Sunday, February 3, 2013

FLED Solar Engine

Solar energy has always been something I've been interested in. This little project is really something. I'm particularly interested how it "fires" when there's enough voltage to run the motor and it's especially interesting to see how long the energy sustains through the motor. I will definitely have to build something more with this!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year New Beginnings New Experiences

Ah, yes, the new year. It's always filled with new goals, determination, and regrets from not accomplishing the goals I set last year! But the good news is, I have made and completed goals that I did not anticipate at the beginning of last year. I won't go on how it is important to set goals and stuff because this blog is intended for more of my electrical and engineering experiences.

Anyways, lately at work I've been working on this RV site project. It is humongous--at least it's huge to me. I have never worked on a project that covers so much land. Because the site is so large the Main Service Entrance Section (SES) is at a higher voltage. So, two new things I've been able to get some experience in.

To be honest, the project is very difficult. The site has very little to absolutely no labeling or anything to clue in where things are fed and due to past disasters some of the areas in the site are abandoned and all the electrical equipment is ruined. Not only does that make it difficult, but I'm also new to RV electrical. So, as a recap of everything, I am a complete n00b for this project. However, as my favorite math teacher said "An engineer is really a jack of all trades, master overnight," I have been able to wrap myself around this project once and for all.

The project is in California, so unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the site visits with my boss. But he documented his visit with tons of video. The first video I watched was the Main SES. When I heard the voltage was 2400V/4160V I was like, "What the heck??" I had to rewind and watch that part again. I heard right. That really shows how green I am to this project.

The voltage of the project has actually been the most interesting part, however. It amazes me how electricity can be transferred at so far distances with reasonably sized wire. I mean, I'm talking something like a single 1/0 conductor feeding hundreds of RVs. Of course, that wire is carrying 2400V and 1/0 conductors can carry up to 150A at 75 degrees Centigrade, which would equal to about 360,000 watts, or 360kW. That's a ton of power. Doing a rough calculation, approximately over 200 RVs could be powered (with a 30A receptacle) off that one 2400V leg. This is with demand factor of course.

Although this project has been difficult, it has been an incredible learning experience. I feel like I could take on any RV park now, but just like anything in the field of engineering, clients have different needs and conditions, so projects can be just as challenging even if I've done a hundred RV jobs. I might as well say the same for street lighting project too!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Continued Education

Although I am in school currently for a bachelor's in electrical engineering, I was able to participate in an IAEI meeting today. It was the first one I've ever been to. The experience was very enjoyable and I even won a raffle prize!

In the electrical field there are a lot of things to consider in engineering. One of these things is arc flash. This was the subject of the IAEI meeting. Arc flash protection is no doubt a controversial topic. There was a lot of back and forth discussion during the seminar bringing up what is "right" and what is "wrong". I'm sure in the future there will be more standardization, which should rid some of the obvious confusion.

The seminar was very educational and I feel I left better off and more confident in the subject. What's also neat is I received a little certificate stating I was present and was taught these principles. I feel so official. I look forward to future meetings. Too bad they only happen once every odd month.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Things that Interest Me

I am interested in a lot of things. It's like I want to accomplish everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I am loving the work I have at my job. I have been working on some really interesting projects. One of them is in the state of California. It is a wastewater treatment plant. There are two new clarifies being installed and some large 200 HP blowers for the basins. I wish I could see the plant,  but my boss does all the inspecting and documentations, and the meetings. Even without the experience of visiting,  the project has been quite an adventure. There has been numerous changes and a lot of coordination to keep it straight. It is also the largest project I have ever done. I am excited to say that the construction plans are almost finished and the project can begin installing all the equipment. Maybe I'll be able to visit the site along with my boss for a final inspection,  but I might not be able to since it costs so much,  or because of other commitments.

There's also another project I'm working on locally for an airport. There's been a couple of fires caused by electrical code violations and the airport needs our help to get everything configured correctly. There are many aircraft hangars and each of them has an electrical panel. This means a lot of work is being done documenting the installations and noting any code violations. Needless to say,  there has been many. Not so many of great urgency but have potential to cause problems if something un ordinary happens. The worst I've seen so far is breakers feeding power to undersized wires. This could cause a fire since the breaker won't trip when there's a high current-a larger electrical wire is needed to handle higher capacity. Although the work is a little tedious, it has been a great experience to get out of the office time to time and visit the airport to document the equipment. It's nice to get some fresh air and not be stuck in an office all day,  ya know??

