Thursday, 28 February 2013

UK will aim for 1.5 million EVs by 2020

but will it get it????

The UK has a target for around 1.5 million electric cars on the roads in the country by 2020-according to the EU.

That’s interesting because in a Government response to a Transport Select Committee report, released earlier this week, we we’re told that the UK would not set targets for plug-in vehicles because it would not be ‘helpful’. what a random comment.. helpful to whom!!!

As the European Commission (EC) launches its new Clean Fuel Strategy today-designed to help build infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles across Europe-it revealed details of targets for charging stations and electric vehicle numbers for member states.

That includes the UK for the time being!!!!

In the meantime, the new strategy makes for fascinating reading. The EC has identified three key barriers to the uptake of cleaner fuels; the high cost of vehicles, a a low level of consumer acceptance, and the lack of recharging and refuelling stations. This the EC says is a vicious circle. Refuelling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles. Vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand.

To address this problem, the Commission proposes setting binding targets for member states for a minimum level of clean fuel infrastructure; including fueling stations for electricity, hydrogen and natural gas vehicles, as well as common EU wide standards for the refueling equipment.

EC Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said. "Developing innovative and alternative fuels is an obvious way to make Europe’s economy more resource efficient, to reduce our over-dependence on oil and develop a transport industry which is ready to respond to the demands of the 21st century. Between them, China and the US plan to have more than 6 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. This is major opportunity for Europe to establish a strong position in a fast growing global market."  

Measures to tackle a so-far inconsistent and fragmented approach to building infrastructure include using a common plug for electric vehicles to enable owners to roam and charge their cars more easily.  The Commission intends to make the "Type 2" plug as the common standard for the whole of Europe.

Fuel hoses for hydrogen fuel stations would too, be given a common standard, to encourage the uptake of fuel cell cars, while LNG and CNG infrastructure would be established to support shipping and commercial vehicles. Currently only Sweden has small scale LNG bunkering facility for sea going vessels. The Commission is proposing that LNG refuelling stations be installed in all 139 maritime and inland ports on the Trans European Core Network by 2020 and respectively 2025, and that refuelling stations for trucks be installed every 400km on roads within the network.

Chris Finn and the Pope

Today is Pope Benedict XVI final day in office and Chris Finn's last day at Woolgar Electrcial. we wish them luck in the future.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

a lifestyle--cleaner, cheaper, sunnier.

that would be nice...

the future is to integrate solar power and electric vehicle recharging

Minor works Certs

It's scary to think that since the revision of the 17th edition regs we have issued 5000 minor works certificates. That an average of over 9 a day...

Have a nice day

£37m in electric cars despite only 2,000 being sold

The electric car industry was handed a £37million boost by the taxpayer yesterday – even though only 2,300 were sold last year.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced a subsidy for homes and businesses which fit plug-in points for the cars.

It will pay up to three-quarters of the installation costs, which range from £1,000 to £10,000.
Hospitals, police and public bodies may have the full price paid.

The government wants to encourage the ownership of electric cars, such as the Vauxhall Ampera

Only 3,200 have sold in the last two years – less than 1 per cent of the total market – despite green discounts of £5,000 per car.

Patrick McLoughlin said the money will be made available to install new “plug-in” chargers for electric vehicles in homes, streets and railway stations.

The minister predicted that customers would be increasingly attracted to the technology because charging a battery at home will be cheaper and less time consuming than buying fuel at a conventional filling station.

Confidence in electric cars will take time to build but the same was true of unleaded petrol, he said.

In 2012 just 2,237 electric cars were sold and registered for the ‘plug-in car grant’, though that is double the figure of 1,052 in 2011 and a big increase on the 111 in 2010.

Studies show the fear of losing power on the road is a top reason people do not use the vehicles.

Mr McLoughlin announced the subsidy on a visit to Sunderland, where Nissan produces its Leaf electric car. He said he wanted Britain to be a world leader in the electric car industry.

Patrick McLoughlin plans to give more incentive for installing an electric car charge point

But he rejected criticisms that electric sales were poor because they were only of use in towns, and insisted manufacturers would not be making them if there were not a market for them: ‘They are fantastic cars.’

