How to Perform an Arc Flash Study – Part 5 Incident Energy and Arc Flash Boundary Calculations

The final part of this series examines incident energy and arc flash boundary calculations for the 480V panelboard example used in this series. IEEE 1584—IEEE Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations defines incident energy as, “The amount of thermal energy impressed on a surface, a certain distance from the source, generated during an electric arc event.” It can be used to determine the arc rating of protective clothing and equipment as part of an arc flash risk assessment.

Two important variables are the arcing fault current and the arc duration. The arcing fault current was addressed in part 2. The arc duration defines the total exposure by evaluating the time current characteristic of the protective device that is expected to operate and clear the arc flash. Part 4 concluded that the device for this example will operate in 1 electrical cycle, or 0.167 seconds.

Working distance

IEEE 1584 defines the working distance as the distance between the potential arc source and the face and chest of the worker. Incident energy varies exponentially with the inverse of the distance, the greater the distance, the less incident energy and vice versa. IEEE 1584 lists “typical” working distances of 18 inches for low-voltage equipment such as panels and motor control centers, 24 inches for low-voltage switchgear and 36 inches for medium-voltage equipment. However, the specific task must also be considered when defining this distance. For the 480V panelboard example, 18 inches is used.

Electrode configuration

Another important variable is the electrode configuration. The first edition of IEEE 1584 was based on two electrode configurations: referred to as box configuration (enclosure) and an open configuration (in air). In each case the electrodes were oriented vertically, which is today’s equivalent of vertical conductors/electrodes inside a metal box/enclosure (VCB) and vertical conductors/electrodes in open air (VOA). Based on subsequent research, it was determined that the incident energy can be greatly affected by other electrode orientations and influence the trajectory of the arc. For an enclosure, this led to the introduction of vertical conductors/electrodes terminated in an insulating barrier inside a metal box/enclosure (VCBB) and horizontal conductors/electrodes inside a metal box/enclosure (HCB). HOA is for open air. 

Table 1 provides a comparison of the incident energy and arc flash boundary based on the VCB, VCBB and HCB configurations. The incident energy increases with VCBB, and increases more with HCB. For panelboards such as this example, VCB is typically used, as well as VCBB if the feeder terminates into a circuit breaker, possibly behaving like VCBB. The temptation to default to the worst case HCB should be avoided unless it is a realistic configuration. It would likely not be used unless a conductor or bus was directed toward the worker.

Jim Phillips

Enclosure size

When an arc flash occurs, the enclosure has a focusing effect on the incident energy. The IEEE 1584 equations for the incident energy and arc flash boundary calculations are based on a normalized 20-inch-by-20-inch enclosure opening. If the enclosure opening is larger, the energy will less focused, resulting in less energy per unit area. Table 2 compares the calculated incident energy using the VCB configuration and 18-inch working distance with different enclosure sizes ranging from 20-inches-by-20-inches to 36-inches-by-36 inches.

Jim Phillips

Arc flash boundary

IEEE 1584 defines the arc flash boundary as “A distance from a prospective arc source at which the incident energy is calculated to 1.2 cal/cm2.” This is the value of incident energy where arc rated clothing and associated protective equipment is required. Tables 1, 2 and 3 also include the arc flash boundary to illustrate the effect of the electrode configuration, enclosure size and arc duration on the boundary.

Duration

The calculation results in part 5 indicates the incident energy is low, and in some cases less than 1.2 cal/cm2. This is due to the very fast 1-cycle clearing time. The duration is often considered the most critical variable, and if the duration increases, the incident energy increases proportionally. Table 3 illustrates the effect that longer arc durations may have.

Arc flash studies can be complex, requiring important decisions regarding the variables used. Each must be carefully considered because they can all significantly impact the results.

This article was originally published in the May 2022 Edition of Electrical Contractor Magazine.

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How to Perform an Arc Flash Study – Part 4 Arc Duration and Time Current Curves

The duration of an arc flash is typically defined by how long it takes an upstream overcurrent device to operate and clear the fault. This requires using the device’s time current characteristic (TCC), which is based on the specific device type, rating, settings (if available) and manufacturer. Recalling my circuit breaker manufacturer days, even the year the device was produced is important as TCCs can change over time.

The TCC for the device used in this example is illustrated in the figure. The horizontal axis is plotted in amps multiplied by a factor of 10. This means that the 10A on the graph is rescaled to represent 10A times 10, or 100A, and the 100 represents 100A times 10, or 1,000A, etc.

The vertical axis represents time in seconds. Each axis employs a logarithmic scale that is nonlinear and used when analyzing a large range of quantities, such as time and current in this case. Instead of increasing in equal increments, each interval, or decade as it is known, increases by a factor of 10.

TCC basics

The TCC of a circuit breaker will have at least two distinct parts. The upper left band is commonly referred to as the time-delay or overload region. This may be either a thermal element or an electronic or digital element. The sloping curve is commonly referred to as an “inverse-time” characteristic because current and time are inverse from each other. The more current flowing through the device, the less time it takes to operate. The band, or thickness, is based on the operating and clearing time, as well as manufacturer’s tolerance.

The horizontal portion of the TCC to the lower right represents the time it takes to trip instantaneously, which means no intentional time delay. The thickness of the instantaneous band represents the time it takes the device to open and clear the fault, which in this case is one electrical cycle or 0.0167 seconds. Some devices may take several cycles to trip instantaneously.

The vertical band in the middle is the transition point between overload and instantaneous operation, commonly called the instantaneous trip setting. If the current falls to the left of the band, the device operates in the time delay region. If it falls to the right, then it trips instantaneously. If the current lands in the middle of the band, it is uncertain which element will operate; although there is specific current value for the transition from overload to instantaneous, there is also a plus/minus tolerance, so the actual point is somewhere within the band. If the arcing current falls within the band, worst case assumes it could trip in the overload region, resulting in a significant time delay.

Arc duration and TCCs

To determine how long it should take a device to operate for a specific current, the current is located on the horizontal axis and a line is drawn upward until it intersects the top of the curve. Looking to the left indicates the corresponding time.

The graph shown represents the TCC of the 225A circuit breaker used in our example. It is located upstream from the panel under study and is the device that should trip and clear the arc flash.

The second part of this series, “Calculating an Arcing Fault Current” provided the calculated arcing fault current of 23,010A, or 23.01 kA. Specific conditions were used, such as a 1-inch bus gap and VCCB electrode orientation. This current is labeled on the instantaneous part of the TCC toward the lower right of the graph. Drawing a line at this value to the top of the TCC and then drawing a line to the left to determine the duration indicates the device should trip in 0.0167 seconds, or one electrical cycle. This value is used as the arc duration and part of the incident energy calculation in a subsequent part of this series.

When performing an arc flash study, a problem could occur if the arcing current is too low and passed within or to the left of the vertical band. This would indicate the device operates in the time-delay region that would greatly increase the arc duration and resulting incident energy. When the results of an arc flash study indicate a large incident energy at a given location, it often means the arcing current was too low for the designated overcurrent device to trip instantaneously

This article was originally published in the March 2022 Edition of Electrical Contractor Magazine.

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Women in Engineering Day

Today is International Women in Engineering Day!  Celebrating its 9th year, IWED is raising awareness internationally for women in engineering and the career opportunities for women in this industry.  This organization also has competitions for primary and secondary school students to further encourage their success in the engineering field.  Women have helped shape the engineering world for more than a century.  Here are some amazing women engineers that we can celebrate today:

  1. Elizabeth Bragg was the first female to receive a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1876.  This made her the first official female engineer in the United States.
  2. Edith Clarke was the first woman to become a professional electrical engineer in the United States.  She was also the first woman to become a professor of electrical engineering.
  3. Rita de Morais Sarmento was the first female to obtain an engineering degree in Europe.  She received a degree in civil engineering from the Academia Politécnica do Porto and became an engineer in 1894. 
  4. Kimberly Bryant is the founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE: a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing technology and computer programming education to African American girls.  She is also an electrical engineer working in the biotechnology field at Genentech, Novartis Vaccines, Diagnostics, and Merck. 
  5. Wanda Austin was both the first woman and the first African American to hold the position of president and CEO of the Aerospace Corporation, which was the leading architect for the United States’ national security space programs.  
  6. Kate Gleason was the first female to become a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  She was once described as, “a kind of Madame Curie of machine tools,” by Fred H. Colvin.    
  7. Beatrice Hicks was the co-founder and first president of the Society of Women Engineers.  She was also the first woman to be hired by Western Electric.  
  8. Ramille Shah, Ph.D. is an accomplished researcher and Assistant Professor of Materials & Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University.  Shah is also the Principal Investigator at the Shah Tissue Engineering and Additive Manufacturing Lab.  Shah’s main interest is in the development of 3D printable functional materials for biomedical and non-biomedical applications, self-absorbing materials, mechanical stimulation of cells in scaffolding systems, and complex tissue and organ engineering.
  9. Evelyn Wang is known for her research on solar-powered devices to extract drinkable water from the atmosphere.  She was also nominated in 2022 as Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy.
  10. Stephanie Kwolek was a chemical engineer most notable for her discovery of poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide, the first family of synthetic fibers that had excellent stiffness and strength.  Because of this discovery, we now have Kevlar.

 

IAEI News – January, 1941 – Vol. XIII No. 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – November, 1940 – Vol. XII No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

National Scavenger Hunt Day

National Scavenger Hunt Day

Today is National Scavenger Hunt Day!  Although most people don’t know how scavenger hunts originated, the credit has been given to Elsa Maxwell, an American author, actress, and songwriter from the 1930’s who was nicknamed, “the hostess with the mostest.”  She would throw elaborate parties at which guests would be given a series of items or clues that had to be found around town.  The person or team with the most items found won.  They were not allowed to buy any of the objects.  Instead, they had to barter or work for each item.

