Someone once said do something seven times, and it becomes a habit. So for the EC&M staff, you could say that selecting a “Product of the Week” 52 times a year has far surpassed habit status and become almost second nature. Considering the overwhelming number of new product press releases we receive on a daily and weekly basis, being chosen as the top product of the week is quite an honor. We're committed to bringing you the best new products the electrical industry has to offer that help you save time and money, so we continue to carefully go through each and every press release. Over the years, what's evolved from stack after stack of paper has more recently transformed into an overflowing e-mail inbox of product press releases that are diligently checked daily by our fearless editor. Then every Monday morning, we post a new Product of the Week to our Web site, www.ecmweb.com — and you never know what you're going to find. Featuring everything from ballasts to testers to boots, you can be sure it's something unique and useful. So just in case you haven't been making regular visits to our Web site, here's a compilation of the past year's chosen ones.
Home automation gateway
May 30, 2005 — The B6030-BACnet/IP home automation gateway is the latest addition to this company's Eplus Series of BACnet interfaces. The B6030 allows users to connect professional BACnet workstations to wireless products. The system is sold together with the Smarthome Powerline II interface, which supports the second-generation, extended X10 protocol that includes automatic verification of command actions. All Eplus interfaces communicate via an Ethernet data link, which is compatible with both building automation networks and traditional business IT networks.
Industrial AC drive
June 6, 2005 — Designed to minimize panel space, the Reliance Electric GV6000 multipurpose industrial AC drive has a zero-stacking configuration so multiple drives can be mounted adjacent to each other with no space in between. The drive features a removable operator interface module that provides metering, programming, and operator control. It also contains CopyCat functionality for transferring parameter sets between drives. It includes general-purpose (V/Hz), sensorless vector control, and flux vector control methods. Offered in seven frame sizes with capability ranging from 0.5 hp to 200 hp at 480V, the drive is also available in 240V and 600V input voltages.
Magnetic circuit breakers
June 13, 2005 — These hydraulic/magnetic circuit breakers don't rely on a temperature change to activate the trip mechanism, so ambient temperature and sympathetic heating have no effect on them. The circuit breakers don't derate or deteriorate over time and can be used in any application from -40°C to 60°C. They come in a variety of frame sizes and types with current ratings as high as 100A. Short-circuit capacities range from 500A to 10,000A at voltages as high as 240VAC/125VDC.
Circuit Breaker Industries
Convertible tablet PC
June 20, 2005 — The Tecra M4 convertible tablet PC allows users to work with a traditional keyboard or rotate and fold the screen down for use as a tablet with digital pen-based input and control. The PC features a 14-in. diagonal wide-viewing-angle SXGA+ display, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 software, and a suite of communication technologies. It's designed with shock-absorbing materials to help safeguard critical components such as the hard drive and LCD.
Toshiba Digital Products Division
Biometric time clock
June 27, 2005 — The biometric-based Time Guard System prevents field electricians from clocking in coworkers and secures the jobsite by requiring thumbprint verification. The time clock system is battery operated, portable, and weather resistant. It can also track changeorder labor, separate job tasks, and employees who work on multiple sites. Employees place a finger on the verification scanner to clock in and out.
WCI Time Clock Systems
Accounting dispatch software
July 5, 2005 — Designed by contractors, Total Office Manager accounting dispatch software is for companies that do service work and utility fleet management. The software can create appointments, work orders, audit trails, a general journal, purchase orders, job costing, flat rate pricing, proposals, estimates, and payroll.
Fluorescent lamp recycling system
July 11, 2005 — Designed for 4-ft and 8-ft fluorescent lamps, u-bent lamps, HID lamps, shielded lamps, dry cell batteries, lighting ballasts, thermostats, computers, monitors, and other electronic equipment, the LampTracker Mercury VaporLok system is a containment and shipping system for recycling fluorescent bulbs. The multi-layer TriGuard containers include a foil bag to eliminate seepage. The system has an online tracking feature that allows users to arrange shipping and track containers that have been ordered, recycled, or that are outstanding to ensure compliance. The tracking system also allows users to identify non-compliance within their facility and take corrective action.
