Form 12s Meter Wiring Diagram








The form 12s meter can be one of the more confusing meter forms out there. So, here I want to provide a form 12s meter wiring diagram in two different configurations. One is the 120/208 network service.  The other form 12s meter wiring diagram is the form 12s meter in a delta service.

Form 12s Meter Wiring Diagram Network Service

The form 12s meter can be used with the network service. The network service comes from taking two legs off of a three phase wye transformer and using the neutral. So, if you measure voltage from each phase to ground you should get 120v. Also, if you measure voltage from phase to phase you should get 208v.

This service is typically found in businesses that are located in a downtown area or businesses that are located in an industrial park. The reason for this is that many of these businesses do not require a full three phase service. So, the utility will pull two legs and a neutral off of the nearest wye transformer and call it a day.

Looking at the diagram you notice that there are two yellow terminals. These are either or terminals. Meaning that you connect the wire to one or the other in the meter socket. Also, some meter sockets do not come with this 5th terminal pre-installed. You have to purchase a 5th terminal separately and install it yourself.

With some form 2s meter sockets there are provisions to install a 5th terminal. The form 12s is also known as a self-contained meter. This means that the meter is installed in series with the load. Pulling the meter will also turn off the power.







Form 12s Meter Delta Wiring Diagram

For the form 12s delta wiring diagram we are going to talk about the service. This is the diagram for using a 12s with a delta service. Note that this is a three phase service. If you notice there is no difference in how it is actually wired. I used different colors here to denote the difference but it is actually physically wired the same way.

This could be a 120v, 240, or 480v delta service. My recommendation, as always, is against using a self-contained meter for voltages above 240v however. In the center of this diagram following the blue wire again this is an either or connection. You can connect the wire to the left center terminal or the bottom center terminal. Also note that the stab on the back of the meter is interchangeable.

Since this is a three phase service when measuring voltage across any of the three phases you should get the same voltage.

As always remember that the colors in the diagram are for illustration purposes only. You should always use the colors your utility uses.







 

Form 4s Meter Wiring Diagram








The form 4s meter is the meter form used to meter single phase three wire services. Below is the form 4s meter wiring diagram. As always remember that there is no standard on colors in the metering field. So, always use your company standard as far as the color code goes. The colors here are chosen at random so they show up in the drawing.

Form 4s Meter Wiring Diagram

For the form 4s meter wiring diagram let’s start at the bottom. Notice that we are going to be metering a single-phase three-wire service. We have two phase wires and a neutral. Make note that this is the same type of service that you find on most homes. The only difference is that it is larger. Homes are typically metered with a 200 amp meter base. Furthermore, anything above that normally requires CT’s.

Ok, so we have two phases. Using Blondel’s Theorem we know that since we have three wires we are going to need two CT’s. However, each CT is installed on a different phase. Remember that the orientation of the CT’s are important. The polarity marking needs to face back towards the line side or the transformer. Hence the old adage, “dot to the pot.”








Going up the diagram from the CT’s we have wires X1 and X2 on each CT. It is also important to note that X1 is connected to the meter socket terminals labeled “current in,” and X2 is connected back to the neutral. Wire these backwards and the meter will not register correctly.

Staying in the CT circuit we go to the current return terminals. These wires connect back to the neutral to create a return path for the current.

Voltages

After tracing out all of the current wires we trace out the voltage wires. Notice that in this case the voltage wires connect directly to the service wires. If we were using PT’s in this service we would connect the voltage wires to the PTs.

What voltage should you expect in this service? You should expect to see a voltage of 240v between each phase. Also from each phase to ground or neutral you should expect to see 120v. Now there are some odd 480v services out there that use this service so be aware.

Where do we normally see the form 4s?

The form 4s meter is a transformer rated, also known as a CT meter, and is typically installed on large residences who have 400 amp or larger services.

It is also found on large businesses with the same requirements. Also, it can also be found on temporary services. These can include saw services or temporary trailers for schools.






Form 2s Meter Wiring Diagram









By far the most commonly used meter in the United States is the form 2s meter. Here is a form 2s meter wiring diagram. I also want to offer some notes about the form 2s service here.









Where is the Form 2s Meter Installed

Being the most popular meter out there it comes as no surprise that the form 2s meter is installed on both residences and businesses. It comes in both regular Kwh only format and is available with a demand register as well. Regardless the meter socket for the form 2s meter is wired the same way.

