Take me home
PDL/CDi History: PDL1 to PDL4 Datalogger
PDL/CDi History: CDi or CDi1 or PDL5
PDL/CDi History: CDi2/PDL6, the PDL that Wasn't
PDL/CDi History Version 1.0:

PDL/CDi History: Pembina Lake Erie Datalogger
PDL/CDi History: P5 Switcher
PDL/CDi History: P7 Switcher
PDL/CDi History Version 2.0

PDL/CDi History: ZDL5 Switcher
PDL/CDi History: CDi3.FTe Switcher
PDL/CDi History: CDi3.RMe Switcher
PDL/CDi History: Remote 900 MHz RF Link
PDL/CDi History: CDi99 Libby Flow Meter
Why follow industry, when you can lead it?
What became the PDL and eventually the CDi really started in 1981 with a datalogger called MICAPS1 built by a small St. Catharines, Ontario company called PathTechnics. The equipment was designed to record thousands or pipe-to-soil readings over buried pipelines and those are coated in order to minimize the potential for corrosion. In order to prevent future corrosion active Cathodic Protection systems are installed, active generally meaning a Direct Current rectifier and some anodes, protecting an isolated section of pipeline. PathTechnics, back then, was way ahead of its time simply because "Industry Standard" involved writing down, on paper, thousands of readings and then handing in a bunch of pages to the secretaries at the office, who would then type the information into a DOS spreadsheet. It took days before the engineers had a usable chart about the general condition of the pipeline. A CIS, Close Interval Survey, requires a reading every 21/2 feet. That's how things were done back in 1981, 35 years ago. Here is the chronological history for those interested.
The PathTechnics Era
1984 PathTechnics Micaps1
1986 PathTechnics CR1
1989 PathTechnics CDL200
  • 1981 - Four guys, MONENCO Engineers, 2 from Quebec, 2 from Ontario, start PathTechnics, industry is Corrosion
  • 1982 - Prototype MICAPS1 built
  • 1983 - MICAPS1 patent applied for
  • 1984 - MICAPS1 main product, sales to TransCanada, 16 other countries, Adam gets into Niagara College as a mature student, age: 24
  • 1985 - MICAPS1 main product, sales to TransCanada, 16 other countries
  • 1986 - PathTechnics CR1 is built, 2 from Quebec split and become Corexco, Adam busy at his summer job
  • 1987 - MICAPS1 surpassed by CR1, CR = Computerized Recorder
  • 1988 - CR1 main product, Adam out of Niagara College, age: 28
  • 1989 - Company goes public, Adam hired Jan 1989, as Technical Services Supervisor or is it manager? CDL200 is built, CDL = Computerized Data Logger, 200 = nothing, obviously not named by Adam because "datalogger" is one word for him, MICAPS1 patent granted
  • 1990 - Life good for most of the year, SmartPlex is built, lots of develoment and learning but PathTechnics out of business end of 1990, sold to Corexco for peanuts, hard times Dec 1990

Conclusion: Patent applied for in '83, patent granted in '89, patent describing something utterly useless and obsolete by the time it was granted, inescapable conclusion is patents ONLY enrich the lawyers, what a racket!!! Don't believe me? See Don Lancaster's Case Against Patents, website here

The Humble Beginning of SingleChips
  • 1991 - Adam starts SingleChips in April, buys SmartPlex for $1, SmartPlex development, only one old PathTechnics client
  • 1992 - SmartPlex development, relationship with only client falls apart by summer, only client pulls the plug, hard times after Aug 1992
  • 1993 - Hard times

Conclusion: NEVER have all your eggs in one basket...

The Pembina Years
PDL/CDi History: Pembina Lake Erie Datalogger
PDL/CDi History: PDL1 to PDL4 Datalogger
  • 1994 - Hard times first 8 months, Adam fixes VCRs for a living, 61 Southworth was a video store in '94 and Adam was in the doghouse, checkout the next link, Pembina needs some assembly help, déjà vu #1 on August 8th, hired on the 10th, to "assemble" the "Industry Standard PLED" company elephants, I mean dataloggers, $12/hour, no retainer, no contract, LoggerLand 1
  • 1995 - Pembina, LG, no retainer, no contract, big raise, let's build our own data logger, conspicuous absence of logos in this PDL1 proposal, dopey sopey is trying his tricks, company can't afford to pay Adam more than $15/hour, but it can afford to pay 15K for this "industry-standard-hunk-of-junk from Alberta that never saw water, I mean batteries held together with duct tape, couldn't fit it in the PLED cylinder, HART thing fiasco, manual? we need one of these, what a nightmare, here is a zip file with pertinent files and the xls file with the test results, desperate need for someone to believe in what I'm doing down here, maybe one of these people: PortC office employees 1995/05