Mercury Waste Solutions
July 25, 2005 — The remote transducer protector (RTP) 3034 uses a hybrid, three-stage clamping circuit to protect sensitive transducers from transient currents with minimal added loop resistance. The device provides common- and differential-mode transient protection for two-wire transducers and features a maximum surge rating of at 20kA 8/20µsec. It can be installed in a “T” configuration or inline and supports line currents as high as 145mA for protection of 24VDC-powered transducers.
July 18, 2005 — The Ridgid SeekTech SR-20 uses multi-directional antennas, a mapping display, and active and passive modes to help users locate underground utilities. The locator also traces transmitted frequencies and searches for other metallic lines that might be present. The mapping display shows target line direction and changes in direction as they occur, left-right guidance arrows, signal strength, and a proximity number that increases as distance to the target decreases.
Combined motor controllers and disconnects
August 1, 2005 — Rated to withstand 10,000A high-fault short circuits, the Circuit-Lock is a combination of manual motor controllers and disconnects in one switch. The device is placed between the load center and the motor, and it allows the user to terminate circuit power at the motor for servicing without shutting down the entire line. It's available as a component switch or pre-assembled into a variety of NEMA-rated enclosures.
Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems
Home automation cable
August 8, 2005 — Type 1243 home automation cable is specifically designed for the intelligent home and small office/home office work environment. The cable features an 18 AWG copper pair and a shielded 22 AWG copper pair for data. Jacketed with flame-resistant PVC, the cable is compatible with most home automation applications, including lighting systems, computer multimedia, security, high-speed Internet, telephony, energy management, and cable and DBS television.
August 15, 2005 — The 8600 conduit cutter's patented cutting wheel and shoulder combination not only eliminate burrs on the inside of conduit after it's cut but also prevents the tool from cutting through the conduit wall. Designed for ½-in. and ¾-in. EMT, the 8600 works like other conduit cutters by alternately tightening the cutter wheel and turning the cutter around the conduit. When the cut is deep enough to reach the shoulder on the cutter wheel, it can be removed and the conduit can be snapped in two. It's also designed for cutting conduit that already has wire installed because it won't penetrate the conduit wall and damage wire insulation.
Greenlee, a Textron Co.
Arc flash warning device
August 22, 2005 — The VoltageVision power warning alert device is mounted to the outside of a panel and hardwired to the load side of the main disconnect, thereby providing external LED indication of voltage inside electrical system enclosures. The device provides on/off voltage indication, thereby verifying that an electrically safe work condition exists before an electrician opens an electrical enclosure. It detects AC and DC voltage and operates from 40VAC-750VAC/30VDC-1,000VDC.
Grace Engineered Products
Arc extinguishing system
August 29, 2005 — Through high-speed sensing of current and flash, the Square D Arc Terminator extinguishes arcs in medium-voltage switchgear in less than 0.004 sec before pressure can reach dangerous levels. The device can protect as many as 10 breakers, using optical and current sensors to detect arc formation. It can be installed in both this company's and other companies' switchgear.
Jobsite security system
September 6, 2005 — The Trailer Dog family of self-contained, solar-charged, battery-powered theft deterrent systems includes packages for trailers and construction/industrial sites. Each version includes an integrated siren, weatherproof solar panel, and LED light activation indicator. The trailer package comes with two key chain remote controls, while the construction/industrial system comes with four.
Generator power connection kit
September 12, 2005 — Designed for extra weather protection, this new generator power connection kit features a 2-in.-deep cast aluminum weatherproof box with a powder-coated finish. All the wiring devices and mounting hardware required for portable generator installation are included. The kit has a receptacle securely mounted to the cover and a heavy-duty, industrial-grade base integrated with its weatherproof cover.
Cell tower cables
September 19, 2005 — This flexible, harsh environment cable is designed specifically for cell and radio towers and provides voice applications, high-speed broadband wireless Internet access, and weather collection for new PCS and mobile radio applications. The cable's shielding is 60% braid and 100% metallic foil tape to avoid interference from other services located on the same tower, and the company's patented “FlexWeb” construction isolates the cable pairs to produce better pair-to-pair balance and reduced crosstalk. The solid bare copper conductors are insulated with polyethylene and then gel filled to prevent migration of water through the cable.
