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CONTENTS

PUBLISHER

Danny J. Salchert OFFICE MANAGER

Anita Salchert ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Jerry DiChiara jerryd@epsmag.net CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Derek Gaylard CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

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Pam Fulmer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Jim Egan • John Olobri • Duane Reimer

FEATURES 6

How to Select an Inverter: Isolated or Transformerless

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Fall-of-Potential vs. Clamp-On 2 Ground Resistance Testing PART

By Jim Egan

By John Olobri

18

Electric Radiant Floor Heating Films and Mats – An Opportunity Not To Be Missed By Duane Reimer

PRODUCT SHOWCASE 24

Everybody is Selling Time Savers

DEPARTMENTS 26 30 40

Industry News Product Focus Ad Index

ON THE COVER Solar panels in Hawaii courtesy of ProVision Solar

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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FEATURE • Power-One

How to Select an Inverter: Isolated or Transformerless

By Jim Egan, Manager, Power-One Academy Technical Training and Certified electrical inspector with IAEI

I

t seems everywhere you look these days another PV system is being installed. With technology advancing rapidly and an ever-expanding competitive landscape, selecting the right components for your PV (photovoltaic) system can be challenging. The solar inverter is the brain of your PV system and must be considered very carefully. Using the price as a deciding factor is a common and potentially costly mistake. There are many factors to consider before selecting an inverter which begins with a budget and a thorough site assessment. Once the budget has been established, a site evaluation must be conducted to determine your PV system components, size, location and return on your investment (ROI). The site evaluation is a critical step in designing an efficient PV system and selecting all of its components. The factors like geographical location, PV array technology, and inverter type must be determined during the site evaluation and used in the selection of your PV systems components. Geographic Location – The climate has a tremendous effect on the performance of virtually all components in a PV system.

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Heat, cold and moisture must be factored into the product selection and design process. If the inverter is to be installed in a very wet climate or an area subject to hurricanes or strong weather systems, NEMA rating of the inverter must be evaluated. NEMA is a North America standard for rating the ability of a component to withstand environmental conditions. Other factors to take into consideration: • Is a NEMA 3R rating suitable for your systems location or is a NEMA 4X rating needed to prevent water and dust/dirt from entering the inverter? • Is your system being installed on a home, barn, commercial building or some type of ground-mounted solution? • If mounting the PV array on a rooftop, does the roof surface face south or will the PV array need to be installed on the east or west facing roof (north facing arrays not recommended)? • Will two different roof orientations need to be utilized, essentially splitting the array into two separate subarrays? The amount of square feet available with minimal

Electrical Products & Solutions • February 2014

shading for the array will determine the size of the array and PV module. Once you have established the site needs, it is important to employ the most optimal PV array for your system in order to maximize energy harvest. PV Array Technology – There have been many advances in PV module or array technology improving power production and conversion efficiency. However, the most common and cost effective PV technologies are, in order of efficiency, mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline and thinfilm. Selection of the PV module for your system should be based upon achieving the highest power production per sq. ft. (efficiency), the manufacturer’s reputation and history (bankability). How it pairs with the inverter is also an important factor. Inverter – As the brain center of your PV system, the inverter is arguably the most critical component in your system and must be selected carefully. Often a customer or contractor may insist upon using a specific inverter brand for various reasons which can determine PV module selection and installation. One factor to consider when selecting an inverter is whether to use a transformerless (TL) model or an isolated (I) model which uses an isolation transformer. Because inverters take DC input and produce AC output, certain safeguards must be in place to ensure no DC injection occurs onto the AC grid. This is done in one of two ways: Utilizing an isolation transformer which provides galvanic isolation/separation between the DC input and the AC Continued on page 8


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FEATURE • Power-One

Continued from page 6

grid, or separation utilizing electronic switches as the TL version does. (TL) grid-tied inverters are very popular today because, relative to their transformer-isolated cousins, the TL versions generally have a higher efficiency, reduced operating temperature, lower weight and typically lower cost. When choosing between an isolated inverter vs. a TL inverter: TL inverters can be used in most applications where an isolated inverter operates, except for certain PV modules/products that require the array to be grounded. Some PV modules require a positive ground reference to preclude internal corrosion effects; others (primarily thin-film) must be negatively grounded; for these cases a TL inverter cannot be specified and an isolated model must be used. TL inverters are wired without a grounded DC array conductor (ungrounded array). Both the positive and negative array conductors are ungrounded (energized, current carrying); therefore due to NEC requirements in Article 200, white conductors shall not be used for the negative as they are when using an isolated inverter. Typically, red is used for the positive and black for the negative conductors. An equipment grounding conductor is used in either system, “grounded” or “ungrounded”.