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Nissan to build all-electric Le Mans car for 2014

Nissan will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2014 with an all-electric contender that will take the 'Garage 56' entry reserved for an experimental car.

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn announced that the company would be back at Le Mans next year with "a pioneering Nissan race car showcasing electric technology and with zero emissions".

The car has already been granted the so-called 'Garage 56' entry that was taken by the Nissan-backed DeltaWing experimental racer in 2012 and will be filled by the GreenGT hydrogen fuel cell prototype this year.

Ghosn hinted that the project could result in Nissan's first bid for outright Le Mans victory since the R390 of 1997-98 (pictured) and its R391 successor in '99.

A statement from Nissan read: "The entry will test innovative powertrain technology and provide the Automobile Club de l'Ouest [ACO] and the FIA with data to enable all parties to evaluate the incorporation of this breakthrough technology ahead of a potential return to LMP1 in the future."
Nissan is one of the world leaders in electric car technology and has already developed the Leaf NISMO RC to showcase the potential of that technology in motorsport.

The best camera-phones

as you all know, I am an avid snapper (photographer, not a fish) so I love lots of the new Tech

I own an SLR, but more photos are now taken on mobile phones than on dedicated cameras worldwide - in fact, 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day. 300 million :)

Apps such as Flickr (Facxebook is pretty crap for photos as they are heavily compressed / check out out imageflash) now offer the chance to store and share high-quality photos - but the key is choosing a cameraphone that delivers the goods.

Camera phone quality is improving too, with top-end models now more than a match for budget dedicated cameras. And companies such as Samsung and Nokia often outpace Apple's iPhones when it comes to phones for 'serious' photographers or semi-serious

But not all camera phones measure up, but here we have a few of the best

Nokia 808 PureView - Symbian mobile packs the biggest camera phone punch ever thanks to its detail crunching 41-megapixel snapper. With that kind of resolution you’d expect it to trump almost any camera out there – and it does. But it’s not all about the megapixels.

The secret lies in its PureView technology incorporating an over sized 1/1.2-inch sensor and Carl Zeiss f/2.4 lens, which conspire with the impressive 8.02mm focal length to create genuinely pro-quality images.

Remarkable depth of field, punchy xenon flash, two-tier auto and lossless zoom and fantastic low-light performance make this the best camera on a phone available. It also shoots full 1080p HD movies too. It’s just a shame the 808 is let down by Nokia’s now-euthanised Symbian operating system.

Nokia Lumia 920 - The Nokia Lumia 920’s is a 8.7-megapixel camera with a phone built in with a more common 1/3-inch sensor, its daylight photographs are par for the camera phone course and come with some useful extras like Cinemagraph for creating animated files.

Where it does raise its head above the pack is in its low light capabilities. The f/2.0 aperture and excellent optical image stabiliser combine to create clean, almost noise free shots in typical low light situations, as well as great full HD movies. If you take most of your photos in the pub, it’s a great option.
[Related: Get the best prices on new smartphones here]

Samsung Galaxy S3 - the first true challenger to the iPhone thanks not only to its simple UI, but also because its 8-megapixel camera stands up.

Despite the slightly higher than its rivals f/2.6 aperture, the S3 has a lightning 1/10000 sec shutter speed and one-second exposure which helps it shoot fast-moving and super detailed daylight shots with great results. Only in its low light photos does noise and image blur start to make an appearance.

There are some nice added features too – simultaneous HD video and image recording and best shot function that recommends the best photo based on colour, light and sharpness. And on that big, vivid screen your photos will almost always look great.

Apple iPhone 5 - sint much of an improvemtn on the 4s - we cant see the point in an upgrade or paying the extra - 8-megapixel iSight camera and f/2.4 lens.

Photos are as sharp and vibrant as the iPhone 4S, just it fires 40% faster snap time and new low-light mode

Sony Xperia Z - due for release in March, Sony’s Xperia Z is shaking things up in the smart and camera phone market. The most powerful phone the Japanese giant has ever made also comes with a serious 13-megapixel snapper benefiting from the upgraded Exmor RS sensor and f/2.4 lens that promises far improved low light photos.

Monday, 25 February 2013

If your phone goes flat

then an electric car is probably not for you...

