How it all Started
Back in the late 70's and early 80's when I worked for a petroleum equipment distributer and Self-Service was in its infancy, we had our share of problems and one major one was leak detectors tripping in cold (Wisconsin) weather. Everyone that I knew had a solution and one was to add a time delay relay to the dispenser solenoid valves. All the time delay really did was aggravate the customer standing out in the cold............Continued...... The customer didn't like the fact that the computer (mechanical) went back to zero and nothing happened because the time delay wasn't finished, and they couldn't pump their gas. So the customer turned the pump off, and back on again, and so the time delay started all over again. Then the customer gave the cashier a frustrated look! And the cashier hollered out the door and said "Just wait a second and it will go!" A second turned into about five seconds and then it pumped. It pumped alright, but it went slow because the leak detector had tripped. Then the impatient customer got frustrated and made an unkind gesture to the cashier and went somewhere else for his gas. The problem was that the time delay was started after the reset had cycled.
Our solution was to start the submersible pump and time delay before the reset cycled and the only way that could be done was to add one relay for every hose/electric reset that was at the location. There were times that we had to add as many as sixteen relays to solve the problem. When we did this everyone was happy again! And by doing this we also solved another problem at the same time. We could service electric resets by turning off only the dispenser we needed to work on.
But all these relays created another problem.............Electricians! You just can't win sometimes. We had electricians wire relays every which way you can think of. We would go out on a start up and have circuit breakers blowing all over the place!
I thought there had to be a better way. I went to my boss where I worked and we talked about a way to eliminate the relays and inter-wiring that goes with them so we decided to have an electronics expert come in and discuss the problem. After a brief talk and getting nowhere I asked "Are you going to have the electronics people build this thing or are we?" My boss said "We would do it." After months It was never even started so I decided I would work on something myself on my own time. I still worked at the same company so after I had something I thought I could sell I went to my boss who had turned it down and I said "Do you remember that relay elimination thing we were talking about?" He said "Yes." And I said "Well, I built it and I will sell them to you." Then he said "Get it UL Listed then ok." So I got it UL Listed and Patented (U.S. Patent No.4,719,532 now expired). After that I sold them a couple of hundred systems.
There are hundreds of these systems in Service Stations, Truck Stops, Convenience Stores, Commercial Fueling Sites and latest niche is Airport Car Rental Refueling with Orlando Airport being the largest with 105 single dispensers.