Fact or Fiction? What Do You Believe About Reconditioned Electrical Equipment?

There are several common myths surrounding the use of reconditioned electrical equipment and components. Is it really true that with the purchase of refurbished manufacturing equipment and parts can truly save companies time and money while also meeting environment goals?  It is our goal in this installment to debunk several myths that surround the use of reconditioned equipment and parts in the work place.

It is important to note that business decisions should always be based on facts instead of myths.  Many times, myths are just handed down stories and experiences of one user that have been embellished upon throughout the years.  In order to successfully navigate and grow your company it is crucial for companies to make decisions based on facts.  When it comes to being competitive the goal is to find a solution that meets your needs.  Purchasing high quality electrical equipment and components at a reasonable price with little to no down time should be of the highest priority.

Myth #1: Original Equipment Manufacturers Are the Only Ones That Can Properly Recondition Electrical Parts and Equipment

The biggest difference between public reconditioning companies and private OEM recondition services is the inspection process they must go through to be available for resale.  This is why it is important that you only buy from reputable product reconditioning companies like J and P Electrical Company.

At J and P, you can rest knowing that we only sell the highest quality reconditioned electrical distribution equipment available.   The standards set forth by the experts at J and P are in fact more stringent than any set-in place by OEM manufacturers.  We disassemble each part, cleaning and inspecting each one, replacing parts that need to be replaced as we go along.  They are then painted with high quality paints and acrylic enamel for durability.  Equipment is reassembled and tested until it exceeds manufacturers UL certification standards.

Myth #2: Liability Concerns are Increased with the Use of Reconditioned Electrical Equipment and Parts

When you are purchasing a part does it make you feel better to know it is fresh off the line or that it has been rigorously tested over and over again to ensure its safety?  When you purchase reconditioned parts and equipment from a company like J and P you can rest assured knowing it has been tested two times over, before and after reconditioning, each and every time.  There is less liability involved in products and equipment that have gone through arduous testing.

 

J & P Electrical Company is a full-service electrical company that supplies contractors, end users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bud ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers.  More information can be found at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com

Power Supplies and Circuit Breakers Keep Faults in Check

Sponsored by Digi-Key and Phoenix Contact: Industrial power supplies that incorporate features such as SFB circuit breakers provide a better level of protection and overall reliability.

In the last decade or so, significant advances have been made in the design of industrial power supplies and dc-dc converters, from the materials and device levels to size and weight reduction, thermal management, and package design. However, one often-overlooked category is protection of circuits and systems provided by the power supply and accompanying circuit breakers. These advances have contributed greatly to reliability and system availability while maintaining safety as well.

One of the most far-reaching is selective fuse breaking (SFB) or selective shutdown, which when enabled in both power supply and thermomagnetic, as well as other types of circuit breakers, provides significant benefits. There are two types of trip mechanisms in these thermomagnetic breakers—temperature-sensitive and magnetic—the former having a response delay and the latter almost instantaneous.

The temperature-sensing element of the circuit breaker consists of a bimetal strip with a heating coil. When current exceeds a threshold, the protective device generates heat in the coil, which causes it to bend and actuate the switch, shutting off power. The temperature-sensitive circuit is even effective when current is temporarily greater than nominal, such as when overload currents are shut down.

The magnetic trip mechanism consists of a solenoid coil and a plunger or pivoted armature. When current exceeds a specific threshold, a magnetic field is created in the coil, which attracts the armature to it and interrupts the circuit. Response time of this type is much faster than its counterpart, typically 3 to 5 ms, allowing it to respond to short-circuits and excessive overload currents.

1. Shown are the three common response curves available in thermomagnetic circuit breakers and the maximum current required to actuate them.

Thermomagnetic circuit breakers are available with one of three different characteristic response curves, M, SFB, and F and subsets of each, that suit specific operational situations. These curves are shown in Figure 1. The SFB characteristic provides the most overcurrent protection and prevents the breaker from switching off too soon, even when a very short overcurrent condition occurs, such as when the system is started. It also prevents long-lasting overload currents that would result in high equipment temperatures.

SFB-Curve Thermomagnetic Circuit Breakers

Phoenix Contact was the first to introduce thermomagnetic circuit breakers that follow the SFB curve, and are designed for use with power supplies that also are based on SFB technology. When combined, the two provide exceptionally reliable tripping, even with long cable lengths between the power supply and the devices it serves. For example, Figure 2 shows a short-circuit occurring on one of three devices connected in parallel over 25-m lengths of copper cable to a Phoenix Contact QUINT Series 20-A power supply, a control subsystem, and circuit breakers protecting each current path. In this case, a short-circuit occurred in the second-to-last device, so the power supply selectively cuts power to it while allowing the controller and the other devices to remain in operation.

