two of them on my own dime. Since that has recurred twice, I am installing surge protectors as part of my intallation protocol. Both times, caused the pad light to light red following brown outs and local area transformers blew. Happens frequently as storms get fiercer. Good luck. In addition to taking the training, add surge protector and make sure you are adequately compensated. I charge more than most other technicians to allow a 100 percent 5 year warranty where I cover all costs that DAMPP-CHASER wont't because I have always laughed at conditional warranties. Those humidistat replacements came out of my own pocket. I still do well, my customers love the no-question-fix-it-sith-a-smile demeanor, and less stress in dealing with a manufacturer's warranty.

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    Kevin Magill
    Williamsburg VA
    757-220-2420
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  • 11.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 8 days ago
    Add salt.--(in a pinch, ha!)


  • 12.  RE: Dampp Chaser - Piano Technician Career Choice

    Posted 9 hours ago

    Hello fellow techs.

    In response to the comments.  Sorry for the delay.  I took a look at the dampp chaser and bought the additive.  It seemed to fix the solution for now.  I also added a youtube video of me recording it.  I figured if anyone wants to maybe try to take a look at the installation to see if it is properly installed.  I see a white wire, a blue pad, and the container and a 2 heated rods.  I honestly cannot figure out if there is anything wrong with it but for now the additive is fine.

    SO I received some direct messages and I appreciate the support.  My question regarding tuning.  Many suggest using a piano tuning app but if I were to take the PTG exams don't I need to aurally know how to tune?  Also, I want to learn to tune aurally correctly because Id like to get Randy Potters Piano School of Technology diploma and it requires sending various video tapes and written homework in.  But when it comes to intervals,  I know I need more practice, but I guess I feel like I am beating a dead horse cause though I understand 8 beats per minute counts to 120 bpm in terms of temperament tuning was it for thirds maybe?  I can't remember all the steps but I know you take a tuning fork to a, check the tenth below, that should be perfect pitch?  and then check the third from the tenth and the sixth, the third should be about 120 bpm at 8 beats per sec, and then 6th at 7 beats per sec at about 105 bpm... then you gotta check with 4ths or 5ths im not sure if that is 6 beats per second.  Anyways am I trying to focus to hard on memorizing this stuff.  I figured regardless it is important to pass the rpt exams.  I live in minnesota and I know randy potter use to have classes here at some university.  Anyways please correct me.  I am trying to do this all from memory so I can try to get myself to start practicing.  I know I can tune unisons great but temperaments I rarely hit since 2012 because I put it off for 9 years cause I found it to hard to memorize and I wasn't getting anything out of it if I can't really even hear the slow moving beats.  I guess the best temperament is Randy Potters Temperament.  But there is Defenbaugh and an Coleman Temperament.  And of course the A temperament which I heard isn't so good.  I think defenbaugh uses 5ths to start but since they are fast moving beats, for many tuners it is hard to start with it.

    Anyways please check out the dampp chaser video below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTODJP9iCkI

    Thanks,  Trav

    Oh yeah, maybe I would be more motivated if someone could give me direct lessons.  I don't know if anyone is willing to do it over camera to teach me the basics of temperament tuning.  I know most use the piano tuning app or even the recommended accutuner.  I don't have either.  But I can pay for your service if anyone is interested in teaching me.  There is actually a spreadsheet of all the stuff I need to learn to pass the exams but it looks pretty hard.  I don't know if I made a mistake but the original tuner that I had hired boosted his price from 120 to 140 and the tuner I got now tuned for 90 dollars, he isn't a registered PTG member and havent taken the exams.  But experience can pay off.  ANd he also installed the dampp chaser for 80 dollars, he was going to charge me 200 some dollars for the dampp chaser but with my pianotek account I was able to buy it around 100 or 120 maybe.  Just an estimate. anyways  I guess the old tuner I use to have use to tune for Prince and he is not registered but now he is retired.

    I am not sure how important it is to pass the exams, I just know there are tuners that aren't even registered and tuners that haven't even taken the exams yet are in business.

    Sorry for the long winded response, thanks for your time.

    Trav

    d



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    Travis Balitz
    Associate Member
    Hastings MN
    651-491-8440
    ------------------------------