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.

Cable Insulation Properties

Cable insulation is used to provide electrical separation between conductors of  a cable.  During the historical development of cables, numerous types of insulation have been employed.  During recent years, there has been some consolidation in the types of insulation used.

This post provides some information on the more commonly used cable insulation materials.

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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 their most useful properties in relation to electrical engineering.

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Medium Voltage Switchgear Room Design Guide

Many medium voltage (MV) indoor switchgear rooms  exist worldwide. The complexity of these rooms varies considerably depending on location, function and technology adopted by the owner. This article provides general guidance on the factors to be considered in the design of a typical room.

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Low Voltage Switchroom Design Guide

Low voltage (LV) switchrooms are common across all industries and one of the more common spatial requirements which need to be designed into a project. Main LV switchrooms will typically contain free standing switchboards and Motor Control Centres (MCC), along with auxiliary equipment required for the room to function (bus ducts & cable containment, distribution boards, lighting, small power, air-conditioning equipment, fire fighting, etc.).    In addition LV switchrooms often also house other related equipment – marshalling panels, UPS systems, control panels etc..

This article gives some design guidance for the correct sizing of these rooms.

     

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IEC Document Designation

Often document control is dictated by project requirements, for example a particular organisation may have an existing numbering system. Existing company or group/department document control systems may also be employed. In the absence of any agreed document control, it is recommended that the system detailed in IEC 61355 be followed.

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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 this post to be a simple introduction to electrical circuits for anyone who doesn’t know, but is interested.

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Periodic Electrical Installation Inspection – What to Inspect?

This is the second post in a series of two on periodic electrical inspections. In the first post, I discussed how often inspections should be carried out. As with how often, when looking at what to inspect there are two considerations – 1) inspection of systems, which businesses themselves have decided are critical to their operation and 2) the minimum systems which need to be inspected according to regulations. 

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Periodic Electrical Installation Inspection – How Often?

How often installations are inspected is up to the owner of the installation, provided such durations do not exceed any regulatory maximums in force. The criticality of the electrical installation to the continuation of the business, often determines how frequently the installation is inspected, for example many banks will carry out annual inspections of their installations. Other types of enterprise may do inspections more frequently and many installations are only inspected as often as required by regulation.

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Laplace Transform

Laplace transforms and their inverse are a mathematical technique which allows us to solve differential equations, by primarily using algebraic methods.  This simplification in the solving of equations, coupled with the ability to directly implement electrical components in their transformed form, makes the use of Laplace transforms widespread in both electrical engineering and control systems engineering.

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Are We Losing Professional Integrity

I have been thinking recently that there appears to be less professional integrity around than when I first started my career in electrical engineering. Recently the IET has also had a discussion around if engineers should sign an engineering equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath. While I’m not necessarily in favour of swearing oaths, it does illustrate that I’m not the only one thinking about integrity and ethics.

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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 are plugged in to. For larger amounts of power, three phase systems are used.

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Generation of a Sine Wave

A fundamental concept behind the operation of alternating current systems is that voltage and current waveforms will be sinusoidal – a Sine Wave. This is best explained by considering how a coil of wire behaves when rotated in a magnetic field.

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E-Ink

Before the technical, some general information. E-ink display are found in a lot of e-readers, some mobile phones and similar devices and the intent is...

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...

Cables for MV Power Distribution - Earthed versus Unearthed Systems

Power cables can basically be classified into earthed and unearthed cables, where earthed and unearthed refer to the application for which the cable is...

IEC Reference Designations

The IEC publishes a series of documents and rules governing the preparation of documents, drawings and the referencing of equipment.   Depending on country...

Star-Delta Motor Starting - Performance

Many questions sent in to the site are in connection with motor starting and in particular star-delta.  For all but the simplest application, there is...

Fault Calculations - Typical Equipment Parameters

A frequent problem in fault calculations is the obtaining of equipment parameters.  While it is always preferable to use the actual parameters of the equipment...

Earth Electrode Resistance

Earthing of electrical systems is essential for the correct functioning and the protecting of life and equipment in the event of faults.  The earth electrode...

Electromechanical Relays

Electromechanical relays have been the traditional backbone of electrical protection systems.  While over recent years these have been replaced by microprocessor...

Motor Starting - Introduction

Motor starting and its associated problems are well-known to many people who have worked on large industrial processes. However, these things are, of course...

Welcome back Bottle

‘Kept looking at a card, y’see? Kept looking at it. Welcome back Bottle. Gods below welcome home. The Crippled God A Tale of the Malazan Book of the...

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