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  • Introduction to the Type of Nema Cords Used for Lighting Fixtures

    For all those who are unaware, “NEMA” is an abbreviation of National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association. It is an an association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers and its mission is to build and and promote safe electrical standards as well as products.

    If a plug is labelled “NEMA”, you can consider it to be an industry standard for safety. NEMA offers a wide array of plugs. But when it comes to lighting fixtures for industrial and commercial purposes, there are several confusions as to which type of NEMA power Cord should be used for what purpose.The basic functionality of these power plugs is to ensure proper connection for different electrical equipment and curb the risk of accidents.

    This article will acquaint you with the most commonly used NEMA power plugs which connect lighting fixtures to the receptacles. These power plugs are covered by ANSI/NEMA WD-6 standard which is set by National Electrical Manufacturers Association, abbreviated as NEMA.

    Specifications about NEMA Power Power Cords

    The wiring devices standardized by NEMA have a current rating of 15 to 60 amps, and voltage rating of 125 to 600 volts. This standardization is done based on orientation, shapes and blade widths. NEMA Plugs ensure that the equipment needing a particular voltage and current is not plugged into a wrong electrical system.

    Usually 15 and 20 amp NEMA plugs with both straight-blade and twist-lock varieties are used for with lighting fixtures. Here’s a breakdown to each of these power plugs and their features.

    NEMA 5-15

    Receptacle used: 125 V

    Plug: 15A

    NEMA 5-15 is used with 120V lighting system. It is a standard grounded straight blade plug used in North America, Canada and different parts of Mexico.


    NEMA L5-15

    Receptacle used: 125V

    Plug: 15A

    NEMA L5-15 is a twist-lock version of 120V plug. Such plugs are commonly used to stop unintentional disconnects and with industrial applications that likely to vibrate.


    NEMA L7-15

    Receptacle used: 277V

    Plug: 15A

    NEMA L7-15 plugs are the most popularly used twist-lock plugs with 277V lighting systems.

    NEMA L7-20


    Receptacle used: 277V

    Plug: 20A

    The 277V lighting systems often use NEMA L7-20 plug. You can identify the difference between 20A and 15 A by looking towards the direction of locking ground tab. 20A points outwards whereas 15A points towards the center.


    You can look into various charts and images in order to identify different plugs and sockets. The plug usually has curved or straight blades that stick out from the plug body. This part is considered to be the male end of the connection. And sockets or receptacle having corresponding slots are considered to be the female end of connection.

  • Pros and Cons of DB9 D-Subminiature Connectors

    Serial communication used to be one of the major ways to connect peripherals like scanners, joysticks and printers to PCs for several years. One of the most commonly used cable connector for this type of communication was 9-pin D-Subminiature connector which is also known as DB9 cable or a DE-9 cable.

    DB9 serial cables has nine pins which were enough to carry data in the series. But it has certain drawbacks which made their usage less frequent. People started to prefer USB cables over DB9 cables. However, if you shop for electronics, you will still find several devices having DB9 cables or ports on them. Let us check out some of the advantages and disadvantages of DB9 D Subminiature Connectors.

    Advantages of DB9 Subminiature Connectors

    DB9 connectors have several advantages. You can easily customize them with 9 individual pins to carry serial data. Although the speed of these connectors is low as compared to other standards like USB, the length of these cables is quite long. For eg, USB, has a five-meter length limit, but RS-232, which is the most commonly used standard for serial data doesn’t have a particularly defined length limit. RS-422 has been used at length which is hundreds of meters long with special equipment.

    In case you have an old device having DB9 connectors on it, you will find several options for conversions. Converters from other standards like USB, Ethernet etc also enable you to make use of your device on any computer.

    Drawbacks of DB9 D-Subminiature Connectors

    As the connectors are large, it becomes difficult to connect and disconnect them in small spaces. The pins of these cables are usually exposed so there are more chances for them to get damaged or break. Although you can mate the connector without any thumbscrew hardware, there are less chances that it will hold on to the equipment. On the other hand, if you use thumbscrews, the connector will take a long time to get plugged and unplugged.

