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MAY 2017 || VOLUME 53 || ISSUE 5

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2017-02-24 2:03 PM


How well do you know your patient care area installations? P.14 INSIDE

+ Are you pricing for profits, or poverty? + The 7 Deadly Sins... of fiber optics + Smoke alarms on AFCI/ GFCI-protected circuits

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We’ve teased... now we reveal



ver the last few issues, we’ve teased the coming of an expanded awards program, which we’re officially re-launching as the Canadian Electrical Awards, starting May 1, 2017. It just makes sense. There are so many Canadian electrical professionals doing great work across the country (some of which have already been showcased in the pages of Electrical Business) but, while some jurisdictions have their own local awards programs, we want to showcase this talent across Canada. Projects will be considered under several categories:


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• Industrial (small/large) • Commercial (small/large) • Institutional (small/large) • Residential (no large/small) • Electrical Safety Champion* • Special (project that, based on its uniqueness, stands apart from the crowd) The Electrical Safety Champion will remain a special category within the overall awards program, and will continue to recognize Canadian companies and individuals who are passionate about promoting the electrical health & safety of electrical workers. But rather than individual categories for Contractor, Maintenance Team, Utility and Individual, all submissions from any of these groups will be judged together to produce the Canadian Electrical Safety Champion for 2017. This special award is sponsored exclusively by I-Gard, who has been committed to electrical safety since 1982 ( Projects will be evaluated against criteria that include (but are not limited to):

cover PHOTo:

• • • •

Showcasing masterful installation practices. Displaying passion for worker safety. Coming in on time, on budget. Application of state-of-the-art technology.

Winners will be featured in the magazine and online at, and will also receive a beautiful trophy to display... plus the bragging rights that go with it! And, in line with the theme of keeping it simple, we have done away with individual category sponsorships, thereby allowing more of our industry partners the opportunity to promote their brand while promoting award-winning electrical installations. Submissions are only accepted via the online form. For more information, including the Entry Form, Sponsorship, etc., visit, but don’t delay. While the competition doesn’t close until September 2017, don’t let that date sneak up on you. Good luck!

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The 7 Deadly Sins... of fiber optics

When it comes to fiber optics, there really are 7 Deadly Sins, which have long been a problem within the fiber industry, adding significant yet avoidable costs, slowing otherwise fast networks and causing significant network downtime. Simple process changes and a modicum of awareness can make a huge difference in the performance of modern networks.

How well do you know your patient care area installations? Which areas of a healthcare facility’s electrical system must be tested for voltage difference between ground points, for ground return path voltage rise in grounded systems, or for impedance to ground in isolated systems? For that matter, which loads are considered essential system loads, and what kind of power supply must be provided to them? Finally, what classifies as a healthcare facility, anyway, and are the requirements the same?



18 Level Up Are you pricing for profits, or poverty?

4 Industry news 16 Calendar 21 Products & Solutions 21 Personalities 22 Code Conundrum

22 Code File Smoke alarms on AFCI/GFCIprotected circuits EBMAG.COM




Daltco Electric & Source Atlantic join Canada’s Best Managed

Industry players continue to join Canada’s Best Managed Companies; the latest inductees are distributors Daltco Electric ( and Source Atlantic ( “For Source Atlantic, being named a 2017 winner [...] is evidence that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Steve Drummond, president. “As a second-generation Canadian-owned family business for over four decades, this award acknowledges Daltco Electric’s hard work and ability to adapt over the years,” added Peter Dalton, president. The Best Managed awards program recognizes Canadian privately owned and managed companies demonstrating “exceptional business performance”.


EBMAG.COM Have you checked out our growing roster of webinars lately? Take a tour of what’s available over at our YouTube channel at tinyurl. com/hbnw8cg. There, among others, you will find the recording from a past webinar on arc flash and shock PPE. All this and more at webinars. No registration, no hassle! EBMag gets the exclusive from Joe Di Ilio, president of Stanley Black & Decker Canada, about what to expect for 2017 in this video from the Avalanche Media 2.0 event earlier this year. Here’s a clue: it’s all about cordless! WATCH it at h79jdf7. For the latest industry news, events, solutions, stories and more from the industry, go to EBMAG.COM. 4


SaskPower supervisor fined $28,000 for workplace fatality

Following a workplace fatality, Kelvin Rowlett—a supervisor with SaskPower (—was found guilty of two counts under The Saskatchewan Employment Act in Melfort Provincial Court, and fined $28,000. The charges stem from a December 2014 incident near Wakaw, when a worker was electrocuted while repairing a high-voltage transmission line. Rowlett was fined $10,000 plus a $4000 surcharge on each count. One additional charge was dismissed.

Canada’s electrical industry has the “Power to Build”

“All of our members can supply every electrical need that is required by Habitat for Humanity,” notes Techspan’s Frank Dunnigan, as he Frank Dunnigan, chatted about Canada’s Techspan electrical industry having the “Power to Build” ... that’s the new campaign Electro-Federation Canada is rolling out with Habitat for Humanity Canada. The two-year campaign coincides nicely with a visit by Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn this summer for the 34th Carter Work Project to help build 150 homes for Canada’s 150th anniversary. Last year, EFC had selected Habitat as its charity of choice for 2017/18; a natural fit, as its members manufacture and sell all the electrical products required for new homes. In addition, many EFC members are already involved with Habitat as their own charity of choice. EBMag interviewed EFC members Frank Dunnigan and Russ Morgan of IPEX, plus EFC’s John Jefkins and Cherith Sinasac, to learn more about the “Power to Build” campaign, including its goal of achieving $2 million in cash and product donations over two years. WATCH the video at mc2v462. Video killed the radio star! If video is king, then we are the power behind the throne. Onsite or in our studio, we provide full-service corporate video filming and production. Cue the red carpet!

