Seamless switching between sources for uninterrupted supply!

Switching between a primary source of power, usually the grid to a secondary source (in many cases, generators), has become a crucial preventative measure in order to avoid major disruptions or even complete loss of life, making it a vital step to ensure mission-critical systems are powered on, during the event of primary power failure. So, why do people invest heavily in ATS products?

The main reason is that they are looking for uninterrupted business operations.

An ATS ensures the continuous and reliable supply of power, no matter what the power source is, by safely and rapidly switching between supply sources.

A number of manufacturers have designed and supplied various types of Automatic Transfer Switches to satisfy this requirement. Since technology is advancing at a rapid pace, OEMs are now producing more compact, efficient, intelligent and faster transfer switches with much higher reliability.

One OEM in particular has recently appointed Unipower UK Ltd. (T/A Charter Controls) as its UK & Ireland agent is Elmeasure, with a global presence in over 50 countries, sales offices in six countries, and five million collective products in operation worldwide.

Elmeasure provides an entire range of auto changeover solutions (motorised and solenoid-based ATS), ranging from 63A-6300A, with open/closed and delayed transition modes, featuring a high-end micro-processor-based ATS controller for programming/monitoring and controlling.

IoT-enabled automatic transfer switches that offer easy programmability, and connection to any IoT platform for smart remote monitoring, are optional.

Elmeasure motorised changeover provides the unique features of an inbuilt high-end micro-processor-based AMF controller, with incomer level Source 1 and Source 2 protection, including under/over voltage, under/over frequency, phase sequence, and optional overload tripping logic.

Ranging from 63A-3600A, it includes features exceeding expectations, including the inbuilt removable key switch which enables operators to switch between auto/manual modes, and optional RS485 Modbus protocol communications for cloud connectivity, allowing monitoring and control derived from master/slave architecture (PLC, SCADA).

Elmeasure’s automatic transfer switches offer a high capacity to withstand a short circuit and fire alarm/external fault tripping. These transfer switches also offer real-time system voltage and frequency, while intelligently monitoring source healthiness and output for both sources simultaneously.

There is no requirement for a separate external power to power the ATS and it can be set to switch single-phase or three-phase supplies. The inbuilt microprocessor controller, with diesel generator start/stop option, offers the safest changeover during failure of a primary source.

Transfer delays can be set from three seconds to 600 seconds that can be set up using a remote display unit, which can also act as a front panel to enable the user to change parameter settings without opening the control panel door.

These units also carry an AC 33B utilisation category and are in accordance with IEC 60947-6-1.

Customer feedback so far has been very positive, some of which highlight a cost-effective solution that offers time saving in installation and set-up, a compact design allowing space saving, and quiet operation.

Source: Charter Controls - Seamless switching between sources for uninterrupted supply! (

Keeping your cool in control panel enclosures

Control panel designers are always juggling technical requirements for electrical control panels within financial constraints. On the one hand, there’s the desire to select large control panels that maximise the arrangement of electrical equipment, and on the other, there’s the necessity to adhere to strict cost constraints, which invariably necessitates compromises.

There’s also the issue of potential space limitations within the facility, as well as the current environmental conditions. Having selected the most appropriate enclosure, one of the most challenging tasks to prolong the life and optimise performance of each item of electrical and electronic equipment within the control panel is to control the temperature within the enclosure, and guarantee that the heat dispersion inside the control panel keeps equipment temperatures within acceptable limits.

As internal and external heat are two varia­bles that contribute to the issue of control panels overheating, the temperature inside control panels is proportional to the total heat produced and the efficiency of the enclosure cooling system.

Total internal heat generation can be calculated by determining all thermal losses of each piece of electrical/electronic equipment to be installed. The amount of heat dissipation by variable frequency drives (VFDs), and other items of electrical and electronic equipment, is proportional to their power consumption and efficiency. One of the most cost-effective solutions to this problem is to use filter fans of various sizes and airflow volumes to maintain the required temperature inside the panel.

