Category Archives: Industry News

New Circuit Breaker from Schneider Electric Features Increased Safety Requirements

Schneider Electric’s new low voltage power circuit breaker takes is top in power system uptime and energy efficiency due to its onboard Ethernet communications and Class 1 (≤1% error) active power metering accuracy built into every circuit breaker. It has a wireless remote control of the circuit breaker through Bluetooth to keep maintenance staff outside of the arc flash zone during operation. The new circuit breaker features new IoT enhanced digital capabilities such as wireless communication, customizable and downloadable applications, integrated analytics, and advanced metering and sensing technologies that work with evolving industry challenges. It is tailor made for the application and modified at any time in the future without de-energizing with its digital modules. The device is built with the new Micrologic X control unit. The breaker can be upgraded by service and maintenance personnel or facility staff as new code requirements and regulations are implemented along with evolving customer needs. These upgrades can be implemented by simply downloading a Digital Module from Schneider Electric’s secure GoDigital online marketplace and installing it into the control units using the complimentary Ecoreach configuration software, adding new functionality within minutes.


Original Press Release:

Schneider Electric Introduces its Square D Brand Masterpact MTZ Future Ready Low Voltage Power Circuit Breaker

– Revolutionize power distribution through digital customization optimizing the EcoStruxure Power Platform Industry-first Bluetooth and NFC capabilities with companion smart phone app allows operation by maintenance staff outside of the arc flash zone

– Best-in-class in system Uptime and efficiency

BOSTON, Nov. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The world is facing critical change. As a result, the electrical industry is meeting challenges of more stringent regulations, tighter sustainability goals, increased safety requirements, and the need for more reliability and flexibility. Schneider Electric is leading this evolution with the launch today of its next generation Square D brand Masterpact™ MTZ low voltage power circuit breaker.

The Masterpact MTZ circuit breaker takes the lead in power system uptime and energy efficiency with its onboard Ethernet communications and Class 1 (≤1% error) active power metering accuracy built into every circuit breaker. It also allows wireless remote control of the circuit breaker via Bluetooth LE keeping maintenance staff outside of the arc flash zone during operation. These innovative advancements in technology are an industry first.

As part of Schneider Electric’s comprehensive EcoStruxure™ Power Platform, the Masterpact MTZ is an industry leading, world class circuit breaker with all new IoT enhanced digital capabilities. It includes wireless communication, customizable/downloadable applications, integrated analytics, and advanced metering and sensing technologies that address evolving industry challenges. With the introduction of digital modules, the breaker is tailor made for the application and modified at any time in the future without de-energizing.

From installation, operation, maintenance, and digital upgrades, Masterpact MTZ brings a whole new level of power circuit protection and control to large and critical power distribution applications. Masterpact MTZ circuit breakers will transform how facility and building operations managers achieve efficiency, safety, reliability, and equipment protection goals. Masterpact MTZ is available for new installations and can be retrofit into the space of an existing power circuit breaker.

The Masterpact family of low voltage power circuit breakers have been the industry benchmark in electrical distribution for three decades – first with the Masterpact M, followed by the Masterpact NT/NW, each known globally for legendary performance and reliability.

“The new Masterpact MTZ is a game changer,” says Duke Dunsford, USA Marketing Launch Manager for Masterpact MTZ. “The Masterpact MTZ connectivity and digital capabilities seamlessly integrate into our EcoStruxure Power architecture, delivering significant benefits for end users, specifiers, panel builders and contractors who can better serve their customers’ needs with this new capability.” He continued, “With the standard Bluetooth wireless capability on every breaker, the phone in your pocket now becomes a powerful tool in the operation of this new platform.”

The new generation Masterpact MTZ is built with the new Micrologic X control unit that puts it ahead of its class. One of the advancements in the Masterpact MTZ line is its future driven upgrade capabilities. As new code requirements and regulations are implemented along with evolving customer needs, the breaker can be upgraded by service and maintenance personnel or facility staff. Upgrades can be implemented by simply downloading a Digital Module from Schneider Electric’s secure GoDigital online marketplace and installing it into the control units using the complimentary Ecoreach configuration software, adding new functionality within minutes.

“Masterpact MTZ is loaded with practical, usable features that take low voltage power circuit protection and control to a new level,” says Mr. Dunsford. “In case of a power outage, users can simply utilize their smartphone’s wireless connection to diagnose the issue and minimize downtime. Another unique feature includes capturing waveform data during tripping events and can be accessed even without power. The smartphone app also can provide a root cause explanation and step-by-step breaker reclosing instructions to re-energize your system. This can save critical time for customers looking for details during an outage.”

