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Setting Up the Electrical System for a Farmers’ Market

Many consumers prefer purchasing fresh produce at a farmers’ market rather than from the fresh produce aisle at the local supermarket. Because of the growing interest in fresh foods and healthy living, as well as a desire to support local farmers, to promote local development, and to solidify community or neighborhood pride in the quality of locally grown products, farmers’ markets have always drawn crowds.

In that same vein, there are many farmers who also prefer selling at farmers’ markets because it gives them higher income while minimizing the cost from the point of delivery to the point of sale. Where otherwise they would have to contend with transport costs, the costs of preservation and refrigeration, and the standard fee charged by middlemen before it reaches the consumer at a supermarket several miles away, selling at a farmers’ market simplifies the entire process. The farmer sets up a stand and sells his produce directly to consumers. He does not have to factor in the cost of transport and refrigeration, or the costs of going through a middleman. As a consequence, the farmer can set a higher price than he would if he were selling to a distributor. The cost to the consumer would still be far less, and the farmer would be able to get a higher profit. At our farmers market we trust the local Atlanta electricians – www.electricianatlanta.net who have been working for over 10 years with us in providing electrical maintenance and support needed for running our farmers market efficiently.

market 1

A farmers’ market, at a very basic level, is a venue for straightforward sales. Farmers sell their produce at a market stall or booth, and consumers come to shop precisely because the produce is still considered to be very fresh. And because of the nature of the industry, these events are usually seasonal – or the produce sold is seasonal. This gives consumers something to look forward to when the season comes for their favorite fruits. And when the crowd starts pouring in, the local community may capitalize on the influx of visitors to showcase several other local attractions, thereby making the entire community a draw to the visitor, rather than just the farmers’ market.

A farmers’ market can either be held outdoors or indoors. By its very nature, the energy consumption of a farmers’ market is considerably low. Some rudimentary power outlets may be provided, and these would be sufficient to provide power for lighting solutions, and perhaps a basic sound system. Farmers’ markets that are held outdoors are not even usually equipped with refrigeration capacities because the very nature of the market is centered around selling fresh produce, not selling produce that is several days old so that they would go bad if they weren’t preserved.

market 2

However, even if the power consumption of a farmers’ market is quite low, it is still important to hire a professional electrician to do the job. This is true whether you are setting up the electrical system for the entire market – especially for outdoor markets, or the checking and maintenance of the current electrical system of an indoor building that will house the said market.

Ask the electrician you hire to check the central power supply for the entire market, as well as to ensure that each booth is equipped with its power source. The lighting and sound systems for the entire market should be running smoothly, and safety procedures mandate a check against overloading outlets given the number of booths that will be utilizing a single and central power source.

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Top Ways to Check Electrical Wiring Safety at a Farmers’ Market

Even though an event like a farmers’ market isn’t known to be heavy on power consumption, checking for electrical and power safety is a must – as it would be for any event that brings together a crowd of people, and where the electrical system provided is temporary and potentially exposed to the elements. That is why it is highly recommended that a professional electrician is called in during the setup of the physical space for a farmer’s market. You need a professional and licensed electrician to set up the power system, and also to check that all safety precautions are observed. This is especially true if the farmers’ market is being held outdoors, where wiring may be exposed not only to the elements but also to the traffic of people and visitors.

My friend who works for Electrician Columbus Ohio – www.electriciancolumbusohio.com written a few top safety tips for electrical wiring at outdoor events such as a farmers’ market.

  • Check your outdoor outlets

outdoor light

A few basic tips for ensuring the safety around any outdoor outlets is to keep them away from water – whether a pool, a lake, or rainwater. If any wiring is stretched out across the ground and could potentially get wet from rain, for instance, the wires should be protected with weatherproof covers to prevent unintended accidents or electrocution. Remember, water and electricity don’t mix!

  • When using an extension cord outdoors, use only those that have been rated for outdoor use

Extension cords make our lives a lot easier by making power outlets reachable where they weren’t before. There are different kinds of extension cords, and while some are okay for indoor use, some have been especially rated as safe for outdoor use.

When using an extension cord at an outdoor farmers’ market, make sure that you use the kind rated for outdoor use. These have been specially designed to withstand outdoor conditions and climate, thus preventing or minimizing the chances of electrocution, shock or fire.

indoor market

Check to make sure that the power capacity of your cord matches that of the equipment you are plugging in – and be especially careful of this when you are using power tools. You might want to find a heavy-duty extension cord if you plan to use an electric power tool.

  • Check the wiring

A good number of fires and electrical accidents begin from frayed or worn wiring. Check that the wirings used at the farmers market are in good condition and that none are in a position of becoming frayed or worn. A great deal of wear and tear may result if your wires are stretched out through doors or windows; if you bury them underground and they are not the type of wiring rated for underground use; or if you use staples or nails to hold them in place. In all of these instances, the wires may potentially be exposed to long-term wear and tear that can take its toll after some time, after which they may become potential fire and electrical hazards.