May 2017

|| Volume 53 || Issue 5

ELECTRICAL BUSINESS is the #1 Canadian resource for electrical contractors, maintenance & engineering professionals, distributors, manufacturers and their agents, and associated stakeholders.

Editor  Anthony Capkun Group publisher  John MacPherson Account manager  Deborah Taylor Assistant editor  Renée Francoeur Art director  Svetlana Avrutin Account Coordinator  Kathryn Nyenhuis Circulation manager  Urszula Grzyb COO Ted Markle President & CEO Mike Fredericks Published by Annex Business Media 80 Valleybrook Drive, Toronto, ON M3B 2S9 Tel. 416-442-5600 • Fax 416-442-2230

Printed in Canada ISSN 0013-4244 Publication Mail Agreement #40065710 Circulation email: Tel: 416 442 5600 ext.3552 Fax: 416 510 5168 Mail: 80 Valleybrook Drive, Toronto, ON M3B 2S9 Subscription rates Canada: Single issue $7.00 12 issues: $35.95 USA: $62.95 (US) International: $76.00 (US) per year Occasionally, Electrical Business will mail information on behalf of industry related groups whose products and services we believe may be of interest to you. If you prefer not to receive this information, please contact our circulation department in any of the four ways listed above. The contents of Electrical Business are copyright ©2017 by Annex Publishing & Printing Inc. and may not be reproduced in whole or part without written consent. Annex Publishing & Printing Inc. disclaims any warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the contents of this publication and disclaims all liability in respect of the results of any action taken or not taken in reliance upon information in this publication. We acknowledge the [financial] support of the Government of Canada.


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Engineering barrier fails, shocks Bruce Site B electrical worker The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC, reports an electrical worker on the non-radiological side of the Bruce Power B received an electrical shock and was taken to hospital ( At the time it was reported, he had remained in stable condition. The incident happened while the worker was performing maintenance on a circuit breaker in Unit 5. The engineering barrier, in place to protect workers from electrical voltage, failed to operate, resulting in the worker injury. “Any type of workplace injury that occurs on the site is viewed by Bruce Power as preventable,” said the generator, as it conducts its own investigation “to obtain all the facts, with a focus on prevention and continuous improvement based on this experience”.

OCS finds Ontario construction industry expects growth

With a score of 60 out of 100, findings from the 2017 “Construction Confidence Indicator” reveal a majority of Ontario’s construction firms expect to conduct more business this year than last. The Indicator is an annual survey of construction contractors conducted by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS); the 2017 edition was recently released as part of OCS’s 17th annual State of The Industry & Outlook Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre ( “Increased construction activity is always a good sign for the overall econ6


Bruce Power, Tiverton, Ont. Photo courtesy Bruce Power. omy, and things are decidedly looking better for Ontario in 2017,” said Sean Strickland, OCS CEO. “We’re seeing a couple of possible explanations for the boost in optimism, like investments in major infrastructure projects across the province and an improved economy south of the border.” Visit for more information, a handy infographic and to watch a video.

Chromalox celebrates 100 years of Edwin Wiegand’s “innovative spirit”

Chromalox Inc. ( is celebrating 100 years in electrical heating this year. Congratulations! According to the company, Edwin L. Wiegand invented and patented the electric resistance-metal sheath heating element “that created an entire industry”. This invention, says Chromalox, led to the first electric strip heater that would become the modern electric clothes iron and, ultimately, lead to other patents and technologies. Wiegand founded the company in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1917. Chromalox says it will celebrate throughout the year with special publications, contests and events.

Schneider Electric, 3M, GE make 2017 World’s Most Ethical Companies list

Congrats to the 124 company names topping the list for 2017 World’s Most Ethical Companies, as compiled by the Ethisphere Institute! 3M, Schneider Electric, Rockwell Automation, The Timken Company, The AES Corp., TE Connectivity, ON Semiconductor, MSA: The Safety Company, GE, Texas Instruments and others were among those honoured. Since 2007, the Ethisphere Institute has

honoured companies that have “demonstrated ethical leadership in their industries, using ethical conduct as a profit driver and a competitive differentiator”. “We are particularly proud of being honoured for the seventh year by Ethisphere Institute, and moreover to be among the only two companies recognized in our category,” said Emmanuel Babeau with Schneider. “It proves that Schneider Electric considers very thoroughly ethical challenges and address them with impact and efficiency, in line with our corporate values.”

Brandt saves shuttered Saskatoon manufacturing facility

The Brandt Group of Companies says it has concluded its purchase of the former Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada Ltd. (MHPSC) facility in Saskatoon from Prestige Equipment and Hilco Global. “When we learned that the Hitachi assets were going be broken up and sold off in spring, we had to act fast or the province would lose a world-class facility and the ability to produce large-scale green energy products,” said Shaun Semple, president of Brandt Group. Located in the city’s Hudson Bay Industrial area, the entire 22-acre parcel—along with its 208,000-sf manufacturing facility and all of its specialized equipment—will make the transition to local ownership (for an undisclosed sum). Brandt ( says nearly 400 workers have been out of work as a result of the plant’s decline and final closure in October 2016. EBMAG.COM


Turbines and generators contractor starts work on Site C BC Hydro’s Site C project reached a milestone recently as the turbines and generators contractor mobilized to the construction site ( Voith Hydro Canada, which was awarded the $470-million contract in March 2016, will design, supply and install six vertical axis, Francis-style turbines, six generators and associated equipment for Site C ( “Our initial onsite work will include building a facility at the dam site to manufacture the steel structures for the turbines and generators,” said Bill Malus, president and CEO of Voith Hydro Canada. Construction of this facility building is expected to be completed in August. About 150 workers will be on site during the peak of installation for the turbines and generators in 2022, which will occur in the powerhouse. The majority of this work will be performed by millwrights, electricians, pipefitters and boilermakers, with opportunities for apprentices in each of those trades, according to BC Hydro.

