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CONTENTS

PUBLISHER

Danny J. Salchert OFFICE MANAGER

Anita Salchert NATIONAL SALES MANAGER

Jerry DiChiara jerryd@epsmag.net CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Derek Gaylard

28

FEATURES 6 Electrical Products Can Boost

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Steve Kiillius, John Olobri, Bill Allen, Cathy Olig CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

Pam Fulmer

Construction Productivity By Steve Killius

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Power Quality Measurement 101: Part 2 of 2 By John Olobri

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The Case For Extended Run-time UPSs By Bill Allen

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT 20 New Cummins Onan Standby Generator Offers Quiet, Compact, Clean Power

CASE STUDY 28 Power Outages on the Rise: New Technological Advances in Standby Power By Cathy Olig

DEPARTMENTS 34 Product Focus 40 Ad Index ON THE COVER Cover photography provided by Legrand

PRESIDENT

Danny J. Salchert Executive and Advertising Offices 3591 Cahaba Beach Road Birmingham, AL 35242 toll free: 800.981.4541 phone: 205.981.4541 fax: 205.981.4544 www.epsmag.net • danny@epsmag.net Electrical Products & Solutions™ is published twelve times a year on a monthly basis by ABD Communications, Inc., 3591 Cahaba Beach Road, Birmingham, Alabama, 35242, USA. Electrical Products & Solutions™ is distributed free to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscription rates are $57.00 per year in the U.S. and Canada and $84.00 per year for foreign subscribers (surface mail). U.S. Postage paid at Birmingham, Alabama and additional mailing offices. Electrical Products & Solutions™ is distributed to qualified readers in the electrical contracting industry. Publisher is not liable for all content (including editorial and illustrations provided by advertisers) of advertisements published and does not accept responsibility for any claims made against the publisher. It is the advertiser’s or agency’s responsibility to obtain appropriate releases on any item or individuals pictured in an advertisement. Reproduction of this magazine in whole or in part is prohibited without prior written permission from the publisher. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ABD Communications, Inc., P.O. Box 382885 Birmingham, Alabama 35238-2885 PRINTED IN THE USA

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Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010


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FEATURE • Legrand

Electrical Products Can Boost Construction Productivity By Steve Killius, Vice President, Contractor Resource Group, Legrand North America

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he careful selection of electrical infrastructure products has the potential to greatly improve productivity – not only for electrical trades, but for the entire project timeline – because an efficiently designed and implemented electrical infrastructure can affect other trades and the overall project. Economic pressures, high labor costs, and compressed schedules have continued • Plug-and-play wiring devices to mount on electrical contractors. In re- • Pre-fabricated wiring systems sponse to these pressures, contractors need • Integrated systems that can include improved means and methods to complete lighting and plug-load control, power projects on-time and on-budget. monitoring, load shedding and transient voltage surge protection.

Products that Contribute to Higher Productivity

Prewired Raceway

Electrical infrastructure products and systems that have productivity “designed in” can help address issues like schedule acceleration, new project delivery methods, a shortage of skilled craftspeople, and a decline in productivity. Although these products have the greatest impact on electrical trades (and also data/com and A/V), they also have the potential to make other trades more productive. These designedin features help the electrical contractor and benefit other trades by permitting them to proceed earlier. Examples include: • Prewired raceway • Modular wiring systems • Welded wire cable tray and pre-assembled pathway supports

Prewired raceway differs from conventional “component” raceway in that much of the time-consuming work is done at the factory, not on the job site. Whole raceway sections are manufactured to job specifications, complete with electrical wiring and receptacles. Packaged to reduce jobsite handling, bases and covers arrive on the job in specified lengths, with all circuits and devices installed exactly as shown on the drawings. There is no on-site cutting of base or cover sections. Electricians simply mount the sections, connect the feeds, and put the cover in place. Time studies and field experience demonstrate that prewired raceway installs in about one-third the time required for component raceway. Contractors also re-

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Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

port that supervisory time is sharply reduced when installing prewired raceway. For even faster installation of prewired raceway, contractors can also choose prewired connectors. Each prewired connector takes less than five seconds to install versus as much as three minutes to manually strip wires and attach twist-on wire connectors. Prewired connectors are particularly well suited for large, repetitive installations, such as hotels, classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, and healthcare facilities.

Modular Wiring Modular wiring system for raised floor applications combines improved flexibility with easier installation. Faster and more efficient than hard-wiring, modular wiring typically consists of stranded MC cables, configurable cable connectors, large-capacity distribution boxes, and home run cables. Modular wiring can be factory assembled with distribution boxes or shipped to the contractor for field installation. Continued on page 8


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components are linked by low voltage cabling so that each relay dimmer and power module controls and monitors energy usage. The result is a system that can simultaneously execute multiple energy management strategies. For example, when someone enters a conference room, the occupancy sensor triggers daylight harvesting sensors to adjust the lights, turns on plug loads, and changes the thermostat set points.

Conclusions

Wire Mesh Tray Many contractors have found that wire mesh tray combined with MC cable is a reliable and cost-effective alternative to conduit. Wire mesh tray adapts to the most complex configurations, and its structure gives maximum strength for minimum weight. The ease of creating fittings, carried out on site, as well as the wide range of unique and universal accessories gives complete freedom in routing combined with exceptionally fast installation. Productivity benefits extend beyond the tray itself. Support systems for wire mesh tray have been engineered for fast, secure installation with no screws, bolts or special tools. These support systems offer significant productivity benefits where the wiring project is substantial or repetitive, such as hospitals, condominiums, office buildings and hotels.

