Friday, 30 November 2012

Safe Christmas Lighting

10 Tips for Safe Christmas Lighting

As Christmas appraches and the fairy lights are brought down from the loft, follow these tips from Giuliano Digilio, Head of Technical Services at the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), to make your sure Christmas sparkles – without any sparks! 

1)      Lights that have been stored away in the loft may have suffered damage. Make sure any frayed leads or broken connectors are replaced before use.

2)      Tempting as it may be, never overload sockets with your Christmas lights as this could result in overheating, electric shocks, short-circuiting and potentially cause a fire.

3)      To cope with winter weather, exterior Christmas lights should either be low voltage – 12V or 24V – or protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD) that will automatically kick into action and break the circuit in the event of an earth fault. Cables should never be fed through doors or windows, as this could cause damage.

4)      Ensure that cables are fully unwound. They can overheat and potentially cause a fire if they are left coiled on a reel…

5)      …But take care. Trailing wires and lighting leads are one of the most common causes of household trips and falls. Ensure that any cables or extension leads are not left across pathways, and cannot be easily grabbed by children and pets.

6)      Never have any lighting equipment, decorative or otherwise, near a water source.

7)      Turning off the Christmas lights before going to bed or when away from home will greatly reduce the risk of fire.

8)      And if you need to buy new lights as last year’s ones really have seen better days, only buy from reputable outlets. There are lots of budget versions out there, especially at car boot sales, but these are often not up to the required safety standards.

9)      Always check for the European Standard CE mark when buying new lights.

10)   Make sure lights you buy are suitable for the voltage they are being connected to. In the UK this should be 230 Volts.

To get more advice on safe Christmas lighting, contact a competent electrician.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Motorola PC straps onto your head :)

a PC, you wear it on your head and interact with it through voice commands. clever eh!

It's an actual product that is scheduled to go on sale in the New Year, but please don't expect an exciting name.
 The HC1 headset features wi-fi and bluetooth connectivity
The HC1 is made by Motorola Solutions, which should not to be confused with the other half of what used to be the same company, Motorola Mobility, a handset-maker now owned by Google.
The device looks a bit like a massively overgrown telephone headset, with overtones of a cycle helmet and maybe a gas mask thrown in.

It comes in two parts: there's an adjustable cradle that fixes the device to your head, and the computer itself is in a metal bar that curls around the side of your head.
A miniature screen is located at the front, in front of your face. You need to look down slightly to view it.

Using voice commands, the user can order the device to open files, check emails or zoom in with the camera to look in closer detail at what's in front of them.
Hands-free helper

It's intended for use in working environments where people need to access complex information, and having both hands free is an important priority.

"If you imagine somebody up, say, a telegraph pole at the very top, needing to rewire something, they don't really want to be fiddling with a laptop," explains Paul Reed, Motorola's mobile computing product manager.

"They can get all the information they need and do the job safely with this device."
Potential users include maintenance engineers in remote locations, construction workers, architects and warehouse staff pulling stock off the shelves following complex computerised schedules.
Nottingham-based software firm, Ikanos Consulting, is already developing an app for the product called Paramedic Pro. It is designed to let ambulance workers view medical records and stream video back to a hospital to prepare doctors for a patient's arrival.

Another firm has shown interest in using the headset to help its workers maintain power lines at heights. Its staff are required to climb out of helicopters to do the job - it is easy to understand how a hands-free computer would be useful in these circumstances!

 One UK developer is developing an app to make the headset useful to medics

Motorola reckons it will sell several thousand of its computer headsets each year at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000 each (£1,900 to £2,500). That is approximately the same price as a rugged laptop.
But product manager Paul Reed recognises that the device is unlikely to find a mass market.
"Its very niche, very specific to certain types of enterprise," he explains.

"I doubt if we're going to walk down the High Street wearing these devices in future."
Vision of the future

 It may point to an era in which people interact with computers in new ways by wearing them rather than putting them on a desk or in a pocket, and by waving or talking to them instead of touching a screen or pointing with a mouse.

Energy policy, what energy policy....

After months of backroom negotiations between George Osborne and the Liberal Dems the government has announced its renewable energy policy. It has decided to wait until 2016, after the general election, and make a decision then.

a failure that barely raised eyebrows. Tories were unhappy because the government was effectively agreeing to a subsidy for wind farms. Lib Dems were unhappy because the government had given up on decarbonising its economy.

we were looking for a coherent policy, just any policy would do!!! a target, something to aim at!!!

Osborne's negotiations with Lib Dems - specifically with energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey - focused on gas. Davey wants full decarbonisation by 2030. Osborne wants natural gas to play a role in Britain's energy mix past 2030.

"It's not realistic to try to get off gas," Glyn Davies, Tory MP for Montgomeryshire

parliamentarians have plenty of reasons to be uneasy about a 2030 decarbonisation target too.

Companies there have major challenges as far as emission are concerned, but at the same time they work together to create carbon capture and storage projects. We need government to step up to the plate and help them do that.

Eventually Osborne and Davey came to a deal. Firstly, they would ignore the 2030 goal until after the election (an Osborne victory). Secondly they would announce a gas strategy which would be unveiled on December 5th, alongside the autumn statement, backing new gas-fired power stations (another Osborne victory). Finally, they would significantly raise the cap on how much energy companies can charge consumers to invest in renewable forms of energy (a Davey victory).

EDF Energy are happy - plans two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, said it was a "very positive step".

By 2020 energy companies can add £7.6 billion to household bills to pay for new power plants, wind farms and the like. Consumers are currently paying about £20 a year into this fund. By 2020 that will rise to about £110, although the majority of the increase comes towards the end of that period. Presumably the government is hoping it can go up when household budgets are less tight.

The financial situation for consumers probably sounds worse than it is. The government expects to reduce bills by £94 a year by 2020 as it limits our dependency on gas. Gas has been driving up bills throughout the year, as rising prices whack another £100 on consumer's debit cards. That will probably get worse, with the International Energy Agency forecasting a further 40% rise in gas prices by 2020. But regardless of the long-term picture, many consumers are dreading the rise in already exorbitant energy prices.

Against that backdrop, the government is hardly boosting confidence. "It's a government department where the secretary of state has to take legal advice to establish whether his own minister is acting in the greater interest of green economy," Cunningham says. "There's no policy at all. It's just a muddle. You give a bit, I'll give a bit and all you get is nonsense."

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

shrinking chocolate bars

Are Mars getting smaller - or was it just that we were getting bigger.

Then it became a matter of fact: consumer studies showed the falling weight of chocolate bars over the years.

inflation by the back door - the real inflation rate should be higher...

Not so, it turns out: the Office for National Statistics takes into account shrinking product sizes in its monthly survey of prices

Rising food prices were a major factor in the sharp spike in October inflation to 2.7 per cent reported today.

But the ONS also said consumers were getting less for their money after a number of confectionery products reduced in size.

This is treated as a price rise by statisticians, even though the price has stayed the same.

Sweets giant Cadbury recently decreased the weight of its Dairy Milk chocolate bar from 49g to 45g while continuing to charge 59p. It relaunched the bar in a new curved shape and said the decision to reduce the size had been taken in the wake of rising fuel and cocoa prices.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

John Lewis to show 'lifetime running costs' for electrical goods from next year

John Lewis, the High Street department store chain, is to display the lifetime running cost of the electrical goods it sells.

The initiative is part of a wider Government plan to cut energy use by 11 per cent by 2020.

The Energy Efficiency Strategy, published yesterday by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, includes the trial with the John Lewis trial highlighted as one of its three key strands.

The DECC said John Lewis will begin labelling products with lifetime electricity costs next year.

Under currents European Commission rules, it became compulsory in July 2011 for retailers to display an energy rating on each appliance, from A to G.

As products have improved, new A+, A++ and A+++ energy ratings have been added for fridges, washing machines and dishwashers.

Government believe it can exert more influence over buying decisions by informing consumers the real total cost of running an appliance. Less efficient devices are often cheaper to buy but more expensive to run.

The DECC said: 'A similar trial in Norway showed 'this information led to consumers purchasing goods that are more energy efficient

Monday, 26 November 2012

Cheaper stamps for Christmas

Are you on Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit?

they you will be able to buy up to 36 stamps this Christmas at the pre April 30th price rise price.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


 a device that allows small traders to take credit card payments, is arriving in the UK after a successful rollout in other markets.