Creating energy and cost savings for LRTs with flywheels

Site C project rendering. Image courtesy BC Hydro. A flywheel rotates and increases its rotational speed as it is fed electricity. This rotational energy can then be turned back into electrical energy whenever it is needed. Secanell and Mertiny examined the possibility of using flywheel technology to store energy generated when the city’s LRT trains decelerate and stop. Trains such as the LRT are designed with so-called dynamic braking, using traction motors on the train’s wheels, for smooth stops. But the deceleration generates energy, which needs to go somewhere. Currently, that electricity is considered ‘dirty’ because it is intermittent and difficult to use. Conventional systems simply send the braking electric power to resistors on the train, which convert the electrical energy to heat, which is then released into the air. A flywheel system would take the electrical energy and store it as mechanical energy, which is then converted back to electrical energy when the train is ready to leave the station.

EnSync Energy teams up with ENMAX for Calgary CHP, energy storage project

UAlberta mechanical engineering professors Marc Secanell and Pierre Mertiny have discovered definite advantages to using flywheel technology in light rail transit. Photo: Richard Cairney/UAlberta Engineering.

University of Alberta mechanical engineering professors Pierre Mertiny and Marc Secanell recently calculated that the use of flywheel technology to assist light rail transit in Edmonton, Alta., would produce energy savings of 31% and cost savings of 11%. 8


EnSync Energy Systems, a developer of distributed energy resource (DER) systems and internet of energy (IOE) control platforms, has announced a partnership with ENMAX Energy Corporation at the District Energy Centre site in Calgary, Alta., to integrate solar and energy storage with a combined heat and power (CHP) system using EnSync’s patented Matrix technology ( ENMAX will utilize EnSync’s Matrix supply response on demand capability as part of the system integration and test several operating scenarios, EnSync says. ENMAX will also provide the combined heat and power and purchase the energy storage from EnSync. “Participating in this pilot project will help us better understand the integration of renewables, storage, heat and electricity in this continuously evolving energy market,”

said Ray McKay, vice-president of energy solutions, ENMAX Energy (

Earth’s own magnetic field underpins this unusual tripwire

Led by Uwe Hartmann (with necktie), the team is building a model to demonstrate its flexible security solution. Photo courtesy Saarland, by Oliver Dietze.

Experimental physicists at Saarland University say they have developed a cable security solution that—underpinned by the Earth’s magnetic field—issues warnings to, say, a smartphone, whenever it registers a change in field strength... as when a burglar sneaks onto your property. The sensor cable system developed by prof. Uwe Hartmann and his team issues a warning signal indicating when and where someone has attempted to cross over the cable. It can be affixed to long stretches of fencing, hung in trees or even buried underground. The cable contains a linear array of sensitive magnetic-field sensors that are capable of detecting even the smallest of changes in the ambient magnetic field, they say, at distances of up to several metres from the cable. The tiny sensors are networked and communicate even the smallest of disturbances to the analyzer unit contained in a microcontroller. The signal arriving from the sensors is processed and automatically checked to filter out any false alarms, such as those triggered by wind affecting the position of the fence. EBMAG.COM





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THE 7 DEADLY SINS... OF FIBER OPTICS The choice between network heaven or hell is entirely up to you /SEAN SHEEDY


Fusion splicing is a precision process, but many techs neglect to calibrate their splicer, which can lead to weak or failed splices.

oes anybody in this totally digital, selfie-taking, Facebook-posting world remember the 7 Deadly Sins? They were codified in the Middle Ages as the bad behaviours that guaranteed sinners were going to spend eternity on the wrong side of the Pearly Gates. The logic was stern and inflexible: Hell exists. People who sin go there. There is no escape. It was a perfect quid pro quo, entirely under the control of the individual.Your fate was in your hands. But here’s a modern headline for you: when it comes to fiber optics, there really are 7 Deadly Sins. The fate of your network really is in your hands; not in the hands of an unknown network designer, or production operator at the cable system maker or the equipment manufacturers who built your network gear. Your hands. These isn’t a theoretical debate. After decades of splicing, connectorizing, testing, troubleshooting, consulting, training and designing fiber optic systems, I can assure you there are real, hands-on decisions made every day that will degrade the performance of fiber networks: the 7 Deadly Sins... of fiber optics.

The 7 deadly sins of fiber Sin #1: Not cleaning before splicing

Techs need the proper tools to inspect every end-face, every time it is mated. When they cannot confirm the end-face is clean, they are playing “Russian roulette” with the network. This interferometer shows particulate on an end-face. 10


Before splicing, it’s very important to clean the fibers you’ve exposed before cleaving. Cleaning the fiber ahead of time removes any remaining debris from the stripping process plus any other contaminants that may exist on the fiber. Please note the importance of cleaning before cleaving. There is nothing cleaner than the end-face of a newly-cleaved fiber. Fiber should never be cleaned after cleaving, otherwise the end-face will become contaminated. This will cause extra

work for the fusion splicer in the pre-burn phase, shorten the lifespan of the unit’s electrodes, degrade the mechanical strength of the splice in the form non-linear splices with bubbles, and cause excess signal losses. For cleaning bare fiber, it’s strongly recommend operators use a fast-evaporating, non-flammable precision cleaning fluid. While isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is commonly used, it is both hygroscopic and flammable. IPA is easily contaminated because it bonds with water molecules in air. Splicing technicians should seek out cleaning fluids that have been engineered specifically for cleaning splices. The best products are in sealed, non-refillable containers that prevent cross-contamination and spills. Look for non-flammable cleaning fluids that evaporate quickly, leave no residues and do not contain water. Sin #2: Using the wrong cutting tools