Single gas monitor
September 26, 2005 — The GasBadge Plus is designed to detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, oxygen, nitrogen dioxide, or sulfur dioxide. The compact handheld device weighs 2.5 ounces, but its durable enclosure protects it from water and radio frequency interference. The gas detector's LCD displays readings in percent-by-volume or parts-per-million and can show the gas type and direct gas readings. When gas concentrations exceed the preset limits, audible and visual alarms are triggered, and the device vibrates.
October 10, 2005 — The WebMeter is designed to monitor electricity usage levels and provide energy-saving solutions. The device reads the KYZ pulse on most electric utility meters, and by conducting a pulse count and comparing it to the prior pulse count for the peak, it can predict if the current rate of electric usage is going to set a new peak. It will then set off an alarm or activate a customer-specific list of energy-saving measures. The device readings can also be checked remotely through the Internet.
Cold-shrink branch splice
October 3, 2005 — The QS-2001B is a cold-shrink branch splice designed to more easily make a wye/branch splice configuration on electrical power cables rated up to 15kV. This silicone rubber splice is applied by unwrapping and pulling a perforated core that supports the tub, so there is no need to use torches or force. The splice accepts conductor sizes from 2 AWG through 500kcmil and accommodates main feeder cable runs and taps of 350kcmil to 500kcmil. It features a set screw connector and an adapter to control the stress and seals between the cables.
October 17, 2005 — CW and CN vacancy sensors automatically turn the lights off when a room is vacant. The sensors are designed to save energy and comply with California's Title 24 2005 energy code for all residential uses, which became effective October 1, 2005. These sensors can replace any standard wall switch and use passive infrared technology to detect occupancy. The sensors require the user to turn lights on manually, but will optionally turn the lights off automatically following a predetermined time delay once the user exits the room.
October 24, 2005 — The wire retrieval and protection system (W.R.A.P.S.) for rough-in construction is designed for the low-voltage industry, to allow simple recovery of wire from plaster rings and protect wires and connectors inside the walls from being damaged by a drywall cutting tool or from being crushed between the stud and drywall. The protection device also keeps plaster rings clean from mud, paint, and debris, allowing connectors to be installed and wires to be tested at the rough-in stage.
October 31, 2005 — Winter Pro 475 gloves have a microporous liner that is 100% waterproof yet allows moisture from sweaty hands to escape. The gloves are also designed to resist the cooling effect of strong winds. The material used on the palms allows a secure grip when handling wet materials, and the synthetic leather stays flexible even after exposure to wet conditions. Available in sizes from medium to extra-extra-large, these gloves are designed to be form fitting and flexible, with high-stretch neoprene across the knuckles and stretch nylon along the side of each finger.
Mini hydraulic excavator
November 7, 2005 — The 301.8C mini hydraulic excavator features an 18.1-hp engine and increased hydraulic flow and pressure. The two-speed excavator's variable displacement hydraulic pump prevents stalling, and the independent swing boom enables the machine to work next to a wall or obstruction. Its cab has a retractable front window, a suspension seat, console-mounted implement controls, and adjustable wrist supports. The mini excavator has a 200° bucket-rotation, a 12 ft 6 in. maximum reach, and a 7 ft 7 in. maximum digging depth.
November 14, 2005 — The single- and dual-slide TradeMaster dimmers meet the new California Residential Title 24 standards for energy conservation, which require that households use high-efficacy lighting, vacancy sensors, and dimmers. Offered in white, light almond, and ivory, both dimmers come in ratings of 600W and 1,000W. The single-slide dimmer is 1.2 in. deep, which leaves more room in the box for installation purposes.
Pass & Seymour/Legrand
November 21, 2005 — The VT50 two-pole voltage tester doubles as a GFCI tester. The tester's LEDs indicate five different levels of voltage from 12V to 400V, either AC or DC. It can be hung around the user's neck to free up the hands and it's UL safety listed. No battery is required, since the unit being tested provides power for the device.