Today, scavenger hunts are played by people of all ages.  They can be as simple as a backyard search for items, or as elaborate as traveling around the world to find items and clues.  They can even be played in your office.  To celebrate this day, here are some fun ideas for scavenger hunts that you can do:

  1. Backyard Scavenger Hunt: Do your kids need something fun to do this summer?  Give them a list of things to find in the backyard!  Here is a free list that has already been created:  Backyard Scavenger Hunt
  2. Camping Scavenger Hunt: Have the family search for all things nature!  Look for types of animals, types of plants, or simply find things that are different colors.  You can also have them build items with things that they find.  
  3. Office Scavenger Hunt: Divide your office into teams and have them search for things around the office.  Here is a free list that you can use: Office Scavenger Hunt
  4. Search for Things Around Town: Hide riddles around your town and have your friends or family search for them.  Each riddle will lead them to a new place. 
  5. Traveling Scavenger Hunt: This one will take a LOT of planning and a lot more time, but the fun to be had makes it all worth it.  Make your group feel like they’re on The Amazing Race.  Give them clues and tasks leading them to different places around the world. The first team to reach the end wins!
  6. Birthday Scavenger Hunt:  Give your loved ones a series of clues to find their gifts.  They can be around the house, outside, or around your city.  
  7. Glow in the Dark: Wear glow necklaces and search for things in the dark. Attach a glow in the dark sticker to each of the items to help them find everything. 
  8. Crazy Photo Scavenger Hunt:  Get a group of friends together and see who can take the craziest pictures.  Have each person take photos of things from a list, but have them do it in the craziest ways possible.  The person with the craziest pictures wins.  

Happy Searching!

How to Perform an Arc Flash Study – Part 3
Arc Duration

Time is everything when an arc flash occurs.  The longer the duration, the greater the incident energy exposure – which is directly proportional to the duration.

The 2018 Edition of IEEE 1584 defines the arc duration, also referred to as clearing time as:

The total time between the beginning of a specified overcurrent and the final interruption of the circuit at rated voltage.

The term clearing time is also referenced because the arc duration is normally based on how long it takes an upstream overcurrent protective device to interrupt and clear the arcing fault current.  A simple enough concept except how do you determine which device would likely interrupt and how do you determine the actual duration? 

Determining Which Device
When the arcing current from an arc flash jumps across an air gap, it results in a conducting plasma which could engulf other conductors and escalate as well as propagate to other locations.  If the plasma propagates to the line side of the main device such as the main in panel PP-1 shown in Figure 1, then even if the main does trip, the arc flash may not be cleared. It may continue until a device further upstream such as the feeder in the Main Distribution Panel (MDP) trips. A similar situation may occur if the arc flash originates on the line side of the main device.

One Line Example - Brainfiller

FIGURE 1. One Line Diagram – Which Device Defines the Arc Duration.

Because of the uncertainty about whether the main device would interrupt and clear an arc flash, a common approach is to consider the clearing time of a device outside the area that could be impacted by the arc flash.  This would be a device in a separate enclosure such as the feeder located in MDP.

For equipment such as metal clad switchgear where devices are located in individual compartments, engineering judgment must be used when considering whether the main would be unaffected by an arc flash on a feeder.

Determining the Duration
Determining the protective device clearing time depends on the device’s tripping characteristic as well as the magnitude or arcing current.   As a minimum, overcurrent protective devices will have two distinct tripping characteristics.  The overload region which provides a time delay for lower magnitude currents and the instantaneous region which will trip for higher magnitude currents.  In the electrical power world, the term “instantaneous” means no intentional time delay.  There is an unintentional delay of up to several electrical cycles which is the time it takes the device to physically open and clear the arc flash.

The device type such as whether it is a molded case or electronic trip circuit breaker, current limiting fuses and whether it has adjustable settings all help define the tripping characteristic.  In addition, the condition of maintenance of the device is important.  If a device is old and poorly maintained will it perform as expected?  Maybe not which could lead to a longer arc duration.   

Too long – Two Seconds
If the arcing short circuit current is a lower magnitude such as what happens with higher impedances of long conductors or smaller transformers, analysis of the device may indicate it may trip in the overload region for the arc flash – which can take several seconds or more.  In this case, even though the lower current results in a less intense arc flash, the duration could lead to a larger total incident energy.  

For cases where there are long clearing times, IEEE 1584 contains language that many people refer to as the “2 second rule”. Although not actually a rule, this language permits capping the arc duration used in the calculation at 2 seconds.  The actual language states:

If the total protective device clearing time is longer than two seconds (2 s); consider how long a person is likely to remain in the location of the arc flash. It is likely that a person exposed to an arc flash will move away quickly if it is physically possible, and 2 s usually is a reasonable assumption for the arc duration to determine the incident energy.

The language contains caveats such as the decision to use two seconds requires engineering judgment based on the task, location and the person’s ability to move away.  The concept is based on human reaction and response.  If there is a threat such as an arc flash, the person reacts and responds automatically.  Also, even though the term “arc duration” is used in this language, two seconds does not mean the arc extinguishes in two seconds, it is referring to a person’s exposure.

Part 4 will address the use of time-current characteristics to determine the arc duration.

This article was originally published in the January 2022 Edition of Electrical Contractor Magazine.

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Happy Earth Day

Tomorrow we will be celebrating our mother…Earth! Our beautiful blue dot in this gigantic universe. In 1970, this holiday was created by Senator Gaylord Nelson as a way to show the nation that we need to take care of our planet. At the time, there was no EPA, no Clean Water Act, and no Clean Air Act. Luckily, we now have many organizations to help fight climate change and to help our planet. However, we also need to do our part. Here are some ways to celebrate Earth Day and to help our planet:

  1. Plant trees – Did you know that Brainfiller plants a tree for each person who signs up for our courses? We have partnered with the National Forest Foundation to plant trees where they are needed most. You can also help by planting trees in your community.
  2. Pick up litter – Trash is everywhere. Next time you’re walking around, bring a trash bag with you to help clean up the litter. If you live near an ocean, head to the beach for your trash cleanup. Let’s help keep our communities and our ocean clean. 
  3. Start a recycling program – Many offices surprisingly do not offer recycling. Start a recycling program at your work. Find your local recycling center to get more information to start your program. 
  4. Go paperless – We live in a world that makes it so easy to go paperless. We can sign documents on a computer. We can get our bills online. We can take screenshots of documents and receipts instead of printing them. We may not be able to be completely paper free, but we can definitely limit what we use.
  5. Hike a national park – Get outside and enjoy nature! Every time we visit a national park and pay for the entrance fee, we are helping to fund the upkeep for that park. Not interested in paying every time you go? Order an America the Beautiful pass. It’s a yearly pass that allows unlimited entrance to all of the national parks for one year!
  6. Eat more veggies – …and less meat! The meat, egg, and dairy industry negatively impact our environment. You don’t need to become a vegan, but maybe try Meatless Mondays
  7. Buy second hand – Clothes and furniture are great things to buy second hand. Buying second hand instead of new can also help cut back on emissions. 
  8. Turn off your lights – Open the windows and turn off your lights during the day. 
  9. Make upcycled crafts – Reuse things that you might otherwise throw away and turn them into something awesome! Here are some fun examples that you can try: Upcycled Crafts
  10. Use reusable – Cut back on single use plastics and invest in reusable items. Try out reusable straws, use totes instead of plastic bags, reusable sandwich bags, etc. There are so many creative options to help reduce our use of plastics. Here’s a great list of items that you can buy: Eco-Friendly Products.

Have an amazing Earth Day!

Luck of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today we will see a sea of green as people pretend to be Irish for just one day. The Irish sure are a lucky bunch. Or at least that’s what people say. We’ve all heard the saying, “Luck of the Irish,” but what does it really mean and where did this saying come from? It actually originated in the second half of the 19th century during the gold and silver rush in America. The Irish and Irish American miners were said to have had the best luck while searching for their mining fortunes. For many years, this was a derogatory saying because it was perceived that those people could only succeed by dumb luck and not with their brains alone.

Although this is likely the most accurate version of its origins, there are also several people across the world who believe that this phrase really refers to Ireland’s favorite mascot, the leprechaun. Stories of these mythical creatures living on the Emerald Isle say that they lived in abundance, forever protecting their pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. They successfully hid their good fortunes in an impossible to reach place.

Everyone wishes to be as lucky as the Irish, especially on this day of the year. However, when it comes to electrical hazards (bet you didn’t see this part coming) don’t rely on luck, wear your PPE!

Have a safe and lucky day!

Jessica

National Chili Day

Today is National Chili Day! This hearty people-pleaser makes everyone feel warm and cozy during the cold Winter months. With so many variations and recipes, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular dishes for cooking competitions. But where did this amazing meal come from? It is believed that it was introduced in San Antonio by people who immigrated from the Canary Islands in the 1700’s. However, the name was first written by J.C. Clopper in 1828. In 1977, Texas declared chili as its official dish.

How does one celebrate this holiday? By eating chili, of course!  You can make it, you can order in, or you can go to a restaurant. You can also go on a chili tour and eat all of the best chilis from the different restaurants in your area. If you decide to make it yourself, here are some of the best chili recipes that I have found so far:

  1. Chili with Chorizo and Chocolate – Chocolate in chili?? Yes! Believe it or not chocolate is a great “secret” ingredient to add to your chili. You can find this amazing recipe right here: Chili with Chorizo and Chocolate Recipe | Allrecipes
  2. Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili – This is one of my personal faves! For this delicious, meatless chili, you can find this recipe here: Best Vegan Chili Recipe – Love and Lemons
  3. BBQ Crockpot Chicken Chili – Perhaps you’re interested in something that’s a little more tangy and smoky? Check out this recipe here: BBQ Crockpot Chicken Chili – The Endless Meal®
  4. Game Day Beer Chili – Looking for something a little boozy? You’ve come to the right place! I recommend using either a stout or a porter for this one. Here is this awesome recipe: Game Day Beer Chili. – How Sweet Eats
  5. Ultimate Vegan Chili – I have made something similar to this for years! Even my meat loving friends can’t tell the difference. I recommend using Gardein Plant-Based Ground Be’f crumbles for this one: Ultimate Vegan Chili – Nora Cooks
  6. Green Pork Chili – Do you prefer green chili? This recipe is great! Not a fan of pork? It also tastes great with chicken. You can find the recipe here: Green Pork Chili – A Beautiful Plate
  7. Skillet Chili Cornbread Pot Pie – For a less traditional version of this dish, try making it in a skillet with cornbread. This recipe can be found here: Skillet Chili Cornbread Pot Pie | 12 Tomatoes

Enjoy your cozy, chili day!

National Fun at Work Day

This Friday is National Fun at Work Day! Whether you’re working from home, in an office, or outside, there are many ways to celebrate and bond with your coworkers. This holiday is celebrated every year on the last Friday in January. It was created to bring happiness and boost morale in the workplace. So get your team together and plan a fun filled day!  

