Friday, December 7, 2018

Big ASS Fans a new trend in Warehouses and Auditoriums that requires careful code conciderations

Big Ass fans as they are commonly known and one company actually sells them under that name  are a popular way to move large amounts of air to help keep large spaces cool in summer and warm in winter . think of a paddle fan but these units have 6 foot blades on them and operate on 230 to 480 volt Three Phase power .Like the unit in Picture below.

 One of the problems with these big fans is because of the amount of air they move they need to be shut down during a Fire Event so most have a built in jumper you remove and connect in a relay from fire system to shut it down and lock it out when fire alarm activates.As you can see in picture below the red fire wire connected to the Power Flex " Variable Frequency Drive " which I recently wired in at a warehouse .

Because of the extreme force these fans produce careful consideration must also be made to insure personnel do not get close enough to be struck by the blades even though they do not move real fast they do have a lot of power behind them and I do not know if they have a break away clutch feature.
But you can bet as effective as they are the word is spreading and you will be seeing more of them in the future .

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Things you learn when installing surveillance systems in business . The employee who objects the loudest is usually the one causing the issue why the cameras are needed

In my over the 40 years I have installed Surveillance Camera Systems the encounters I have had when putting them in seems to always be the same .
While most employees welcome them because it protects them because it shows they are doing their jobs  and not causing issues  it also protects their personnel property from theft and vandalism like when some one gets mad at them and keys their car.
 There is always that one employee who carry's on and threatens to quit their job and is gonna sue everyone etc etc. because their rights are being violated.

Well sorry no they are not when the cameras are out and visible unless your state has rules otherwise.
 unless its a restroom or locker room its pretty much any other room is fair game in most states.

So typically what happens after I install a camera system and I come back a few days later to do any final adjustments I find  that employee who did all the screaming and carrying on has left and so has all the issues why the system needed installed in the first place. Because something Improper, Immoral or Illegal was going on .

Take a small super market I did 15 year ago in South Hills of Pittsburgh  after owner was told by his insurance carrier to install additional cameras because his  workers compensation claims where getting too high.  Seems every time a pallet of bottles or other easily breakable items came in there was always damage or Shrinkage as its known going on in back room . One time I was close enough doing work I saw sure enough they where throwing a small football around and some one fell over a pallet and items got broke . I had not yet installed the cameras but let manager know what I saw but without proof what could he do.
 So after the cameras where installed  the employee who was always clowning around and screamed the loudest had quit his job , and ironically so did all the shrinkage issues. Amazing right. But this is what happened each and every time I have installed cameras in a retail or office situation.

Industrial plants on other hand cameras are more welcome because it protects employees like the time a fire broke out on a machine employees where able to show their boss exactly how it happened and that no one was around it .In another case a camera on the loading dock showed proof positive 12 pallets of product was loaded on a truck not 10 like driver claimed when he delivered it ends up he was shorting customers and stealing the product, again the guys on the loading dock where happy because it proved they where doing their jobs correctly.

Cameras are a 2 edged sword and most people could care less they are being watched  but if they do screw up it also shows that as well but an honest mistake is an honest mistake  no harm no foul.
accidents happen.

So when you have that employee who objects to cameras  or other security measures thats the one you watch. cant scientifically prove it but in my 40 years of work thats what I have found to be true.

 Plus after an investigation of this employee has been done you usually find they have caused other problems at  other places  they worked as well and they are often  delinquent on their bills frequently change addresses because they are avoiding bill collectors or law enforcement  or they have not paid their rent,often having skipped out on a lease. They are basically Con Artists .

I had a case recently where it was discovered  a manager had stolen $85K from a business after cameras were installed in New Castle  Pa. after they left in a huff because cameras where being installed and an audit was performed  .The kicker after they Left they started a similar business next town over and where using the stolen proceeds and products to run that business. Talk about bold .
When asked why they said it was because they  and their helpers where not paid enough to manage the business.

Its a dam shame what business owners have to do to protect the bottom line but its a known fact employee theft is a major reason why businesses fail. Because its the biggest single  amount of theft  after  Shoplifting , Burglary , Fraud  and Armed  Robbery.

Monday, October 29, 2018

It is No Suprise to me the Tragedy at New Life Temple here in Pittsburgh where 11 Jews where murdered let me tell you why?