The Form 2s Meter Wiring Diagram

Ok, now that we know where the form 2s meter is installed let’s take a look at the form 2s meter wiring diagram. Notice that the form 2s meter is what is known as a self-contained meter form. This means that the meter is in series with the load. So, when the meter is pulled out of the meter socket the power to the service will go off. Of course, this happens so long as there is not a bypass meter base installed.

Alright, the power comes in from the utility on the line side of the meter base which is the top side. There are two terminals that the two phase wires will attach to. These terminals connect to the jaws that hold the meter in the socket. The next thing that you notice is the neutral wire. The neutral connects to a lug that is normally but not always in the center of the meter socket. Continuing on we see the ground connection. Most meter sockets now contain terminals specifically for the ground wire. This wire is connected to a driven ground rod.

On the bottom side of the meter socket we have the load side terminals. This is where you connect the wires that go into the house and connect to the panel. Notice that you also have both phase wires and a neutral.

I also want to make note of the colors in this diagram. The colors were chosen so they show up on the diagram. Always be sure to follow local and national codes with regard to wire color codes.

Voltages

The most common voltage for this type of service is 120/240. This means that if you check the voltage between the two phase wires you should get 240v. And if you check the voltage from each phase to ground or neutral you should get 120v. If you are having problems with the voltage on this service check out this post on flickering and dimming lights to help you with troubleshooting.







Form 9s Meter Wiring Diagram








One of the questions that I often get is about how to wire a form 9s meter. Since I get this question so often I thought I would put up a form 9s meter wiring diagram. Here it is with comments about the form 9s meter wiring diagram below.









About the Form 9s Meter Wiring Diagram

The form 9s meter is one of the most commonly used meter forms. S0, as you begin to study the wiring diagram I want to make note of a few things. First is that the colors that I chose were chosen at random. That is because there is no universally accepted color code. You need to make sure that when you are doing the wiring that you adhere to your utilities color code.

If you do not have a color code then create one. You can use the colors above with some important changes. If you use colors that are the same you need to make sure you have a way to tell the difference between them. One way to do this is to use a red wire for one and a red wire with a black or white tracer for the other. This helps with troubleshooting especially down the road.

Remember that the form 9s is typically used to meter a 4 wire wye service. If you notice you have phases 1, 2, and 3 labeled as well as the neutral. You will also connect the metering equipment back to ground.

Wire Groups

So, what are the different wires? When wiring a form 9s meter you can think about the different wires in groups. You have phase groups and you have voltage a current groups. This means that each phase will have two wires. The voltage wire connects directly to the service wire in this example. The current wire connects to X1 on the CT.

Follow the black lines. The smaller black line connects to the voltage terminal in the form 9s meter socket and the thicker black line comes from the CT and connects to the current terminal. These make up one phase.

Remember that with the CT’s you need to make sure that the polarity marking or “dot” as it is often called needs to point back towards the Line. Remember dot to pot.







Buy all Sell all Renewable Energy Metering








A buy all sell all arrangement of metering renewable energy seems to be one of the more popular ways of metering solar power and wind power these days. But what is it? How does it work? Is is right for me?

What is Buy all Sell all?

Buy all sell all is a way for small scale renewable energy producers to connect back into the grid. This typically uses a two meter setup. One meter measures what customers are consuming and the other measures what they are producing. It is pretty simple really.

How does it work?

As stated, in a buy all sell all arrangement two meters are typically employed. Normally when we think about renewable energy we think about solar panels on someone’s roof. This is accurate but often times customers think that as soon as they put the solar panels on the roof their power bill will go down. While this can be the case in a net metering arrangement it is not the case in a buy all sell all arrangement.








Surprising to some is that in a typical buy all sell all arrangement the normal electric bill does not change. This may be confusing. But what we are saying by buy all sell all is that we are going to buy all of the power that we use from the power company as usual. Then, all of the power that our solar panels or wind turbines produce will be sold back to the utility.

One of the easiest ways to think about it is if the solar panels or wind turbines were physically located in another state. You are still producing the power but it does not reduce your bill.

On your power be you will get something like an avoided cost credit. This is paid at a predetermined rate set by the utility. Normally it is close to the wholesale rate they pay. So, if you pay $0.10 per Kwh they may pay you $0.05 per Kwh. This means that you are not getting the retail rate paid back to you.

