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November-December 2001
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November-December 2001 CoverNovember-December 2001


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A Fuel Cell Primer

by Bernadette Geyer

A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, with water and heat as the by-product. A fuel cell is similar in structure to a battery but it does not run down, nor does it require recharging — as long as hydrogen is supplied, it will continue to operate. The conversion of the fuel (hydrogen) to energy takes place without combustion; therefore the process is highly efficient, clean and quiet. Read more

Line Incompatibility: The Other Side of EMC

by Marcus Thielen

When speaking of electromagnetic compatibility problems, the usual first thought goes in the direction of radio and television interference. But in the big field of electromagnetic compatibility, problems can also occur between different parts of an electrical distribution network. This article will report on a very unusual resonance phenomenon and a simple, practical solution. The reader might be advised that this case occurred in Europe, where other electrical codes apply, but this situation may also happen anytime in all installations with power factor correction capacitors within the U.S., even when all articles of the NEC have been properly observed. Read more

Interconnection Issues

by Thomas Basso

There are major issues and obstacles to an orderly transition to using and integrating all distributed power resources with electric power systems (grid or utility grid). The lack of national interconnection standards and tests for interconnection operation and certification, as well as the lack of national building, electrical, and safety codes, are understood and resolving that needs reasonable lead time to develop and promulgate consensus. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) P1547 interconnection standard should prove to be a benchmark milestone for both the IEEE standards consensus process and as a model for developing further national standards dedicated to the ongoing success of our nation’s electric power system. Read more

Inspectors Thirst for Knowledge

by Michael Johnston

Building a career in the electrical trade requires personal investment in continuing education. Knowledge of the National Electrical Code is the common thread that connects entry-level apprentices to the seasoned journey-level or veteran master electricians with many years of experience in the field. As one starts out in the electrical field, his or her exposure to and use of the NEC is minimal, but before long, serious electricians realize the importance of Code knowledge in their day-to-day work. Training in electrical theory together with an understanding of how and why things work allows them to properly apply the Code rules to electrical installations. Read more

Development, Adoption, and Implementation of Codes and Standards for Stationary Fuel Cell Power Plants

by Dave Conover

This article is one of a three-part series of articles that is intended to inform those involved with electrical installations and inspections about fuel cell technology. One article provides general information on fuel cell technology. Another article focuses on specific details associated with interconnection of a stationary fuel cell power plant to the electric grid. Read more



A Response to Tragedy

by Philip Cox

The IAEI Northwestern Section Annual meeting was in progress on September 11, 2001, when the attack on America occurred. That date will remain imprinted on our minds, and the mental images of the crash of the airliners into the World Trade Center and the subsequent collapse of the two buildings are still vivid. The initial shock and the following realization of what had actually occurred in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, and in a rural area of Pennsylvania, had an immediate impact on the feelings of those attending the section meeting. Recognizing that foreign terrorists had actually attacked the United States and seeing the destruction of those buildings brought stark reality into focus. The somber mood that followed drained many of the desire to continue the meeting, but the strength and resolve of those present overcame the shock and with that came the recognition that in order for America to maintain its freedom and its quality of life, we must continue to move forward. Read more

Other Code

What’s Coming in 2002? Part II

by David Young

Rule 217A2 requires readily climbable supporting structures to be equipped with barriers to inhibit climbing by unqualified persons. The old rule had an exception that said that this rule does not apply when the right-of-way is fenced. Since there was no requirement for the fence, a split rail fence would satisfy the rule. The new exception says, "The rule does not apply where access to the supporting structure is limited by a fence meeting the height requirement of Rule 110A.” The fence must now be seven feet tall and limit access to the structure. If a seven-foot-tall fence does not limit access, then the fence doesn’t meet the requirements of the rule. A fence meeting all the requirements of Rule 110A will certainly limit access. Read more

UL Question Corner

Modifications Affect UL Listing

by Underwriters Laboratories

The UL Mark applies to products as they were originally manufactured. UL does not know the effect modifications in the field will have on a product. Therefore, unless the modifications are specifically tested and evaluated by UL, UL cannot say that the modifications void the UL Mark, or that the product continues to comply with UL’s safety requirements. The exception would be when the product has specific replacement markings. Read more


Understanding the Canadian Electrical Safety Regulatory System

by CSA Group

The Canadian Electrical Safety Regulatory System is governed according to two separate principles. The first is the formal legal or legislative arrangement that is the law as it applies to electrical safety in Canada and the second is the participation and cooperation of all Canadian electrical safety stakeholders, particularly the chief electrical regulatory authorities. The next three issues of Ask CSA will outline how the Canadian Electrical Safety Regulatory System works and how it supports the electrical inspector in the field. Read more

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