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.

Low Voltage Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are switching devices whose primary function is to isolate parts of an electrical distribution system in the even of abnormal conditions.  Abnormal conditions are generally caused by faults on a system which can lead to dangerous situations for both people and the system itself.   In addition to providing system protection, circuit breakers enable parts of the electrical distribution to be isolated for operation and maintenance.

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Post Authorship

In 2011, with the introduction of it’s Panda search ranking algorithms, Google introduced tools for determining the original author of posts.  The intention is to provide more relevant search content to users by linking to the original and penalising sites which duplicate content and don’t add value.  At myElectrical we  support the authorship tools for our Opinion and Notes posts.

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Lighting Design - An Introduction

From the earliest times, humans have found ways to create light. Pre-historic peoples used natural materials (moss, grass, etc.) soaked in animal fat and then ignited. Around 3000 to 4500 BC, oil lamps and then candles were invented. During the 18th and early 19th centuries, the technology of oil lamps improved and gas lighting was developed. Starting in the middle of the 19th century, electrical lighting became available with the invention of the fluorescent and incandescent lamps.

Lighting design is the field of creating light, its application and use by people. Lighting design starts by developing the objectives and then quantifying these by specifying the criteria. When looking objectives, the lighting designer will consider:

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International System of Units (SI System)

The International System of Units (abbreviated SI) is the world's most widely used system of units.  The system consists of a set of units and prefixes.

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Standard Cable & Wire Sizes

IEC 60228 is the International Electrotechnical Commission's international standard on conductors of insulated cables. Among other things, it defines a set of standard wire cross-sections. In the United States, wire sizes are commonly measured in American Wire Gauge (AW).

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Equipment Verification (to IEC Standards)

One of the requirements to ensuring that everything works is to have equipment selected, manufactured and verified [tested] to IEC standards. Not all equipment out there meets this requirements. It is the responsibility of the engineers in the procurement and construction process to ensure that only equipment meeting these requirements is used.

If your involved in this activity you most likely already know what to do and have your own methods for approaching this issue. If your new to this or have just been tasked with verifying equipment meets requirements, hopefully this post will get you started.

Ensuring compliance is not complicated, but there are a couple of things you aware of.

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Batteries

A battery consists of one or more cells, each of which use stored chemical energy to produce electrical energy, There are many types of cells and these are combined in a multitude of ways to produce the many battery types in use.

Batteries are divided in to primary and secondary:

  • Primary batteries – have an irreversible chemical action and can only be used once
  • Secondary batteries – have a reversible chemical action and can be recharged

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UPS Battery Sizing

Various techniques exist to enable the correct selection of batteries for UPS applications.  The procedure described below is one of the more common. It is also possible to use the IEEE 485 method (see link at the bottom of the page).

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Battery Sizing

This article gives an introduction to IEEE 485 method for the selection and calculation of battery capacity.

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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 with this.  This article provides an overview of these concepts.

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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 together. It is a work in progress and I’ll be adding to it bit by bit as I start closing pages down in the Wiki. Hopefully by the time the Wiki is fully depreciated, we should have a reasonable article here.

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Electromechanical Relays

Electromechanical relays have been the traditional backbone of electrical protection systems.  While over recent years these have been replaced by microprocessor based numerical devices, there are still many older  electromechanical relays in service.

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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. ...

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...

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...

Switchboard - Forms of Internal Separation

IEC 61439 'Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies', specifies standard arrangements of switchboard (call forms of internal separation). The...

Write your best report

Years ago I was told that you should always try to write the best report you can.  Many years later I still think on this as one of the better pieces of...

International System of Units (SI System)

The International System of Units (abbreviated SI) is the world's most widely used system of units.  The system consists of a set of units and prefixes...

Differential protection, the good old days

This morning I was explaining how differential protection works to a junior engineer. To give him something to read I opened up the NPAG (Network Protection...

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...

Mobile Phones (Brick to Implant)

The mobile phone was born in 1973. They were the size of a brick and weighed a couple of kg, making them difficult to fit into your pocket. At a few thousand...

Cable Trumps

Bored at work and would rather be playing trump card game with you son. The next best thing (or not) maybe the online cable trump card game from AEI Cables...

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