Prewired Devices Prewired receptacles and switches offer labor-saving benefits compared to the repetitive and time consuming process of making pigtails. These units simplify device installation at rough-in and at device installation. Instead of making pigtails, simply connect the pre-stripped connector leads. During device installation, electricians simply plug the connector into the device. There is no preparing, stripping, or looping the conductors; no taping of terminals; and no mistakes resulting in rework or callbacks. The installation is three times faster than conventional device installation — saving the most time 8

at the end of the project when deadlines are tight. With no exposed terminals, circuits can be powered up and tested at any time once the connectors are installed. This same labor-saving technology has also been applied to switches. Simply connect the pre-stripped connector leads. At device installation just click in the connector and tighten the mounting screws. It takes less than a minute – three times faster than a conventional device. Prefabricated wiring systems Prefabricated wiring systems take the productivity benefits of pre-wired devices one step further – offering complete assemblies that speed up installations with multiple switch and outlet combinations. Much of the electrical assembly is completed in advance, dramatically cutting project completion times and saving a minimum of 50% in labor costs. Units typically include quick-install brackets, boxes, and devices that are pre-wired to precut MC cable. Prefabricated assemblies are well-suited for substantial or repetitive wiring projects in hospitals, condominium complexes, office buildings, or hotels.

Integrated Energy Management Even seemingly complex systems, such as building energy management can be installed more productively if they are based on modular components. In these systems, a modular power infrastructure is combined with energy control and management hardware and software. All

Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

The use of products and systems that have “designed in” productivity offer numerous benefits throughout the life of a building project. Reduce design time. Products and integrated systems offer time savings in the design, assembly and installation of the electrical infrastructure as a whole, which is the most labor-intensive portion of a commercial electrical installation. Address labor skill issues: simplify the installation, which means that less-skilled labor can install the job correctly. This results in fewer errors and less rework. Improve project timelines: products reduce the time required for installation, both individually and as an integrated solution. In commercial applications with repeating floors and rooms a contractor may eliminate up to 50% of the installation labor for feeder and branch circuits. Labor savings equal cost-savings, which improves contractor profitability. Overall costs are reduced and profitability is improved. In and of themselves, labor saving products do not necessarily improve jobsite productivity, reduce risk and cost, improve timelines or increase profitability. It requires partnering and collaboration with suppliers who can integrate innovative products and newer best practices to impact the projects overall installed cost and timelines. As other system and building product suppliers – and the contractors and subcontractors they serve begin to do the same, additional productivity can result from everyone working together more closely. For example, erectors, plumbing and mechanical contractors, and others are using pre-assembly and pre-fabrication of systems and sub-systems to speed installation, reduce coordination issues, eliminate errors and avoid risk. ❏


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P PA AR RT T 2 AR OF TI A C LE

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FEATURE • AEMC® Instruments

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Power Quality Measurement 101

By John Olobri, Director of Sales and Marketing, AEMC® Instruments

D

ue to the ever increasing use of electronics, the percentage of equipment which generates harmonic current has increased significantly. The harmonic problem manifests itself with proliferation of equipment using diode capacitor input power supplies. This type of equipment draws current in a short pulse only during the peak of the sine wave. The result of this action, aside from improved efficiency, is that high frequency harmonics are superimposed onto the fundamental 60Hz frequency. The harmonics are produced by the diode-capacitor input section which rectifies the AC signal into DC. The circuit draws current from the line only during the peaks of the voltage waveform, thereby charging a capacitor to the peak of line voltage. The equipment DC requirements are fed from this capacitor and as a result the current waveform becomes distorted. Harmonics in the electric power system combine with the fundamental frequency to create distortion. The level of distortion is directly related to the frequencies and amplitudes of the harmonic current. The contribution of all harmonic frequency currents to the fundamental current is known as “Total Harmonic Distortion” or THD. This THD value is expressed as a percentage of the fundamental current. THD values of over 10% are reason for concern. THD is calculated as the square root of the sum of the squares of all the harmonics divided by the fundamental signal (50 or 60Hz). This calculation arrives at the value of distortion as a percentage of the fundamental. Mathematically, %THD is the ratio of the sum of the root-mean square (RMS) of the harmonic content to the root-mean square (RMS) value of the fundamental 50 or 60Hz signal, and expressed as a percentage. Another useful parameter is the Distortion Factor, or %DF. Distortion Factor is the Total Harmonic Distortion referenced to the total RMS signal.