I'm learning some really cool stuff in school this semester. I'm taking the second general engineering course and circuits 1. I'll have to post some of the things I've built, such as a model of a v6 engine drawn in a program called Solidworks.

Also, I've really been into smartphones lately. I have never had one before so I have been opened up to a world filled with more technology than I've ever experienced before. My new smartphone is the best thing I've had since I got my Nintendo DS in 2004. I'm not saying I use it just for entertainment but the mobility of Internet, computing, and communication has been an extraordinary experience. I think it's the coolest thing to have Google maps right in my pocket to quickly navigate through town. Or, an app called Yelp, to find nearby food joints and services. Not to mention you can check in and get discounts and other deals. How cool is that? The possibilities are really endless, so I've seen. I've even been able to connect my Sony PS3 controller to my phone and use it to play super Nintendo games. Seriously, these smartphones are really something. In fact, I'm writing this very post on my phone (so, please forgive any errors I my text).

I wonder what the future will continue to unfold. It really is an adventure out in the world.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where Has the Time Gone?

A lot of things have been happening lately with school and work. School in general is always full of busy work such as design projects and tedious math problems. Nevertheless, I have been enjoy the lectures from my teachers. Bassam Matar and Michael Santilli ( are some of the most thorough teachers I have ever had.

As for work, I have had the opportunity to participate in a few meetings with companies promoting their product. One included a Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor (or Surge Protection Device) to protect sensitive equipment or signals. Others included information I found interesting about LEDs such as the actual light emitted from the LED is blue. Topped with a phosphorous  material with a yellow shade to it, the LED emits a very crisp white color.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Knowledge in Time of Need

Time sure seems to soar on by. A lot has been going on in my life since school has started. Work has also picked up quite a bit, which is great, but keeps me really busy. I continue to learn so much from my experiences in school and work.

Recently, I have taken a first-time approach (for me) on sufficient documentation. What I mean by that is keeping a record of all my expenditures, car mileage, charitable donations, income, and pretty much anything I can collect data on. Today completes the end of the first month I've been doing this and looking over all the records I've kept is quite rewarding.

I plan to take this data and put it into an Excel spreadsheet to save in the digital world. I wanted to start with paper and pen to give myself an idea of how and what to record all this data. Sometimes when I do work on the computer I can't visualize as easily my goals as I can on paper. After I get comfortable with my system is when I'll transfer everything.

My dad has told me in the past that it is important to always keep accurate and up-to-date documentation of everything. I have learned that is to be taken almost literally (and maybe completely).

As I think about that and compare that statement with my job, it makes complete sense. Accurate documentation keeps things in order and removes confusion. In fact, I have experienced this in the past few weeks at work.

Some old jobs (as far as 10 years) have had to be updated and revised. If it wasn't for documenting that information, the company I work for would have to spend extra money to back to the job site and re-record all the necessary data. Doing the work for that job took no more than about 6 hours to do, but could have easily been as much as 15 or more if the old documentation was not present.

Anyways, I try to make this blog more interactive than just "something I learned today," but this is something I have come to believe is really important. So, always keep your information properly documented. You never know you just might need it readily someday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Solar Lighting Project

It seems I am just filled with ideas for projects right now. Lately, I have been troubled by how dark my grandparent's driveway is. I hate having to back out of it already because it's narrow and I feel like I'm going to scrape the side of my vehicle passing by; the feeling is worse when it's dark. So, I figured, why not install some small garden lights or something to illuminate the pathway?

I have two solar panels and some 12v deep cycle batteries that aren't being used for anything and I could use those to provide the energy for the lights. Below is a rough sketch of the idea:
On the left is the power setup and on the right is how the lights might be laid out along the driveway. Notice that the wire will be direct burial so I won't have to install conduit to the lights. 

So, here's the scenario of how everything will work: During the day, the solar panel(s) will charge a 12 volt battery bank via charge controller (to prevent overcharge and generally protect the batteries). The circuit will be controlled by a timer switch programmable with ON/OFF times as indicated starting ON at 7pm and then OFF at midnight. This circuit will run the six LED lights along the driveway for hours providing enough light for adequate illumination. 

Let's say each LED light is a 12 volt input at 0.1 amps. Below is some math to determine how much power I will actually need for this setup:
This is all dependent of what type of light fixture I choose to install and it's operational wattage. 

Hopefully, I can find a good light to use for this project