Transformerless Inverter Benefits • Higher Efficiency - TL inverters are more efficient because there is no power loss associated with an isolation transformer, accelerating ROI and a shorter system payback period. • Reduced Operating Temperature – because the TL inverter does not have transformer losses, there is less power loss to heat, resulting in lower temperatures inside the inverter chassis. • Lower Weight – The 60Hz transformer used in most isolated inverters can increase the weight of an inverter by 50% or more – up to a 100 lbs. reduction in 8

some string inverters! This makes the physical handling/mounting of the inverter easier, while heavier inverters limit mounting locations and requires heavy duty mounting hardware. • Lower Cost - The cost of the isolation transformer is eliminated as well extra costs associated with packaging, shipping, handling and transportation. • Safety – Proven Two-Step electronic Ground Fault Detection Technology is safer and more reliable than Ground Fault Detector fuse eliminate the so-called Ground Fault Blind Spot associated with isolated inverters. All of the factors mentioned above will determine the type of inverter required; however, it is also important to look at individual features within the inverter. Efficiency, versatility, ease of installation & user interface along with the environmental enclosure rating (NEMA) should be the final deciding factors when choosing the right inverter for your PV system. All of these factors and variables can make selecting the right inverter challenging. Here are some features that are key to optimizing the system efficiency: Numerous field configurable options and settings such as: • Adjustable DC start voltage, for early morning generation, • Single or dual MPPT channels for flexibility in PC array configuration, • Adjustable AC grid inputs (240, 208 or 277 VAC) to accommodate standard interconnection voltages • Frequency (Hz) and nominal AC grid input adjustment are desired features to meet specific utility interconnection requirements. Inverter manufacturers like, Power-One, make inverters that come standard with these features. They offer full range of products that can support any design challenge with features such as dual MPPT, wide input voltage, and field configurable options to optimize the design flexibility and increase energy production. For example: In residential applications you can select between the micro-inverter or the single- phase string inverter. PowerOne’s MICRO HV Inverter has a wide input voltage range and is compatible with the higher power panels which generates more power on the roof. Meanwhile, its

Electrical Products & Solutions • February 2014

popular single phase string inverters have dual MPPT, wide input range and monitoring functionality included. In commercial applications you can select between the distributed or centralized architectures. Power-One offers two inverters that support three-phase distributed architecture. One is an Isolated inverter (PVI-10/12) with dual MPPT, NEMA 4 rating and a wide input voltage range for 600Vdc applications. PowerOne also offers a 1000Vdc commercial solution (TRIO-20.0/27.6) with features such as NEMA 4x rating, up to 8 DC inputs, dual MPPT and commercial monitoring available. Inverter Size Selection: The size of the inverter is based upon the size of the PV array as determined above. Most inverter manufacturers provide “sizing tool” on their website which aids the designer in specifying the proper size (kW) inverter for the PV system. Since Power-One inverters provide two MPPT array input channels, a “string sizing tool” is provided on their website which requires the designer to input the PV module type, brand and size. This is important because the two input channels can operate independently allowing for different string sizes, tilt, orientation, and even the use of different module types for each channel string. It’s like having two inverters in one. Power-One’s web-based string sizing tool is available at (http://stringsizer.powerone.com/) to determine appropriate sizing and configuration of an array for any of our inverters. In conclusion, designing a PV system and selecting the right inverter for your system requires research and a complete understanding of inverter technology, installation requirements and functionality. Making an investment in a PV system can be significant and should be approached like any other investment you would make which means adequate time and care must be taken in all of your PV system component and design decisions. For more information on this topic, please join Power-One’s Technical Training Academy for an exclusive Electrical Products and Solutions training on this topic where we will take a deeper dive into the inverter selection ideology. Visit PowerOne’s website to view our Technical Training Academy calendar for this and other product webinars. http://www.powerone.com/renewable-energy/calendar. ❏