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The THD is expressed as a percentage and may not be greater than the fundamental. The %DF never exceeds 100%. Mathematically, it is the ratio of the sum of the root-meansquare (RMS) of the harmonic content to the root-mean square (RMS) value of the total signal, and expressed as a percentage. Wherever there are large numbers of nonlinear loads, there are sure to be harmonics in the distribution system. Harmonic-producing equipment is found in varied locations from administrative offices to manufacturing facilities. In the factory environment, electronic power converters such as variable speed drives, SCR drives, etc., are the largest contributors to harmonic distortion. It is not uncommon to have THD levels as high as 25% within some industrial settings. Most single-phase office equipment draws nonlinear current. While fluorescent lighting with electronic ballasts and many types of office equipment contribute to creating harmonics, personal computer power supplies are the largest contributor within the office environment. Although THD levels will be lower than in an industrial setting, the susceptibility of office equipment to variations in power quality is extremely high. In the industrial environment, there can be many three-phase, nonlinear loads drawing high levels of load current. The most prevalent harmonic frequencies are the odd integer multiples of the 60Hz frequency. The third harmonic (180Hz) is always the most prevalent and troublesome. Large commercial buildings have many different sizes and types of loads. In most installations the power is distributed with 208/ 120V transformers in a Delta-Wye configuration. When multiple loads are supplied, each generates triple harmonic currents on the neutral conductor which are sent onto the transformer secondary and reflected into the delta primary. These currents circulate within the delta primary causing overheating and shortened service life.

Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

Harmonics can cause a variety of problems to any user of electric power. For large users, the problems can be intense. For electronic equipment that relies on the zero crossing of the sinusoidal waveform, such as clock timing devices, heavy harmonic content can cause a zero crossing point offset. Odd number harmonics (third, fifth and seventh) cause the greatest concern in the electrical distribution system. Because the harmonic waveform usually swings equally in both the positive and negative direction, the even number harmonics are mitigated. Heating effect causes the greatest problem in electric equipment. Many times, electrical distribution equipment has overheated and failed even when operating well below the suggested rating requirements. Temperature increase is directly related to the increase in RMS current. Because harmonic frequencies are always higher than the 60Hz fundamental frequency, “skin effect” also becomes a factor. Skin effect is a phenomenon where the higher frequency causes the electrons to flow toward the outer sides of the conductor, effectively reducing the cross-sectional diameter of the conductor and thereby reducing the ampacity rating of the cable. This effect increases as the frequency and the amplitude increase. As a result, higher harmonic frequencies cause a greater degree of heating in conductors. On balanced three-phase systems with no harmonic content, the line currents are 120 degrees out-of-phase, canceling each other and resulting in very little neutral current. However, when there is distortion in any one of the phase currents, the harmonic currents increase and the cancellation effect is lessened. The result is typically a neutral current that is significantly higher than planned. The triple harmonics (odd multiples of three) are additive in the neutral and can quickly cause dangerous overheating. In theory, the maximum current that the neutral will carry is 1.73 times the phase current. If not sized correctly, overheating will result. Higher than normal neutral current will cause voltage drops between neutral and ground which are well above normal. Readings above four volts indicate high neutral current. False tripping of circuit breakers is also a problem encountered with the higher frequencies that harmonics produce. Peak sensing circuit breakers Continued on page 14


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FEATURE • AEMC® Instruments often will trip even though the amperage value has not been exceeded. Harmonic current peak values can be many times higher than sinusoidal waveforms. Power factor correction capacitor failure in many cases can be directly attributed to harmonic content. Capacitors appear as extremely low impedance values and are more susceptible to harmonics. Inductive reactance varies directly with frequency (XL = 2pfl). Parallel resonance between the capacitor bank and the source impedance can cause system resonance resulting in higher than normal currents and voltages. High harmonic currents have been known to overheat correction capacitors, causing premature failure and sometimes resulting in explosion. Most harmonic problems result when the resonant frequency is close to the fifth or seventh harmonic. These happen to be the largest harmonic amplitude numbers that adjustable speed drives create. When this situation arises, capacitor banks should be resized to shift the resonant point to another frequency.

Continued from page 12

Detection and Measurement In harmonic analysis, field measurements are performed to identify frequency and magnitude of harmonic currents generated by susceptible equipment (e.g., electronic equipment, variable speed motors, etc.). Remember that most distribution systems are designed specifically to carry 60Hz. Most nonlinear harmonic problems can be detected at the electrical panel. Excessive current flow on the neutral can be detected with a True RMS current meter, but may be indicated by a resonant buzzing sound or by discolored connections on the neutral buss. Beginning at the service entrance panel, measure and record the True RMS current in each phase, as well as the neutral of the distribution transformer secondary. Compare this measured neutral current to the anticipated current due to phase imbalance. If the phase currents are equal, the vector sum of the neutral currents will add to zero. If there are excessive amounts of triple harmonics in the neutral, neutral current may

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Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

exceed phase current. Consult the NEC® for the maximum ampacity for each of the tested conductors. Measure each feeder for harmonic content. A high degree at this location can often be heard as a buzzing sound. A voltage THD reading is also useful at this location. IEEE standard 519 specifies both maximum distortion levels and recommended correction levels. A harmonic distortion limit of 5% is the point where harmonics begin to have a detrimental effect on electrical distribution systems. Harmonic current measurements define the harmonic generating characteristics of the load, so measurements should be taken at the load when possible. Voltage measurements define the system response and are usually taken at the individual busses.