Cable prep has long been considered an entry-level step, but it is far from! This step determines how everything else plays out, from physical connectivity to performance issues. Get it right, and your network will be golden. Get it wrong... well, that’s why these sins are called deadly! The vast majority of experienced fiber techs are comfortable with hook or straight blade utility knives for cable prep. It’s the tool they were brought up on. They know the proper pressure to apply when ringing fiber. They don’t cut too deeply, and so avoid damaging the fiber. Using these tools requires skill, training and practise. But it’s the 21st Century. Today, there is a wide selection of safe and highly effective hand tools that do not use open blades. The latest tool designs use protected blades with improved ergonomics, including adjustable tension grips and the ability to ring-and-strip the cable in one swipe. EBMAG.COM


This next generation of tools is engineered to improve operational safety while protecting the fiber in cable. So dump your knives and exposed-blade tools and use the modern cutting tools that work for you, minimizing training and enhancing safety. These include fiber stripping tools, ring tools, hand scribes, snips and any other tools your specialty requires. While we’re on the subject of hand tools, you need to clean them as well as the fiber. An annoying issue for technicians is breaking fibers during splicing prep, which affects fiber length and splice tray management. One way to limit fiber breakage is to clean all of your hand tools, especially the fiber stripping tools.Wipe them down with a fast-drying solvent and a lint-free wipe to remove any oils, particulate and residues—particularly the fiber acrylate coating and tight buffer coating debris. Sin #3: Failure to calibrate your fusion splicer

Everyone knows they must keep the fusion splicer, the cleaving tool and

One way to limit fiber breakage is to clean all of your hand tools, especially the fiber stripping tools.

the V-grooves clean, and to keep calcium build-up off of the electrodes. But many experienced operators have also noticed there are occasional situations when, no matter how many times they try, they cannot get a good splice on a fiber. Some attribute this to imperfections in the glass; others re-clean the electrodes. When it cannot be fixed, the customer ends up with a couple of abandoned fibers. But those field techs might be looking in the wrong place. It’s important to calibrate the fusion splicer itself. Specifically, the “arch power” or “applied drive current” needs to be occasionally adjusted to ensure the proper amount of current is being applied to ensure the splices are mechanically strong and optically perfect. This is particularly true when the barometer changes dramatically or the splicing job is at a high altitude. The calibration is very simple to perform. On most units, simply load the fibers as if to perform a splice then, instead of splicing, go to the maintenance menu and select “arch

calibration” or “arch burn back test”. The unit will prompt the operator through any other steps and conduct the calibration. Upon completion, it will indicate it is properly calibrated or ask the operator to re-test the system. If you haven’t calibrated before, multiple re-tests may be required as the unit adjusts itself for the electrical current, atmospheric density (altitude) and humidity—all of which must be configured properly for a successful splice. Sin #4: Micro-bending the fiber

Undetectable microscopic fiber bends (“micro-bends”) are a major issue with fiber cable assemblies when securing slack loops in both premises and outside plant (OSP) networks. Micro-bending the fiber causes signal degradation, yet the problem is undetectable by visual inspection alone. You won’t find the problem until you grab an OTDR (optical time domain reflectometer). What’s the cause? Over-compression of the fibers. The most common cause

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Many companies buy large wipes in an effort to be economical. This is a false economy because they contaminate end-faces when they are re-used. Small, inexpensive, disposable wipes are the best choice.

of micro-bends is over-tightening the cable ties used to secure the cable racking and the cable slack loops. Another source of micro-bending occurs when cables are caught in hinges of panel doors, or even stepped on. A great option is to use the clear transport tubes that come with many splice cases. The loose buffer tube will form-fit into the clear transport tubes and create a tight seal. The clear transport tube will then be dressed into the splice case tray where it can be secured with a tie wrap. The tie wrap will slide freely on the outside of the hard plastic buffer tube. This will prevent anything from pinching as the fibers shift, avoiding countless other issues.

All fiber cables have a minimum bend radius. Users should take care to never exceed that radius to avoid damaging the cable and the fibers within.

Sin #5: Exceeding the bend radius

All fiber cables have a minimum bend radius. Users should take care to never exceed that radius to avoid damaging the cable and the fibers within. When the bend in the cable exceeds the rated minimum, the fibers within suffer a type of damage called “macro-bending.” Macro-bending occurs when cable slack loops are wound too tightly and placed in a pedestal, hand-hole or vault that is too small for the cable diameter in underground OSP networks. Products like “snow shoes” are designed to help fiber installers avoid macro-bending of their aerial slack loops. Macro-bending is a common occurrence when an installer “mouse ears” the slack loop and uses zip ties to secure to the aerial plant. Fiber macro-bending can also occur in the splice trays. A common scenario is when small splice trays are used in combination with 60mm splice sleeves, rather than the proper 40mm splice sleeves.The larger splice 12


It’s laudable the effort employees will make to control costs and protect the environment, but re-using lint-free wipes is a false economy.

sleeves will be too close to the edge of the splice tray and will not allow for a sufficient bend radius. What effect does this have? The answer becomes obvious when you test with an OTDR. Macro-bends are often missed unless the network is tested at the 1550nm or 1625nm frequencies. Most single-mode systems operate at 1310nm because this wavelength is less sensitive to bends and other issues. However, applications today are increasingly using 1550nm and 1625nm. Here is the concern: these wavelengths are more sensitive to fiber aberrations. So at the 1310nm wavelength, operators may see nothing odd on the OTDR screen but, at 1550nm, they may see something resembling the Grand Canyon. Avoid excessive bending and these problems fade away. Sin #6: Hang on to those dirty wipes