Here are a few ways that you can celebrate:

  1. Get out of the office: Take a field trip and do a fun group activity. Go to a museum Volunteer with a local charity. Build a snowman (if you’re in a wintery part of the world). Go for a hike (if you’re in a not-so-wintry part of the world). Have fun outside and get some vitamin D!
  2. Wear costumes: Who says that you can only wear costumes on Halloween? Wear your best costumes and have a contest!
  3. Declare a nerf war: Create teams and start an office nerf war! 
  4. Office karaoke: Bust out your favorite karaoke songs and perform for your favorite work family. It’s ok. They’re only judging you a little bit.  
  5. Have a contest: Who can stuff the most marshmallows in their mouth? Who can make the best paper airplane? Whatever you decide, make it fun!
  6. Ice cream social: Who doesn’t love ice cream? Create an ice cream bar with lots of options for toppings. Make sure to include some vegan options for your dairy free friends.  
  7. Office trivia: This one is a great option for a virtual game to include anyone working from home! Create a trivia game or choose a game that’s already available online. 
  8. Scavenger Hunt: Try to find things in the office, in your home, or outside. The options are endless!  
  9. Bring your dogs to work: What’s better than snuggling with your pup all day? Nothing! Bring your favorite fur babies to work and snuggle with them while you work. 
  10. Yoga or Zumba together:  Does your team like to get active? Have a private yoga or Zumba class for your group! You can even use a virtual class and follow along.  

 

Whatever you decide to do on Friday, I hope that it makes you smile.

How to Perform an Arc Flash Study – Part 2
Arcing Fault Current

Arcing Fault Current – Effect of Gap, Voltage and Electrode Configuration
An arc flash occurs when short circuit current jumps across an air gap between energized conductors. The event is normally the result of initial (and inadvertent) contact between energized conductors which creates the short circuit.  During the event, the conductors or a conducting object may either melt back or be blown back producing an air gap. When current flows across the gap, it ionizes the air resulting in a conducting plasma and thermal cloud. IEEE 1584 – IEEE Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations refers to this as the Arcing Fault Current which is defined as:

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How to Perform an Arc Flash Study – Part 1
Based on the Latest Edition of IEEE 1584

Performing an arc flash study can be complex enough but the latest edition of IEEE 1584 – IEEE Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations has taken it to a whole new level.  In this first in a series of articles, I will take you through the steps of performing an arc flash study.

 The Evolution of Arc Flash Studies
Quite a bit has changed since arc flash studies went mainstream in the early 2000’s.  Standards like NFPA 70E – Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace and the latest edition of IEEE 1584 continue to evolve and improve.  Standards like these, coupled with advancements in arc rated clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as changes to electrical design practices have all helped create a much safer workplace.

The main components of an arc flash study are Continue reading

IAEI News – September, 1940 – Vol. XII No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – July, 1940 – Vol. XII No. 4

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – March, 1940 – Vol. XII No. 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

Winter Solstice

Happy first day of Winter!  As if December doesn’t have enough holidays to celebrate, there is another reason to get together and celebrate this month: the Winter Solstice!  This day is celebrated in December for the Northern Hemisphere and in June for the Southern Hemisphere.  It is the shortest day and the longest night of the year.  But don’t worry.  The days only get brighter from here!  Around the world, different cultures celebrate this day in their own unique ways.  Here are just some of the ways that this day is celebrated around the world:

  1. Soyal: This is the celebration of the Hopi Indians in Northern Arizona.  This is the time that the Hopi welcome protective spirits from the mountains, known as kachinas.  Their ceremonies include dancing, purification, and gift giving.  
  2. St. Lucia’s Day: Also known as the Festival of Lights, this celebration is held in Scandinavia to honor St. Lucia, a Christian martyr.  They also incorporate earlier Norse traditions like lighting fires to ward off spirits.  Young women wear white dresses, red sashes, and wreaths of candles on their heads.  
  3. Yaldā Night: This Iranian celebration is a night where friends and family gather together to eat, drink, and read poetry.  Watermelon and pomegranates are significant in their feasting because they are red in color.  This symbolizes the glow of life.  The poems often read are from the poet Divan-e Hafez. 
  4. Stonehenge Gathering: In England, Stonehenge was built in a way that lines up with the sun’s movement.  Because of this, people have gathered for years at dawn after the longest night of the year to revel in the beauty of the sun rising through the stones.  
  5. Dongji: In South Korea, this day is called the Little New Year.  This tradition includes eating patjuk, a red bean porridge.  Other traditions include giving socks and calendars as the old Korean kings used to do.  On this day, it is considered good luck if it snows!  According to their tradition, the cold weather and snow will bring a bountiful harvest.  
  6. Dong Zhi:  This festival is celebrated in China!  It is the arrival of winter.  This tradition is said to have started as a celebration of the end of their harvest.  When the workers returned from the fields, they shared their harvest with their family. Tang Yuan, or glutinous rice balls, is one of the special foods enjoyed on this day.  
  7. Shalako: The Shalako festival is celebrated for multiple days by the Zuni people in New Mexico.  The Shalako is a 10 foot tall structure with the face of a bird symbolizing important deities.  These celebrations are usually closed to the public and include various dances and symbols representing the different deities.  They celebrate these deities to bring “balance” and “blessings” for their agricultural year.  

 

We hope that you have a happy and safe holiday season!

Celebration of the Mind Day

Celebration of the Mind Day is an international holiday dedicated to bringing people together to play with puzzles, games, magic, and math.  This day reminds us that learning can be fun.  It is a day filled with events for people of all ages because let’s be honest – everyone likes puzzles and games!  

This holiday originated as a celebration of Martin Gardner’s birthday.  Gardner was an American mathematician and writer.  He wrote over 100 books.  He was also known as a “mathemagician” – a mathematician who is also a magician.  Gardner made many contributions to society, but he is best known for developing recreational mathematics.  Gardner created subjects that had never been heard of before including flexagons, paradoxes, and the “Game of Life.”  His writings greatly influenced members in the fields of mathematics and science.  Gardner was also well known for being a skeptic.  He is acknowledged as the founding father of the skeptical movement.  In 2010, Gardner passed away at the age of 95.  His fans created a group to keep his legacy alive.  This group is called the Gathering 4 Gardner Foundation and they created this holiday.  

So how does one celebrate this holiday?  Simple!  Play your favorite games or put together a puzzle.  Learn a new magic trick.  Try out mind bending math games.  In the era of YouTube and apps, there are unlimited puzzles, magic tricks, and math games to help you celebrate this day.  Here are eight of the best puzzles and games for your mind:

  1. Sudoku – Played online or offline, this is a logic-based number placement puzzle.
  2. Chess – Internationally known, this is a classic board game involving strategy that is also played in tournaments.
  3. Lumosity – This popular app is an online program to help boost your memory and concentration.
  4. Peak Brain Training – Have a blast with this brain “workout” online.
  5. 3D Jigsaw Puzzle – These add a whole new dimension to your average puzzles.
  6. Rubik’s Cube – A 3D combination puzzle that was originally called the “Magic Cube.”
  7. Crossword Puzzles – This one is also available both online and offline and can vary in difficulty.  Use the clues to fill in the blanks.
  8. Visual Brain Teasers, like “Droodles” and “Rebus Puzzles” – These are images with other meanings.  Try to figure out what each image actually means.

 

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Today is the first day of Autumn!  The weather is cooling off.  The leaves are changing colors.  Football season is in full swing.  It’s the perfect time of year to drink hot apple cider and sit by the bonfire.  Or maybe drink a pumpkin spiced latte at an actual pumpkin patch.  In my opinion, this is the BEST time of year!

Fall is also the perfect time of year to explore new places.  Here are some beautiful places around the world to see vibrant fall colors:

  1. Kyoto, Japan:  Although it’s more commonly known for cherry blossoms, this area also has countless places to see the fall foliage.  Make sure to visit the Eikando Temple to see the most beautiful fall colors.  
  2. Queen’s View, Loch Tummel, Scotland: Located near the town of Pitlochry, this viewpoint was made famous by Queen Victoria in the 1800’s when she used to picnic there.  
  3. Manchester, Vermont: Vermont is very picturesque in the fall, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations this time of year.  They have everything you’re looking for: apple orchards, pumpkin patches, beautiful fall foliage, and a multitude of events.  
  4. Bavaria, Germany: Bavaria might not be on everyone’s radar, but they have some of the most beautiful colors of the season.  Not only do they have the best autumn weather, but they also have several autumn festivals between August 23rd-November 11th.  Many fairs, parades, and markets trace their origin back to “Kirchweih” celebrations.  These celebrations were held on the third Sunday in October by each parish.
  5. Million Dollar Highway (US 550), Colorado: For this destination, you don’t even have to get out of your car.  This beautiful 305 mile long highway is lined with Aspen trees that glow red, orange, and yellow.  
  6. Forest of Dean, England: Also famous for being in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, this forest is great for leaf peeping.  Some of the favorite fall foliage spots are the Cyril Hart Arboretum and the ancient hill fort at Symonds Yat Rock. 
  7. Napa Valley, California: The weather in Napa is always mild and perfect.  The best time to see fall foliage is mid-October until early November.  This is the best place to enjoy a glass of wine at a local vineyard while staring at the colorful leaves.  
  8. Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island, Canada: This area has one of the longest fall foliage seasons in eastern Canada.  The gorgeous sugar maples, cherry, and birch trees can be seen from mid-September through the end of October.  
  9. Foreste Casentinesi National Park, Italy: Located in Eastern Tuscany, this is one of the largest forests in Europe.  This park is perfect for the active hiker who wants to see the beautiful fall colors and then sit down to enjoy a local glass of Italian wine.
  10.  White Mountains, New Hampshire: Like Vermont, New Hampshire is also a popular tourist destination this time of year.  The White Mountains have some of the most vibrant fall colors in New England.  Because this area is so famous, there are multiple fall festivals throughout the season.  There is also an audio driving tour to talk you through your scenic drive, which can be found here

I hope that you all have a safe and wonderful fall season!

