EC&M's Products of the Week from the last 12 months
Come Monday morning, most people moan and groan their way out of bed, but not you — you have a reason to be excited about the start of a new week. The anticipation of this day can be compared to the excitement a child feels on Christmas morning, because it's on this day you get to see another great product offered to the electrical industry. OK, maybe it's not that exciting, but we like to think so. Each week we at EC&M select one of the latest and greatest products the industry has to offer and present it on our Web site as a Product of the Week — and we take this work very seriously. We try to mix up the picks by featuring products like a tool belt one week and a power quality analyzer the next week. We post them first on www.ecmweb.com, but just in case you're not visiting the Web site on a regular basis, here's a roundup of the past 52 weeks of products. It's like every gift-giving holiday rolled into one.
Infrared thermal imager
June 2, 2003 — The first in a planned series of infrared products, the ThermoView Ti30 is a handheld thermal imaging device that detects hot spots in electrical circuits, rotating equipment, and other processes. With a range of 0°C to 250°C, the device takes infrared pictures of temperature measurements that are then recorded and can be uploaded to a PC for storage and analysis in accompanying software. As many as 100 temperature-calibrated images can be stored in the unit. The company is also offering free thermal imaging training to those who purchase the imager.
June 9, 2003 — The Roller Coaster RC1 offset bender bends 0.5-in. and 0.75-in. EMT and 0.5 rigid metal tubing and provides offset centers from 10 in. to 48 in. and offsets to 36 in. A 3-ft extension is available to increase the star-to-star distance. The bender's body has a powder coating finish, and it's mounted on wheels for transport around the jobsite.
Fluorescent lamp and ballast system
June 23, 2003 — The F28T8 UltraMax System operates a 2-, 3-, or 4-lamp system. The 28W fluorescent lamp and ballast system is rated for UL type CC anti-arc protection. This system includes multi-voltage control, which can read the incoming voltage and adapt automatically to any voltage from 108V to 305V. It also features anti-striation protection, which eliminates traditional spiraling or swirling with a barber pole effect. The system also features a 1.4 lamp current crest factor.
Design and estimating system
June 16, 2003 — The RapidBOM is a PC-based network design and estimating system that allows the user to establish and standardize a design process that automatically creates a bill of materials, and calculates labor costs. Users can input information like cable lengths, cable closet distance, and cable type and the program will determine the materials needed, associated part numbers, and labor costs associated with completing the job. The system also includes Microsoft Project to design networks that include premise infrastructure and complete outside plant with route construction.
Catalyst Data/Communications SupplyCircle 302
Power quality analyzer
June 30, 2003 — The PowerPad is a handheld 3-phase power and power quality meter with a large graphical color display. Measurements are displayed numerically and graphically with colored waveforms. The meter is menu-driven with pop-up functions that are activated by a push button. All necessary measurements are available for a comprehensive power system check or analysis to 830V rms.
Solar-powered lighting systems
July 7, 2003 — The series SLR001 and SLR002 solar-powered LED 12V lighting systems convert sunlight into the electricity needed for indoor lighting. The systems include solar panels, 12-ft 16-gauge cables, 3A 20-hour batteries, voltage regulators, terminal blocks, three white LED lamps, and light sockets. The SLR001 features a 10W solar panel and three 12V/14V white 24-LED cluster lamps. The SLR002 has a 5W solar panel and three 12V/14V white nine-LED cluster lamps that produce 14 end lumens per lamp.
Pocket IR thermometer
July 14, 2003 — The pocket-sized IR201 infrared thermometer weighs 2.7 oz. and measures surface temperatures from -58°F to 518°F with 1° resolution. It's designed for checking hot spots in electrical panels, production machinery, motors, HVAC equipment, and chillers. The narrow field of view measures 1-in. targets at 6 in. distances to ensure that readings come from the target and not the surrounding environment.
Electrical design software
July 21, 2003 — The DM ELEC software is optimized for producing permit and bidding plans. The visual presentation of the drawings simulates the look of plans manually drafted by using AutoCAD. In addition to allowing consistently accurate creation of plans, the software can edit in response to architectural changes. Engineering units are all standard English (feet and inches), and the design formulas are based on the NEC.