Motor management system
November 28, 2005 — The SIMOCODE pro motor management system is designed for low-voltage motors and requires a minimal amount of programming. The compact management system provides protection, monitoring, and control functions. It displays detailed information on the status and performance of each motor component, including actual motor current, motor direction, phase status, and overload status. It also has built-in motor safety features, such as instant disabling of the starter, the ability to detect certain unsafe conditions, and automatic reversing protection.
Motor grounding device
December 5, 2005 — The AEGIS SGR conductive microfiber shaft grounding brush is designed to improve the reliability of HVAC/R systems by protecting bearings from electrical damage for the life of the motor. Targeted for use by OEM motor and fan manufacturers, repair shops, HVAC service contractors, and in-house maintenance departments, the device can prevent bearing noise, costly motor repairs, and downtime. No machining is required to install the device, and its conductive microfibers work with very little friction. Standard models of this device can fit AC motors ranging from 1 hp to 1,500 hp with shaft diameters from 0.311 in. to 6.020 in. Larger sizes are available for shafts with diameters greater than 6 in.
Electro Static Technology
Infrared dome cameras
December 12, 2005 — The VIRXDBQ infrared dome camera uses the company's three-axis Gimble design that allows the camera to mount on any surface for correct monitor viewing. The camera features an Ultra hi-resolution, ⅓-in., 580 TV Lines HQ, “O” Lux, 24VAC, EX-View Sony CCD surrounded by weatherproof aluminum armor. Available in a black or white housing, it can see up to 75 ft in total darkness with its 10-bit data processor, 21 LEDs, and true day/night image conversion with movable cut filter.
Plug-and-play wiring system
December 19, 2005 — Linkosity Wiring Solutions is a flexible, modular plug-and-play wiring system designed for 20A and 30A circuits up to 600VAC power distribution. The system, developed by Lockheed Martin, one of the world's largest defense contractors, includes NEMA-configured point-of-use devices and separately derived power supplies. Its factory-defined assemblies can be reconfigured and reused for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications, including construction sites and military, medical, and emergency preparedness facilities.
Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems
January 3, 2006 — The Protégé line of safety eyewear weighs less than 1 oz and uses the company's proprietary Floating Lens technology for increased flexibility. The eyewear includes a wrap-around brow that expands to accommodate a range of users. Its lenses are available in clear, gray, and SCT-Reflect 50 mirrored tints, as well as Ultra-dura anti-scratch coating or Uvextra anti-fog coating. The safety eyewear meets the ANSI Z87+ standards for high impact protection.
Lightweight cable puller
December 26, 2005 — The Pull-It 3000X is this company's third generation of lightweight cable pullers for electrical contractors. The new cable puller features structural reinforcements to handle the greater pulling capacity provided by new power drills, used to operate the device. The puller can attach to the receiver hitch of a truck, and with the company's new tripod attachment, can pull wire in underground situations. Estimated to be 30% stronger than prior versions, it can pull at speeds of up to 100 ft/min and requires only one person to operate. Its carrying/storage bag is now reinforced and has wheels for easy transport.
January 9, 2006 — Rated to IP54, these ground testers come in four models. Model DET3TD is a digital, three-terminal instrument for grounding and bonding tests. Model DET4TD is a digital, four-terminal model that adds resistivity measurements. The DET3TA is an analog three-terminal model, and the DET3TC adds a current measuring function for attached rod technique (ART) testing capabilities, which can reduce testing time by as much as 40%. All instruments include a voltmeter and can measure resistance from 0.01 ohm to 2,000 ohms and earth voltages up to 100V. For noisy environments, the testers can reject noise of up to 40V peak to peak.
Cat. 6a cable certifier
January 16, 2006 — The Lantek 6A is a cable certifier designed specifically to test Cat. 6a and ISO Class Ea (augmented) UTP and STP cabling. The cable certifier has a sweeping frequency up to 500 MHz and can accurately test 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBASE-T) networks to assure that they meet the transmission parameters of IEEE 802.3an. It includes a high-definition ¼ VGA color display, compact flash storage, USB port, and Lantek Reporter PC software.