    1994 and 1995. Original datalogger on the left. Improved wiring version on the right.The black box on bottom left is a Multi plunger lift. The cream coloured thing next to it is the 8-bit-resolution datalogger. The green boards attached to the orange connectors are range amplifiers. They were necessary due to the very low resolution (8 bit) of the A/D converter in the datalogger. They required 24 Volts and that explains the 2, 12 Volt batteries wired in series.
    1995. Loggerland1. Older 1994 datalogger on the left with point to point wiring, improved one with CPC quick-connects on the right.
    1995. Datalogger production line at Loggerland1 in Port Maitland.
    1994. Loggerland1 floor.
    Winter 1994. Frozen dataloggers on Sarah deck.
    Could be 1994-1998. Good thing there is a crane on this boat...
    1997? Memory fails me but I think there were multi plunger lifts in the SS cylinders. The aluminum PDL is there to record flow.
    1994-1995 Winter. Going out on the Sarah
    Ian on the Sarah, 1994 - 1998.
    Dale on the Sarah, 1994 - 1998.
    1994-1995 Winter. Going out on the Sarah

  • 1996 - Pembina, LG, no retainer, no contract, "PLED" work continues but proves to be a dead end, very short conversation @ PortC office:
    CD: When you finish doing, whatever it is you are doing down here, and go out there and be a big shot and..., you're not going to forget about us "little people", are you?
    AG: You got it, CD... "When and us", not "if and me", sounds sincere to me, PDL1 proposal approved, PDL1 board, PDL1 design, PDL1 built by October, 2 of the PDL1's installed in the lake in November
  • 1997 - Pembina-TLM, LG, no retainer, no contract, PDL1's found alive and well in the spring, what if Adam bolts?, CD puts up a big fight to invite the "contractors" to LG's retirement party, and that's against "Company Policy", but actually wins!!!, and subsequently everybody including the "contractors" had a great time at the Ukrainian Hall in Welland, "PLED" now really expensive 316SS fish habitat, Pembina conveniently "forgets" about their contractual obligations and "bolts" out of the lake without paying for PDL development, but Adam gets a scope, a multimeter and a frequency generator, so rapid PDL development continues, PDL2, PDL3 , LG retirement, letter to Hibby, answer is: "we don't do that", LTB warning from National Semiconductor, maker of the NSC800, the CPU chip in the PDL. LTB = Life Time Buy = Buy any amount while you still can. So SCi bought 100 of them... on the Pembina account of course

    Conclusion: R&D never really stops for us R&D people.