Effects on the System To compound the problems that harmonic currents present to the system, nonlinear harmonic load also have an Ohm’s law relationship with the source impedance of the system to produce Continued on page 16


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FEATURE • AEMC® Instruments voltage harmonics. Consider a heavily loaded transformer that is affected by one branch circuit feeding a non-linear load. The creation of voltage harmonics can then be passed down to all the remaining circuits being fed by that transformer. Voltage harmonics may cause havoc within the electrical system. Motors are typically considered to be linear loads; however, when the source voltage supply is rich in harmonics, the motor will draw harmonic current. The typical result is a higher than normal operating temperature and shortened service life. Different frequency harmonic currents can cause additional rotating fields in the motor. Depending on the frequency, the motor will rotate in the opposite direction (counter-torque). The fifth harmonic, which is very prevalent, is a negative sequence harmonic causing the motor to have a backward rotation, shortening the service life. Noise can be picked up in communication equipment and telephone systems when harmonics at audio or radio frequencies are inductively or capacitively coupled into communication or data lines. When induction-disc watt-hour meters are monitoring nonlinear loads, depending on the content of the harmonics, the disk may run slower or faster, resulting in erroneous readings.

Transformer Derating Most generators and transformers base their operating characteristics on undisturbed 60Hz waveforms. When the waveforms are rich in harmonics, shortened service or complete failure often follows. The derating K factor can be applied specifically to transformers to ensure that dangerous heating will not result due to the transformer supplying load currents rich in harmonic content. The K factor is determined by measuring the True RMS current of each harmonic, multiplied by the harmonic order and squared. The total sum of this is then multiplied by the harmonic order and squared. The total sum of this is then multiplied by the eddy current losses. Transformer parasitic heating due to harmonic currents is frequency dependent, i.e., higher frequency harmonic currents cause a higher degree of transformer heating and failure. The K factor is basically an index of the transformer’s ability to handle non16

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linear load current without abnormal heating. Some distribution transformers are now being designed with magnetic cores and windings to accommodate harmonic content. A K-rated transformer is specifically designed to handle nonlinear loads. The higher the K factor value, the better the transformer’s ability to handle nonlinear loads. IEEE C57.110 is a prescribed procedure used to derate the transformer loading based on the specific harmonic content. Each specific electrical application is unique in type and amount of harmonic interaction. IEEE C57.1200 has proposed a limit of 5% for transformer harmonic current factor. An alternate method for derating transformers is available for buildings which supply single phase, 120V receptacles. This method is established by The Computer & Business Equipment Manufacturers Association (CBEMA).

Meter Readings Harmonic problems can be analyzed more easily when the proper test equipment is used. The term “True RMS”, or Root-MeanSquare, relates to the equivalent DC heating value of the current or voltage waveform. If a pure sine wave and a distorted sine wave were both applied to a resistive load, the point where they both create the same heating value is the point where they both have the same RMS value. True RMS capability is required to accurately measure systems where harmonic current is present. Average responding instruments will yield erroneous measurement results from 25 to 40% below the actual value when harmonic distortion is present. Many instruments on the market measure average or Peak values of a waveform and internally multiply by 1.11 or .707 respectively to indicate RMS values. These devices work well when measuring a pure sine wave. Instruments with True RMS converters sample the waveform at many different points and provide accurate readings on distorted waveforms. Microprocessor based circuits sample, digitize and square each sample, add it to the previous sample squared, and take the square root of the total. This process yields a True RMS value regardless of the amount of distortion.

Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

Crest Factor Crest factor is the ratio of the Peak value of a sinusoidal waveform to its RMS value. Crest factor indicates the level of peaking which an instrument can handle without measurement errors. For a perfect sine wave the crest factor would be 1.414. This relates to the Peak amplitude that an instrument can measure accurately. Typical crest factor ratings are from 2.0 to 6.0. The higher the factor, the more capable the instrument of measuring a complex waveform correctly. When harmonics are present crest factors may be less than (CF of a square wave = 1) or greater than 1.414.

Limiting the Effects of Harmonics Derating certain types of electrical equipment is the easiest way to limit the effects that increased heating has on the equipment. A 25% derating for transformers and generators is commonly employed in industry. Filtering is currently the most common method used to limit the effects that harmonics present to the rest of the system. Filters typically consist of tuned series L — C circuits. Filter impedance is negligible with respect to the rest of the system, limiting its interaction effects for harmonic control. Filters are sized to withstand the RMS current as well as the value of current for the harmonics. In the future, systems may be available which will offset the harmonics by applying signals that are equal in amplitude but opposite in phase, thereby canceling or severely limiting harmonic effects. ❏ © Chauvin Arnoux® Inc. d.b.a. AEMC® Instruments John Olobri holds degrees in both Electrical and Industrial Engineering and has worked in the design and marketing of instrumentation for over 35 years. He began his career designing Oscillographic chart recorders in the mid 1970s. Since then he has held positions of Service Manager, Product Marketing Manager and Sales Manager for several instrument manufacturers. For the past thirteen years, John has been the Director of Sales and Marketing for AEMC® Instruments where he has been actively involved in the areas of Insulation Resistance, Ground Resistance, Power Quality Testing and Data Logging.