Many fan manufacturers are capable of resolving the above issue. However, as we are all becoming more conscious about our carbon footprint and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, it is greatly beneficial both to panel manufacturers and to the environment to select the most value-added supplier of filter fans as a strategic partner. This not only reduces carbon footprint, but also overcomes financial constraints, and ensures that the most suitable and technically advanced fans are utilised.

Strategic partnerships

Trading in the UK and Ireland as Charter Controls, Unipower UK Ltd. partners with Linkwell Electric, an established OEM of fan, filter, heater and related solutions that enable customers to become more envi­ronmentally-friendly and keep components inside the panel cool enough to maximise life expectancy and optimise efficiency.

Many Charter Controls customers across the UK and Ireland are using Linkwell’s LK32 series fan filters, for example. One company in particular, Saftronics, spec­ifies and supplies control panels, power distribution and process control systems across a wide range of industries, and has highlighted how it has managed to overcome frequent issues by using some of the technical and value-added features offered by these fans. Notably, Saftronics’ customers in the water industry are aiming to be leaders in net carbon zero emis­sions.

Stuart Jones and Paul Stead from the Saf­tronics engineering team have commented on how the unimpeded airflow volumes of up to 1,350m3/hr have enabled them to reduce the number of fans required, in turn reducing compartment size and freeing up extra space to install more equipment on the control panel door.

It has to be said that the other benefits of being able to use fewer fans include pre­venting multiple holes from being punched into the panel, thereby reducing wastage, saving design and manufacturing time, and hence reducing costs on multiple fronts, while also reducing control panel power consumption. All of these benefits lead the way in helping panel manufactur­ers and their customers to reduce carbon footprint, while aiming for the ultimate goal of sustainability and net zero carbon emissions.

Reversed airflow

Winston Friskin and his team of electrical engineers at Galliford Try, another water industry control panel manufacturer, have also been making use of the reversed airflow capability of the Linkwell LK3243 model. Due to the large VFDs required to be installed in its panels, the reversed airflow feature of this particular model has enabled the air to be pulled out of the panel rather than in. Complementing the smaller fan integrated into the VFD that is pulling air out of the drive and into the panel, it makes sense also to install a fan to draw air out of the panel; this eliminates the possibility of any overheating that could result from impeding the airflow of the VFD’s fan.

Galliford Try works within key industry standards, specifically IEC 60890 which defines the method of temperature rise calculation, and IEC 61439:1, for low volt­age switchgear and control assemblies. The calculation also defines the require­ment for an anti-condensation heater to be fitted within the control panel using the internal/external temperature data.

Another notable value-added feature offered by the LK32 series fans and filters is the illuminated-quick release latch for changing filters. The LED indicator inte­grated into the latch enables maintenance engineers to identify from a distance that the fan is powered and in operation, avoiding the need to get up close to the panel. Changing filters also saves mainte­nance engineers time, as it takes seconds with no tools required, and avoids possi­ble damage to the fan.


Phase Failure Relays

What is a Phase Failure Relay?

A Phase Failure Relays is a type of control and monitoring relay designed to detect problems typically with a three phase supply but some can be used for single phase applications. The conditions which are monitored are Complete Phase Loss, Under Voltage, Over Voltage, Phase Sequence, Phase Asymmetry and Neutral Loss

Phase Failure Relays can also be known as Line Monitoring Relays, Supply Monitoring Relays, Phase Protection Relays or 3 Phase Voltage Monitoring Relays.

Phase Failure Relays can be used on three phase supplies with or without Neutral.

How do they work?

A Phase Failure Relay will have one or multiple relay outputs which are normally in a fail safe configuration. These relays will energise and close the circuit when the supply conditions are within acceptable tolerances. Under one of the above mentioned fault conditions the outputs will become open which will break the circuit and switch off the control system or machinery further down the line to protect it from any damage which may be caused due to unsuitable supply conditions.