Is a Buy all Sell all Arrangement Right for You?

If it is the only option available then yes. If net metering is available then it is probably a better option as you can trade retail Kwh per retail Kwh. Before agreeing to either or you need to make sure that you read your rates very carefully to make sure they make perfect sense to you.

Conclusion

Renewable energy metering can be confusing. You have buy all sell all and you have net metering. But which on is right depends on your circumstances and what is available from your utility.







Net Metering








Net metering is often times a confusing topic for many. But, it does not have to be. Many people try to make it more complicated than it really is. Here I want to define what net metering is. I also want to talk a little bit about how it pertains to renewable energy. Finally I want to help you decide if net metering is right for you.

What is Net Metering?

Net metering is used when some form of generation is used on the same service where power is being consumed. Confusing right? As always, I want to use an example. First, let’s talk about the term “net”. To net something out means to subtract what is used from the whole amount. For example, if you had $100 worth of sales but you had $45 worth of expenses then you netted $55. The same thing works with net metering. If you are generating power, be it from a generator, solar panels or wind turbines etc., and you are putting that power back onto the grid we need a way to calculate what you consumed versus what you produced.

Net metering typically uses one meter. Using a traditional electro-mechanical meter you can actually watch the disc turn backwards when you are producing more than you are consuming. This is an analog way of doing the math for you. When you are consuming more than you are producing the meter turns the correct way. When you are producing more than you are consuming the meter turns backwards.

Net Metering and Renewable Energy

I could not talk about net metering and not mention the role it plays in renewable energy metering. Most likely the first thing that popped into you head when you read the words “net metering” was solar power. So, is solar power metered with net metering? The answer is yes. This was the most common way to meter solar power. It is easier to do from a billing stand point and can be less work all together. With other types of renewable energy metering separate billing accounts need to be set up for credits and it can be very confusing. Using one meter however, allows you to read the same meter just like you did every month. As far as billing goes it looks like the customer is using less every month.








However, not all utilities offer net metering tariffs. That is unfortunate because from a customer’s view it is really the best of options for feed in tariffs. This is because you are trading retail Kwh for retail Kwh. What I mean is that if the rate that you pay for electricity is $0.10 per Kwh every Kwh that you avoid because of your solar panels or wind turbine reduces your power bill by $0.10 per each Kwh you produce.

Is Net Metering Right for Me?

It depends. If it is an option that is available to you from your utility then it is most likely the best option. There are many things to consider with the different rates that may be available but generally speaking, net metering is usually the best option.

Are you planning on trying to produce more than you consume? Many utilities protect themselves against this by making sure that they limit the size of your renewable energy service. They pay wholesale rates for electricity so why would they want to pay you retail for what you produce?

Conclusion

In conclusion, I hope this dispels the net metering confusion that is floating around out there. Normally one meter is used in this arrangement. This type of metering provides a simple and easy way for utilities and customers to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy systems. Also, if it is available where you are it is most likely the best option for you.








Edison and the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death A Review








Recently I read Edison and the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death. I wanted to give a quick review of the book in case anyone was thinking about reading it.

Review

When I picked this book to read I thought that it would be more about the electric chair. Not that I am totally interested in the electric chair or the death penalty or anything. Also, I did not know that Thomas Edison had anything to do with the electric chair.

It turns out though that this book does not focus a ton on the electric chair. It does do a decent job offering a bit of biographical information on Thomas Edison. I feel like the book focused more on the battle between alternating current and direct current.

Obviously Thomas Edison was a proponent of his own direct current system over the alternating current of George Westinghouse. So, the book focused more on the war between George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison than it did on the electric chair. Which, in my opinion was not a bad thing.

The book talks about the discovery of the light bulb and how it changed the world. It also talks about how different electric companies started.

How does it relate to Metering?

There are actually a couple of mentions of meters in this book. One is from one of the metering pioneers Elihu Thompson.

What about Thomas Edison and the Electric Chair?

There is a good discussion of the electric chair and how it was chosen to become the new humane way of enforcing the death penalty. Several examples of different methods are described and there are pictures included as well. I am not going to spoil the book but it also talks much about Thomas Edison’s role.

Would I Recommend Edison and the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death?

The answer is yes. Overall I thought that it was a good book and I would recommend it. I was able to learn something and anytime you can learn something it is usually a good thing. If you are interested in checking this book out follow the link for Edison and the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death.