If you’re not sure your electrical system is safely set up for an outdoor farmers’ market, or if you’re not sure you are safety-compliant, have a professional electrician check things out. Better yet, hire a professional electrician to set things up in the first place.

Transformers: Their Basics and Principles

workersThe transformer is considered the heartbeat of the alternating current system. In modern electrical distribution systems, the transformers are used to boost the voltage levels of the electrical circuit while at the same time they are used to decrease power line losses during transmission.  

In this article, let’s get to know about the basics and the principles behind the transformers which make them valuable and useful components in our electrical systems today. 

Getting Know What a Transformer Is 

The primary function of a transformer is to transfer power from one circuit to another, without altering the energy frequency level, through electromagnetic induction.  The most obvious and practical application of the electrical transformer is in power distribution. It is widely used for increasing (step-up) and decreasing (step-down) of voltages as needed for both commercial and domestic purposes.  

The Basic Construction of a Transformer 

The transformer is a static device that has no moving parts Transformers are made up of three major components: 

The Primary Winding Part of a Transformer 

This is the component that produces magnetic flux when it is connected to the power source. 

The Magnetic Core of a Transformer 

As the primary winding component produces a magnetic flux, it will pass through the magnetic core of the transformer which is designed to have low reluctance to create a closed magnetic circuit. 

The Secondary Winding Part of a Transformer 

After passing through the core, the magnetic flux produced at the primary winding will eventually link to the secondary winding. The secondary winding also wounds on the same core and produces the transformer’s desired output. 

How Does a Transformer Work? 

Transformers are designed to step up or step down the voltage levels between electrical circuits. The working principle behind the transformers is simple and depends upon Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction that predicts how a magnetic field will interact with an electric circuit to produce an EMF or electromotive force. 

This simple transformer principle has made alternating current possible. Back then when the DC system was used for power transmission, transferring energy to longer distances is nearly impossible because of power loss in the lines as the distance increases. As a result, DC stations have to be placed everywhere. Alternating current has resolved this issue, and without the transformer, this would have been impossible. 

The main features of a transformer which make it advantageous in the electrical industry are as follows: 

  • Rigid structure and High Strength 
  • Corrosion and Abrasion Resistance  
  • Noiseless Operations 
  • Simple and User-Friendly Design 
  • Low Maintenance 
  • Heavy Duty

The Different Types of Transformers 

Transformers come in a wide variety depending on their purposes such as in the electrical distribution, generation, and transmission as well as utilization. In general, they are classified according to the voltage levels, winding arrangements, core medium used, applications, and locations of installation among others.  

Out of all the different types, transformers based on voltage uses are currently used the most for tons of applications. They are further classified into two main types: 

  1. Step-Up Transformer 

The transformer produces an increased amount of electrical voltage applied to the primary coil at the secondary coil which can be achieved by increasing the number of windings in the secondary compared to the primary windings.  In terms of use in power plants, this type is utilized as the connecting transformer of the generator to the grid. 

2. Step-Down Transformer 

These transformers produce a reduced value of the voltage applied to the primary coil at the secondary coil. In energy distribution networks, these types of transformers are usually used to convert the high-level grid voltage into a low-level voltage for home appliances use. 

Choosing the Right Transformer Properly 

The benefits of a transformer cannot be underestimated. Moreover, transformers today are already available in multiple sizes and voltage ratings. This means you will have several options to choose from to suit the needs of your industry. 

When determining which transformer to use, be sure to analyze your industry requirements carefully first. Consider the devices you use and assess your overall voltage requirements. You will want to have a transformer that functions efficiently and safely according to your industry’s specific needs. Choose the transformers from reputable brands and get a licensed electrician to install them for you. 

Beware! Unsafe Electrical Panels Can Pose Risks For Fire and Shock Hazards

The primary function of an electrical panel is to regulate the distribution of electrical current to the circuits in your home. In the event of an overload, the circuit breaker works by automatically shutting down the power source minimizing risks for electrical damages or injuries. If your electrical panel malfunctions, it won’t be able to do its functions efficiently. That’s when your electrical wiring can suffer from short-circuit or overheating which can be a potential shock and fire hazard.

Could Your Electrical Panel Be Posing a Hidden Risk for Electrical Hazards?

At the heart of your electrical wiring system at home is the electrical panel. A malfunctioning electrical panel can be a lurking electrical hazard and should be addressed as soon as possible before the problem could quickly escalate.

Below are signs that your electrical panel can be a ticking time bomb that could put your home and family in jeopardy:

  1. Flickering Lights
  2. Frequent Power Tripping
  3. Failure to Restart
  4. Hot to Touch
  5. A Constant Buzzing Sound

At the very least, when you notice any of these problems you should immediately contact a qualified technician to check the issue for you. Any work at the electrical panel can be dangerous and can cause deadly electric shocks. A mistake in the wiring configurations can result in a short circuit and may lead to an electrical fire. That said, it would be best to hire a professional electrician instead of attempting to do any work at the electrical panel on your own.