 Let me tell you about why I am not surprised why that gunman walked in to New Life Temple and tragically and coldly  took 11 lives .
If you spend any time around the Jewish or African American Communities around Pittsburgh You will here the term Pittsburgh Mississippi . No not a town in the state of  Mississippi.
 They are referring to The City of Pittsburgh  and how they feel living here like its a city in the deep south . I know exactly how they feel.
 Even Thou I have not one drop of Jewish Blood  in my body I do have a last name with a Jewish spelling this came about because when my Grandfather Markowitz came from the Ukraine he could sign his name and was automatically thought to be Jewish not the son of a peasant farmer by immigration officials on Ellis Island . Most peasants could only make there mark on papers and not sign full name.
 Having the last name Markowitz I have felt the full effect of Antisemitism in this city even being called a kike on the job and denied employment in the trades or felt or heard on the job..

Something I have never experienced or felt outside of the Pittsburgh region or many states I regularly travel.

It has been so bad at times I had to take the Penn Hills #224 Volunteer Fire Dept before the Pa. Human Relaxations Commission. because of those Anti Semites who where in the dept. who tried to hurt me knowing I had a bad leg and they put a smashed pop can in my fire boots and even small nails.

You just need to ride around Penn hills and Plum Boro and you will find over a dozen homes flying confederate flags .

Travel up US 22 to Blairsville on the weekend to Jonnet Flea market and inside and some times outside you will find vendors selling KKK emblems and stickers and other memorabilia I have even seen Buddy Black and George Foster known KKK leaders walking around the market at times.

Did you know W Pa. has  one of the highest concentrations of hate groups and membership in the country ? Look it up.

I was recently at a customers business who has a large ware house on Neville Island and who has several African Americans who work and drive for them I have became friendly with them over time and when I walk in they say high we shake hands ask how things are going etc. and a Driver from an outside vendor walked up to me and asked me why I was being friendly with that N word .

He was told to get in his truck and leave Im over 6ft 200 pounds so he did not give me an argument  I wont tolerate it and neither will my customers .

When I got gas this summer at a gas station in Penn Hills a white man walked up to me after seeing a young African American girl  cut off another driver and he goes to me did you see that? I said yes he then goes into a explicit speech about her being to dumb to be a slave they would have just killed here down south.  I said her being inconsiderate has nothing to do with her race and I did not appreciate his words. He turned and left before I leveled  him.

I once did work for a real estate company in Oakland section of Pittsburgh and when I heard antisemitic statements coming out of the owners mouth  about Cheap Jews at. Then one day he asked me where I lived I said Penn Hills he said he moved and wondered how I could let my wife shop at the giant Eagles with all those blacks and was I worried about it. I told him no im not a bigot and never took another job off him.

Its a shame all the nasty bigotry I hear and see almost weekly in this are something I never see once I am out of Western P.a.

So was I surprised when New Life Temple was shot up? not at all knowing the amount of White Trash and human POS pieces of shit that live around me. in this area.

What breeds it I do not know because you are not born a racist ,but I do know we also have a high amount of those with mental Health issues in this are which causes the paranoia . Maybe it something in the water and ground after all the years of pollution spoiling it. But its more peoples own failings and wanting to blame somebody for something because they are a failure.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Honeywell Security Products wants Dealers to Upgrade all panels using Total Connect 1# to Total Connect 2 # so they can discontinue TC 1 there is just one Problem $$$$

As of January 2020 Honeywell Security Products soon to be known as Residio due to the coming company spin off another disaster I see on the horizon ,will no longer support Total Connect 1#  products

They would like all dealers to encourage theirTC1#  customers to upgrade to TC 2# by then.

One big Problem and thats Cost Especially for my Commercial Customers who use the

Vista 32,128,250  BP and FB-P series of panels

To change out these boards they cost $350 to 500.00 Plus dealer cost plus time to convert over and reprogram to Turbo Series  Panels which can do TC2# 

The other problem as of late they have been hard to get they are never in stock and they hardly ever go on sale  at ADI the only place you can get them at Dealer Cost.

So in some cases the panels are going on 20 years of service it time to change but some are only 10 or less  years in use. So those owners get screwed  .

The big Vista series panels as we call them are very solid panel and will probably go for many more years before needing change but owners and dealers are getting screwed instead of Honeywell figuring out a better way to back engineer and support their older products.