Tesla Motors and the New York Times reporter John Broder were exchanging salvos over a negative review of Tesla’s new East Coast fast-charging stations. When Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk says it was Broder’s fault that he got stranded with a depleted battery, Musk is right. Broder was being a bit of a plank!

But he’s missing the point. Broder’s difficulties show that electric cars aren’t for everyone. in a petrol car you can fairly well switch your brain off, you don't need to plan, only react...

In his test drive, Broder made mistakes, big stupid mistakes at every turn. If he had topped off the battery (which he says he didn't know how to do, Plank!), he more than likely would have had enough charge. If he had plugged in at an ordinary socket during an overnight stop, he probably would have had enough charge. But he didn't  and the cold weather sapped his battery (every used a digital camera when skiing?), forcing him to detour to a standard charging station, which can take hours instead of minutes to charge the battery. Then, bizarrely, he stopped charging and tried to drive 61 miles when the car’s display told him it could only go 32 miles. Plank

Broder could easily have avoided running out of power. But he was treating the car the way he would a petrol one. The car said it had plenty of charge for his trip, and he believed it. When the power levels dropped in the cold, he couldn't make the trip he wanted to. -  admittedly, that's probably not his fault. but anyone with an adventurous spirit would have come across this with other devices - but you cant keep an EV's batteries down you boxer shorts - my solution for camera battery failure up a mountain!

in a future with no fossil fuels, Broder will be the guy stuck on the side of the road with a flat car and a flat battery on his phone. he is doomed so you have to feel sorry for him...

I guess you cant help some people, do not presume intellect in drivers, not everyone has a concept of electric vehicles, but then, if you don't understand how something works, how can you give it a honest review?

Safety Checklist for your home - common sense

There are thousands of house fires every year in Great Britain, and the simple fact is that many of these can be prevented with proper home fire safety protocol and basic equipment.

Take smoke alarms for example. According to the UK government, smoke alarms were not present in the homes of 37% of the some 16,400 dwelling fires 2011. To think that something as simple and inexpensive as a smoke alarm could have prevented so many fire-related tragedies should be a call to action to those at home to be diligent about their fire safety.

The good news is that it doesn’t take much in terms of time or energy to ensure a fire-safe home. By covering these few simple steps outlined below, the homeowner can rest easy in the knowledge they are residing in a space at low risk for an electrical fire.

It’s vital that smoke alarms be installed in the proper locations of a home. These include every level of the house as well as in the bedrooms and just outside any sleeping area. But installing the requisite amount of smoke alarms is just the beginning; they need to be properly maintained as well. This means performing a check on each device every month as well as changing the batteries once a year. Smoke alarms should also be completely replaced after 10 years.


flexible cords connected to appliances or electronics should be checked periodically to ensure they are in good condition. Damaged cords with exposed or frayed wires can pose a fire and/or shock hazard. Also, it’s important to make sure cords in the home are not pinched or attached to anything with nails or staples. And cords should never be covered by rugs or carpeting, as this can stifle much-needed air flow around the cord. Above all else, extension cords should not be used as a permanent power source because they are designed solely for temporary use.

Sockets and and switches
Faulty power outlets and switches cause their fare share of electrical fires. To this end, owners should inspect each switch to ensure they are in proper working order. Some warning signs to look for include:

  1. Outlets or switches that are warm to the touch
  2. Unusual noises emanating from a switch or outlet
  3. Loose-fitting plugs in an outlet
  4. These can be signs of faulty wiring or a loose electrical connection, both of which can present significant fire hazards.

Appliances and lamps

id the buld in your lamp the right wattage???? is it really? are you sure? if not this can present serious risk, as a light bulb with wattage higher than the fixture can accommodate can lead to overheating and, possibly, a fire. Those who are unsure of how much wattage a fixture can handle should err on the side of caution and opt for a 60-watt bulb.

As for appliances, all cords should be moved away from contact with heat sources. A cord running by a toaster, for example, can melt and possible lead to a fire in the home. This can be an issue with personal heaters as well. It’s important to make sure all portable heaters are at least three feet away from anything combustible, such as bedding or curtains.