Phase Failure Fault Conditions

Phase Loss - This is when one or more phases are no longer present. A Phase Loss can stop a motor from starting or stall if it is already running. If the motor does not stall this will cause a massive imbalance on the supply and can lead to a current increase of up to 600% in the operating phases which can damage your motor by overheating. Monzingers rule states that if a motor runs 10% above it maximum rated temperature, it's working life is reduces by 50%. Heat is your enemy!

Under Voltage - This is when the voltage of one or more phases is under the pre-set minimum limit. Under voltage will make your motor demand more current which may cause damage over time.

Over Voltage - This is when the voltage of one or more phases is over the pre-set maximum limit. Over Voltage its self can cause damage a Motor.

Phase Sequence - This is when the three phases are not connected in the correct sequence. If a motor is started with an incorrect phase sequence it will cause them to start in reverse which may cause damage.

Phase Asymmetry - This is when the load on all three phases is not balanced correctly. If supply is more than 5% out of balance then this can cause damage to AC motors and pumps through thermal stress. Only Phase Failure Relays with Phase Asymmetry monitoring can detect this fault condition.

Neutral Loss - Loss of neutral can cause over-voltage of up to 2 x on down-stream single-phase devices connected between 1 phase and neutral.

How to choose the right Phase Failure Relays for you.

First and foremost you need to know what supply you have on site. It could be 3 Phase 3 wire, or 3 Phase 4 wire. A 3 wire Phase Failure Relay will measure Phase to Phase so have a higher voltage measurement, e.g. 400Vac or 415Vac where a 4 wire device will be measuring Phase to Neutral so have a single phase rating, e.g. 230Vac or 240Vac respectively.

Next you need to know how many output relays you need. Typically you will find either Single or Double pole change-over outputs. If you need more then you can use slave relays.

Lastly you need to know what monitoring functions you need. Obviously you will have phase loss as standard but the rest you can normally find as optional.

At Charter Controls we currently offer over 30 different Phase Failure Relays in our standard range and more if specials are required.

Keeping it cool with Linkwell from Charter Controls

In recent years many professionals in the electrical industry have observed that enclosure cooling requirements have been compromised in order to cut costs. Accumulated heat generated inside an enclosure by products including, but not limited to Contactors, Drives, Power Supplies and Transformers can result in the enclosure overheating, often exceeding the rated operating temperature of some products. This will reduce life span, stable operation and functionality. Climate change is also exacerbating this phenomenon.

Malcolm Greenhill the Managing Director of Unipower UK Ltd, trading us Charter Controls has made it his mission over the past 30 or so years to provide the electrical industry in the UK with great quality control panel products but at competitive prices. Acting as a sourcing agent Charter Controls is not a distributor in the traditional sense but a manufacturers agent who import and sell to the Controls and Automation Industry either directly or via specialist Control Gear Distributors, and re-exports via major UK based global distributors.

In many cases our manufacturers are the OEM’s for global brands that you may already be using.

Continuing with our successful growth we are now extending our product offer with a range of Fan Filters and Thermostats manufactured by Linkwell. Stocks include a range of sizes with ingress protection, IP54 rating and 25m3/h to 1350m3/h of air flow volume capable fans and their corresponding exit filters. The innovative design includes a quick-release filter access latch with embedded LED indicator which indicates power and normal operation of the fan, enabling maintenance to identify normal operation from a distance. The quick-release latch allows the filter to be changed in seconds. The Fan Filters are moulded in RAL 7035 colour UL rated self-quenching thermo plastic that can be OEM coloured and labelled in higher quantities. All the fans and thermostats carry CE and RoHS certification as per EU norms.