    1996. Loggerland1 bench. Computer running RTMS (daddy to WinRTMS) and aluminum box with PDL1 board in it. This very simple setup has proven extremely reliable and versatile... most are still around.
    October 1996. Loggerland1. First ever aluminum boxes with PDL1 boards in them were eventually installed that year and found alive and well in the spring of 1997. You know the rest of the story...-
    1997. Loggerland1 bench. The aluminum box was lengthened by someone to accommodate the solenoid.
    1997-1998. Almost certain this was the intermitter at 100N. Worked for as long as it could. Maintenance subsequently proved almost impossible.
    Thankfully, maintenance personnel is never far...
    1997-1998. Could be the 90C junction intermitter.
Hibby the Hatchet Man, Kills LoggerLand2 and the PDL
PDL/CDi History: CDi99 Libby Flow Meter
About the Trustco-Fiasco in 1998 and the resulting destruction: From section 3.2, in the PDL/CDi Bible: "A major intermitter project was installed on the Trustco line immediately after the Talisman purchase of Pembina. The project was considered a failure due to unsustainable gas flow in some locations. Poor location selection and valve timing were also problems, with boat visits to each site required to set new cycle times and collect data. The recorded flows did show, however, that the intermitter principal worked in several locations (that total production with downtime was greater than total production without the intermitter)."
So Hibby was mad his $half a million project was a failure, but it is important for people to know Adam was only responsible for the boards, the firmware running on the boards and the software running on the computer, all of which worked fine, yes the "future start" command to synchronize the intermitters was active in 1998, the Trustco-Fiasco was done with PDL4 boards, the so-called PDL5 boards we still use today are PDL4 boards with a faster crystal, all PDL5s prior to 2006 were built with PDL4 boards, the first and last actual PDL5 boards were built in 2006. What became clear after the Trustco-Fiasco was that this had to be turned into this, we needed to do plenty of mechanical work, those aluminum boxes were imposible to work on. Anyway, the resulting destruction would not be reversed until 2006 when Franko Tanko showed up and helped kick the switching stuff into gear again.
  • 1998 - TLM, Hibby, no retainer, no contract, Loggerland2, rapid PDL development, PDL4 board and PDL manual, give us your first born please, I don't think so, Trustco-Fiasco, away from the lake after September @ fish farm in Pt Ryerse, switching concepts around the lake now dead but lake-related development continues in a fish farm
  • 1999 - TLM, Hibby, no retainer, no contract, away from lake the whole year @ fish farm in Pt Ryerse, CDi99 which is also known around here as CD rain cheque and Windows software get developed here at the fish farm, while in the mean time Port Maitland LoggerLand 2 is trashed along with the PDL, goodbye PDL and goodbye loggerland2, hello loggerland3 and hello CDi

    Conclusion: Hibby: How many of these LoggerLand things do we have? Just one? (You know, along the line, "How many boat captains do we have? Just one? - Brilliant!!!)
Summer 1998. Loggerland2 bench. Note there are: 2 actuators, 2 solenoids, 1 PDL4 board, and a battery mounted permanently on the wall.
Summer 1998. Loggerland2 shop floor. Single-actuator Trustco junctions.
Summer 1998. Loggerland2. Gas storage vessels.
Summer 1998. Dock. Removed dual Trustco junction.
Summer 1998. Loggerland2. Pre-wired buoys.
The Indonesia Factor
PDL/CDi History: PDL5
PDL/CDi History: CDi2/PDL6, the PDL that Wasn't
PDL/CDi History: P5 Switcher
  • 2000 - TLM, JD gone, no retainer, away from the lake @ fish farm in Port Ryerse until July, $50/hour here and there after Danster tests with aluminum plunger lifts and Danster paper presentations, here is the html version, Adam builds the CDi2.P6 with a z8s180 processor to replace the NSC800N in the PDLx boards, on his own time, at his own expense
  • 2001 - TLM, no retainer, $50/hour here and there, Port Maitland station prototype sample 1, sample 2, sample 3, Some P5s, Olympia Restaurant lease, CDi2.P6 development, CDi99 Libby Flowmeter, 10 P5 (PDL5 Windows software, eventually renamed WinRTMS), the two downhole recorders from LoggerLand2, ~10K each, magically appear on the rig, apparently under new ownership

    April/May 2001. First Dry CDi99.P5, PM Station
    April/May 2001. First Dry CDi99.P5, PM Station
    April/May 2001. First Dry CDi99.P5, PM Station. Please note the worst possible transmitter was purposely used, so that it would change with temperature. The point is BOTH pressures change with temperature, differential value unaffected.
    Winter 2001/2002. First Wet P5s, Susan Michelle
    Winter 2001/2002. First Wet P5s, Susan Michelle
    Winter 2001/2002. First Wet PDL5s, Susan Michelle
    2003. First wire isolation method.
    2005. Original solar  buoy...
    2005. Original solar  buoy with some ice...