    And as mentioned before, serial communication is a slow and old way of exchanging data. So the speed is quite slow when there are cables of long length. This also causes breaks in communication and makes the software of PC freeze. Due to such issues, other standards gained more popularity over DB9 cables.

    But this in no way means that DB9 connectors aren’t used. If you use right angle adapters, they can help you solve the tight space issue without causing any damage to the connector. You can attach the connectors with D-Subminiature plug and jack covers which can protect pins from getting damaged when not being used.

    Before you make a buy for DB9 connectors, make sure you precisely know what your needs are. If there is a smart alternative for DB9 cables, you can go for that as well!

  • Installing Ethernet Cables? Keep These Things in Mind!

    In today’s world of Internet of Things and Industrial Automation, the utility of Ethernet Cables has become inevitable. According to the concept of Internet of Things, even the everyday objects have network connectivity, which enables them to send and receive data. But in order to make the data exchange smooth, it is important to install Ethernet Cables properly.

    By doing so, you will be able to decrease the downtime and enable the exchange of data between your data systems and network devices like modems, routers, adapters and other objects that ask for a connection. If you are installing Ethernet Network Cables, you need to keep certain things in mind.

    How to plan for Ethernet Cable Installation?

    Once you have decided the place where all your cables will terminate, you can plan your Ethernet cable installation. You must remember that the location for your cables should be big enough to accommodate your ongoing project. Also consider the future data network expansion plans in your plant.

    In case your cable is going to be exposed to extreme environmental conditions, select a cable which is flexible and resistant to UV light, oil, chemicals, cutting, abrasion, oil etc. Thereafter, you need to take the following steps:

    Choosing an Ethernet Cable

    Before choosing networking cables for yourself, you need to know the features of each Ethernet cable. Details of each of these cables are given below.

    CAT5E: CAT 5E cables can replace CAT5 and CAT3 and support up to 100Mbps at 100MHz. It also curbs cross talk and offers good speed.

    CAT6: CAT 6 cables are backward compatible with the previous version of CAT cables, can be run in long lengths, have bigger gauge wires and support up to 10 Gb/s at 250 MHz bandwidth. CAT6 cables are also longer lasting. CAT 6A cables on the other hand enhances the capacity of CAT6 as it can perform up to 500Mhz and can cover distances up to 100 meters.

    CAT 7A: This type of Ethernet Cable is a good alternative to fiber optic cabling. It supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet and frequencies of up to 1000Mhz.

    Things To Keep in Mind

    While you are installing Ethernet Cables, Keep the following things in mind:

    1. Cross Power the Cable at 90 degrees: In case you have to cross the data network cabling, keep it at a 90º degrees and you can avoid interference.

    2. Don’t pack them together: If the cables are kinked, they can affect the network and compromise with the quality of cables. So try not to create a snake pit out of it.

    3. Go for different colours: Choose different colours for different cables so that there is no confusions and your data lines can remain organized.

    4. Keep the cables away from risky places: In case if you are running the cable through ceiling or wall, ensure that it doesn’t come in contact with the ceiling tiles. Also, don’t run it over water pipes and electrical conduit as it is dangerous and might cause accidents.

    5. Make use of an efficient wire management system: It is important to organize patch cabling between the racks. To organize efficiently, you can use wire bundling device or cable ties or Velcro.

    Keep the above mentioned points in mind and start installing your Ethernet cables at the earliest.

  • HDMI Cables: Debunking Common Myths!

    If you are an avid buyer of electronic products, you must know about HDMI cables. HDMI is an abbreviated form of High Definition Multimedia Interface. It is a single cable that helps to transmit high definition video and audio. There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding these cables. Here’s an insight to these myths along with the explanations and clarifications to each one of them.