But a failure by big payment firms to agree common standards on how we use these mobile money systems could mean the whole idea fails to fly.iZettle is a small card-reader that plugs into iPhones, iPads and a number of Android smartphones or tablets. It is designed for use by any small trader who can't afford the infrastructure needed to take credit card payments. You hand over your card to the stallholder - or plumber or window-cleaner - it is swiped through the device, and then you sign for your purchase. The merchant pays a commission of 2.75% a transaction, and the consumer gets to use their plastic rather than cash in new places.

iZettle was launched in Sweden a year ago, and according to the co-founder Jacob de Geer, it is now used by more than 75,000 small businesses and individuals in six countries. In Sweden, he told journalists at the launch, 700 blacksmiths are using the device. "It's bringing new merchants to the table. My ambition is to democratise card payments."

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Smart phones - the tip of the iceberg

Following the launch of the iPhone 5 and its widespread popularity with consumers, public opinion indicates the likes of Siri, is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we expect of phones in 50 years time.

The majority of the public feel that technology will play the most defining role in our lives by 2062 with smart phones being a driving force.
half of those surveyed feel that smart phones and the rise in tablet devices are the biggest technological advancements in the last two years.

67 per cent of those interviewed said they expected to be able to turn their heating on remotely, using their mobiles.  In actual fact, this is something which is already in place.

We believe that we can actually think bigger and expect some revolutionary advancements, particularly with white goods.

smart phones will be incredibly smart; so the question is how far we can take it?  We anticipate fridges which will text you with shopping requirements, advanced video monitoring so the elder generation can stay in their homes for longer; or even solar-powered mobiles, tablet devices and laptops.

As smart phones progress, the survey suggests there may even be implications on how we communicate as well.  With texting arguably being the most common form of communication at the moment; the survey surprisingly revealed that just seven per cent of those interviewed mentioned text messages as being the most common form of communication by 2062.

 The likes of advanced, video-messaging are set to take precedence and a quarter of people actually believe family members will opt to communicate virtually over face to face.

Friday, 23 November 2012


Great name, but a brilliant idea...

How many times have you bashed a tomato sauce bottle against a bench to force the last dollop onto your plate? Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US have invented a solution, an ultra-thin material that coats the inside surface of a bottle and allows gluggy liquids like tomato sauce and shampoo to slide right out. The slippery material, called LiquiGlide, is plant based. The team, led by engineer Kripa Varanasi, hope the material, which can coat glass, plastic, metal and ceramic, will be on the market within three years.

can you wait three years...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Apprentice of the Year Award 2012

We (Andrew W & I) are off to the Apprentice of the Year Award 2012 at Duxford this evening...

Tom lane who has just completed his Advanced Apprenticeship in electrical installation with JTL is representing D A Woolgar limited in our region against 12 other hopefuls to the winner’s cup.

Tom is going to win? Or will I be eating my words???? Watch this space..

Good luck Tom

Lotus Evora 414E - sexy and fast

the EV Evora sportscar has emissions less than half the average new car goes like a rocket...

A mid-engined Lotus Evora with huge amounts of torque, a 0-60mph time of 4 seconds, and emissions lower than a Toyota Prius.

However the 414E is not a dream - I've driven the car and can confirm that it is very much a reality.
Lotus has developed the car as part of a Technology Strategy Board demonstration project on so-called 'range-extended electric vehicles', with partners Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Xtrac and Evo Electric. The aim is to showcase what the UK car industry can do in the area of ultra-low carbon vehicles – and in this case with a sports car.

The car's figures of 1000 Nm torque and 55g/km CO2 are achieved thanks to a powertrain that is primarily electric. Recharging the battery from the mains gives a driving range of around 30 miles, but the car also has an engine that cuts in either when extra performance is required, or to provide power when the battery becomes depleted. The engine then acts as a generator for the electric motors, giving a total range of 300 miles.

Although similar in concept to the Chevrolet Volt, there's one significant difference. The Volt has an 'off the shelf' 1.4-litre engine from an Astra, together with a large battery and electric motor. Lotus believes this solution is too heavy, especially for a sports car. So it has developed its own 'range-extender' engine that is extremely light: a 3-cylinder, 1.2-litre petrol unit that's designed to work purely as a generator.

In reality, the engine in the current 414E demonstrator isn't powerful enough to provide sufficient performance if it had to work by itself without any battery power. So Lotus is intending to develop a more powerful version with a supercharger, which would be a more practical solution in real-life.
 The engine and batteries that power the 'range extender' version of the Evora

Despite the lightweight range-extender, the Evora 414E gains a total of 377kg thanks to the battery and other electrical components. This has an impact on the handling of the normally extremely agile Evora, however you do get the benefit of 1000 Nm of torque to help offset the extra weight. There's no other car that combines such a huge torque figure with the relatively compact size of the Evora. The 414E still has good handling, along with spaceship-like levels of thrust out of the corners on the Lotus test track.

The Evora 414E project is currently at the end of its second stage. During the next phase Lotus is looking at a number of further innovations, one of which is a simulated gearshift. Most electric cars are very similar to drive. Compared to the variations that you can achieve by combining different petrol and diesel engines with manual and automatic transmissions, it's difficult to inject such different personalities using just an electric motor with a single-speed transmission. A 'virtual' gearshift will provide keen drivers with the ability to interact with the car and hold it in a lower gear through corners.

I want one

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Wii U: now it’s out in the US

Nintendo's latest and greatest console has enjoyed brisk sales and we git it here in just over a week

 It’s clear that Nintendo has another potential game-changer on their hands.

The Wii U's tri-core processor is very similar to the Xbox 360, running at 3GHz compared to Microsoft's 3.2GHz. On paper, it seems like the Wii U chip might not be as capable as the Xbox 360, but there's more to a powerful processor than pure speed, with many other variables to consider.

Additionally, the Wii U chip's similarities to the Microsoft CPU means that issues such as heating and cooling should be fully resolved.

Still, the rest of the spec sheet is definitely a step above any other console on the market.

For one, the Wii U has 2GBs of RAM, of which 1GB is devoted solely to the operating system itself. In contrast, the PS3 and Xbox 360 devoted way under 100MBs to their operating systems.

The other 1GB of RAM is used for the all-important games, compared to 512MBs on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. More RAM usually means faster loading times, larger environments and higher resolution textures.

In the graphics chip department, the WiiU utilises technology based on AMD's Radeon HD series, putting it a few years ahead of Sony and Microsoft's tech.

The Wii U makes use of Blu-Ray discs for its games, which means that up to 25GBs of data can be stored on them. So, games that require multiple discs on Xbox 360 should fit just fine on one Wii U disc.

However, much like the original Wii and its inability to play DVDs, the Wii U can't play Blu-Ray discs (or DVDs for that matter). This is due to the licensing fees and negotiations associated with the standard

We all know that there will probably be a hack that enables Blu-Ray and DVD playback down the line though. Of course, that'll totally invalidate your warranty in the process.

 Wii U changes things up with four Wii remotes and one GamePad.

The five-player gameplay is demonstrated in Nintendo-Land, a pack-in title for the Premium package. In the Luigi's Ghost Mansion game, for instance, four remote-toting players need to whittle the health down of the GamePad-toting ghost.
have you got yours ordered?

Electricity is even more important in biology than previously thought

Mary Shelley,s gothic masterpiece on the shores of Lake Geneva nearly two centuries ago, she brought Frankenstein’s fictional monster to life using the power of electricity; a form of energy that scientists had recently discovered, which seemed to play a key role in the functioning of the body.
Today, biologists are realising that electricity is even more important than was hitherto thought – so much so that some are talking about a new bioelectrical revolution. It not only governs the contraction of our muscles and carries impulses through our nerves, but also holds the key to a host of illnesses, from the most intense migraines to cystic fibrosis.

A lecture in the Royal Institution, London, the Oxford University physiologist Frances Ashcroft explained how this revolution in bioelectricity has happened.

While the electricity we use to power motors, make lights shine and bring our computers to life relies on electrons – the fundamental sub-atomic particles which carry electrical charge – the electricity in our bodies is carried by larger, more complex charged atoms, or ions, which are found in salts such as sodium chloride. While electricity in wires travels at the speed of light, (around 186,000 miles per second), electrical signals are carried around our bodies at a far slower (if still rapid) half a mile per second, or about 1800 mph.

