Category Archives: Engineering Blog

How to Capture a PCB Using Two Screw Towers?

Just recently, I instantly decided to get rid of my unneeded furniture placed in the basement. It was already old, out of style and it so happens that my cats are living down in the basement. The furniture was completely covered in my cat’s fur because my two white cats loves to sit on the (then blue) white couch. Anyone who will see my furniture will tell me that it looks completely gross. And it is.

And because of presence of fleas, I decided to move the chairs by myself. I cannot wait for my boyfriend to arrive even if he is just 20 minutes away from my house. I almost got near the carpet but for once I decided to drag it upstairs. I just don’t have the energy to turn it to then haul it out open to the door.

When I carefully looked at the chair, I hefted the back of the chair onto the stair to make it leveled up to the front end whilst stepping up to the next level of the stairs. I said to myself, “one step at time.” I just patiently keeps on repeating this mantra as I slowly inch my way up to the stairs just balancing the two legs of the chair. When I finally got to the landing of the chair, I had to make the turn. I just hefted the back left leg of the chair onto the landing platform just in front of the right leg on the front end. While the chair is recently balanced like this on opposing legs, I just have to push it all the way to make a safe landing.

With this in mind, why should my impatience about furniture hauling matter? This is because without the ability to balance the chair on two opposing legs, I should have not succeeded. I recently got this idea from an enclosure making company that just launched their hand-held plastic enclosures. The unique enclosure design shows how it sandwiches a PCB between two screw towers.

There are customers who have asked how this works and they show a doubtful face that says “How does this keep the board from flexing?” The place of the board on the enclosure, then insert (and tighten) the screws into the screw holes on the enclosure. Which is now threaded unto the screw towers. This is primarily because the enclosure is so slim, that it leaves no room for the board to easily flex or twist like that inside the enclosure.

The screws can easily hold down the opposing corners of the PCB board. Thus making it just level and stable once the enclosure is successfully screwed together. This also allows the end user to use the space that surrounds the PCB without the need for the mounting attachments of bosses made in most sizes. However, because of the extra length of the KT-70, the mounting bosses are finally included for the additional stability.

What are the Different Characteristics of Ink Used in Printing on Enclosures?

We have already explored how the personality if the newly weds can be comparable to the material characteristics of the electronics. We also have been able to identify its importance regardless of the end use of the electronics equipment. Also, there are certain characterisitics that are very important to make sure that the final product can stay as crisp since the day the customer decided to purchase it.

There is also one additional important characteristics for plastic electronics enclosure for it to be solvent-resistant. There are several types of different enclosures that can offer bonding as the only way to assemble the final product. While we can carefully strive to not spill the solvents (or anything in that matter), these situations really happen. There was a leak in the solvent packaging, a loose lid, or perhaps there are products that are sent down on a table that comes with an accidental drop of solvent.

The list is just full of endless possibilities. The use of a solvent-resistant ink just helps in the prevention of the unlikely or unwanted events to happen that can eventually lead to serious and long-term problems.

As you can see, there are several and many specifications just for any ink type the user wants to use to customize their electronics enclosure. These posts only deal with a partial list. The customers have been keen on emailing and commenting but there many more characteristics that should be taken in careful consideration.

The point here is there are companies that uses the permanent ink for both of the plastic enclosure both on silk screening and pad printing. The ink that was used for some of the plastic enclosures surely meets the needed specifications to permanently brand the plastic enclsoures. In addition to this, the gloss in the ink also adds the style to the enclsoures.

In return, the gloss intensifies the ink, so that it can print resulting to a very bright appearance. Rather than the dull, chalky finish that we often see in this style of printing. Getting a quote about permanently print on the enclosure is just simple and it can bring down the printing cost lesser than you think. It is best to contact the customer service for further classifications.

What are the Characteristics of Permanent Ink Used in Printing on Plastic Enclosures?