We got screwed on the 4G cellular deal had to buy and change out whole IGSMV and GSMV etc communicators instead of just changing an internal board like other alarm products on market
and this is going to be Honeywells last chance to fuck everyone over once more before the spin off.

In a way many including myself are glad Honeywell is getting out of the market  as many dealers have done so installing DMP and Bosch instead.

I just hope this new deal and new name is not another total Clusterfuck.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Very DANGEROUS GAME VERIZON is PLAYING When it comes to changing olds POTS phone line technology to FIOS Lines Some one is going to die

Yes the old (POTS ) Plain Old Telephone lines are slowly going away  . In some areas you can not even get copper phone line service as VoIP Voice Over Internet Protocal  Takes over .

But Verizon is playing a very deadly game as it starts phasing out POTS.


Here is how it goes

2 apartment buildings I maintain in Mt Lebanon Pa. all of a sudden did not test in  on their 24 hr daily test cycle .

OK kind of strange so I go out next morning and find  both buildings not dialing out I have dial tone
but when you dial any number a message comes on advising service has been turned off    and hang up and redial to call 911 ?

Well thats kind of strange sounds like phone bill was not paid and line switched off by mistake it happens .

Call customer to tell him whats going on  and he calls Verizon and they tell him they have been trying to get hold of him they called the number and got no answer. they shut off the line hoping some one would notice and call them
because they are removing all POTS lines in the area and he needs switched to FIOS lines.

 (of course when they call the number they are not getting an answer its dedicated to fire panel only )

Thats nice so 24 hours or more can go by with a fire alarm not being monitored  because Verizon supposedly was not able to get hold of customer to tell them they need to switch to Fios ,and so they decide to shut off service figuring the trouble signal from the panel and central station not getting test will get some ones attention.

I am not the only dealer to encounter this problem it is happening all over the country and many buildings are not being properly protected  it has even happened to Central Stations  receiving equipment and at 911 centers .

Instead of Verizon sending something in mail with big print to get their customers attention and or posting a notice on a customers door  and or sending list of addresses and phone numbers to local officials so they can be tracked they are just shutting lines off , and putting in some cases hundreds of lives on the line when it is an Apartment building.  In some cases entire complexes have been shut down because they supposedly have not been able to make contact with line owner.

Lets face facts how many times it takes well past 24 hours before a service tech ever gets dispatched
to a fire alarm because fail to test issues are so common and routine with the switching over of new technology a building could easily go a week or two before any one knows and then when alarm goes off and tenants assume fire trucks are on the way and they are not, or that rural or out of the way building where some one comes by once a month to check things like a Radio Transmitter and utility sites catches fire or has some type of other emergency situation  it could well cost a life and cause thousands of dollars in damage because by the time First Responders are notified its too late.

Even thou the fire panels give a local trouble alert when they do not transmit. Those signals are often ignored because they happen so often or they have been bypassed .

This is why I have been encouraging my customers to switch to Cellular Communicators because at this pint they are more reliable than Copper Lines because of the way Verizon is no longer maintaining them and then indiscriminately turning them off.

Verizon is going to have blood on its hands with this current policy of just turning lines off
its just a matter of time. 

Fire Officials tell me its Verizon its a utility they can not do anything and can get no answers.


Verizon is a utility and it answers to the PUC Public Utility Commission

ALL Fire Officials need to file a complaint with PUC and Demand Verizon post a notice on property's they plan to turn off and also give a list of numbers and addresses to be turned off so Fire Officials can be forewarned so they know there will be a continuity of service as lines are replaced.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Very Scary Situation found when replacing 2X4 Fluorescent lights with LED Flat Panels in a small office

I was recently changing out old style 2x4 fluorescent  lights in a friends small IT office when I came across a very scary situation which if it had not been found would have resulted in a catastrophic fire .
The old lights which which utilized 4- T12 old style bulbs with 2 bulbs per ballast are very inefficient so many are updating to either 3 bulb T8 fluorescent or in this Case LED which draws half the power and requires no maintenance for 60,000 hours .

I pulled down and replaced several lights when I got to the back repair room and thats when I found the situation which in my 40+ years as an electrician have never ever encountered .

Two burn marks going all the way up thru the ceilings Insulation where the 2 ballast sit in the fixture not only this there are 2 holes burned thru the fixture .