Design Master Software
Electrical hole cutting tool
August, 4, 2003 — The Perfect Cutter is designed for building contractors, remodelers, drywallers, and voice/data/video installers who cut electrical holes. The tool integrates a template system with a router and a vacuum. The templates are designed to cut a variety of holes, such as outlets, lighting, and voice/data/video connectors. The high-speed router cuts a clean, accurate hole while the vacuum adheres the tool and the chosen template against the surface to remove the resulting dust and debris.
Voice-controlled CAD software
July 28, 2003 — Realize Voice 4.0 software enables engineers to control CAD and all other Windows-based applications with their voice. The software uses customized macros to simulate and automate common keyboard or mouse input for anything from a single key press to a series of CAD operations, then play back macros using voice commands. Features include voice macros, decision commands, character mode, dictation, and text-to-speech.
August 11, 2003 — The ClickAndGo perforated bottom cable tray system is designed for new cable tray installation, inspection, and repair. The fittings come flat and are hand-folded in the field at the time of installation, eliminating the need for field fabrication. The cable trays are manufactured from 0.89-mm thick galvanized mill carbon steel. They're UL classified and designed for field assembly, and they comply with the NEC.
August 18, 2003 — The Wobble Light is a portable light that has an impact resistant body and a counter weighted hemispherical base that returns the light upright if knocked over. Protected by a floating shock system and bulletproof dome, the 500W halogen bulb produces 360° of light. It's cool to the touch, measures 3 ft in height, and weighs 20 lb.
Electrical calculations program
September 1, 2003 — The Volts CD-ROM-based electrical calculation program is designed for engineers, electricians, contractors, and maintenance department employees. The program uses 63 NEC tables and specifications to aid in the selection and sizing of electrical devices, current and ground conductors, circuit breakers, transformers, generators, and motors. After users input known values for system characteristics like power factor, voltage, and amperage, the program will check against those Code requirements to ensure the correct conductors and protective devices are being specified. Information can be printed from any printer or saved onto a hard drive for future use or reference.
Arc-fault circuit interrupter
August 25, 2003 — This AFCI is the size of a common residential circuit breaker and is equipped with a built-in electronic trip indicator. It's designed to mitigate the effects of arcing faults produced by worn insulation, damaged wire, loose connections, misapplied or damaged appliances, or stressed electrical cords. Incorporating a thermal magnetic circuit breaker with electronics designed to recognize and interrupt arc faults, a solenoid flags when an arc is detected. The AFCI also provides thermal, short-circuit, and overload protection.
Siemens Energy & Automation
Self-testing emergency ballast
September 8, 2003 — The UL-Listed REDiTEST B30ST self-testing fluorescent emergency ballast combines high-lumen emergency lighting with self-testing/self-diagnostic operation. The emergency ballast automatically performs Code-required, 30-sec monthly and 90-min annual testing. If it detects a problem, an indicator light and an optional audible alarm let maintenance personnel know that the unit needs attention. It provides as many as 3,500 lumens initial emergency light output and is suitable for use in indoor and damp locations.
The Bodine Company
Arc-flash circuit breaker
September 22, 2003 — Masterpact Low Arc-Flash circuit breakers provide balanced protection for overcurrent and arc flash. The breakers incorporate a blow-open design that clears faults quickly and provides arc-flash protection at the lower current levels often associated with arc-flash incidents. The design allows the circuit breaker to go into an accelerated opening mode at about 30kA, while continuing to accelerate opening times through the interrupting rating of 200kA at 508VAC. It also houses a filtered arc chute that contains an assembly of metallic grids and meshes that reduce the gases released during an interruption.
Square D/Schneider Electric
Plug and connector products
October 6, 2003 — The 15A and 20A straight blade, and the 15A, 20A, and 30A Turnlok plug and connector products are designed for end-users in commercial, industrial MRO, and OEM settings. They feature an LED indicator that glows through the face to indicate power, proper grounding, and other potential hazardous wiring conditions. A green light indicates the upstream circuit is properly wired and grounded, while a red light indicates an open ground or reversed polarity.