It’s laudable the effort employees will make to control costs and protect the environment, but re-using lint-free wipes is a false economy. In fact, it creates a network nightmare because everything becomes cross-contaminated. I have seen a fiber tech in a telco central office “cleaning” dozens of connectors using a disgusting, alcohol-soaked rag. I am sure if the tech had an inspection scope he would have been shocked at the damage he was inflicting on his network. Lets suppose a company provides a large 9x9-in. wipe for its operators. That wipe becomes contaminated when a connector is wiped across it, for sure. The wipe also picks up hand oils and dust. That’s bad, but it gets worse. A quality “high modulus” wipe is resistant to ripping, shredding and linting; it will be unlikely to deposit debris on an end-face. But most companies buy inexpensive “low modulus” cellulose wipes, held together with glues. These wipes shred easily as the sharp edges of a connector rumble across the wipe. Re-using those wipes definitely will redeposit particulate onto the end-face. Wipes are not a significant consumable expense. Concentrate instead on getting the connectors really clean and avoiding the expense of a repair visit. Three important tips come to mind. First, don’t buy large wipes; buy the smallest possible. Avoid jumbo-sized bags of wipes; select wipes in

proper packaging that will keep them clean until they are used. Lastly, teach your team that any wipe, once used, must be trashed. How much is it really saving you, if you have to waste extra time troubleshooting problems? Sin #7: You can’t see if you don’t look

Every field tech should be equipped with a low-power end-face inspection scope and proper end-face cleaning supplies. Even after 25 years in the industry, it still is shocking to see operators trying to clean fiber endfaces by wiping them on their shirts. The same lint that is removed from the dryer cage when you wash your clothes will get on the ferrule end-face when you use your clothing to clean a connector. Every major equipment manufacturer and cable system maker recommends inspection and cleaning when necessary before installation. Operators do not need fancy gear to deliver a clean, quality network. A ferrule scope will cost a carrier less than two repair visits. There are convenient, award-winning cleaning kits available that deliver great results for less than $0.10 per connector cleaned. It makes sense to spend a few pennies to save hundreds of dollars on avoidable service calls.

Avoid the costs of these sins These 7 Deadly Sins have long been a problem within the fiber industry, adding significant yet avoidable costs, slowing otherwise fast networks and causing significant network downtime. Simple process changes and a modicum of awareness can make a huge difference in the performance of modern networks. We have the necessary tools and materials to avoid these sins but, just as in the Middle Ages, it’s all in your hands. Sean Sheedy has worked 20+ years as a fiber optic installer, troubleshooter, system designer, emergency restoration technician inspector, project and sales manager, and consultant to the telecom industry, military and government agencies, and OEMs. He holds 30 industry certifications and is also an FOA and ETA certified instructor. Sean developed the fiber optic installation and troubleshooting course at Edmonds Community College (Edmonds, Wash.) and still serves as its instructor. In 2005, he became a published author with the release of Network Cabling Illuminated. While he still occasionally works out in the field, he spends most of his days as a consultant and trainer. You can reach him at fospecialist@ This article previously published in ISE Magazine, used with permission. EBMAG.COM

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How well do you know your patient care area installations? / ARK TSISSEREV, M.SC., P.ENG., FEC

one or more in-house electrical generator sets intended to be available if all other supplies fail, and capable of supplying all of the essential loads.

Z32-15 defines an essential electrical system as: an electrical system that has the capacity of restoring and sustaining a supply of electrical energy to special loads if the normal supply of energy is lost.

Section 6 of Z32-15 provides requirements for those essential electrical systems, and explains the essential electrical system consists of both the emergency equipment required by the NBC and special loads that are intended to provide effective and safe patient care in a healthcare facility. Z32-15 Table 6 classifies essential system loads and branches, and their intended performance (vital, delayed vital or conditional) for a specific type of patient care.


hich areas of a healthcare facility’s electrical system must be tested for voltage difference between ground points, for ground return path voltage rise in grounded systems, or for impedance to ground in isolated systems? Which loads in a healthcare facility are considered essential system loads, and what kind of power supply must be provided to them? These questions are often asked by the electrical designers and contractors, and the answers can be found within the following documents:



• National Building Code of Canada (NBC) • CE Code-Part I • CAN/CSA Z32-15 “Electrical safety and essential electrical systems in healthcare facilities” NBC Article states an emergency electrical power supply system for emergency equipment required by the building code (i.e. for essential electrical system loads, as described in Section 24 of the CE Code) must be installed in conformance with CAN/CSA Z32-15. Z32-15 defines an emergency electrical power supply system as:

Some jurisdictions provide additional clarifications to electrical contractors on the application of Section 24 requirements.

So it seems some of the questions posed at the outset have been answered. But are there any differences in electrical installations between hospitals and, say, doctors’ offices? CE Code Section 24 helps bring clarification. First, some history: prior to the 2002 edition of the CE Code, Section 24 was limited only to electrical installation requirements in patient care areas of hospitals. When the 19th CE Code was published in 2002, the Scope of Section 24 had been expanded to cover installations within patient care areas of, not hospitals, but healthcare facilities. As such, the definition of “hospital” was deleted from Rule 24-002 “Special terminology” and a new definition for “healthcare facility” was added. EBMAG.COM


Is this correct for all healthcare facilities?


