EC&M hands out the title of “Product of the Week” 52 times a year. That may not seem like a lot of work, but when you consider the fact that we uncover about 25 new products every week, you realize what a task we have on our hands. We're committed to bringing you the best new products the electrical industry has to offer, so every Friday afternoon we tape pictures of all these products to the wall and throw a dart to see which will receive the honor. Just kidding. We actually go through stacks of papers to find that just-right product that will help you save time and money. 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. One week it might be an electronic ballast and the next week it could be a magnetic glove, but rest assured, it will be 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.
Low-voltage add-on bracket
June 1, 2004 — With a hard shell design and a distinctive orange color, this low-voltage add-on bracket turns an electrical box into a dual-voltage box. The bracket attaches to most thin-wall electrical boxes, and it's designed to fit a standard two-gang faceplate. It features molded-in rings for cable or ¾-in. flexible raceway. The bracket has an open-back design that allows for appropriate bend radii of Resi-Guard or cable, and it accommodates deep low-voltage devices like volume controls.
June 14, 2004 — The Deadnutz combination protractor/level fits ½-in. through 6-in. conduit, and it can also be used as a normal level, a line level, a pitch indicator, and a plumb and alignment tool. The instrument features a spring clip at its end and a detachable magnetic base that includes nail/screw openings and removable suction cups, which makes it suitable for use in applications that require angle and slope measurements. An optional laser attachment is available.
Hickory Creek Enterprises
June 7, 2004 — IQ-series all-in-one AC/DC emergency ballasts function as primary ballasts that operate lamps at normal power conditions. They eliminate the need for an auxiliary ballast and can sense any power disruption and automatically switch the ballast to its DC mode and DC battery power source. A replaceable battery pack provides the power necessary for emergency mode and supplies emergency lighting that meets local safety code requirements.
Adjustable fluorescent fixture
June 21, 2004 — With three adjustable settings, the Adjust-A-Bay T5 and T8 fluorescent facility lighter allows users to customize the fixture's light distribution. The fixture provides fingertip beam pattern control, which can be set to narrow for aisle lighting, medium for high-bay applications, or wide for low-bay applications. It features an exposed reflector construction that provides vertical ventilation and is available in four- or six-lamp configurations. It can be surface-mounted or suspended by a pendant, threaded rod, chain, or adjustable cables.
Self-luminous exit signs
July 5, 2004 — The self-powered tritium gas luminescent tubes in the Ever-Green series of self-luminous exit signs provide illumination for as many as 20 years without electricity. These spark-proof, explosion-proof, and maintenance-free signs require no wiring, electrical connections, or batteries. They provide a minimum letter brightness of 0.15 foot-lamberts and are housed in an all-plastic, high-impact, sealed casing that's waterproof. Available with red, black, and green face covers in black or white housings, the signs come with a universal mounting bracket.
July 19, 2004 — Designed for commercial and residential applications, the Studlock wirerack system allows users to setup and pull wire from 1,000-ft spools. The racks hold multiple spools, which keeps them off the floor. No tools or screws are required for installation because a locking mechanism holds the racks securely in all wood and steel studs. They're level upon installation and won't tip over or slide when the spools run low.
June 28, 2004 — Available in three styles, these one-piece galvanized steel SMC hangers support and secure Flex, MC, AC, and HCF cable without bundling. The hangers can suspend or mount four to eight cables in any direction, on different surfaces with screws, beam claps, or threaded rods. They're UL Listed for supporting and securing 14/2 to 10/4 cables.
Fiber/copper cable tester
July 12, 2004 — Available in two models, DTX CableAnalyzers feature large displays and 12 hr of battery life. They have a 12-sec Cat. 6 fiber autotest that provides standards-compliant certification by testing two fibers (each at two wavelengths), measuring length, and determining pass/fail status. The DTX-1200 supports test capabilities up to 350 MHz, and the DTX-1800 has a 900 MHz maximum bandwidth. Multi-mode and single-mode fiber test modules are available for the series, which allows immediate testing of fiber or copper cabling without swapping adapters.