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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT • Cummins Onan

New Cummins Onan Standby Generator Offers Quiet, Compact, Clean Power

T

he average American home may use more than a hundred electrical appliances and devices to provide convenience, comfort and security. Even short interruptions of electrical power can cause inconvenience, major distress, and safety risks. Residential standby power systems, which start automatically when a home’s electricity goes out, ensure a continuous electrical supply until utility power is fully restored. Installed outdoors and linked directly to a home’s permanent fuel supply, the residential standby power system is no more conspicuous than a central air conditioning unit. Considerations in choosing the proper residential standby system include the ability to handle high peak demand appliances such as air-conditioners, as well as the capacity to operate appliances that require a higher level of power to start their compressors or motors, such as refrigerators, dishwashers and garage doors. Unfortunately, that’s where many consumers stop in the selection process. Once

power demand is determined, all too often a decision is made without considering another important factor that will affect not only the buyer but their neighbors for years to come – the operational sound of the generator. If you’ve ever suffered from a power outage, you may have heard a portable or residential standby generator operating. If you’re lucky the generator is quiet. If not, it can become very annoying to you and your neighbors. (image fo open RS20A with callouts) Cummins Onan engineers take operational sound very seriously and have created the quietest standby generator in its class. Every aspect of the generator is considered. A secure built-in base provides a couple of advantages. It eliminates the need and cost of pouring a concrete slab and it also eliminates annoying vibration between the base and surrounding sound shield. A key noise-reducing feature to look for is how the generator sound shield directs the air to cool the engine. Quieter

models will incorporate long air-flow paths with acoustically-designed sound dampening chambers within the sound shield to eliminate noise. The chambers are designed to reduce harsh sound tones, while the long path reduces the sound energy resulting in a much lower overall noise level. Many manufacturers rely on a single wall design that only prevents a fraction of the noise from blaring out. A single wall design with air vents cut into the walls does little to curtail unwanted noise. This direct path design will result in harsher tones and a higher overall noise level. Cummins Onan understands the impact of the wall design has invested accordingly. In 20087, they received patent approval for a double walled sound dampening design. This design has long air-flow paths and specially designed acoustic chambers to provide the lowest sound level ever offered in a residential air-cooled generator.—all with the end user and neighbors in mind. They have also incorporated a larger muffler than offered by other competitors. In addition, this lager muffler exhausts into the sound shield to further reduce sound level and harshness before finally exiting the generator. Mufflers on other models exhaust directly outside the generator.

Quietest Sound Confirmed by Third Party Testing Company Cummins Onan engineers have tested their commitment to sound reduction by inviting SGS US Testing Company to verify that Cummins Onan residential standby generators are quieter then the competition. Testing Continued on page 22 20

Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010


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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT • Cummins Onan

was conducted from a distance of seven meters, and confirmed that the Cummins Onan model delivered on the commitment of providing the required power and the lowest noise level. The chart above compares the sound levels of a Cummins Onan residential standby generator with three competitive models. In each load category, the Cummins Onan generator proved significantly quieter.*

Residential Standby power is a very important purchase and there a many aspects that need to be covered in the decision making process. Unfortunately hearing the generator operate usually does not occur until the first start-up. This is not the time a consumer wants to be surprised by the loud operational sound of some models leaving them with a very unpleasant buying experience, and the thought of how they will explain the nuisance to the neighbors. Having the piece of mind that Cummins Onan has conducted third party sound testing quickly addresses a key consideration in their purchase, which will continue to meet *SGS report no 177:026942. Test date there needs for years to come. ❏ 9/28/09 and final report date 9/28/09. To learn more about Since dBA increases exponentially, the Cummins Onan and its products, visit increase of even 1 dBA can greatly inwww.cumminshomestandby.com. crease the amount sound you hear. As standby power demand increases, cities Cummins Onan Generators is a brand are also monitoring and implementing of Cummins Power Generation, a subcodes that require generators operate besidiary of Cummins Inc. Cummins Inc. low decibel thresholds.

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Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010


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FEATURE • Minuteman® Power Technologies

The Case For Extended Run-time UPSs By Bill Allen

I

n today’s business world, companies are completely reliant on information and communication technology. Businesses cannot function without computers, servers, telephones, physical and IT security, and the many peripheral devices that support these systems. All of these devices have one thing in common — they require clean electrical power to operate. Because electrical power and IT operations are so tightly interwoven, power On an annual basis, problems cut directly into a company’s ability to keep its mission-critical systems power outages cost fully functional, and failure of the IT inU.S. businesses frastructure can create operational and financial havoc. somewhere between Power disruptions occur in a variety of ways, ranging from the travails that $26 billion and $104 Mother Nature brings to bear, to unexpected construction accidents. No matter billion according to the source of a power failure, businesses must be ready when disaster strikes. It several estimates. truly is not a question of ‘if’ a power failure will occur; it’s a question of ‘when.’ Having ample back-up power and sufficient battery run-time is critical in today’s with the average power disruption lasting 5 to 20 minutes. However, according to a IT world. J.D. Power and Associates study, the avExtending Battery erage extended power outage lasts 8 Backup Time hours. Achieving the goal of obtaining According to a Frost and Sullivan sur- more battery backup time is not as expenvey of SMB IT managers, 75% say they sive a proposition as one might expect. are seeking at least one hour of battery backup time for their critical system. A The Cost Of Downtime total of 55% want at least 2 hours, and On an annual basis, power outages cost 44% are seeking more than 4 hours. “Hav- U.S. businesses somewhere between $26 ing a longer time to react when power out- billion and $104 billion according to sevages occur has moved from a luxury to a eral estimates. Of course, the amount of requirement as IT managers handle an in- the loss depends on the size of the comcreasing number of mission-critical sys- pany, but both small and large businesses tems and applications,” says Vishal Sapru, can be devastated with a lengthy power energy and power industry analyst for outage. When you factor in lost employee Frost and Sullivan. “SMBs continue to tell productivity, lost sales, unhappy cusus that they want UPS solutions that of- tomers, and lengthy recovery time, the tofer more battery backup time.” tal impact can add up to substantial dollars Most power outages are fairly brief, very quickly.