By following these simple guidelines, the average homeowner can rest assured they are at minimal risk for a home fire.

please stay safe...

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Is your PIV system over 2 years old?

A lot of modern houses are so well sealed now that have fancy mechanical ventilation systems
These are generally called PIV or Positive Input Ventilation Systems

PIV is basically a sophisticated whole home ventilation and condensation control units designed to combat these problems by gently ventilating the home from a central position on the landing in a house or the central hallway in a bungalow or apartment. 

They are Energy efficient, the units introduce a subtle air supply throughout the house to transform a stagnant, stale atmosphere into a fresh, healthy, condensation free environment
But did you know they have filters that need changing every 2 years?
Can we help?

Electric Cars: Charging Points To Boost Sales

Thousands of new charging points for electric vehicles will be installed across the country to try to boost the market for so-called zero emission cars.

The Government has launched the second phase of its Plugged in Places scheme which has so far funded 2,800 of the approximately 8,000 charging points for battery powered cars in the UK.

The Department for Transport announced millions of pounds in funding for home and on-street charging as well as charging points at railway stations.

Until now, take up of EVs has been slow, with only 3,000 on Britain's roads.

Industry experts believe new European models could see the number double each year from now on and they predict that prices will fall.

In the North East of England, a pilot area for EV infrastructure, researchers believe plug in points on the streets are essential for persuading motorists to switch to batteries from petrol and diesel engines.

Dr Yvonne Huebner from Newcastle University says despite Government figures showing 93% of car journeys are 25 miles or less, many would-be EV buyers have what she calls range anxiety.

The new Government funding was announced at Gateshead College next to Nissan's Sunderland factory which will soon be making 50,000 Leaf plug-in cars and 60,000 EV batteries every year.

The college has also set up a company, Zero Carbon Futures, to capitalise on the region's expertise.
Managing director Colin Herron told Sky News that while the new charging points are important, EVs are just one part of the future of motoring technology.

"Trucks, heavy vehicles, buses probably won't become electric," he predicts. - "They may be hydrogen, they may be gas, (and) the EV will be predominantly the urban run-around."

Friday, 22 February 2013

Paypal launches chip-and-pin device

Payments firm Paypal has launched a chip-and-pin machine designed to offer new sales methods to UK small businesses that have previously relied on cash or cheques.

It means market traders, taxis and shops will be able to accept credit and debit cards as well as Paypal payments.

There will be an initial cost "under £100" for the Paypal Here device.

The firm, which faces competition from other similar devices, said it will take a transaction fee of less than 3%.

"At Paypal, we spend a huge amount of time talking and listening to small businesses. They are the core of Paypal's business and they've told us that they want a simple, secure way to take card payments anytime and anywhere they trade," said David Marcus, president of Paypal.
'Trusted brand'

Paypal is offering the devices to a few select businesses before a full launch in the summer. It will roll out in the UK first with other countries to follow.
In the US, it has already brought out a similar device, a dongle that can be plugged into a mobile phone to act as a credit card reader.

Eden Zoller, an analyst with research firm Ovum, said the move was an obvious one for Paypal to make.

Chromebook Pixel is the Windows-killing notebook

Google’s new Chromebook Pixel is the Windows-killing notebook the world needs

Google just unveiled the fanciest new laptop in its lineup of Chromebooks, the Chromebook Pixel. It looks not unlike Apple’s MacBook Pro—with its all-aluminum exterior and high-resolution glass screen—and costs about the same, starting at $1299. It also has a touchscreen.

Chromebooks run a very simple operating system, Chrome OS. Unlike on Windows or Mac OS, with their profusion of expensive and memory-hogging software, the only tool here is a web browser, through which you do all your work using web-based software, with all your files stored in the cloud. In this sense, the Pixel is no different from earlier Chromebooks made by generic PC manufacturers including Samsung, Acer and now HP. All of them were fairly low-end, however; the sort of thing you might buy to replace that spare computer you use at home for email and recipes, but not something you’d seriously rely on.

The Chromebook Pixel has the highest-resolution screen of any laptop on the market.Google
The Pixel changes all that. It is, transparently, Google’s attempt to offer, and even beat, what you find in a high-end PC or Mac. It has a processor as fast as any of them; a screen resolution, of 2560 by 1700 pixels, to match the Macbook’s “Retina” display; and a touchscreen that responds like a tablet, something very few laptops (and certainly no Macs) have.