Ink used for customizing plastic enclosures can be compared to the charmingly rustic wedding I just went to recently. With this in mind, I wonder how the characteristics of the newly weds (bride and groom) can be used as an example to describe the characteristics of ink used in printing on electronics enclosure. What are the characteristics that are needed to be carefully considered?

We have already looked at some of the potential issues that can potentially damage the branding of the product. While there are some of the issues that were not as big basing on the end use, it still begs to differ: what are the cost of this to be worth the time and effort?

I guess your initial answer is “No”. And you are just right. The correct answer is to use a permanent ink that is just light-and weather resistant. With this, we have already discussed the possible damages that can be caused by light and what its effect on the graphics. You want an ink that can give you a good chemical and alcohol resistance to.

With this in mind, you do not want to think about someone being intentional on damaging the project. However, these types of situations do happen. The branding on the product is just part of the advertising. Somebody with a cotton boll and a vengeance should not be able to destroy the hard work.

Let us take a look at another example:

If you are out in the field after installing the products in the customers’ homes, under a steamy summer day with humidity levels reaching 90F, it is inevitable that your body temperature will also rise. You are already hot and you wipe your brow with your fingers. The next thing you will do is to pick up the next product that you would like to be installed. If you had used the electronic enclosure ink after the perspiration – and oil/grease-resistant ink, you have nothing to worry about.

Once the ink used to print on the plastic enclosure does not have these properities, there is a tendency that there will be parts of the printing that can be discolored when touched. The worse case scenario is if you remove the parts (of all) of the lettering, logo, or design printing from the enclosure, it will leave a less-than-perfect finish.

Protecting the enclosure from its end use is just as important as other parts of the design. The design engineer should be sure about using the right materials in order to meet the demands of the customers. What ink characteristics do you look for other materials in the enclosure?

The UL Flame Rating for Plastic Material Used for Enclosure

Some of the enclosure manufacturing company utilizes UL recognized material for their enclosures. To define it, the UL frame serve as the property of material used for enclosures. Needless to say, that the materials used for making enclosures are not the same in nature and it is the reason why it doesn’t not have the same rating. Any design engineers should be ready to recognize the differences in ratings to have a better understanding why the numbers must vary. To better explain this differences, let’s look at the following:

For UL rating, the UL-94 is the Standard for Safety of Flammability of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances testing. This can only mean that every product that has UL-94 rated material has been proven its flammability characteristics. This means that this material can be used for the suitability of the material in a given operation. Once the end unit is acceptable to be utilized for any type of product use, it should also undergo testing for that specific product. Ul-94 can determine how the material will react given the set of conditions but it cannot exactly pinpoint the exact characteristics of the components using the end product and just by relying on this rating.

With this in mind, there are two different testing methods: the horizontal and vertical. The HB rating means that the product was tested using the burn or HB test. The type of flame that was used and applied for this product testing was founded to burn more slowly compared given a specific amount of time. The time it takes for the flame to burn the product also depends on the thickness of the material.

The ratings that ends with V2,V2, or V0 only means that the quality of material was gaged and tested using the vertical position. The ratings also indicates that the tested material after it undergo certain testing eventually self-extinguished because of the removed burning source.

How Plastic Enclosures React to High-Temperature Options

Not only metal sheets are utilized in creating electronic enclosure, also plastic. With this in mind, materials react differently to certain temperature especially plastic. The ABS plastic’s melting point is estimated to be 176 degrees F (80 degrees C). This can only mean one thing for design engineers. Plastic enclosure made from this material cannot have prolonged exposure to 176 degrees because it will begin to lose it shape. Once the ABS is exposed to very hot temperatures, the enclosure will begin to soften and eventually lose it shape. If the company left it in a place where the high temperature exists, it will eventually have a baked enclosure.

Also, once the enclosure is exposed to this kind of temperature and there is something on top of it, it can also cause the enclosure to collapse very easily. Not in an instant but it will hasten the collapsing process. The enclosure will eventually settle into La Brea Tar Pits. If the enclosure is utilized in a project test, it will result to a failed one.