Pass & Seymour/Legrand
September 29, 2003 — The Firedome recessed downlight provides a thermally protected housing for fire protection in commercial facilities, multiple family dwellings, and other fire-rated construction. Designed for 60-min fire-rated floor-ceiling designs, it features an intumescent lining. When exposed to high temperatures generated by fire, the lining expands to create a stable fire-resistant insulating char, which prevents fire, toxic fumes, and hot gasses from spreading into ceiling voids.
Compact band saw
October 13, 2003 — The X-Band saw uses an 18V rechargeable battery to cut through copper, galvanized and black pipe, conduit, PVC, and wood as wide as 2.5 in. The 8-lb saw requires one hand to operate, freeing the other hand to guide material through the saw for an accurate cut. It also comes equipped with a 21,000-rpm motor, a bi-metal blade, and a quick-change blade release.
Multi-function electrical testers
October 20, 2003 — Designed for commercial, industrial, utility, and residential applications, the GT-540 and GT-220 multi-function electrical testers feature an auto selection mode that allows electricians to measure AC/DC voltage in low-impedance mode, resistance, and continuity. Other features include a low-battery indicator and an automatic power off.
Fire alarm control panel
November 17, 2003 — In addition to offering the features of the rest of this company's 600 series of control panels, the IdentiFlex 602 analog addressable fire alarm control panel uses SmartLink peer-to-peer protocol to connect as many as 250 network nodes. It features analog sensors, addressable input and control interface devices, and remote status and control capabilities. The panel also reduces setup time with the SmartStart feature, which identifies and configures all system modules, circuits, and devices to default alarm code.
September 15, 2003 — The Chico SpeedSeal allows users to install an explosionproof seal in less than 5 min. The compound comes in a pre-measured, self-contained applicator so it requires no extra mixing equipment. Upon injection, the compound expands to fill the entire fitting, automatically separates the conductors, and hardens into a dense mass. It's UL- and cUL-Listed for use with the manufacturer's EYS sealing fittings as large as 2 in.
Circuit breaker analyzer
November 10, 2003 — The CBA-1000 circuit breaker analyzer tests branch circuits for compliance with 240.1 of the 2002 NEC. The unit plugs into any 120V receptacle, allowing electricians and technicians to create a controlled short circuit and analyze circuit protection device responses. The handheld instrument displays test results on a 2-line, backlit LCD and stores the collected data for reporting. In addition to testing for maximum safe breaker response time and actual breaker response time, the unit will display line voltage and percent voltage drop.
Nonmetallic cable splice and tap
October 27, 2003 — Nonmetallic (NM) splice and tap technology connects 12 AWG and 14 AWG circuits using NM cable. It eliminates the need for junction boxes, covers, fittings, and wire nuts. It's approved for use in a variety of applications, including residential branch circuits, manufactured housing, and pre-fabricated building structures. When adding new circuits in residential applications, NM connectors eliminate the need to cut into the existing wiring and the extra junction boxes and associated hardware required for the tap connection.
AMP Netconnect, a division of Tyco Electronics
Power distribution system
Nov. 3, 2003 — The Snake Bus power distribution system delivers 50A, 3-phase, 208V and provides as much as 15kW of power in one track. The system eliminates the need for traditional methods of hard wiring equipment to deliver power through data centers and workstations. Its low-profile design mounts under the floor and only requires 2 in. of space. It comes in 4-ft and 8-ft snap-together lengths.
November 24, 2003 — The X2 line of 12V, 14.4V, and 18V 0.5-in. cordless drills come equipped with a two-speed transmission. The drill's torque levels range from 365 in.-lb for the 12V model, to 485 in.-lb for the 18V model. It features two high-capacity batteries, a Rapid Max twin charger, a 24-position clutch, a single-sleeve locking chuck with carbide jaws to hold bits, an automatic spindle lock, and a carrying case.
Power Quality Analyzer
December 1, 2003 — The WM3-96 power quality analyzer measures and controls several power quality parameters like TRMS measurement of THD, harmonic analysis to the 50th harmonic, voltage, current, and demand. The analyzer includes a 32-bit microprocessor encased in a 96 mm × 96 mm housing and displays measurements on an LCD. It can also use Modbus-RTU protocol for monitoring as many as 255 individual instruments when using Wattsoft3 software.