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This change from hospital to healthcare facility was made throughout CE Code Section 24 and Appendix B to harmonize with CSA Z32, which separates healthcare facilities into three classes: 1. HEALTHCARE FACILITY, CLASS A

A hospital, so designated by Canada or one of its Provinces or Territories, where patients are accommodated on the basis of medical need and are provided with continuing medical care and supporting diagnostic and therapeutic services. (Example, a typical public hospital.) 2. HEALTHCARE FACILITY, CLASS B

A facility where residents, as a result of physical or mental disabilities, are unable to function independently and are accommodated due to a need for daily care by healthcare professionals. (Example, a nursing home.) 3. HEALTHCARE FACILITY, CLASS C

A facility where ambulatory patients are accommodated on the basis of medical need and are provided with supportive, diagnostic, and treatment services. (Example, a walk-in clinic.) Z32-15 provides a variety of examples of such healthcare facilities in addition to hospitals, including surgical, outpatient and doctors’ clinics, dentist offices, and psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities.

Impact on your wiring practices So facilities that were previously not included under Section 24 now have to follow the electrical installation requirements for Patient Care Areas (Rules 24-100 to 24-114), which have very specific criteria for circuits, bonding, receptacles and other equipment. Which means the electrical installation in a typical doctor’s office located in an commercial building follows the same requirements as the patient care area of a large teaching hospital. If you think these installation requirements seem rather drastic and excessive for the patient care areas of, say, a psychiatrist or massage therapist—whose offices are likely established in a typical commercial unit where there have never been any 16


When the 19th CE Code was published in 2002, the Scope of Section 24 had been expanded to cover installations within patient care areas of, not hospitals, but healthcare facilities.

The electrical installation in a typical doctor’s office located in an commercial building follows the same requirements as the patient care area of a large teaching hospital.

special requirements for receptacles, bonding, etc.—you’re right. They absolutely would be. That’s why the relevant Rules of Section 24 apply to the installation of electrical wiring and equipment within patient care areas of those types of healthcare facilities where permanently or cord-connected electro-medical equipment is used for the purpose of intentional contact at a patient’s skin surface, or internally during the patient’s treatment, diagnosis or monitoring. Your inspection authority may require the involvement of a professional electrical engineer at the permit and installation stages to ascertain the specific class of healthcare facility, the conditions of use of the electro-medical equipment, and to supervise tests referenced in the Appendix B Note for CE Code Rules 24-104(1) and 24-112. Some jurisdictions provide additional clarifications to electrical contractors on the application of Section 24 requirements. Again, where the installation of electrical wiring and equipment is done in patient areas of those types of healthcare facilities where permanently or cord-connected electro-medical equipment is used for the purpose of intentional contact at a patient’s skin surface or internally during the patient’s treatment, diagnosis or monitoring, then all applicable provisions of CE Code Section 24 must be met, and all test requirements for voltage drop, voltage difference between ground points, impedance to ground, etc., as mandated by Section 5 of CSA Z32-15 must be met. And, as usual, authorities having jurisdiction must be consulted by designers and contractors contemplating electrical installations in the patient care areas of healthcare facilities.

ECAA Technical Training Day & AGM Electrical Contractors Assoc. of Alberta May 25-28, Banff, Alta. Visit

Ark Tsisserev is the former chief electrical inspector for the City of Vancouver, and immediate past chair of the CE Code-Part I Technical Committee. He is both chair of CSA Group’s Strategic Steering Committee for the requirement of Electrical Safety, and the Canadian National Committee on IEC 60364 “Low-voltage electrical installations - Part 1: Fundamental principles, assessment of general characteristics, definitions”. Currently a senior associate with AES Engineering, Ark is a certified electrical inspector in British Columbia, and a registered Professional Engineer with a Masters in Electrical Engineering.

BICSI Fall Conference Sept. 24-28, Las Vegas, Nev. Visit

EV Conference & Tradeshow Electric Mobility Canada May 29, Markham, Ont. Visit EFC Annual Conference Electro-Federation Canada May 30-June 1, San Diego, Calif. Visit SCC Annual Conference Safety Codes Council May 31-June 1, Banff, Alta. Visit Skills Canada May 31-June 3, Winnipeg, Man. Visit ECANB AGM & Conference Electrical Contractors Association of New Brunswick June 14-16, Morell, P.E.I. Visit CSA Group Committee Week June 19-23, Halifax, N.S. Visit EASA Convention Electrical Apparatus & Service Assoc. June 25-27, Tampa, Fla. Visit NETCO Training Conference National Electrical Trade Council Aug. 19-20, Montreal, Que. Visit The Source Show Source Atlantic Sept. 14, Saint John, N.B. Visit

Indicates EB will be there. Visit EBMAG.COM for a massive list of upcoming industry events. EBMAG.COM



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Are you pricing for profits, or poverty?


re you pricing for profits, or poverty? Do you know how much to quote to ensure you’re profitable? And do you know how to adjust your pricing based upon the cycles in your business? Your numbers matter. They are the language of business. Sadly, too many contractors work hard throughout the year not knowing whether they’ll turn a profit. Imagine you’re about to get on a plane with your family and, just as you’re boarding, you hear from the cockpit: “Do you know how to read these dials, because I sure don’t!”. Would you let your family get on that plane? You might be laughing over the thought of this, but let’s look at it from the mindset of a business owner: you need to know every dial in your cockpit, and one of the most important dials is your “Break-even Margin”.This is how much you have to charge on your quotes to get an amount that covers your costs exactly... 0:0 on the scoreboard. When leveraged properly, your Breakeven Margin enables you to: • Set a profit target/budget so you can quote profitably. • Adjust how you price jobs so, when sales fluctuate, you’re able to you stay in the black. • Adjust overhead costs to maximize your competitiveness.