Luckily for the design engineer, he or she can choose a more appropriate material for enclosures that can withstand the high temperature and can retain their structure even if exposed to high heat. These materials can be found inside the interiors of a vehicle, or in processing plants where the temperature is high. With this in mind, we recommend using the enclosures that are formed from Nylon or Noryl. These plastic can maintain their form even if exposed in high temperature environments. Comparing to ABS, Noryl is durable in terms of temperature. You can approach the enclosure manufacturing company if this material is available for your company. For sure, if the material is available they will help you in terms of design.

There is also another option for plastic material, this is called polycarbonate. This is a waterproof materials and can be used for outdoor applications. This is considered to be flame-retardant. Meaning the material maintains the integrity or shape of the enclosure and it can prevent melting even if exposed to higher temperatures. The high-temperature materials are more expensive than its counterparts because the capability and the property of these materials are increased. Make sure to first determine where the enclosure will be used so that the design engineer can effectively tell what material should be used in certain type of application. If the company will use the enclosure in low-heat environments, then an ABS option is best suited for this.

Obvious Similarities of an Enclosure and a Flamenco

The dance lessons continue and I’m learning more than I thought I would. Really, I always assumed it was one or two moves and then just add in some flair, like dips or a fancy foot move. But no, there are STEPS to these dances. And one must know them in a specific order, from start to finish, so that as part of a couple, he or she can lead or be led. Blows my mind really. So are there other processes in life that we must follow exact steps in order to correctly complete the process? Why, I’m glad you asked. Yes, yes there are.

It is surprising to know that are obvious similarities of Flamenco to an enclosure. Actually almost all form of dances is similar to the process of building an enclosure. Dancing is not akin to just forming the steps and just adding extra poses to make it brilliant. The dancer should know how to give the steps and dance gracefully by order. There is no brilliant thing that is done overnight. There are crucial steps that are needed to take in order to lead the dance and be able to finish it gracefully. This is just really amazing when you think that in also in life, you need to take slow processes for you to master the exact steps and be ready to make and complete what it is needed to be done.

With this in mind, I would like to help you understand this by illustrating how a plastic enclosure’s lid is secured by following these steps. For your reference, here are the steps below:

1. First, arrange the screws on the cover and seal them by threading them through the cover holes. There are different holes for different types of screws. For the enclosure cover, it accommodates WA, WC, & WP series. These are considered to be captive screws that is primarily made for stainless stell.

2. After the first step is done, this is the time to have the cover placed over the base or the bottom half of the enclosure. Then arrange the screws or align on the cover over the corresponding holes on the base.

3. Have the screws loosely assembled in the cover in sequence until the screws are already finger tight.

4. Have the screws tighten up to a torque of 8-inch pounds. To achieve a better accuracy, use a torque screw.

5. To make sure that the sealed joint is tight enough and the gasket covered is properly aligned, inspect everything. It should be aligned with the lip in the body.

For the 4-hole covers, the engineer should have the middle of the cover be squeezed tight against the base of the enclosure. There are times that when doing this on a larger enclosure you will hear a snap noise. Do not worry because this is a normal scenario and it just indicates that the sealing lip in the base is now properly seated and aligned with the cover gasket.

The 21st Century’s Lighting Revolution: What is it all about? Part 3

Today, almost all general service lamp sockets (about 75%) are estimated to have longer life compact fluorescent and being occupied by it together with the general service LED bulbs. In summary, the new government regulation is designed to target less energy savings compared to the forecast of Department of Energy have forecasted way back few years ago. This is because there is a significant move seen on the market. This trend is estimated to continue beyond 2020.

In line with the bulbs not being a general service lamp, LBNL have included in their report that there were almost the same problem when it comes to data. The energy consumption, as well as the savings, is now measured by using the estimated number of lamps installed in the sockets. The Department of Energy utilizes an algorithm that will help them arrive at a number estimate and will not only rely on lamp shipments. The data should only include assumptions regarding the light bulb’s life and its longevity when it is installed in the socket before it can be replaced.

