Featured Articles

Energy Efficient Lighting – The Lamps

Wed, 9 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400

This is part one of a two-part miniseries on energy efficient lighting. In this article, we're going to look at the lamps. In the second article, we'll explore some options for controlling those lights, aka, lighting systems. But, you've got to start with the source of illumination... the lamp or bulb.

Cord Grips Give Power Cables Some Needed Support

Wed, 9 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400

While most of us are used to shin-high or lower electrical outlets, industrial plants often use ceiling- or wall-mounted buses for power distribution. These systems can keep power connections flexible as manufacturing floors are rearranged, but they also can add stress to power cables if their connection to an overhead outlet is the only thing holding them in place. Cord support grips address this problem by taking stress off the cable and helping to maximize uptime and minimize equipment damage.

Energy Efficient Lighting – Control Systems

Wed, 9 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400

In a previous article, we talked about energy efficient lighting with regards to incandescents and other sources of illumination. Even though they cost a little more to acquire, LEDs are more energy efficient. And, that means saving money on utility bills as well. But, the type of lamp or fixture isn't the only factor when it comes to energy efficient lighting. It's not just what you use, but how you use it. Lighting automation, often integrated into a so-called "smart" building, can save even more energy.

Edwards Signaling 58 Series Hazardous Location Beacons

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Often the locations most in need of both audible and visible warning lights and signals is also a noisy, not always perfectly lit space — for instance at mining, construction and demolition sites, not to mention offshore oil rights and petrochemical plants. Edwards Signalings’ 58 Series AdaptaBeacon rotating beacon is meant exactly for such locations.

New Combination Products Give Cables More Control

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

There was a time when lighting and other switched electrical equipment was designed for simple on/off operation, making wiring a simple affair. Contractors only needed to install a single run of power cabling to meet operational needs. Today, though, both clients and ambitious energy standards are requiring greater control over building systems, specifying products like dimmable lighting and variable-speed fans, and the need for additional runs of control/signal cable can make installation a much more complicated task.

Giving Aluminum Wiring a Fresh Look

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

While many know of the travails suffered by the owners of buildings wired with aluminum conductors back in the 1950s and 1960s, far fewer understand just how much improved today’s aluminum wiring products are from those used five decades ago. While the older offerings were not designed for building applications, today’s aluminum wire features alloys designed specifically for use in local distribution systems. In fact, in some cases aluminum wire can be a better option than traditional copper conductors in both cost and performance.

Shielded Conduit Protects Against RFI/EMI

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Three kinds of shielding provide maximum choice Many applications require shielding effectiveness from RFI and EMI interference. Stray voltage, current, and high frequency noise can damage circuits, interrupt performance, and initiate potentially dangerous actions. Shielding reduces these potential problems. Shielded conduit, especially where flexibility is required, provides a significant solution for the engineer.

PVC-Free Conduit Jackets Limit Combustion Products

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

LSZH Conduit Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is by far the most widely used jacketing material for electrical insulation, thanks to inherent benefits such as dry and wet electrical performance, flexibility, long life, fire retardance, cold temperature resistance, chemical resistance, and ruggedness. But in a fire, PVC releases fumes collectively called halogens that include hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, and hydrogen bromide gases, as well as other deadly combustion products.

Business Information and the Cloud

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

I've seen a lot of changes in business computing over the last three decades. Once upon a time, all you needed was a large enough closet to house a server or two. And, of course, some cable looms to keep your cabling neat and tidy. A rack system on the wall supported a few ethernet switches to handle incoming cables and route them to the servers. To keep things cool, an air conditioner was ducted into the space, ensuring the equipment wouldn't overheat.

Siemens Offers Advanced Panelboard Options

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Siemens has come out with a couple of newer advanced Panelboard options for contractors and building maintenance staff. The first is a Title 24-Compliant PS Lighting Panel intended to meet various disaggregation requirements, with CT provisions for metering segregated loads with P2 panels with up to 400-amp buses in a 20 inch x 7.75 inch Type 1 or NEMA 3R enclosure.

Data Center Products: More than Just Neat and Tidy

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400

In a previous article, I mentioned how data centers evolved from tiny spare closets to huge data-only facilities, often housed underground. There's no doubt that as the need for big data and other information increases, the data centers that gather and distribute this information will evolve as well. And, they're getting huge.

Pentair Offers Non-Metallic Trough Applications

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Contractors building raceway and running wires in corrosive or hazardous environments might opt for non-metallic trough. Examples include infrastructure work such as roads, bridges, tunnels or airports and commercial applications where chemical, dust or corrosion resistance is needed. Other markets include indoor manufacturing operations, water and wastewater applications. Salt-water or marine applications such as off-shore oil drilling are other applications, as is mining and large construction.

Testing the Mettle of Metalic and Non-Metallic PLC Enclosures

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

At the heart of today’s automated manufacturing operations are programmable logic controllers (PLCs), which are miniaturized computers installed throughout a factory floor. These devices receive input from sensors throughout the line and use that data to issue commands to control machinery operations. Though PLCs are individually protected in rugged casing, they often are ganged together in enclosures specified according to application-specific needs.

Helping PLCs Keep Their Cool

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are the ruggedized computers that run most automated manufacturing processes, from simple conveyor lines and pick-and-place operations, to more sophisticated machining and robotics applications. Though individual units are often quite small, PLCs are often installed in ganged enclosures and, like other types of computer equipment, they can produce a lot of heat. As a result, specifiers and contractors need to consider cooling options to protect against equipment overheating and failure.

3 Ways Wireless Lighting Control Helps Contractors

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

GET IN, GET OUT, MAXIMIZE PROFITS The lighting landscape is getting more and more challenging for electrical contractors – increased competition, a tighter labor market, and changing energy codes. Wireless lighting solutions, such as Vive by Lutron, can help you do more jobs faster, win more projects, and increase your profitability.

Power Quality, Part One – What Is It?

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

"I have sensed a powerful disturbance in the force." Sorry about that! I just finished watching a "Star Wars" marathon. I don't know how many times I heard that phrase… often preceding some cataclysmic and universe-altering event.

Emerson Offers Buck-Boost Control Panel Transformers

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Contractors and companies that need low-cost, compact and light-weight control panel transformers can turn to the SolaHD buck-boost line by Emerson. Buck-Boost transformers are small, single phase, dry type distribution transformers designed and shipped as insulating/isolating transformers.

Power Quality Part Two – Measurement and Control

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400

In Part One, we talked about power quality and some of the definitions outlined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEE). I hope you found that information useful. Now that you know some of the issues that power quality can present, the next steps are: measuring power quality, and controlling it.

Lutron Simplifies Local and National Energy Code Compliance with New Tools, Products, and Webinar

Mon, 22 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Making Code Compliance Simple and Easy National, state and local energy codes are constantly changing, making it a challenge to stay on top of the latest requirements. Lutron’s Vive wireless lighting control solution offers lighting and new receptacle control capabilities to meet even the most stringent energy codes with ease and flexibility.

Sensing Becomes an Opportunity in Latest Energy Codes

Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Occupancy and vacancy sensors are set to become significantly more important elements in commercial electrical designs over the next several years, thanks to increasingly stringent efficiency requirements in state and national energy codes. As a result, electrical contractors should take some time to understand the latest code updates and the products available to meet new demands.