Linkwell Thermostats are compact, simple to mount and have a wide setting range of 0-60oC with high switching capacity. Models include NO or NC contact options for regulating Filter Fans and Heat Exchangers or for switching signal devices when the set temperature limit has been exceeded. The thermostats are also available in a compact, 17.5mm wide size, useful where space inside the panel is limited. The compact range has a snap action thermostatic bimetal sensor and fits on 35mm rail (EN60715) mount. Linkwell also offers double thermostats in a twin housing with NO and NC contacts, individually adjustable temperatures enabling the user to set heating and cooling functions independently from each other.

For further information please visit our website to see our full, quality control panel offerings.

As companies are increasingly looking at smarter purchasing to try and reduce costs involved in sourcing products now more than ever is critical to purchase good quality products at a lower price without undermining the required service levels. Charter Controls would be happy to supply a sample for quality testing purposes.


Linkwell Filter Fans and Thermostats

Linkwell Electric, formed in 2010 are committed to manufacturing high quality thermal solutions and accessories for the control panel and automation industry.

Charter Controls have now been given the position of UK Import Agent for the Linkwell brand. Our first introduction from their range is the LK32 series of Control Panel Filter Fans, with their associated accessories including Panel Thermostats.

The LK32 series ranges from the LK3237 which has a bezel size of 116.5x116.5mm and an airflow of 23-35m³/h up to the LK3245 with a bezel size of 323x323mm and an airflow of 1150-1350m³/h.

The LK32 series features a lovely hinging front plate for quick and easy replacement of the cotton filter mat and also has a power on LED so you can see when the panel is cooling.

Other ranges are available.

We have also developed an online calculator to help you work out how much airflow your panel needs based on a few variables. See in on our website here:

Also as part of this new introduction, we are stocking the Panel Thermostats from Linkwell. Our most popular one is the KNO011 which is normally open DIN rail mounted and all in a 17.5mm housing. It is adjustable from 0-60°C

To see all Linkwell products that are currently available from Charter Controls, please click here

Green Screen

A meeting without meeting

November 28th 2019. our MD left his hotel in Bristol in plenty of time for a meeting in Llaneli – so he thought. Approaching Cardiff the satnav recommended a diversion off the M4 due to congestion.

By the time he re-joined the M4 east of Cardiff he was running late and fuming. For the rest of the journey he kept thinking, ‘there has to be a better way’, and he wasn’t thinking of a better way to Llaneli.

After some thought and a couple of calls to Murray, in the office at he had a clear vision of the way forward. It’s now developed, refined and proved!

Meet ‘Green-Screen’

In most instances we now no longer need to travel to you for a sales meeting.  Green-Screen also works for product training and technical support.

Every customer visit costs companies with reps on the road at least £150. They often sit in traffic jams being unproductive while their cars pollute the atmosphere. A cost to the employer and a cost to society.

So why ‘Green Screen?

‘Green’ because it reduces pollution, ‘Screen’ because we share our office PC screens with you in your browser via a secure on-line tunnel. You can see our screen, we can’t see yours. There is also no remote control feature so it is total safe. Webcams are also optional if you would still like the "face 2 face" approach.

Green-Screen is a ‘by invitation’ process arranged at a time that’s convenient for you. You get an email with a unique link, click on it and you’ll see our screen with our website loaded.

While chatting on the ’phone, we guide you to products you identify as of interest and (here’s where it gets more interesting) we send you free samples of products of suitable products – why shouldn’t we? we’re saving at least £150 by not visiting you and we’ll share some of that saving with you. You’ll also get a quote.

By pure coincidence Charter Controls has developed a ‘SALES MEETING WITHOUT A MEETING’.

What better time to put it in to practice than during the COVID-19 crisis.

We're happy to say that the company our MD visited in Llaneli is now a good customer

On his way home to Hastings there was an accident on the M25 shutting the northern section both ways, so the southern section was a nightmare. He arrived home after 22.00 tired and totally fed-up!

Green Screen was in development the following day.

If you would like a Green Screen meeting then please get in touch with us.

Water Equipment Show 2019

On Thursday last week Charter Controls exhibited at the Water Equipment Show 2019. The show was great and not only did we see many familiar faces but we also got to meet lots of new people too.