Cord grip fittings
July 26, 2004 — Available with two-, three-, and four-hole grommets, the multi-hole cord grip fittings allow the user to terminate multiple wires into one connector. The fittings are non-metallic and have a temperature range of -86°F to 176°F. They're UL Listed and IP 68-rated.
Thomas & Betts
August 2, 2004 — LightMark is an LED-based delineation lighting product that replaces neon in signage and corporate imaging. The lights are available in 5-ft and 10-ft strands or field-cut variable units that can be modified on-site. They deliver energy savings as high as 90% and use a 24VDC source and non-flammable materials. The lights come in red, green, blue, orange, and yellow, have a potential life of 10 years or more, and require little maintenance.
August 16, 2004 — The CMT24S Circuit Mapper System tests as many as 96 circuit breakers concurrently and allows users to identify which breakers or fuses are feeding specific branch circuits. The transmitter clamp leads send 24 separate digital signals, per transmitter, to live or dead lines with equipment still connected, and the receiver digitally indicates the appropriate circuit number when the probe makes contact with an outlet, switch, or any other electrical connection. The set includes a transmitter, receiver, 24 circuit clamps, batteries, a circuit identification pad, carrying case, and a manual.
August 9, 2004 — The CT3220 series of high-capacity fused probes feature a plastic probe body and a Type CC ceramic fuse. With 2A, 6A, 10A, or 15A, the probes are available as a standard body with a 4-mm sheathed jack or as a body with lead wire. The probes include IP2X user protection, an open fuse indicator light, and rupture current protection as high as 200,000A. They're available in black or red.
Cal Test Electronics
Generator self-test unit
September 6, 2004 — The Generator Self-Test Verifier checks that a backup electrical generator has started, that its voltage is within a ±10% tolerance window, and that it continues to operate for a minimum of 2 min. Mounted to the transfer switch, the device can monitor all possible voltages and phase configurations and requires 120VAC power. In the event of a test failure, it sounds an alarm and either closes a set of contacts or directly reports the failure to a central monitoring agency via telephone line or wireless connection when used with an optional reporting module.
Surge protective devices
August 23, 2004 — Available in two models, these panel-mounted surge protective devices (SPDs) are designed for facilities with 3-phase, wye-configured systems that require surge protection for all seven modes in the AC distribution network. Both models have a parallel-operated design that includes metal-oxide varistors that are 40 mm in diameter, and EMI/RFI filter circuitry for harmonic tolerance. The units can be flush- or surface-mounted, and feature a viewing window on the cover that enables users to verify the status of all modes, low-clamping and high-surge current performance, real-time diagnostics that monitor power and suppression status for each phase, LED indicators, and an audible alarm.
Voltage safety detector
September 13, 2004 — Designed to detect voltage 2.5kV and higher, the 44SVD personal voltage detector can detect 44kV from as far as 30 ft. As the detector moves closer to the voltage-carrying conductor, its AC sensor plate picks up the radiated electric field, which is processed by the detector's internal circuitry. Once the processed signal is above the threshold, it triggers the input of an integrated circuit, which turns on both a buzzer and LED. It comes with a pocket-sized case with a built-in clip.
Portable light and battery pack
August 30, 2004 — The Handi-Light and battery combo pack delivers as many as 5 hr of continuous light. The portable light features a replaceable 13W, 12V, twin-tube fluorescent lamp and a solid-state ballast that's protected against surges as high as 18V. It's available with a 20-ft yellow cord or a 1-ft to 5-ft coil cord, all of which have a male lighter plug that connects with the battery pack. The light is equipped with a single metal hook that can be attached to a belt or a shoulder strap for hands-free operation. The battery pack is equipped with a female 12V outlet and weighs 5 lb. It comes with a detachable charger, a nylon battery case and belt, and a 60-in. shoulder strap.