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FEATURE • AEMC® Instruments

Fall-of-Potential vs. Clamp-On Ground Resistance Testing

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

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ast month we discussed the basic operation of both the Fall-of-Potential and the Clamp-On ground resistance testing methods and conditions and circumstances for using each technique. With proper planning and observing a few rules, many sites can be tested using either method. There are conditions that will favor one method or the other and conditions that will be prohibitive for one method or the other. For example, the Fall-of-Potential method is not an appropriate choice to test an energized system that is connected to other grounding paths. Measurements taken under these conditions will yield false low values. Conversely, the Clamp-On test method will not provide accurate measurements on an isolated disconnected system. This condition, however, can normally be corrected by temporarily connecting to a nearby grounding system using a jumper cable. Having said that, let’s compare an actual field test on a grounding system using both methods that when conducted properly provided comparable results.

Recently, a ground resistance test was conducted on a new installation. Both the Fall-of-Potential 3-Point testing method and the Clamp-On testing method were employed and the results compared. The grounding system consisted of four copper clad rods installed in an approximate 20 foot square. The rods installed were 5/8” in diameter and 10 feet in length. All rods were coupled together with #3 AWG solid wire with brass mechanical connections. (Figure 1) shows the schematic of the system. After installation a one week settling period was necessary to provide for better

Figure 1 The Grounding System

Figure 2 Three-Point test connection

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Electrical Products & Solutions • February 2014

PART 2

contact resistance between the soil around the ground rods before testing. The tests were conducted with a 4-Point Ground Resistance Tester, a Micro-Ohmmeter and a Clamp-On Ground Resistance Tester. The soil conditions in the test area were predominately loam with some gravel. Conditions on the day of the test were dry and sunny, some light rain had occurred the previous day. Therefore, the soil was somewhat moist at the surface. The Micro-Ohmmeter was used to measure bonding resistance at each rod and was the first test completed. Measurements from each conductor to the rod were taken as well as measurements from conductor to conductor through the rod and clamp. Readings on the rod to conductor ranged from 615 to 733μΩ at the bonding points, indicating that all connections were good. Continued on page 14


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FEATURE • AEMC® Instruments

Continued from page 12

Next, a 4-Point ground Fall-of-Potential tester (in three point mode) was employed to test the individual rods as well as the total system. For the purpose of this article we will describe the test on one of the rods. The same test was actually conducted on each rod. Rod number three was disconnected from the other rods in the system so that its individual resistance could be measured. The E lead was attached to rod number three (see Figure 2). The H lead was attached to an auxiliary electrode 100 feet away and the S lead was initially connected to the auxiliary electrode 60 feet away. Readings were taken with the S electrode at 90, 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20 and *The average of the resistances between 50% and 70% is 84.6Ω 10 feet. The table and graph shows the ability to test without disconnecting the Here are some basic things to consider. results of this test. rod from service and the ability to test 1. Will your current or future needs rewithout the need for auxiliary ground quire soil resistivity testing? If your electrodes. These two points saved a work requires the design and/or inconsiderable amount of time in conductstallation of new grounding systems, ing the test. the ability to test soil resistivity is a necessity in providing the right tool. Choosing the right instrument A four pole also referred to as four for the job. point ground resistance tester is reLet’s discuss some things that should quired for this type of work. A basic be considered when selecting a ground four all tester will provide results in resistance tester for purchase. There are ohms. This value then needs to be apa wide variety of products available to plied mathematically to calculate soil you spanning a price range between sevresistivity generally expressed in eral hundred to several thousand dollars. ohm-centimeters or ohm-meters. More sophisticated instruments inFinally, the clamp-on tester was used Spending some time to consider your clude built-in formulas for calculating to measure the resistance at rod number testing needs now and in the future will soil resistivity using the Wenner or three with all other rods detached from pay dividends later by selecting the the Schlumberger method. If you do it. A temporary cable was installed be- right instrument or, in some cases, inthis type of testing Continued on page 16 tween rod number three and the munici- struments. pal grounding system thus setting up the required parallel paths necessary for accurate measurement (see Figure 3). Under these conditions, the reading was 84.5Ω. The results of these tests showed that the clamp-on ground tester is an effective tool in measuring ground resistance when used under the proper conditions. The readings between the Clamp-On ground testing and the Fallof-Potential ground testing method correlate together. This occurred because the reference grounding system, in this case the utility ground, was very low with respect to the rod under test. Therefore the measurement from the clampon tester which is always the combined resistance of all paths was close to the rod’s resistance to earth. The advantages of using the clamp-on tester is the Figure 3 Single rod test using AEMC® Model 3731 Clamp-on Ground Resistance Tester 14

