Editor's Pick

Showstoppers 2014

Tons of excitement preceded the 2014 neca show in Chicago. For many exhibitors and attendees, the NECA Showstopper Awards were a big part of the buzz. A panel of industry experts judged the contest and selected 20 products as Showstopper Award winners from a group of 154 entrants. The judges placed a blue ribbon on each winning entry’s display in the Showstopper Showcase area and presented trophies to those innovative exhibitors.

Sponsored by ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, the Showstopper Awards and Showcase provide a highly visible platform for introducing new products and services to the electrical marketplace. To be eligible, entries must have been introduced after Jan. 1, 2013, be currently available, and not be a previous Showstopper winner.

Bridgeport fittings

Mighty-Rite split grounding bushings can be installed before or after pulling wire, eliminating expensive rework. This innovative feature makes pulling larger conductor wire easier because grounding bushings can be installed after the pull. The patented Bridgeport bushing has a low-profile design, captive screws and a hinged design that adjusts and aligns easily. The bushing’s adjustable grounding lug accepts wire easier. Mighty-Rite is available in trade sizes from ¾ inch to 4 inches.


The LED T8 tube is 90 percent compatible with 90 CRI and DLC-listed electronic ballasts and provides 2,100 lumens of enhanced spectrum 90 CRI light while achieving 100 lumens per watt at the system level with 30 percent energy savings. The innovative, oval-shaped design allows more uplight than standard 180-degree LED tubes, and the unique endcaps twist and lock, making it easy to upgrade from fluorescent lamps to energy-saving LED lamps.


The gyroscopic screwdriver has integrated sensors that detect the user’s wrist motion (right to tighten a screw, left to loosen and remove) and allows the user to control variable speed and change left/right direction by turning the tool that way. Two small LEDs illuminate the work area. The tool is powered by an 8-volt (V) lithium-ion battery with a power-level indicator that shows how much charge is available. The battery charges in one hour.


The Pow-R-Command intelligent panelboard combines a full range of lighting control and energy-management capabilities in a compact package to help maximize energy savings and meet new energy codes. The integrated, space-saving, highly scalable solution is easy to deploy and manage, providing a variety of lighting control, dimming and daylight harvesting capabilities to reduce lighting energy usage and heating, ventilation and air conditioning load requirements.


Model DM93, Flir’s latest entry in world-class digital multimeters, has advanced variable-frequency-drive filtering to accurately analyze nontraditional sine waves and noise signals. Data record captures electrical measurements and provides wireless data transfer; integrated Bluetooth connects using Flir’s mobile app to compatible mobile devices. Meterlink wirelessly transmits electrical readings to compatible Flir infrared cameras, imbedding data into live and saved thermal images.

Fluke Corp.

Perform essential fluorescent lamp tests in less than 30 seconds with the Fluke 1000FLT fluorescent light tester. The point-and-shoot ballast discriminator speeds the replacement of old magnetic ballasts with new energy-efficient electronic models by quickly identifying exactly what type of ballast is in the fixture. In addition, the devices test lamp, ballast, noncontract voltage and pin continuity. The metal test rod extends to 31 inches.

Garvin Industries

Garvin’s new 4-inch universal square-to-round rings are used to mount lights, security cameras, exit signs, speakers, emergency lights and other fixtures quickly and easily. They provide proven alignment for fixture holes on 2¾- or 3½-inch centers and work with ¾-inch tile, drywall or plaster. Their multiple mounting-hole pattern makes it easy to achieve perfect alignment. The versatile rings are made of zinc-plated steel.


The EK50ML micro crimping tool is world’s first battery-powered crimping tool with PowerSense technology. Designed to crimp 28 to 4 AWG wire and twisted-pair and coaxial cable, this lightweight tool can deliver 3,400 pounds of crimping force. It crimps 65 percent faster with 90 percent less hand force compared to ratcheting tools. Powered by a compact 10.8V lithium-ion battery, the micro crimping tool can perform 250 crimps on 10 AWG wire per charge.


The new Hilti TE 30-A36 is described as the world’s first cordless combihammer drill with high efficiency brushless motor and a high mass-hammering mechanism. It has a drilling range of ¼- to 1-inch diameter with SDS+ (TE-C) bits and to diameters of 3½ inches using percussion core bits. The tool drills and chips into concrete as much as 40 percent faster than the largest SDS corded tools. Its 36V, 6.0 amp-hour battery provides more than double the work per charge of other batteries.