2. This example shows a power supply, controller, and secondary devices, one of which experienced a short-circuit. SFB allows power to be removed from only the faulted circuit, enabling the controller and the remaining devices to continue in operation. Without this capability, the entire system would be shut down.

The power supply also delivers the large amount of power reserve required in systems like this one that have long power cable runs, in which the amount of current available for tripping the breaker is limited. In these cases, the current level is often too low to quickly trip the circuit breaker and may not trip it at all. In the interim between the event and when the breaker disconnects power, the voltage continues to flow, which can overload the controller and potentially damage or even destroy it.

By delivering a higher level of current than is normally required to trip the breaker (up to 10 times normal for 12 ms in Phoenix Contact QUINT SFB power supplies), such situations are prevented. The capability is useful for systems experiencing high start-up current peaks, too.

In addition to possibly causing equipment damage, a power supply/breaker combination without SFB would shut down the entire system, rather than electively addressing only the faulted circuit path. The power supply also provides comprehensive diagnostics that include output voltage and current monitoring of critical operating conditions, and alerts operators to critical operating states before errors occur.

Summary

Industrial power supplies are changing with requirements for higher efficiency and greater integration with the plant management systems where they’re located. They’re also increasingly incorporating features such as SFB circuit breakers that when combined with compatible power supplies are solving some basic problems, e.g., keeping equipment functioning in the event of a fault.

Without SFB, faults become a detriment to system availability, as they take an entire block of functions offline, even though only a single circuit has failed. The Phoenix Contact QUINT power supplies also complement SFB with comprehensive monitoring of key performance parameters that alert operators to potential problems before they result in a failure.

Original Source: https://www.electronicdesign.com/power/power-supplies-and-circuit-breakers-keep-faults-check

Original Date: Oct 30 2018

Written By: Barry Manz |

Managing Spare Parts in Manufacturing Settings

When it comes to maintaining an inventory of spare parts on hand many companies are reluctant.   There are quite a few in management that wonder if it is counter intuitive while trying to control operating costs.  The goal of all businesses, not just manufacturing, is to reduce expenses while increasing efficiency and many don’t see how keeping spare electrical components on hand helps achieve this goal.  In this installment we will look into how having an inventory of parts on hand eliminates downtime and increases overall effectiveness without extra expense to the company.

Inventory Management

By incorporating spare part management into plant operations managers can successfully create an environment where downtime, caused by machine failure, is practically eliminated.  The biggest struggle in spare part management is creating an inventory.  In order to do this effectively, it is crucial that the maintenance records of machinery are thoroughly gone over, and critical part breakdowns are identified.  Once this has been completed there you will be left with an idea of what spare parts are needed to comprise a complete operational spare part inventory.

Don’t forget when creating an inventory list to check into refurbished parts and components.  Many older pieces of equipment have become obsolete however this doesn’t mean that you can’t find parts to repair them.  Many times, obsolete equipment can be repaired using parts that can be found through companies specializing in obsolete refurbished electrical components, such as J & P Electrical Company, https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Strategy of Operations

Determining whether you will function as a predictive or reactive position plays a large role in the replacement part stock that you will keep on hand.  Most manufacturers are historically known for being reactive to events like equipment failure.  In order to successfully create a functional spare part inventory, facilities must turn their focus on a more predictive approach to machine maintenance and failure. Successful predictive spare part management will include the collection and analysis of data, the ability for managers to see the operation as hole in which they foresee underlying problems and find solutions.

Inventory Control

Don’t think that your spare part inventory has to be all-encompassing to be effective. In reality that is an unrealistic goal to achieve.  Instead develop an inventory that is categorized by priority.  Recognize parts that can be used for more than one purpose, those that are critical to your operation, and those critical to a specific piece of machinery.  This needs to be revaluated on a regular basis to make sure that as new machinery is introduced they aren’t forgotten.

J & P Electrical Company is a full-service electrical company that supplies contractors, end users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bud ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers.  More information can be found at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com

Eaton launches ADR breaker range guaranteeing protection in harsh environments

Eaton has announced the global launch, at InnoTrans 2018 of ADR, of a new product family from Eaton’s Heinemann Hydraulic Magnetic Circuit Breakers (HMCB) range.