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FEATURE • AEMC® Instruments on a regular basis it would be worth your while to consider purchasing an instrument that has formulas and calculations internally. This will save you time and eliminate potential errors using manual math calculations. 2. Are your ground resistance testing requirements for small sites such as residential work or are they for larger more complex grounding systems found in commercial, industrial, telecommunication or for electric utility work? The answer to this question has many possibilities. First off let’s consider the small site. Generally speaking, this consistent all one or two ground rods attached to the service entrance and generally driven 8 to 10 feet into the ground. A basic low-cost three or four pole ground resistance test instrument will suffice here. A clamp-on ground resistance tester may also be used in this application. If we first look at a three or four pole tester we must consider the distances required for auxiliary rod placement to properly select the length of wire needed for proper testing. A single driven rod 8 feet deep will require at least 80 to 100 feet test leads to properly perform a Fall-of-Potential test. If more ground rods are used then this distance requirement will increase. Ground resistance test kits are available that include the measurement instrument, the auxiliary electrodes (three or four depending on the test) and spools of wire to connect the auxiliary electrodes to the instrument. Typical wire lengths provided in these kits are 100, 150, 300, and 500 foot. It would be a wise decision to select a ground resistance test kit that is at least one size up from your immediate need. In this example where a hundred feet would be adequate, a better choice would be to select the 150 or the 300 foot kit. You will be thankful that you did later on. If you are working with larger sites that have multiple rods or ground grids you should consider the 500 foot spools of wire. If you are considering the Clamp-On method for either the small or large site, one benefit you have is that no auxiliary rods or wires are required. As mentioned previously, you do need to have a path 16

Continued from page 14

for current flow in parallel/series with 5. Other areas of consideration, both the the Rod bus system you are testing to Fall-of-Potential ground testers and get a reliable measurement. The lower Clamp-On ground tester instruments in resistance that this path provides, available today offer some additional the more accurate the measurement features to aid the testing requirements with the clamp-on tester. that you should consider. Quite often in a complex grounding system consisting 3. Is this soil resistivity high in the area of many components as well as a ground that you will be testing or is the dismat or grid, bonding of the various eletance required for the auxiliary when ments needs to be checked. This test is using the Fall-of-Potential method very most often conducted using DC voltage long? If the answer to either or both of and current. Several ground tester inthese points is yes and you are selecting struments offered include this function a Fall-of-Potential three or four point with test currents up to a few hundred tester for the job you need to consider milliamps. A more complete test can be the injection current capability of the performed by using an instrument instrument and the test voltage. Typiknown as a micro-ohmmeter. The adcal injection currents provided by invantage here is the ability to test at strument manufacturers in their product higher test currents typically up to 10 offering range from a few milliamps to amps. Testing at the higher current will a few hundred milliamps. Soil resistivexpose problem areas typically not ity usually equates to high contact reshown when testing with only milsistance for the auxiliary electrodes. liamps. This can be of concern if the available test current and voltage is low. Under 6. Data storage and report generation are these conditions you would be better other things to be considered. The off with a three or four pole test instrunewest instruments offered today, both ment capable of delivering higher test three and four pole testers and clamp-on tolerance. The typical 10 mA or lower testers, have the ability to store test retest flown in lower-cost instruments sults in internal memory and through may be insufficient for the task. software provided for the PC or mobile apps for smartphones and tablets which 4. Another area to consider is the amount offer significant time saving and reliable of potential interference from electrireporting capability of the test results. cal systems in the area. This could This can be very attractive for contraccause unstable or inaccurate readings tors conducting tests for clients. An particularly at the lower test frequenadded advantage for the mobile app is cies. The most common test frequency the ability to immediately send test reuse is 128 Hz several instruments are sults as an e-mail or text message to the available with automatic or user selecinterested party. table test frequencies. These instruments would be more appropriate for In conclusion, both testing methods are testing in this type of environment. In- viable and reliable providing that they are struments with automatic test fre- employed correctly. Taking the time to unquency selection offer the advantage derstand the system to be tested and the of scanning frequency range to find a conditions involved e.g. the system is enclean test frequency without any deci- ergized and cannot be de-energized or it is sion-making on the part of the opera- isolated and not connected to other groundtor. The clamp-on ground resistance ing paths will lead you to choose the right testers are generally best suited for type of instrument for the measurement. If these environments because they in- you regularly conduct ground resistance herently test at higher frequencies. tests and soil resistivity tests you might There are instances however in high consider owning both types of instruments. inductive environments where low fre- In all cases try to consider your future quencies would provide better results. needs as well as what you need today. The newest clamp-on ground tester’s Later on you will appreciate knowing that available today offer test frequency se- you have the instrumentation required to lection as well. perform the test correctly and reliably. ❏