    1. There are hundred types of HDMI Cables

    This one is a huge myth. You will find several electronic shops that try to sell you an array of HDMI Cables. But in reality, there are only four major types of HDMI cables.

    a. Standard Speed

    b. Standard Speed with Ethernet

    c. High Speed

    d. High Speed with Ethernet

    Standard speed has 1080i resolution whereas high speed is rated to 1080p and higher. The Ethernet feature is an extra one and is needed only if your equipment needs Ethernet-over-HDMI compatibility.

    2. You should consider ratings like 15.8 GB/S and Made for 240Hz

    Sometimes, you will be forced to buy an expensive cable under the pretext that it will easily be able to cope with your HDTV speed. However, you must know that such things stand of least importance. Equipment like DVD players have a maximum resolution of around 1080p/60. Most new television has the capability of converting any signal and matching it with the Hz to provide you with clear picture quality. So if your equipment isn’t specifically related to the higher specs (which is rarely the case), do not to pay much heed to the cable mentioning the above specifications.

    3. Picture Quality will Depend on the Signal

    This is a huge misconception. HDMI is different as compared to the old video/audio analogs. Either you get complete signal or no signal at all. With the previous cables, weak signal affected the picture quality. But with HDMI if that is the case, you will not be able to see anything at all. So beware of the cables that claim to provide you with a better picture quality and end up coaxing you to spend a lot of money.

    4. Expensive HDMI Cables are of good quality

    Last but not the least; it is one of the most misleading myth that expensive HDMI Cables are of good quality. Remember that by paying extra bucks on HDMI cables, you may be able to buy good looking physical features, a fancy brand or fine packaging but the working of any HDMI cable remains the same. If you want to buy an expensive cable anyway, go for it but remember that it will provide the same audio and video quality as any other HDMI cable. All you need to do is choose a cable that goes with your system and test it after you plug in. This way you will save money and get better picture quality.

    Above mentioned are some of the most commonly known myths about HDMI Cables. So before you make your purchase, go think it through and then make a decision.

  • How Do Keystone Jacks Keep Trip Hazards at Bay?

    Keystone jacks are regular size rectangular like modules. They help to attach wires to outlets in a patch panel or a wall plate. You can find a plenty of jacks that are available in the keystone format. These include jacks used for networking and telephone cables, USB and HDMI cables as well as coaxial and RCA cables.

    Sometimes too many wires and cables put together create a total mess. If you want to keep the area around you neat, tidy and accident free, Keystone Jacks will come of real help. As they keep the wires short and hidden, cable management becomes much easier. So how do Keystone Jacks bring in convenience and prevent trip hazards? Read ahead to know more.

    Recording studios

    If you have visited a recording studio, you might be aware about the number of cords and cables that are used. Right from the recording hardware, microphones and amplifiers to instruments, headphones and monitors, everything has to be connected to something. In order to connect equipment with each other, an engineer often has to disconnect something or the other and make adjustments. Moreover, as wires are all over the studio, the tripping incidents are sure to go up.

    Having large patch bays can take care of all the problems. All the wires of hardware and other equipment remain neatly arranged at the back of the console. It also brings a lot of convenience as the sound engineer doesn’t have to crawl behind equipment in order to connect the equipment. As there is no mess on the floor, everything looks professional and in place.

    Home theatres

    Keystone Jacks are a blessing for movie buffs! Especially if the task of arranging wires seems nightmarish. A home theatre has a huge TV, audio components, satellite box and most probably a Blu Ray player. Also there are speakers perched at stands on each corner of the room. Now there are cables connecting these devices to each other. The speaker cables hanging around the walls spoil the look and aesthetics of your home theatre. If there is a neat and systematic rack with different components attached, concealed behind the TV and a keystone plate having a short cable connecting speaker to the walls, your home theatre will look as you intended it to.

    Home Office Areas

    In a typical home office, you will find a desk having a PC, a television and a telephone. All of these devices have to be connected to the wall. The phone is usually wired to the phone jack and TV to the cable jack on a different wall. The wires from near the desk run in different directions of the room. Now this is sure to create tripping hazards.