January 23, 2006 — Entellisys is a low-voltage switchgear solution that allows operators to perform most control, monitoring, and diagnostic work outside of the arc-flash protection boundary using remote human machine interface (HMI) options. Designed for 208V to 600V and 800A to 5,000A, the switchgear features a bus differential (ANSI 87B) to provide zone-based protection and detect faults that range from less than the bus rating to the full short-circuit rating of the equipment. It is fully redundant to avoid single-point failure for the system and provides fully synchronized waveform capture from every circuit simultaneously.
GE Consumer & Industrial
Brown duck vest
January 30, 2006 — This flame-resistant brown duck vest features two large pockets with quilt lining and an inside patch pocket with hook and loop closures. The vest also has a brass zipper with Nomex zipper tape, an inside and outside protective flap, and hidden snap closure for electric arc protection. The vest includes 13-oz abrasion-resistant duck with a 10-oz Moda-Quilt lining, giving it an arc thermal performance value (ATPV) of 50.4.
Conductive plastic enclosures
February 6, 2006 — This RFI-capable version of the 1594 heavy-duty small enclosure family is molded in a metal-loaded plastic that gives attenuation levels of more than 50 dB from 100 MHz to 1,000 MHz. According to the company, the conductive plastic enclosure has EMC screening capabilities and is less susceptible to damage during assembly or normal use than a painted-on conductive layer. It has a 3-mm-thick wall and is available in five sizes, ranging from 56×56×40 mm to 167×107×65 mm.
Motor and drive troubleshooting kit
February 13, 2006 — The 1587/MDT advanced motor and drive troubleshooting kit combines the company's 1587 insulation multimeter, an i400 current clamp, and a 9040 rotary field indicator in a single case. The kit is designed for troubleshooting and preventive maintenance on motors, motor drives, cables, and switchgear. It provides insulation resistance testing up to 2 G-ohms, with five output voltages ranging from 50V to 1,000V, and it can accurately measure current without breaking the circuit.
PVC conduit repair system
February 20, 2006 — This patented PVC conduit repair system is a line of couplings, adapters, and reamers designed to reduce the time and costs associated with repairing broken conduit. According to the company, this system allows PVC conduits to be repaired without having to chip away and re-pour concrete while still maintaining the inside diameter of the conduit. The steps for using this system include cutting off the broken conduit, reaming the ID of the conduit, and inserting a coupling or adapter.
Carlon, Lamson & Sessions
LED outdoor light
February 27, 2006 — The 6K Series LED OutdoorArea light is designed for municipal and commercial applications. According to the company, the light's heat dissipation enables it to have an operating range of about 50,000 hrs. Available for use in 100V, 110V, 120V, 220V, or 240V input, the series offers a selection of lumen outputs from 1,200 lm to 4,800 lm, as well as three white correlated color temperatures (CCT) and 24 custom colors. All lights in this series use the company's patented Chip-On-Board (COB) technology.
Home lighting control system
March 6, 2006 — The StarLite home lighting control system is a wireless system that can handle up to 96 devices, 288 buttons, 100 scenes, and 50 timed events. The lighting control system features 1,000W dimmers with 512 dimming levels, which can be preset for every load. The system has LED on/off indicators and is available in four colors — almond, light almond, white, and ivory. It comes with PC programming software, including voice recognition capabilities. One controller can operate up to 125 ft, and the system has a total range of more than 500 ft using four repeaters.
March 20, 2006 — The Brilliance CatSnake Cat. 6e audio/video cables are designed for use in patching Ethernet or other Cat. 5e digital audio/video formats. The UTP cables are AES/EBU-compliant and use the company's bonded pair design for indoor broadcast applications in high traffic areas as well as use out-of-doors and in broadcast truck applications. They are made of 24 AWG stranded bare copper conductors and polyolefin insulation and are available in a heavy jacket wall version or an upjacketed version for heavy-duty applications.
Belden CDT, Electronics Div.
Energy-saving electronic ballast
March 13, 2006 — According to the company, the WattControl HID electronic ballast yields energy savings up to 40% in 400W HID fixtures. Weighing less than 6 lbs, the electronic ballast functions at temperatures 50% to 80% cooler than traditional magnetic ballasts. It operates at input voltage from 208V to 277V, 50/60 Hz and is ideally suited for warehouses, parking lots, large retail stores, roadways, and other 400W HID lighting environments. It can also be retrofit into most existing fixtures on the market.