Electrical Products & Solutions • February 2014


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FEATURE • MP Global Products L.L.C.

Electric Radiant Floor Heating Films and Mats – An Opportunity Not To Be Missed By Duane Reimer

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hanks to innovative applications of technology and new conducting materials, electric radiant floor heating systems are more efficient, simpler to install and easier to manage than ever before. Line voltage electric radiant floor heating that installs as a thin film or mat under a finished floor is an increasingly attractive supplemental heating option for residential and light commercial applications. Unlike traditional electric radiant floor heating that consists of electric cables set in concrete, today’s films and mats enable streamlined installation on a subfloor below the owner’s choice of hard surface flooring. While typically not positioned as a sole source for heating a room, electric films and mats are excellent and sensible options for keeping occupants warmer and more comfortable with less expenditure of energy from the primary heating system. Electric radiant floor heating installed as films or mats provides a host of advantages. There are no moving parts, no generated heat is lost through ducts, there are no odors, no drafts, and no required maintenance. Unlike earlier electric radiant floor heating options coupled to heat loss calculating and concerns about under-specifying a project, today’s electric films and mats are designed specifically as gentle supplemental heat to provide an extra modicum of thermal comfort. Installing a floor sensor allows the thermostat to call for heating based on the temperature of the floor, rather than on the air temperature. This type of set-up affords a reading much closer to what temperature requirements really are. For those reasons and more, electric radiant heating systems are increasing in popularity among specifiers, architects, 18

builders, interior designers, contractors, installers, and owners. And for the same reasons – plus the fact that the final hookup to line voltage requires a licensed electrician – these systems should also be within the scope of work of electrical contractors working on residential and light commercial new construction, renovations, and additions. No need to cede the installation and the associated profits to flooring contractors! And it should be an easy enough sell: with the heating elements concealed under the finished floor, electric radiant heating provides clean, silent, even heat, distributing warmth evenly across all heating elements, effectively acting as a supplemental heating system. Electric radiant heat systems are a good match for under a wide range of finished

Electrical Products & Solutions • February 2014

floors, including floating wood, laminate, ceramic and porcelain tile, under some natural stone, and under thin carpeting or rugs (though they will act as insulators and so reduce the flow of heat). Ceramic tile is a very common and effective floor covering for electric radiant floor heating because it conducts heat well. Featuring only a few components and available as rollout mats or films of varying sizes, they are easy to install in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, entryways, and other spaces. They may also be good options for home additions if it is impractical to extend the heating system into the new space or for getaway cottages and cabins. Because they are installed beneath the floor (no mortar required!) and take up no floor space, electric radiant heat systems do not interfere Continued on page 22