As bioelectricity flashes in and out of our cells, it generates currents of a few picoamperes – about a hundred billionth of the current that makes a light bulb glow. Somehow, the ions carrying these currents have to find a way past the insulating greasy membrane that protects the watery contents of every cell.

The realisation that cell membranes are studded with tiny pores (constructed from specific proteins), which allow the free movement of ions, dates back to in the 1950s and the pioneering studies of Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley in Cambridge and Bernard Katz at University College London.
These pores are ion channels, and they regulate all life, from the moment of conception until we draw our last breath. Indeed, according to Ashcroft, these channels are truly the “spark of life” – the title of her recent book on the subject.

From the lashing of the sperm’s tail to the beating of our hearts, the craving for yet another chocolate, or the feel of the sun on your skin, everything is underpinned by ion channel activity.
In 1984, Ashcroft discovered an ion channel through which potassium ions leave cells and observed that it was closed by the breakdown of glucose, triggering the release of insulin. She was so excited that she did not sleep; the next morning, thought she had made a mistake.

She hadn’t. Two decades later it was found that a rare childhood form of diabetes resulted from a defect in this channel and, in a remarkable twist, could be treated by taking pills called sulphonylureas, initially trialled as a treatment for typhoid.

It turns out that faulty ion channels are actually responsible for a remarkably wide range of human and animal diseases. Pigs that shiver themselves to death, myotonic goats that stiffen so much they topple over when startled, humans with cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, heart arrhythmias or migraine – all are victims of ion channel dysfunction.

Mutations in sodium channels, for example, underlie inherited forms of epilepsy (when an electrical storm erupts in the brain), migraine headaches, heart rhythm disturbances, paralysis, and some chronic pain syndromes. In the past few years, important clues to understanding what goes wrong, and how this can be fixed, have come from working out what ion channels look like.
Sodium channels – which allow sodium ions to pass – are found in “excitable” cells such as the neurons in your brain, or the cells found in heart muscle, or the nerve cells that carry signals of pain, hot or cold.

Their atomic structure was only solved last year, by William Catterall’s team from the University of Washington in Seattle. Many drugs work by interacting with ion channels and knowing the shape of the protein, and what the drug-binding sites look like, is expected to stimulate the design of new chemicals, which can alter the protein’s structure.

Poisons target ion channels, too. In the past few days, Sylvie Diochot and Anne Baron from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) have reported a remarkable discovery. The venom of the black mamba, one of the world’s nastiest snakes, contains chemicals that block nerve ion channels.

These chemicals, mambalgins, stop a specific type of ion channel found in pain cells from opening. By doing so, they relieve pain as effectively as morphine, without its side effects. Thanks to the second electrical revolution, expect a new generation of drugs to fine-tune the electrical workings of your heart, nerves and brain.

Roger Highfield is Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Can you fix a socket to a kitchen cabinet

Can accessories and electrical equipment such as socket-outlets and under-cupboard lighting be fixed to fitted kitchen units?

Yes, provided that they are securely fixed to rigid parts of the units that are not demountable or otherwise liable to be disturbed in normal service. However, care must be taken to comply with all the relevant requirements of BS 7671, including accessibility for inspection, testing and maintenance, and provision of adequate protection against damage (by impact or water for example) for the accessories, equipment and associated wiring. 

Regulation number(s)

any questions

Monday, 19 November 2012

Decoding dreams

The Japanese researchers managed to decode the dreams of a group of volunteers and pinpointed when they were dreaming about such things as cars and women.

They scanned the brains of three male volunteers as they slept to monitor changes in activity which could be related to the content of their dreams.

They also monitored electrical patterns in the men's brain waves, so that they could wake them up whenever the signals indicated that they had begun dreaming.

Each time the participants awoke they were asked what they had dreamt about before being allowed to go back to sleep. The process was repeated across several days until 200 reports had been collected from each volunteer.

Researchers reported that while some of the dreams were out of the ordinary – for example a discussion with a famous actor – most involved more mundane experiences from everyday life.
From the dream accounts they picked out 20 of the most commonly occurring themes, such as "car", "man", "woman" and "computer", and gathered pictures which represented each category.

The participants were then asked to view the images while their brains were scanned a second time.
By comparing the second set of brain activity data with the recordings made just before the volunteers had been woken up, the researchers were able to identify distinctive patterns in three key brain regions which help us process what our eyes see.

They also found that activity in a number of other brain regions with more specialised roles in visual processing, for example in helping us recognise objects, varied depending on the content of the dreams.
Finally, they built a computer model which could predict whether or not each of the selected themes was present in the participants' dreams.

Yukiyasu Kamitani of the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, who led the study, told Nature News: "By analysing the brain activity during the nine seconds before we woke the subjects, we could predict whether a man is in the dream or not, for instance, with an accuracy of 75 to 80 per cent."

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A third of people say they are having difficulties

paying their gas and electricity bills

That is the conclusion of a poll carried out for the Energy Saving Trust (EST), which also found that one in six people earning between £35,000 and £55,000 a year say they are struggling with gas and electricity bills
While one in seven of those polled said they would take a second job or work overtime to pay their bills, just 3 per cent would turn to an energy-saving helpline or website for advice.
EST Chief Executive Phillip Sellwood said: "Our survey shows that everyone is feeling the pinch, no matter whether their salary is £15,000 or £55,000.

"Our message is that taking short-term measures, such as cutting out that lunchtime latte, is not the answer; it's treating the symptoms, but not the cause."

The EST says becoming more energy efficient - by turning off electrical appliances when they are not being used, for example - could save people £280 a year.

The poll follows the furore surrounding David Cameron's pledge in parliament last week that the government would force the energy companies to give their customers the cheapest available deal.
He said at prime minister's questions on 17 October: "I can announce that we will be legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers."

He was accused by Labour of making up policy on the hoof, and the following day, Energy Minister John Hayes told the Commons the forthcoming energy bill would be used to "get people lower tariffs". But he did not repeat Mr Cameron's assertion that it would ensure people were put on the "lowest" tariffs.

Earlier this month, Npower announced it was raising gas and electricity prices by 8.8 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively. This followed the decision by British Gas to hike its prices by an average £80 a year. Scottish and Southern Energy is also raising its prices by an average 9 per cent.

The EST poll of 2,000 people, carried out by Ipsos Mori to mark Big Energy Saving Week, also found that more people worry about their utility bills than their mortgages or childcare costs, with 14 per cent of people paying more than £1,500 a year for their gas and electricity.

While 42 per cent of people would talk to family or friends if they were having difficulties, 37 per cent would lend money to those closest to them.

Phillip Selwood said: "There are still many free offers of help for loft and cavity wall insulation no matter what your income is. But our overriding concern is that those who are 'struggling in the dark' are not speaking to anyone about their fuel bill problems."

EST figures show that half of all properties in the UK - around 13 million - have under-insulated lofts. Six million homes have uninsulated cavity walls, but the owners of four million homes have taken advantage of grants and offers to insulate their lofts and cavity walls.

The different tariffs charged by the power companies can be confusing. By default, energy users are usually put on what is called the "standard" tariff, which is rarely a company's cheapest rate.
The consumer organisation Which? wants companies to make their charges easier to understand.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


A new strain of yeast and the inedible part of sugar cane could revolutionise global fuel production. A pair of Australian brothers have developed a powerful yeast that can convert waste biomass such as sugar cane byproducts into ethanol. More than 80 billion litres of ethanol is produced from edible crops such as corn each year. Next generation biofuels aim to reduce the reliance on food crops, but scientists have struggled to produce ethanol from the woody, inedible part of plants. Geoff and Phil Bell's high-quality yeast, which has received funding from the United States and Australian governments, has overcome this problem. The pair hope to turn the first sod at a Microbiogen plant in two to three years.

Friday, 16 November 2012

LED lights - are they as energy-efficient as we think?

Clearly, people at home and work are eager to ditch the unloved CFL and the not-so-efficient halogen
and slot in the small, ready-toglow semiconductor diode, be it to boost energy efficiency, cut energy
consumption or even glow a brighter shade of green.

does the LED live up to its glowing reputation? Not yet.