Designed in Switzerland, ADR fills an important void in the company’s HMCB offer, which Eaton signals as a key breakthrough for the market.

The circuit breaker guarantees electrical protection of equipment in use in harsh environments, such as railways, without derating the tripping point in the event of temperature variations.

Critically, the breaker is compatible with a standard 17.5mm Miniature Circuit Breaker for mounting on a DIN 35mm rail. This means railways and train operating companies can benefit from HMCB’s improved performance without having to redesign electrical equipment cabinets or change panels and connecting interfaces, improving the viability of potentially valuable retrofit and upgrade projects.

HMCB offers numerous advantages over conventional Thermo-Magnetic Circuit Breaker (TMCB) technology.

  • For example, nuisance tripping from high ambient temperatures is eliminated as HMCB only responds to current variations, not changes in temperature. Changes in oil viscosity following increases in temperature onboard trains decrease trip response times, protecting equipment that might be vulnerable at higher ambient temperatures.
  • HMCB can also eliminate transient current surges, another cause of nuisance tripping, with a high degree of precision and without reducing overload protection. In addition, Hydraulic-magnetic control of the tripping mechanism means that the time delay is inversely proportional to the size of the overload, speeding up the response to large overloads and short circuits where the potential danger is higher.
  • While clearly a logical step for rolling stock operators and train manufacturers, until now replacing DIN mounted TMCB with HMCB has been far from straightforward. The HMCB connector is different and the size of the device is usually bigger than the standard TMCB.

“Eaton has achieved a major breakthrough with ADR,” says Alexandre Zint, Heinemann product manager at Eaton.

“The new technology is designed to be compatible with existing cabinets, which currently support thermal circuit breakers, enabling users to benefit from the improved performance traditionally associated with HMCB devices but without major modifications to rolling stock. Installing this technology can also significantly reduce the weight of these components and fulfils Eaton’s objective to build better and safer trains.”

Already some train and industrial machine manufacturers are evaluating how they can integrate ADR, and Eaton is confident the technology will deliver superior performance.

“ADR opens the door to new customers who were reluctant to change their integration design to upgrade their circuit breaker technology,” Zint continues. “It is also suitable for manufacturers looking to reduce the space occupied in their electrical cabinets. ADR is 17.5mm wide compared with 19mm in a standard HMCB, meaning that for every 12 HMCB installed, you could install 13 ADR”.

“We look forward to meeting both old and new customers at InnoTrans to discuss how they might benefit from ADR, and our other electrical and hydraulic technology solutions,” Zint concludes.

Download the white paper to learn more about the new HMCB range.

Eaton at InnoTrans 2018

At this year’s InnoTrans (at Messe Berlin from September 18-21), Eaton will demonstrate its latest electrical and hydraulic technology solutions, which are enabling rail operators and rolling stock OEMs to build better and safer trains and helping to secure a sustainable future. Find out more by visiting us in Hall 9, stand 301.


What to Avoid When Purchasing Refurbished Electrical Components

Buying refurbished electrical components such as circuit breakers, transformers, bus ducts and plugs is just one way that industrial manufacturers can save a great deal of money.  The one aspect that needs to be seriously considered is where companies purchase refurbished electrical components.  Buying from reputable refurbished manufacturers is a must when it comes to electrical components that will be used in any settings, especially the manufacturing industry.  Some companies, often less reputable offer deep discounts.  It is crucial to ensure that the savings don’t equate to an increased safety risk.

When purchasing refurbished electrical components, especially from online companies like ebay take note to thoroughly check over equipment for damage, rust, missing pieces, or improper labeling. When buying online it is important to know exactly what you are looking for before you make a purchase.  This can help to ensure that you are sure to get exactly what you need.  Once you have developed a relationship with an online supplier through ebay or another online source you will have more confidence in purchasing through them in the future.

What to Avoid When Purchasing Refurbished Electrical Components

  • Be sure you know what you are looking to purchase. Purchasing electrical components is different than a lot of other purchases in that you should do some research to really know what you need and are looking for before you even begin researching places to purchase it.  Understand the different brands available and the part number that you are looking for.
  • Advertising and ads are meant to draw people in. Don’t get taken by an ad that doesn’t offer specifics on products that you are interested in purchasing.  You should know in detail what you are purchasing and the exact condition it is in.  Understanding the difference between new, used, and refurbished electrical components helps to make sure you are getting exactly what you expect.
  • If the information you need is not clearly listed on the products label it is important to ask questions about the product and get all answers in writing. This clear communication between seller and buyer will help prevent confusion and later disputes.
  • Never buy from a company that doesn’t have a solid track record. Before purchasing any electrical parts and components, new or used, do research on the company offering it for sale.  Does the company have reviews and testimonials?   How long have has the company been in business?  What is their return policy?  Seek out their policies; find out if there is a restocking fee if a return needs to be done, if they offer returns, or if it is exchange only.