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FEATURE • MP Global Products L.L.C. with furniture placement or window treatments. The electric radiant heating system in each room has its own thermostat, enabling local control and activation for that space. When the electric radiant heating system is supplemental to a zoned primary heating system, occupants can expect their primary system to cycle on less frequently, reducing energy expenditure and boiler wear-and-tear. Selecting a system that is engineered specifically for under particular types of floors will help ensure easy installation and optimized performance of the overall floor assembly. Systems designed with a very low profile enable an installation that only minimally raises the height of the floor. Electric radiant heating systems generally only have a few components and the films and mats feature pre-attached wires, for easy installation. In-floor radiant systems are more efficient than forced air systems and are optimized in terms of how they interact or

affect the overlying floor. They may also be designed for installation under a specific type of floor, with the aim of optimizing performance and preserving a floor covering warranty. For example, MP Global Products’ QuietWarmth® Film is a gentle electric radiant heat system designed specifically for dry installation under floating wood and laminate floors. It installs easily over a subfloor or acoustic underlayment. The roll-out, line voltage system features gradual supplemental warmth from low wattage resistance heating of ultra-thin, flexible radiant heat film, using just 6 watts per square foot to gently raise the temperature of the floor, conforming to the warranty requirements of many floating floors. The system, which is over 99% efficient, includes temperature limiting properties so the film does not overheat. Lightweight and just 0.16” thick, QuietWarmth Film is also perfect for floating tile systems such as SnapStone, Avaire and Eclipse brands. Made in the USA, it is

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Electrical Products & Solutions • February 2014

available in 4 convenient rollout mat sizes (3’ x5’, 1.5’ x 5’ and 1.5’ x 10’). Each mat has wires pre-attached for ease of installation. The mats are UL listed and EMC certified for safety and can be installed over acoustic/insulating underlayment as part of the overall floor assembly, for maximized benefits. In all line voltage electric radiant heat systems installed in floors, a licensed electrician is required to do the final hookup to the power source. Instead of coming in at that late point, why not come in at the start and do the entire installation, leaving just the flooring to the flooring contractor. ❏ Duane Reamer is the technical director of MP Global Products L.L.C., Norfolk, NE, an innovator and leader in the manufacture of made-in-America fiber acoustic floor underlayments. For more information on QuietWarmth Film please visit www.quietwalk.com or call 888-379-9695.


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Product SHOWCASE • iTOOLco

Everybody is Selling Time Savers

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The key for the contractor is to differentiate which timesavers are actually going to save you any money, and which are simply a waste of time.

s former electrical contractors, my brother and I ran across many items touted as timesavers, from light bulbs to connectors and wire nuts. There were all different types of products, but the real timesavers were the tools. We realized that tools needed innovation! Products were cumbersome - things didn’t have wheels. Moving tools from one job site to the next was a complete hassle, so we set out to change the way we did the individual tasks of electrical construction. We focused on the larger aspects of the jobs - wire pulling, material handling, and how the guys were moving from one task to the next. We looked at where they were on the site, and how many people were working on each task. As we focused on all of these different aspects of the jobs, one factor was evident in all of them – tools! We didn’t have the proper tools to function faster than the rest of the competition. The cordless industry was exploding, but we were still lugging heavy pulling equipment and jack stands from one point to the next, along with wire, pipe, and all of the fittings. Looking deeper, as we acquired those tools, we noticed there were many functions of the tools we were using that were slow and very cumbersome. We became enamored with the mechanical aspects of getting jobs done. So we started developing mechanical means of pulling wire. We found shortcuts to accurate conduit layout, and created better ways of moving the wire around the job site. We focused on changing the things that wasted our time, and what we found were ways to make the industry better! Not only for our own company, but we knew we could make great tools to help other contractors work more efficiently too. Raised in the construction industry, my brother and I had many trials and tribulations along the way. Using what we learned on the jobsite, we found that to really save time, a tool had 24

to be easy for everyone on your crew to set up, and simple to use. I say everybody is selling timesavers because as a contractor, that’s all you hear from every rep and manufacturer that comes by. Granted some of them may save you a half a second, and some of them may save you a couple of minutes. But in the grand scheme of things, the real timesavers are the ones that save you hundreds, if not thousands of man-hours a year. Finding those products is what we believe electrical contractors must do in order to be successful, and stay ahead of the game. Technology is great as long as it is used in a way that is actually going to save you labor.

Electrical Products & Solutions • February 2014

So how do you know if a product is a good idea? Gather your team - your superintendents, project foreman, lead electricians and estimators and see what they all say about the products that are being shown. Electricians and electrical contractors are some of the most creative and innovative people I know, so find out if the key people you trust think that the products or tools are a good fit for your company. If so, then by all means pull the trigger! If you wait, you’re wasting money, you’re wasting time and the competition is driving ahead of you. ❏ For more information visit iToolco.com or call (865) 670-3713.