December 8, 2003 — The Interragator EZ GPR system uses electromagnetic waves to locate buried utilities. The system's 2-parameter input adjusts the depth of investigation and soil type values, and a depth calibration routine automatically adjusts system settings. An on-demand backup cursor gives immediate and accurate location of buried utilities, while a high-frequency, 400-MHz antenna transmits and receives pulses during subsurface surveys. The antenna allows the system to detect utilities as small as 0.80 in. at depths of 18 in. The system can detect larger utilities down to 20 ft, depending on soil condition. It features a real-time display that's daylight readable, and users can transfer data to an external computer.
Low-voltage cable tester
December 29, 2003 — Using time domain reflectometry, the TRD900 auto-ranging, fault-finding instrument can measure power, telephony, CATV, and LAN cable lengths, and find the distance to an open or short. The instrument features an internal library of 39 standard cable types, and it functions with any cable consisting of at least two insulated metallic elements, one of which can be the sheath or shield of the cable. It has automatic output impedance control from 25 ohms to 150 ohms and a measurement range of 15 ft to 10,000 ft with a minimum resolution of 20 in.
January 5, 2004 — The RZ1, RZ5, RZ10, and RZ20 are the latest additions to the RotoZip line of spiral saws. Each model has a universal 3-jaw chuck that fits any size bit, a wrenchless bit change system, a sealed switch to keep dust out of the tool, a soft-grip handle, and an adjustable foot. The RZ1 and RZ5 are the basic models, differing only in handle design. The RZ10 and RZ20 are the more advanced models that are powered by a 5.5A motor and feature variable speed control and a metal bezel. The RZ20 goes one step further to include an integrated LED.
Power Distribution Unit
December 22, 2003 — The Power Commander vertical power distribution unit (PDU) provides 30A of power. It's designed for communications racks, cabinets, and enclosures, and it features 24 or 36 simplex receptacles, dual circuits, and easy-access breakers. It also includes a built-in T-slot to accommodate mounting accessories. It's cUL-listed and meets UL60950-1 first edition and ITE standards.
The Wiremold Co.
December 15, 2003 — The Build-Your-Own-Bag system allows users to customize their own tool belt using several interchangeable components. The system is built upon a padded weight lifter belt made of heavy-duty nylon and outfitted with eight quick clips to add bags and accessories. Two types of bags are available for customization. The DS-970B bag consists of three inner compartments, four outer compartments, and three quick clips. The DS-911B bag contains four inner compartments, eight outer compartments, a “T” chain for tape rolls, and one quick clip. Users can also choose from a variety of accessories and pouches to further customize their belt like a hammer loop, tape clip, drill holster with bit pocket, and three sizes of pouches.
January 19, 2004 — CleanSource uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems ensure continuous power in a variety of applications from process control to broadcasting to data processing. Available in four models with powers ranging from 65kVA to 130kVA, the UPS systems protect sensitive loads against short power disturbances and extended outages. Power conditioning capabilities include voltage regulation, transient protection, and harmonics cancellation. They measure 34 in. × 58.6 in. × 78 in. and come standard with internal static bypass, serial communications, LCD monitoring and control panel, programmable I/O contacts, and restart.
Insulation resistance tester
January 12, 2004 — The 1550B MegOhmMeter 5kV provides insulation resistance testing to as high as one teraohm with 250V, 500V, 1,000V, 2,500V, and 5,000V output voltages. The tester performs automatic calculation of dielectric absorption and polarization index with no setup and has 99 memory locations to which users can assign a defined, four-character, alpha-numeric label for recall. It carries a ramp function from 0VDC to 500VDC for breakdown testing. Users can download results to a Windows-based computer using the included 1550B software and optical interface cable. A rechargeable 12V battery powers the tester, which gives it enough energy for as many as 2,500 tests. Additional accessories include test leads, 5,000V-rated probes, alligator clips, and an interface adapter and cable.