 

 

IAEI News – September, 1939 – Vol. XI No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

Willis Carrier – The Father of Air Conditioning

It’s summer and it’s hot!  If you’re lucky enough to be able to enjoy air conditioning, then you have Willis Carrier to thank.  Willis Carrier invented the modern day air-conditioner.  Some might say that he was the “coolest” man ever.  

Willis Haviland Carrier was an American engineer born in Angola, New York on November 26, 1876.  In July of 1902, he designed the world’s first modern air conditioning system.  He created this to help solve an issue at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company of Brooklyn.  This publishing company struggled with the humidity ruining their paper.  Carrier’s invention not only helped cool the air, but it also helped control the humidity.  The authorities in this field then decided that A/C must be able to perform four basic functions: control air circulation and ventilation, control humidity, cleanse the air, and control the temperature.  

After many more years of testing, Carrier received a US patent for the first spray-type air conditioner.  They called it an Apparatus for Treating Air.  He received another patent in 1907 for his design of the automatic control system.  This design stemmed from his discovery that “constant dew-point depression provided practically constant relative humidity.”  This discovery later became known as the “law of constant dew-point depression” in the field of air conditioning engineers.  In 1915, he founded the Carrier Engineering Corporation.  After years of earning several awards and honorary doctorates, he passed away on October 7, 1950.  

Stay Cool!

 

2021 NFPA 70E – Major Changes

NFPA 70E states that retraining in safety-related work practices and applicable changes in this standard shall be performed at intervals not to exceed 3 years.

This time frame is so employees can keep up to date with the triennial revision cycle of this important electrical safety standard. Watch this one-hour video where Jim Phillips, P.E. takes you through the major changes to the 2021 Edition of NFPA 70E such as:

♦ Revised Definitions.
♦ Reorganization of Article 110.
♦ Moving Priority from Article 105 to 110.1 to emphasize the importance
♦ Addition of informational note regarding online training.
♦ New note regarding multi-employer work sites – more than one employer can be responsible. ♦ New section about Electrically Safe Work Policy.
♦ There is a New Sub Section about Equipment Use.
♦ Clarification regarding “Block or relive stored non-electrical energy devices”.
♦ New task added to Table 130.5(C) “operating a circuit breaker or switch for the first time under all conditions is listed as “Yes” regarding likelihood of an arc flash incident.
♦ A new informational note was added regarding the arc rating of outer layers used for safety or protection from the elements.
♦ New examples of risk reduction methods when testing absence of voltage with an incident energy greater than arc rating of commercially available arc rated PPE.
♦ A new Article 360 regarding capacitor safety was added.
♦ New Annex R Working Safely with Capacitors

FREE CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDIT
Need Continuing Education Credit? Take the online version of the 2021 NFPA 70E Major Changes course and receive 1.0 PDH / 0.1 CEU Credit including Certificate of Completion and Course Transcript.
FREE ONLINE 2021 NFPA 70E CLASS 

National Inventors Month

 

May is National Inventors Month!  This month recognizes the creators and innovators that have helped shape our world.  This holiday originated through the collaboration of the Academy of Applied Science, the United Inventors Association of the USA (UIA-USA), and “Inventors Digest” in August of 1998.  The month-long holiday was later moved to May in 2011 to better align with the academic calendar.  From light bulbs to solar panels, there are so many people and inventions to celebrate and to become inspired by this month.

Here are a few famous inventors to help inspire you:

  1. Thomas Edison – Known as the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” Edison has been described as one of America’s greatest inventors.  He is credited for his work with electricity, light bulbs, audio devices, and film.  He acquired 1,093 patents in his 84 years of life. 
  2. Nikola Tesla – Tesla was hired as an engineer by Edison in 1884.  He is credited with inventing the first alternating current (AC) motor and developed AC generation and transmission technology.  He also improved lights and the high-voltage transformer known as the Tesla coil.  In the 1890’s, Tesla invented electric oscillators and meters.  He experimented with X-rays and gave short-range demonstrations of radio communication.
  3. Dr. Shirley Jackson – Dr. Jackson was the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics from MIT.  Her work in theoretical physics created a path for a number of developments in telecommunications.  These inventions include the portable fax, call waiting, caller ID, the touch-tone telephone, and the fiber-optic cable.  
  4. Marie Curie – Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.  She was also the first person to ever win two Nobel Prizes.  She discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium.  She used radium as the gamma ray source on X-ray machines.  She also created smaller more portable X-ray machines.
  5. Alexander Graham Bell – Bell changed the way we communicate with his invention of the telephone.  In 1877, he launched the Bell Telephone Company.  He held 18 patents.  After developing the telephone, he created the photophone which enabled sound to be transferred on a beam of light.
  6. Nancy Johnson – Johnson’s invention made all of our lives a little sweeter.  She invented the first wooden ice cream freezing machine in 1843.  This device was created before freezers were ever invented and was operated by using a hand crank.
  7. Maria Telkes – Also known as “The Sun Queen,” Telkes was one of the founders of solar thermal storage systems.  She was best known for her invention of the first solar-powered heating system and solar distiller.  This was designed to heat residences.
  8. Elijah McCoy – Have you ever heard the phrase, “The Real McCoy?”  That phrase was created because of this famous inventor!  Elijah McCoy received over 50 patents in his lifetime.  His most famous invention was a cup that feeds lubricating oil to machine bearings through a small tube.  Engineers and machinists only wanted McCoy lubricators because they were, “The Real McCoy,” meaning, “the real deal.”
  9. Grace Hopper – Hopper helped create UNIVAC, the first all-electronic digital computer.  She created the first computer piler which helped translate written instructions into computer codes.  This led her to help develop one of the first standardized computer languages, COBOL.
  10. Aleksandr Stoletov – Stoletov is one of the founders of electrical engineering.  He studied the photoelectric effect, which was first discovered by Hertz in 1887.  This led him to the development of the first solar cell, an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect.

Let us all use this inspiration to help us create the next great inventions of our time.

Happy Inventing!

 

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month.  This is the month when we honor contributions made by women in American history.  This holiday originally began as Women’s History Week.  It started in 1978 with a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. This celebration was later declared by President Jimmy Carter to be a national holiday in 1980.  Every President thereafter carried on this tradition.  In March of 1987, Congress passed a law making the entire month Women’s History Month.  Each year, the theme is picked by The National Women’s History Alliance.  This year’s theme is: Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.

Here are 10 incredible women from our history that we can celebrate this month:

  1. Susan B. Anthony – This awesome woman helped lead the way for women’s right to vote.  She was also the co-founder of the Women’s Suffrage Association.  She spent her life fighting for women to have equal rights and an equal voice.  
  2. Rosa Parks – This legendary woman helped initiate the Civil Rights Movement when she boycotted giving up her seat on the bus to a white man.  She is known as the “First Lady of Civil Rights” and “The Mother of the Freedom Movement.”
  3. Mae C. Jemison – Mae C. Jemison is an astronaut, physicist, and an American engineer most famously known for being the first black woman to travel into space.  While working for NASA, she served as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavor. 
  4. Ruth Bader Ginsburg – R.B.G. pushed for gender equality throughout her expansive career.  She helped women to attend state funded schools, the ability to sign mortgages and have bank accounts without a male co-signer, and she helped to protect pregnant women in the workplace.  She pushed for equal pay, argued that women should be allowed to participate in juries, and strived to make the world a better, more equal and fair place for everyone.  
  5. Eleanor Roosevelt – Eleanor was one of the most influential women of the 20th century.  She was the wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and she was the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights.  She oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which outlined the rights and freedoms that everyone is entitled to.  
  6. Maya Angelou – Maya Angelou always stood up for what she believed in.  Her career spanned over 5 decades.  She started as a singer and a dancer.  She was later a journalist and a civil rights activist.  Finally, she became a poet, screenwriter, and memoirist.  She was the first female inaugural poet and she recited her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the inauguration for President Bill Clinton.  She has won many awards including the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, the National Medal of Arts, three Grammy awards for her spoken-word albums, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  7. Katherine Johnson – Katherine’s knowledge of mathematics helped her (and NASA) to figure out the paths for a spacecraft to orbit around Earth and to travel to the Moon.  We would not have landed on the moon without her.
  8. Margaret Knight – At the turn of the 20th century, Margaret Knight invented a new method for brewing coffee that inspired how we brew our coffee today. In 1908, she received a patent for her coffee filtration system. 
  9. Katharine Burr Blodgett – This incredible woman was the first woman to receive a PhD in physics from England’s Cambridge University.  She was also the first woman to be hired by General Electric where she invented non-reflective, or “invisible” glass.  This glass was used for cameras and projectors.
  10. Stephanie Kwolek – Stephanie invented Kevlar, a durable material used for military helmets, bullet proof vests, fiber optic cables, building materials, and so much more!

Enjoy your day!

Warning! No Arc Flash Hazard Exists!

I’m sure that title raised a few eyebrows but before you send me an email telling me how I got this wrong, hang in there for the rest of the thought.   I receive questions about this phrase on a pretty regular basis.

It’s no secret that 1.2 cal/cm2 is the generally accepted value of incident energy exposure where the onset of a second-degree burn may occur.  This is also the value that triggers the need for arc rated clothing and protective equipment.  

However, having a prospective incident energy below 1.2 cal/cm2 can cause confusion as some will place the phrase “NO ARC FLASH HAZARD EXISTS” on the arc flash label as a result.  When I ask why this phrase is on the label, I receive the response that it’s because the incident energy is less than 1.2 cal/cm2.  – BEEP – Wrong Answer!

If the prospective incident energy is less than 1.2 cal/cm2, remember that is at the working distance and it only means that it is below the threshold where the onset of a second-degree burn may occur.  It does NOT mean there is no injury possible. What about first-degree burns?  What about the hands or other parts of the body being closer than the working distance?  What about…  You get the idea.  There IS still a hazard it is just not commonly considered a major hazard that requires arc rated PPE at the working distance.   

I am asked about using this phrase so often that a while ago I decided to ask a more general survey question about arc flash hazards at 208 Volts at the website www.ArcFlashForum.com.  I was surprised to see almost 20% of the respondents to the survey indicate they did not believe an arc flash hazard exists at 208 Volts.

The survey and discussion are found here:  https://brainfiller.com/arcflashforum/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=5416

The working distance is very important because it is the distance from the arc flash source that is used to calculate the incident energy where a worker’s head and torso would likely be located. This makes understanding the working distance a very important part of an electrical safety training program.   Just because the incident energy is listed as less than 1.2 cal/cm2 at 18 inches for example, doesn’t mean it will be that low for hands and other parts of the body that are closer. It increases as the working distance decreases.