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Industry NEWS

NABCEP Conference: Learn More about PV from the Experts

By Jeff Keller, Outreach and Operations Manager, NABCEP (www.NABCEP.com)

I

f you are involved in the sales, selection, design, installation or inspection of PV systems, you should consider attending the 3rd Annual NABCEP Continuing Education Conference in Denver, Colorado, March 13-15, 2014. Our “Where the Best Get Better” conference is designed for NABCEP Certified PV Installation and Technical Sales Professionals. The conference is also open to noncertified, licensed electricians who have significant PV experience. Attendees can earn up to 18 hours of NABCEP CEUs for use in meeting education requirements for certification or recertification. This unique industry event offers an unparalleled view of the techniques and technologies used to transform free sunlight into valuable electricity. The conference features 48 sessions of

in-depth technical training on more than 35 subjects from more than two dozen equipment manufacturers and experts from the solar industry. Options available to attendees include seminars on the 2014 NEC Requirements for PV Systems, Ground Fault and Arc Fault Prevention, Bonding and Grounding Theory and Techniques, PV Economics, and Codes and Standards (IFC 2013 and UL 2703). You can also learn about installing off-grid systems, operations and maintenance strategies, designing commercial systems and evaluating commercial roofs for PV. Trainings in specific solar technologies, such as modules, inverters, batteries, grounding systems, off-grid products, monitoring systems and BOS technology will be available. Options to learn about several

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racking and roof mounting technologies will be presented, as well as the very popular course “Roofing for Non-Roofers.” You can also take a behind-the-scenes tour of SMA’s PV inverter plant in Denver. Knowledge is power, and whether you are an experienced PV professional who needs to recertify or a licensed electrician who has started installing PV, you’ll learn what you need to know to grow in the expanding and evolving solar market. (According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the American solar industry will grow by 30 percent this year.) Not only will you learn “how and what,” but “why and who.” The conference will present several opportunities to get to know leading experts on a wide variety of technical issues and to network with fellow professionals who are the best in the business – NABCEP Certified PV Installation and Technical Sales Professionals. ❏

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Product FOCUS New Milwaukee® Laser Distance Meters Simplified for Faster Measurements Milwaukee Tool Corporation continues to expand their Test & Measurement offering with two new laser distance meters that are designed with a simplified, intuitive interface and universal icons for faster measurements and increased productivity. “Many users are not familiar with the full functionality and capability of their distance meters because the icons are difficult to understand and the units are not intuitive,” says Ernie Racenet, Director of Marketing, Product Management for Milwaukee Tool Corporation. “Featuring a simplified interface, and even packaged with a quick reference guide, this tool not only delivers professional accuracy and functionality, but is the easiest to use in its class.” The new 2281-20 Laser Distance Meter offers five different measurement functions that allow users to calculate length (up to 200ft), area, and volume, as well as measure distance with indirect measurement (Pythagorean), and stake out equal distances such as studs. In addition to these functions, the 2282-20 Laser Distance Meter has additional features that include increased distance measurement (up to 260ft), a timer delay for increased measurement accuracy and effortless single-person operation, as well as an inclination function that registers the angle of the unit for more accurate measurements and calculations. Both units offer memory storage, the ability to add/subtract distances and dimensions, and the ability to attach the unit to a tripod for the most accurate measurements. In addition, each unit is designed to fit squarely into corners and lay flat/level when on or against a flat surface for extreme accuracy. Complete with an easy to read, back-lit display and rugged over-molding, the new Laser Distance Meters confirm Milwaukee’s commitment to best-in-class durability and their relentless mission to provide innovative solutions to the end user that will increase productivity in professional, commercial and industrial applications. The new units will be available in February of 2014. For more information, visit www.milwaukeetool.com

