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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Material Properties

Everything physical in electrical engineering from insulations to conductors revolves around materials. Here we are listing common materials along with...

Capacitors - Energy Storage Application

Capacitors have numerous applications in electrical and electronic applications.  This note examines the use of capacitors to store electrical energy....

IEC 61439 Verification Methods

The (relatively new) switchgear and control gear standard, IEC 61439 'Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies' has three methods which can be...

Cable Sheath and Armour Loss

When sizing cables, the heat generated  by losses within any sheath or armour need to be evaluated. When significant, it becomes a factor to be considered...

Low Voltage Fault Tables

The following tables provide quick order of magnitude fault levels for a a range of typical low voltage situations.

The dc resistance of conductors

This is the first of two posts on the resistance of conductors. In the next post I will look at the ac resistance, including skin effect and we deal with...

Cable Insulation Properties

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

Three Phase Power Simplified

A single phase system is perhaps the most common type of system most people are familiar with. This is what people have in their homes and what appliances...

How D.C. to A.C. Inverters Work

Traditionally generation of electricity has involved rotating machines to produce alternating sinusoidal voltage and current (a.c. systems). With the development...

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 ...

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