Flame Resistant Clothing

Why the market for flame-resistant clothing is growing

Heard this last evening on public radio’s Marketplace show; was interesting and informative. As someone who works with high power electricity now and then; Flame Resistant (FR) clothing is de rigeur (and often a more protective Arc Flash rated suit). And as the article states “…typically, FRs were stiff and heavy, with little thought to fashion.”

It’s nice to see more stylish, comfortable, and flexible alternatives when it comes to protective garments.

The Drones are Coming

The Drones Are Coming
Transmission & Distribution World Magazine – May 28, 2015

Carl Tyburski, Eversource, and Alfred Gates, Central Connecticut State University

Mostly interesting because Eversource is my utility, and CCSU is located in New Britain, CT, our home city.

To date, the team has logged more than 200 test flights in close proximity of transmission lines and support structures. The UAS is operated by a pilot and observer, and is only flown next to the lines and structures to survey the equipment. The aircraft is always in the crew’s line of sight and is not flown freely along the right-of-way.

One of many wonderful applications for this new technology.

Happy (belated) Anniversary to PowerLines

Digging out an old report for the previous blog post, I realized that I started PowerLines in December 1994, not December 1995 as I have mentally filed away, This means that the 20th Anniversary celebration (mainly virtual) that I had planned for December 2015 should actually have taken place in December of 2014.

Happy Platinum Anniversary to PowerLines, better late than never.

Via Linked In / Pulse – Experiential Marketers: The Essex Steam Train Will Blow Your Mind

Came across this review / write-up of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat’s North Pole Express event today.

If your expertise is crafting product experiences, the Essex Steam Train is a humbling display of perfection. Essex is a great reminder of what kids marketing is about: creating a prolonged state of pure joy.

It is, in a word, amazing. Frighteningly positive in fact. PowerLines has been working with the folks at Essex Steam Train & Riverboat since 2002 – building their first official website, and growing with them to manage social media, blogs,  email marketing, and maintain their website. We’ve been up and down over the years, but the present product and the team behind it, is pretty amazing.

I can’t personally take credit for their various events and excursions, but having witnessed the evolution over the years, I’m proud to be part of the “public face” of this venerable Connecticut destination and company.

Hartford Courant: Small Engine Fuels Big Ideas

LiquidPiston Inc. has an iPhone-sized engine it says could lead to quieter power generators, lighter weed-whackers, and more efficient unmanned flying drones. At 4 pounds, the three-horsepower X Mini gasoline engine, which the Bloomfield company planned to unveil Wednesday morning at an industry conference in Italy, boasts just two moving parts — a shaft and a rotor — and weighs 30 percent less than engines of comparable strength. – Hartford Courant, Nov 19, 2014

PowerLines visited Liquid Piston back in 2012 – they were having some noise issues in their instrumentation / test rig (which is featured in the video below), and we helped out with grounding and shielding recommendations. We were duly impressed with what now appears to have been their X2 engine; really neat technology especially in light of electric vehicles. The X Mini also seems pretty innovative.

It’s awesome to see technology being developed in the state, and to have even a tiny part in it!

Wichita Eagle: Plane crash at FlightSafety Wichita

Plane crash at FlightSafety building will hinder training on some Cessna aircraft

When news of a plane crash into a aircraft training facility in Wichita came across the net last week; I knew exactly where it was. We’ve done quite a bit of work for FlightSafety International, working on grounding, electrical noise, and power quality issues for their flight simulators. And in fact, we spent some time in the Wichita Flightsafety facility – doing demand studies on some of their simulator devices. I remember well how close the training facility was to the airport.

Thoughts and prayers to all of the affected employees, pilots, and families.

PowerLines New Website

The shoemaker’s children go barefoot. It’s a sad, but true, proverb. Despite living online, and taking care of many clients and organizations, I’ve been neglecting my own professional website.

Until now. I’ve upgraded my site to WordPress, and I am busily working through the site refreshing content. Based on the blog posts, I’ve been neglecting things since 2008…so a reboot is long overdue!

Power Quality 2008

I’ll be heading out to Las Vegas at the end of the month for the Power Quality Conference, held concurrently this year with the Electric West show.

On Thursday, Feb 28th I’ll be chairing PQT 6: Energy. Oh goodie – I’m such a fan of companies that promote “Energy Savings Through Power Quality”. I’m all for energy savings and all for power quality, but I am dubious about companies and products that promise both. Smoke and mirrors, often.

On Friday, Feb 29th, I’ll be presenting a paper in session PQT 9 – Case Studies – Medical entitled “Power Quality in the Mobile Medical Environment”. Once again, it will be me, and two presenters from GE Healthcare. Also, someone from EPRI (last conference, it was me and three GE Healthcare papers).

If you are headed to the conference, do look me up, and say hello!

The Road to Perdition…..

….is paved with good intentions. And the road to poor power quality is paved with power conditioning devices. Four examples:

1) Reviewing a power quality study, wherein the complaint is a chiller that is shutting down due to excessive voltage imbalance. The voltage imbalance chart showed unusual step changes in voltage balance, often exceeding 2%. The problem: the site had a tap-switch voltage regulator installed, and as individual phases were regulated, voltage balance jumped from relatively balanced to relatively imbalanced. The solution: Bypass the voltage regulator.

2) A second study, with imaging artifacts affecting an MRI system after several years of satisfactory service. The system is protected by a UPS, and shows a higher than typical number of load related events. The problem: the UPS requires the battery string to supply the maximum imaging system load. As the batteries have aged, they were unable to support the peak load. The solution: service the UPS / battery string; in all likelihood the battery string needs to be replaced. A different UPS, that did not rely on the battery supply peak power, would not have had this problem.

3) Finally, a site with repetitive (~ 10 minutes) and severe low frequency transients. A facility based capacitor bank, intended to correct voltage and power factor, is malfunctioning – the capacitors pull in, and then shut down 45 seconds later (for so far unknown reasons) – probably internal fault or error indications. Ten minutes later, the caps try again. A CT scanner has been damaged repeatedly by this problem.

Patent (Not) Pending

I periodically Google PowerLines, just in case. Today, I found a patent that was recently assigned:

United States Patent 7164275
AC power line impedance monitoring method and system
US Patent Issued on January 16, 2007

Two devices that I had a hand in were referenced in the patent. The novel bits seem to relate to a capacitive resonant circuit used to assess the inductive component of the impedance. We are impressed!

Invented by Mike Gaspari, assigned to Rockwell Automation Technologies, Inc. I wonder if they will be coming after me (too late, we stopped selling the ZM-100 a few years back). I’m going to try to contact Mr. Gaspari – because it looks like a neat device and I hope it gets turned into a measurement device.