Hospital Conditions in New Orleans Worsen

An AP report by Adam Nossiter, on Yahoo, here
“As floodwaters rose around Charity Hospital, the rescuers needed their own rescuing.
Charity’s backup generator was running out of diesel fuel.

“It’s like being in a Third World country. We’re trying to work without power….We’re just trying to stay alive,” said Mitch Handrich.

Just incredible.

Fluke Mains Impedance Meter

Since the discontinuation of the ZM-100 Meter, we have occasional requests to quote these, or barring that, to recommend alternatives.

Fluke makes a similar device – Models 1650 / 1652 / 1653. You can get some information about this device here. My one caveat – this appears to be a device sold in Europe only – so you may need to hunt around to find it in the United States.

Annoying Power Monitors

A client has recently contacted us about looking at some data from a Hioki 3196 Power Analyzer. Unfortunately, getting a look at the data is like pulling teeth – there appears to be no simple viewer software to look at things, and the official software (9524-10 PQA-HiView Pro) is hyper-protected with a USB software key / dongle.

So it’s been a week of back and forth and Fed Ex bills trying to get access to the software. I’m not going to buy a $995 software package for a couple of hours worth of consulting to review the data and write up a report.

Hey, Hioki: If you want industry acceptance (and coincidentally, higher volume of hardware sales) it might be a good plan to put together a low end “reader / viewer” that lets people use the data. One of my clients in the medical OEM world has a fleet of 30 or so RPM meters. The fact that the RPM analysis software is pretty portable and not so fanatically guarded is a pretty important consideration to a field service organization where the meters will be shared among many service persons, and analyzed remotely.

I have no problem with keying your software in such a way that you need the dongle to talk to a power analyzer, or making certain features dependent upon the full license and key. But come on – are you in the software business here or the test equipment business? And do you want to ever be anything more than a niche player in the power quality field?

A good model for you might be Adobe – their Acrobat reader is a free download. So Adobe has given away a lot of free software, and not coincidentally become the industry standard for document transmission. And, oh by the way, sold a boatload of full Acrobat packages (and not inexpensively) to content providers such as myself to create the documents.

My two cents – still waiting to look at this data – it’ll probably be another couple of days…..

eTRust ezAntivirus

Computer Associate’s eTrust ezAntivurus program has become the standard here at PowerLines. Mostly because its almost transparent in terms of impacting processor speed and application function, it does its downloads transparently without popping up windows all the time, and it seems to work (have not gotten bitten in years)

And the purchase price / annual renewal fee is pittance ($20, this year)

High Frequency Noise

Whatever happened to high frequency noise? Remember the BMI-4800/8800 high frequency noise feature? I know it was coarse, I know it was not standardized. Oneac used to have their little OneViewer that also was a useful tool. So….what happened? Was it a canard? Just too tough to quantify? Do we just assume that isolation transformers and filters are omnipresent, or that equipment is sufficiently rugged to deal with noise?

I recently went to a site that is having some power problems, and the suspected problem is noise from welding machines either radiated (feeder not in metal conduit) or conducted. But its hard to really know for sure with modern power quality tools – some sort “noise meter” would be helpful – so at this point, we are guessing….

Mozilla Firefox

Has become the official web browser of PowerLines – not that I was all that PO’d at Mr. Gates and Microsoft, but I do like spreading my affections around. (I have also staunchly avoided Outlook as long as I have been receiving email)

That being said, I find that a lot of my coding (including the PowerLines website) is not 100% HTML compliant.It looks fine in IE, but not in Firefox. I am working on that; but the paying clients get done first….so please be patient.

And have a happy new years, everybody!

2004 Wrap-up

Well, the numbers are in. We processed 391 sites worth of RPM and/or environmental power audit data for one of our OEM clients in 2004. I am fairly sure nobody comes close to looking at that much RPM data, and certainly nobody does it more cost-effectively. If you have underutilized RPM power analyzers or are not getting the full benefit of these boxes, drop us a line – we can probably help!

The Montreal Massacre (1989)

Today is a day that is set aside to remember the massacre of 14 women who died because they were trying to get into a male dominated profession.

In 1989, Mark Lepine entered the Ecole polytechnique engineering school in Montreal and walked around the school shooting any women he could find. He ended up killing 14 of them and then himself. He didn’t feel that women should be able to become engineers.

I was only a few years out of an engineering college at the time (where the M:F ratio was 13:1 in my graduating class), certainly the incident was less meaningful to me then than it is now. For the past 15 years, Dec. 6th has been set aside in Canada to remember these women and to remember all acts of violence against women.


Visiting Chicago this week for the annual Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting. Working with my client TEAL Electronics. PowerWare and Caterpillar are also here, but mostly not a lot of power quality vendors. It’s mostly medical imaging companies selling to the radiologists, rad techs, and dept managers, but there is a lot of internal churning going on.

It’s been great seeing old colleagues; I have not been to the show in 4 years. Also, lots of interesting PQ projects and programs are getting discussed, lots of networking and renewed relationships. Good stuff…..