Questions to Ask When Buying Refurbished Parts and Components

  • Am I purchasing a new, used, or refurbished part?
  • If refurbished, what is the process, in detail, that the part goes through before it can be sold?
  • What are the company’s product guarantees and warranties?
  • Am I buying a piece that is in proper working order or is it being sold as is, for parts only?
  • What is the testing process your refurbished parts go through before they are sold?

Purchasing refurbished parts and components makes solid business sense especially in an economy where we are trying to stretch our already tight budgets.   It is important to have properly working and maintained equipment when working in any industrial manufacturing setting.  One was to ensure this occurs is to purchase your refurbished electrical components and parts from companies with a solid reputation, like J & P Electrical Company.

J & P Electrical Company is a full-service electrical company that supplies contractors, end users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bud ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers.  More information can be found at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com

Solved! What to Do When Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Learn the proper way to figure out why the power keeps pooping out in your house—as well as when to let an electrician do the sleuthing.

Why Does a Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping? Solved!

Photo: istockphoto.com

Q: Every few hours—sometimes minutes!—my living room and one side of my kitchen lose electrical power. Lamps won’t come on; I can’t make toast or watch television. I’ll check the breaker panel and, sure enough, a circuit breaker has tripped…again. I flip it back on and all is well until it happens again! I’m concerned about the wiring in my home. Should I call an electrician, or is there a simple DIY fix I can try first?

A: While it’s frustrating to have to keep switching a tripped breaker back on, keep in mind that a circuit breaker is an important safety mechanism. Designed to shut off the electrical current when something goes wrong, it’s one of the best ways of protecting your home from an electrical fire. You may ultimately have to call an electrician to deal with whatever causes your circuit breaker tripping—electrical current isn’t something to mess with—but a little sleuthing will help you see if it’s something easily remedied.

First, let’s review some basics to help you understand what might be happening. Electricity from your local utility company runs through a cable directly to your breaker panel (service panel). From there, the electricity flows through individual circuits (a circuit is a wiring loop that starts and ends at the breaker panel). Each breaker you see in the panel has an ON/OFF switch and controls a separate electrical circuit in your home. When a breaker trips, its switch automatically flips to the “OFF” position, and it must be manually turned back on in order for electricity to flow through the circuit again.

Why Does a Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping? Solved!

Photo: istockphoto.com

Test for circuit overload. A circuit overloads when more electrical current is being drawn through the wires than they can handle, causing them to overheat and trip the circuit breaker. You mention that when the breaker trips, power goes out in your living room and part of your kitchen. This indicates that a single circuit is powering multiple outlets and switches, which is probably too much of a burden on the circuit. This type of wiring configuration is commonly seen in homes more than 40 years old, before we used a lot of electrical appliances and gadgets (big screen TVs, PCs, space heaters, and powerful kitchen appliances).

To test for circuit overload, the next time the breaker trips, turn off all the switches in the affected area and unplug all appliances, lamps, and other devices. Flip the breaker back on and then turn on the switches and plug in/turn on devices one at a time. Wait a few minutes in between to see if the circuit will remain on. Each time you turn on a light or run an appliance, you’ll be drawing more electricity through the wires. If the breaker trips before you turn on all the appliances, try the experiment again, this time turning on the appliances in a different order. You may need to go through the process several times to get a good idea of how many appliances you can operate at one time before overloading the circuit.

Circuit overload is one of the most common reasons for circuit breakers tripping, and you can prevent it from happening by running fewer appliances at the same time on that circuit. The best long-term solution, however, is to have an electrician update your home’s wiring to add additional circuits. In your situation, having a separate circuit to handle the part of the kitchen that’s now on your living room circuit would allow you to use your kitchen appliances (mixer, bread machine, toaster) without fear of overloading the living room circuit.

Investigate for a short circuit. A “short” circuit means that two wires that should not be coming in contact with each other are inadvertently touching. A short can occur in an outlet, a switch, or within an appliance if wires are loose or damaged by mice or pets chewing through them. When an electrical short occurs, it triggers a sudden surge of electricity through the wires, and the circuit breaker trips.