    To avoid this, a Keystone outlet can be mounted on the wall behind the desk. The cable jack for TV, RJ-45 jack for computer network and RJ-11 jack for the phone; all can be attached on a single wall plate. Needless to say, it lessens the clutter and chaos making the place look elegant and classy.

    Cables and wiring if present all over the place can create a lot of problems. You definitely do not want the areas around you to look like a snake pit. So make the most out of Keystone Jack panels and outlets!

  • All You Wanted to Know About USB Type C Cables

    When Apple unveiled its latest MacBook Pro, the authorities announced that the device would just use USB Type C port for transferring data and powering it. Since that day, USB Type C has gained popularity and has set an example for other USB cable standards. So what exactly is USB C cable and what makes it better than other USB cables? Let’s check it out:

    Introduction to USB Type C Cable

    Type C is the latest USB connector which is double sided and has 24 pins. As it is a reversible USB, you do not have to fiddle with it in order to decide which side should be plugged in. This was a huge problem with Type-A connector port. Type C looks just a little different from other cables but there is a huge improvement with its standards.

    What Makes USB Type C a better choice?

    Although most devices use USB Type A cables, it comes across as quite bulky and large. Moreover, as these USB cables are used for desktops, they cannot be used with sleek and modern devices like cameras, laptops, smart phones and tablets. In order to bridge this gap, USB Micro, Mini and Type B were introduced. However, using such cables is not advisable if you have latest and modernized devices. USB Type-C is fast, high powered and small. Moreover, it works with anything if you have the right kind of adapter.

    The Drawbacks

    There is no doubt about the fact that the utility and popularity of USB Type C cables will go up in the near future. But the cables are still in their budding stage and there are certain dangers and confusions which should be avoided.

    As USB C refers more to the style of connector it is rather than its internal specifications, the buyers might be in for a surprise when they find out that it isn’t at fast as they thought it would be. USB-C Gen 1 products make use of USB 3.0 technology, having a speed of 5Gbps, whereas USB-C Gen 2 makes use of USB 3.1 technology providing you with a speed of 10Gbps.

    USB Cables can prove to be overwhelming sometimes because even if they look similar, there are several factors and variables which affect their capabilities. In order to power a device, one has to check out if the cable supports USB Power Delivery. For HDMI, DisplayPort and MHL videos, you might require USB-C cable having Alternative-Mode functionality.

    The Future of USB Type C cables

    Although there will be a gradual enforcement of standard features for these cables in the future, you must go through all the details before making a purchase. If the need be, you can also seek advice from the experts of a company selling these devices.

    There is no denying that USB Type C has a huge potential and it is a simple, straightforward and unifying solution to the connectivity problem. It has proved to be more transformative as compared to other USB Cables. Buy it to believe it!

  • What Makes Fiber Optic Cables Better Than Copper Cables?

    Fiber Optic cables are the first choice when it comes to making network installations and upgrades. This is because they transmit data really fast. They’re also the most preferred option for enabling good quality internet connection. So what else makes them superior to copper cables? Let’s check out.

    1. Thin and robust

    As compared to copper cables, fiber cables are much lighter and thinner in weight. Plus, as fiber doesn’t carry electric current, the data transmission doesn’t get affected due to electromagnetic interference. For every fiber optic cable, the pulling specifications are 10 times more than copper cables. Also, storing and handing them is extremely easy due to its small size. Unlike copper cables, they don’t offer fire hazard which makes them safer to use.

    2. Better Speed

    There is a core in fiber optic cables that carries light in order to transmit data. It enables the cables to carry signals at a speed which is only 31% slower than the speed of light. And that is what makes them faster than CAT5 or CAT6 copper cables. When you use fiber cables, you will observe that there is much lesser signal degradation as compared to copper cables.

    3. Remarkable bandwidth

    Copper cables have a limited bandwidth as compared to fiber optic cables. This is because they were designed keeping the voice transmission in mind. Fiber offers a standardized performance of up to 10 Gbps and has a greater bandwidth. It can also carry more information with better fidelity as compared to copper wires. However, the fiber speed depends on the type of cable used. Most of the CATV and telephone companies are converting to fiber due to the kind of bandwidth it offers.