However, there is a direct relationship between the shipments of light bulb and the number of installed bulbs. The greater the number of shipments for a specific lamp type, it is safe to conclude that there will be more units of light bulb are going to be installed. In contrary to this, the fact is true if the event happened otherwise. The number figures Department of Energy arrived at for the incandescent lamp reflectors shipments exceeded the manufacturer’s expectation. The LBNL’s estimates for the installed bases used for incandescent reflector lamps are over exaggerated.

The Department of Energy’s data estimations regarding the shipments of the reflector lamps are either flat or growing slightly. But in reality, they were actually falling. Last 2018, NEMA the shipments for incandescent reflector lamp were expected to be less than a third of what DOE has estimated few years back. Partly the reason for this decline is the Department of Energy’s increase in energy efficiency standards for the incandescent reflector lamps (PAR and R.) These lamps required the infrared technology and made the cost of these lamps to go higher what is expected. Thus, the LED reflector lamps are priced in a competitive way compare to the price of the LED reflector lamps. The lamps started to fall.

If there were as many incandescent reflector lamps in the installed base of sockets consuming electricity that LBNL cited, NEMA members would be selling a lot more incandescent reflector lamps, and they are not. Again, American consumers, retailers, and manufacturers have beaten DOE to the regulatory punch. The regulation will achieve less energy savings than DOE could have forecasted because the market has already made a more significant move. And this trend will only continue to 2020 and beyond.

This fact is also true with other concerning speciality incandescent lamps – decorative and tubular lamps, for example – Department of Energy tried to illegally lump in the general service lamp category. Just recently, in its ruling, the Department of Energy has started to acknowledge that the data NEMA shared regarding the sale of these lamps have been declining.

What is the Expected Growth in Integration of Distributed and Renewable Resources?

The panel concerning the climate changed called IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) said that the world is on track on having global temperatures by average of 1.5°C as early by the year 2030. The current administration’s recent assessment done by the National Climate Assessment also indicated that the absence of the great decrease or reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gasses, the economic consequences of climate change happening annually will soon hit hundred of billions of dollars by the end of this century.

However, recently the energy sector concerning this issue became the major source of the emissions of greenhouse gases in United States alone. Hence, the combination of the significant reductions in cost of renewable energy and its improved efficiency made the emissions in the electricity sector steadily decline by 28% last 2005.

But there’s no reason to celebrate yet because of the things that needed to be done. According to IPCC, the emissions that were coming from the carbon dioxide should be reduced by at least 45% generated from 2010 levels. Improvements should be seen in the next 12 years. To avoid the worst effect of climate change and its devastating consequences, there should be requirement of the electrification of other parts of the economy. With this in mind, the transportation should be the top of mind to change its processes to electrification. Because in the national level, the transportation sector emits the principal source of greenhouse emissions.

Regardless of the big challenges ahead, there is now a technology that will help the country to greatly reduce the greenhouse emissions. The renewable source of energy coming from wind and solar continues to show growth at very good exponential rates. It can now produce as much as 70% of total electricity consumed in diverse places such as California and Southwest Power Pool.

In repeating the mantra that the sun doesn’t shine and win doesn’t blow all the time, it makes the fact ignored. That we currently have the latest technologies that can solve the variable levels of renewable energy that were being produced nowadays. For example, there are some operational protocols and improved coordination across all regions that can now makes it easier for the flows of variable generation technologies increase. Just as these changes continually accommodated the fluctuating demand. Such technologies in energy storage such as batteries, pumped hydro, and compressed air has the ability to improve the flexibility of energy grids that will eventually result to decreased and more cost-efficient electricity during peak periods.

We cannot, however, achieve a decarbonized electric generation sector without a robust grid. Although the U.S. has some of the best renewable resources, they are often situated in remote locations. Accessing them will require a significant investment in long-haul transmission facilities.