To find out if an appliance has a short, perform a test similar to the one you did for an overloaded circuit. When you plug in or turn on an appliance that has a short in its wiring, it will immediately trip the circuit—whether or not anything else is running. If you notice that using a specific appliance, such as your vacuum, trips the breaker every time you turn it on, try plugging it into an outlet in a different room. If the breaker for that room trips, there’s a short in the appliance. Don’t use the appliance again until it can be fixed, or you risk getting a shock.

Because a short circuit can also occur in a wall switch or an outlet, if the breaker trips every time you turn on a specific light switch or plug something into a certain outlet, that indicates the location of the short. Electrical shorts in home wiring should be inspected and repaired by a licensed electrician; discontinue use of the switch or plug until the pro takes care of the problem.

Why Does a Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping? Solved!

Photo: istockphoto.com

Call a pro to determine if a ground fault is why your circuit breaker keeps tripping. In the world of wiring, any time an abnormal surge of electricity occurs, it’s known as a “fault” or a “fault current.” In addition, electricity has an interesting way of seeking the path of least resistance to the ground. Benjamin Franklin found that out when he flew a kite in a lightning storm!

A ground fault, also called an “earth fault,” occurs when the electricity running through your home’s wiring diverts from its intended path (the wiring loop) and travels via a different path to the ground. A ground fault can happen if water from a dripping pipe, leaky window, or other moisture source finds its way into an outlet or switch box. Water is a great conductor of electricity, and if it makes contact with wire connections or damaged wires, electricity can jump from the wiring loop and follow the water trail. This creates a surge in electricity and the circuit breaker will trip.

Today’s building codes make provisions for the inclusion of ground wires that carry errant electrical current safely to the earth. The greatest danger from a ground fault occurs when a human becomes the path for electricity that’s trying to find its way to the ground, which can result in electrocution. This used to be a more common occurrence before the invention of ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) outlets, which are now required in kitchens and bathrooms. When a GFCI senses a ground fault, it shuts off the electric current within a fraction of a second.

If a ground fault is the problem, the cause of the errant water must be discovered and repaired, and any damaged wiring must also be replaced. In rooms where water is commonly used, if GFCI outlets are not present, be smart and safe by having them installed.

Have an electrician pinpoint other possible culprits. It’s possible that a breaker in the breaker panel is undersized for the amount of electricity passing through the wiring loop. Or the actual wiring that runs to the outlets might be not up to electrical code, meaning it can’t carry the electricity without heating up and tripping the breaker. These and all other types of home wiring problems—aside from those explained in the sections above—should be inspected and addressed by a licensed electrician. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), each year “thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents, electrocution in their own homes.” If you’re not experienced in home wiring, it’s well worth the $150 to $200 it costs to have an electrician come out and take a look.

Original Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/circuit-breaker-tripping/

Original Author: Glenda Taylor

Safety Hazards Within the Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing seems to be a term that covers several different companies within a wide range of industries.  With such a wide variety of businesses, manufacturing facilities have a vast number of operational and safety practices they follow.  There is a specific organization known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that sets forth standards and compliance regulations for manufacturing facilities to help avoid common safety issues found within the sector.

 

Even though there are several different industries that make up the manufacturing sector they share a few safety concerns including:

  • Falls

Falls are the most common accidents that occurs within the United States.  The frequency of falls makes this the number one hazard found within the workplace, especially within manufacturing facilities.  Falls represent a serious risk for workers.  They can lead to death or injury; most falls will require at least a few days off work to recover from.  It is of the utmost importance that manufacturing facilities take special precautions to avoid falls throughout their facilities.

  • Machine Guarding

Heavy machinery is operated throughout many different types of manufacturing facilities which is why it is so important that proper guarding procedures are followed to keep workers safe.  Improperly installed guards on machines presents a major hazard to the safety of employees.  To keep manufacturing workers safe while operating large scaled equipment proper safety features are installed.

  • Electrical

Even when individuals are not directly working with electricity, such as you do as an electrician or engineer, there are still plenty of electrical risks involved in manufacturing.  Many manufacturing facilities use a system of bus ducts, plugs, and shut offs to avoid industries from electrocution.  Electric panels are kept secured in manufacturing locations as well to increase safety.  Large scaled equipment is also inspected and kept up to date with the use of reconditioned electrical components on a regular basis that helps keep equipment running smoothly before a chance of failing occurs.  Standards are in place from OSHA regarding electricity to lessen the risks involved within manufacturing facilities.