As one disappointed user recently wrote on a LED web forum: “I bought 12 LED GU10 lamps about 18 months ago of which around half no longer work, two only lasted for 48 hours. The light output is nowhere near what is claimed either, even using 3 by 3W LEDs does not equal the equivalent 50W light bulb.”

cheap and cheerful, matter of quality, there asre obvious issues

The disappointed LED lamp user’s comments are not unusual by any stretch of the imagination. Iain Macrae, president of the Society of Light and Lighting and global technical manager of Thorn Lighting, supplier of luminaires and lighting controls, says: “High-quality players will have great performing LEDs, tell you the truth and be able to back it up. At the lower end of the market, players have more poorly performing LEDs – quite rightly so at the price point – but
they won’t always tell you about it.”
According to Macrae, confusion exists around how light output is measured, and this has been exploited to fool the customer. Typically, two light figures are quoted by LED and luminaire (complete light fittings) manufacturers: lumens per watt and luminaire lumens per watt.
The former, lumens per watt, refers to the ratio of light output from the actual
LED to the power consumed; the higher the value, the more energy efficient

need help. feel free to ask, we'll bring samples

Thursday, 15 November 2012

will the Wii U change us???

Is the Wii U

the original Wii sold the nearly 100-million units of the get-off-your-couch console as we wield plastic sticks and pretend to ski, bowl or other...

The new Wii looks like a reaction to the iPhone and iPad... Generation i

The Wii U, which is to be released in the UK at the end of the month... works with the motion-control remotes, and guess what? a 10" pad surrounded by thumbsticks, buttons, triggers and gizmo's

The GamePad is the cousin to an iPad Mini that had a fling with a traditional video game controller.

is this innovations or merely acceding to the cultural tide. but with this, will the Wii U bring families together in their living rooms for touch-screen gaming rather than leave them isolated with their tablets and smart phones...

Simplicity was a large part of the broad appeal of the first Wii. have they lost that? was it the only way to go??? probably...

We I have no idea what the Wii U Portends, or whether it will permanently alter how we play, alone or together.

But it’s going to be interesting finding out - 15 days to go!!!!!!!!!!

Fire and smoke can spread very quickly

Both can kill. It is important that everyone knows how to avoid fires starting and what to do if one does start.

You, your family and visitors must take responsibility for preventing the outbreak of fire.

Most fires are avoidable if you follow a few simple rules:
 •Test your smoke detector weekly, especially if it is battery operated only. If it is not working report it immediately to the Repairs and Maintenance Service.
 •Check your home and make sure that it is safe from fire hazards. Pay particular attention to your kitchen, as two thirds of fires happen due to cooking.
 •Cooking should not be left unattended, particularly when using a chip pan.
 •Pay attention to electrical safety. Report all broken switches, sockets and light fittings or any exposed wiring immediately to the Repairs and Maintenance Service.
 •Do not use or store propane gas bottles, paraffin or other flammable liquids such as petrol anywhere on the premises.
 •Lit cigarettes, cigars and pipes should not be left unattended. For safety advice please see the Avon Fire and Rescue's smoking page.
 •Keep matches away from children and ensure they can not be reached.
 •Candles should only be used in a stable holder, well away from curtains and other flammable materials.
•Do not dry or air clothes near heaters, cookers or open fires. Make sure open fires have fireguards.
 •Close internal doors when you retire at night.

electric car that drives, parks itself

A Nissan electric car that can park itself and approach its driver when "called" upon was unveiled at the Ceatec 2012 show in Tokyo

Entitled the Nissan NSC-2015, the vehicle is currently a prototype, but its name suggests the company plan to launch the car by 2015. The NSC-2015 is a modified version of Nissan's Leaf car. It depends on cameras, sensors, computers and 4G communication technology for wireless links to navigate. To turn its wheel, meanwhile, robotics can be used, which is also utilized in order to change gears and brake.

When demonstrated at the show, the NSC drove itself at around 3mph (5km/h) in a straight line in both a forward and reverse capacity, as well as being able to successfully turn.

Nissan showcased that the vehicle could recognize road markings and was able to stop at a crossing when required. A representative from the car maker also controlled it externally, where he made the car drive towards him as he pressed several buttons on his smartphone.

clever eh!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

EV to range could triple with silicon-graphene

Lithium-ion battery research company, CalBattery, has announced a huge breakthrough in energy density that could in a few years give a 300% jump in battery energy density, that could triple electric car driving range.

Energy density is the key measure of electric car batteries to determine driving range and ultimately the usefulness of the vehicle. It was the energy density improvements of lithium-ion batteries that enabled the resurgence of electric cars. But the current crop of lithium ion batteries do not allow for enough energy storage, and driving range, at a low enough cost, to get past the "too expensive" sniff test that is hindering electric car adoption today. A new lithium-ion battery designed by CalBattery, with a silicon-graphene anode, promises a dramatic energy density breakthrough, according to a news release issued by the company on Friday.

The company is a finalist in the Dept of Energy's 2012 Start UP America's Next Top Energy Innovator challenge. Independent test results using full-cell lithium-ion battery cells designed by CalBattery demonstrate an energy density of 525 watt-hours per kilogram, and a specific anode capacity of 1,250 mili-amp-hours per gram. Most commercial batteries have an energy density in the 100-180 watt-hours per kilogram range, and specific anode capacity in the 325 mili-amp-hours per gram range.

now all we ahve to see, is how they manage heat...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

P A Testing

ON 28 NOVEMBER 2011, the Lofstedt report was published, highlighting a significant level of legislative over-compliance by industry. One key issue identified in the report was confusion over PAT testing – widely misunderstood as a requirement to carry out inspection and testing annually, regardless of equipment type, usage or environment.

In fact, inspecting or testing annually has never been a requirement, and the new Code of Practice has been updated to emphasise and expand on this.

< The fourth edition of the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment has been written to emphasise the need to ‘risk assess’ the requirement
for any inspections and tests. Risk assessments are vital to understanding what can affect any electrical equipment in use, and to be sure of its continued safe use.

Any risk assessment process must be carried out by the duty holder, because he or she is solely responsible for the safety and maintenance of equipment in his or her care. A duty holder may use an outside consultant to advise on the type and frequency of any inspections or tests; however, the duty holder is responsible in all cases, regardless of any consultant’s advice.

In the past PAT testing has, in the majority of cases, been conducted by external contractors. These contractors have then, quite wrongly, set the frequency of the subsequent inspections and tests without consultation or input from the duty holder, and without an adequate – if any – risk assessment. In many cases, Table 7.1 in the Code of Practice was used or misinterpreted as a definitive frequency chart.

This is unnecessarily costing UK businesses a great deal of money each year. It has always been stressed that Table 7.1 is only intended to provide guidance on initial frequencies, and should only be used as a starting point where previous inspection and testing records and risk assessments are not available.

Ongoing frequencies should be determined from a risk assessment.

Interestingly, there is a common misperception that general office areas are high-risk environments. In fact, office areas in general present very low levels of risk, and subsequent risk assessments and frequencies should reflect this. The HSE publication INDG236: ‘Maintaining portable electrical equipment in low-risk environments’, gives further guidance and information on these types of environments.

Risk levels are, in practice, also generally low for large sever rooms in data storage, handling and call centres, etc, where, owing to the sensitive and critical nature of the information held, access is limited to persons directly responsible for upkeep and repair.

When external contractors are used to carry out PAT testing they should, in the first instance, be contracted to carry out inspections and testing only on equipment identified by the duty holder based on a risk assessment.

Duty holders can be the only persons with a knowledge of the factors that affect the equipment in their care, and not the contractor. If duty holders opt to use any information they receive from contractors to aid them with their risk assessment, they are clearly free to do so.

However, the liability ofresponsibility will still remain with them, regardless of marketing claims made by any external contractors to the contrary. Duty holders need to be aware that in some instances equipment frequencies should be increased if evidence of significant deterioration of equipment or appliances is present.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Tesla Model S

would you like an electric car that’s as fast as a BMW M5. of course you would..

 The slinky new 416bhp Tesla Model S can hum to 60 in 4.4 seconds.

Brainchild of PayPal creator Elon Musk (he bet his billions on this car), it’s one of the most usable and exciting electric vehicles in the world.

Made from lightweight ­aluminium with ­batteries developed by electronics giant Pioneer, top models can do 300 miles on one charge and seat seven.

