Emergency Generator Safety

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Our society is more dependent on electricity than ever before.  What happens when the power doesn’t work?  The batteries in your portable devices might hold for a few hours, but they will eventually fail with no way to recharge them.  When emergencies occur, it is nice to have a backup power source.  However, using an emergency generator to power your home can be dangerous unless proper safety precautions are taken.  Proper Connection Improper installation of a generator can lead to injury or property damage.  When using an emergency generator, be sure to disconnect the main power lines at the breaker box.  Otherwise, a situation known as “back feeding” can occur.  Power from the generator can be sent back through the power grid, and the workers trying to restore power can be seriously injured.  Likewise, if power is restored while a generator is still connected to power lines, a surge of electricity can be sent through the generator into your home and cause significant property damage.  It is best to have a certified electrician install a backup generator to ensure it is done correctly.  Avoid Fumes Never use a portable generator inside.  Fumes from the generator’s exhaust cause carbon monoxide buildup, leading to serious illness or death.  Keep a running generator outdoors far enough away so that exhaust cannot enter the home through open doors or windows.  Carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled so it is essential that you prevent it from accumulating.  A carbon monoxide detector can alert you to potential buildup.   Keep Dry Electricity and water can be a deadly combination.  Use your generator on a dry surface under a canopy to prevent it from getting wet.  Also, be sure to dry your hands completely before operating the machine.  Fuel Safety Most emergency generators use gasoline.  Follow safety precautions when storing and using the fuel for your machine.  Store gasoline in a dry, well-ventilated area, and only use proper storage containers.  When refueling your generator, it is best to turn it off and let it cool down first.  Spilling gasoline on a hot engine can spark a fire.  Keep a fire extinguisher near the generator in case of fire.  Proper Load Do not overload your generator.  Know the output limits of your generator and keep your usage below that limit.  In many cases, the generator is protected from overloading, but the attached devices are not. Using too much power for the machine can cause permanent damage to your electronics and appliances.  Extension Cords Like your generator, extension cords are only rated to carry a certain amount of power.  It is best to plug appliances into the generator directly.  If you must use an extension cord, make sure...

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Understanding NEMA And IP Ratings For Pushbuttons And Operator Controls

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When selecting operator controls and pushbuttons, you must choose those that are rated for the environment in which they will be used. Will they be exposed to circulating dust, dripping liquids, freezing temperatures? Are they in a washdown area or in an environment that is highly corrosive? Standards developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) assign ratings to pushbuttons and controllers according to how impervious they are to personnel contact and to the ingress of dust and liquids. This article discusses the various ratings and highlights some of the features that protect a controller from water, oil, and dust. NEMA ratings for 30.5 mm pushbuttons and indicator lights. 30.5 mm heavy duty, watertight and oiltight pushbuttons and indicator lights are available in momentary, push-pull, and switch selector models. There are also joystick and roto-push models. These controllers meet NEMA ratings 1, 2, 3, 3R, 3S, 4, 4X, 12, and 13. Contact a group like Flodyne Incorporated to get an idea of what is available. Levels 1 and 2 are for indoor equipment, and as in all of the NEMA ratings, indicate that the controller will protect personnel from incidental contact with enclosed equipment. 3, 3R, and 3S are for indoor or outdoor operation, with 3 also providing windblown dust protection. NEMA 3 and 3R rated controllers are not damaged by external ice formation, while NEMA 3S means external components are still operable when there is external ice formation. NEMA levels 4 and 4X are indoor/outdoor rated. NEMA 4 controllers are protected from wind blown dust and rain, splashing water and hose directed water. NEMA 4X also protects against corrosion. Both 4 and 4X ratings mean there will be no damage from external ice formation. (This rating does not mean the internal components are protected from internal condensation or icing, however). NEMA 12 is an indoor rated controller protected from falling dirt, dust, lint, and fibers as well as dripping and light splashing of liquids. NEMA 13 is an indoor rating the same as 12 except with the added protection from spray, splash, or seepage of water, oil, or non-corrosive coolants. International Protective Marking, or IPM ratings. The IP, or Ingress Protection ratings, made standard by the IEC are similar to the NEMA ratings but are written in code. There are basically two numbers in an IP code as it relates to pushbuttons and other operator controls. The first number rates the protection from personnel access to enclosed parts and the protection from infiltration of solid foreign objects. In this scheme, a first digit of 0 means there is no protection while a 6 indicates the controller is dust tight with no access...

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