March 27, 2006 — This new line of vacancy sensors meets the latest requirements outlined in California's Title 24 Residential Energy Code. The sensors can be used with incandescent, electronic low-voltage, magnetic low-voltage, fluorescent, and compact fluorescent loads up to 800W. They have no minimum load requirement, operate in a manual on/automatic off mode, and will turn off automatically after a predetermined period of time once the room is vacant.
Cooper Wiring Devices
Transfer switches for traffic signals
April 3, 2006 — This new line of generator transfer switches allows municipalities to keep traffic signals running at important intersections during power outages. The transfer switches can be recessed into new or existing traffic pedestal equipment to reduce the risk of vandalism. Housed in rain-tight 12-gauge aluminum enclosures, the switches can be installed at any point in the implementation process and include all wires. Each transfer switch includes a mechanically interlocked generator breaker and utility breaker, as well as a power inlet for generator cord connection.
Field-installable fiber connectors
April 10, 2006 — The pre-terminated, factory-polished FastCAM connectors can be installed almost anywhere, including all types of premise and fiber-to-the-subscriber applications. These connectors require no special tools, no epoxy, and no hand polishing, which reduces installation time. The connectors are available in ST and SC styles to fit 250µm and 900µm cables with standard single-mode and 50µm/62.5µm multimode fiber options.
PQ test panel
April 17, 2006 — The All-Safe Pro test panel is designed for safe and fast testing of energized motor systems and power quality monitoring. The panel's output pins are deactivated when not in use. According to the company, its permanently installed connection box eliminates the need to open electrical panels when testing energized motors. All of its components are specified to operate on 600V rms systems for measurement, and the voltage inputs to the unit are equipped with 600V fuses.
Drive protection module
April 24, 2006 — The Drive Protection Module (DPM) combines HSJ fusing, a UL98 load break disconnect switch, finger-safe power distribution blocks, and the company's Surge-Trap in one unit. The NEC-compliant HSJ fusing features semiconductor protection, branch-circuit protection, and UL-approved IP20/touch safe fuse holders for Class J fuses. The company's Surge-Trap is a DIN rail surge suppressor that does not require additional fuses. The DPM also offers a variety of custom features such as auxiliary contacts, overload relays, and fans.
May 1, 2006 — The DM-III Multitest combines the company's single- and 3-phase power quality recorder, megohmmeter, and ground resistance and resistivity testers. It is designed to measure and record a variety of power quality parameters, including: AC current; AC voltage to 600V (including sags and surges); harmonics (THD and individual up to 49th); active, reactive, and apparent power and energy; peak demand; power factor; frequency; and phase sequence. The DM-III Multitest is supplied with standard 1,000A current transducers.
Amprobe, a business unit of SPX
May 8, 2006 — The McGill portable in-line triple-tap ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) features a 2-ft cable and is designed for outdoor construction sites and harsh industrial environments. The GFCI is 120V/15A rated with a manual reset. It shuts off dangerous electrical currents (4mA to 6mA trip level) in less than .025 sec. Its SJT 12/3 AWG cable combines NEMA 5-15 plugs on the line side with an attached molded T-head power block of three NEMA 5-15 receptacles on the load end.
EGS Electrical Group
May 15, 2006 — The PVP5200 and PVP4600 grid tie solar inverters are designed for high peak and weighted efficiency. Featuring a DC input range of 230V to 500V, these inverters are UL listed and do not require fans. They also include free command center software to view system performance, vacuum fluorescent displays with data logging capabilities, and an integrated RS232 serial communication port.
Customizable tool belt
May 22, 2006 — The Pro-Pack tool belt features an interchangeable modular tool pouch fastening system that allows customization of tool placement. The tool belt comes pre-assembled, but its pouches can be moved to any location using a screwdriver. They can also be attached to the belt or directly to each other. Available with a variety of pouch types, such as pockets with small pouches and hammer sleeves, the belt's pouches come with automotive-grade velour lining to protect the user's knuckles.