A California general contractor first started thinking of a way to safeguard electrical outlets when his son was born 20 years ago. After working for 25 years in the construction industry, he invented the ProtectConnect system, which he says will not only save lives, but also cut electricians' installation time in half.

Michael Gorman, chairman and CEO of ProtectConnect, Inc., partnered with a childhood friend, Steve Purves, to launch a line of 32 wiring modules, receptacles, dimmers, switches, and GFCIs for the residential and commercial construction industry. The ProtectConnect system forms a barrier around live electrical wires in residential and commercial switches and outlets. The wires are locked behind sealed nylon modules to prevent accidental electrocution.

To illustrate the effectiveness of the system, Gorman often sticks a metal object into an electrical outlet or changes out the module with wet hands or fingers. While he originally designed the product line to increase electrical safety, Gorman says the modular design can also provide labor savings. The ProtectConnect modular system allows electricians to test the wiring system in the initial framing stage and then shield each fully wired and tested module inside a protective cover that prevents contamination from paint and wallboard compound. At any point near the end of construction, the installer can quickly remove the protective covers and snap in the outlet or switch.

“The trim-out is a very labor intensive operation,” Gorman says. “It's time consuming, and on top of that if there's a deficiency or a defect in the rough-in, the drywall has to be cut open, the wiring has to be repaired, and the wall has to be patched and painted.”

The ProtectConnect modules are color-coded and keyed, making it easier for the installer to change out outlets and switches. The modular system also eliminates the possibility of reverse polarity. Once an outlet has been properly wired and tested, an installer can no longer cross hot and common wires because the wiring is protected behind a shield.

Gorman is currently targeting new construction and the commercial market, but his products can also be used in residential and retrofit applications. The modules fit into about 80% of standard electrical junction boxes and don't require any special installation techniques. The CSA-approved products are manufactured by SMC, a global China-based company, and will soon be available through a nationwide distribution network.

Visit www.protectconnect.com for more information.





PRODUCT SPECS

Wiring Modules

Rating: 15A and 20A, 125VAC

Type: GFCI and Non-GFCI

Grade: Residential and commercial

Terminal: Fixed wire, protected side wire, 14-10 and 14-12 gauge wire, 4×14, 2×14, 2×10 or 2×12 wires per terminal.

Description: Wiring module for standard junction boxes. Can be wired for receptacles, switches, dimmers, and motion sensors.

Switches

Rating: 15A and 20A, 125VAC

Grade: Residential and commercial

Wiring Module Compatibility: Requires 15A, 125VAC wiring module or 20A, 125VAC module.

Description: Duplex receptacle, grounded, single-pole switch, 3-way switch and 4-way switch.

Receptacles

Rating: 15A and 20A, 125VAC

Grade: Residential and commercial

Wiring Module Compatibility: Requires 15A, 125VAC wiring module.

Description: Duplex receptacle, grounded.

Dimmers

Rating: 600W, 125VAC

Grade: Commercial

Wiring Module Compatibility: Requires 15A, 125VAC wiring module.

Description: Single pole- and 3-way incandescent slide dimmer with single-pole switch.

GFCIs

Rating: 15A and 20A, 125VAC

Grade: Commercial

Wiring Module Compatibility: Requires 20A, 125VAC GFCI-only wiring module.

Description: GFCI with duplex receptacle. Meets all UL and CSA test requirements. Includes an audio failure notification system.