The Evolution Series ceiling box is a fully finished enclosure designed to manage and store audiovisual equipment in an air-handling plenum space above a false ceiling, freeing crowded space from racks and credenzas, while smoothly integrating with any 2-by-2-foot ceiling tile. With six options, the Evolution ceiling box makes it possible to deliver audio, power and communications exactly where they are needed.


An OmniTouch 7 99A00-1 capacitive-touch glass touchscreen provides total control over a building’s systems, including security, thermostats, light switches, surveillance cameras, door locks, irrigation, shades, distributed audio and more. Slider bars adjust lighting-load levels from 0–100 percent. Scroll to the right to see dozens of lighting loads, or dial into a specific room and only view lighting loads in that immediate area. Enact scenes to easily adjust multiple lighting levels for various activities and tasks.


Manage building or campus controls from anywhere with the new Quantum Vue facility-management tool. Its user-friendly interface is specially designed for use on tablets, smartphones and computers to remotely view specific building areas. Time clock scheduling and expanded reporting capabilities on energy-savings and the return on investment can be broken down by lighting strategy. Quantum View works with all Quantum systems.

M.K. Morse

Designed for cutting a wide range of types and sizes of material, the new patent-pending bi-metal 811 portable bandsaw blade combines an aggressive tooth with a variable tooth pattern to reduce vibration and increase cutting speed. High-speed steel tooth tips offer superior cutting performance and long life. The 811 blade is available in a ½-inch width with 0.02-inch thickness in sizes from 27³/₁₆ inches to 44⁷/₈ inches for both corded and cordless portable band saws.

Orbit Industries

The EALBS easy access lighting box with swivel incorporates a sliding swivel cover plate that offers greater stability for high-bay fixtures. Its swivel plate has a 20-degree angle designed to prevent damage to hanging fixtures if it is accidentally hit. The box is made from durable steel with removable side and cover plates to facilitate installation and wiring by one installer. Dimensions are 4-by-4 inches, 2¹/₈-inch deep with a capacity of 30.3 cubic inches.

Project DocControl

Daily field documentation reports using any Internet-enabled tablet or computer help increase project productivity and improve processes and accountability. Project DocControl helps electrical contractors electronically create, track, manage and share RFIs, transmittals, change orders, pay applications, correspondence/emails, and contact information from a single, centralized database.

Schneider Electric

Square D QO and Homeline dual-function circuit breakers combine two state-of-the art technologies—arc-fault and ground-fault protection—in a single, easy-to-install device to reduce the inconvenience and cost of using two separate devices to provide the essential projection required by the National Electrical Code. QO dual functionality saves time, money and space.
It is easy to use and provides Square D reliability.


This dual-function AFCI/GFCI circuit breaker with self test and lockout features provides both arc-fault and ground-fault protection. The 2014 National Electrical Code requires arc-fault and ground-fault protection on kitchen and laundry circuits, which previously meant circuits pairing an AFCI breaker with GFCI receptacle. The dual-function breaker changes that limitation while meeting code and providing cost savings and reduced installation time.


Make multiple pulls from a single reel with the patent-pending SIMpull Stack. Depending on cable size and pull length, one reel accommodates up to five phases to five pulls by cutting lengths of colored parallels, separating with shrink wrap, and combining on one SIMpull reel in the order the pulls will be made. Each segment is pulled in sequence without the need to set up additional reels. The process saves time and money. Reels can be labeled to identify multiple locations.


The Knaack 89-D Storagemaster piano chest features an independently secure tool cage where contents are visible with a work surface when the cage is open. Two side-by-side locking drawers provide access to high-demand tools. The raised chest floor facilitates access. The Watchman IV Lock system provides independent locking for both the chest and the quick access drawers. The chest is easily mobilized with optional wheel casters, four-way skid access and recessed side handles.

Westex by Milliken

A new ANSI 107 high-visibility yellow selection of protective clothing now is available in Westex UltraSoft arc-rated/flame-resistant fabrics. Indura UltraSoft fabrics provide advanced protection to momentary thermal exposures and meet requirements of NESC, NFPA 70E for electrical arc-flash protection and NFPA 2112 requirements for flash-fire exposures. UltraSoft is guaranteed flame-resistant for the life of the garment in either high-temperature industrial or home washing.

About the Author

Jeff Griffin

Freelance Writer

Jeff Griffin, a construction and tools writer from Oklahoma City, can be reached at up-front@cox.net.

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