And unlike other EVs, it looks quite sexy.

There’s air suspension, eight air bags, a 17-inch touchscreen (the biggest in any production car) that dominates the cabin, air-con and sat-nav powered by Google Earth.

Testers have ­described the ­acceleration as “immensely quick”, and at the limited top speed of 130mph all you hear is tyres on the road..

The centrally located batteries, front double-wishbone and multi-link rear suspension give crisp, fast handling, and you can even change the steering setting between ­Comfort, Normal and Sport at the touch of a button.

And with the longest range of any electric car on the market, the Model S could even woo Jaguar XF, Merc E-Class and BMW 5-Series buyers, given that its kick-off price is a relatively reasonable £50k. And that’s why the Californian firm has already taken 13,000 orders and is ready to churn out 20,000 cars every year when the S goes into full production in 2013.

With zero road tax, a potential of over 200mpg and generous ­company car tax incentives, this is one ­luxury barge that defies convention, costing literally pennies to run.

Those 300 miles will set you back a piffling £2 in electricity.

better start saving, to start saving

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Audi Unplugs R8 e-tron, Electric Car Program Left In Limbo

In September of 2009, Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen loudly and proudly called the Chevrolet Volt "a car for idiots". He spent the next several months back-tracking.

a classic case of foot-in-mouth disease, de Nysschen was clumsily trying to make a couple of interesting points: (a) even though the Volt is fuel-efficient, savings at the pump will never justify the car's high price tag, and (b) because America derives so much of its electricity from coal, even the most severely gas-averse Volt drivers won't be doing much to improve the environment.*

But underneath those arguably compelling arguments, it was impossible to ignore a certain contempt that de Nysschen was expressing for electric and advanced hybrid cars.

De Nysschen's boss, Rupert Stadler, hasn't been much more enthusiastic on those fronts, though both men have often pointed to Audi's high-end e-tron concept car -- revealed around the same time as the "idiots" incident -- as proof that Audi was making room for electrics in its lineup. In fact, just last month, we were promised e-tron versions of every Audi model by the year 2020.
Audi has announced that it's delaying the rollout of its all-electric supercar, the Audi R8 e-tron, which was due to launch later this year. The folks at Wired see the situation as a bit more dire, reporting that the electric R8 has been completely shelved, due to the high cost and poor efficiency of today's batteries and the fact that Wolfgang Dürheimer, Audi's new head of R&D, put the e-tron program on the back burner.
And the R8 wasn't the only electric car at Audi HQ: the automaker is also testing an e-tron based on the smaller, simpler, cheaper A3. In nixing the R8, Audi didn't say anything about the A3 e-tron, so it might still be on-track for its rumored 2014 release. We'll see.

How enthusiastic IS the Volkswagen family is about electric and advanced hybrid cars.

Consider this: way back in 2007, Toyota promised hybrid and electric versions of every car in its lineup by the year 2020. Such vehicles -- particularly the Prius -- have been key in Toyota's continued growth, and the company clearly sees them as the foundation for a successful future.

Volkswagen has put Toyota in its sights, aiming to overtake the company and become world's biggest automaker by 2018. Do hybrids and electrics figure into VW's plan for world domination? And if so, where?

Solar Paint

Imagine if every outdoor surface of your house or office building could generate electricity. That could soon be a reality thanks to a team at the University of Newcastle who have invented a solar paint. The water-based lacquer contains tiny plastic particles - smaller than the diameter of a human hair - that absorb sunlight to produce electricity. The project leader, Paul Dastoor, says the ultimate goal is a paint that can be applied directly to a roof or wall, but early versions will paint the material on plastic sheets, which contain electrical wires to transmit the electricity, that can be rolled out. The solar paint could generate electricity at half today's electricity prices.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Sell Electric Cars Like smartphones...

Three big barriers are slowing electric vehicles. One can be fixed by the auto industry tomorrow -- and if it is, the other two will melt away as the electric vehicle sector expands.

Start with a simple but surprising fact: Right now, leasing a GM Volt for only two years costs you less than its gasoline counterpart, the Cruze. The Volt leases for $69 a month more than the Cruze, but saves $200 a month in fuel by operating most of the time on electricity. The $1800 higher down payment for leasing the Volt is paid off in 14 months -- you make money for the last 10 months of your lease!

Almost no one knows this -- GM hasn't been shouting about it from the roof-tops. Clearly the company loses money leasing Volts at this price. Because most drivers don't lease, GM knows it won't, if it keeps the secret, sell more Volts at a loss than it wants too.

But the choice of a below-cost lease as a way to build the market for the Volt -- along with the necessity of doing so stealthily -- shows that the auto industry hasn't figured out that electric cars need to be sold differently than internal combustion engines -- just as Apple had to develop new business models to sell smartphones. Imagine -- and it's just as feasible as GM's current lease offer -- that you could buy a Volt, or a Nissan LEAF, for the same price as its gasoline equivalent -- the Cruze or the Versa. The same price! There would be a catch; to qualify, you would sign a five-year fuel contract requiring you to buy all of the electricity you needed for your car for the equivalent of $3 per gallon. You would get a better car, and guaranteed protection against future increases in the price of gas, for no additional purchase price. Your risk? Gas averages below $3.

This is how smartphones are sold. The upfront cost of the phone is recovered through a service contract -- and in my model above, over five years the owner of the new electric car would pay the current sticker price of a Volt or LEAF -- because they would pay a premium for the electric fuel they use.

But the car would cost less upfront than a gasoline model, and fueling the car would also cost less (unless gas averaged below $3 a gallon over the five-year period.)

So Barrier One is that the auto industry doesn't know how to sell electric cars. Electrics are smartphones, and car companies are like the old clunky AT&T monopoly -- after all, they still haven't figured out how to sell them for a fixed price!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Living cables explain enigmatic electric currents

The enigma of electric currents in the seabed is solved. Scientists from Aarhus University have sensationally discovered bacteria that function as living electrical cables. Each of the centimetre-long ‘cable bacteria’ contains a bundle of insulated wires leading an electric current from one end to the other.

Electricity and seawater are usually a bad mix. And it was thus a very big surprise when scientists from Aarhus University a few years ago discovered electric currents between biological processes in the seabed. Since then they have been searching for an explanation and together with partners from the University of Southern California, USA, they now present sensational results in Nature.

“Our experiments showed that the electric connections in the seabed must be solid structures built by bacteria,” says PhD student Christian Pfeffer, Aarhus University.

He could interrupt the electric currents by pulling a thin wire horizontally through the seafloor. Just as when an excavator cuts our electric cables.

In microscopes, scientists found a hitherto unknown type of long, multi-cellular bacteria that was always present when scientists measured the electric currents.

“The incredible idea that these bacteria should be electric cables really fell into place when, inside the bacteria, we saw wire-like strings enclosed by a membrane,” says Nils Risgaard-Petersen, Aarhus University.

living cables

The bacterium is one hundred times thinner than a hair and the whole bacterium functions as an electric cable with a number of insulated wires within it. Quite similar to the electric cables we know from our daily lives.

“Such unique insulated biological wires seem simple but with incredible complexity at nanoscale,” says PhD student Jie Song, Aarhus University, who used nanotools to map the electrical properties of the cable bacteria.

In an undisturbed seabed more than tens of thousands kilometers cable bacteria live under a single square meter seabed. The ability to conduct an electric current gives cable bacteria such large benefits that it conquers much of the energy from decomposition processes in the seabed.

Unlike all other known forms of life, cable bacteria maintain an efficient combustion down in the oxygen-free part of the seabed. It only requires that one end of the individual reaches the oxygen which the seawater provides to the top millimeters of the seabed. The combustion is a transfer of the electrons of the food to oxygen which the bacterial inner wires manage over centimeter-long distances. However, small disturbances can lead to fatal “cable breakage” in the fragile bacteria.


“On the one hand, it is still very unreal and fantastic. On the other hand, it is also very tangible,” says Professor at Aarhus University, Lars Peter Nielsen, who is in charge of exploring the natural electrical currents.

Along with a number of international cooperation partners, several scientists at Aarhus University already address the new and exciting questions that arise. Right from the understanding of bioelectronics at the molecular level to the role of cable bacteria in the history of Earth.