But it does this in a package that has the advantage of being totally fused to the cloud: All your files, all your programs, living on Google’s servers, where they never need backing up or updating, and always available on any device you might own, whether it’s a phone, tablet or laptop. In short, it aims to be the hub of your digital life.

The wimpiest Google Chromebook on the market, a relatively thin and light notebook made by Samsung. Even that has been a marvel of usability. Google’s attitude to Chromebooks is clearly that they are for getting things done. Sure, maybe you can’t edit video on them or render high-end graphics, but most of us simply don’t need that. We’re already living in our web browsers most of the time anyway, and whatever loyalty we still have toward desktop applications is, Google clearly believes, a consequence of old habits dying hard.

The Pixel comes with 1 terabyte of cloud storage, free for three years. That’s more than the built-in hard drives on many PCs. Google’s goal is clearly that once everything a person has—all those photos, home movies, documents, etc.—are absorbed by its cloud, they will never return to the desktop world of Windows or Mac again. Chrome OS has always been a rebuke to the bloated, machine-centric software of these systems, and the Pixel is in a sense the real coming-out party for that philosophy.

It doesn’t even matter if it doesn’t sell. Google doesn’t make its money on software (like Microsoft) or hardware (like Apple). It just wants  access to all your information. And it can afford to wait, through successive generations of Pixels, for users to come into its arms.

Electric car charging points in garages and driveways get 75% subsidy

The government has announced that it will cover up to 75% of the cost of installing charging points for electric vehicles in garages and driveways.

Drivers with off-street parking who want to install the facility will be expected to cover the remaining 25%.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said ministers were committed to ensuring that the UK was a "world leader in the electric car industry".

Ministers also want councils to install more on-street charging points.

The Department for Transport estimates that it costs about £10,000 to install a power point capable of charging two vehicles at once in a residential street.

Local authorities will therefore be expected to provide about £2,500 towards the cost of installing each new charging point.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Lotus on Fake Gear Shifting For Electric Cars

Which are, of course, smooth, quiet, and torquey, meaning they're fast off the line.

As you may know, electric cars dispense with the gear-shifting process that matches a combustion engine's peaky and narrow torque curve to the increasing road speed of the vehicle.

Once they try an electric car, most drivers fall in love with the seamless delivery of power, uninterrupted by rising and falling engine noises.

But Lotus apparently thinks that driving experience will be so strange, so odd, so foreign--so disturbing--to drivers of regular performance cars that it needs to remedy this alien driving experience.

According to a person close to Lotus Engineering, the company is experimenting with control software on its Lotus Evora 414E plug-in hybrid development car, which began testing last summer.

The new software will mimic the behavior of a multi-speed transmission. That is, under steady acceleration, every so often the system will actually cut power momentarily as if a transmission were shifting, before resuming the previous throttle setting.

Lotus also develops synthesized sounds, so perhaps the slight whine of the electric motor will be masked by the simulated roaring noise of a combustion engine?

what do you think??????????????????????????????

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

control your Nissan Leaf with your iPad

A new system that allow the drive to hand over the controls of the car to a computer has been successfully trialled by Oxford University.

Tested on a Nissan LEAF electric car, the new Auto Drive system uses low cost saRather than take over the car completely, the system is designed to take over familiar, routine journeys to relieve the driver of the tedium of daily commutes.

Using an ordinary iPad on the dashboard, the Auto Drive system flashes a prompt to the driver, offering him or her the option of switching to auto drive for a familiar part of the journey. Any tap of the brake pedal restores the car’s controls to the driver.

“We are working on a low-cost ‘auto drive’ navigation system, that doesn’t depend on GPS, done with discreet sensors that are getting cheaper all the time. It’s easy to imagine that this kind of technology could be in a car you could buy,” said Professor Paul Newman of Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science, who is leading the research alongside Oxford’s Dr Ingmar Posner.t nav technology, coupled with cameras and lasers to recognise the road its travelling along.