Nonmetallic pin-and-sleeve connectors
September 20, 2004 — Designed for power distribution in exposition center ceiling drops, wall mounts, floor boxes, and portable panelboards, these nonmetallic pin-and-sleeve connectors have a nonconductive exterior for enhanced safety. The connectors feature brass alloy sockets and recessed pins to help with conductivity, and an extended ground socket ensures a reliable connection. They're available for 40A and 60A applications and accept flat and round cable.
September 27, 2004 — The NT900 Validator certification tester is equipped with Plan-Um software, which allows a user to layout a floor plan, denote where each cable drop will be installed, test and certify the system, document the cable job, print out reports, and archive jobs for future reference. The tester can also test coax, telephone, security/alarm, and audio lines for opens, faults, and conditions by using TDR technology and features automatic test capabilities, which allows results to be uploaded to a PC or laptop. It features a 4-in. LCD, rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries, a flash memory card, a remote, patch cables and adapters, two adapter power chargers, and a hard-sided soft zipper case.
October 4, 2004 — The handheld PrimeTest 200 combines safety-testing capabilities for in-service testing along with installation and digital multimeter test functions. The unit can perform electrical installation tests, an earth loop impedance test, an RDC test, and socket polarity tests. It's battery-powered for most tests and powered conventionally for all other tests. It's equipped with a rotary switch for test selection, a push control for test initiation, a backlit analog and digital display, rubber bumpers, and display lock. The unit comes with a lead set, IEC lead, instructional manual, and carrying case with shoulder strap.
October 11, 2004 — The MultiScanner OneStep can perform four different functions. It can find the center and edges of wood or metal studs and joists as deep as ¾ in.; trace hot wires behind walls, floor, and ceilings; find metal pipes, nails, rebar, electrical boxes, and exhaust vents; and detect hot unshielded AC wiring. It features a large, backlit LCD, a beam of light that shines over the center of the target, and an audio signal to indicate the target.
Fish tape extender
October 18, 2004 — With a side-entry lock design, the Another 90 (A90) attaches to the end of fish tape and rolls when it comes in contact with inner pipe wall, eliminating almost all of the resistance encountered in the bend or radius of a pipe. It's constructed of Derlin and Teflon, and it's available with two roller sizes that cover ¾-in. to 4-in. pipes. Both sizes can be attached to a ⅛-in. fish tape.
Fish Tape Another 90
Wire lubrication system
October 25, 2004 — Available in five packages, the SoaperMonkey hands-free system deposits lubrication directly onto all types of wire pulls, including vertical up, vertical down, and horizontal. A three-speed pump motor powers the system and allows for the proper amount of lubrication to be applied based on conduit size and pulling speed. The system fits any size of threaded or non-threaded conduit and comes with a one- or five-gallon pump that works with all brands of lubricant, except those with silicone balls. It also features a 12VDC battery, 12VDC charger, and carrying case.
November 1, 2004 — Without the use of tools or hardware, the Lolly turns any step, extension, or articulating ladder into a dolly. With a wide wheelbase, the system is rated to hold 200 lb and fits in a standard-size truck toolbox. A cable caddy is also available that can be attached along with the ladder and holds as many as six 500-ft spools of 10 AWG wire. Once the ladder is removed, the Lolly can also function as a seat or a flat surface on which to put tools and materials.
November 15, 2004 — Available in three models, the PM series compact digital multimeters (DMM) have UL safety ratings as high as CAT III at 300V and CAT II at 600V. The DMMs are slightly larger than a credit card, ⅜ in. thick, and weigh less than 3 oz. They feature an oversized display, built-in leads, and measure AC/DC voltage, frequency, capacitance, and resistance with an audible continuity beeper
Handheld power quality analyzers
November 8, 2004 — The 430 series 3-phase handheld power quality analyzers can measure all phases and the neutral and ground on virtually every connection in a low-voltage electrical distribution system for as many as seven hours. The analyzers are rated to CAT III, 1,000V and CAT IV, 600V for all four channels. Their measurement capabilities encompass all power system parameters, including true rms voltage and current, frequency, power, power consumption, unbalance, and flicker. They automatically capture events like transients, interruptions, rapid voltage changes, dips, and swells, and the data memory stores as many as 50 screens and up to 10 measurements that consist of 32 parameters.
