Sunday, August 15, 2021

Think your saving money buying materials from a Big box Hardware and hiring a tradesman to do install or doing it your self think again your getting ripped off.

 So you watch one of those home remodeling shows and it looks easy enough to do small electrical or plumbing project no problem go to the big box hardware buy what you need and install it  and it looks good but your neighbor hires a tradesman to do same job and when you go to see what neighbor has done the quality of his parts he bought especially the electric lights and plugs thou same manufacturer are of a better quality at same price you payed the big box for lesser quality . So what the hell is going on.

That's right you where ripped off by the big box selling you a consumer grade product instead of a professional product the tradesman bought at a local supply house.  

The problem the Big Box store can not buy a professional grade product then mar-kit up enough to make the desired profit they must make on each product they sell. 

Take this supposed   Commercial spec grade switch 

Its really Not this is a  Consumer Grade  Switch  they sell to big Box and hardware store who sells them for around $6.00  a piece retail



Now look at a real spec grade switch I buy at supply House twice the weight back wire capable  heavy duty construction.

which would not fall apart like one above.

This switch I buy wholesale at $6.50 is  $15.00 retail well above what average consumer would pay for a wall switch so the buy this piece because It looks like a much better switch when it is not. 

This goes on with many items you buy at Big Box and Hardware stores you are not getting for your money what you think you are getting.  

Shop at a retailers outlet stores same game is being played you think your buying overstock  1st qualty or items than had small flaw.

Not the case at all at one time that was true but now manufacturers make a lesser quality item and pass it off at outlet stores as 1st quality take a good look your getting ripped off. 

You really need to read specs on items compare them before you buy them or you will get ripped off. 



A disturbing trend of Young Electricians using Impact drills to tighten screws on outlets and switches which is damaging them

 Back when I was a rookie electrician  there was no concern for Wrist Injury's and Carpal Tunnel Disease .everything was done by hand  oh there where fancy twisting screwdrivers that helped but for most part it was all hand and wrist work.

But that's not the case today most young electricians carry and use a small battery powered screwdriver or drill .

That's fine it does cut down on wrist injury's but it has also caused another issue . over-tightened switches and outlets which cause them to fail and break creating a  shock and fire hazard.

Take this gang of supposed spec grade  switches installed everyone broken or cracked after being installed only a year ago. 

To make matters worse some of these compact drills have an impact setting and if your not careful or lazy you see the above result every switch in that gang switch is cracked and damaged. 

luckily the worker operating the switch was not hurt when switch collapsed into box ,but this is not always the case .

The only way to make this stop happening is for supervisors and inspectors to crack down on bad job habits or outlaw the drills all together.  

I have one of those small drills and I have never cracked or broken a switch. its called take your time and do it right. but too many employers are all about speed and speed gets you killed.

A very Big Mistake by Lighting manufactures which allows High output T5 fluorescent bulbs to be used in Normal Output T5 fixtures and Fire danger it imposes

 I have a customer where they installed T5  high efficiency lighting in their office space  and down the street they installed High-bay T5 lighting  in their Warehouse.

Now the T5 high Bay Lighting has worked very well never an issue turn it on in morning it comes on and have to change an occasional bulb when it burns out after a couple years.


The office on the other hand has been a Nightmare .they installed offset 4x8 lay in lights and they constantly blow bulbs and transformers. 

They where mainly changing the bulbs themselves then I took over doing it and that's when I discovered a major problem.

I went to change out a ballast and had to do a retrofit as the smaller ballast in picture  was not available and when I started matching up numbers to get something to work that's when i also looked at bulbs and realized what was going on.

The supply house was supplying the wrong bulbs.The office fixtures use a 28 watt cool white bulb  normal output bulb . while the supply house was sending them 54 watt High output Bulbs  

T5-54 watt bulb 


T5-28 Watt  bulb

Which is why they sometimes worked and fixtures where overheating and sockets burning up. in essence they where creating the problem of the old  Edison based conventional light bulbs where socket maybe rated 60 watts but people where putting 100 or 150 watt bulbs in them .

