Winter 2019 Newsletter


Market News
Hydro Pep Rally Awards
Troubleshooter’s Toolkit
Testing Dashpots
Employee Spotlight
Chris Crider
Recent Projects
Portland General Electric
Featured Product
Unloader Kits
Maintenance Tips
The S.A.F.E. Program
Featured Event
Inaugural Hydro Pep Rally!


Hydropower Foundation now accepting nominations for Outstanding Hydro Professionals

Six new award categories have been created to honor industry colleagues who have made a significant contribution to hydropower. If you know worthy candidates, nominate them today! The categories are described below and winners will be announced at the inaugural Hydro Pep Rally, a separate fee-paid event that takes place the Monday night of NHA’s Waterpower Week.

Nominations are now being accepted for each of the following awards:

Hydropower Foundation 25th Anniversary Leadership Award – This award celebrates one individual who has provided leadership and guidance to the Hydropower Foundation during its first quarter century and has supported the Foundation through its years and changes by contributing to its endurance and success.
Hydropower Educator of the Year – This award recognizes and celebrates a full-time educator (at any level) for outstanding professional accomplishments and a commitment to education in the area of hydropower.
Hiring for Hydro Young Professional of the Year – We want to recognize the future face of hydropower and so this award is for outstanding individuals who are 30 years or younger and have made a contribution to the hydropower industry and participated in the Foundation’s Hiring for Hydro Programs.
Excellence in Workforce Development – This award recognizes an individual who has furthered the cause of recruiting top talent into the hydroelectric business in innovative and successful ways.
Student of the Year – Do you know a great student who is heading towards hydro? This award is for an individual student who has demonstrated excellence in their studies or their extracurricular activities in the power industry.
Hydro Innovators – The hydropower industry is changing rapidly right now, this award is for the individuals that are pushing it forward in exciting ways.

Nominations are now being accepted online. Celebrate hydro’s VIPs at the first annual Hydro Pep Rally on Monday, April 1, 2019 at babywale. Tickets can be purchased when registering for Waterpower Week. More details below in our Featured Event section!

Jump to: Market News, Troubleshooter’s Toolkit, Employee Spotlight, Recent Projects, Featured Product, Maintenance Tips, Featured Event


Testing Dashpots for Internal Leakage

All mechanical governors use a Dashpot to compensate for the power reversal that naturally occurs when water flow into the turbine is changed. For example, when the gates are opened, water pressure on the turbine will actually drop for a time (known as the Water Starting time), which reduces instantaneous turbine power.

After the Water Starting time has passed and a new flow regime has been established, turbine power increases … as you would expect when you open the gates. If your dashpot is not adjusted properly, the governor will chase this Power Reversal, causing the famous “governor hunting” you have probably heard about. The Dashpot Needle Valve (Ref#106 in the exploded view below) is used to adjust the Dashpot Reset time, and a typical default setting is ¼ turn Open from Full Closed. This corresponds to a Dashpot Reset time of around 7 seconds, which is appropriate for Francis or Kaplan turbines with a Water Starting time of just over one second (Dashpot Reset Time = 5.9 x Water Starting Time).

But what if you’ve adjusted your dashpot appropriately, but your unit is still hunting? It could be you have excessive internal leakage. Here is a simple bench test to determine whether your dashpot needle valve (or seat) is worn out and should be replaced:

  1. Fill the dashpot with dashpot oil.
  2. Purge air from the bottom of the dashpot. This is done with the large plunger installed and the small plunger removed.
    • Tip the small plunger end of the dashpot up about 15 degrees.
    • Slowly pump the large plunger several times. The combination of the case being tipped up and the pumping of the large plunger drives any trapped air from the bottom chamber of the dashpot.
  3. Install the small plunger.
  4. Block the large plunger so there is no movement during the test.
  5. Open the needle valve one turn.
  6. Push down on the small plunger using a dial indicator to measure the deflection.
  7. Deflect the small plunger.15”. Then close the needle valve.
  8. Measure the time it takes for the small plunger to return from .15” to .05” of deflection, while the plunger is returning to the neutral position.

The following chart shows minimum and typical values for the bench test. Any time greater than 30 seconds is acceptable for the dashpot needle valve leak test.

Remember, American Governor maintains an inventory of legacy dashpot parts for all types of Woodward dashpots. (Mechanical Cabinet dashpot shown below).

American Governor can also manufacture dashpot parts for any OEM brand dashpot. If you continue to have problems, you can always send your dashpot to us for a Factory Overhaul! Contact your Regional Office for more details.