Power equipment labels
January 26, 2004 — These labels for outdoor power equipment applications meet the requirements of the UL 969 Marking and Labeling System, and CSA Adhesive Labels, and they contain ANSI warning label requirements. The labels can be used on finishes like nitrocellulose lacquer, epoxy powder coat, and urethane powder coat. They're available in white or silver polyester with acrylic and clear polyester coating over laminate to protect the graphics. They're also thermally imprinted with model numbers, serial numbers, lot codes, and other product-specific information.
Tailored Label Products
Hand conduit bender
February 2, 2004 — Big Ben hand conduit benders are constructed of heat-treated aluminum and feature industry-standard markings. The 0.5-in., 0.75-in., and 1-in. benders include a conduit vise for cutting or reaming, a bend-back channel that corrects over-bends, a 30° bend when the handle is upright, sight-down arrows for bending on the floor, and straight across marks for bending in the air.
February 9, 2004 — The PlugTail wiring device features a factory-terminated connector with leads and a keyed connector to ensure the correct polarity. The device has no exposed terminals before, during, or after installation, which eliminates the need for a tapping device. It's available in hospital grade, extra heavy-duty specification grade, and tamper resistant models.
Pass & Seymour/Legrand
February 17, 2004 — The Infinity series rack-mountable power distribution unit (PDU) provides power to multiple 19-in. racks in a computer room. The PDU delivers as much as 33kVA of plug-and-play power to any UPS system, computer room rack(s), or power strips(s). It's available in 10U and 17U high configurations with 42-load or 24-load circuit breaker options and 100A main at 208VAC or 240VAC. The PDU is equipped with a meter that provides voltage, current, kVA, kW, and kWhr information that can be downloaded to a Palm Pilot.
Millennium 2000 Technologies
PDA estimating interface
February 23, 2004 — The Pocket Bid estimating interface for the Pocket PC can perform a complete estimate, generate a bill of materials, and produce a final price, all while on the jobsite. The program will run on any PDA that uses Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002 operating system or the Windows Mobile 2003 operating system. It features full extension, bid summary, and customizable screens. The program can support multiple databases and projects at the same time, and can update from the PDA to the desktop and back.
Hole saw arbor
March 1, 2004 — The quick-change arbor is universally compatible with any brand of hole saw, and can work with recessed light and carbide grit hole saw products. One arbor is required for sizes 0.875 in. to 6 in. For hole saws above 2.5 in., the manufacturer recommends the use of a 0.44 shank, which is available in 0.375-in. and 0.5-in. heavy-duty chuck sizes.
March 8, 2004 — The XANT explosionproof wireless I/O transmitter/receiver system features a cast aluminum enclosure that houses a transmitter and antenna and includes a wire sealing chamber. The system delivers 1W of transmitter power, three contact outputs rated 120VAC at 0.5A, and an analog signal of 4mA to 20mA. It has a 600-ft to 1,000-ft obstructed line of sight and frequency hopping spread spectrum technology. The system comprises a 17.5-mm wide DIN-rail mounted transmitter and receiver, and stainless steel hardware.
March 15, 2004 — Designed to eliminate glare, light trespass, and sky glow, the M400 CobraHead-styled LED streetlights only shine light at ground level. The lamps contain 400 warm incandescent white LEDs rated at 3,200K, with a 19W power draw. They have a life of more than 100,000 hr, making them well-suited for lighting along minor roads, pedestrian walkways, in parking lots, and in ornamental lighting applications. The lamps meet IES street lighting standards.
Mobile work station
March 22, 2004 — The Work-n-Wagon serves as a multi-functional mobile work station. It features a tabletop surface that can lay flat for use as a workbench or placed at an angle for use as a print table. The station is equipped with two shelves and a bottom rack for conduit storage. It has a load capacity of 800 lb., and it measures 42 in. × 48 in. × 29 in.
Illuminated clothing rod
April 5, 2004 — The Retail Rod is a self-illuminated rod system for retail store clothing displays and residential closets. The rod uses T2 or T5 fluorescent lamps that emit glare-free, cool-to-the-touch accent lighting directly on clothing with no spillover. They're constructed of extruded aluminum, and they have an outside diameter of 1.375 in. The rods, available in a painted or anodized finish, come in 5-ft lengths that can be specified for wall- or surface-suspended mounting applications.