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Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

When planning for disaster, a system with redundancy and contingencies is always the best solution. Rule number one for emergency preparedness: Never have a single point of failure. Generators are the usual solution for long runtimes, but there are drawbacks to a strategy that relies completely on a generator to supply back-up.

Why Specify Extended Run-time UPSs? Specifiers can do their customers a huge favor by recommending or specifying an extended runtime solution. There are essentially three solid reasons why an extended runtime solution provided by external battery packs can give your customers the peace of mind they are seeking. The first justification for specifying an extended run-time UPS is based on the fact that generators are not fail-safe, whereas, a UPS with external battery packs is much more reliable. Yes, a UPS with battery packs does require some periodic testing and maintenance, but the level of maintenance required when compared to a generator is miniscule. The second reason is that a UPS with battery packs can actually provide another level of reliability, even when a generator is used. The safest solution would be to use a UPS with additional battery packs as more than a bridge until the generator kicks in. If the generator fails and there’s an extended run-time UPS installed, power would revert back to the UPS and the user would have ample time to get the generator up and running if necessary. The single point of failure is eliminated with the use of an extended run-time UPS in combination with the UPS. The third reason why external battery packs are an excellent choice is that long runtimes can be achieved at a fraction of Continued on page 26 the overall cost of a


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FEATURE • Minuteman® Power Technologies

generator. Once again, specifiers must consider initial cost coupled with on-going maintenance for their customers. Yes, the batteries must be replaced every three to five years, and testing the UPS should be performed periodically, but there is still a large difference between the amount of maintenance required for

Continued from page 24

a UPS versus a generator. An extended runtime UPS is a much more cost-effective solution and can provide the long runtimes that are required for missioncritical applications. For a few hundred dollars, runtime can be extended from minutes to hours with external battery packs.

Tailoring The Right Solution Engineers, architects and contractors should consider how mission-critical the attached equipment is and how long the user wants to maintain operation of the supported devices. Determining the correct size UPS and how many battery packs it takes to achieve the runtime goals of a customer can be challenging. There is a valuable resource available at www.SizeMyUPS.com to assist in correctly specifying a UPS solution. This easy-to-use tool contains thousands of security, IT, and telecom products from hundreds of manufacturers in a library that includes the associated equipment loads. This allows specifiers to configure an installation and properly size a UPS that meets their customers’ needs in terms of features and battery backup time requirements. Every business experiences power problems, and when an extended power outage does occur, a UPS with external battery packs provides the most reliable, most costeffective and most maintenance-free solution for extended power outages. For more information on extended runtime solutions and the Frost and Sullivan survey, visit www.minutemanups.com/extrun. ❏

Bill Allen is director of marketing for Para Systems, Inc., manufacturers of the Minuteman brand of power technologies. In this role, he is responsible for development and execution of all marketing and communications functions for Minuteman’s power protection product portfolio.

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CASE STUDY • Generac

Power Outages on the Rise: New Technological Advances in Standby Power By Cathy Olig

P

ower outages are on the rise. With the 2010 Hurricane Season expected to be extremely active and power outages becoming frequent headline news, the need for a quality back-up power solu-

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tion for the home and business has never been more prevalent. Along with priceless levels of aggravation and inconvenience, electric power outages and blackouts cost America around $80 billion annually, according to a study conducted by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.1 Some more food for thought: according to a January 2009 report released by the Electricity Advisory Committee to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the current U.S. electric power delivery system infrastructure will be un-

Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

able to ensure a reliable, cost-effective, secure and environmentally sustainable supply of electricity for the next two decades.2 As severe weather continues to strike and blackouts become more common, home and business owners can no longer rely on the fragile, aging national power grid and electrical infrastructure and need to consider alternative power solutions. Currently, only two percent of American households have an automatic standby generator. Home and small business owners can significantly reduce the consequences of unpredictable power outages by installing an automatic power source that automatically turns on when the power goes out. Automatic standby generators have made a number of technological advancements to keep businesses open and households running smoothly even when the power goes out. New technology provides a customized and affordable smart power management solution, while producing high quality power that is ideal for sensitive electronic equipment.

Power Quality Customers do not have to sacrifice power quality when running on generator power. All generators create harmonic distortion which can interfere with sensitive electronic equipment, such as high end HVAC systems, HD televisions and computers. For the 40 million people who telecommute, work from home occasionally, or own a home-based business, clean power is essential to keep employees up and running when operating on generator power (US Census Bureau). For power that is compatible with virtually all household appliances, Generac automatic standby generators with TruePower™ Technology deliver less than five percent total harmonic distortion. This is achieved by utilizing a digital isochronous governor to maintain 60Hz frequency, coupled with an industry leading +/- one percent voltage regulation.