Additional benefits of the Masterpact MTZ circuit breaker include:

  • Downloadable digital modules can be installed without downtime for maximized flexibility and operational efficiency
  • Along with Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC) is included allowing your smart phone to monitor the circuit breaker’s condition even in a power outage
  • Event notifications and overload prevention are optimized with real-time monitoring and alarm capabilities both for Ethernet monitored systems and on mobile devices
  • Seamless integration of Masterpact MTZ into Square D branded power equipment such as switchgear, switchboards, and motor control centers using the newly designed embedded Ethernet connection

For more information on Masterpact MTZ or Schneider Electric, please visit http://www.schneider-electric.us/mtz.

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software. In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency. We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

www.schneider-electric.us

Original Source: https://news.thomasnet.com/fullstory/new-circuit-breaker-from-schneider-electric-features-increased-safety-requirements-40017709

Original Date: Nov 16 2018

Power System Studies

Understanding the importance of a short circuit protection and coordination study and an arc flash hazard assessment.

A typical power distribution system for a large facility or campus is comprised of multiple distribution voltages and corresponding equipment. An incoming electrical service is provided by the local utility, which may consist of one or more utility circuits, in either a split-bus arrangement (the facility load is shared between circuits) or a duty/standby arrangement (one circuit carries the entire load, under normal operating scenarios). The incoming electrical service is usually at a medium voltage, which ranges between 600V-69,000V (common voltages include: 4.16kV, 12.47kV and 13.8kV). The incoming service voltage can be stepped down to a lower medium voltage or it can be distributed around the facility to electrical service spaces. The medium voltage will subsequently stepped down to a utilization voltage – 600V or 480V for motor loads or equipment and 208/120V for receptacles and lighting. At each distribution voltage, major electrical equipment will include: switchgear/switchboards, feeders, transformers, distribution panels and lighting/receptacle panels.

Tasked with managing these electrical assets, facility managers should ask the following important questions. How will my electrical power system operate during abnormal operating conditions, such as a short-circuit event? Is equipment properly rated to prevent damage and failure during a short-circuit event? What level of personal protective equipment should operators wear, when performing routine switching operations or maintenance on electrical distribution equipment? Two important power system studies can provide answers to these questions, along with other essential information: a short-circuit protection and coordination study and an arc flash
hazard assessment.

At each voltage level in a power distribution system, protective devices, including fuses, circuit breakers and protective relays, are used to protect electrical distribution equipment and the loads served. Fundamental protection consists of protection from overload scenarios, where too many amps are drawn by loads and overheating becomes an issue, and protection from instantaneous overcurrent scenarios, where large magnitude currents can damage equipment in a fraction of a second (a short-circuit event). Protective devices have to be adequately rated for both scenarios.

In the event of a short-circuit or other abnormal event, a large magnitude fault current will flow through multiple protective devices and levels of distribution, before it reaches the point of failure. The flow of current in the faulted circuit will be interrupted by the melting of a fuse or the opening of a circuit breaker. In an ideal situation, the upstream protective device closest to the point of failure will open before a higher-level protective device opens. For example, a fault in a motor should trip the circuit breaker supplying the motor, without impacting the main breaker for the entire facility. When this occurs, protective devices are said to coordinate, power interruptions are localized and disruption to the rest of the facility is minimized.

A short-circuit protection and coordination study provides a complete evaluation of a power distribution system to ensure all protective devices are rated for the available fault level (at a particular voltage) and adequately protect downstream equipment. As part of the study, time current curves (TCC), which plot the interrupting time of an overcurrent device based on a given current level, are produced. TCC plots provide a graphical illustration of the coordination between multiple protective devices at an available fault level. In the event that devices do not coordinate, adjustable protection settings may be revised or devices may be replaced, to provide an optimal level of protection and coordination.

An arc flash hazard assessment takes information produced in a short-circuit protection and coordination study and produces a safety analysis for those who will be working on an electrical power system. The primary threat to electrical workers is the risk of an arcing ground fault and the associated blast. An arcing ground fault can cause thermal burn injuries and physical trauma, due to the force of the blast and flying projectiles, which may consist of partially melted components. Key elements to the assessment include: short-circuit levels at various points in the distribution system, the clearing time associated with upstream protective devices, the distance between the worker standing in front of the equipment to the arc source within the equipment, the incident energy available (cal/cm2) and the flash protection boundary. Once the incident energy available is calculated, the appropriate level of personal protective equipment can be identified.