But this should not be possible T12 and T 8 bulbs which are normal out put and High output have different ends to prevent this but T5 do not . How could Underwriters Lab  UL and NFPA allow this to happen. If these T5 fixtures are installed close to combustible materials and wrong bulb put in the overheating fixture could easily cause a fire. 

Once again someone asleep at the switch .

Monday, July 19, 2021

Self Illuminating Exit signs . They work great however be careful when you dispose of them

 So you have a building where its a pain to get electric wiring to but you need an Exit sign no problem they make self illuminating exit signs which glow in the dark after you charge them up with light.

most are safe to use and handle. 

How Ever be careful how you handle and dispose of them as they may contain a Radioactive element known as Tritium  a naturally occurring Isotope of hydrogen

The Tritium  is contained in small glass tubes within the sign 

In some areas it requires special handling to dispose of these signs specifically if more than one. 

check with your local disposal service for any requirements they would have . 

These signs have warning labels on them that they have a radioactive element in them. 


Normally these signs can stay working for up to 10 or more years as long as they are kept charged up. 

and are perfectly safe when used in a proper manner. 

Friday, July 9, 2021

Do you have a Hik Vision or Dahua or one of their many 3rd party relabled Survielance camer system. Do You know its been banned by FCC and other federal agency do to Chinese having a secret back door and do you know the dangers this means to your business.

 So Big bad US Government has banned Hik Vision  and Dauhau Surveillance Camera  Products 

if a Camera Product is not NDAA compliant it can not be used by a government entity.

This is because of a known issue with a back door in the systems which allow Chinese access to your computer Network for spying or causing damage like ransomware.


While some security dealers scoff at it and say its propaganda and nothing to worry about

They are sadly misinformed into danger these units pose . Yes even the corner Pizza shop is vulnerable  

 which is one of their arguments

I recently had to tell the President of a large telephone / cable company in W. Pa  who trusted his security company to do him right he had been screwed as they installed Hik vision cameras in his brand new headquarters and he blew his stack because he has been going thru and making sure he had no banned Hewaii  switching system equiptment in his operatoions and his security supplier goes and screws him.

Well after doinOf course our own uncaring Allegheny County District Attorney when made aware his office was using Hik vision products and he said he was not concerned.

If he would bother to do some simple research he should be,so let me tell you what the dangers are.

and how he has screwed the citizens of Allegheny county. 

1st off  if your that little Pizza shop Owner  and you think your not being spied on by Chinese Think again 

They are watching all kind of business to look for vulnerabilities  like when you make your cash drops 

they know when you open when you close they know where your safe is  watching your cameras info that could be passed on to a criminal organization

 2nd off they know who you buy from  and if your a franchised pizza shop all the better because these hik vision  units could allow a tailgating or piggyback attack  of your franchises network.

. This is exactly how Target Retail stores where attacked one of their vendors a Mechanical contractor in Pittsburgh who got work orders and submitted bills etc thru Targets network  was hacked then this opened the door to the target network.

 3rd My camera vendor said he isolated and blocked the Chinese from being in my network

Think again do you use a phone app like Hik Connect guess what all the isolation you are doing is worthless they have everything they know from the phone App

4th Hik and Dauhau has been called out by  US state Dept. for using Slave labor to build their products thats why they are cheaper than everyone else  as well as allowing china to spy on its own citizens activitys


5th Hik and dauhau have been delististed by Onvif the agency which sets standards for IP based Camera Systems 

The big Problem also is Hik provides components to many manufactuers  so your cameras may not say Hik or dauhau but they can still be on list and disreputable dealers are taking full advantage of using 3rd party labels.


The list is extensive and many popular manufactuers in above links if you are using them you are at risk.

It looks like Hik and dauhau are shutting down operations in US  and thats a good thing but all that legacy product out there is going to cause problems for years to come.