Electrical

Sometimes I have to study for the test…

And this test was the final exam.

We were tasked with figuring out how to start two 480 volt 500 horse power motors, each pulling well over 2000 amps, on a 1600 amp breaker.

On any other day we would have ample power and switchgear to handle starting the large mulch grinder motors. But not today. This system was installed in a more rural area with limited power capacity and was previously used to grind tree stumps.

So to accomplish the feat we used a soft starter drive controller to ramp the first motor up to operating speed. I set the drive to limit the motor amperage to just under 2000 amps.

The next step was to tune the 1600 amp breaker to hold 2000 amps for about one minute. I needed approximately 45 seconds to get the grinder motor wound up to full speed. After the motor achieved full rpm’s the motor amperage dropped to a measly 300 amps.

After several attempts I found the balance between over loading the main breaker and getting the motor up to speed in under a minute.

After the first motor was at full speed we could then energize the second 500 hp motor. The two motors where coupled together and ran smooth as silk at idle.

The second it was loaded with wood chips the grinder roared to life, the ground shook and chips turned into mulch. I stepped back a few steps and turned away the first time the hopper was filled to capacity but proud when the motors didn’t seem to slow down at all.

At over 30 foot tall the grinder hopper could handle thousands of pounds of material at a time. It’s pretty spectacular to see it in operation. It was previously set up to grind entire trees so it handles the wood chips pretty good.

This project turned out to be a success but required some reading and studying on how to tune the breakers, soft starter controller and to calculate the load demands.

We had several visits from the power company while commissioning the grinder and they were very helpful in setting up the power systems.

A big thanks to everybody involved in pulling this one off.

Another interesting job in the books.

-Steve

More electrical work…business is good.

I’m normally not to excited about residential electrical work and this job was no different.

It looked like a fire hazard the first time I saw it and knew it would need an overhaul.

So this week in the 30 degree weather we tore out the entire service from the weather head to the electrical panels and upgraded the service from a 100 amp to a 200 amp.

After all the circuits where identified they were disconnected and the new box was mounted to the wall.

We installed a new Square D panel box and breakers. This house has 8 base board heaters for the primary heat, electric range, air conditioner a handful of outlet and lighting circuits as well as an electric water heater.

The electrical inspector was happy with our work and approved it for re-connection. KU took care of that part. 😁

All in all the project turned out good and this house has a new electrical distribution system that will be reliable and safe for many years to come.

The worst part of this project was the cold rainy weather. We were committed to the timeline as we had to coordinate with the utility company, the tenant and our busy schedules to make this work.

Whether it’s industrial, commercial or residential electrical work; it’s all about doing good quality work, satisfying the electrical code, the inspector and the customer.

We did all that and we got paid! πŸ’΅πŸ˜

Just a side note…I recommend using an experienced licensed electrician for all your electrical work as the risk for injury or fire is there if best practices are not followed. It’s the simple things that cause the biggest problems. Like a loose wire nut or improperly connected outlet.

Be safe.

-Steve

I make my living using tools…

I started in electrical trade in 1988 while I was still in high school. On the weekends I was building and wiring electrical control panels in the basement for my dad’s company.

Little did I know I would make a career out of it.

After high school I went to work for a couple different electrical contractors and over the next 15 years I became an expert at troubleshooting, engineering and installing electrical control systems in manufacturing plants.

If the machine had a wire on it I was all over it.

Now day’s dad and I are partners and we work on everything from robots, conveyers, industrial computers, programmable controllers, motor control and relay logic.

We both attend annual continuing education classes and keep our KY Electrical Masters License and Contractors License current.

Below are some examples of the things we have worked on. This is nowhere close to everything but will give you an idea of what we encounter.

This is a safety system we designed and installed for a customer to prevent the loss of fingers. 😳

The next system was installed in the early 80’s and is used in a metal plating process. I’m called to trouble-shoot different problems from time to time and have even discussed upgrading the system for them.

The next system is in a cardboard box manufacturing plant. Pizza boxes and other perforated boxes are manufactured on this equipment.  This one was stopping intermittently and I found some loose wires. Took me 20 minutes but hey, I was tired. 😁

Three years ago we designed and installed a box stacking system around the KUKA robot in the picture below. We just recently decommissioned it. The manufacturing process changed and it was no longer needed.

So I got paid to design it, install it, trouble-shoot and repair it when it broke down, install upgrades and un-hook it when they were finished with it. I’m going to miss this one. Good thing there are many others like it. πŸ’΅πŸ˜

Electrical safety is very important so lock-out tag-out procedures must be followed. If you look closely at the red lock there is a label that Alison made for me. It says I love you daddy. ❀️ That’s a great reminder to work safe.

For years I’ve crawled on top of machines, inside of them and under them to get the job done. It’s part of what it takes to keep these machines running for our customers.

The electrical trade has been good to me over the last 30 years and it’s very rewarding to fix things with my hands using tools. Is that weird? Haha!

We need more tradesmen and woman to keep our manufacturing plants up and running. Seems like most people aren’t willing to invest 5 years working as an apprentice. At least they are getting paid to learn. I call that on the job training. πŸ˜‰

If you want to get into the electrical trade let me know and I’ll connect you with some first class companies that are almost always hiring newbies.

-Steve

859-398-8329