Systems

 

 

Integrated electrical and low-voltage systems of all types—inside and outside a building—encompass the range of work that electrical contractors do. The articles in this section highlight different types of work, from security, fire and life safety, to traditional electrical power and distribution, to lighting, cabling and more. 

All of that dark fiber we have been discussing the last few months is getting used for some fast-growing applications, and the fastest may be connecting cell towers. Cell phones have evolved into mobile data devices. Smartphones and tablets consume vast amounts of data.

A hot summer’s evening usually begets long lines at the local ice cream shop. Recently, at one such shop, the line grew extra long when the cash registers and credit card machines mysteriously powered off and on.

Historically, if a problem occurs with a traditional string power inverter that links several solar panels together in series, or even simple shade, that issue can bring down an entire solar photovoltaic (PV) array.

As government tax credits and utility rebates and incentives dry up, energy-efficiency improvements have evolved beyond the low-hanging fruit of fixture replacement at low cost.

More on Systems

 
Don't Gamble with Abandoned Cable
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There’s a problem that is either right in front of us or lurking around the corner. The problem involves data communications cabling above drop ceilings in commercial buildings—some of that old cable has been accumulating in ceiling spaces for years and years.

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The Dark Side of Fiber
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Generally, the dark side refers to Darth Vader and other not-so-good things. Leave it to the communications industry to turn something dark into something powerfully marketable and profitable—dark fiber.

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Where are the Fiber Optic Jobs?
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Since the fiber optic “bubble” burst a couple of years ago, employment ads for fiber optic installers have been scarce. But are real jobs still available? If so, where are they? Is the outside plant market dead? What about premises applications? What technologies are driving new installations?

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Biometrics for the Common Man
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Biometrics has gone beyond the realm of space-age applications. Now, and in the future, biometrics is a perfect fit with nearly every user in every market.

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Plastic Optical Fiber
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Every year around Christmas, stores roll out artificial trees made with optical fibers. You know the ones—they glow and shine colored light out the ends of the branches. Who would think that these trees are made of a type of optical fiber that offers easy-to-install cheap communications links?

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Have a Backup Plan
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In the past, blackouts have led us to focus on preventing systemwide single component failures. But August’s blackout increased nationwide awareness for the need for backup power systems.

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Money in the Bank
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Bank security systems are now so sophisticated that it is virtually impossible to use a hankie without being in full view of a surveillance camera. Uniformed guards making their presence obvious are as much an ornament as a deterrent to crime.

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