Selecting the Right Generator There are several methods that can be used to properly size a generator for a residential or commercial application. All sizing projects should begin with an in-depth needs assessment and installation site survey to understand the customer’s backup power requirements. Continued on page 30


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All installations are subject to adopted municipal and state codes. Sizing estimates can be made on square footage or on approximately 40–60 percent of the electrical service; however, these methods do not factor in the effects of starting motors, seasonality or load growth. Such ball park estimates can act as a starting point, though it’s recommended to utilize the following methods to deduce a more accurate generator size.

Commercial Applications The two most commonly used methods for sizing a generator for commercial applications are examining the billing history and using a power recording device. For existing structures, review the billing history that will indicate actual load levels. Using a year’s worth of electrical bills, size the generator 25 percent larger than the greatest peak demand. If the load characteristics are unique or if the load profile is difficult to quantify, use a power analyzer or recording device for the most precise assessment.

Residential Applications

Smart Power Management

After the initial consultation with the homeowner, it’s common to measure the current with an amp meter to determine a benchmark. A load summation and assessment of starting requirements will provide even more accurate information. For everything that will be backed up, add the running kW for all motor loads (except the largest), the kW for all non-motor loads, and the kW of the starting load from the largest cycling motor to arrive at the total electrical load. Once backup power needs have been established, review the available automatic standby generator and transfer switch combinations to best suit the application. When only a few circuits need to be protected, essential circuit backup is affordable and easy to install. Transfer switches that include prewired and color-coded conduit whips can save time and drastically simplify installation. When more than just the basics need to be powered during a power outage, consider a smart power management solution.

It is unlikely one will turn on every appliance at the same time. This means a smaller generator paired with a load management transfer switch provides backup coverage for an entire facility by prioritizing power to specific circuits and high demand loads. The process is simple – the non-essential circuits are shed when the generator exceeds maximum capacity, and then they are cycled back on when the essential circuits are satisfied. Generac Nexus™ transfer switches with Digital Load Management™ Technology allow the generator to cycle on and off two air conditioning units without any additional components. Gain flexibility by adding individual DLM Modules and manage up to four additional large loads. This intelligent load management upgrade is a smart solution to generator sizing because it delivers more power coverage with a smaller generator, making automatic standby generators more affordable and accessible than Continued on page 32 ever before.

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Continued from page 30

Partner with the Market Leader

ease of installation nity for electrical contractors. Experience As home and business owners increas- • Ensuring current codes and standards the rewards of partnering with the most ingly understand the value of planning are met recognized name in the industry. ❏ ahead before damaging power outages oc- • Commitment to product innovation and 1 cur, the demand for automatic standby ongoing design, certification and testhttp://usgovinfo.about.com/od/consumer power will only continue to grow, and this ing awareness/a/poweroutcosts.htm 2 represents opportunity for electrical con- • Broad range of products http://www.oe.energy.gov/Documents tractors. If you’re not already doing so, All of this adds up to a great opportu- andMedia/adequacy_report_01-09-09.pdf consider adding automatic standby generators to your existing business. It’s an ABOUT GENERAC (NYSE: GNRC) easy decision since you may already possess much of the necessary expertise: Since 1959, Generac has been a leading manufacturer of backup power generation • Electrical and plumbing licenses products serving residential, light commercial and industrial markets. Generac’s power • Knowledge of local, state and national systems range in output from 800 watts to 9 megawatts and are available through a electrical and building codes broad network of independent dealers, retailers and wholesalers. Generac is a proud • Jobsite management supporter of the Home Safety Council and earned the Good Housekeeping Seal in 2009 • Successful entrepreneurial track record and 2010. To become a dealer or for more information on Generac and its extensive line of both portable and automatic generators, visit www.GENERAC.com. Partnering with the right manufacturer to provide training and ongoing support Cathy Olig is Senior Channel Manager, Residential - Commercial for Generac Power is a critical element for a mutually benefiSystems, Inc, Waukesha, Wis. She is responsible for all product marketing of the comcial relationship. Manufacturers with a pany’s standby generator and portable generator product lines to the residential builder, strong performance history could effecremodeler and consumer markets. She holds a bachelors of business administration tively provide the following: degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. • Understanding electrical practices for

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Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010


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Product FOCUS

Milwaukee® Introduces New Compact Hack Saw Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation introduces the Compact Hack Saw as part of its new line of hand tools. The ideal size for cutting in tight spaces or making flush cuts, the new tool features an exclusive tool free blade change that permits users to change blades up to 10 times faster. “Traditional Compact Hack Saws may get the job done, but are uncomfortable to hold and require additional tools to change the blade,” says Tim Albrecht, Group Product Manager- Hand Tools for Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. “The new Milwaukee® Compact Hack Saw delivers significant innovation in this product category by offering an ergonomic handle with a rubber over mold grip and a time-saving tool free blade change.” The addition of the new Compact Hack Saw follows the April 2010 launch of Milwaukee’s Hand Tool category. Dedicated to delivering advanced solutions to increase productivity, this category will continue to grow and offer innovative products. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, the new tools confirm Milwaukee’s commitment to best-in-class durability. For more information, visit www.milwaukeetool.com

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Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