  • Undertrained Employees

Employees that are not properly trained for the position they are in is a problem found not only in manufacturing.  Facilities are only as safe as the people that are working within them.  It is crucial that proper training is done regularly on all pieces of equipment that workers may encounter in your facility.  When machines are replaced or even upgraded for that matter, employee re-training should be mandatory.  Exposure to proper safety training will help keep all employees throughout the facility safe.  Practicing procedures that are in place are just as important as training.  Take the time to run regular tests involving the safety procedures to ensure that they are properly executed before it becomes vital.

Learn more about J & P Electrical Company and their vast line of new, surplus, and refurbished industrial electrical components including: circuit breakers, bus ducts, bus plugs, disconnects, fuses, panel switches, tap boxes, and transformers at www.jpelectricalcompany.com.  To contact one of our product reconditioning specialists, call 877.844.5514 today.

If circuit breakers could talk

Electrical data aids in monitoring breaker life and managing power

A circuit breaker’s useful life varies greatly, depending on many factors. The harsh conditions in a mining operation might shorten a circuit breaker’s life to mere months. But it’s not uncommon to find factories with banks of them in use for decades.

The key distinction is whether that breaker is performing properly, which can be determined through time-based testing by maintenance technicians or via the circuit breaker’s ability to test itself and report its condition. And, as long as it’s talking, why not ask the breaker for information about power usage?

Power management company Eaton has a long history in the electrical industry, explains Robert Griffin, product line manager at Eaton. “Circuit protection is part of our DNA,” he says. “We’re turning circuit breakers into something that adds more value, adds more knowledge and provides additional safety benefits. Practically everything in the electrical distribution system has a circuit breaker in it. Why not leverage that device in your system to provide power and energy data?”

Eaton’s Power Defense molded case circuit breaker (MCCB) has broken the mold by adding connectivity and intelligence to one of the most common electrical devices. The payoff is higher-level metering and predictive diagnostics in a foundational electrical-system component. Eaton’s breaker-health algorithm is designed to weigh data on multiple conditions to predict device failure before it occurs.

“Everyone within the industry wants to generate data and be able to analyze it,” says Jim Lagree, chief engineer at Eaton. “We’re not just generating data to do analytics; we’re doing the analytics within the breaker, taking it from data to actionable knowledge. A significant amount of data is being processed in the unit to say you have this much of the useful life of your breaker left.”

Griffin further explained, “We know that maintenance is critical for the safe operation of circuit breakers, and, with the advancements offered by Power Defense and the breaker-health algorithm, we can now avoid guesswork or time-based maintenance approaches and proactively know when maintenance is required.”

Bigger picture

Power Defense circuit breakers provide multiple communications options, energy metering and health algorithms that deliver data about the circuit breaker, broader power distribution system and overall energy usage. Its trip units monitor and report current, voltage, harmonics, power and energy consumption, while also providing waveforms and other information to analyze safety and power availability of the connected system.

Power Defense circuit breakers are designed to communicate what type of fault caused the breaker to trip, as well as capturing waveforms before and after the tripping event to help to diagnose system conditions. “We can go back and look at these waveforms to determine what caused the tripping, which allows technicians to restore power more quickly” explains Lagree.

Talk to me

“We’ve had communications in our circuit breakers since the early 1980s,” explains Lagree. “Whether it was serial-based or it’s now Ethernet, communication has been there. The cost has come way down, so there are more capabilities. In the old days, it was a large card that you couldn’t fit inside a circuit breaker. We’ve built in faster communications capability. In the 1980s, it took a long time to transfer all of that data. Now, it’s just in the blink of an eye. We’re adding more information and more data to analyze and tell the customer more about what’s happening with the circuit protection.”

Power Defense MCCBs offer the ability to communicate on two different channels at the same time. “One channel is a dedicated Modbus RTU for the simplest type of applications,” explains Lagree. “Then there’s a communication adaptor module with a variety of protocols, including Ethernet to Modbus TCP/IP. It also has HTML5 capability, so it can publish to a Web page. And we have Profibus. What we’re leveraging is the ability of this module to adapt in the future.” A gateway capability also is available for Modbus TCP/IP, BACnet and email notification of alarms, and it’s hardened and updated to prevent the latest cybersecurity threats.