The future will tell whether this wondrous result of the biological evolution can also be used in new types of electronics. exciting...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Chinese e-cars to turn London cabs green

Boris-backed deal will see 50 electric minicabs hit the capital's streets

Chinese car manufacturer BYD will help to make the streets of London just a little bit greener after signing a deal with the capital’s second largest minicab service to supply the city’s first fleet of electric taxis.

Greentomatocars, which describe itself as “London’s second largest quality minicab service”, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Shenzhen-based BYD to take 50 of its e6 electric models on a trial basis from Q2 2013.

The zero emission (from the car) e6 features a 75kW motor and BYD’s proprietary Iron Phosphate (Fe) battery, which apparently get the car 186 miles on a single charge, assuming ‘urban’ conditions, and a none-too-shabby top speed of 87mph.

The Fe battery can be fully charged and discharged for 4,000 cycles, the firm said.
Unsurprisingly, London Mayor and cyclist Boris Johnson has jumped on the news.... :)

London's minicabs and taxis will be zero-emission by 2020, which will have a major impact on air quality. Every year the fleet is getting cleaner, making our city an even more attractive place to live, work and visit. Encouraging many more electric vehicles is a key part of this transformation, so it is great news that greentomatocars has committed to operating 50 of these super clean machines from next year.

Heart power to run pacemakers

Your own beating heart may generate enough electricity to power a heart-regulating pacemaker, ending the need for expensive surgeries to replace expiring batteries, according to an early study of an experimental energy-converting device.

Researchers at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor tested an energy-harvesting device that runs on piezoelectricity - the electrical charge generated from motion, according to the study which was released at the annual American Heart Association scientific conference on Sunday.

The approach is a promising technological solution for pacemakers, because they require only small amounts of power to operate, said M. Amin Karami, the study's lead author and a research fellow at the university.

The implanted devices, which send electrical impulses into the heart to help maintain a normal heartbeat, have to be replaced every five to seven years when their batteries run out.

Researchers measured heartbeat-induced vibrations in the chest.

They then used a "shaker" to reproduce the vibrations in the laboratory and connected it to a prototype cardiac energy harvester they developed.

Microsoft ditches Windows Live

Microsoft has announced it intends to "retire" its instant message chat tool and replace it with Skype's messaging tool.

The news comes 18 months after the software giant announced it was paying $8.5bn (£5.3bn) for the communications software developer.

Microsoft said Windows Live Messenger (WLM) would be turned off by March 2013 worldwide, with the exception of China.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

the little black box

For a while, some insurance companies have been encouraging teenagers to get a little black box in their cars. But how do they work, and will everyone soon have one?

For many young people, getting their first wheels is a rite of passage, a path to independence, the precursor to flying the nest.

But with one in five young drivers having an accident within their first 12 months of being on the road, insurance premiums are high. Many look to ways to reduce their costs.

It has led to the rise of what is known as the little black box, which motorists are installing in their cars to prove they are a good driver, in the hope they see insurance costs drop.

The British Insurers Brokers' Association (Biba) says sales of motor insurance policies which use "black box" technology, called telematics, have increased fivefold over the past two years.
It says it can knock 25% to 30% off policies, saving some young drivers up to £1,000.
Young driver stats
  • One in eight UK licence holders aged 25 or under
  • One in three road death victims are under 25
  • An 18-year-old driver is more than three times as likely to crash than a 48-year-old
  • More than one in four motor-related injury claims of over £500,000 involve under 25s
Source: Association of British Insurers (ABI)

Critics say they cost too much and civil liberty campaigners have expressed concern about the potential for invasion of privacy, or data incriminating drivers.

So how does telematics technology work, and what do these black boxes record?

Typically the boxes are placed inside a dashboard and are able to monitor things such as speed, acceleration and braking, and the times of the day that the cars are on the roads.

The safer the driver, the better the score and the lower the insurance premium.

But prices can go up as well as down. If the analysed information shows examples of poor driving, such as fast cornering or doing wheelies, the black box will also pick that up.

Nick Moger, one of the founders of Young Marmalade, which offers a young driver insurance scheme with telematics technology, says his company uses a green-orange-red system to monitor driving, emailing drivers to alert them when they have picked up bad driving.

"The very first time, they get an email to say they are driving erratically, if they ignore that then they get another email to say you are on probation for 30 days and if they continue to drive badly we increase the premium by £250," he says.

Manufacturers are convinced highlighting poor driving patterns can improve driving behaviour and reduce the number of accidents.

"It has been proved in Italy - where they are probably the leaders in Europe in accident rates - their rate has dropped by 16% by having black boxes," says Moger.

More than 600,000 cars in Italy are believed to have the devices, many more than in the UK. But Biba expects 500,000 UK cars to have them by July 2014.

Nicole Darbyshire, a 20-year-old nursery nurse from Bolton, has already signed up to the system.
After passing her driving test in April, she says the cost of a car and its associated insurance was "a big worry" before she discovered that telematics could help reduce bills.

"For the first month, I was really aware of the box, and if I accidentally sped, I'd brake really quickly. Now I tend to forget it's there.

"I can log onto my account online and see how I am driving. It shows when I've over-accelerated - it has pictures of the street which is a bit strange. So far I've been 97% green, so that's good. I've got more relaxed about checking now as I know it will email me if I do anything wrong," she says.

So might everyone soon have a little black box, or something similar, in their car?
Horrell says it is often parents that are particularly attracted to devices such as little black boxes. But he thinks it is unlikely that everyone will subscribe to such surveillance.

"If people are willing to submit to this kind of observation, they are probably the kind of people who are willing to behave more responsibly."


Persons involved in electrical installation work must be competent,competent, competent.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 imposes duties on persons involved in
electrical work commercially, whether employers, the self-employed or
employees, including most trainees.
Regulation 16 (Persons to be competent to prevent danger and injury) states: “No person shall be
engaged in any work activity where technical knowledge or experience is necessary to prevent danger or, where appropriate, injury, unless he possesses such knowledge or experience, or is under such degree of supervision as may be appropriate having regard to the nature of the work.”
The Memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (HSR25, HSE: 1989) states that: “the object of the regulation is to ensure that persons are not placed at risk due to a
lack of skills on the part of themselves or others in dealing with electrical equipment”.
It continues:
“the scope of ‘technical knowledge or experience’ may include:
(a) adequate knowledge of electricity;
(b) adequate experience of electrical work;
(c) adequate understanding of the system to be worked on and practical experience of that class of system;
(d) understanding of the hazards which may arise during the work and the precautions which need to be taken;
(e) ability to recognise at all times whether it is safe for work to continue.”

Construction sites are potentially dangerous in many ways. Four factors contribute to the high risk of electric shock on a construction site:
1 the possibility of damage to cables and equipment.
2 the widespread use of hand tools with trailing leads (this problem
is mitigated by the increasing use of battery operated tools).
3 the accessibility of many extraneous-conductive parts, which cannot practically be bonded.
4 the works are generally open to the elements.
Section 704 of Amendment 1 of BS 7671:2008 prescribes particular measures to reduce the risks caused by this harsh environment. For example:
BS 7671 strongly prefers the reduced low voltage system to supply portable hand lamps for general use and portable hand tools and local lighting up to 2kW, while SELV is strongly preferred for portable hand lamps in confined or damp locations.
It is usually impracticable to comply with the bonding requirements of the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations on construction sites for PME. Hence BS 7671:2008(2011) states
that a PME earthing facility shall not be used for the means of earthing for a construction site installation unless all extraneous-conductive-parts are reliably connected to the main earthing
terminal. See Regulation 704.411.3.1 Section 704 prohibits the protective measures of obstacles and placing out of reach (Section 417), non-conducting location (Regulation 418.1), and earthfree
local equipotential bonding (Regulation 418.2).
Cables on a construction site location should preferably not be installed across walkways or site roads as they are susceptible to mechanical damage.
If cables are installed in this manner they require the appropriate level of mechanical protection.
For reduced low-voltage systems flexible thermoplastic cables rated at 300/500V and suitable for low
temperature (BS 7919) should be used. These cables remain flexible at lower temperatures than standard PVC cables, and are ideal for outdoor use. They are referred to as arcticgrade cable and typically have yellow (refer to section 4.6 of IET Guidance note 7) or blue sheaths.
For cables used for applications exceeding reduced low voltage, flexible cables rated at 450/750V that are resistant to abrasion and water should be used, type H07RN-F (BS EN 50525
part 2.21). (Please note, whilst BS7019 is still current, it is expected to be
withdrawn end of December 2012).
These are heavy duty rubber insulated and sheathed flexible cables suitable for outdoor use.
All equipment that is part of the movable installation should have a degree of protection appropriate to the external influences. Equipment for external use should be at least IP44.
However, equipment installed in aweather protected location, such as an office being refurbished, should be at least IP 2X (see BS 7671 for exact requirements).
It is recommended that the maximum period between inspections of construction site installations is three months.
Fixed installation RCDs should additionally be tested daily (using the integral test button). Should RCDs be used as supplementary protection to protect mobile equipment they must be tested by the operative before each period of use (again using the integral test button) and by the responsible
person every three months (using anRCD tester). *

Monday, 5 November 2012

forget 4G, we need 3G national coverage

UK geographic landscape is still predominantly rural. Whichever classification is used
England urban areas contain about 80 per cent of the population but cover roughly 20 per cent of the land area, rural areas cover roughly 80 per cent of the land and 20 per cent of the population. coverage in most of the 5 mile area araound us is dire...