What is the difference between voltage and current?








Voltage and current are two different measures that are found in electricity. They are both present in every electrical circuit from the flashlight all the way to refrigerators. But, the question is what is the difference? To illustrate the difference between voltage and current we will look at the age old comparison of electricity to water.

Current Flow

Current is a bit easier to illustrate. We can compare it to water in a garden hose. Imagine you have a simple water wheel. To make this water wheel turn you need to pour water over it. Let’s say we have two different sized water hoses. One is 3/4″ and the other is 1″. Now, let’s pour the water over the water wheel with the smaller hose and see what happens. The water wheel turns. Now, the larger hose. What happens? The water wheel turns faster.

This is a result of more water flowing in the larger water hose. More water = faster water wheel. Pretty simple. We need to make sure that when we think of current in the same way as water in a hose that we always think of the hose as full all the time. That way when you turn the hose on you instantly have water flow.

In the early days of electricity it was a commonly held belief that electricity was a fluid. This fluid was made up of tiny particles that would flow into different materials.

Voltage, the Driving Force

Again we are going to compare voltage to the water system. First remember that voltage is the driving or electromotive force that is a part of electrical circuits. How does this translate to water? Think of the voltage as the pressure in a water system.








With the two hoses from the example above how can we make the smaller hose move the water wheel faster? With more pressure of course. So, with more pressure the smaller hose can make the water wheel turn faster. How does this relate to voltage?

Example

Look at the distribution lines above your head next time you are out and about. The wires on these lines carry thousands of volts. However, they are not very big. Remember Ohm’s Law? Let’s say you have a 2,500 watt motor. This is a multi-voltage motor. Meaning that you can wire it a couple of different ways depending on the voltage available. You need to run new wires to this motor, but what size do you need? That depends on the voltage.

Wait, I know what you are saying. Wire is sized by the number of amps. You are correct. However, depending on the voltage we may be able to run a smaller wire therefore possibly saving money. If the voltage in this case is 120 then the amperage will be 2,500/120 = 20.8 amps requiring a 10 gauge wire. If the voltage is 240 then the amperage will be 2,500/240 = 10.4 amps requiring a smaller 12 gauge wire.

Conclusion

Voltage and current are two different quantities that go hand in hand. Voltage is the driving force while current is the flow of electrons in the circuit.









What is Electric Current and how it relates to Metering








What is electric current? A good question indeed. What is the unit of measure for electric current? How can we measure electric current? And finally how does it relate to metering? These are the questions that will be tackled in this post. So, let’s get started with the first one.

What is electric current?

Electric current is the flow of electrons in a circuit. It is also what is used to power our stuff. Remember that in a circuit we have both voltage and current available. But, without the current flow our electrical stuff does not move. So, now that you know that electric current is the flow of electrons in a circuit what is the unit of measure used?

What is the unit of measure?

Current is measured using what are known as amperes, or amps for short. This is typically notated as an “A” in formulas but can also be notated as an “I”. This “I” stands for intensity of current. As with any unit of measure amps can be smaller or larger. So, it is not uncommon to see milliamps or kiloamps. Milliamps is typically notated as mA and kiloamps as kA. So, now that you know the unit of measure, how do you measure amps?

How do you measure Amps?

Amps, or electric current, are measured using what is known as an ammeter. An ammeter can come in a couple of different varieties. There is the common clamp on ammeter. The clamp on ammeter comes with a spring loaded jaw that enables you to open the jaw and place it around the conductors. This places the ammeter in parallel with the circuit. Clamp on ammeters can be found in digital and analog variants.

Another type of ammeter is placed in series with the circuit. These are typically found on multimeters. Also, when an ammeter is placed in series in the circuit it typically is not able to measure a very substantial load. Make sure you read the specs on your meter before you place it in series in any circuit.







How does electric current relate to Metering?

Ah yes, finally, the meat of the article. Electric current is very important to metering. This is because we are essentially measuring the changes in current flow. Remember that using Ohm’s law and the power formula that Watts = Volts x Amps. This means that the amount of watts used are in direct proportion to the amount of current that is being used. As the amps go up, so does the watts. As the amps go down so do the watts.

We as meter techs should know how amps relates to watts and how to convert amps to watts. We should also know how to go the other way and convert watts to amps. This will help us in troubleshooting with customers. Let’s have an example.

