Z'Electrical Gazette

January 2008

Volume 7

Zotz Electrical Logo

January 2008 Volume 7     http://www.zotzelectrical.com/     Zotz Electrical     612-501-2012, 320-983-2500

Z'Electrical Logo

Product Spotlight

Cheetah Devices

Cheetah USA Corp has redesigned switches and receptacles to make it easier and faster for installation. They have a box that will accept their push-in pin device and a plate that will push into the device. I will not use the whole assemble package but if I am requested to install screwless plates, I will use the Cheetah brand. The screwless plate snaps into holes on the device but easily comes off if needed by prying on a access slot on the very bottom and will fit flush against the wall without any hassle of installation. I experimented with one and kept snapping it on the device and then removing it and it held true every time I did it. The plates come in white, light almond, almond, ivory & black matte finish and are made from unbreakable lexan nylon.

Cheetah GFCI & Plate    Cheetah Designer Receptacle    Cheetah Designer Plate

Electrical Technical

How A Light Dimmer Switch Works

In a light dimmer switch, resistors rapidly shut the light circuit off and on to reduce the total amount of energy flowing through the circuit. The switching cycle is built around the fluctuation of alternating current (AC). AC current has varying voltage polarity -- in a sine wave, it fluctuates from a positive voltage to a negative voltage. To put it another way, the moving charge that makes up AC current is constantly changing direction. In the United States, it goes through one cycle (moving one way, then the other) 60 times a second. The diagram below shows this sixtieth-of-a-second cycle.

Normal Sine Wave

A modern dimmer switch "chops up" the sine wave. It automatically shuts the light bulb circuit off every time the current reverses direction -- that is, whenever there is zero voltage running through the circuit. This happens twice per cycle, or 120 times a second. It turns the light circuit back on when the voltage climbs back up to a certain level, as seen in the diagram below.

Dimmed Sine Wave

This "turn-on value" is based on the position of the dimmer switch's knob or slider. If the dimmer is turned to a brighter setting, it will switch on very quickly after cutting off. The circuit is turned on for most of the cycle, so it supplies more energy per second to the light bulb. If the dimmer is set for lower light, it will wait until later in the cycle to turn back on.

The central element in the dimmer switching circuit is a triode alternating current switch, or triac. A triac is a small semiconductor device, similar to a diode or transistor. Like a transistor, a triac is made up of different layers of semiconductor material. This includes N-type material, which has many free electrons, and P-type material, which has many "holes" where free electrons can go.

For a more detailed explanation, go to How Stuff Works. Lutron Dimmers has a FAQ page on dimmers and it covers various questions, click here for that page.

Current News

President Bush Signs New Energy Bill

On December 19, 2007 the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 was signed into law. Major energy legislation that includes 25x'25 as America's energy goal was signed into law today by President Bush. Congressional leaders and Cabinet members joined the president for the formal signing ceremonies at U.S. Department of Energy headquarters this morning. The measure expresses the sense of the Congress that "it is the goal of the United States that no later than January 1, 2025, the agricultural, forestry and working land of the United States should provide from renewable resources not less than 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States and continue to produce safe, abundant and affordable food, feed and fiber."

This article from the High Plains Journal records the hopes of what the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 will do for the American environment and economy. And here is the website for the 25 x '25 organization.

Click here to read the complete text of the Act. It is pretty dry but there are some interesting parts. Below are some highlights or lowlights (depending on your perspective) of the Act.

Ask Zotz Electrical For A Comparative Bid

Zotz Electrical would be more than happy to give a comparative bid for any project. If you are a contractor, give us a call and see what we can offer you. Even if you choose not to use us, we may meet and discuss different ideas, maybe start a relationship for the future. You will find that we are very easy to work with and we want to please you and your client with the work we do and our attitude. Call Doug at 612-501-2012 or send an e-mail to request a bid and start a relationship.


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