    4. Greater reliability

    Fiber optic cables are immune towards temperature changes, moisture and extreme weather conditions. Its core is made of glass which acts like an insulator letting no electric current flow through it. It also stops any kind of electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference. So there is no need to worry even if you want to run a fiber optic cable next to industrial equipment. Fiber cables are less vulnerable to temperature changes and can also be submerged inside water.

    5. Superior security

    With fiber cables, your data is much safer. It is not possible to tap a fiber cable. Even if it is tapped, it is easy to monitor such an activity as the cable leaks light and fails the entire system. Hence, if someone tries to damage the physical security of your fiber system, you will get to know about it in no time. As fiber networks enable you to put all your hardware in a centralized location, you do not need to have wiring closets with equipment all over your building.

    6. Covers a longer distance

    10 Gbps singlemode fiber cables have the capacity to carry signals up to 25 miles. Copper cables, on the other hand, have a typical 328 foot limitation. The distance covered by a fiber optic cable depends on the type of cable, its wavelength and the type of network it is used for.

    If you want better and faster connectivity, it is advisable to choose Fiber Optic cables over copper cables. You can buy these cables online and choose the one that fits the best for your needs.

  • A Safety Guide to Handling Power Cords

    Power cords are an inevitable part of our life. No matter where we go, we always find them around us. This is because they are used to connect and power different equipment, appliances, gadgets and electrical supply. As we often deal with power cords, we must know how to handle them safely. If an electrician or a professional comes across a power cord hanging loosely in your house, it is quite likely that they will reprimand you about the same.

    You must follow certain steps when it comes to handling power cords. Take a look at some of the dos and don’ts we have enlisted for your safety.

    Dos

    1. You must secure the cords in the right place so that they don’t remain dangling on the walls. This way, you can prevent accidents from happening. Use different equipment to make that possible.

    2. It is very important to keep them away from the resources of heat and water. This is because, these two elements can cause damage to the insulation of the cord and it can become a shock hazard for you.

    3. Keep the area around power cord spacious as thrusting too many of them in a small area can cause pressure and crumpling which leads to insulation damage.

    4. Make sure you keep the power cord away from the crowded areas. By doing so, you can prevent people from tripping and also prevent the cord from overheating and fraying.

    5. When you pull out the power cord, do it by holding it from the plug area. Pulling it from the wire part will decrease the life and efficiency of the cord.

    6. Power cords when placed outside the house should ideally be placed under a shade. This keeps them prevented from the direct rays of sun or sudden change in weather. Also, make sure you put them in their place after they are used.

    Don’ts

    1. You must not start using coiled power cords as soon as you unbox them. Make sure you release and unwind them before using as they can cause overheating in a coiled position.

    2. Don’t put the cords under rugs or carpets. This is because cords cannot release heat when confined or kept under pressure. Also, people can trip and fall if they do not have idea about them being underneath the carpet.

    3. Don’t stack up the plugs as it can lead to overloading of power point resulting into fire.

    4. It is not advisable to go for Octopus connections as they can cause fire hazards. So make sure you follow the permitted figure of wattage.

    If you spend maximum number of hours around power cords, you must keep this list of dos and don’ts handy with you or attach it to the wall nearest to your workplace. We all know that prevention is better than cure. Hence, by following these dos and don’ts, you will be able to save your family and peers from electrical accidents. Keep safe!

  • CAT 5E, CAT 6 and 6A: Choosing the Right Cable

    Choosing from amongst Category 5e, 6 and 6a cables has been difficult for a lot of people. Whenever you decide to purchase one of these for your Ethernet network, several factors like data transfer speed, connection distance and costs that have to be considered.

    Each of these cables has a different standard. Let us understand how and why.

