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.

Thomas Edison

American inventor Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio on February 11, 1847. He was the youngest of seven children and received little formal schooling. Most of his education happened at home under the care of his mother, Nancy.

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Magicians of Engineering

The other day I was reading 'Night of the New Magicians' by Mary Pope Osborn with my son.  The story is about a young boy and girl who travel back in time to the 1889 World's Fair in Paris to find four  new magicians and learn their secrets.  The new magicians turn out to be Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas  Edison, Louis Pasteur and Gustave Eiffel and their secrets inspiration advice. 

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Three Phase Current - Simple Calculation

The calculation of current in a three phase system has been brought up on our site feedback and is a discussion I seem to get involved in every now and again. While some colleagues prefer to remember formulas or factors, I prefer to resolve the problem step by step using basic principles. I thought it would be good to write how I do these calculations and hopefully it may prove useful to someone else.

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Aluminium Windings - Dry Type Transformers

The other day I was talking to a colleague who is a building services consultant.  Despite regularly specifying dry-type/cast resin transformers he was unaware that many manufactures’ use aluminium for the windings; I think Siemens exclusively use aluminium and don’t offer copper anymore.  To confirm this he promptly phoned Schneider Electric and was informed that they use aluminium (or copper on request).

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Michael Faraday (the father of electrical engineering)

Famed English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday was born on September 22, 1791, in Newington Butts, a suburb of Surrey just south of the London Bridge. His family was not very well off and could only afford to give Faraday a basic education. When he was 14, Faraday was apprenticed to a bookbinder. Much of his learning came from reading the books he was binding.

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Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is a field that covers a wide variety of sub-fields, including electricity and electronics. It is a field that goes back to the early days distributing electrical power. Today, it could cover basic electronics, or more advanced areas, such as control and signal processors, or even the diverse field of telecommunications.

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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...

Introduction to Lighting

When looking at the design of a lighting scheme it is useful to have an understanding on the nature of light itself and some of the basic theory associated...

9 power supply issues solved by using a UPS

Installation of a UPS can help in reducing problems due to issues with the power supply.  A lot of people relate this to nine key issues.  Depending on...

Electromagnetic Fields - Exposure Limits

Exposure to time varying magnetic fields, from power frequencies to the gigahertz range can have harmful consequences.  A lot of research has been conducted...

Photovoltaic (PV) - Utility Power Grid Interface

Photovoltaic (PV) systems are typically more efficient when connected in parallel with a main power gird. During periods when the PV system generates energy...

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...

Aluminium Windings - Dry Type Transformers

The other day I was talking to a colleague who is a building services consultant.  Despite regularly specifying dry-type/cast resin transformers he was...

How Electrical Circuits Work

If you have no idea how electrical circuits work, or what people mean then they talk about volts and amps, hopefully I can shed a bit light.  I’m intending...

How to Check a Circuit is Dead

If you want to check a circuit is dead (not live), you should always use the three point method. First check a known live circuit, then check the dead...

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. ...

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