March 29, 2004 — The Liebert NX is a mid-sized uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system for server rooms, mid-sized data centers, and industrial plants. It features an online, IGBT-based, double conversion topology to protect equipment from noise, spikes, waveform distortions, surges, sags, and frequency variations. The system's overload protection handles 125% of the rated load for 10 min, 150% for 1 min, and 1,000% for 10 ms. It measures 24 in. × 32.5 in. with the backup battery, and the 120/208V, 3-phase version is available in 10-30kVA sizes in four modules.
April 12, 2004 — With built-in Web server capabilities, the EPS8000 uninterruptible power supply system (UPS) is available in models from 555kVA to 800kVA. The system incorporates line, load, and battery with fault-tolerant circuitry so fan failure won't compromise UPS operation. The UPS fits into locations as small as 121 in. wide and offers a power density of 23kW per square foot. Users can access all of the system's components from the front of the cabinet with no rear access required. The standard communications interface features a front panel text display, 11 dry contacts for alarm functions, nine contacts for control functions, a DB9 port for field service interface, a ModBus port, and a slot for additional communications cards.
MGE UPS Systems
April 19, 2004 — The Split-Jaw Smart-Meter is a voltage, continuity, resistance, and current tester combined with the capabilities of a clamp meter. The meter has automatic testing capabilities, which eliminates the need for a function dial. It provides volt, amp, and ohm measurements and performs AC testing as high as 200A without breaking the circuit, resistance testing to 2,000 ohms, AC voltage testing as high as 750VAC, and DC voltage testing as high as 1,000VDC. The meter has a rigid open jaw for hard-to-reach cable bundles, a low-battery indicator, and a push-button data hold function.
Light level sensor
April 26, 2004 — The Lumen Maintenance Photocell (LMPC) is a sensor that's attached to a wall that reads the amount of light in an area, and relays the information to a control unit that can make adjustments according to the user's specifications. It can control as many as four dimmed or switched circuits per room with adjustable settings. The LMPC has an onboard digital readout that indicates foot-candle levels, voltage-out from 0V to 10V, and a baseline setting, which eliminates the need for a separate foot-candle meter. Users wall-mount the LMPC photocell in the desired room, and its setting and trip points can be adjusted locally or remotely.
Lighting & Control Design
May 3, 2004 — Designed for contractors, the Logistics Resource Library computer program allows users to search for specific topics in trade journals, associated newswires, publications available for purchase, and white papers gathered from the Internet. Applicable information is then displayed in an easy-to-read format that includes the article's title, abstract, and link. Users can also store their own company training documents in the library.
May 10, 2004 — The Idexpert handheld labeler features bar codes and more than 80 industrial/commercial symbols and symbol sets for electrical, voice/data, warning, safety, and operational applications. The labeler comes with colored continuous tapes, wire marker sleeves, self-laminating wire markers, terminal block markers, patch panel markers, and general-purpose die-cut labels. It prints characters as tall as 1.25 in. on 1.5-in. wide label stock and as small as 7-point text on any labeling job. The labeler is available in ABC style layout or keyboard layout, and both models run on six AA batteries.
Shallow slab box
May 17, 2004 — Designed for parkade, apartment, and office building construction, the shallow slab box is the newest addition to this manufacturer's Kwikon ENT slab box series. It comes as a fully assembled, one-piece, concrete-tight unit with a 2.875-in. overall box height. The slab box's opening is coated with a clear polyester film that prevents concrete from entering the inserts and box interior. Made from nonmetallic and noncorroding PVC, the slab box is available in seven different hub/knockout configurations, with or without molded ENT hubs.
Motor management software
May 24, 2004 — The 123 Approach to Motor Management is a program that helps industrial and commercial facilities managers manage their motor fleets. With a limited amount of user input, the software can calculate energy costs and potential energy savings, calculate and compare the financial effect of repairing or replacing motors, determine the payback periods for NEMA premium motors, calculate return-on-investment and net present value, print tags that identify the best repair or replace options for each motor, and generate a summary report.
Motor Decisions Matter