The flash protection boundary will identify the minimum distance from live parts, that are uninsulated or exposed, within which a person could receive a second-degree burn. While one might expect higher short circuit levels to be associated with higher levels of incident energy, this is often not the case. Lower short circuit currents can often cause an arc to burn longer, before a protective device is tripped, resulting in a higher level of available incident energy. Time delays on protective devices may be increased to provide better levels of coordination, however this may also increase incident energy levels. Consideration should be given to both the coordination of protective devices and mitigation strategies for arc flash hazards. Temporary settings (maintenance settings) can be used to reduce incident energy levels, during routine maintenance and work on electrical systems.

Short-circuit protection and coordination studies and arc flash hazard analyses are typically performed with the use of industry standard power system software and computer modelling. A detailed model of a power system is created and information on the power system, including: the incoming utility service, equipment ratings, protective devices and settings, feeder lengths, transformer sizes and motor sizes are inputted. Information is typically collected from the facility’s electrical single line diagrams, electrical drawings with the location of equipment in plan, record shop drawings from construction and data gathering from site surveys. Software programs will have a large database of protective devices, with user-defined protective settings when adjustable. This will allow the modeler to select appropriate settings or suggest alternative protective devices, to achieve better levels of device coordination. Once a model is complete, a multitude of deliverables can be produced, such as reports, TCC plots, graphical representations of a various operating scenarios, arc flash labels and information on PPE requirements. Correct information must be inputted into the power system model, to ensure automated calculations and results are accurate.

Most new construction projects and projects that involve significant modifications to electrical equipment will include the requirements for power system studies in the project specifications. This will ensure that an electrical installation is optimized, properly integrated with any existing power distribution equipment and operators have the necessary information to operate new equipment. While new projects provide the opportunity for updated studies, many facility managers inherit complex power distribution systems, which have undergone a multitude of upgrades and modifications over the years, with minimal updates to record documentation.

Upper Canada College faced these challenges when they undertook a project to update record documentation on their power system, complete with an updated short-circuit protection and coordination study and arc flash hazard analysis.

Founded in 1829, Upper Canada College (UCC) is one of Canada’s leading independent schools and is located on a 16-hectare (40-acre) campus in midtown Toronto. The campus is home to a number of academic buildings, student and staff residences and facilities. The campus receives an incoming utility service at 13.8kV and distributes power to a number of campus buildings, via a 13.8kV distribution network. Major buildings have individual main electrical rooms, where the incoming medium voltage circuit is transformed down to 600/347V and 208/120V. Low voltage distribution systems provide power to building mechanical systems, lighting, equipment and academic facilities. Power distribution systems had been modified over the years along with campus re-development and renovations in various buildings.

Chris Martins, Senior Operations Manager, Angus Consulting Management Ltd. (UCC’s Facilities Management Group) said, “We recognized the need to update record information on electrical power systems throughout the campus and this provided an excellent opportunity to complete an updated coordination study and arc flash hazard analysis.”

C2C Enertec Inc. was selected to complete the electrical audit and provide updated power system studies. Detailed site investigation work was completed over the span of several months. As-built drawings and building records, spanning several decades, were reviewed in detail. Electrical equipment, protective devices and existing settings were reviewed on site and catalogued. Site work was completed after hours, to avoid disruption to building occupants. Updated electrical single line diagrams were created and information collected on site was used to produce a detailed power system model of UCC’s electrical power systems. A short-circuit study was completed and time current curves were produced for the power distribution system. An arc flash hazard analysis was completed and a report detailing arc flash hazard levels, along with recommended personal protective equipment, was produced.

Information was consolidated in a detailed report for UCC’s operations group, arc flash labels were installed on electrical equipment throughout the campus and updated electrical single line diagrams were mounted on walls, in main electrical rooms. The updated power system studies and electrical records provide operations staff with new insight into how their power distribution system can be expected to operate, along safety requirements when working on equipment.

Steve Thuringer, Executive Director of Facilities, UCC said, “UCC’s electrical power distribution system is an essential part of campus operations. Having updated record information will go a long way in helping our staff with future maintenance work and renovation projects.”

In today’s world of integrated systems, the requirements of a reliable power supply and the need for workplace safety are an integral part of facility management. It is recommended that every facility consider having an up to date arc flash hazard assessment and short circuit protection and coordination study, for its electrical power systems. These two important power system studies help ensure equipment is properly protected, can minimize the impact of an unexpected short-circuit event and promote operator safety when working with electrical equipment. By developing detailed requirements for technical experience and deliverables, such as compliance with industry standards and the associated methods for creating power system models, a facility manager can help ensure that their service provider produces meaningful results.