In conclusion, the United States cannot achieve the decarbonized electric generation sector without the utilization of a robust grid. Even if the United States has some of the best renewable energy resources, the alternative energy plants are located in remote areas. Having access to these power plants will require a tremendous amount of investment for the long-haul transmission lines. In the development of the interregional infrastructure, it brings great potential to bring in about billions of dollars in overall savings brought to the customers that will help in the reduction of congestion and revelation of new renewable projects. These said projects were trapped in the interconnection queues in the country.

The panel concerning the climate changed called IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) said that the world is on track on having global temperatures by average of 1.5°C as early by the year 2030. The current administration’s recent assessment done by the National Climate Assessment also indicated that the absence of the great decrease or reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gasses, the economic consequences of climate change happening annually will soon hit hundred of billions of dollars by the end of this century.

However, recently the energy sector concerning this issue became the major source of the emissions of greenhouse gases in United States alone. Hence, the combination of the significant reductions in cost of renewable energy and its improved efficiency made the emissions in the electricity sector steadily decline by 28% last 2005.

But there’s no reason to celebrate yet because of the things that needed to be done. According to IPCC, the emissions that were coming from the carbon dioxide should be reduced by at least 45% generated from 2010 levels. Improvements should be seen in the next 12 years. To avoid the worst effect of climate change and its devastating consequences, there should be requirement of the electrification of other parts of the economy. With this in mind, the transportation should be the top of mind to change its processes to electrification. Because in the national level, the transportation sector emits the principal source of greenhouse emissions.

Regardless of the big challenges ahead, there is now a technology that will help the country to greatly reduce the greenhouse emissions. The renewable source of energy coming from wind and solar continues to show growth at very good exponential rates. It can now produce as much as 70% of total electricity consumed in diverse places such as California and Southwest Power Pool.

In repeating the mantra that the sun doesn’t shine and win doesn’t blow all the time, it makes the fact ignored. That we currently have the latest technologies that can solve the variable levels of renewable energy that were being produced nowadays. For example, there are some operational protocols and improved coordination across all regions that can now makes it easier for the flows of variable generation technologies increase. Just as these changes continually accommodated the fluctuating demand. Such technologies in energy storage such as batteries, pumped hydro, and compressed air has the ability to improve the flexibility of energy grids that will eventually result to decreased and more cost-efficient electricity during peak periods.

We cannot, however, achieve a decarbonized electric generation sector without a robust grid. Although the U.S. has some of the best renewable resources, they are often situated in remote locations. Accessing them will require a significant investment in long-haul transmission facilities.

In conclusion, the United States cannot achieve the decarbonized electric generation sector without the utilization of a robust grid. Even if the United States has some of the best renewable energy resources, the alternative energy plants are located in remote areas. Having access to these power plants will require a tremendous amount of investment for the long-haul transmission lines. In the development of the interregional infrastructure, it brings great potential to bring in about billions of dollars in overall savings brought to the customers that will help in the reduction of congestion and revelation of new renewable projects. These said projects were trapped in the interconnection queues in the country.

The Exploration and Discovery of NFPA Foundation Regarding Electrical Safety

The Fire Protection Research Founded by National Fire Protection Association or NFPA currently sponsored an assembly for the Second Draft meetings for the National Electrical Code (NEC) comprised of Electrical Safety Research Advisory Committee (ESRAC). This took place in San Diego, California last October. Represented by Vince Baclawski, NEMA took part in this general Assembly. Baclawski is the senior technical director, together with Jack Lyons the Northeast field representative.

The meeting was started and opened by Casey Grand the director of the The Fire Protection Research Founded by National Fire Protection Association together with Donny Cook the advisory committee chair. The meeting started with the members of the co-making panels and other stakeholders coming from different industries regarding the electrical safety features that should take part in the foundation’s projects concerning about research.

The agenda in this meeting is comprised of the total overview of the organization: its current, completed, and planned or proposed projects. One of which is the discussion about the Power over Ethernet or others call it as (PoE) and several discussions about pools and marinas.