A customer is complaining of a high bill. You go to the meter and notice it is spinning pretty fast. So, you take the cover off the meter base and check the amperage. Let’s say that it is 30 amps. How do you convert this 30 amps to watts? Using Ohm’s law we plug in the numbers. Assume this is a 240v service. W = 240 volts x 30 amps = 7,200 watts. Let’s convert that to kilowatts and divide 7,200 by 1,000. We get 7.2 kw. This means that whatever the customer has on is pulling 7.2 kw and if left on for one hour it will use 7.2 kwh. A load like this could mean that an appliance like the air conditioning is not functioning properly and is running all day.

Conclusion

Electric current is one of the most important units we have in metering. It is measured by using ammeters and its unit of measurement is the amp. Using Ohm’s law we can convert amps to watts and back again.








What is Voltage and how it relates to Metering








What is voltage? This is certainly an important term to know in the electrical field. You hear it all the time. What is the voltage on the machine? Or, can you check the voltage on that circuit? We hear it, we say it but, what is voltage and how does it relate to metering?

What is voltage?

The most commonly used voltage definition states that voltage is the difference in potential between two points in a circuit. What a definition of voltage right? Another way that voltage is defined is by talking about water. Some find it easier to understand the voltage definition when we talk in terms of water pipes. Voltage is the driving force in an electrical circuit. We can think of it as the pressure in the circuit. So, what is voltage? It is the driving force in an electrical circuit.

How is voltage measured?

Voltage is measured using a voltmeter. With a voltmeter we can choose two different points in the circuit to measure the difference in potential across those two points. The unit of measure for voltage is known as the volt. The volt is named after Alessandro Volta who created the first battery known as a voltaic pile.

How does voltage relate to metering?

Ah yes, the big question is, how do we use voltage in metering? Well, we have to remember that meters measure kilowatts. So, what does that have to do with voltage? To find the kilowatts, we first need to find the watts. To calculate watts we need to know the current and the, you guessed it, voltage. Using Ohm’s Law we know that power is equal to voltage times current or stated mathematically, P = I x E. There are several ways you can remember this formula. One is by remembering the word PIE. Another is to change the letters to W = V x A.








In the first example, P = power measured in watts, I = current measured in amps, and E = voltage measured in volts. Just a quick fact here, E is the letter used because it stands for electromotive force which is a fancy way to say voltage.

In the second example, W = watts, V = voltage, A = amps. So, the two equations are equal they are just using different terms. The easy way to remember W = V x A is to think of West Virginia or W VA. Pretty simple right.

So, now that we know the terms we need to know how they relate to metering. Well, the nominal voltage in a typical metering circuit remains pretty much constant. A common household voltage is 120/240. So, the meter measures this voltage and then multiplies the voltage times the current in the circuit to get watts. And then as if by magic the readout is in kilowatts.

What?

Look at the equations again and go back to algebra I. If the voltage stays constant and the amperage goes up that means that the wattage will go up. If the amperage goes down, the wattage goes down. To get kilowatts from watts, divide the watts by 1000. In the older electromechanical meters the voltage coil, also known as potential coil, produced a magnetic field in the meter. When current flows through the meter it produces a magnetic field as well. The interaction between these two fields are what causes the disc to turn. So this is why it is important to make sure that the meter chosen for each installation is crucial.

Conclusion

Voltage is the driving force behind each and every electrical circuit. We can use Ohm’s law to calculate watts using the power formula. It is the interaction of voltage and current in a circuit that causes the meter disc to spin. To check the voltage in a circuit we use what is called a voltmeter.









Portable Generators – All Your Neighbors Will be Jealous as they Sit in the Dark








Portable generators are becoming a very popular way to keep the power on. There are many things that can knock the power out. The biggest being storms. Whether they are ice storms, thunderstorms or just plain windstorms, a power outage can be a major inconvenience. So what do you do? You go shopping for a portable generator. But, with all of the choices available where do you start? How many watts do you need? Do you need 120v or 240v? How do you connect it to your house?  Read on as we tackle these questions.

Check out this great way to harness electricity from the Sun!

When Shopping for Portable Generators, where do you Start?

If you are keen on making your neighbors jealous when their power is out and yours is not, you need to start shopping and buy your portable generator before the storm. So, that is the first place to start. Make sure that you are not waiting on the natural disaster to begin shopping. Prices can be higher during a natural disaster and supplies may be limited.