November 22, 2004 — The Hole-in-One-Cutter hole-drilling system consists of two types of continuously adjusting radius blades, a drill guide, and a dust cover that collects falling debris. A high-speed steel blade cuts sheetrock, plywood, wood, and acrylic sheet up to 1 in. thick, and a tungsten carbide-tipped blade cuts aluminum and brass sheets as thick as ⅝ in. The system also includes a set of counter weights to minimize gyration during use.
New Tools International
Easy-pull NM-B cable
November 29, 2004 — The tear-resistant Romex SIMpull nonmetallic Type NM-B cable features a jacket system that reduces friction, eliminates greasy residue, and cuts the amount of force that's required to pull the cable through wooden joists and rafters and around corners. The cable's design allows it to strip faster and reduces burn-through when it's pulled across other cables that are already installed. It meets all requirements of the UL 719 Nonmetallic-Sheathed Cables standard.
December 6, 2004 — Manufactured from electrolytic copper, the Eritech Hammerlock grounding connector joins the grounding conductor to the ground rod with the strike of a hammer. The connection is highly conductive and designed to withstand fault currents and lightning transients. The connector is now available in a two-hole model for 6 AWG and 4 AWG solid, and a larger version of the single-hole that permits 2/0 stranded wire to be joined to ⅝-in. and ¾-in. ground rods.
Fish tape power winder
December 13, 2004 — The 438PW fish tape power winder adapts to this company's 100-ft and 240-ft fish tapes and allows the user to rewind tape by using a battery- powered drill. The winder can also be used to pull a poly pull line through conduit. The company recommends that the user rewind tape by using a drill that's 14.4V or larger because corded drills have too much torque for the winder to handle. It comes with a steel 0.37-in. hex socket that can be stored directly on the adapter.
December 20, 2004 — The PowerBlade Cable Cutter drill attachment installs like a drill bit on almost any corded or uncorded drill that has a ⅜-in. drive shaft, and it can cut through 750 MCM hard-drawn copper cable or up to 1,000 MCM aluminum cable with minimal distortion. The cutter features an adjustable torque arm that holds the drill in place, and a protective shield on the grip prevents the user's hand from making accidental contact with the tool.
Custom van design software
December 27, 2004 — Weather Guard Vehicle Solutions software allows users to custom-design work vans with shelving, cabinets, racks, and accessories. The 3-D software produces interactive graphics to help the user visualize the custom design prior to purchase, and it stops the user from configuring the van design with products that are inappropriate for a particular vehicle model. Once the design is complete, it can be printed out along with a corresponding list of materials or uploaded to a local upfitter for an installation quote.
January 3, 2005 — Available in configurations from 1 to 24 diodes, these low-wattage LED steplights have an operating life of up to 100,000 hr and are available in a range of color lenses. The steplights feature marine-grade die cast faceplates and housings, five-stage surface preparation like chromate conversion and super polyester powder coat finishing for corrosion resistance, and ⅜-in. injection-molded clear tempered wide-angle prismatic lenses. They're potted in epoxy to ensure waterproofing and sealed with extruded silicone continuous gaskets.
January 10, 2005 — This concealed, power-failure safety lighting device is designed for residential homes where power-failure lighting isn't mandated. Providing illumination for as many as four nights before battery replacement, the safety light can be used to eliminate the total darkness of nighttime power failures or as an energy-saving nightlight when the power is normal. It can be installed in light switches and power outlets, and it fits in standard single- or multi-gang workboxes.
Energy management software suite
January 17, 2005 — The Energy Manager EXT software suite analyzes and controls electrical power usage and power quality for electrical power distribution systems. The system features real-time analysis, automated downloading, advanced power quality, and system reliability reporting tools. It can analyze power quality using artificial intelligence technology and report causes of problems as well as suggest solutions. It also features cost allocation capability that allows users to generate automated commercial energy bills and allocate electrical usage costs over differing departments.