Determining your Break-even Margin

$250,000 = 25% Break-even Margin $1,000,000

See? If you simply multiplied your $1000 cost by 1.35 ($1350), you’d barely break even.

At $1.5 million in sales, he would have a 17% Break-even Margin. (You can see how sales volume has a huge impact.)

Ultimately, you need to understand the difference between mark-up and margin. Typically, understanding which to use can lead to a 5% increase on your bottom line. Your You also need to numbers understand how to set matter. weekly and daily profit They are the targets for your crew, language of per department, which tells you how much to business. bill out and how much to charge out per hour, how to be able to quote by square footage versus always having to do a detailed quote, and so much more. Don’t forget to join me for my next training webinar, “How to Quote Profitably & Efficiently”, June 13 (2 pm EST), where you will learn how to not quote yourself out of business, what you need to bill out daily based on your crew size, and more. Visit to register, and to watch recordings of my previous training sessions with Electrical Business Magazine.

Determining your Break-even Profit Margin Break-even Profit Margin is my own term. I see this as the amount of profit the business owner wants to make beyond break-even, and it’s really easy to calculate once you know your Break-even Margin. All you do is add the amount of profit you want to make to your annual overhead: EXAMPLE #2 Annual Overhead Expenses + Desired Profit = Break-even Profit Margin Estimated Annual Sales $250,000 + 100,00 35% Break-even = Profit Margin $1,000,000

Warning: when determining your “Sales Price” on a job, do not take your Direct Job Cost and simply multiply it by 1.35, because then you would be calculating your “Mark-up”, not your “Margin”. Note the difference: • Mark-up % is the difference between a product’s cost and its selling price. • Margin % is the amount of profit as a percentage of sales. This is the one to use.

So how do you calculate the margin you should add onto your quotes? Let’s start with calculating your Break-even Margin. (Visit to use our simple Margin to Mark-up Calculator.)

To ensure you apply our targeted margins in Examples #1 and #2, you need to determine your Margin Conversion Rate (MCR).

All you need are 2 numbers:

1.0 - Break-even Profit Margin % = MRC

1. Annual overhead expenses (a.k.a. fixed costs) 2. Estimated annual sales.

Going by Example #2

Annual Overhead Expenses Break-even = Margin Estimated Annual Sales

Cost = Sales Price MCR



An electrical contractor has $250,000 in annual overhead expenses (e.g. lease, salaries, utilities, etc.). His estimated annual sales are $1 million.

If the Direct Job Cost is $1000, then



1.0 - 0.35 = 0.65 MCR

$1000 = $1538.00 0.65

Andrew Houston is the owner and founder of Profit for Contractors. He has been consulting to trades business owners for nearly a decade, helping them improve their business skills so they can achieve their personal and business goals. A graduate of George Brown College, Andrew achieved Industrial Controls Licensed Electrician as well as Electronics Engineering Technologist. Visit

EBMag’s Webinarof-the-Month Club! MAXIMIZING YOUR EMPLOYEE DRUG BENEFIT PLAN Prescription drug benefit plans play an important role in employee satisfaction and retention, but their costs continue to rise... Can you sustain them? Join Steve Nowak with Express Scripts Canada in a webinar on May 18, 2017, at 2 pm EST to learn about the costs and some of the options available to reduce them.

Busy on May 18? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording. To Register, visit




Nominate a noteworthy Canadian electrical installation or electrical safety champion.

CONTEST OPENS May 1, 2017. CLOSES September 2017.

Visit for full details. * And, yes, sponsorships are available!


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products and solutions

Brady Safety Lock and Tag Carrier

Brady says its Safety Lock and Tag Carrier can hold up to 12 safety padlocks and keys, as well as lockout hasps and procedure tags. With an offset design for flush wall or equipment mounting, or hanging on a belt clip, the carrier keeps lockout supplies in one place, and also includes two small and one large carabiners, a coiled key strap, product labels and three lockout procedure tags.

Arlington designs fittings for PVC jacketed MC cable

Arlington says its “liquid-tight, concrete-tight” fittings for PVC jacketed MC cable and Teck 90 cable are perfect for parking decks and high-rise residential applications. These new, larger size fittings cover “the widest cable range”: 14/2 to 6/3. The company says they are also compact and cUL-listed.

RECALL: Shock hazard with SolarWorld PV Amphenol connectors

SolarWorld is recalling thousands of connectors sold with its solar panels due to an electrical shock hazard. The only remedy is replacement. EBMAG.COM

The recall involves Amphenol UTX PV model electrical connectors, which are used to connect various types of PV panels to the electrical system. Visit

Standard Products LED shoplight

Standard Products says its new LED shoplight (LSHOP series) “just plugs in and you turn it on by pulling the chain”. It comes equipped with a keyhole to surface mount and also with adjustable suspension cables for suspended installation. There is no need to remove the lens or open the luminaire as the luminaire is fully assembled with integrated LED lights, Standard adds.

Schneider Electric’s next generation of EcoStruxure

Schneider Electric has launched its next generation EcoStruxure architecture and platform to deliver IoT-enabled solutions at scale for building, grid, industry and data centre customers. The enhanced architecture and platform is open and interoperable, the company says, and provides a portfolio of cloud-connected and/or on-premise technologies.

RECALL expanded: Garrison, Maison, Noma, Rona & UPM thermostats

Health Canada has further expanded a recall (which commenced back in January 2011) involving certain line-voltage thermostats that may overheat, emit smoke and damage the wall, posing a fire hazard to consumers. The recall involves Garrison, Maison, NOMA, RONA and UPM thermostats. Visit Visit EBMAG.COM for the latest news, stories, products, videos, photo galleries and industry events.

