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What Are Electrical Wires Made Of?

What Are Electrical Wires Made Of?

Electrical wiring is used to conduct electricity through homes and businesses to individual outlets and fixtures. There are four types of electrical wires found in most residential homes and some smaller commercial buildings:

what makes electrical wires

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  • Triplex wire
  • Main feeder wires
  • Panel feed wires
  • Non-metallic sheathed wire

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Each type of electrical wire has a different function and consists of different materials, though most electrical wires are made of copper or aluminum (which conduct electricity) and a sheathing, or insulator which is typically made of plastic.

Triplex Wire

Triplex wire is the wire that is strung between power poles. It’s made up of three wires. Two are insulated. They carry the electricity; the third wire is a bare and acts as the neutral wire. Triplex wire is very sturdy and made to withstand foul weather conditions.

Main Feeder Wires

The main feeder wires act as connectors between the triplex wire and a house or other building. They can be strung from the power pole to the house, or might be buried underground. Main feeder wires are made of copper wire that is twisted together and insulated with a plastic coating. The wire comes in different sizes, or gauges, which determines how much electricity it can handle. Most main feeder wires are chosen to hold about 125% of the capacity expected for the building they serve.

Panel Feed Wires

These are the wires that run from the main feeder wires into a circuit breaker box or junction box inside the home or building. They are typically rated to carry 125 amps of electricity.

Non-metallic Sheathed Wires

These are the wires with which homeowners are most familiar. They run between the circuit breaker box and individual outlets and fixtures. This wiring contains two or three wires and a ground wire. The wires are sheathed in different colors of plastic, depending on their uses:

Wire encased in black sheathing conducts the electricity.

Wire encased in white sheathing acts as the neutral wire. In some cases, a white wire may be a hot wire. If so, it will be marked with black or red electrical tape to avoid confusion.

Wire encased in green sheeting is the ground wire. The ground wire may also be un-sheathed and just appear as a copper wire.

Red wire can act as a second conducting wire, or as a travellling wire for a 3-way switch

How Do Heat Exchangers Work?

How Do Heat Exchangers Work?

Heat exchangers are aptly named for transferring heat from one medium to another. The mediums used in this exchange can be either liquid or gaseous, but must be of two different temperatures. The structure of a heat exchanger allows the two mediums to come in close contact, cooling one and warming the other. These two mediums may be separated by some sort of wall, or they may be touching completely.

The two fluids or gases involved in a heat exchanger may be held in separate chambers with a wall between them, but it’s not the most efficient arrangement. In order to get the maximum amount of contact between the two mediums, most heat exchangers are simply pipes that twist back and forth and wind within each other or it may be a winding pipe within a single chamber of one material. A heated material will flow through one pipe while a cooled material runs through the opposite pipe. As they come in close contact, the materials will heat or cool one other until they share an equal temperature. In other words, they exchange levels of heat.

heat exchangers in action

What are Heat Exchangers Used For?

Heat exchangers can be used in several situations. Basically, a heat exchanger can be used anywhere one material needs to be warmed and another needs to be cooled. They don’t have to be any specific material, just that one will be warmed and the other cooled. Some examples of where heat exchangers are used are:
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  • space heating
  • refrigeration
  • air conditioning
  • power plants
  • petroleum refineries
  • natural gas processing
  • sewage treatment

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Heat exchangers are quite useful for industrial uses and, in some cases, the coolant is replaced with some chemical or fluid that needs to be warmed up anyway to save energy and materials. When used for absorption refrigerators, their purpose is to condense gaseous chemicals into liquid. At waste water treatment plants, a heated material is ran through one pipe to keep the anaerobic digesters warm in the other pipe, otherwise the digesters wouldn’t be able to break down waste properly.

All in all, heat exchangers do exactly what they sound like they do: they exchange levels of heat between two mediums. Heat exchangers help one material cool and another heat up for whatever reason such a process is needed.

How to Organize Your Warehouse

How to Organize Your Warehouse

A cluttered, disorganized warehouse hinders productivity. It can also cost you money. You’ll spend extra time and effort finding items you need, or end up buying duplicates because you can’t find what you already have. You might be leaving money on the shelf, as well—some of the items you’ve stuck in your warehouse but never use might be valuable. Get your warehouse organized! Here’s how.

Schedule time for a warehouse makeover.

Depending on the size of your warehouse, organization may take quite awhile. It’s best to schedule a block of time to get the entire project done at once; that way you can get back to work quickly.

how to organize your warehouse

Ideally, you’ll schedule your warehouse cleanup during a slow time, or during off hours. Schedule extra employees to help; offer to pay overtime or a bonus to recruit plenty of help. Plan on providing snacks and pizza during the project to keep morale (and energy) high.

If you know you’ll have a lot of things to throw in the trash, you might want to schedule a rental dumpster.

Come up with a system.

Map out your warehouse and decide on a systematic approach. Block out sections into grids and plan to tackle each grid one at a time.

Designate a large space on the floor or outside the warehouse to sit items during organization. You may use masking tape or chalk to designate:

  • Items to be put back away.
  • Items to be sold.
  • Items to be donated to charity.
  • Items to be thrown away.

Plan for re-organization if needed.

If your warehouse doesn’t have clear organization, now’s the time to move things around. Draw up a new map and mark areas for specific items. For instance, all your packing supplies should be in one part of the warehouse; products should be near like products, equipment should be in areas where it’s most used.

Get started!

