Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
Repairing Electrical Service
NEC at the Facility
OSHA This Fall
Answer to Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
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MRO Insider addresses topics such
Working with management and supervision
National Electrical Code® on the production floor
Safety procedures and programs
Equipment maintenance and testing tips
Managing motors and generators
Trends in training and education
Managing energy use
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The designations "National Electrical Code” and “NEC” refer to the
National Electrical Code®, which is a registered trademark of the
National Fire Protection Association.
With cold weather now here, not much time is left to
review your power system pre-winter checklist to see if you overlooked
something. Most people would agree it's easier to inspect and repair
service transformers in 40°F weather than it is to replace them on
an emergency basis when it's 10 below zero, and the roads are iced
Some things to consider:
- Perform insulation resistance tests on service conductors, if such
testing is due before spring. Increasingly, the only time this can be
done is over a major holiday. You now have two left before year's
- Ensure service and distribution transformers, panels, capacitors,
and related equipment will not have exceeded the recommended inspection
and maintenance intervals before spring arrives.
- Review power monitor logs now. Standard practice is to review logs
after an incident produces downtime. Smart practice is to analyze them
so you can prevent downtime. Use the parameter settings and
report capabilities in the monitor to produce useful information.
Consider hiring a power monitoring consultant or power quality
- Inspect rodent traps, bug screens, and other methods of vermin
control. This time of year, animals are preparing their winter nests.
You don't want a nest on top of that nice warm 2,000A breaker that may
produce a spectacular arc blast.
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drives/motors, text panels, sensors, encoders, pushbuttons, switches,
and more. For a complimentary copy or more information, visit www.automationdirect.com
or call 800-633-0405.
You are on a pre-shutdown walk-through with the sales
engineer for the firm that will test everything from your service drop
to the load end of your feeders. The engineer points to one side and
asks what you plan to do about those bulging power factor correction
capacitors. This is news to you. What should you do?
The answer to this question appears at the end of this
Repairing Electrical Service
and Distribution Equipment
A good testing program will reveal such things as worn
breaker contacts, damaged conductor insulation, improper trip settings,
contaminated transformer oil, loose connections, and corrosion. You'll
need to replace those contacts, pull new conductors, and so forth.
Most likely, you'll do those repairs over a limited shutdown window
on a holiday weekend. Plan carefully and have the needed resources on
hand so you can complete the job in that limited window. It's possible
that lead times will delay at least some of this work, if you haven't
already ordered certain items.
Here are some tips for reducing delays from other causes:
- Assess the talent. Does your onsite staff have training in
the specific tasks ahead? Should you outsource? Typical areas for
outsourcing include transformer testing and maintenance, infrared
surveying, and breaker testing. But when is the last time you had a
qualified engineer calculate your adjustable trip settings?
- Anticipate planning problems. In most companies, last-minute
assignments have a way of sneaking into shutdown schedules. One way to
handle this is to "encapsulate" each shutdown project, and outsource it
to a firm that specializes in that kind of work. Make sure the firm has
the credentials for doing that specific work.
- Meet equipment requirements. What lifts, test equipment,
torque wrenches, power tools, and so forth does the job require? Walk
through and make a list. Then, ensure you'll have that equipment on
hand. Insist contractors do the same. Rentals may not be available on
short notice during the actual shutdown.
- Arrange for lighting and temporary power. Have this
on site, tested, and ready to use the morning before. Extra
rental time is an investment in uptime. Trying to save a few bucks on
rentals could prove expensive. Have fuel on hand for the portable
generators, and plan for storage and handling.
- Resolve security issues. Ask the security manager how to
minimize access delays for the contractors. Provide secure storage for
tools, parts, supplies, and equipment.
- Dry run. Ensure every crew does a "walk through" so their
work isn't stopped by surprises during shutdown. Extra cost for
contractors to do this is cheap, compared to downtime resulting from a
problem that should have been fixed during shutdown.
