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. 

The 93XC OTDR is part of the Greenlee Communications family of fiber equipment.

With the increasing use of fiber optic cable in structured wiring, many electricians experienced in low-voltage copper work are extending their skills to include fiber. Working with fiber requires training and the right tools and testers to correctly install and maintain fiber optic cable.

At a recent meeting, a comment was made that many power quality (PQ) monitor users purchase equipment that is just “good enough.” PQ monitors can be a significant capital equipment purchase for some companies, particularly smaller electrical contracting firms.

Since its humble beginnings in 1981, Metropolitan Electrical Construction in San Francisco has grown to a staff of almost 300 (250 field staff and 40 office employees) by ensuring that it can offer a number of competitive advantages to the marketplace.

In the early days of electrical generation and transmission, much hullabaloo was made over the respective value of alternating current (AC) versus direct current (DC) technology, and the reigning geniuses of the 1880s, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, waged a metaphorical war over the issue.

More on Systems

The More Data The Merrier: Smart and Submeters

Utility companies have driven smart-meter installation in homes. Now, touting the amount of useful data smart meters can provide, utilities and building owners are setting their sights on commercial and industrial buildings through submetering.

ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

With so many choices, it can be difficult to know which signaling technology is best for the residential or commercial security customer.

The Rest Of The Story: NFPA 72 Changes

In my last article, I wrote about the significant changes to the 2016 NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. One change that I did not bring up is to the NFPA process. In 2016, the “change lines” in the columns next to revised or new text will no longer be there.

Emerging Applications, New Opportunities: Four formative ways commercial security is changing

It has been another monumental and transitional year for physical security systems. For low-voltage contractors specifying security, the breadth of products has changed, and solutions-deployment methods have evolved even more.

Training Day: Comtel Systems

Comtel Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., has been in business since 1982. It employs about 100 people and does virtually all types of low-voltage work. Comtel tends to specialize in physical security (access control, data surveillance, alarms), nurse call and public address.

30 Years Later: Are fire alarms systems easier to install today?

Thirty years ago, fire alarm equipment contained relays only in the fire alarm control units. The most information you could obtain from a fire alarm system was the device actuation zone.

Bosch L-Boxx insert tray
Cool Tools: Portable Containers

At one time, a toolbox was just a metal box. Then, plastic and composite materials came along. Whatever the material, it remained a box, perhaps with a pull-out tray to hold smaller items. But what about portable containers for accessories and supplies?