An introduction to oil condition monitoring

An introduction to oil condition monitoring


Trevor Pearson, Gill Sensors and Controls Sales Engineer talks about the features and benefits of our oil debris condition monitoring sensors.

In the webinar Trevor demonstrates how to configure the condition monitoring sensors with Gill's free software, as well as discussing the different applications and industries that the condition monitoring sensors can be used in.

The video is one of a series that we are providing to give further insight into the different products that Gill manufactures. If you would like to join a future webinar, send us a message at and we will make sure to let you know about further webinars in the series.

During the webinar, Trevor answered numerous questions about the sensors which are listed below.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to send Trevor an email and he'll be happy to help.



condition monitoring

Questions & Answers

How would you set the fine and coarse measurement in terms of microns?

The sensor is not a particulate counter; However, what you could measure is from the mass or the weight of the debris. As an example, the sensor is tested down to 0.01g. That is approximately the same as 1 micron. With the fine channel, anything from 1 micron up to 850 microns can be defined as fine debris.

In the manual there is a section where it shows the measurement range chart; this is shown in microns. It will define 1-6µm, 60µm, 125-300µm 450µm and 420-850µm. This is how the sensor can be defined in microns but remember that Gill does not promote the sensor as a particulate counter. 

Is the fine debris range of 0-100% the equivalent of 1µm to 850µm?

No, the sensor is completely configurable - you can actually set 0.1g as 100% deflection or - as an example - set it at 0.4g (which is roughly the equivalent of 850µm) as the maximum and anywhere in between this could also be your 100% maximum.

How can you configure for dielectric?

The way in which you can configure the sensor for dielectric is very straight forward. You would submerge the sensor in fresh oil and press the set button on the configurator, then use some mid-end life oil and set that as your higher threshold.

Also it is important to remember that the dielectric channels and the temperature channels are switch outputs, so you cannot get a linear output from it. So it’s either OK or in an alarm state.

Regarding dielectric, why is the value decreasing by increasing ppm level. Is there any correlation?

No. Gill does not promote the oil debris sensor as a particulate counter or a part per million counter. The dielectric channel is designed to show significant change in the dielectric element of the oil.

Can you give some application stories within the steel industries.

Gill are currently working with a large company that uses the condition monitoring sensor on their conveyor belts within the steel industry. When talking about conveyor belts, it is the total condition of the gear boxes from the conveyor belts and these conveyor belts can go up to 200 feet. In May we’ll be doing an application/ case study with this company. Click here to be updated

What is the life-cycle of the oil debris sensor?

The sensor itself is guaranteed for 12 months yet the life expectancy is 10 years. What is unique about Gill's products is that they do not have any moving parts, so essentially there is very little to wear out; thus making the sensor very low maintenance.

Would it be suitable in an oil refinery?

This is a really good application, but what you need to remember is that the sensor is not ATEX/ IECEx certified. So for the oil and gas industry, as long as you know that it does not need to be ATEX/ IECEx certified it would be a perfect application for oil refineries.

What is the maximum length of the cable that can be used for sensor?

The length of the cable that starts from the electronic box to the sensor tip is 3 meters long and cannot be extended. In terms of from the electronic box to the outlet it really depends on the output. If it is 4-20mA or J1939 CAN the cable can be anything up to a 1000m. If using a voltage output, ideally it should be no longer than 5m. Anything longer will potentially cause a voltage drop and will affect the measurement accuracy. 

If you reduce the sensor cable length , will this affect the measurement accuracy?

With regards to measurement accuracy of the sensor it should not affected, and it has not in previous Gill applications. However, this is only applicable to the industrial condition monitor, as with this sensor the cable can be shortened. With the standard condition monitoring sensor it becomes more difficult as the cable is welded into the electronics box. Ideally you would wrap the cable around to shorten it or you could possibly use a block adaptor. However, please note that this is not recommended by Gill, Gill only recommend shortening the cable on the industrial model as this will not affect the measurement accuracy.

How can it be applied to large gearboxes?

Where large gearboxes are concerned, you would probably need more than one sensor. As you can see from the video, because you have the dielectric element within the sensor it does need to be fully submerged in the oil. So with the larger gear boxes they could go inside the sump where you could have as many sensors are necessary.

How do you calibrate the sensor?

You don’t have to calibrate the sensor; you just need to configure the sensor, with the use of Gill’s software, which is available free of charge on the website. However you can only download new software when you have the sensor connected to a computer.

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