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Power health white papers and databases

Doorways into better understanding of electrical power quality and basic steps you can take to help ensure your systems persevere.

Electrical Perseverance—by Michael Gibson, a white paper on understanding basic electrical foundation elements, developing a power quality strategy, and the various topologies of power quality devices you can utilize to protect your systems.

NIST ~ Update on a Consumer-Oriented Guide for Surge Protection—a great overview of power quality issues, terminology, examples, and how lightning can just hit a nearby tree and still take out your equipment.

NFPA®, 2014 National Electric Code® (NFPA link is below)

The new 2014 NEC® book is remarkable, covering grounding in great detail, photovoltaic systems and how they interface to the grid, or as stand-alone systems, and lots, lots more. Amazingly, if you simply join the NFPA, by signing up on-line, they provide free on-line access to the new 2014 edition of NFPA 70. Major kudos! Bravo, NFPA!

One practice someone said they'd heard was likely going to be recommended in the new code book seems not to be; and that is paying attention to whether receptacles / outlets are installed ground plug up or down. Most receptacles have them down, seemingly for aesthetic purposes, but in certain cases, some electricians feel strongly that you could prevent a house fire or shock, or maybe save a life if installed ground plug opening up. Why? Because if the plug has pulled out of the wall even a tiny bit, and a piece of paper or other combustible falls behind anything in front of it, making it fall vertically, there is a possibility it could wedge itself into that space and contact the hot and neutral legs, and burst into flames, and create a house fire. Or as some have reported on the web, in some commercial environments and restaurants, thin sheet metal and cookie sheets have fallen down behind something, and the metal contacted the hot leg, and shocked the person picking it up. If the ground is what the thin piece of material would strike first, it hopefully would then tilt and slide out with no harm done. If anyone does find it in the code, please let me know exactly where it is; would greatly appreciate it.

This latest NEC has a very good section on thinking through Critical Operations Power Systems in its Informative Annex F. Highly recommended reading if you are responsible for any mission-critical systems, or critical infrastructure operations, even if you're not an electrician or electrical engineer. NOTE—Certain biomedical equipment require adherence to specially listed for purpose medical-grade UL standards.

Visit the NFPA National Electric Code web site

A Page on Lightning and How It Can Get Into Your Systems

Fluke—a manufacturer of high quality digital and analog meters, amperes/current meters, thermal imagers, oscilloscopes, harmonic analyzers, ground impedance measurement devices, etc., such as their Fluke 1630 Earth Ground Clamp Meter.

Fluke Tech Tips: Don't Forget the Grounding System

AEMC - Charvin Arnoux—another manufacturer of power quality measurement tools. These folks had the first stakeless grounding measurement device I'd ever seen (and a link to what is now the latest generation of it is just below)

AMEC 6417 Clamp-on Ground Resistance Tester—and here is a link to a bulletin on an Android app to be able to hook up their ground resistance checker to your tablet or smartphone and take pictures and email of the ground measurements, etc., that you get. Technology marches on!

SureTest Circuit Analyzer
—this is a fantastic tool that we use for troubleshooting, and recommended for electricians and inspectors.

A guide on branch circuit testing
—for the Sherlock Holmes in all of us.

StattNet—Limit values for electromagnetic fields (emf)—one of the best overviews of limit values I've seen. Essentially—it recommends staying under 4.0 mG (0.4 microtesla) for 24 hour a day exposure. NOTE—there are also some recommendations from other groups suggesting staying under 2.5 mG. (1.0 milligauss=0.1 microtesla). I would recommend to be conservative and goal to be under 2.5 mG.


The Art of Electrical and Electronics Technical Writing, and the Most Common Mistakes—by Michael Gibson ~ A recently published textbook every electrical engineer/engineering student, copywriter, copy editor, electrician and director of marketing should have on their desktop as a reference. It is a primer on the key elements of the art of electrical and electronics technical writing, and the most common mistakes that are made with unit symbols, abbreviations, acronyms, spelling, and hyphenation. In it, a new word is coined and defined for technical writing—'actualcase.' I wish I had this decades ago, as it would have saved me hundreds of hours of searching for what the correct (and thereby best for search engine optimization) actualcase usage was on electrical terminology/spelling, symbols, abbreviations, capitalization, acronyms, etc.

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