As demonstrated by the successful project at Upper Canada College, undertaking power system studies provide significant insight into an existing power distribution system, which has been modified and upgraded over time.

Original Source: https://www.mromagazine.com/features/%EF%BB%BFpower-system-studies/

Original Date: Nov 12 2018

Written By:

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 |

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.


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

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

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

Understanding Your Business’s Breaker Panel

Technology has been growing faster and faster in recent years, and your business seems to need to use it all to keep up with your competition.  All those computers and other technological devices that are helping your business grow are taking up more power and space in your business’s breaker panel, which can lead to trouble after a while.

That means that your breaker panel eventually may not be large enough to handle everything and you may find that your company will go in the dark every so often.  There are a few signs that you should look out for to see if it is time to replace your business’s breaker panel.  One of the most noticeable things that you will see are flickering lights.  While you may think that your light bulbs just need to be changed, the fact is that you may need a new breaker panel installed instead.

Another sign may be that your panel switches keep tripping and shutting things down.  This may not be a big deal the first time that it happens, but after a while, it can affect the productivity of your work.  You should also be able to read what each panel switch is connected to, and if you can’t then it can be difficult to know which panel switches to flip when you need to cut the power to something in your office.

Strange buzzing noises or popping sounds are never a good sign either, and anything like that can quickly cause an electrical fire to start.  You may want to try to ignore many of these signs, in hopes that you can just get by to save money, but we recommend getting these things fixed immediately.

Here at we offer for sale an abundance of reconditioned electrical surplus options.  All our reconditioned breaker panels meet the strictest safety requirements, and if it weren’t for the lower cost, you would have no idea that these units were reconditioned when you look at them.

We can find a new breaker panel that will fit your current and future needs in our reconditioned electrical surplus and install it quickly, so that your business does not experience too much downtime.  Since these breaker panels are ready to go, all we need to do is hook them up and attach everything before turning them on.  This is much cheaper than rewiring and the many other options that some other electrical companies offer.

We know that your time is valuable to your business, and we have found that using reconditioned electrical surplus items can save you that time as well as a lot of money.

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.

What to Consider for Transformer Replacement with Quick Return to Service

When it comes to power transformer replacement, a few tips can ensure a quick return to service while also reducing future costs and downtime.

When power transformers fail, the effects on plant operations can be debilitating. The production gets interrupted; everything grinds to a halt, and the effects on the bottom line can be immediate and devastating. This can put a lot of pressure on those in charge of getting operations back up to full-speed.

To make matters worse, since power transformers rarely go down, it is not uncommon for those in charge of purchasing a replacement unit to have little to no experience in the process. In addition, to someone who doesn’t purchase many transformers or know much about their design, it may seem as though transformers are more of a commodity item, and hence, can be sourced out to the lowest bid. However, there are a number of considerations that can have long term impacts.

“Quality doesn’t always increase the initial purchase price, but it can greatly reduce long-term costs in a number of important ways,” advised Alan Ober, chief engineer at Electric Service Company (ELSCO), an expert with over 40 years of experience in the design and manufacturing of transformers.

Selecting the proper transformer design and construction can actually make a huge difference by extending operating life, reducing overall costs and decreasing the need for future maintenance. The following considerations can help avoid common pitfalls in the sourcing and installation of transformers.

Selecting the Right Transformer

To maximize the return on investment on what is arguably the heart of any industrial plant it is important to understand some of the basics. Starting from the top, power transformers are required to step-down the higher voltages delivered by the electric utility company.

For indoor applications, dry-type transformers are by far the most common due in part to the fact that they are air-cooled, so they pose lower risk of problematic leakage, environmental issues and fire. Since they can safely be used inside a facility, dry-type units can be placed right next to the equipment they are powering which can further reduce costs.

In addition, a plant can save additional operational costs by selecting a new unit over a refurbished option. This is due to the higher efficiencies standards enacted by the Department of Energy in 2010 and then further tightened in 2016 on all new transformers.

Evaluate Winding Design

The way in which the coils are wound around the core of a dry-type transformer greatly affects its robustness and ability to survive “impulses” that can occur from phenomena such as switching surges and lightning strikes.

Two of the most common transformer designs today feature either circular (round-wound) or rectangular windings.

While many transformer manufacturers still offer rectangular windings, because they are less expensive to build, they can develop problematic air traps, hot spots and other problems.