I can hear this scene being played out in a legal setting.  

Attorney: “I am sorry to hear that you received a burn injury on your hand but why where you not wearing arc flash protection?”  

Response: “Because the label stated – No Arc Flash Hazard Exists”  

Really? Fade to black, game over.

National Random Acts of Kindness Day

“Kindness is love made visible.” – H. Swanepoel Raktivist

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day!  Kind acts, both big and small, can brighten anyone’s day.  Something as simple as a kind note or a compliment can turn a person’s frown upside down.  Every year, individuals and organizations celebrate this holiday by doing nice things for others.  The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation celebrates more than just one day.  They celebrate Kindness Week.  Their website has several resources to help encourage kindness in schools and at home.

Here are some ways for you to celebrate kindness today:

  1. Leave random happy notes for people.
  2. Leave a yummy treat in the mailbox for your mail carrier.  
  3. Donate food to a local food pantry.  
  4. Make care packages for the homeless.  
  5. Buy coffee for a stranger. 
  6. If you live somewhere that’s snowy, shovel the snow from your neighbor’s driveway. 
  7. Offer to go grocery shopping for someone who isn’t able to leave their house.  
  8. Donate to someone’s GoFundMe. 
  9. Give compliments to everyone you see today.  
  10. Send flowers to a loved one. 
  11. Write “get well soon” cards for people in the hospital.  
  12. Create art and give it to a friend. 
  13. If you have a child in school, write a letter to their teacher about how much you appreciate them.  
  14. Leave an extra generous tip for your server or delivery person. 
  15. Make an awesome meal for someone.  

Be awesome.  Be caring.  Be kind.

 

IAEI News – January, 1939 – Vol. XI No. 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – November, 1938 – Vol. X No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – September, 1938 – Vol. X No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – July, 1938 – Vol. X No. 4

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – May, 1938 – Vol. X No. 3

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – March, 1938 – Vol. X No. 2 – Part Two

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – March, 1938 – Vol. X No. 2 – Part 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2021 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

National Plan for a Vacation Day

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2021!  The year of unlimited possibilities!  Although we are still very much in the middle of a pandemic, it’s still fun to think about all of the things that we can do when this is over.  If you’re a planner like me who has spent entirely too much time within the same walls of their home, you might be thinking about the first vacation that you’re going to take when it’s safe to do so.  Will you be flying to another country?  Driving cross-country?  Camping in an RV or maybe a tent?  Will you be staying in a luxury resort?  All of the above?  Personally, I have an extensive bucket list of places that I would love to visit.  Although planning for a future vacation is fun, please remember to stay safe.  And maybe get that travel insurance in case this pandemic doesn’t end as soon as we’re all hoping.  

In honor of National Plan for Vacation Day, here are some fun ideas for your first post-pandemic vacation:

  1. Take a cross-country road trip! You can see more cities and national parks on a road trip than you can if you fly.  One day you might be hiking in Yellowstone National Park and the next day you could be at the famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.  Take the roads less traveled and see everything that your country has to offer.  
  2. Hawaii – Each island offers its own unique tourist attractions.  You can do everything from snorkeling, to hiking a volcano, to touring plantations, to laying on the beach and working on your tan.  There is something for everyone in Hawaii!
  3. La Fortuna, Costa Rica –  This small town in Costa Rica is in the heart of the rainforest.  Monkeys and sloths can be found everywhere.  You can go zip-lining above the rainforest, white water rafting, go on an ATV tour around Arenal volcano, relax in natural hot springs, or (my personal favorite) canyoning and waterfall rappelling.  The locals are kind to the tourists and the food is amazing.  I highly recommend this experience for anyone with an adventurous spirit.  Pura Vida!
  4. Backpack through Europe!  Wake up under the Northern Lights of Iceland one day and then eat tapas in Spain the next day.  Enjoy a tour of a vineyard and the historical sites of Italy.  And don’t forget to check out the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  Looking for something a little less touristy?  Click HERE to check out 18 charming small towns that are off the beaten path.
  5. Springtime in Japan – Japan has so many things to offer, but one of the prettiest sites is when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.  The most famous place to see them is in Yoshimo, Japan and the best time of year to visit is in March.
  6. Galapagos Islands – Are you a fan of animals?  The Galapagos Islands are filled with creatures for you to see.  You can see tortoises, iguanas, and even penguins!  The most popular island to check out is San Cristobal Island.
  7. New Zealand – New Zealand has everything from large cities to beaches and mountains.  You can spend time in their amazing capital city of Auckland and then head down south to see the Waitomo Gloworm Caves.  Are you a Lord of the Rings fan?  Check out the actual hobbit homes used in the films in Hobbiton!  
  8. Santorini, Greece – Check out the real Atlantis, hike to the top of Santorini Volcano, visit the quaint village of Pyrgos, and end your day drinking wine and eating the best Greek food you’ve ever tasted.  
  9. Close your eyes and pick a random place on a map.  Sometimes the most random places become the best destinations.

Happy planning and safe travels!

Victories of 2020

You did it!  You’ve made it through the longest year in history: 2020!  Give yourself a pat on the back.  We all know that this year was….not ideal, but it definitely taught us to slow down and appreciate everything that we have.  Maybe you were lucky enough to spend more time at home with your family?  Maybe you learned a new hobby?  Maybe you spent more time in nature?  Maybe you watched Netflix in its entirety?  If nothing else, this year has taught us how resilient we all are.  As 2020 comes to an end, let’s celebrate the victories, both big and small, from this crazy year! 

  1. Our priorities have changed!  Before Covid hit, many of us were running around, constantly busy, constantly stressed, and never had any time to slow down and enjoy life.  2020 has forced many of us to slow down and appreciate what we have.  We also were given time to revisit old hobbies like gardening and baking.  
  2. We have learned to appreciate our frontline workers, teachers, and grocery store workers (among many other essential people) a lot more.  Without them, our country would have come to a screeching halt.
  3. Drive-In movies made a comeback!  Not only were people watching movies from the comfort of their own cars, but some concerts were also held at these venues for drive-in entertainment.
  4. SpaceX successfully launched two Americans into orbit for the first time in nearly a decade. 
  5. 103 year old grandma, Jennie Steins, beat Covid and celebrated with a Bud Light. 
  6. Musicians have given us personal concerts at home!  Instead of having to fight traffic to see our favorite artists, we can now see them from the comfort of our own homes. 
  7. NASA named its headquarters building in D.C. after Mary W. Jackson, the agency’s first African American female engineer.
  8. A 21 year old man named Chris Nikic made history as the first person with Down syndrome to complete the Ironman Triathlon.
  9. La Morada, a small Mexican restaurant in the Bronx became a soup kitchen to help the poor.  
  10. Some Good News was created by John Krasinski in an effort to remind us all that even when the world feels bleak, there’s always something to smile about. 
  11. When resources were scarce, major companies like 3M and Apple shifted production to make masks to help keep people safe.  Distilleries stopped making spirits and started making hand sanitizer.  Everyone tried to do their part to help out.  
  12. When restaurants started shutting down, world renowned chef, Guy Fieri, raised over $21.5 million dollars to help unemployed restaurant workers.  
  13. We have become more creative than ever with how we work, how we celebrate, and how we socialize.  We have had zoom parties.  We have used drones to fly messages to neighbors.  We have had sing-alongs with neighbors from our balconies.  With everything that has happened, we have still found ways to connect with people and enjoy life.  

I could go on forever with this list.  Within the darkness there has been a lot of light this year.  We hope that this light continues to get brighter in 2021. 

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

 

Ben Franklin Tried to Electrocute a Turkey

 There are several ways to cook a turkey.  Baked.  Fried.  Roasted.  Electrocuted? 

It was a party trick that turned into a party fail!  Benjamin Franklin used his knowledge of electricity to cook a turkey in a unique and entertaining way.  He told fellow scientist, Peter Collinson, of a dream he had to host the world’s first electric barbeque.  He practiced for months on turkeys and chickens by electrocuting them with Leyden jars.  The tests were unsuccessful.  Each bird would merely be knocked into unconsciousness and then would “rise from the dead” as they awoke.  This of course freaked out Benjamin Franklin.  After several tests, he finally felt that he had mastered this trick.  

On December 23, 1750, Franklin got his chance to show off his new party trick.  Unfortunately, it did not turn out the way that he had planned.  He set the pernicious charge to electrocute the contained turkey, but the electricity shocked him instead!  The turkey fled and Franklin was on the ground.  The only thing that hurt more than his chest was his ego!  Although this trick didn’t go as planned, it forever changed the way that we eat.  Franklin had unintentionally discovered how to tenderize meat through electric charge.  This method has been used to tenderize meat ever since.

With the holiday season just around the corner, you might be wondering how to make your own turkey.  Here are a few recipes that don’t involve electrocution:

  1. Perfect Roast Turkey 
  2. Cajun Deep-Fried Turkey
  3. Vegan & Gluten-Free Tofurkey with Stuffing
  4. Bay Leaf and Honey Glazed Turkey with Pear Chutney
  5. Air-Fryer Turkey
  6. Bourbon-Brined Turkey with Apple Bourbon Pan Gravy 
  7. Braised Turkey with Moroccon Spices
  8. Turkey with Herby Pork and Apricot Stuffing
  9. The Greatest Grilled Turkey
  10. Turducken

We hope that you all have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

 

IAEI News – January, 1938 – Vol. X No. 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – November, 1937 – Vol. IX No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – September, 1937 – Vol. IX No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

National Apple Day

It’s finally Fall!  The weather is cooler.  The air smells like fallen leaves and pumpkin spice lattes.  You can finally wear your favorite sweaters and scarves again.  The best part of all?  It’s apple cider season!  Apples are one of the most versatile fruits in existence.  They’re healthy, delicious, and if you eat one a day it will keep the doctor away.  They’re so wonderful that the U.K.-based charity organization called Common Ground started National Apple Day in 1990 to celebrate all things apple.