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Chris Crider Mechanical Governor Specialist, Governor Trainer, Installation Supervisor

One of our Southern Gentleman, Chris has worked in Field Service since 2007, supporting scores of customers across the USA and Canada. While knowledgeable about a wide variety of hydro governor models and types, Chris’s preference is troubleshooting and overhauling legacy Woodward mechanical governor systems, but he’s not a one trick pony. Chris, a licensed Journeyman Electrician for 21 years, has led the installation of many new AGC digital governor systems.

Born in Tennessee, Chris lives (when he’s not on the road) with his family of five in the sleepy hamlet of Sale Creek. A soft-spoken storyteller, Chris is a featured trainer at AGC’s annual Governor School and has been instrumental in the development of AGC’s Gateshaft training sessions. In his ‘past life’ Chris worked for Voith Hydro supervising the installation of their digital governor systems.

With 11 years of exemplary service under his big belt, Chris has formed hundreds of solid relationships with hydro plant personnel and counts many of them as friends. If you have a mechanical governor problem early in the morning or late at night, Chris will answer the phone. His work ethic, integrity and competence are just a few reasons why customers seek to schedule Chris for their next governor service. Chris is an invaluable member of the AGC family and we are eternally grateful for him and the great work he continues to do.

Do You Know Jack About Chris?
We asked Chris some revealing questions. How many of his answers did you already know?

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. Shrimp, and ground hog.

  3. What is your favorite sport or sports team?
  4. Tennessee Volunteers

  5. What is your favorite music and musician?
  6. Favorite music is Classic Rock, but my favorite singer is Hank Williams Jr.

  7. What is your favorite thing to do during your off-hours?
  8. Hang out in my garage with my kids. We’re rebuilding a square-body ’84 Chevy truck right now.

  9. If you weren’t working full time for AGC, what would you be doing?
  10. Car restoration … or driving a coal truck, depending on if I needed the money.

  11. Tell us something people think they know about you that is totally wrong?
  12. I eat ground hog: now that’s totally wrong. I just said it to make Cory laugh.

  13. If you could communicate one thing to everybody reading this, what would that be?
  14. You’re not dealing with your average dummy.

  15. Explain “Southern Drawl.” Is it a dialect, a way a life, or both?
  16. I never knew there was such a thing. I think other fellers talk funny.

  17. Do you have the greatest job ever? Or what?
  18. The best! I get to go to awesome places and meet great people!

Jump to: Market News, Troubleshooter’s Toolkit, Employee Spotlight, Recent Projects, Featured Product, Maintenance Tips, Featured Event


Portland General Electric Governor Replacement Project

Portland General Electric (PGE) has selected American Governor Company (AGC) for a multi-year contract that will see the replacement of all 16 hydro governors in PGE’s hydro fleet, which is spread among six hydropower plants geographically separated into two groups: the Pelton – Round Butte plants in central Oregon on the Deschutes River and the Westside plants near Portland. The PGE hydro governor fleet consists of a wide variety of legacy governor types, styles and vintages, with the earliest governor dating back to 1924.

The scope of the project includes standardized digital governor equipment, project engineering, project management, installation support, and commissioning services. Spare parts, training, and distributing valve repair or replacement will be covered by contract extensions, as needed. The first sets of equipment are expected to be on-site in early 2019 with follow-on units to be delivered through 2021.

AGC has provided spare parts, technical support, training, and field service for PGE’s legacy governors for over 17 years. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our Ivyland and Amherst engineering and field service teams, AGC continues to set the standard in the hydro governor market. We are honored to be selected by a long-time customer for this important project.

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Governor Oil Pump Unloader Kits

If you’re having difficulty maintaining your legacy OEM unloader systems, consider our pre-engineered Solenoid-Operated Unloader Kits.

Our Solenoid-Operated Unloader Kits include everything you need to replace your existing unloader pilot valve assembly with a non-proprietary solenoid valve assembly controlled by standard pressure switches and timing valves. Our Solenoid-Operated Unloader kits also feature time-delay relays that can be used to trigger various alarms:

Solenoid-Operated Unloader kits are available for all sizes of XX gear pumps and IMO screw pumps with snap-action unloader pilot valves. Our Solenoid-Operated Unloader Kits include:

AGC has developed standardized kits for:

Our Governor Specialists continue to create new and custom designs, as the situation warrants. No matter which OEM governor pump model, size or style of positive-displacement pump you have, American Governor can design a modern pilot unloader system for it!

Jump to: Market News, Troubleshooter’s Toolkit, Employee Spotlight, Recent Projects, Featured Product, Maintenance Tips, Featured Event


Many plant owners are putting the finishing touches on their Maintenance Plan for 2019. If you are one of them, the question is: Do you have a line item for Governor Maintenance? Are your governors SAFE?