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Product FOCUS Thomas & Betts Products Part Of The New American Home’s Energy-Saving Design A model home being finished in the suburbs of Las Vegas has been designed to showcase the latest methods for energy efficiency in new home construction. Thomas & Betts products have been incorporated into the design to not only reduce energy costs, but also to reduce construction costs through labor savings. “We are very proud to have Thomas & Betts’ products play such a major role in The New American Home,” said Ned Camuti, vice president, sales and marketing, for Thomas & Betts Electrical Division. “This home represents the highest standards for residential design and construction, and is a showcase for what can be achieved with innovative thinking.” The New American Home (TNAH) 2014, in Henderson, Nev., will be the highlight of this year¹s International Builders Show put on by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Leading Suppliers Council and will give contractors and builders a glimpse of what¹s new in energy-saving technology. TNAH 2014 uses some of the latest innovations in green building and construction technology, including a highly advanced energy-efficiency package. The home’s green building features include a solar water heater, photovoltaic panels and closed spray-foam insulation. The primary product from Thomas & Betts to help TNAH achieve high-energy efficiency is the Carlon® DraftTight® NonMetallic Box. The DraftTight® box features a gasketed front flange that provides a seal from the box to the back of the dry wall and gaskets over cable-entry points to prevent airflow from entering the house. This saves heating costs in winter and cooling costs in the summer. The Carlon® DraftTight® Non-Metallic Box is also available for ceiling receptacles and for retrofitting in residential remodeling projects. For more information, visit www.tnb.com

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Product FOCUS RIDGID® Announces micro LM-400 Advanced Laser Distance Meter New Distance Meter Offers Quick Distance Readings, Advanced Calculations and Easy Sharing RIDGID® announces the micro LM-400 Advanced Laser Distance Meter. Capable of reading distances up to 229 feet in length, it is designed with many noteworthy elements for quickly and easily viewing, storing and sharing measurements. Specifically, it features a large, backlit, four-line display screen for a clear view of the reading; an inclination angle measurement system for indirect measurements in hard-to-reach areas; an advanced calculation feature that can adjust units instantly to inches, feet or meters, and enough storage space for saving up to 20 measurements at a time. The new meter is also IP 54 dust proof, splash proof and has an auto shut-off after three minutes of inactivity to preserve battery life. Additionally, the LM-400, via Bluetooth®, is compatible with smartphones and tablets, allowing users to view, store and share data remotely. Available as a free download, the RIDGIDsketch™ App for Android® and iOS® enables wireless transfer of LM-400 measurements to a room floor plan, photo, or sketch. “The RIDGID micro LM-400 is a strong addition to our line of laser distance meters,” said Eric Huber, Senior Marketing Manager at RIDGID. “Its ability to perform advanced calculations and transfer measurements to a mobile device makes it an ideal tool for complex projects such as mapping out available space in existing structures and new construction.” The LM-400 comes with a convenient soft carrying case and runs on two included AA batteries. For more information, visit www.RIDGID.com

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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#

ADVANCED TEST EQUIPMENT AEMC INSTRUMENTS ALBER COPORATION BATTCON 2014 CONFERENCE BYTE BROTHERS CALIFORNIA TURBO CONDUIT REPAIR SYSTEMS CONTINENTAL INDUSTRIES COPPER DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION COPPERWATCHER E-Z METER GENERATOR INTERLOCK TECHNOLOGIES GENSCO HB BRACKETS HIOKI USA ITOOLCO KRENZ & COMPANY MEGGER MILLER SAFETY CONSULTANTS, LTD

30 IFC 29 34 9 28 4 17 19 40 39 7 39 11 BC, 15 25 26 IBC 27

45 1 22 47 9 21 6 14 15 51 48 8 50 11 3, 13 19 43 2 20

MINUTEMAN UPS MP GLOBAL PRODUCTS LLC NABCEP NEPTUN LIGHT, INC. NORTHWEST LIGHTING PATRIOT ALUMINUM PRODUCTS PHASE-A-MATIC PLATINUM TOOLS POWER-ONE RUNTAL NORTH AMERICA SIMPLY AUTOMATED INC. SMALLPC.COM SOKKIA STEELMAN INDUSTRIES STRIP-TEC THE HOME DEPOT UNDERGROUND DEVICES UTILITY METALS

31 20, 21 3 33 38 37 26 35 1 23 36 39 5 40 22 13 32 10

23 17 5 24 28 27 44 25 4 18 26 49 7 52 42 12 46 10

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EPS Magazine February 2014  

February 2014 Issue of EPS Magazine

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