Mini cable lockout
January 31, 2005 — Weighing less than heavy metal chains, the Mini Cable Lockout has a 4-in. body diameter and fits in the palm of your hand. The lockout works much like a tape measure and uses 8 ft of flexible cable to secure electrical and mechanical control points. A single device can be used to lock out multiple energy sources, and it includes six holes for padlocks. The lockout is constructed of nylon and resists impacts, chemicals, and corrosion. The cable is available in high-strength, vinyl-coated steel or nonconductive nylon.
Security light photocontrol
January 24, 2005 — Available in three models, the Light Keeper electronic photocontrol protects security lights against operation from artificial light sources. Enclosed in a projectile-resistant housing, this 3-prong, locking-type photocontrol features photocell light-sensing elements, turnoff from daylight or more than one light source, and early twilight turn-on. It's powered by 105VAC to 305VAC and rated at 1,000W/1,800VA.
Fisher Pierce OLC
February 7, 2005 — These tamper-resistant GFCI receptacles feature an automatic internal sliding shutter system that prevents objects from being inserted into the receptacle. They're available in specification grade and hospital grade 15A, 125VAC models and are UL-Listed. The receptacles come in ivory, light almond, white, brown, grey, and red.
Pass & Seymour/Legrand
February 14, 2005 — Available in two versions, the Surge3 surge protection device (SPD) protects complex, digital technology in 5 n-sec. Both the MOV and diode versions are interchangeable with a plug-in suppressor and common base mount, and they use computer-matched, high-power diodes in an advanced diode array, which allows for low clamping with high surge current ratings. The 120V model has a current rating of 4kA and voltage protection level of 292V peak. The SPD system is color-coded, and all suppressors and bases are labeled with specific voltage colors.
Rooftop pipe support
February 21, 2005 — This UV-rated rooftop pipe support has a 4-in. × 5-in. footprint and weighs less than ⅓ lb. Its sled-design distributes the load evenly, protects the roof membrane, and holds three ½-in., two ¾-in., or one 1-in. pipes or conduit. The support can be bonded to the roof or float with pipe expansion and contraction, and an integral pipe-clamping mechanism can be ratcheted down to securely clamp pipes or can be set for loose guiding to accommodate for thermal changes. They're available in 4-in. and 6-in. high models.
February 28, 2005 — The Microflex 2240 PDA weighs 500 g and fits in the palm of your hand. With a 200 MHz or 400 MHz processor, it offers 64 MB of SDRAM and 64 MB or 128 MB of nonvolatile Flash storage to protect data from resets or complete power loss. It includes a sunlight-readable, reflective-color TFT display with LED front lighting for indoor and low-light conditions. The PDA meets all MIL-STD-810F standards for drop, vibration, and hot and cold temperature variations from -30°C to 60°C. It's also dust proof and protected from temporary immersion in water 1 m deep for 30 min.
March 7, 2005 — MC cable connectors feature a Powr-Lock grounding seal with stainless steel tines that grounds the connector to the armored cable and provides 360° strain relief. The one-piece connectors also have an embedded Viton O-ring that ensures a watertight and corrosion-resistant termination seal. They meet CSA standards for raintight armored cable fittings, are rated NEMA 4 and IP 65, and are available in aluminum, nickel-plated aluminum, and stainless steel.
Structured cabling products
March 14, 2005 — The eXtreme 6+ system line of Cat. 6 structured cabling products is designed for Gigabit Ethernet applications. Products in the line include Cat. 6 QuickPort connectors and the multimedia adapter bracket and mounting plate for installation in this manufacturer's structured media centers. The system is compatible with this manufacturer's line of QuickPort field configurable wallplates and housings.