    CAT5E Cables

    Although CAT 5E cable is cheap, it is quite slow. CAT 5E offers data transfer speeds of One Gbps per second at 100 MHz up to 328 feet. There is a lesser interference and a lesser chance of transmission error in these cables. This is majorly because the crosstalk amongst the wires within the cable remains under control. These cables will definitely offer a good quality performance for the applications used in today’s age. But when you use Cat5e, there are lesser chances for upgrading in a long run.

    CAT 6 Cables

    Needless to say, CAT 6 cable is more expensive and faster than CAT 5E. However, it is not very efficient when it comes to covering very long distances. As CAT6’s insulation has been enhanced, it can support data transfer speed of up to 10 Gbps at 250 MHz with no crosstalk interference. But 10 Gbps speed is effective only up to 164 feet. Despite of this limitation, CAT6 cables are more capable in handling the speed of Gigabit Ethernet networks. In future, there is a possibility that Cat6 might replace HDMI as the video/audio transmission tool.

    CAT 6A Cables

    If you want to have an efficiently running Gigabit Ethernet network, Cat 6a cable is the best option. It might be more expensive as compared to Cat5e or Cat6. But as and when you connect it to your device, your network will become more advanced and technology friendly. Cat6A supports the same transmission speed as Cat6, but up to 328 feet and with less crosstalk than Cat6.

    On a final note

    Make all of the above mentioned considerations while choosing from CAT 5E, CAT 6 and 6A cables. You can also buy all these cables online after going through all the features. Keep in mind that the speed of network transmission depends on the important elements of your network. Also remember that having a faster cable doesn’t mean that it is competent of achieving Gigabit speeds.

    The costs of data usage go up every 18 months. Although Cat5E can offer the kind of performance you want, it has become a little outdated. Hence, it is better to future-proof your network using Cat6 or Cat6A cables. Make your choice wisely!

  • Mistakes to Avoid Before and After Buying Wire Connectors

    When it comes to buying any kind of wire connectors, for example, computer connectors or adapters, people are overconfident. This is because they are unaware of the fact that not all wire connectors are built in the same way. This article will highlight some common blunders that occur while buying wire connectors. It will also provide you with the insights to avoid these errors.

    Choosing the wrong size

    The “one size fits all” logic cannot be applied here. When a wire fits into the connector, we often assume that it is perfect for typical splices. This is not true as only specific wire combinations are approved by UL for every connector. If you do not choose the right size, it can result into failed connections and useless repairs.

    Solution: Get yourself acquainted with wire connectors and know which wires they can fit with according to the UL specifications. If you are unaware of such specifications, you can also check them on the website of the manufacturers. In case information like this is missing on the website, you should speak to the manufacturers or authorities of the firm. As they have the list of wire connectors and their UL specifications, they will be able to help you with the details in best way possible.

    Overlooking the voltage details

    There are times when people do not choose the exact voltage required and end up buying either low or high voltage connectors. Some also tend to use whatever is available at the moment. This should be avoided at all costs as you will have to redo the connections. Not just that, you will also lose the money you have spent on installing the inventory and other equipment.

    Solution: There is just one. Conduct proper research on the voltage needed for each wire connector. Read the specifications and then finalize it.

    Giving too little or too much torque

    You need to be careful here! This is because if the torque applied is too less, it can result into arcing, which can cause a fire hazard. Moreover, if the connection is weak, the system will not work in the right way. Hence, make sure that you take your own time to tighten every wire connector. On the other hand, if the torque applied leads to tight connection, it can cause a damage to wire connectors.

    Solution: You need to ask yourself questions like, “Is the connector too tight?” “Are the wires outside the connector twisted?” “Is it possible to pull the connector without twisting?” The answers to the first two questions should be No. And the answer to the last question should be yes. However, an electrician can be a better judge of the torque intensity.

    The above mentioned are some of the most commonly occurring mistakes which can lead one to having accident prone surroundings and poor connections. The time and money spent after these tasks are additional pain points. So make sure you take your time and choose your wire connectors wisely!

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