Now its not unusual for these ballasts which where replacement ballasts to get hot when they go bad but I have never seen anything this extreme

Which has me wondering if this is a manufacturers defect with these ballasts as they have gotten so hot are we looking at a recall and the big danger you can see the close tolerance between fixtures and ceiling and there are ,many small offices and store fronts like this all potential fire problems if there is a problem with these ballasts .

As far as I can determine proper voltage 120 VAC delivered by West Penn Power proper size wire and properly grounded .
I will be in contact with manufacturer , CPSC and Fire officials over this matter.


After being examined by an Electrical Engineer he determined the current replacement ballast where not responsible for making the holes but the original supplied ballasts did it.
He has seen several cases where holes have been blown thru a fixture but never 2 in same fixture where both ballast failed which makes this a real anomaly
Sure would love to see the original ballast but where disposed of many years ago  .

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Help to Organise a Missing Man Search and lessons learned

Never fails to amaze me how many times I have done things over the years and never got one iota of thanks for having helped a customer, a volunteer fire company, a church or other  non profit organization after helping them out  volunteering of tradesman skills and or time .In some cases what would be thousands of dollars in skilled trades time but thats human nature people are only your friend when they need something thats why I have only a very small circle of close friends and acquaintances. 

Take the time in late 90s when I joined Penn Hills 224 officially Known as Volunteer Station 4# in Point Breeze .

A young man from Cheswick had been missing for a few days after a very cold night and his car was found atop PA-910 in the Indionola section of Allegheny County.

The then chief of 224  a paid  medic in the area was contacted by the missing mans family and asked if he could help.

He agreed rounding up area fire the Allegheny valley and asked me to get in touch with Search and Rescue team I was involved with  Search Rescue & recovery of W. Pa. to help set up and lead the search.

I made all the phone calls helped get search team in touch and then set up to do the search that cold morning at the then old abandoned Ames Plaza in harmarville and before they set out I got an emergency call a few minutes away at a dear friends in Ohara Twp whose heat was out and oil furnace was sparking. Since most searches take several hours and some times days told the chief the situation I was in he said go ahead I would be right back  after fixing furnace. Well I no sooner got over and fixed the furnace which was luckily a fast fix called chief told him I was on my way back to the search , and he informed me  the team had no sooner set up a command post and the young man which is very rare most searches never end that fast.  was found dead of a self inflicted gun shot. . Sadly a conclusion no one wanted to have happen.

Every member there that day who took part got a certificate  of appreciation and of course the obligatory news paper picture later in the week. I did not get as much as a thank you despite all the work I did helping to set up the search. like I said I am never disappointed in human behavior. The couple times I ever was mentioned as helping they could not even bother to spell my last name correctly.

The Assistant  Chief at the time felt I was slighted over this matter  and wanted to do something but I never made a fuss over it. The young mans family found closure thats all that matters its not about a piece of paper and recognition its about doing the right thing for your fellow man. I have saved numerous lives over the year coming across serious traffic and pedestrian accidents and on construction sites  and never sought fame or recognition over it. its something you do treat your fellow man the way you want to be treated because some day you may well be the one needing help.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Motion Sensors Another case of Green Technology Wasting Energy .

One of my customers has a large warehouse where they store oil products and Forklifts are used to shuttle items around and into and out of trucks.

The electrical outfit they hired to install the new lighting  to save energy put in the Energy Code required motion sensors on the new T8 fluorescent light fixtures which are designed to shut the lights off to save energy but in the long run they have cost energy because they where set too low a time on which turns the fluorescent bulbs on many times a day and shortens their lives.
I have had to change the bulbs at least 6 times in the warehouse compared to warehouse down street
where same exact lights have not ben changed. thats a major waste of energy all those bulbs being made and life shortened

The reason is fluorescent bulbs are designed to only operate for so many cycles due to surge of power which turns them on the timers where set for in some cases only 1 minute which means every time
a fork lift operator came by the lights tuned on and off in some cases up to 50 or more times a day
and since the bulbs only have a cycle rating of  5000-7000 times on and off  poof bulbs needed changed every 3-4 months . I have since changed them up to max allowed 30 minutes in high use areas and now lights turn on maybe 6-8 times a day and bulbs are lasting much longer. and in long run staying on longer saves more power than constant on and off surging of the power. .

Once again Green Technology has proven to be a waste because there where no instructions  to set timers to type of lighting and the union electrical outfit that did the work could care less how or why they did the work. which is a shame most time union electrical work is excellent this company's work was sub par.