Whether you are maintaining 100-year-old Gateshafts or 10-year-old digital governors, the question remains the same. HOW do you know whether this, one of your powerplant’s primary control systems, is Good To Go for another year? The answer is, of course, to inspect and assess it. But with shrinking staffs and expertise going away with each retirement, owner-operators may be hard-pressed to have the resources necessary to assure continued high availability. If you are short-staffed, or would just prefer to have a trained governor specialist do the work, American Governor can help.

We now offer a System Assessment and Fleet Evaluation (SAFE) program that will answer the question of whether your governor systems are able to provide reliable, precise frequency control for another year. With electricity markets demanding more variability in hydro output while still requiring Primary Frequency Response from hydro governors to balance intermittent wind and solar, governor availability and performance will become crucial to stability of the Bulk Electric System this year and for the foreseeable future.

Our SAFE program will help ensure that your hydro governors are up to the task ahead. The program begins with a thorough assessment and inspection of each covered governor, conducted by one of our well-trained Governor Specialists. We will then prepare an in-depth annual report that grades each governor in a wide range of categories: frequency response / control accuracy, hydraulic systems, critical spares and maintenance items, to name just a few. If we find that your governor is coming up short in any area, we will grade the urgency of the service needed so you can plan and schedule appropriately. Program participants receive discounts on Field Service Trips for any covered unit, so you’ll save money, too!

The SAFE program is now available for every type and model of hydro governor, from the oldest mechanical to the newest digital. Think about it: how many trivial problems did your O&M staff have that were related to your governors? Did your O&M staff have to devise workarounds to get a unit started in the middle of the night, when they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the governor? Did they ever get to the bottom of that? Why go through another year of the uncertainty if your governors are working well or are needing critical maintenance.

Interested? Want to learn how our SAFE program can help make your hydro plant more reliable and you more confident? Contact our SAFE Program Manager (contact details below), click here for additional information, or download our SAFE Maintenance Program bulletin (PDF).

SAFE Program Manager
Tom Garske | Phone: 970-300-9454 | email Tom

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Hydro Pep Rally at Waterpower Week

American Governor is excited to be a partnering sponsor of the first ever Hydro Pep Rally, kicking off Waterpower Week 2019 in Washington D.C. This inaugural event will celebrate the many contributions of hydro to our North American electricity grid and commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Hydropower Foundation.

It’s a quick and easy to sign-up for the Hydro Pep Rally: just add it on when you register for Waterpower Week. You’ll be part of an elite group of 300 people who will enjoy a festive evening of food, fun, drinks, awards, and live entertainment at one of D.C.’s hottest restaurants!

YOU can nominate friends and colleagues who are deserving of an award in one of these categories: 25th Anniversary Leadership Award; Hydropower Educator of the Year; Hiring-for-Hydro Young Professional of the Year; Excellence in Workforce Development; Student of the Year; and Hydro Innovator.

The evening will be emcee-ed by LeRoy Coleman of National Hydropower Association and Brenna Vaughn of Northwest Hydroelectric Association, who will introduce several prominent speakers who have agreed to give rapid-fire motivational presentations. After the presenters have spoken and the awards have been handed out, we’ll settle back for a rollicking good time.

SPACE IS LIMITED, SO DON’T DELAY! This will be a memorable event, and sure to sell-out.


Experienced technicians and apprentices alike will expand their governor knowledge and hone their skills with American Governor‘s annual governor training classes. Unlike textbook-only classes, AGC classes include plenty of hands-on sessions with live equipment.

Our trainers have decades of experience building, calibrating and repairing governors, oil systems and auxiliaries. Our Training Center features complete working examples of Gateshaft and Mechanical Cabinet Actuator governors, a 20 Series Pump, plus an Analog Mod II test stand, a fully-functioning Pelton mechanical cabinet actuator and many unique and instructive cutaway governor systems and assemblies. Our Turbine Simulator, Dashpot Lab, and Pelton simulator add a new dimension to hands-on training.

Governor School Brasil, São Paulo April 10-12, 2019
Focus Class: Woodward Mechanical Cabinet April 23-25, 2019
Focus Class: Woodward Gateshaft April 23-25, 2019
Focus Class: Digital PLC Governors April 30-May 2, 2019
Governor School, Wisconsin US June 11-13, 2019
Focus Class: Pelton Mechanical Cabinet August 20-21, 2019
Focus Class: Woodward Mechanical Cabinet September 10-12, 2019
Focus Class: Woodward Gateshaft September 10-12, 2019
Focus Class: Digital PLC Governors October 1-3, 2019
Focus Class: Woodward Analog November 5-6, 2019

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