On our stand we displayed our pump demo which shows how our Unipower Load monitors work by measuring true power. This is the only way to truly know how much load your pump is under. By measuring voltage in all three phases and also the current the Unipower Load Monitor is able to calculate the phase angle and cos φ to work out true power in kW. Measuring just current is not an accurate way of doing this and can not only lead to nuisance tripping but can also not stop your pump when you need it to which may cause damage. To see our range of load monitors click here .

We also had our brand new range of LED indicators on the stand which are coming very soon. Esbee's new development has not only reduced the costs of manufacturing but increased the brightness and visibility of the LED pilot lamps significantly. These should be arriving in the UK by the end of June.

Other products that were on show were pulse and elapsed time (Hours Run) counters, GIC time delay & monitoring relays, Shenler industrial relays and our brand new DC Power Supplies from Pairui and GIC.

Thinking Inside and Outside the box.

Over the past two years the Charter Controls product range has expanded drastically. We formed a very close relationship with one of the industries global giants where we source products on their behalf in both their private label and also the OEM brand.

This has given us an extreme boost to our buying power which has enabled us to find even more great products at very competitive prices. Many of these manufacturers we have found manufacture and brand products for the biggest names in our industry.

What we have then done is bring those products to the UK market under the OEM's label, selling both through distribution and wholesale and also direct to market for reasonable prices.

Here is an Ad we have just finalised for a few publications this year.

To find out more, get in touch.

ISO 9001:2015

Charter Controls receive ISO 9001:2015 certificate

Charter Controls have recently passed our audit with flying colours and been granted our ISO 9001:2015 certificate.

We have changed certification body to Approachable Certification Limited who came and did their first audit with us earlier this month. They were very impressed with what they saw and passed us without any nonconformities to the new standard ISO 9001:2015 which is great news.

To download a copy of our new certificate, please click the image below. Our certificate number is 11115.

ISO 9001:2015 Certification body

All employees here at Charter Controls are dedicated to customer service. If there is anything we can do to help then we will. This is clear from the feedback we get from our customers both directly and via our Trust Pilot reviews account which you can see by clicking here or viewing our About Us page.

- 25 September 2018
Drives and Controls 2018

Drives and Controls 2018, what a show!

Its now been roughly 2 months since the Drives and Controls Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham and finally we have time to reflect.

At the exhibition we officially launched our new range of door gear from Esbee with 3 brilliant interactive displays which proved very popular with passers-by. The 80dB siren on our tower light certainly made people look our way!

As well as Esbee, we also had another new range to launch which we kept under wraps until the opening day. This was a brand new range of relays for the UK, although they have been sold by some very large OEM's for many years already. To help the Launch we had one of the owners, Mr Huang, and Kira Hu Export Manager from Shenler Electric.

Shenler Manufacture many different types of relays for the industrial electronics industry from simple 5-pin plugin relays up to 4 pole ice cube relays and plug-in in time delay relays. They even manufacture a relay which is sealed against humidity and dust. Below is a video of their demo case showing these sealed relays.

This was the single biggest event in Charter Controls history since starting the company and it certainly paid off. It took nearly a year in the planning but it was totally worth it.

Although the footfall of the show was a little disappointing, the quality of the leads we received was fantastic. It was also great to see so many familiar faces from customers to competitors.

By far the most popular item on our stand, probably helped by how close we were to the robotics section, was the stepper motor controllers from Geckodrive.

Marcus Freimanis came all the way from California to help us on the stand and show off a 3d printer assembled by him and his team as a working demo unit for the exhibition.

We tried our hardest to make every part of the stand interesting by making each pod interactive in its own way. From timers ticking away, to interactive HMI's and even a PLC clicking its output relays to the tune of happy birthday. (it is our 25th anniversary this year)

The feedback we got from stand visitors was great which made it even more worthwhile.