PERSONALITIES Pilz Automation Safety Canada LP ( welcomes Marcus Graham to its team. He will be serving customers in Southwestern Ontario as a senior technical sales representative. Previously Graham worked at Franklin Empire. Rick Blasl, director of sales & marketing with Hubbell Canada’s lighting division, announced the appointment of Dave Edgson as national account & controls manager, HLI (Hubbell Lighting Inc., Edgson has more than 19 years’ of experience in the Lighting & Controls industry, says the company, and is charged with developing and executing business strategies across Canada. Marc-Andre Laurin of Cadence Automatisation (left) with Andre Bousette of Rittal Systems Ltd. Photo courtesy Rittal Systems Ltd.

Enclosure manufacturer Rittal Systems Ltd. ( has added Cadence Automatisation ( to its distribution/partner network in Quebec. Among Rittal’s offerings are TS8 modular enclosures and Blue e+ enclosure cooling units. Robertson Electric Wholesale ( announced Kendra Smith is joining its Nationals Accounts team as Key Accounts Rep. “Kendra brings valuable experience and knowledge of the industry, and we would like to wish her the best of success in her new role,” said the company. Etlin-Daniels ( has appointed Agence Ricard its sales agency ( for the Province of Quebec and the City of Ottawa, while Electrical Sales Network has been appointed sales agency for the Province of Ontario (

need help prospecting? Has Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation reduced your email prospects list? EBMag’s newsletter reaches 12,900 CASL-compliant subscribers, and it does so every week! Visit

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Smoke alarms on AFCI/GFCI-protected circuits


equired by the permit a smoke alarm(s)—or National Building a smoke alarm that includes a Code (NBC), smoke carbon monoxide alarm—to alarms must be be connected to a GFCI/ permanently con- AFCI-protected circuit provided nected to a lighting circuit, or it has a battery-powered secondone that supplies both lighting ary supply. This approved and receptacles, so as code change follows to quickly detect when The a change in the 2012 there’s a problem with permission NBC, Division B, the circuit. that will be Clause, Based on current granted by which now requires requirements in Rule 32-110 (CE Code Rule 32-110 smoke alarms to be 2015), however, smoke in 2018 only hardwired and have an alternate power alarms are not permitapplies to source that can ted to be supplied by smoke and power the device a branch circuit protected by a ground/ combo-type for 7 days and still provide 4 minutes arc fault circuit intersmoke of alarm. rupter (GFCI/AFCI) alarms. Meantime, CAN/ because, during a fire ULC-S531 “Stansituation, the interrupter may trip and potentially dard for smoke alarms” (which includes smoke and combindisable the smoke alarm. In the 24th Ed. of the CE ation-type smoke alarms) has Code (2018), Rule 32-110 will also been updated (in 2014).

CODE conundrum TACKLE THE CODE CONUNDRUM IF YOU DARE! Answers to this month’s questions in June’s Electrical Business.

Compiled by Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority How did YOU do? 3 • Master Electrician 2 • Journeyman 1 • Apprentice 0 • Bricklayer ?!? 22


The revised standard now mandates these devices to be connected to a secondary power supply (battery).This secondary supply must be able to power the alarm for no less than 7 days in the standby condition and, thereafter, be able to signal the alarm continuously for at least 4 minutes. N.B. The permission that will be granted by Rule 32-110 in 2018 only applies to smoke and combotype smoke alarms. Stand-alone carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are not required by NBC to be permanently connected but, when they are, they are not permitted to be connected to a GFCI/ AFCI-protected circuit. Standalone CO alarms are certified to a different standard (CSA 6.19), and the optional (not mandatory) secondary power supply provides much less backup power than the one required for smoke alarms.

So, with all of these changes, smoke and combo-type smoke alarms connected to a lighting circuit protected by GFCI/AFCI will continue to operate and alert occupants, even in the event of a trip. Thankfully, a change in the upcoming CE Code 24th Ed. eliminates this stumbling block that prevents lighting circuits to be included in the group of AFCI-protected circuits, which is the ultimate safety goal in residential installations. Always consult your AHJ for more specific interpretations.

Tatjana Dinic is the acting director for Engineering & Program Development at Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) where, among other things, she is responsible for product safety, code development, improving harmonization and alternative compliance, and aging infrastructure programs. She is Professional Engineer with an M.Eng. from the University of Toronto, and a member of CE Code-Part I, Sections 4, 10 and 30. She can be reached at



For hotels, the minimum ampacity for service or feeder conductors shall be based on a basic load of W/m2, plus other lighting loads for special areas, as well as heating and A/C loads. a) 15 c) 30 b) 20 d) 50

Electrical Business, April 2017

QUESTION 2 In adequately ventilated areas where paint finishes are regularly sprayed, the interiors of spray booths and their exhaust ducts are considered: a) Class I, Zone 1 c) Class II, Div. 1 b) Class I, Zone 2 d) Class II, Div. 2

QUESTION 3 In basic care areas, and areas routinely cleaned with liquids that splash against the walls, receptacles shall be installed not less than mm above the floor. c) 500 mm a) 250 mm b) 300 mm d) 600 mm

Question 1 When receptacles are mounted vertically in a trailer park, the CE Code requires the U-ground slot to be: a) At the top. Rule 72-110 (3). Question 2 For a mobile home, the minimum permitted size conductor for the power supply cord is: c) #6 AWG. Rule 70-108(4)(a). Question 3 Does the CE Code permit a #6AWG system grounding conductor, which is free from exposure to mechanical injury, to run exposed along the surface of a building if it is rigidly stapled to the construction? a) Yes. Rule 10-806(2).





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