Featured Articles

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.

Generators – Portable Power for Work and Play

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

I live in a college town. And that means: football! Every game day, visitors flood the area, filling parking lots, campgrounds and every spare foot of unused space. And of course, game day means tailgate parties. In the parking lots around the stadium, you hear the hum… and sometimes the roar… of portable generators powering grills, coffee pots and who knows what.

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.

Generators for Emergency Power in Home and Industry

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

Let’s face facts. Even though power technology is advancing, many of us, both in residential and commercial/industrial settings, have a problem. Our power grid is aging and deteriorating. Failures are common from both degradation and weather-related catastrophes.

Street Light LED Retrofits Provide Multiple Benefits

Thu, 4 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Three recent case studies from Acuity Brands’ American Electric Lighting (AEL) enumerate the multiple benefits municipalities can get from replacing aging street light lamps with new LEDs. In Elk Grove, California, for instance, the city purchased and installed 9800 LED luminaires to replace HPS (high pressure sodium) fixtures and achieve energy savings of 60 to 70 percent.

Keeping Current on Voltage-Testing Options

Thu, 4 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Among the most basic tasks for electrical contractors is testing for the presence – or absence – of electrical voltage. Whether it’s simply to determine if a system is de-energized and safe to work on, or part of a more complicated troubleshooting exercise, voltage testing is a critical element in any contractor’s job. Choosing the right tester can be more than an issue of convenience, it also can make a difference in an electrician’s productivity – and, more importantly, safety.

New Outdoor Lighting Maximizes Security and Saves Energy at Indiana Prison Yard

Thu, 4 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Outdoor lighting is almost always about convenience and safety, along roadways, in parking lots and in common spaces throughout communities. Sometimes, though, it becomes a critical security measure, as in the case of the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, Indiana.

Greenlee Offers 855GX IntelliBender, Advanced Bending Software via BendWorks

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Greenlee’s 855GX IntelliBender cable and conduit bender offers electrical contractors a programmable and portable bender capable of making the most advanced bends with relative ease and speed. It can bend 3/4-inch rigid in either of its 1-inch rigid or 1-inch EMT shoe grooves, and 1-to-2-inch rigid, EMT or conduit with just one shoe featuring smart sensors that know exactly what diameter conduit and type you are going to bend.

Overcurrent Protection Designed for PV

Thu, 6 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Direct-current (DC) electrical distribution is certainly nothing new – in fact, the technology was the basis for Thomas Edison’s original designs back in the 1880s. While alternating current (AC) distribution has since become more prevalent, the rapid growth in solar photovoltaic (PV) installations and more recent interest in energy storage has electrical contractors paying attention to DC requirements all over again.

New Fuses Address Arc-Flash Risks Posed by Medium-Voltage Connections

Thu, 6 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Despite the volumes that have been written regarding the dangers of arc-flash to electrical workers, many facilities are still working to address the risks in their own facilities. It can be a complicated issue, with what can often be multiple layers of hazards. Of course, the first line of defense is personal protective equipment (PPE), and tremendous advances have been made in this area over the last decade.

Control Cable Management

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Over the years, I've built and refurbished quite a few control panels. Last year, I was tasked with cleaning up a rat's nest of control wiring in a packaging machine. The only way to make it right was to gut the panel and start from scratch. Now, even though the wiring was in disarray, the machine was still operational. However, when it did malfunction, troubleshooting was a nightmare. Over the years, the control cabling had been tugged, pulled, and generally left in a big ball of spaghetti.

Combining Dimming with Other Commands – It’s a Bright Idea

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

The possibility of enhanced energy savings is a big driver behind the adoption of dimmer switches – but what about all those table lamps in a typical home that aren’t controlled by a wall switch? Or when light dimming is part of an effort to set a scene or make a room more comfortable? Thanks to the “internet of things,” consumers are gaining new options for controlling new devices – such as table lamps – and grouping together the operations of multiple device types – such as, say, lighting and fans – using a single remote control or mobile-device app.

Matching Dimmers and Bulbs Is Critical to Successful LED Conversions

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Dimming switches and LED light bulbs seem like they should be a perfect match, right? Both products offer end-users advanced capabilities for controlling a room’s light and lowering energy bills in a home or building. Unfortunately, as many have discovered, ensuring compatibility between dimmer switches and the LED bulbs they’re controlling is a bit more complicated than previously was the case with old-school incandescent bulbs. However, this situation is improving quickly as…