You can do your shopping at many of the big box hardware stores or even online at sites like Amazon. There are several things that you need to consider when buying a portable generator. The biggest two are watts and voltage. When looking at these quantities you need to first decide what it is that you want to power when the power is out. Which leads us to our next point.

How many Watts do you Need?

To decide how many watts your portable generator needs to put out you first need to decide what you want to power. Do you want just lights so you can see at night? Does your refrigerator need to have power so your food does not spoil? Do you want to have heat? These are all considerations to take into account when deciding how many watts you need. All of your appliances have wattage ratings. So, decide what you want to power and then go and check the ratings of each appliance.

After you have checked the wattage ratings of your appliances add them up. This will give you the amount of wattage that your generator needs to put out. A word of caution here. Most people want to power their entire homes with a portable generator. While there are some models that are capable of doing this for smaller homes, that is not their intention. The intention is to run critical loads or essential loads. These are the loads that are most essential. If you live in a very cold climate your heating system may be a critical load. Most people choose their refrigerator and a few sets of lights as critical loads.








Should you buy a 120v or 240v Portable Generator?

The answer here depends on what you have chosen as your critical loads. If they are all 120v, such as lights and the refrigerator, then a 120v generator will work just fine. If you are wanting to power your heating system, water heater, or stove then you should consider a 240v generator. Some well pumps are also 240v. So, if you need to power a well pump you need to check the voltage of it as well.

How do you connect your Portable Generator to your House?

Connecting portable generators to your house is a job for a licensed electrician. They will install a transfer switch along with new breakers for the essential loads that you choose. This ensures that when the power does go out and you use your generator that no power will be put back on the grid. Keeping your generator power separated from grid power keeps the lineman safe.

Do not just fashion a drop cord with two ends that plug in and plug it into the wall. First of all this is illegal. Second, you can put power back on the grid this way and cause serious injury or death to someone working on the power lines. Also, if you do this you will try to run your whole house off of it. The extension cord is not rated for this and neither is the receptacle that you have it plugged into. You can burn your house down doing this.

This should be a no brainer, but make sure your portable generator is outside when using it. The exhaust from the generator can be deadly.

Conclusion

Portable generators can be a great addition to your home. They can keep the lights on and make your neighbors jealous. They can also be used to make sure that your food does not spoil during a storm. Make sure that when you are deciding what you want to power that you add up the wattage of each appliance. Then decide if you need a 120v or a 240v generator. Finally, once you have made your purchase, contact a licensed electrician to get everything installed in a safe and professional way.









 

Truper Automatic Wire Stripper Review








An automatic wire stripper can really add to your arsenal of electric tools. The ability to quickly, easily and cleanly strip wire can increase your productivity and reduce waste. Until the automatic wire stripper came about, you really had two options. You could use your knife to strip wire, or you could use a regular wire stripper like the Klein Tools 11047 Wire Stripper/Cutter. What I want to do is give my review of the Truper Automatic Wire Stripper.

Using a knife to strip wire works but there is always the risk of cutting yourself in the process. There is also the risk that you may nick the wire and degrade its capacity. You can also use the standard wire strippers. They work well but there is some skill involved with those as well. You need to know your strippers to know which slots correlate to which size wire. There is also a risk of cutting into the wire as well.

Truper Automatic Wire Stripper

truper automatic wire stripperThese wire strippers can be used to skin wire from 22 AWG – 10 AWG. This gives you a very wide range of wire sizes to choose from. And the best thing about them is that they are automatic. This means that you will not need to squint really hard to see which hold in your regular wire strippers you need to use. You just lay the wire in there and squeeze. That’s it!

I have used normal wire strippers for most of my career. I have also used a knife to skin wire for most of my career as well. So, when I bought these automatic wire strippers I was a bit skeptical. But, they really do a great job of stripping the wire.

Details

truper automatic wire stripper jawsThe Truper automatic wire stripper features a guide that can be set up so all of your strips are the same length. This can be very useful for really anything you are doing. If you are making up a panel and you want all of your strips to be the same length so that just the right amount of bare wire is under the connector, you can do that. All you have to do is move it until you get the right length. Then set it and forget it. It really is that easy.