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Product FOCUS

Rugged LED Well Lights Now Offered By Orbit/Evergreen in 5 Models A rugged new series of composite well lights utilizing LED lamps has been released by Orbit/Evergreen for use in low voltage landscape installations. The energy-efficient FG 5400 Series features a 3-watt LED light source that produces the same brightness as a standard 20W lamp, yet delivers up to 50,000 hours of performance. The fixtures are constructed from injection-molded PBT composite for durable performance in challenging soil and weather conditions. A range of beam options are available: FG 5410 features an open beam; FG 5411 includes a shroud; FG 5412 has cross louvers; FG 5413 includes a demi-shroud; and FG 5415 has criss-cross louvers. An adjustable lamp directional bracket is standard on all models to tilt the light source 25 degrees for precise illumination of trees, shrubs, fountains or other landscape features. All models accept Orbit/Evergreen’s MR-16-3W-LED-BP lamp with GZ6 35 (2-pin) base. An MR-16 20-watt lamp is also available. For more information, visit www.orbitelectric.com

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Electrical Products & Solutions • July 2010

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Product FOCUS WattStopper’s Free PlugCalc Identifies Energy Savings from Automatically Controlling Plug Loads WattStopper has developed PlugCalc as a key component in its Energy Calculator Tool Kit. The tool is available online at http://www.wattstopper.com/calculators/ or as a free downloadable iPad app. PlugCalc enables users to calculate energy savings opportunities as well as Return on Investment (ROI) by automatically controlling plugged in office equipment and other plug loads. These loads represent a growing source of electrical consumption in commercial applications, accounting for as much as 20% of total energy use in office buildings (data from the Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Building End-Use Consumption Survey). Built on the same user-friendly model as the existing Lighting Energy Calculator, the online version of PlugCalc features fill-in fields and drop-down menus to simplify the calculation process. To identify power usage of each plug load, visitors can accept the default power rating published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (http://standby.lbl.gov/ ), which is built into the tool, or select the setting by activating the slider. Users can easily compute potential energy savings of up to eight different plug loads by selecting them from a pull down menu of typical office equipment (computer monitors, computer speakers, task lighting, personal printers, personal charging devices, scanners, USB hubs). Users can also create customized device lists. For more information, visit www.wattstopper.com

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CENTROSOLAR America Now Offers CentroPackTM with 225W and 230W Black Frame PV Modules CENTROSOLAR is now expanding its CentroPackTM line with its new range of 225W and 230W E Series PV modules, engineered with a black anodized frame which is aesthetically more pleasing for residential rooftop installations. CentroPackTM grid tied systems provide installers a superior PV packaged option, complete with CENTROSOLAR branded PV panels, best in class mounting systems, inverters and all balance of system electrical or mechanical components. CENTROSOLAR offers many system packages tailored to suit every roof type, designed in accordance with NEC and building code standards, suitable for residential as well as small commercial applications. CentroPackTM systems are pre-packaged and engineered for superior performance, and eliminate second sourcing for long lead and specialty components. “We offer the most complete PV Packaged System in the market today. The permit package includes site plan, PV and roof structural drawings and all electrical line drawings as well as engineering calculations, along with complete installation & owner’s manual. This helps our new installer partners reduce their lead time as they do not have to worry about sourcing, engineering or permit delays. They can sell more jobs and build their businesses faster.” said Deep Chakraborty, CEO of CENTROSOLAR America Inc. For more information, visit www.centrosolar.com

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July 2010 • epsmag.net

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Advertiser INDEX This advertisers index is compiled as a courtesy to our readers. While every effort is made to provide a complete and accurate listing of companies, page numbers and reader service numbers, the publisher is not responsible for errors.

Company

PG#

RS#

Company

PG#

RS#

ACR SYSTEMS

34

36

ICC

5

7

AEE SOLAR

15

13

ICC

19

16

AEMC INSTRUMENTS

17

14

KRENZ & COMPANY

38

39

ALBER CORPORATION

IBC

2

MINUTEMAN UPS

27

20

ARPI OF USA

36

37

MITSUBISHI ELECTRICAL POWER PRODUCTS

35

24

BRADY WORLDWIDE

21

17

NABCEP

13

12

BYTE BROTHERS

26

32

NORTHWEST LIGHTING SYSTEMS

25

19

CONDUIT REPAIR SYSTEMS

1

4

ONTILITY

4

6

CONDUX INTERNATIONAL, INC.

32

34

PG LIFELINK

IFC

1

COPPER DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION

37

25

PHASE-A-MATIC

39

41

CUMMINS/ONAN

23

18

SOLARWORLD CALIFORNIA

BC

3

DABMAR LIGHTING

18

15

STEELMAN INDUSTRIES

34

35

EXTECH INSTRUMENT

3

5

STRIP-TEC

22

31

EXTECH INSTRUMENT

9

9

SUNWIZE TECHNOLOGIES , INC.

7

8

E-Z METER

36

38

THOMAS & BETTS

39

42

GENERAC POWER SYSTEMS

31

22

TOSHIBA INT`L CORP

29

21

GENERATOR INTERLOCK TECHNOLOGIES

10

10

UNDERGROUND DEVICES

14

30

GENSCO

30

33

UTILITY METALS

40

43

HIOKI USA

11

11

WATTSTOPPER

33

23

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EPS Mag July 2010  

EPS Mag July 2010

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