Featured Articles

  • Are You Sending the Right Signals?

    We’ve used signals for communication for eons. One of the most famous signaling scenarios allegedly happened during the American colonies’ struggle for independence. Memorialized in the poem “Paul Revere’s Ride,” written by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the passage is quoted here:

    “One if by land, and two if by sea;
    And I on the opposite shore will be,
    Ready to ride and spread the alarm
    Through every Middlesex village and farm,
    For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

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  • Choosing the Right Panelboard for Your Project Location

    I've installed and worked on more circuit breaker panelboards that I can remember. After 30+ years of work, it's got to be at least … one bunch!

    Maybe more.

    But most of the panelboards I've had the pleasure of meeting were fairly simple, straightforward circuit panels. Single phase and three phase panels, from 120/208 to 277/480… you get the idea, right?

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  • Making Sense of All Things USB

    If your organizational skills are anywhere near as advanced as mine, you likely also have at least one drawer in your kitchen or office that’s jammed with all the various USB cables that have been packaged with electronic products purchased over the years. Charging one of those devices often means untangling multiple cords while also attempting to eyeball matches between connectors and devices. There are times when I wonder if that annoying process is a sign of technology moving backward rather than forward.

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  • USB-C Brings New Functionality to USB Connectors and Cables

    The latest addition to the USB connector lineup is USB-C, and, according to its developers, it might be the last (at least until the next one comes along). It takes the “universal” in “universal serial bus” seriously – not only is it sized slim enough to fit the sleekest smartphone, it’s also designed to make the most of the new USB 3.1 SuperSpeed+ standard, which enables broad enough bandwidths to transmit 4K UHD video to a flat-screen TV.  This means you could use the same cable to charge a laptop and connect a streaming device to your TV.

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  • Managing Industrial Control Equipment with the Right Transformer

    Industrial automation equipment presents a unique challenge for the transformers used to step power down to levels required by their electromagnetic control devices. Such solenoids, contactors and timers are typically inductive loads, and they can create brief periods of high inrush current when they first start up that general-purpose transformers aren’t designed to handle.

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  • Retrofit Your Lighting for Energy Savings and More

    I’m a huge fan of LED lighting. One of the main reasons is their longevity, based on the L70 factors. They tend to last a lot longer before reaching that end-of-life lumen decrease called lumen maintenance.

    That means I’ll probably be sipping margaritas on the beach before they need changed.

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