Electrical Panel Maintenance Tips

Even the most straightforward maintenance and prevention methods can go a long way to keep your electrical panel working at its best, thereby reducing the risks of potential electrical hazards. Here are a few electrical panel maintenance tips to help you get started:

  1. Watch out for signs of moisture or corrosion in your electrical panel.
  2. Look for any indications of deteriorations or wear and tear at the panel.
  3. Tighten loose wirings and connections which can cause power arching and overheating.
  4. Keep the doors or cover of your electrical panel closed to avoid dust and moisture contamination.
  5. Ideally, you should have your electrical panel checked by a licensed technician once a year, or at least once every three years. The technician can check whether or not your main circuit breaker has sufficient amperage capacity to support your home’s energy requirements and conduct wiring assessments to ensure your panel is in its excellent working condition.

Is Your Home At Risk?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2010 to 2014, an estimated annual average of 45,210 reported home fires in the United States involved electrical malfunction or failure. Your electrical panel plays a critical role in the supply and distribution of power throughout the subcircuits of your home. A malfunctioning electrical panel is a potential hazard that can cause electric shock injuries or worst ignite an electrical fire in your home.

If you have an older house, it is highly likely that your main distribution board uses fuses rather than circuit breakers. Fuse boxes can only handle up to 60 amps whereas most modern appliances will require 100 amps or more to function properly. This makes fuse boxes prone to overheating, and safety can be a pressing concern.

Moreover, it is vital that your electrical panel is capable of serving the full needs of your home’s entire electrical circuits. You may want to consider upgrading your electrical panel if your home’s current energy requirements have increased, say for instance you have added a new central air conditioning system, or you have acquired a new microwave oven, water heater,  or other high-powered appliances.

The cost involved in the proactive maintenance of your electrical system is well worth the investment to keep your home and most importantly, your family safe. Proactive maintenance also allows you to detect any problems early on, saving you from expensive repairs and replacements later. Know that a minor problem at the electrical panel can quickly go worse, and the best way to avoid dealing with serious damages, later on, is by implementing a routine maintenance to be carried out by a professional electrician.

AC Voltage Generator – What Is It and How Does It Work?

It is incredible how electricity has made our lives easier and more convenient. Now, if you ever wonder how electricity is able to get into your home, we have the AC voltage regulator to thank for. Read on to find out more about AC generators, how they work, and their advantages.

What Is an AC Voltage Generator?

Alternating Current or AC Generators are electric generators responsible for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. AC Generators are also referred to as alternators, and they work on the basis of Michael Faraday’s law of Electromagnetic Induction. The law states that whenever a conductor is placed in a varying magnetic field, Electromotive force or emf is induced. This induced EMF is equal to the rate of change of the magnetic flux linkages.

Emf is produced when there is either relative time variation or relative space between the conductor and magnetic field. Hence, both the magnetic field and the motion of a conductor in a magnetic field are the critical elements of a generator.

How does an AC Voltage Generator Work?

Most of the households today use the AC (Alternating Current) for power. Unlike the DC (Direct Current), AC voltages can be easily transformed or converted into lower or higher voltages and are efficient for long-distance transmission.

AC generators provide an important means to produce the AC voltage. With the help of another device called the transformers, AC voltage can be reduced into lower voltage easily to make them safe for household or commercial use with very minimal power loss during the transmission process.

AC generators are made up of two poles – the north and south pole, creating a uniform magnetic field. There is also an armature, which is a rectangular-shaped coil. The coils are connected to the metal slip rings which are insulated from each other. Meanwhile, these rings are attached to the carbon brushes, and the other end of the brush connects to the circuit. The rectangular coils rotate between the two poles upon an axis which is perpendicular to the magnetic field. The magnetic flux that connects with the armature changes continuously inducing emf and which in turn produces electricity.

Types of AC Voltage Generators

power generator

There are two main types of AC Voltage Generators as follows:

  1. Induction Generator

Also known as Asynchronous Generators, Induction Generators are AC electric generators that require no separate regulator controls, frequency control, DC excitation system, or governing device. This concept occurs when conductor coils turn in a magnetic field initializing both a current and a voltage. Induction generators should run at a steady speed to convey a stable AC voltage, even without an available load.

  1. Synchronous generators

Primarily used in electric power plants, Synchronous Generators are typically large size AC generators. They come in two types,  rotating field and rotating armature. In a rotating armature, the armature is at the rotor while the field is at the stator. The rotating field alternator is known because of its excellent power generation ability and the absence of slip rings and brushes in its components.

The Advantages of an AC Voltage Generator

AC Voltage Generators offer a number of benefits, in the electrical industry, and these are the following:

  • With the absence of brushes, these AC generators are generally maintenance-free.
  • AC voltage produced by the alternators can be easily step up and step down via the transformers.
  • Because of its impressive step-up feature, it’s transmission link size is relatively thinner.
  • The size of the AC generator is relatively smaller compared to the DC one.
  • Compared to the DC Generators, power losses are relatively less in AC generators.
  • AC Generator breakers are significantly smaller than the DC generators.