These automatic strippers also feature a wire cutter. However, it is not the best. It is located between the handles so you do not get a ton of leverage. When I was using them there were a few times where it did not cut all the strands of the stranded wire I was working with. But, these are not really made for cutting wire, they are made for stripping wire. If you are looking to cut wire then check out my review of the Truper Lineman’s Pliers.








Another feature of the this automatic wire stripper is the ability to crimp wire. It offers three different positions for crimping. Again, these are in the middle of the handles. I have never had good luck with any strippers or wire crimpers where the stripping, cutting or crimping is in between the handles.

The grips on these automatic wire strippers are comfortable. They offer plenty of leverage to carry out fast and precise wire strips.

Conclusion

The Truper Automatic Wire Stripper is a tool I wish that I would have had many years ago when I started in the meter field. I think about all of those meter bases I have wired up through the years where I used my knife or regular wire strippers to skin the wire. All of those CT’s and PT’s that I have wired up through the years could have been done much faster.

I highly recommend this tool. After using this tool on the first job you will not regret buying it. It makes stripping wire practically effortless.









Truper Heavy Duty Lineman’s Pliers Review








Lineman’s pliers are one of the most important hand tools in a meter tech’s arsenal of tools. A good set of lineman’s pliers allows you to cut and bend wire with ease. They also need to be durable enough to be used at times as a hammer. Now, trust me I know that they are not a hammer but can you honestly tell me that you have never used your pliers to beat on something? One of the things that meter techs use lineman’s pliers for is cutting meter seals. Most of these types of meter seals have a steel wire which is harder than copper. This means that the pliers must be up to the task of cutting the steel day in and day out.

Now, I know that the Klein Tools 9-Inch High Leverage Side Cutting Pliers are pretty much the standard in the electrical field. But what if you need a set of pliers that work just as well but are different than everyone else? Are there any options out there?

Truper Heavy Duty Lineman’s Pliers

Truper Heavy Duty Lineman's Pliers

Truper is not a new company but it is not as well known in the electrical field as names like Klein, Greenlee and Ideal. But, they do make a good set of lineman’s pliers. Their 9″ heavy duty pliers are made of forged chrome vanadium steel which is supposed to be two times stronger than carbon steel. They also feature a good comfortable grips. The finish on the pliers is a satin finish which helps with rust resistance.







My Review

Truper Heavy Duy Pliers LengthSo, what do I think about the Truper Heavy Duty Lineman’s Pliers? All in all I think that they are a good tool for any toolbox out there. I do not think that you would be disappointed if you made the purchase. Now, there are a couple of things that I would like to mention about these pliers. The overall length is about 9.5″. The distance from the pivot point to the end of the handle is about 7.5″. This means that you get good leverage when using these pliers.

The grips are comfortable and they offer a raised portion to help aid in holding on to the pliers. I also feel like this helps keep your hands from slipping if you need to use the pliers to push something as well. I also want to note that the grips are not for use on live circuits. So, keep that in mind when using these pliers. I have used Klein Pliers most of my career and one difference that I notice between these and the Klein are that the head of Truper pliers seems to be larger. That could be a good thing if you are using the pliers to bang on things because of the added mass. It could also be bad if you need to get into tight spaces.

My biggest complaint with the pliers is the jaw design. You can see in the picture below what I am talking about. Just below the cutters there is a gap when the jaw open. More than once while using these pliers to cut wire the wire has fallen into that gap. This prevents you from cutting the wire because the gap portion clamps down on wire. Once you get used to it, there is no problem. Just something I though I would point out.Truper heavy duty lineman's pliers jaw

Conclusion

Would I buy the Truper Heavy Duty Lineman’s Pliers? The answer is yes. Although they are not perfect they are perfectly capable of handling any task with ease. Whether it be cutting, bending, pulling wire or wiring up CT’s these pliers get the job done.









Increasing Revenue with High Accuracy CT’s








Increasing revenue is something that we all want to do. High accuracy CT’s can help us achieve that goal. When it comes to instrument rated metering installations we have to remember that our meter is only as accurate as our CT’s. So, the first step in making sure we are accurately measuring our metering installations is making sure we have the most accurate CT’s installed.

Standard Vs. High Accuracy

This is where high accuracy CT’s come into play. Remember that standard current transformers are only guaranteed accurate to within 0.3% from the nameplate value to the rating factor. Also, standard CT’s are 0.6% accurate from 10% of the nameplate value up to the nameplate value. This means that for a common 600:5 CT that anything below 60 amps is not guaranteed to be measured accurately. So, what do you do?