Fun Facts About Apples:

  1. The first apple trees were said to have been found in central Asian anywhere from 10 to 20 million years ago.  
  2. Originally sour, they evolved into sweeter fruits.
  3. China is the top producer of apples.  The U.S.A. and Poland are also top producers.
  4. Gala apples are the most popular, followed by red delicious, granny smith, fuji, and honeycrisp.
  5. The apple came to America in 1607.
  6. “Johnny Appleseed” was actually named John Eastman.  In the early 19th century, he traveled through the Midwest to plant apple trees, as well as to educate farmers about how to care for them.
  7. Although it’s considered an American staple, the apple pie was first invented in 1381 in England.
  8. Washington State is the largest producer of apples in the United States.
  9. Black Diamond apples are the rarest type and are actually a dark hue of purple in color.
  10. The wilderness of Koolan in Maui is the largest apple orchard in the world.

Awesome Ways to Celebrate Apple Day:

  1. Plant an apple tree in your backyard.
  2. Visit an apple orchard.
  3. Bake an apple pie.
  4. Try a new variety of apple that you’ve never tried before.
  5. Drink apple cider. (My personal favorite is Big B’s)
  6. Make homemade applesauce.
  7. Make an apple scented candle.
  8. Try bobbing for apples.
  9. Make caramel apples.
  10. Make an apple costume to wear on Halloween.

 

Enjoy your day!

 

 

IAEI News – May, 1937 – Volume IX No. 3

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – March, 1937 – Volume IX No. 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

IAEI News – January, 1937 – Volume IX No. 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaei.org

National Online Learning Day!

 

National Online Learning Day

September 15th is National Online Learning Day! This day recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of online and blended learning institutions. As we all know, Covid has forced many of us to rethink how we work and also how we learn.  Many of us are working and learning from home. We can’t think of a better day than today to tell you all that we have put all of our courses online! We have interactive live-streamed courses, as well as courses on the go. Some of them are even FREE! (Yes, you read that correctly. FREE!)  You can earn your continuing education units while lounging around in your pajamas at home, camping in the woods, chilling by the pool, or maybe even sitting next to your child who’s also learning from home. You can learn at your own pace from anywhere in the world! 

But enough about us.  Did you know that the first online high school was created in 1994? With the internet growing in popularity, more online schools were established.  Eventually, colleges and universities added online courses as flexible learning options. Virtual classrooms have become more technologically advanced since their humble beginning in the 1990’s.  Now, there are more programs and apps available to make learning on the go much more convenient. 

 

Here are just a few ways to celebrate Online Learning Day:

  1. Take an online course – Whether it’s from us at Brainfiller or from your local university, now is the perfect opportunity to learn the latest and greatest in your field. Or maybe you’re interested in learning something new? That’s the beauty of online learning. You can learn anything at any time from anywhere!
  2. Learn a new skill – Have you ever wanted to learn how to crochet? Or maybe you would like to learn how to build a desk for your home office? Luckily, we live in an era with endless Youtube tutorials that can teach us whatever we’re interested in!
  3. Create a Youtube Tutorial – Do you have a skill that you would like to share with the world? Help others by creating a YouTube tutorial video!
  4. Become an online teacher – Have you been in your field for awhile and now you’re looking for a way to help others? Try teaching online! Many universities are looking for online instructors for various fields of study. You may also consider teaching ESL to children from around the world. The possibilities are endless.
  5. Thank your online teachers (and teacher friends!) – It’s not always easy, but they sure make it look like it is.  Send a thank you to your favorite online teacher to let them know that they are appreciated.

Happy Learning!

National Hot Dog Day!

 

It’s National Hot Dog Day! In 1871, a German baker named Charles Felton opened the first hot dog stand on Coney Island.  Originally called dachshund sausages (named after the dog), he sold 3,684 in his first year.  Thanks to this culinary innovation, the hot dog has become an American staple in food culture.  Not only are there many toppings to choose from, but there are also many different types of hot dogs.  Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and even vegan options have gained in popularity.  Here are some of our favorite hot dog recipes that we would like to share with you!

 

  1. Quesadogas – Get your tex-mex fix with this perfect combination of a hot dog and a quesadilla. 
  2. Campfire Pigs in a Blanket – Are you going on a camping trip?  Or maybe you’re just hanging out around the fire pit in your backyard?  This is the perfect campfire meal for this summer!
  3. Homemade Gourmet Vegan Hot Dogs – Looking for something plant-based?  This yummy recipe also includes a recipe for cashew-almond cheese sauce.  Short on time?  Most grocery stores have fantastic veggie dogs that you don’t need to make from scratch.  Toppings not included.
  4. Hot Dog Bar – Is your family picky?  Do they each like different things?  Set up a hot dog bar and let them create their own hot dog creations!
  5. Garlic Bread Hot Dog – Want something that’s a little more Italian?  Try out a hot dog stuffed in garlic bread!
  6. Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole – If you’re not in the mood to eat a hot dog in a bun, you can try putting it into a casserole!  I mean, who doesn’t love mac and cheese? 
  7. Pizza Hot Dogs – Here’s a recipe that combines two of the best foods on the planet!
  8. Bánh Mì Hot Dogs For an amazing Vietnamese flare on a traditional meal, try out the Banh Mi Hot Dog!

 

Enjoy your hot dogs!

 

IAEI News – November, 1936 – Vol. VIII No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – September, 1936 – Vol. VIII No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – July, 1936 – Vol. VIII No. 4

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – May, 1936 – Vol. VIII No. 3

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – March, 1936 – Vol. VIII No. 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – January, 1936 – Vol. VIII No. 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

2021 NFPA 70E – Major Changes

Jim Phillips, P.E.

2021 NFPA 70EEvery three years I have the privilege of writing the NFPA 70E Major Changes article for National Electrical Contractor Association’s magazine: Electrical Contractor.   The 2021 edition of this standard will be available September 4, 2020 so it’s time to take a sneak peek and see what is in store this time around.   This article is based on my article that was published in the May 2020 issue of Electrical Contractor.

Disclaimer:  Although I am Vice-Chair of IEEE 1584, International Chair of IEC TC78 Live Working, Technical Committee Member of NFPA 70E and involved with many other codes and standards committees, the views expressed here are mine and may or may not represent the views of any of the above committees.

This article focuses on the more significant changes and is based on what was known at the time it was written. It does not include every change and some language was paraphrased. The reader should always refer to the final approved version once it is published. Continue reading

It’s Not All Bad…

Photo by Good Good Good on Unsplash

 

We’re almost halfway through 2020!  It’s no secret that this year has been challenging for most of us and that it is sometimes difficult to stay positive.  However, with all of the bad there’s also a lot of good in the world.  In the wake of our pandemic, actor John Krasinski from the show The Office created an entire online news program called Some Good News, which was dedicated to sharing good news that’s happening in the world.  This has inspired us to share some good news with you. 

Here are a few positive things that have happened so far in 2020:

  1. 7-year Old Holds Prom for His Babysitter:  When Rachel Chapman’s prom was cancelled due to Covid-19, young Curtis decided to take matters into his own hands.  He surprised her with dinner and a dance.  Curtis dressed up and picked out a menu based on what they would eat together when she babysat: peanut butter and apples, Chick-fil-A, and smoothies.
  2. 99-year-old Veteran beats Covid-19 and Surprises Granddaughter on Wedding Day:  WWII veteran, Vincent Simeone, was hospitalized for Covid for two weeks.  When he recovered, he was able to surprise his granddaughter, Amy Zimmerman at her wedding on May 24th.  This also would have been his late wife Millie’s 100th birthday. 
  3. Iowa Teen Launches Free Grocery Delivery Service for Seniors:  Seventeen-year-old Tenner Kenin has a mission to keep senior citizens safe during the pandemic.  He started T’s Angel Hands to help out seniors who are struggling to find delivery times and aren’t able to go to the store for fear of getting sick.  He and dozens of volunteers are not only helping seniors, but they are also helping people with underlying health issues and pregnant women.  
  4. Canadian Company Aims to Plant 1 Billion Trees by 2020 Using Drones: Flash Forest, a Canadian startup, is using drones to drop seed pods into areas that may otherwise not be reached.  They are currently able to plant 10,000-20,000 trees per day, but are hoping to reach 100,000 trees per day.
  5. Singer Rents Cherry Picker to Sing to a Senior Center: Since nursing homes currently do not allow visitors, Colette Hawley of Chicago decided to take matters into her own hands.  She rented a 30 foot cherry picker bucket truck to lift her up to sing through the windows of Chicago Methodist Senior Services.  The grateful residents were seen clapping and waving through the windows.  Some were even brought outside to dance.

Hang in there.  

 

 

 

IAEI News – November, 1935 – Vol. VII No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – September, 1935 – Vol. VII No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – July, 1935 – No. 4

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – May, 1935 – Vol. VII No. 3

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – March, 1935 – Vol. VII No. 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – January, 1935 – Vol. VII No. 1 Part 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – January, 1935 – Vol. VII No. 1 Part 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

National Electrical Safety Month

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

May is National Electrical Safety Month!  This month is a great time to double check all of your electrical equipment in your home.  It’s also a great time to learn about electrical hazards and how to avoid them.

Electrical Safety Checklist:

  1. Check all electrical cords for fraying and replace any that may be damaged.
  2. Keep all electrical appliances away from water.
  3. Don’t nail or tack cords to the wall or floor.
  4. Use outlet covers to protect children from electrical outlets.
  5. Never touch a downed powerline!  Stay at least 35 feet away and call 911.
  6. Don’t plant trees near utility equipment or under power lines.
  7. Stay at least 10 feet away from all overhead power lines.
  8. Do not touch anything that’s touching a powerline.
  9. Check your extension cords.  These are meant to be temporary and not a permanent fixture.  All appliances should be plugged directly into the wall and not into an extension cord.
  10.  Don’t overload your electrical circuits.  Flickering lights, warm or discolored wall plates, and mild shock from appliances or switches can all indicate overloaded circuits.

   Have a safe day!

2021 NFPA 70E – Review of Major Changes

2021 NFPA 70E

2021 NFPA 70E – Major Changes

By Jim Phillips

The 2021 Edition of NFPA 70E is right around the corner and with it – many changes.

Every three years I have the privilege of writing about the upcoming changes for the National Electrical Contractor Association’s Electrical Contractor Magazine.

A summary of the major changes for the 2021 edition was published in the May 2020 Edition of Electrical Contractor Magazine.

 

I will also be conducting a FREE live streaming class at 10:00 AM Pacific/1:00 PM Eastern Time on June 18th to discuss the major changes.

