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The inherent simplicity of Global generators makes it difficult to apply conventional Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) analysis. Calculated MTBF approaches 150 years, as shown below, yet the TEG thermopile life can reasonably be expected to exceed only about twenty years. Nonetheless, it is true that, with over 15,000 TEGs in the field and a commercial operating history dating from 1975, failures are exceedingly rare.

Statistical study
Life testing by Global (and previously by the 3M Company) has included laboratory analysis and field experience. A major statistical study was completed in 1974 after the accumulation of 223 millions of couple-hours (equivalent to 25,500 couple-years), with 160 devices represented in the test data. Over 2 million device-hours were logged (equivalent to 316 device-years) for the purpose of statistical analysis. The most significant information to arise from the statistical study is that for any individual generator the probability of successful operation for one year without maintenance is 0.993. This probability is calculated by first summing the failure rates of components: 1.8x10-7.......... burner/combustion chamber assembly 2.0x10-7.......... hermetic seal 4.2x10-7.......... thermocouples ________ __________________ 8.1x10-7.......... generator assembly A failure rate of 8.0x10-7/hour equals 0.0070 failures per year per unit. This can be expressed as a success probability of 1 minus 0.007, which equals 0.993. It is important to remember that this is not a rigorous analysis, but rather an expression meant to facilitate comparison with other devices where similar failure-rate data is available. It is interesting to note how MTBF analysis applies to devices as reliable as Global TEGs: MTBF(years) = 1/failures per year = 1/0.0070 = 142.85 years Field history In addition to facts determined in the formal analysis in 1974, Global's on-going observations confirm the following: 1. A properly set up TEG power unit supplied with commercial quality LPG or natural gas should not fail. Very few failures under these circumstances have ever come to our attention. Those that have are so infrequent that the overall success probability of 0.993 remains valid. 2. Catastrophic failures of the TEG power unit do not occur. Gradual degradation occurs under test conditions when safe design limits are exceeded. Such failure is generally not in the form of an open circuit or short circuit, but rather of decreased power output. 3. Degradation of sealed thermoelectric elements is less than 0.2% per year (average). From this the life of the hermetically sealed thermopile is calculated to exceed twenty years before degradation has a significant effect on output. The hermetic seal leaks less than 3x10-4 litres/year (1x10-6 cc/sec., helium).

Reliability vs. redundancy (reliability defined as probability of 1 year successful operation without maintenance). No. of units Total no. of Probability required for load units used of success 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 1 2 3 2 3 4 3 4 5 6 4 5 6 7 5 6 7 8 6 7 8 9 .993 .9999 .999999 .9801 .9997 .999996 .9703 .9994 .999991 1.0 .9606 .99902 .99998 1.0 .951 .9985 .99997 1.0 .941 .998 .99995 1.0

Probability of success based on a single unit time 1 year Six months 1 month 5 days 1 day pS 9930 .9965 .9994 .99990 .99998