“We’ve learned to be flexible,” says Griffin. “Whether you’re working in an automation system or you’re in another process where it might have Profibus or Profinet, it’s best to have the common-denominator capability that’s flexible enough to meet the different protocols. We can run Modbus RTU as a native system or Ethernet, or we can do Profibus. And we’ll have more modules that meet these protocols as we go along.” Furthermore, for end users that don’t make use of communications in their power systems, the Power Defense circuit breakers can still communicate critical system conditions or parameters to control systems through the use of available programmable relays. “There are one to three optional programmable relays that can be included in the circuit breaker,” says Griffin. “You can program the relay to close when the breaker reaches, let’s say, 25% of its life.” Almost 30 different alarm values can be programmed onto the relay and sent to an alarm stack light or fed into a PLC.

Added value

MCCBs provide functionality in almost all low-voltage applications, protecting devices from overloads and short circuits. Many facilities use hundreds of these devices, offering an opportunity to generate data that can be leveraged not only to monitor the breaker’s health, but to optimize energy usage. “By upgrading existing circuit breakers to Power Defense technology, you’re able to get more functionality, including metering, from the circuit breaker without adding components into the system.”

Traditional thermal magnetic breakers are designed to protect people and equipment from overcurrent or electrical overloads, but they don’t provide data on what type of fault or the magnitude, says Griffin. Power Defense circuit breakers provide more visibility into the fault, capturing a wide variety of data about the event. “On the front of the breaker, there’s a series of LED lights that can tell you what type of event it was—a short circuit fault; a ground fault; or an overload fault,” explains Griffin. “You can now go into the breaker and look at detailed information about what caused the fault, when that fault occurred and what the settings were at that time. You can troubleshoot the condition and get your system corrected faster.”

Platform edge

The Power Defense technology incorporates Eaton’s Arcflash Reduction Maintenance System and Zone Selective Interlock (ZSI) technology for advanced safety. Eaton’s Arcflash Reduction Maintenance System technology is designed to reduce dangerous incident energy levels and can be activated either locally or remotely by personnel, while ZSI helps to protect equipment by intelligently selecting faster trip times depending upon the location of the fault. The Power Defense circuit breakers enable personnel to perform ZSI system testing with visual status indication to improve productivity and provide peace of mind that systems are operating as designed.

“Arc flash hazards have been identified as one of the most dangerous occurrences in electrical power systems,” explains Lagree. “More than 10 years ago, Eaton pioneered the Arcflash Reduction System technology. It’s a dedicated circuit to trip the breaker as fast as it can. That’s the best available way to reduce the amount of energy the arc flash creates.”

ZSI has been around for quite some time, says Griffin. “With Power Defense, we provide the opportunity to test that the ZSI system is working, along with the visual indication that the system is properly connected and working,” he explains.

The Power Defense platform meets a variety of industry standards, including applicable UL, International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC), China Compulsory Certificate (CCC) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Original source: https://www.controldesign.com/vendornews/2018/if-circuit-breakers-could-talk/

Original Date: Sept 5 2018

Written By: Mike Bacidore

The Basics in Wiring Electrical Disconnect Switches

Understanding how the electrical system works in your manufacturing facility is not as difficult as you may think. While it may seem like magic how the lights turn on or how the power gets to your stuff that you plug into the wall outlet. However, it is far from magical and in fact it is quite simple really. It is not a very complex system when explained.

 

There are several parts that make up your electrical service, one of the most important parts being the disconnect switch. This device is designed to instantly shut off the power to your facilities main power panel. This device is a very important part of your manufacturing electrical system and should only be used in extreme conditions.

 

How does an electrical disconnect switch work?

The basic operation of an electrical disconnect switch is simple in that it truly has only one purpose and that is to kill the power to the main power panel for your facility. All the facilities wiring goes into the main power panel and is connected to breakers that control the power inside the building. The disconnect switch sits in line between your facilities electrical meter and main power panel.

 

By turning this switch off you will instantly disconnect all power going into your location, this does not however, have any effect on your electrical service. You will continue to have power at the meter and on the feeder side of disconnect switch.  It is important to know where your electrical disconnect switch is, which is also referred to as the electrical service disconnect switch.

 

When repairs or replacement is needed it is important to find the right parts.

Due to the seriousness of the functionality of the electrical disconnect switch only trained professionals should ever open up the disconnect switch box. This is because the feeder lines going into the switch have 240v running through them and that is enough to kill a person if you are in direct contact with it. When repairs are needed, and it becomes necessary to replace the electrical disconnect switch there are several options that will be recommended.  One of the more common options in manufacturing is budget friendly reconditioned disconnect options.

 

When parts are needed you can insist on using reconditioned equipment.  Often reconditioned electrical components like the disconnect are preferred as they not only save you money but most often all the bugs that are found in new OEM parts have been worked out and fixed.

