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.

Bows and Arrows

It starts with me reading one of the Horrible History books with my son (Groovy Greeks). Arrows were mentioned which lead to the discussion of the bodkin arrow head. To show him how much work was required to make one of these arrow head I started searching videos on Google and YouTube. During this process we came across the following interesting documentary on the longbow as a weapon. Being a history video which was able to keep my eight year olds son attention for nearly an hour, I think it deserves a bit of publicity.

Popular tags: , ,

Robots - Interesting Videos

The robot folding towels post below was interesting enough at the time to post a link.  Recently I’ve come across a couple of other interesting videos which demonstrate the abilities of some robots being developed by Boston Dynamics.

One is BigDog which is capable of throwing breeze blocks around. The potential uses of machines which can do this sort of task are enormous. One of the projects aims is to develop machines which can go anywhere we can (and they are quite some way to achieving that goal).

Popular tags: , ,

Contribute to myElectrcial

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 in electrical engineering and related topics it's a great place to make yourself heard. .

myElectrical makes contributing easy with a user friendly set of options for adding content. The only requirement to be able to contribute to the site it to register and become a member. Registration is a simple process and the site is completely free.

Popular tags: , ,

Large Hadron Collider

The 27 km, Euro 6 billion  Collider lies on the border between France and Switzerland, took nearly 30 years to complete.  Some of the lofty goals for the collider include the search for and investigation of the Higgs boson particle, dark energy, anti-mater, other dimensions and small black holes. 

 

Popular tags: , , , , , ,

Skin Tapping Input

Tapping your forearm or hand with a finger could soon be the way you interact with gadgets. A new technology created by Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University uses 'body acoustics' to turn skin into an interactive input device.

Popular tags: , ,

Why a Sine Wave?

I received this question by email a few weeks. First thoughts was that it is a product of the mathematics of rotating a straight conductor in a magnetic field. While I guess this is the primary issue, after some thinking I have come up with few reasons why a sinusoidal wave is advantageous:

Popular tags: , , ,

ABB Technical Guides - Motor Operation

ABB has produced a range of technical guides that offer concise explanations of the major technologies and technical issues in low voltage AC drives.  The technical guides cover subjects such as the basics of variable-speed drives, dimensioning a drive system, electrical braking, harmonics and AC drives, and bearing currents.

Popular tags: , ,

Sony Pocket eBook Reader

For the past few years I have reading eBooks on my HTC touch phone. On and off I have debated buying an eReader and recently purchased a Sony PRS-300 (eReader Pocket Edition). While I was happy using my HTC phone to read, I didn't realize what I was missing. Using the Sony eReader makes a world of difference.

The eReader uses E Ink technology making the text really clear. There's a nice amount of text on each page and using the device is simple. Purchasing and downloading books is easy and the device can hold two or three hundred books. Above all it is really pleasurable to read on the device.

Popular tags: , , ,

Microsoft OneNote

A couple of months ago I came Microsoft's OneNote and downloaded the 60 day free trail. Since then I have been using it regularly and now have a full license. If you don't know what OneNote is, the best way to see how it works is to download the free trail and have a go.

Microsoft's describes the software as:

Popular tags: , ,

Lightning Protection and Earth Electrode Resistance

Most installations involve some form of lightning protection system which is connected to an earth electrode.  The function of the earth electrode is to dissipate the lightning strike safely in to the ground.  Often the performance of the earth electrode is specified and verified by stating a maximum resistance and ensuring that the installed system meets this.  Resistance is easily understood and an easy property to measure.  However, it is only indicative of the performance of the earth electrode under lightning conditions.  Other parameters have a more signification effect.

Popular tags: , , ,

1,000 kV UHV First for China

At the beginning of the year China put the world's first 1,000 kV UHV transmission system into operation. Transmitting power at over a million volts is just amazing.  Some key facts about the system are:

Popular tags: , , ,

Lightning Risk Assessment (IEC 62305)

IEC 62305 'Protection against lightning' requires a risk assessment be carried out to determine the characteristics of any lightning protection system to be installed. There is a lot of hype about about this being a complicated process, however in reality it is very simple.

Popular tags: , ,



Variable Frequency Drive

Variable frequency drives are widely used to control the speed of ac motors.  This note looks at the mechanisms which enable drive units to control the...

Maxwell's Equations - Introduction

Maxwell's Equations are a set of fundamental relationships, which govern how electric and magnetic fields interact. The equations explain how these fields...

Copyright Infringement

myElectrical does not support or promote the use of copyrighted material without the copyright owner's consent. If you believe that material for which...

Motor Insulation

Insulation on a motor prevents interconnection of windings and the winding to earth.  When looking at motors, it is important to understand how the insulation...

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...

Useful Motor Technical Information

Sometimes it’s useful to be able to quickly lookup a piece of technical information.  This note is a collection of information related to motors, and in...

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was born exactly at midnight on July 10, 1856 in the tiny village of Smiljan, Lika in Croatia. In his late teens, Tesla left the village to...

8 Motor parts and common faults

Straight forward list of some common motor faults.  If I have missed any other common faults, please take a bit of time to add them in as a comment below...

Dielectric loss in cables

Dielectrics (insulating materials for example) when subjected to a varying electric field, will have some energy loss.   The varying electric field causes...

Understanding Circuit Breaker Markings

IEC 60947 is the circuit breaker standard and covers the marking of breakers in detail. Any manufacturer following this standard should comply with the...

Have some knowledge to share

If you have some expert knowledge or experience, why not consider sharing this with our community.  

By writing an electrical note, you will be educating our users and at the same time promoting your expertise within the engineering community.

To get started and understand our policy, you can read our How to Write an Electrical Note