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September-October 2011
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September-October 2011 CoverSeptember/October 2011


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Required Technology to Prevent Electrical Fire Ignitions

by Steve Montgomery

Electrical faults are responsible for a substantial number of residential structure fires that result in almost $1B in personal losses, thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths each year. With the latest circuit breaker technology, many of these fires would never have ignited. However, many ignition mechanisms can only be prevented by outlet-based technologies. Read more

Perspectives on PV

Two Important Inspection Areas & One for the Plan Reviewers

by John Wiles

Photovoltaic (PV) power systems have PV modules and PV arrays that will be producing dangerous amounts of voltage and current for the next 50 years or more. If the inverters in these systems do not fail or are maintained in operating condition, significant amounts of energy will be supplied to local loads and to the connected utility grid. There are two areas of PV systems that deserve the attention of inspectors to ensure the safety of the public over these very long periods of time. Read more

Critical Operations Data Systems

by Jonathan Cadd

In a world that almost surely would cease to function from day to day without the ability to access basic data, what happens when the critical data can no longer be accessed? The need to reliably access data has been woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. Whether you buy into it or not, almost everything we do involves the use of data in some form or fashion. Read more

Electrical Inspections for the Combo Inspector, Part 7 — Article 210, Branch Circuits

by Randy Hunter

This installment picks up with the beginning of Article 210, which covers branch circuits. As we recall from Article 100, abranch circuitis that portion of the wiring which connects the final overcurrent device to the utilization equipment. Branch circuit rules for motors are covered in Article 430 due to the special and unique requirements related to motors. If we have combination loads that include motors and other utilization equipment, then both Articles 210 and 430 will apply. Read more

Basic Test Instruments

by Stephen J. Vidal

Voltage, current, resistance, and power are fundamental electrical terms. We have taken a look at the definition of each, and have discussed calculation methods useful in solving for each. In the real world, how do we go about measuring these units? Test instruments or meters are the most common pieces of electrical equipment that measure these values. Read more

Appreciating the Electrical Pioneers

by Steve Foran

About ten years ago I had an appointment with a potential major client in the Houston area. I picked up a rental car at the airport and as I was driving to their office, I decided to catch up on my voicemail. Not being familiar with where their office was located and having driven in Houston only a couple of times previously, I realized that I probably should not be using a cellular phone and driving at the same time. So, after about 20 minutes, I turned the phone off and concentrated on the drive. Read more

Women Business Owners Need Retirement Plans

by Jesse Abercrombie

If you’re a woman who owns a business, you’ve got plenty of company. In fact, women own more than 10 million U.S. companies, and women-owned businesses account for about 40% of all privately held firms in the U.S., according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. Clearly, the good news is that women like you are entering the small-business arena at a rapid pace. The not-so-good news is that you may be facing a retirement savings gap in comparison to male business owners. Read more



We hear only what we understand

by Kathryn Ingley

Unfortunately, understanding is often blocked by filters, many of which are not of our own choosing and work automatically. Languages we do not speak or unfamiliar types of music or environmental noise effectively prevent our being aware of some things. We don’t understand, so we tune out; we don’t hear. Even focus can be a filter; how often have we been so "zoned in” on something that we become unaware of new or additional information? Read more

Canadian Code

Overhead Power Lines and Signs — Rule 34-106

by Leslie Stoch

This article discusses issues that can come up when billboard signs are located too near overhead lines passing horizontal to or above the signs. Signs installed too near electrical and communication lines can create safety hazards for the owners of the signs, the sign installers, the sign maintainers and the owners of the lines who are most often electrical and communication utilities. Read more

Canadian Perspectives

Elevator Code, CE Code and the NBCC — consistency of requirements

by Ark Tsisserev

Historically, this subject was always a source of confusion to the electrical designers, installers and regulators, as provisions of the Elevator Code have not always been accurately correlated with the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) and with the Canadian Electrical Code. Fortunately, some provisions for the electrically connected equipment used in conjunction with elevators have been harmonized in the latest editions of the Elevator Code and the NBCC. Read more

Safety in Our States

Code Adoption: The Fiscal Impact Statement

by Thomas A. Domitrovich

Economic pressures come and go and can have devastating impacts to many across the United States; when these pressures cause a state or local jurisdiction to not adopt the latest safety code or amend important provisions out of the latest code, although economic times change, these code changes have a much longer impact. Some states and local areas are hit harder than others. Local jurisdiction code adoption varies from area to area and some have placed more stringent requirements around financial impact analysis for not only new building codes but for any new law or changes to existing laws. Read more

UL Question Corner

LED Retrofits for Luminaires and Signs

by Underwriters Laboratories

I see many kits to retrofit or convert incandescent and fluorescent luminaires and signs as well as neon signs to LED lighting sources. Does this impact the UL certification of these existing luminaires and signs? Does UL certify these retrofits and conversions kits?. Read more

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