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Timely Feature Stories on Electrical Topics

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    For electrical contractors, unless an emergency is involved, getting a job generally means providing a cost estimate, first. And, especially if multiple contractors are competing for the same project, the accuracy of that estimate can mean the difference between turning a profit or taking a loss. Obtaining accurate materials pricing – a time-consuming process – is a critical piece in a successful estimate.

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    One of the fastest moving areas of lighting technological advancement is in the development of SSL, or solid-state lamps. The two main products in this market are LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) and OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). What makes these lighting options so attractive is that, because of their design, a higher lighting efficiency is possible.

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    Most metal strut systems are made of carbon steel, which requires plating, or galvanizing, usually with zinc, to protect the components from corrosion. Thomas & Betts (T&B), manufacturer of two lines of metal strut, Kindorf® and Superstrut™ channel systems, offers a selection of zinc galvanizing options, among them being a trivalent chromium finish applied over zinc, creating a chemically bonded, nonporous barrier, as well as its characteristic yellow color.

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    Alright… confession time here. Ever since I first walked into the tool department at our local Sears®, I was hooked. And that was over 45 years ago! Most kids headed to the toys or sporting goods departments. Not me. It was straight to the screwdrivers, wrenches and saws. I was in paradise.

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  • 02/15/17--21:00: Datacom Considerations
  • From the early days of telegraph and POTS (plain old telephone systems) to today's modern IT infrastructures, the transmission of various forms of information has increased exponentially. Who would have guessed that the tap-tap-tapping of early telegraph operators would someday be replaced by data whizzing by at the speed of light?

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  • 03/21/17--21:00: Control Cable Management
  • 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.

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    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.

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