The round coil design, on the other hand, provides significant ongoing operational and cost-saving advantages. Round-wound transformers stay cooler, run quieter, and present less risk of short circuit when coupled with a sheet wound secondary.

Consider the Material

In addition to the design, the material used for the windings and insulation can greatly affect performance and prevent disastrous emergencies from occurring during the unit’s operating life.

For transformer windings, the most common materials used are copper and aluminum. While copper does have a higher upfront cost, it more than makes up for that by outperforming and outlasting aluminum.

The selection of proper insulation also plays a major part in ensuring transformer reliability. Temperatures can reach 200 degrees C in a dry-type transformer on a daily basis; hence skimping on insulation can lead to disastrous consequences.

Therefore, higher-quality insulation, such as DuPont Nomex flame resistant meta-aramid insulation, should strongly be considered. This is the same insulation used in the safety gear worn by race car drivers, fire departments, military applications, as well as in numerous electrical applications.

Investigate a “Drop-in” Solution

Finally, a factor that is often overlooked: The removal of the old transformer and installation of the new one can be time-consuming and costly if not properly addressed beforehand. This is particularly important when there are existing enclosures with dimensional/clearance constraints.

Throughout his career, Ober has seen a number of situations where it has taken riggers days to complete the removal of transformers, and then several more days for the new unit to be installed and hooked up to the switchgear and bus work. Custom bus work for dry-type units may be part of the solution.

“The transformer manufacturer should be consulted and needs to be capable of slightly modifying the transformer – either new or remanufactured – so that it can be ‘dropped-in’ or mated with the existing transformer infrastructure, meeting UL, IEEE standards plus all required clearances, within a few hours,” said Ober.

He added that consulting suppliers on a user’s specific application, present and anticipated power supply needs, and getting an informed evaluation of the options available, can lead to the effective selection of a transformer that will pay substantial dividends in performance and greatly reduce the total cost of ownership.

Author: Ed Sullivan is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer with more than 30 years of expertise in the power generation and distribution industry. 

Original Source: http://hconews.com/2018/02/21/transformer-replacement/

How Are Bus Plugs and Ducts Used in Manufacturing?

All buildings whether commercial or residential require some sort of electrical power in order to provide lighting, outlets and other electrical devices. For commercial buildings, you have power needs for machinery, lighting, cooling systems, and other types of electrical needs. Typically, in a residential building, you have electrical service entering the house with cables. This is different then how electrical power is distributed in commercial and manufacturing settings.

Commercial buildings, especially those used by medium or large-scale manufacturing businesses use a larger type power distribution system that requires a much different way to run power through the manufacturing spaces of the building. Unlike residential power distribution which uses cables to carry the power throughout the home, commercial building use bus ducts or sheet metal runs with either aluminum or copper busbars.

History of the Busway Power Distribution System

The busway and bus bars were first introduced in the US back in the 1920’s at the request of the auto industry in Detroit, Michigan. The system gave them the necessary versatility that was needed for supplying power to the assembly line equipment that was being used in the manufacturing facilities at the time. Over the years since, there have been numerous innovations that have improved on the original design and installation procedures.

 

Commercial Power Distribution System Components

Heavy duty machinery typically found in manufacturing plants have unique power requirements which cannot be served by typical power distribution systems that are found in most residential homes and most commercial buildings. For these unique power requirements, there is a power system that is designed especially suited for this type of need. Bus Ducts and Bus Plugs are combined to deliver the necessary power to each machine

 

Bus Ducts – Bus Ducts also referred to as busways are sections of sheet metal with bars attached to them that are made of either aluminum or copper.  The sections are connected together in order to reach each piece of machinery that is needing the power. This type of power distribution system requires trained, certified professional electricians to install them and ensure that they are in full operation at all times.

 

Bus Plugs – Bus Plugs are specially designed components that work in tandem with the busbars in a unique type of power distribution system that is typically installed in a large-scale manufacturing facility. Each bus plug is used to connect directly to busways that are running throughout building to deliver the power to equipment like large motor starters and other power switching equipment.

Indoors and Outdoors Power System

One of the benefits of using this type of system in a manufacturing facility is that it can be used both indoors and outdoors to deliver the necessary power to different parts of any operation. The unique design of the system helps to prevent voltage drops across each of the numerous sections of the bus ducting throughout the building.

 

The system can also be fitted with a trolley system that is designed to deliver power to equipment that is designed to move frequently. There are also cables that are used to deliver the power directly to the trolley itself.

 

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.