Low-profile occupancy sensors
March 21, 2005 — Available in three models, this family of occupancy sensors features 360° coverage, advanced detection technology, and a low-profile design. The ceiling-mount sensors come in either line or low-voltage models and feature SmartSet technology, which allows the sensors to automatically adjust time delay and sensitivity based on occupancy activity and space characteristics. The UT-300 features ultrasonic sensing technology, the CI-300 employs passive infrared (PIR) technology for occupancy detection, and the DT-300 relies on both ultrasonic and PIR sensing technologies
Electrical box insulator
March 28, 2005 — EnergyBlock is a piece of foam insulation molded to fit securely around standard electrical boxes, which reduces the chance of mold forming due to moist inside air escaping and condensing on an exterior wall. Electricians can install the insulator in less than two minutes, and it's sealed after rough wiring is complete so there's no chance of breaking the seal. The block provides a solid R-10 insulation behind the outlet and meets the International Building Code for flame spread and smoke development.
April 4, 2005 — Available in FTTX and quad wavelengths, the Mini-OTDR is a fully functioning certification OTDR when used with this company's certification software. The OTDR measures 71/9 in. × 4⅔ in. × 3 in. and tests at 850 nm, 1,300 nm, 1,490 nm, and 1,550 nm wavelengths. It displays and stores traces in the field then downloads them to a PC for further analysis and printing of the certifying documents.
Fiber Instrument Sales
April 11, 2005 — Available in various sizes, the Wire Snagger is a wire-pulling tool for electrical contractors. Machined from solid high-temperature stainless steel, the tools connect directly to a clevis and easily snap on the end of the cable prior to a pull. Its low-profile design allows it to fit in a 4-in. conduit. It doesn't bend or require any taping, stripping, trimming, or tying of the cable.
Compact starter module
April 18, 2005 — Available in three frame sizes and 11 models, the CSX compact starter module series features LED status indicators and main contactor relay output. The module accommodates a power range of 18A to 200A and 200VAC to 575VAC. It includes an integral run duty-rated bypass feature that allows it to be installed in switchboards or motor control cubicles without the need for extra ventilation or external bypass contactors.
April 25, 2005 — Designed for CCTV and analog and digital video applications, the CM-rated Mini-Coax cable is lightweight, flexible, and compact. The cable contains a 25 AWG solid copper conductor, foam dielectric, 95% bare copper braid shield, and an FR-PVC jacket.
Structured cabling system
May 2, 2005 — The ConcoursePRO is a residential structured cabling system based on components proven in commercial buildings. The system features a series of cabinets that are capable of housing security systems and front-loading cable management components. Its enclosures and cover are made from heavy-gauge, powder-coated steel, and all professional cable terminations are on the back plane of the patch panels. All cabling runs are neatly labeled on the patch panels for quick outlet identification.
Remote monitoring and diagnostic service
May 9, 2005 — The Powerware eNotify Web-based remote monitoring and diagnostic service monitors the health of this company's uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, while keeping track of battery condition to help prevent battery failure. The service provides 24/7, real-time response to UPS and battery alarms. It can immediately notify the user of significant events via phone, e-mail, or pager, or dispatch a service technician to resolve the problem.
Construction management software
May 16, 2005 — Designed for electrical contractors, Version 12 of this company's Forefront construction management software is based on the SQL database platform, which allows users to organize and retrieve data. The program can also track meeting minutes, task assignments, proposed changeorders, and other items involved with weekly or monthly job meetings. It also has document imaging that can scan documents separately from the transaction entry and a cache option that allows copies of images to be stored locally.
Arc flash software
May 23, 2005 — ArcCalc arc flash calculator software allows users to estimate incident energy levels and categorize arc-flash hazards at any point in a system. The software determines the arc fault clearing time for the protective device settings; calculates incident energy and flash boundaries; documents PPE requirements; and prints custom warning labels, energized work permits, and diagrams with input data and calculation results. It uses generous tolerances for utility, transformer, cable, and motor data to calculate conservative minimum and maximum fault currents
SKM System Anaylsis