Another Christmas without a universal 4G service will cost the UK economy £120 million in lost sales, according to a study.

Slow connection speeds are set to pose a barrier for many consumers wanting to shop via their mobile phones, and a nationwide roll-out of 4G would have boosted sales from £373 million to £493 million, the report by online auction site eBay claims.

More than half of consumers (55%) plan to use their mobile to browse the web this Christmas, while 39% say they will use their device to get gift ideas and check prices.

And said it expected to see around a third of items in its Christmas campaign bought through a smartphone.

It said the top three barriers preventing consumers from shopping on their mobiles were slow connection speeds, payments timing out and network reliability - all problems effectively eliminated by 4G.

EE, formerly known as Everything Everywhere, has started to launch its range of 4G products and services in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Southampton and Manchester.

The network, which offers speeds up to five times faster than 3G, will be available on the Apple iPhone 5 as well as devices from HTC, Samsung, Nokia and Huawei.

Clare Gilmartin - get a grip, think of the bigger picture, you are missing out on so much more, the jump from 3G to 4G is just a soundbite...

LED lighting to be bigger than solar!

LED lighting is the biggest growth sector in the electrical business - and it's set to be worth £10 billion in the coming decade.

Be part of the LED revolution - invest to save money for / in your business

check out the next-generation kit from big players including OSRAM, Philips and GE

you may choose lesser brands, but we predict that in the next 5 years, many of the other manufacturers will be gone.... we will take a bet with you now that by 2017, these three with Samsung will be making 99% of the LED chips....

A Green Deal – Opportunity to start doing your bit to save the planet, let us help you to cut you energy bills. LEDs are reshaping the lighting world

How do you maintain the fire resistance rating of ceilings when installing downlights? And when do you need to install fire-rated downlights? And when do you need fire hoods? let us explain it all.

call us for a free survey

Sunday, 4 November 2012

most common fears :)

Dear Passenger,

looks like WizzAir want to get more money out of us!!!!
Dear Passenger,
Today, airlines suffer from overcrowded aircraft cabins as a result of the excessive number of bags being brought on board. This overcrowding can lead to an unpleasant onboard experience for you and often creates significant delays, inconveniencing all passengers.
To address these issues and ensure a more positive travel experience for all of our passengers, Wizz Air announced the introduction of an innovative cabin baggage policy on 04 October, introducing 2 types of cabin baggage. Wizz Air will roll out this policy across its network for flights departing from 24 October 2012.
If you purchased tickets on or after 4 October for travel on or after 24 October 2012 you will be subject to the new cabin baggage policy:
• You are allowed to bring only one cabin bag on board, either small or large cabin bag. If you choose a large cabin bag, you are required to pay a fee;
• Goods purchased at the airport after the security checkpoint are allowed to be brought on board in addition to your one cabin bag;
• There is no weight limit for your cabin bag, as long as you can place it into the overhead compartment unassisted;

1. Small cabin bag:
If your cabin bag is of size 42x32x25cm or smaller it can be taken on board free of charge. A small backpack (with approx. 30 L capacity) or laptop bag that fits under the seat in front of you would typically meet this requirement.
2. Large cabin bag:
If your cabin bag is larger than the dimensions of a small cabin bag, you will be required to pay a fee to take your bag on board. Your large cabin bag still needs to fit easily into the overhead compartments of the cabin and so it should be no larger than 56x45x25cm (IATA standard cabin bag dimension with approx. 60 L capacity).

Don’t forget that the size of your baggage will be checked at the airport. Purchase online in advance and save 50% or more!
Wizz Air encourages all passengers who are travelling with a large cabin bag to purchase the large cabin bag option online at least 3 hours before departure for a €10 fee. If you haven’t purchased online you will have to pay at the airport, the fee is€20 at check-in or €30 at the gate.
Wizz Air expects to derive cost-savings from this initiative. Fewer bags mean less fuel spend, which helps Wizz Air to keep fares low every day. For new bookings on flights departing from 24 October, all Wizz Air fares are discounted by €5* to share the expected cost savings with our passengers.
(*Minimum discounted total price is€8.99 one-way, inclusive of taxes and maximum booking fee. Large cabin bag and checked-in baggage are subject to additional fees.)
For more information about this new policy, please visit .
We look forward to seeing you on your next flight! so we can charge you even more in hidden costs...
If you booked a flight before 04 October, or the first flight of your return booking departs before 24 October, you may take a large cabin bag on board free of charge. This policy already applies to flights between Katowiceand London Luton and will continue to apply without interruption. This new policy is not applicable on flights to and from Ukraine, with the exception of Budapest-Kiev and London Luton-Kiev. This policy does not apply to flights operated by Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU).

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Hair straightener accidents now account for one in 10 young burns victims

  • The beauty product can reach 220C, which is hot enough to fry an egg
  •  Children's skin is up to 15 times thinner than adults so far more vulnerable to burns
  •  Straighteners takes 40 minutes to cool down

Hair straighteners are causing 'horrific injuries' to hundreds of young children across the UK, a safety charity has warned.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said at one hospital in Northern Ireland, one in 10 of children admitted with burns, had been injured by the beauty device with some needing plastic surgery.

Hair straighteners can reach scorching temperatures of 220C - hot enough to fry an egg. As they take 40 minutes to cool they remain dangerously hot for far longer than many parents realise.

Youngsters who grab or fall on them can suffer disfiguring injuries as their skin is up to 15 times thinner than adults.

Figures released by the Royal Belfast for Sick Children show that 17 children aged between three months and nine years attended A&E at the hospital in 2009-10 with hair straightener burns. The average age of the patient was just 18months. They represented nine per cent of the 187 children who attended with 'thermal injuries' during that year.

In June this year,the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol revealed is had treated 110 children for serious burns in the last five years.

you know the message, keep your kids safe... please

Remember the three S's...

SWITCH hair straighteners off and unplug them straight away

SLIDE them into a heat resistant bag

STORE them out of the sight and reach of children 


Within the next year, Japanese car maker Nissan will introduce next generation steering technology into some of its cars that does away with the mechanical rack and pinion set up. In the new system, known as steer-by-wire, sensors detect when a driver turns the wheel, sending electrical signals to the tyres so they respond faster and with more accuracy. A camera mounted on the car's rear-view mirror will assess the road ahead and detect changes in the car's direction. In conventional steering system, the car turns via a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the tyres.

Friday, 2 November 2012

UK Power Networks will pay ExCel centre to use less energy

The ExCel centre will be paid to take less electricity off the network at times of peak demand in a new trial with UK Power Networks.

It’s part of an experiment which could show we don’t need so many oil and coal-fired power stations on standby connected to the network.

As part of the demand response trial the distribution network operator (DNO) UK Power Networks, will pay industrial and commercial customers, via an aggregator, to take less electricity from the network at times of peak demand.

A number of major business customers,  alongside the conference centre, which include a major London department store and a London visitor attraction (both unnamed), will either switch to back-up generation or increase electricity output from installed combined cooling and heating power equipment, or simply cut their electricity usage.

Chris Barnes, building services manager at ExCel which is located next to the O2 centre said: “Whilst it would be difficult to reduce the demand on the electrical network by reducing lighting and plant demand due to the nature of the exhibition industry, we do have the capability to employ generators to supplement that demand.