You install a high accuracy CT that is 0.15% accurate from 5% of its nameplate rating through the rating factor. Now, using the same 600:5 ratio as an example, we are now able to measure down to 30 amps with 0.15% accuracy. This is high accuracy CT’s are used to help with increasing revenue.

Where can high accuracy CT’s help with increasing revenue?

One of the places where high accuracy CT’s can help with increasing revenues are department stores or industrial factories that have been converted to warehouse space. These types of customer changes can cause revenue losses because the infrastructure that was put in for these larger customers who have now left or have converted their spaces is no longer being utilized.








Let’s say that the customer was doing some small scale manufacturing and decided that the space was no longer big enough for its manufacturing needs. So, they decide to move into a larger space and convert this previous space into warehousing. Let’s keep with the standard 600:5 for this example. For this example let’s also assume that the rating factor of this standard CT was three. We are also going to assume that we were using this rating factor. Meaning that this was a 1200 amp service and we installed 600:5 CT’s with a rating factor of 3, to make sure that the CT’s were as saturated as possible.

The customer in this example typically pulls around 750-800 amps. This is well within the range of our standard accuracy 600:5 CT’s. Now when they leave, they take all of the manufacturing equipment with them and only leave a few lights. There new load is now only around 40 amps. They do not need to heat or cool the space because what they are storing does not require it. So now, the standard 600:5 CT is not guaranteed to measure the 40 amps accurately.

What if we had installed a high accuracy CT?

If we had installed a high accuracy CT to begin with then we would not be worried. The high accuracy 600:5 CT is able to measure down to 30 amps with 0.15% accuracy. This means we capture those 40 amps and we do so accurately. This is how high accuracy CT’s play a vital role in increasing revenue.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you are concerned with increasing revenue make sure that you are giving a look to high accuracy CT’s. They can be placed anywhere your standard accuracy CT’s are and can instantly start increasing revenue. High accuracy CT’s help mitigate low current situations such as when large customers move out or convert. If you are in the market for high accuracy CT’s check out Peak Demand.









Reducing Inventory with High Accuracy CTs








Reducing inventory is a big concern with utilities these days. This is primarily driven by the fact that reducing inventory means reduced costs. Reducing costs means that the profit margin can be higher. So, what does that have to do with high accuracy CT’s? How can high accuracy CT’s reduce inventory?

Use the Extended Range of High Accuracy CT’s

When placing new CT’s in service we traditionally had a variety of different CT ratios to choose from. Among the most popular are 200:5, 400:5 and 600:5 variants. This means that when a new service is built the meter tech or engineer will look at the service and size the CT’s according to the projected load. This is done because we want the amps on the service as close to the nameplate rating as possible. We do this because standard CT’s are most accurate at their nameplate rating up to their rating factor.

So, if we have a 400 amp service that is projected to normally run around half of that or less we may use 200:5 CT’s with a rating factor of at least two. This ensures that when the amperage is low we can measure it as accurately as possible.

Enter the new kid on the block. The high accuracy CT. With the high accuracy CT, with its extended range features we can now use one size CT for most of our installations. For instance a 600:5 high accuracy CT will allow us to measure down to 30 amps. But there is more. Many manufacturers are offering these high accuracy CT’s with extended ranges that can measure down even further.



How can High Accuracy CT’s be useful in Reducing Inventory?

High accuracy CT’s can reduce inventory by reducing the number of different ratios that you need. You can now purchase a 600:5 CT with a rating factor of 2 or more that can cover all your needs. This means that you no longer need to use 200:5 or 400:5 CT’s. You can stock one size. This allows you to purchase less. Even if you do not have a new job coming up, in the past you would have needed to keep a certain number of 200:5 and 400:5 CT’s on the shelf for emergencies.

So, instead of having a couple of sets of each size, you can have just a couple of sets of 600:5 CT’s that can be used for each service type. Instead of having purchased four sets of CT’s now you have only purchased two. This is beneficial to reducing inventory and cutting costs. Also, it leads to a reduction in storage space as well.

Conclusion

High accuracy CT’s can be a great way of reducing inventory in your meter shop or warehouse. Look at what you have stored in your warehouse and see if you could benefit from reducing the number of CT’s that are just sitting on the shelf as spares. If you are interested in high accuracy CT’s check out the offerings from Peak Demand.