If you’re doing a complete re-organization, remove every item from the first grid on your system map. Have employees place each item in its designated spot: either to be put back away, sold, donated or thrown away. Once a grid area is empty, wipe down shelves, sweep floors and throw away any trash. Then replace any items that need to go back on the shelves.

Move on to the next grid and proceed in the same fashion until you’ve organized and cleaned every grid on your map.

Deal with the extra stuff.

Once everything you’re keeping is organized and put away, deal with the rest.

The items to be thrown away can be placed into the rental dumpster; call the removal company to retrieve it. Items that are valuable can be sold. Scrap metal can be recycled. Equipment, including everything from office furniture to generators can be sold. Contact local dealers to get information on how to have the items picked up and purchased.

Contact a local charity to pick up items for charitable donation.

What is a Motor Controller?

What is a Motor Controller?

A motor controller is a single device or several devices that help with the performance of an electric motor. It doesn’t necessarily have a specific purpose as it can determine forward or reverse rotation of the motor, the speed of the motor and can also control the regulation or limiting of the torque while also protecting the motor from overloads or faults. Motor controllers can also be automatic or manual, depending on the purpose of the motor.

All electric motors need some sort of controller, whether it’s for a simple task or something a little more complex. Of course, the tasks of a motor controller depend on the purpose of the motor itself and how hard it works.

In the simplest case, a motor controller could be a switch that connects the motor to a power source of some sort. Such a case could include a small appliance or power tool of some kind, where the switch is either manually or automatically operated. In a more complex situation, the controller’s purpose may be to control the speed and torque of the motor more accurately to ensure maximum efficiency and safety.

The Many Different Types of Motor Controllers

There are many different types of motor controllers to help with the specific functions of different motors, as the purpose of a controller isn’t set to a single function. Some of the different types include motor starters, reduced voltage starters, adjustable speed drives and intelligent controllers.

Motor Starters:

A motor starter does exactly what it says it does; it helps start the motor. They can either be a manual switch to get the motor started or a more complex system for automatic operation. Of course, what a motor starter entails depends on the actual motor itself.

Reduced Voltage Starters:

These also help start the motor, but with a generally lower voltage. By doing so, it reduces the starting torque and inrush current of the motor. But, once the motor gets going, it will switch from reduced to full voltage.

Adjustable Speed Drives:

These will adjust the operating speed of the motor and are made up of different devices working together to accomplish the task. The controller itself may simply be called a drive in these situations.

Intelligent Controllers:

Intelligent controllers keep an eye on how hard the motor is working and matches the torque accordingly to keep the motor working just enough for the motor load. It’s able to accomplish this by decreasing the voltage and the current, making the motor as efficient as possible. This is especially helpful when the motor has a lighter load most of the time. That way, when the motor isn’t working too hard, the controller matches the torque accordingly and reduces the noise, heat and vibrations of the motor.

Motor controllers can cover a number of different functions and can also consist of several different devices to achieve a single task. They can determine how a motor functions and can also help a motor better accomplish its purpose by controlling the torque, managing the startup of the motor or other areas.

How to Replace a Circuit Breaker

Do you need to know how to replace a circuit breaker? You came to the right place.

So, maybe you’ve been having problems with your electricity and, while you would like to just call an electrician, you want to save a little green by dealing with it yourself. After cautiously fiddling with what you know and doing some tests, you’ve realized that you have a faulty circuit breaker. Now, you have to replace it, but you’re not exactly sure how

More often than not, circuit breakers don’t need to be replaced. But, if the breaker malfunctions or just simply breaks, then it’s time to replace it. Lucky for you, it doesn’t have to be an agonizing, dangerous project if done properly and carefully.

What to do First When Replacing a Breaker

First off, you should get to know how the circuit breaker system in your household. In most homes, there is a main circuit breaker with several branch circuit breakers connecting to different sections of the house, usually different rooms.

To replace a circuit breaker, turn of all the branch circuit breakers, then the main breaker. Once they are all off, test the voltage on the adjacent breakers to be sure everything is dead. When they are well and truly off, remove the panel cover so you have access to all the branch breakers. You won’t have access to the main breaker, as you would have to remove another panel to get to it. Do not try to remove this second panel, as it should only be done by a certified electrician; you don’t want to find yourself neck-deep in a drastic mistake.

Once you have removed the panel, disconnect the wire from the circuit breaker you mean to replace. Pull the wire out of the way and carefully remove the faulty breaker. Be sure to observe how the breaker is placed and locked into position in the panel so you can properly install the new breaker. Most likely, placing the breaker in an upside down or sideways position will not work.

After you’ve replaced the breaker, check the other circuit breakers to ensure they are installed correctly and tighten any loose parts. Put the cover back on the panel and double check to make sure all the switches are off. After the cover is properly placed, turn on the main breaker and then flip each branch circuit breaker individually. Watch to make sure they are working properly and stay in a set position.

If the replacement is working as it should, then you’re done and ready to go. But if the problem persists, then you may have a different problem altogether. In that case, you should look at the devices closely associated with the breaker or call an electrician. If you can manage it, calling an electrician is the best choice in any situation involving electricity
multimeterHow to Test a Circuit Breaker

To test a circuit breaker, you’ll need a multimeter. It may be best to turn off or unplug any electrical items in the area the breaker is connected to as to prevent a power surge. Also, check to make sure the switch for the breaker is on and stays on. If the breaker trips after a few seconds, there could be a wiring problem.

If the breaker stays set in the on position, then you can easily test the breaker. Touch one of the mulitmeter’s prongs to the terminal screw and then touch the other to the ground screw. If there is no voltage indicated on the readout of the multimeter, then you have a faulty breaker and need to replace it.