“We, in partnership with Flexitricity, have been operating on similar demand reduction strategies (STOR and TRIAD management) for a number of years so it was natural for us to enter into this agreement for Low Carbon London. This has been achieved with no impact on core business.”

The project won’t ever leave businesses in the lurch, according to Liam O’Sullivan, programme director for Low Carbon London which began the research.

Gas and electricity price rises: do you plan to switch

EDF is the latest of the six major companies to announce a big price rise for its consumers, following on from British Gas, npower, Scottish Power and SSE. Are you considering switching operators to reduce your bills?
apparently 38% of you wont even look for ma cheaper deal
if you do, masrket competiton will go up and the big 6, not being the big 6 anymore might try and be more comptetative...

get on USwitch, Compare the market or alike now, 5 mins to save a couple of hundred quid. its worth it...

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Human edges out robot car on race track

A race between a robot car and a human has ended with a win for the humans - but only just.
The race was run on Thunderhill Raceway in California between an Audi TTS that can drive itself and a racing car driver familiar with the circuit.

The human driver completed a lap around the circuit a few seconds faster than the robotic car.
The race was part of research to develop control systems that will help to make domestic cars more autonomous.

The robot car in the race has been developed by researchers at the Centre for Automotive Research at Stanford University (Cars).

Called Shelley, the autonomous vehicle is fitted with sensors that work out its position on the road, feed back information about the grip of its tyres and help it plot the best route around the circuit.
Prof Chris Gerdes, head of the Cars Lab at Stanford, said Thunderhill was chosen because its 15 turns present the car's control systems with a wide variety of challenges. Some corners can be taken at high speed, some are chicanes, others are sharp and come at the end of long straights down which the car hit a top speed of 115mph (185kph).

Once familiar with the three-mile circuit the car was raced against one of Thunderhill's staff who was very familiar with the track and logged a slightly faster time.

"What human drivers do consistently well is feel out the limits of the car and push it just a little bit further and that is where they have an advantage," said Prof Gerdes.

He added that follow-up work had been done to record what the best human drivers did with the car's brakes, steering and throttle as they drove so this could be incorporated into the control systems the Stanford team is developing.

For instance, he said, in situations where the car is being driven at the limit of the grip of its tyres, the car cannot be turned via the steering wheel. Instead, said Prof Gerdes, race drivers use the brake and the throttle to force a car round a corner.

"We're learning what they are doing and it's those counter-intuitive behaviours that we are planning to put in the algorithm," he said.

"Our ultimate objective is not really to robotify [car racing] but to take these sorts of technologies, learning from the very best human drivers and turn those into safety systems that can work on cars," he told the Big Science Summit, a conference organised by The Atlantic magazine.

Currently, he said, driver assistance systems in vehicles actively prevent them performing manoeuvres that the best drivers use to avoid or get out of trouble.

remember, remember’ to take extra care on Bonfire Night

please taske care...

Rockets can travel at around 150 miles an hour and simple sparklers can reach temperatures in excess of 1,000°C.

build bonfires well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures, never burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint, don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire, keep fireworks in a closed box and never go near a firework that has been lit.

The safest way to enjoy bonfires and fireworks is to go to an organised public display but if you are planning on lighting your own, please take extra care.

Taking just a few simple precautions can mean the difference between having an enjoyable evening and one to remember for all the wrong reasons.

if not, see you in A&E, its that serious

New Energy-Saving Capabilities - MK astral

MK Electric Adds New Energy-Saving Capabilities to its MK astral Wireless Control Range

MK Electric - the UK's leading manufacturer of wiring devices and accessories - has significantly enhanced its MK astral(tm) product range, strengthening its energy efficiency and security proposition.

MK astral(tm) - an easy-to-install, cost-effective and reliable wireless control system - now includes a Smart Interface which allows users to control the system via the simplicity and intuitiveness of the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone with a new application which is free to download. A command can be sent from an iPhone or iPad using a Wi-Fi network; the Smart Interface then translates this command into Z-Wave, which is the main language used by MK astral(tm) to communicate.

Due to the presence of a RS232 port, the addition of the Smart Interface also allows for MK astral(tm) to be integrated into and operate as part of a wider home automation system with security, climate control, home entertainment and other capabilities.

Plus, the enhancements allow users to control the MK astral(tm) system not just from anywhere in the home, but anywhere in the world. Those travelling abroad can still dim the household's lights, raise or lower the blinds, or activate saved 'Scenarios' from anywhere in the globe using the remote activation features. This not only reduces unnecessary energy expenditure, but also ensures the house appears lived-in at all times.

In addition to this increased control, MK astral(tm) now also offers a 1 and 2 Gang LED and fluorescent dimmer, creating a more energy-efficient lighting solution. The new dimmer modules are connected to a 1 - 10 volt analogue ballast, which in turn is wired to the lighting circuit. Dimming control of lighting via this method is regulated by IEC standards, as such this gives a more consistent dimming performance over lamps that have integral drivers, as these can be easily connected to controls that they are not optimised for.

Jason Ng, Marketing and Communications Specialist for MK Electric, said: "This range has the 'wow factor'. For customers looking for a reputable and easy-to-install home automation system the ease of control is often the biggest attraction, however the biggest unforeseen tangible benefits are the energy savings and lower electricity bills. The ability to control whole areas of the house with one button or use a simple PIR device to turn on the lighting only when needed can generate savings much higher than expected. We're also very pleased to now provide reliable dimming capability for both fluorescent and LED lamps which really speaks volumes about the energy-efficient capabilities MK astral(tm) seeks to offer its users."

All MK astral(tm) products fit a 35mm British Standard back box, have familiar electrical connections for rapid installation and are compatible with standard incandescent, LED, halogen and compact fluorescent lamps.

MK astral(tm) products are available in eight standard finishes, providing an end product to suit all project requirements. In addition, MK's Design Service Team can match any of the other finishes in MK's existing ranges.

Edmundson's Electric Center deal set for OFT clearance

Wholesaler Edmundson Electrical's 2011 acquisition of Leamington Spa-based Electric Center is expected to be cleared by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The watchdog's concerns about competition in four local areas look set to be allayed as a buyer for the branches has been found.

In July 2011, the Cheshire company bought out Electric Center, which is part of the Wolseley Group, in a deal valued at between £30m and £40m.

The OFT announced earlier this year (May) that the deal would not be referred to the Competition Commission after Edmundson agreed to sell four branches in England and Scotland.

The proposed purchaser for all four branches, Abbey Cross Trading Ltd, has been identified in the undertakings in lieu, which the OFT is now consulting. It has entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Edmundson for the four branches.

Abbey Cross will acquire the Electric Center branches in Trowbridge in Wiltshire and Elgin and Stornoway in Scotland, as well as the Edmundson Electrical branch in Kendal, Cumbria. The sale agreement is conditional upon acceptance by the OFT.


Within a few months, lining up to order lunch in a crowded food court could soon be over. A Sydney entrepreneur has developed a smartphone application that allows users to order food directly from their phone. Brandtable takes advantage of near-field communication chips, found in all new smartphones (bar iPhones), which can exchange data with other nearby NFC chips. The technology is already used by credit card companies for contactless transactions. By swiping a smartphone over a Brandtable logo a user can place a food order directly with the restaurant.

top tips for electrical safety

I know we kep banging on about thism but it may save a life...

make sure you switch off and unplug appliances that are not in use, such as kettles and washing machines,
only putting one plug in a socket, using the correct fuse to prevent overheating and replacing old and frayed cables.

keep combustible materials away from incoming mains supplies and gas hobs,

keep electrical appliances clean and dust free and keeping heaters away from curtains and furniture.

Electric blankets should be unplugged before residents go to bed

using a residual current device to protect against electric shocks and reduce the risk of electrical fires.

Last year 265 house fires were caused by faulty or misused electrical equipment.

Fire in the home can be devastating, but it is nearly always preventable. It is really important that people check their electrics are working properly and in good working order.

stay safe


Star Wars to be made by Disney

Some fans are up in arms at the 'House of Mouse' getting its hands on a series that left such an indelible mark on their collective imaginations.

do you care? if you dont like it, dont watch it, and dont diss it before its done...


avid star wars fan :)