  • 2002 - TLM, no retainer, Danster plunger lift presentation in Calgary, Olympia lease, CDi2.P6 development, 20 P5 (WinRTMS) #11 to 30, Loggerland3 operational but a little different than the other Loggerlands, Sorensen visit @ Loggerland3, SCi $2,400/m after July, CDi2 gets tested on the Andrea Marie, WinRTMS replaces the old DOS software SCiRTMS, take 1 and take 2

    Summer 2000. CDi2.P6 memory board
    Summer 2000. CDi2.P6 memory board
    July 2002. CDi2.P6 prototype
    July 2002. CDi2.P6 prototype
    July 2002. CDi2.P6 prototype
    July 2002. CDi2.P6 prototype being tested on the Andrea Marie

  • 2003 - TLM, SCi $2,400/m, Olympia Restaurant lease, 10 P5 (WinRTMS) #31 to 40
  • 2004 - TLM, SCi $2,400/m, Low Frequency stuff, here is some of it, Olympia Restaurant lease, 9 P5 (WinRTMS) Methanol Injectors #41 to 46, 54 to 56, 10 P5 (WinRTMS) #47 to 53, 57 to 59, wild rumors TLM will "bolt" from the lake eventually, many full time "contractors" naturally want to become "employees", divers' union, divers become employees, some of us stay on as contractors and some of us find out our job has become redundant immediately after the Christmas party which we had been invited to attend, but had ultimately chosen not to
  • 2005 - TLM, early January CD redundancy?, "It was a corporate decision", yeah right! TLM can afford to turn 20 or so divers into employees, but it can't do the same for the "contractor" Receptionist whom was actually running "Accounts Payable" as early as September, 1995, hi Janice, thank you for being so kind to me back in the day, Jan 28 PO, (special PO), SCi $2,400/m, 4 P5 (WinRTMS) Plunger Lift #70 to 73, 10 P5 (WinRTMS) #60 to 69
  • 2006 - TLM, SCi $2,400/m, Franko Tanko on the scene, January meeting at Ross's house about switching, rapid development, 15 P5 (WinRTMS) #74 to 88, 3 VR, Variable Reluctance, NPT, (Switcher), 3-cylinder, Gas Lift Injectors #89 to 91, 2007 drilling program cancelled, but switching is resurrected after being dead since 1998, initial Switcher software development starts here because of the gas lift injectors
  • 2007 - TLM, SCi $2,400/m, Switcher software development, 13 VR, NPT, (Switcher), 3-cylinder, Gas Lift Injectors #92 to 104

    Conclusion: Lucky for the "Indonesia Factor" I didn't hear what had transpired at PortC office in early January 2005 until the Spring of 2007, this whole story would have a very different ending if I had heard in time, and all this "corporate decision" did is hurt someone in a "kick them when they're down" fashion, but life goes on and I admit it, I do get some pleasure thinking someone was ultimately outsmarted four years before they even showed up down here, see 1996 above. Yeah, holding people back from achieving their potential was developed into an art form in there, the anger somehow kept me together for the next four years, and that's exactly what the digital stuff by mid-2011 is... distilled anger. You can't change the past, but you can sure change the future. So, they liked lots of my prototypes, at prices below parts cost, PDL5 parts cost was just under $6,000, sold for $$5,000/m because I considered them prototypes, which of course is the reason I never printed any ID on them. And so, it was really the Olympia Restaurant that supported the R&D... Why did I put up with this? Because I know what this is, here is a simplified diagram for those who don't.
Goodbye TLM
  • 2008 - TLM, new boss, SCi $2,400/m, $5,000/m after June 2008, goodbye NPT, hello machine cylinder, 3 VR (Switcher) Plunger Lift #105 to 107
  • 2009 - TLM, same new boss, SCi $5,000/m, start of CDi3.P7 digital switcher development, 7 VR, machine cylinder, (Switcher), 2-cyl., Plunger Lift #108 to 114
  • 2010 - TLM - Dundee, 3-year CONTRACT, heavy CDi3.P7 development, Keller mania, trouble in paradise, I mean trouble with the CNC machine shop, I mean CNC shop gone!

Conclusion: Time to adopt the Keller Philosophy:
Son, you are free if you do not have to suck up to asses. You are rich when you can tell them that. You are wise if you do not have to tell them anymore.