- Plan parallel work. A shutdown is the perfect time to plug
unused openings in buss and junction boxes. Make a list, obtain the
plugs, and assign the task. This and other "low-priority work" is ideal
for the in-house people who must be available to the contractor
supervisors but will usually have "spare time." Parallel work also
justify having a proper crew on hand, so you aren't forced to skeleton
crew the shutdown. Make sure everyone understands what their first
Beware - Arc
Pin and sleeve plugs & receptacles can be dangerous if operated under
load. To prevent accidents install Decontactor Series switch rated
and receptacles. They are a UL rated plug, receptacle and disconnect
switch in one device. 100 kA short circuit ratings protect users in
fault conditions. Inquire about our free trial program.
Meltric Corporation, call 800-433-7642, www.Meltric.com
NEC at the Facility
Table 312.6(A) provides the minimum wire-bending space
at terminals. But this is for electrical power conductors.
Specialized signal cables may require even more space, so be sure to
check bend radius requirements.
OSHA This Fall
Now well into the season, "fall" should mean autumn
leaves and family dinner gatherings. But if it means injuries due to
improper fall protection, that could entail tragic consequences.
Fall injuries seldom occur because of an OSHA omission (e.g., 1926
Subpart M.) in the company safety manual. The cause is typically one or
more of the following -- do you see these in your facility?
- Management does not ensure employees are adequately trained and
tested in fall protection procedures.
- Supervisors are not monitoring and enforcing the fall protection
- Employees say nothing when coworkers fail to use fall protection
correctly (or at all).
- Necessary fall protection equipment is not readily
Motor Starter Contacts
Quality, low-cost electrical contacts for industrial motor starters &
contactors. Repco replacements for Allen-Bradley, ABB, Clark,
Cutler-Hammer, GE, Hubbell, Siemens, Square D & Westinghouse. Also for
Furnas series 'E', Vertical Lift, Innova 45 & Plus. Large inventory &
application help. www.repcoinc.com
Answer to Electrical
You must replace these capacitors, and soon. This isn't
hard to do, but safety issues require you to assign this work only to a
qualified (e.g., specifically trained) person. If you must replace an
entire capacitor bank, purchase one that has an additional upper lid
that facilitates single-capacitor replacement.
The most likely cause is a heavy "jerk load," such as a big motor
starting across the line. Typical culprits are plant air compressors,
large HVAC units, and fire pumps. Consider installing soft starts.
Lightning is another possible cause, especially if your grounding
system is deficient. So, add ground testing to your shutdown project
list (a fall of potential test with the power on measures the utility
neutral connection, not the grounding). Ensure your facility complies
with Art. 250 of the NEC, Part V, especially around the service
equipment. Finally, review your site against NFPA-780 and LPI-175 --
or hire a specialist to do this for you.
Show & Events
Free Live Conferences in November
Mark Nov. 16 on your schedule to attend these highly informative live
But before attending these events, make sure you visit the 2006 EC&M E-TradeShow,
year-long virtual business event. In addition to attending live
activities at conference sessions scheduled throughout the year, you
meet with exhibitors in virtual exhibit halls. You can also access past
presentations, which are archived in the E-TradeShow. Employing the
latest interactive 3D technology, sponsors use online tradeshow booths
to generate leads on a continuous basis throughout the year, while
interacting live with customers and prospects during scheduled events.
Free access and all the information you need are available at http://ecmweb.com/etradeshow/.
- Learn about all the new energy-storage technologies -- including
ultracapacitors, fuel cells, and flywheels -- now available by
the live conference "Energy Storage Methods for Standby Electric Power
Systems," presented by John DeDad at 11 a.m. EDT and PDT.
- Find out how to size residential electrical generators by sitting
on Generac's live conference scheduled for 9 a.m. EDT and PDT. If you
can't make these times, we're having a special Contractor's Night live
conference at 8 p.m. EDT.
- If you're looking for construction industry information to include
in your business forecast for 2007, you'll certainly want to attend Jim
Lucy's 2007 Electrical Market Sales Forecast, scheduled for 10 a.m. EDT
and PDT. You'll see forecasting statistics for residential, commercial,
institutional, and industrial construction market segments. This yearly
presentation has become a must-see for electrical equipment
manufacturers, contractors, distributors, and engineers.
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