In identifying some future possible concerns, the foundation greatly put emphasis on what is the greatest value or impact that can be done for the electroindustry. With this in mind, the ESRAC functions as the trailblazing committee to make the foundation consider projects such as these.

To increase the number of installations the PoE systems are making caused concerns to arise because of the possible effects of the installations on the building safety. With this in mind, the NEC has successfully addressed some of the cabling structures placed within the buildings by heavily focusing on some of the bundling data cables that helps engineers to make up the overall system.

With this in mind, overheating is a safety and performance issue for the PoE systems. In addition to this, the Article 725 has mentioned the possible concerns regarding the ampacity tables for data/power cables that comes with the new cable designations. There are some key takeaways on this, they are:

Proper identification for the inherently safe installations

Expansion in the usage of life safety systems

Safety of the personnel working in electric industries

Identify the code applications and the necessary licensing requirements

Recent issues about cybersecurity

Together with valuable inputs from the attendees, the meeting identified the top five topics research projects can focus on, such as:

Proper code adoption and regulatory licensing

Equipment grounding conductors

Types of cord-connections installed in the kitchens

Electrical systems installed in some Marinas and Pools

Data gathered about the collection on electrical fires

In a separate meeting, it was said in the discussion that NEMA is enabled to help in the development and sponsorship on webinars about the necessary fundamentals, benefits, and some limitations on the PoE installed systems.

Lamp Index by NEMA Currently Adjusts to the Newly Available A-Line LED Data

The general service (A-line) lamps have a newer take on its look according to the NEMA Lamp Index. When this said lamp was first produced and innovated last 2012 (together with its developments) it was intended to be used to measure the shift in general service (A-line) lamp technology. This came about as a result of the recent implementation of Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA-2007). This served as a guideline for different manufacturers to shy away from the incandescent lamp that consumes a lot more technology. Halogen incandescent lamp consumed 28% than the incandescent counter parts.

During this time, the only innovation and technology considered as general service lamp available in the market was compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). With this in mind, this LED lamp was barely available in the market last 2012 because it was introduced in the market with $60 price point.

However, the market scenario quickly changed. Towards the end of 2015, the traditional incandescent lamps were almost phased out from the market shelves and the manufacturers of lamps almost no longer carry incandescent lamps for shipment because of the regulation EISA-2007. Because of ongoing demand and decreasing supply, LED lamps became affordable for the consumers and sales started picking up for the first time.

In line with this market scenario, Lamp Index showed a reasonable current direction of the A-line shipments since its first development way-back 2012. In the recent two calendar years, the said lamp shipment rates quickly grew and the LED lamp shipments significantly took the majority of the actual share of the LED light shipments. This is because there is a significant volume of orders from non-MEMA-member improts.

Usually, NEMA will be confidently trust on its strength to make use of this difference – as with the recent market changes with halogen and CFL bulbs – according to historical data. However this information about the A-line LED bulbs are not ready because of its drastic changes when it first entered the market.

Last 2017, the United States government took on the initiative of publishing data of A-line LED lamp imports for its domestic consumption in the country. This data was also published with other information that empowered NEMA to measure the shipments for the A-line LED lamps. Together with the consistency of the numbers and what the consumers are currently experiencing with the A-line LED lamps, it can be said that this lamp effectively entered the market efficiently.

Incandescent shipments included a relatively small number of low lumen lamps (15W, 25W) outside of this lumen range because of the way NEMA historically collected incandescent lamp data prior to 2012.

In conclusion, the adjustment of the newly available A-line lamps and the LED data available, made NEMA discontinue the ongoing reporting of incandescent A-line lamps in the lamp index. When NEMA published the first lamp index, originally it was intended to show the data about the shipments of A-line lamps with the lumen rage of 310-2600 lumens. With this data, it can be said that the incandescent shipments that were included showed a relatively small amount of total shipments. The incandescent lamps were classified by having low lumen lamps (15W, 25W) and it is outside of its lumen rage. This is because of the way NEMA collected historical data of incandescent lamps before the year 2012.