Hello Dundee
PDL/CDi History: P7 Switcher
PDL/CDi History: CDi3.FTe Switcher
PDL/CDi History: ZDL5.FTe Switcher
PDL/CDi History: CDi3.RMe Switcher
PDL/CDi History: 900 MHz RF Link
  • 2011 - Dundee, goodbye CNC shop, hello Steve-O-Meister, lake datalogging operations go digital and that's a major event, can finally see light at the end of the tunnel, Digital Switchers finally get delivered and installed in June, Keller-digital CDi3.P7s 115 to 119

    CDi3.P7 Board
    CDi3.P7 Chargers
    CDi3.P7 Charger and Memory Boards
    PVC Frame
    Assembly Detail
    CDi3.P7 Boards

  • 2012 - Communications and Internet work, Port Alma remote stuff, PVC box assembly finalization, repairs, cylinders, VR differential stuff gets replaced by Keller differential transmitters, déjà vu #2 here, universe says: wake up you idiot!!!, so I did but it took a while, all working switchers get removed just before winter to get batteries charged, well, nobody really believes they are going to make it through winter...
  • 2013 - Flyport internet work, all removed-before-winter switchers get installed, not a single one works and that means solenoid trouble, solenoids in the freezer, 3-year contract expires but doesn't get renewed and someone in middle management discovers http://www.singlechips.com
  • 2014 - Rochester, Ontario internet and communications work, solenoids figured out after Adam turns solenoid calibration into science, switchers installed again late spring and summer, P5 switcher firmware 6214, PortC office gone
  • 2015 - More switcher upgrading, Flyport Pro work, Switcher3 work, Lake Road Map, all switchers installed mid-2014 are still clicking away in late 2015
  • 2016 - Switchers got through consecutive winter #2, Zombie Data Logger (ZDL) work, sample1, sample2, sample3, 2 new boards, CDi3.P7 and CDi3.LE, goodbye reading cylinder and goodbye to all kinds of things, CDi3.FTe morphs into something else so lake Erie R&D finally finished, in a synchronistic manner of course

    2016.09.30. Done!
    2016.09.30. Single Kellers
    Sunrise on October 6th, 2016 in Erieau, Ontario. "I've been here before... I'll be back for more..."
    PDL/CDi "Tree"

  • 2017 - Switchers got through consecutive winter #3, ZDL5 Switcher in the works, you know, these ones come from the PDL cemetery...

  • Original idea, around Halloween 2015
    Original VR switchers from 2007 #97 and #98
    DS1386 RTC, battery exposed
    DS1386 RTC comparison
    Original board and potting
    Original board and potting
    Original board assemly, side potting removed
    Board changes
    Ready for potting
    Close up. RTC and backup batteries have been removed
    Masking one side
    Sides potted, external backup battery
    PVC box finished
    In the box
    All done!
    Thank you TLM!
    Thanks again, TLM!
So how much has really gone into this? Well, it is difficult to come up with an exact figure, but it has taken over 20 years to get this project to where it is today, so let's try two methods:
Method 1: Accoding to the Danster, in section 1.1 of the PDL/CDi Bible there was "close to a million in installations" before 2000. From 2000 to 2007, $700,000 in equipment was built for $200,000 for a combined figure of close to a million, and that does not include diving, important in R&D-heavy times. From 2008 to 2010, $200,000 in equipment was built for $180,000, much better balanced, combined costs close to half a million. So, a million before 2000, a million and a half during the TLM era, and another half million during the Dundee era. So, 3 million has gone into this, excluding diving, and excluding money to other parties like upgrades, etc., since 2000. So final figure pretty close to 4 million.
Method 2: If one excludes the 10 or so PathTechnics years, it is 20 years x 200K, or 4 million. If one adds 20 or so man-years for PathTechnics development, it would definitely appear that as of the end of 2011, a minimum of 5 million or equivalent has gone into this.

Conclusion: One way or another a minimum of 4 million has gone into this, 5 million would be a more realistic figure over the years, the AFE that started all this in 1991 was $110K... all that remains of this original AFE is this, I think there were 16 of these "plastic" ones, and then in 1993 there were 16 more stainless steel ones, PLEDs, no sign these ever existed except some pictures, at least half a million in equipment before 1995, so sure, there will be objections but I remind people this is field-proven technology, there was plenty of trial and error, plenty of diving, plenty of everything else, and lots and lots of passion. In any case, those objecting are always welcome to build their own system... or alternatively wait for some imaginary "Industry Standard" to magically appear... any day now!!!

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Copyright © 1991-2017 AdamG Last Update: Sunday, June 25, 2017 2:53:02 PM