 

J & P Electrical Company is a full-service electrical company that supplies contractors, end users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bud ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers.  More information can be found at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com

 

Hot circuit breakers and dimmer switches

I recently had a home inspector ask me how hot is too hot when it comes to circuit breakers and switches. Many home inspectors, including all of the inspectors here at Structure Tech, use infrared cameras during home inspections. These cameras can’t see through walls, but can often alert us to problems with a house that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

We frequently come across warm circuit breakers, warm dimmer switches, and even warm electrical panels during our home inspections. So how warm is too warm? It depends. I know, it’s kind of a blowhard answer, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

I don’t use my infrared camera as a quantitative tool; I use it as a qualitative tool. Yeah, I know, more blowhard words. Put simply, I’m not too concerned with the exact temperatures that are displayed on my infrared camera. As a home inspector, what I’m concerned with and what I dig into are the meanings behind unexpected temperature differences, aka anomalies.

If I scan a ceiling and I find a cold spot that doesn’t make any sense, I dig into it. Maybe it’s a plumbing leak from above, or maybe it’s just a cold water line that’s touching the ceiling. That’s where a moisture meter comes in handy. Ok, I’m getting sidetracked. Let’s discuss some electrical examples.

Dimmer Switches

A properly wired, properly functioning dimmer switch can get hot to the touch. I’ve found that a 65-degree temperature rise is normal for a maxed-out dimmer. If the ambient temperature is 71 degrees and a dimmer switch is at 136 degrees, I’d be concerned, but I wouldn’t report the temperature as a problem. I would, however, take an extra minute or two to figure out how many watts the dimmer is rated for. I’d then make sure there wasn’t too much being controlled by the dimmer.

Hot dimmer switch

I wrote a whole blog post dedicated to this topic, titled Hot Dimmer Switches. Check out that post for more info on this topic. If I were to write up a problem with an overloaded dimmer switch, my report comment would say something like this:

The dimmer switch for the kitchen lights was rated for up to 600 watts, but the wattage at the lights was more than this; there were ten 65-watt bulbs on this circuit. This caused the front of the switch to get extremely hot, and creates a potential fire hazard. Have this corrected.

You’ll notice that I didn’t explain exactly how to correct this. I do this intentionally because I’m not going to do the work. This situation could be easily fixed by replacing the dimmer switch with a simple toggle switch, by installing a dimmer rated for a higher wattage, or by installing bulbs with a lower wattage. Any of those would be fine, but as the home inspector, I don’t design the repairs.

Toggle Switches

I can’t think of any good reason for a toggle switch to get hot. If I ever found a hot toggle switch, I’d call that a fire hazard and recommend repair.

Circuit breakers

When a circuit breaker has a lot of current flowing through it, it will get warm. The warm 15-amp circuit breaker shown below had a 15.6-amp hair dryer running for about 20 minutes, and it warmed up to about 17 degrees over ambient. It wasn’t especially hot, but it was definitely overloaded.

Warm circuit breaker overloaded

I’d like to say that if a circuit breaker is X-degrees over ambient, it’s a problem… but there’s just no hard and fast rule for this. I can’t say this.

If I find a warm circuit breaker, I take a logical approach. First, is there a good reason for the circuit breaker to be warm? A 240-volt appliance like an air conditioner will definitely warm up a circuit breaker while it’s operating. No problem there. The image below shows a warm circuit AC circuit, but in this case, I do care about the temperature readings. This circuit is only about 8 degrees warmer than anything else in the image. This is not a significant difference, and it makes sense.

Warm AC circuit normal

You’ll notice that there’s a single general lighting circuit that’s warmer than the other breakers in this panel; again, it’s only a small increase in temperature, so I’m not concerned. If it were much warmer, I might question why.

To take it a step further, I’d take the time to measure the amperage on the circuit. I wrote a blog post dedicated to that topic, titled Using an infrared camera to find an overloaded circuit. Many home inspectors are opposed to doing this type of test, and I say those home inspectors shouldn’t bother scanning an electrical panel. If a home inspector isn’t going to measure amperage, I don’t know how they could report on an overloaded circuit.

AFCI Circuit Breakers

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breakers run warm. This is normal, there’s nothing to report here.

Warm AFCI Breakers normal

Original Source: http://www.startribune.com/hot-circuit-breakers-and-dimmer-switches/491338261/

Original Date: Aug 21 2018

Written By: Reuben Saltzman