Steven McFadyen's Articles

Steven is a Chartered electrical engineering consultant with considerable experience on major internationally recognised and award winning projects in Europe, South East Asia, and the Middle East. His expertise has been called on for numerous technically challenging projects in power systems, airports, rail, mining, pharmaceutical, datacentre, and other industries.

Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Insulation

While there are a vast array of cable insulation materials, these are often divided into two general types; Thermoplastic or Thermosetting. For example the current capacity determination of a cable in accordance with the UK Wiring Regulations is categorized into thermoplastic and thermosetting cables.

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Our internet address and Vanity URLs

Visitors who like to type web address rather then click menus may be interested in how our URL structure works.

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Smarter Electrical Distribution

The other day I came across an article in Technology Review on the development of a smart transformer. A professor at North Carolina State University is developing a transistor based transformer capable of coping with both dc and ac and of directing power to where it is required. His idea is to shuffle power around the grid in the same way that the internet intelligently moves data around.  The interesting thing from this is that people are starting to address the way we move power around.

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Cold Fusion (or not?)

Recently I have seen a few interesting articles on viable cold fusion; the combining of atoms at room like temperatures to create boundless energy. Now after a bit of research I have discovered the are a few proponents [believers] and a lot of skeptics. The jury is not out, but just in case the technology comes in as a winner here is the latest and it happens to be a working machine.

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Lead us, Warleader

Delum, who had watched all in silence, his face empty of expression, now spoke in turn. ' "Lead us, Warleader, into glory."'

Reading is something I do regularly and at the moment I'm working my way through Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Enjoying the series so much I decided to give it a bit of a plug.

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Why is electricity so hard to understand?

It's been a busy few months on different projects or busy couple of decades depending on how I look at it. I can say that on the odd (frequent) occasion when trying to explain something (i.e. electricity) I felt like banging my head against the wall. To be fair to everyone this does include talking to electrical engineers as well as non-electrical types. I have found out that I'm not the only one to wonder why it is difficult to understand electricity and as it turns out the answer may not simply be that everyone else is not quite with it.

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Paths of Flight

GE have put together a time-lapse video shown flight take-off and landings at some airports. An interesting view:

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Generator Sizing & Operation Limits

When selecting a generator, there are inherent limits on the active and reactive power which can be delivered. Generators are normally sized for a certain kW at a power factor of 0.8. However, to understand the operation fully, it is necessary to look at the generator reactive power curve.

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IEEE Winds of Change

IEEE TV has a part series of videos on wind power and it's implication. For a really good overview to the technologies and issues around wind power, these videos are excellent. Each video is around 10 minutes and can be watched at:

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Autonomous Vehicle Challenge

Two driverless and solar power vans have departed from Italy on their way to China via the silk road. During the 13,000 kM trip the vans will drive themselves on standard roads. The hope is that this will help to prove the viability of using current technology to enable autonomous vehicles on public roads.

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Getting Started with Patents

If you have a great idea or invent something the last thing you want is someone to steal the idea. One of the things you can do is protect the intellectual property of on the idea by using patents.

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MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare, makes the materials used in teaching all MIT subjects available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world.

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Cable Insulation Properties

Cable insulation is used to provide electrical separation between conductors of  a cable.  During the historical development of cables, numerous types...

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Have an opinion or something to say, want to ask or answer questions, share your knowledge then use our site to do it . As a community of people interested...

110 or 230 Volts

I've been considering a blog on the 110 or 230 Volt issue for a while.  While browsing the Internet I came across a great summary by Borat over at  engineering...

Fire Resistant and Fire Retardant Cables

Fire resistant and fire retardant cable sheaths are design to resist combustion and limit the propagation of flames. Low smokes cables have a sheath designed...

Wiki Depreciation

We have had the Wiki with us for a long time now, but at last I have decided to say bye bye – more details on why below.

Lead us, Warleader

Delum, who had watched all in silence, his face empty of expression, now spoke in turn. ' "Lead us, Warleader, into glory."' Reading is something I do...

Motor Efficiency Classification

Electric motors are one of the most widely used items of electrical equipment. Improving motor efficiency benefits include, reduced power demand, lower...

Alternating Current Circuits

Alternating current (a.c.) is the backbone of modern electrical power distribution. In this article I’ll be pulling some of the more important concepts...

Capacitor Theory

Capacitors are widely used in electrical engineering for functions such as energy storage, power factor correction, voltage compensation and many others...

EU Code of Conduct on Data Centres - Best Practices

The European Union is implementing a voluntary code of practice for participants with the aim of improving the overall efficiency of data centres. As part...

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