2021 NFPA 70E Changes Article

Live Streaming 2021 NFPA 70E Update – June 18, 2020

 

Other Upcoming Live Streaming Classes:

Arc Flash Studies – IEEE 1584

Electrical Power System Engineering Course

Captain Murphy, Dirty Harry and Electrical Safety

Murphy's Law - Sled

Rocket Sled that Inspired “Murphy’s Law”

OK, not the most professional sounding title for an article about electrical safety.  But play along, you will be able to connect the dots rather quickly.

 Captain Murphy
Around seventy years ago, Captain Murphy was an aerospace engineer who worked on safety-critical systems.  He became involved with high-speed rocket sled experiments used to determine what G-forces a human could experience while being hurled down the rails at an alarming speed – 632 miles per hour back then. Note: speeds today can exceed well over 6000 miles per hour!

The “passenger” would be restrained by a harness that contained a series of measurement sensors – however, during the sled’s run, the sensors were not functioning!  A subsequent investigation found Continue reading

IAEI News – November, 1934 – Vol. VI No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – September, 1934 – Vol. VI No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – July, 1934 – Vol. VI No. 4

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – March, 1934 – Vol. VI No. 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

Arc Flash Studies – IEEE 1584 Live Streaming Sample

Below is a sample of the Live Streaming of my class about Arc Flash Studies and the 2018 Edition of IEEE 1584.  It includes a brief discussion of calculations, an example problem that we solve in class and a discussion about shallow enclosures including an arc flash test of a shallow enclosure. I teach this class several times a year and can also conduct this class live or live streaming at your site.

 

[See Arc Flash Course Schedule]

Plasma – Modify the Arc Rating or Modify the Incident Energy Calculations?

Plasma – Modify the Arc Rating or Modify the Incident Energy Calculations?

I am frequently asked questions about the application of the 2018 edition of IEEE 1584 – especially electrode configurations and more specifically, about HCB (Horizontal Conductors/Electrodes inside a Metal Box/Enclosure).

I recently had the privilege of co presenting a paper at the IEEE Electrical Safety Workshop that focused on PPE, arc ratings and the arc flash hazard. I made a last-minute addition to the presentation that was not included in the published paper.  It provides a direct correlation between using the 2018 IEEE 1584 HCB configuration and conclusions from a 2010 technical paper about de-rating PPE for outward convective flows Continue reading

IAEI News – January, 1934 – Vol. VI No. 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – January, 1933 – Vol. V No. 1 – Part 3

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

IAEI News – January, 1933 – Vol. V No. 1 – Part 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

National Lineman Appreciation Day

 

Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash

National Lineman Appreciation Day 

Imagine being quarantined without power.  No Netflix.  No refrigerator.  No video games to keep your kids occupied while you’re trying to work.  No computers to allow you to work.  No power or technology of any kind.  Thanks to linemen, we are able to have all of these things.  Saturday was Lineman Appreciation Day.  Linemen work around the clock to make sure that we have power.  They work under high risk conditions on a daily basis.  Without them, we would not be able to function in our high-tech world.  How did this appreciation day come to be?  On April 10, 2013, U.S. Senate Resolution 95 declared April 18th as Lineman Appreciation Day.

Here are a few facts about the history of linemen:

  1. The profession began in the 1840’s due to the invention of the telegraph.  Lines were originally strung on trees, but eventually wooden poles were put in place.  There was very little training available and the job was extremely dangerous.  They were responsible for connecting communities to the ever growing power grid.
  2. Between the 1890’s and 1930’s, line work was considered one of the most dangerous jobs in existence.  One in 3 linemen were killed on the job, typically from electrocution.
  3. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, electricity became more publicly dependent.  Maintenance of power lines and quick repairs became more important.
  4. In the 1950’s, some electric lines began to be installed underground.
  5. Now, industry standards and best practices have been put in place to protect our linemen.  There are 3 organizations leading lineman health and safety: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

If you see a lineman, thank them.  If you see anyone on the front lines, thank them, too.  There are many essential workers on the frontlines right now.  We at Brainfiller appreciate ALL of you who are still working to keep life as normal as possible for us during this time.

Stay safe!

 

A Socially Distant St. Patrick’s Day – Virtual Celebrations

Photo by Hoan Vo on Unsplash

What a week! Like everyone else, we at Brainfiller have been following the COVID-19 news closely.  For many of us, we are so used to the hustle and bustle of life that when we are forced to stay home and slow down, we are unsure what to do with ourselves.  If you’re like me, you’re home with your kids trying to entertain them and make sure that they are staying happy and healthy.

Today is St. Patrick’s Day.  A day when many of us would be out socializing and celebrating.  Just because we are social distancing, that does NOT mean that we can’t still celebrate!  Here are some fun activities that you can do to celebrate from home:

  1. Dropkick Murphy’s Livestream: Every year, the iconic Celtic-punk band Dropkick Murphy’s puts on a live show to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This year, they will be doing a livestream concert for the entire world to watch.  You can watch it on their YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.  For more information, please visit Dropkick Murphys.
  2. Virtual Milwaukee Irish Fest: With the trend of putting everything online, the Milwaukee Irish Fest will also be live streaming for your enjoyment. They will also be featuring artist-curated videos, Irish Fest throwback videos, and more.  For more information, please visit Irish Fest.
  3. Shamrocks & Shenanigans Virtual 4 Miler: Just because you’re social distancing, doesn’t mean you can’t go outside and run (from a distance). This virtual race will be held all month long. To sign up go to Shamrocks & Shenanigans.
  4. Virtual St. Patrick’s Day Parade: The parades have been cancelled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun! People all over Twitter have announced that they will be having their own virtual parades in their homes. Dress up in green and orange and have a parade in your own living room!
  5. LemonAid – St. Patrick’s Day Virtual Festival: This virtual festival has several artists performing and will have two virtual stages – one on Facebook and one on Instagram Live. This is taking place from 1pm – 10pm ET and has no cover charge. However, they will be suggesting ways to support the artists.   Check it out at their Facebook event page: LemonAid – St. Patrick’s Day Virtual Festival.
  6. Gardening: This is a great day to try out your green thumb and start planting some flowers and vegetables for the summer. You can do this indoors if it’s still too cold, or outside if the weather is nice. You can even plant shamrocks for a fun St. Patty’s Day addition.
  7. Green Volcano: If you’re at home with your kids, you should create a green volcano! This is a fun experiment for kids of any age.  You can get instructions at: Science Fun! Don’t forget to add some green food coloring.
  8. Tie-Dye Fun: Another fun project for today would be to tie-dye T-shirts! Use green and orange for a fun St. Patrick’s Day project.
  9. Green Food: Try to eat only green foods today. Turn it into a game for your kids by telling them that the Leprechaun’s rule is that they must only eat green today.  It can be a fun way to get them to eat their green vegetables.
  10. Virtually Tour St. Patrick’s Cathedral: There are many museums and tourist attractions available to view online right now. One of them is St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. You can view it on their app or on their website at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

We hope that you all stay safe and healthy.  Have a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day!

 

IAEI News – November, 1932 – Vol. IV No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The November 1932 issue contains stories such as:

Grounding Phenomena (page 3)  A very lengthy technical article from a 1932 perspective regarding grounding.

George Washington and The Business Man (Person) (Page 12) This editorial reflects on George Washington’s view of business principals.  This was during the heart of the great depression in 1932. Continue reading

IAEI News – May, 1932 – Vol. IV No. 3

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The May 1932 issue is packed with many stories and technical articles from the perspective of almost 90 years ago.

Grounding Multiple Meters (Page 33) An early interpretation of bonding service switches when two, three or four are installed as permitted by the 1931 National Electrical Code.

A Squirrel Story (Page 39) Even back in 1932, squirrels were a possible cause of a power outage.  This one gnawed through the lead sheath. Continue reading

IAEI News – March, 1932 – Vol. IV No. 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The IAEI March 1932 issue had quite a few great articles including:

Grounding (Page 27) Water Pipe Ground where the secondary is grounded at water pipe at two or more locations outside building served and more.

Portable Light Causes Explosion in Flour Mill (Page 33) Story of a dust explosion of a flour mill when a light bulb broke.

Hazardous Locations Classifications (Page 35) A diagrammatical analysis of the requirements of Article 32 from 1932 regarding classified locations. Continue reading

IAEI News – January, 1932 – Vol. IV No. 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

Inside the January 1932 edition are articles such as:

Four Wire AC Secondary Networks (Page 12)  This extensive article explores the growth (1932 perspective) of AC networks, Radial systems, DC networks, network protectors and more.

Hazardous Locations – Groups (Page 37) “It is recognized that various gases and various combinations of dust, possesses varying characteristics.”  Using Groups for hazard locations is common but back in 1932, the concept was just being introduced. Continue reading

IAEI News – November, 1931 – Volume III No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

Many topics such as “new” electric hot water heaters are discussed in the November 1931 issue.

Electric Hot Water Heaters (Page 42) This article reviews the New “electric hot water devices allegedly adaptable for practically any purpose for which hot water was a requirement”

Licensing of Electricians (Page 46) A 1932 perspective about licensing electricians. Continue reading

National Love Your Pet Day

 

February 20th is National Love Your Pet Day!  We at Brainfiller have many fur babies whom we love and adore.  From cats and dogs to ferrets and lizards, we love them all.  Above is a picture of our pug Skittles dressed up as Thor.  Did you know that about 85 million households in the U.S. own at least one pet?  Although most of them have dogs and cats, there are many other types of animal companions.  As if we need another reason to love our pets, today is the day to give them some extra love and attention.

Here are some ways to celebrate your pets today:

  1. Make a special treat: Here is a link to recipes for homemade dog treats: Good Housekeeping Pet Treats
  2. Spoil your pet with a new toy: Visit your local pet store to buy a new toy for your pet. If possible, visit an independently owned store.
  3. Give them some extra play time: Take your pet to the park or play in your home. Either way, your pet will love and appreciate the extra attention they are getting from you.  You can also try to teach them a new trick.
  4. Arrange a pet playdate: If your pet loves to socialize, this is the perfect day to let them play with or make new friends. Dog parks are the best places to help socialize your pup.
  5. Take them to a pet spa: Take your pet to get a nice massage and grooming.
  6. Give them some extra cuddle time: Fuzzy or scaly, all animals love to get cuddles from their favorite humans.
  7. Take your pet to a pet friendly restaurant: This one is typically just for dogs, but that’s not always the case. I was recently at a restaurant in Las Vegas, NV and saw a girl carrying around her bearded dragon on her shoulder.
  8. Take your pet for a walk in a new place: Or maybe go hiking! Animals love getting to explore new places and smells.  Just remember to bring plenty of water for your pet.
  9. Drink with your pet: Companies like Pet Winery and Apollo Peak make pet-safe mocktails, beer, wine, and champagne so they can celebrate life with you.
  10. Share pictures of your pet on social media: Tag #brainfillerpets so we can see your adorable pets!

Have fun with your pets today!

 

Case Study – Arc Flash While Switching – Normal Operation?

A common question that I often hear in my NFPA 70E and IEEE 1584 Arc Flash Studies training courses is:

“Can simply operating a device such as a fusible switch or circuit breaker cause an arc flash?”

 

I respond to the question with a very specific answer which is:

 “It depends.”

 

 

Arc Flash Aftermath

Learning the Hard Way

A good friend of mine here in Arizona has a client that found the answer the hard way. An electrical contractor was performing electrical work at their facility.  The work involved creating an electrically safe work condition at the 277Y/480 Volt main service switchboard following NFPA 70E 120.5 Process of Establishing and Verifying an Electrically Safe Work Condition.

The main service switchboard contained four separate mains as permitted by NEC 230.71 – commonly referred to as the Six Disconnect Rule. One of the mains was a 1200 Amp bolted pressure switch with 1200 Amp fuses that fed a downstream distribution switchboard in another room. As required by NEC 240.95, ground fault protection was also provided on the main since the disconnect exceed 1000 amps and was a solidly grounded 277Y/480V system.

The work began by interrupting the load by opening each of the smaller fusible disconnects at the downstream switchboard.  Once the load was interrupted, the 1200 Amp main was opened along with the three other mains. However, the line side of the mains in the switchboard remained energized – and still hazardous.

To completely de-energize the switchboard, Continue reading

IEEE 3000 Series Standards – Update

My 1974 IEEE Gray Book from College – Now part of the 3000 Series of IEEE Standards

I have been a fan of the IEEE “Color Books” going all the way back to my Senior Year in college – yep, I had a class based on the 1974 Edition of the IEEE Grey Book!  Unlike so many other standards, the 13 IEEE Color Book series included many practical examples, pictures, diagrams and were always a great resource.

But (you saw that word coming) there was a lot of overlap between the different books creating the risk of subjects being out of synch over time.  For example, the topic of short circuit calculations/analysis could be found in the Gray Book (IEEE Std. 241), Buff Book (IEEE Std. 242), Red Book (IEEE Std. 141), Brown Book (IEEE Std. 399), and Violet Book (IEEE Std. 551) In addition to the overlap, the sheer size of each book would mean the revision process would sometimes take forever (or at least seem that way).

Beginning over a decade ago, IEEE began transitioning Continue reading

IAEI News – September, 1931 – Volume III No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The September 1931 issue contains:

Rural Electrification Hazards (Page 3) Rural citizens should be protected from new hazards due to the “Revolutionary Change” brought about by the electrification of farms and small towns.

Electrical Fatality in Oven (Page 25) The victim was repairing an oven in a bakery. He had his head and shoulders in the oven and a frayed extension cord he was using made contact with the metal inside.

Difficult Obtaining Explosion-Proof Motors (Page 31) Back in 1931, explosion proof motors were difficult to obtain as this article explains. Continue reading

IAEI News – July, 1931 – Volume III No. 4

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The July 1931 issue contains:

Use of Common Neutral (Page 3) Clarification of the 1930 NEC regarding the use of a common neutral

Electrocution, DC vs. AC (Page 11) This 1931 analysis compares electrocution with DC vs AC and mentions “Heart Cramps” Continue reading

IAEI News – May, 1931 – Volume III No. 3

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The May 1931 issue contains:

Electric Wires and Hose Streams (Page 11) With the electricity being more prevalent in 1931, fighting fires in the presence of energized conductors becomes a new problem.

Centralized Radio (Page 23) Radio now occupies a position in the modern building comparable to the telephone and the electric light.

Fatal Accident Reports (Page 26) Just as it sounds.  Electrification has its drawbacks. Continue reading

IAEI News – March, 1931 – Volume III No. 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The March 1931 issue contains:

Polarity Identification of Systems and Circuits (Page 3)  An extensive article about identifying conductors in 1931.

Why 110 Volts is Often Fatal (Page 9) Opinion about why 110 volts is fatal and according to the author is equivalent to 310 volts dc.

Editor’s Comments about Unemployment (Page 10) Interesting read from deep in the midst of the Great Depression. Continue reading

IAEI News – January, 1931 – Volume III No. 1

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The January 1931 issue contains:

Branch Circuits (Page 3) A very extensive article regarding branch circuits, history, loads and protection.

Listing and Labeling Appliances by UL (Page 12) Thoughts about labeling equipment from a 1931 perspective.

Continue reading

IAEI News – November, 1930 – Vol. II No. 6

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The November 30, 1930 issue contains:

Many pages of suggested revisions and additions to the National Electrical Code.  A few examples:

Multiple Service Switches (Page 4) A resolution to consider the subject of eliminating the requirement for a single service switch and permitting multiple service switches.  A.k.a. today’s “Six Disconnect Rule”

Knob and Tube (page 39) Continue reading

IAEI News – September, 1930 – Vol. II No. 5

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The September 1930 issue:

Standardization of the investigation of electrical fires and accidents. (Page 3)  With the continued electrification, comes the hazards that go along with it and the committee report on the subject is published in this issue.

Insulation vs. Grounding (page 11) An interesting article about the protection 0f electrical equipment from a safety standpoint.

Motor Wiring Tables (page 27) This table is based on the 1928 NEC

Bare Bus Bars and Risers (page 29) This is quite new and involves many fine points of engineering.  The first large installation was in the Barclay-Vesey Building in New York City. Continue reading

IAEI News – July, 1930 – Vol. II No. 4

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

July 1930 Issue

In addition to many IAEI section reports, this issue contains articles such as:

How to Classify Hazardous Locations (page 3) “The Classification of Hazardous Locations is a subject which can be treated in little more than a very general manner” Really?  We have come a long way!

Fires in Radio Receiving Stations (Page 13) This article points out some of the causes and accidents. 27 radio fires were reported during 1929 to the New York Board of Fire Underwriters. Continue reading

Grey Matter (the brain not our newsletter)

Grey Matter Facts

The human brain consists of 60% white matter and 40% grey matter.  But what is grey matter? And why do we call this lovely newsletter by that name?

Grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control and sensory perception.  It is also vital to our intelligence and memory.  We at Brainfiller have a primary goal to fill all brains with as much knowledge as possible.  Your grey matter will help you to remember it.  Thus our reason for calling this newsletter, “Grey Matter.”

Allow us to fill your brain with these fun facts about your brain:

  1. Your brain produces enough energy to power a light bulb. Your brain can produce enough energy to power a 25-watt light bulb, even while sleeping.
  2. Brains are busier when you’re sleeping. We’re always told to get a good night’s sleep before a big test. This is why!  Brains spend your sleeping hours organizing and storing information you come across throughout the day, including all of that information you just studied for a big test.  Your brain is so busy when you’re sleeping that it has to produce a hormone that keeps you immobilized so you won’t react to any of the ideas that are going through your head.
  3. Grey matter isn’t actually grey. Don’t let the name fool you. Grey matter doesn’t turn grey until it dies. It is actually a healthy pink due to all the blood that’s constantly flowing through it.
  4. Humans use much more than 10% of their brains. We aren’t sure where this information about only using 10% came from, but we do know that it’s not true! Although you may not be using every part of your brain at every moment of the day, you will use every part at some point during the day.  Each part of our brain has a different purpose, but they’re all essential to function.
  5. Your brain doesn’t feel pain. Even though our brain will tell us loud and clear when we’re in pain, the brain tissue itself doesn’t contain pain receptors and thus cannot feel pain.
  6. Your brain is addicted to oxygen. Our brain makes up less than 2% of our body weight, and yet it consumes 20% of the oxygen in your bloodstream. The brain divides that oxygen up between grey and white matter, with white matter getting just 6% and gray matter taking in 94%.
  7. Your brain is mostly water. The average brain is about 73% water. Much of that water comes from blood. About a gallon of it flows through every four minutes.
  8. A fat brain is a healthy brain. The brain is the most fatty organ in the body and you want it to be! The fat is necessary to insulate neurons and allow messages to travel through the brain and the body without getting lost.

Have a brainy day!

 

IAEI News – May, 1930 – Vol. II No. 3

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

In the May 1930 Issue:

Chicago Civic Opera Dimming System (Page 3) An explanation of this “New” technology used for dimming and control for both stage and a portion of the house lights.

Surface Raceways (page 29) Modern use of electrical applications and lighting such as desk lamps, electrically operated office appliances, TELEGRAPH call systems etc. has created problems for those responsible for the construction of “modern” buildings.

Designation of Enclosed Switches (page 33)  Clarification regarding the three types of switches – disconnecting switches, general use switches and motor control switches.

…and of course, a whole lot more! Continue reading

IAEI News – March, 1930 – Vol. II No. 2

Reprinted with permission from “IAEI News” by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). Copyright © 1929 to 2020 by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. Current articles may be found online at https://www.iaeimagazine.org.

The March 1930 issue contains stories such as:

Adequacy Requirements for Branch Circuit Wiring (page 10) This article points out that the table with a minimum required watts per unit area of the NEC does not of itself assure an adequate wiring layout. This appears to be the predecessor of NEC Table 220.12

Ohio Supreme Court Ruling about Liability (page 25) This 1929 ruling clarifies the right to recover damages from the property owner if they are negligent of fire hazards and his tenants suffer fire losses as a result.

Electrical Accidents Reports (page 29) Fatality from wires that were not removed, Handyman falls and grabs live terminals (all while using a lantern for illumination) Long before NFPA 70E, this article provides many more unfortunate stories.

Steel Underfloor Ducts (page 26) Underfloor ducts as a standardized manufactured produce was almost unheard of until recent years.  This article references only one installation prior to 1920. Continue reading