GM President: “Electric car is not dead”

“The electric car is not dead”. Well yes, we know that, but for some reason, General Motors President Mark Reuss, felt it necessary to spell it out clearly for the fraction who seem to doubt the EVs steady progress upwards.

While sales for the car giant’s Chevrolet Volt range-extended EV (also sold as the Vauxhall Ampera in the UK) have remained below projections, not helped by the continued suppressed state of the global car market and the whole fire debacle early last year (see story); things are nearly as gloomy as such might have us believe.

In the UK alone, sales of electric and plug-in cars are expected to show that they near doubled in 2012 under the Plug-in Car Grant scheme. There is a similar story told in the US, where sales tripled; selling about 53,000 plug-ins in 2012, compared to about 17,500 in 2011.
GM lead the way, selling 23,461 Volts in 2012– up 205.8 per cent on the  year before– giving it a dominant position in the market.

Nonetheless, the GM chief made the statement to confirm that the electric car is still alive and kicking at a conference as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) opened this week.
According to, Ruess added that he “couldn’t be happier” with Volt despite the plug-in hybrid missing its sales target for the second year in a row.

The Detroit-based carmaker is expected to follow in Nissan’s lead too, by slashing the cost of a second-generation model, as Nissan has done with its new LEAF electric car.
But we will have to wait until 2014/2015 to see a new, lower cost version of the plug-in hybrid Volt.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Chinese Hacking

The scale of the Chinese hacking alleged by the computer security firm Mandiant is striking. Until now the bulk of this hacking has been a digital version of old-fashioned industrial espionage - stealing designs and company secrets.

But there is a more sinister side to this activity as well. Chinese hackers are alleged to have a growing interest in gaining access to key parts of the US infrastructure - gas lines, power grids and waterworks. President Barack Obama himself warned during his recent State of the Union address that the nature of the cyber threat was changing.

Gaining access to critical systems is the key. Once inside the digital perimeter - especially if the intrusion is not identified, there is the possibility of causing real physical damage to the infrastructure that the computers control.

Toyota finds new use for electric car batteries

What do you do with nickel-metal hydride batteries that were previously used in hybrid cars (pictured)? Toyota has the answer.

The Japanese carmaker is to start selling an electricity management system that makes use of the recycled batteries, starting from this April.

Its energy business company, Toyota Turbine and Systems, will sell the 10kWh systems in combination with Building Energy Management systems, solar power generation, LED lighting, energy-conserving air conditioning systems, solar carports and other energy saving items.

The idea is that the system can be used to control consumption, storage and the discharge of electricity. It will also increase efficiency and could be considered a back-up in case of emergency because it can be used by emergency response centres during disasters to power the equipment necessary to gather critical information and to power evacuation shelters.

The fixed energy storage system has already been undergoing tests since February last year at the Nagoya Toyopet Otagawa dealership. It is seen as a useful solution for car dealerships too because it cuts the amount of electricity used during peak times and can therefore slash the cost of electricity and gas by as much as half for a single dealership.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Wireless car recharging

This system won't work for Parked Cars...since the motion of the car is crucial to the transfer of energy.

 If you have a magnetic field and move a coil through it, because of the motion, a current is induced in the coil. That is the principle they want to use.

They'll generate the magnetic fields not with magnets, but by another coil embedded in the road through which they run an electric current. the next stage needs to be efficient static charging.

electric car 'Plan B'

The European Union climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, wants her home country to provide 5,000 electric-car charging points by the year 2020 in order to reach stated climate goals.

Hedegaard, who served as climate minister from 2007 to 2009, said that if the 27 member states supply the charging points, electric car sales will increase.

“We can finally end the discussion about the chicken and the egg when it comes to whether the infrastructure needs to be present before the electric car market explodes,” Hedegaard wrote on the European Commission website. “It has to make sense to buy an electric car and it doesn’t if you can’t even drive halfway across the country without running out of charge.”

The automobile industry’s transition to the electric car in Europe has not gone as smoothly as EU legislators had hoped, with electric car sale numbers lagging seriously behind the 2020 goals set by the EU.

In Denmark, which is one of the better-equipped electric car nations per capita, there are only 280 charging points and electric car sales have plummeted drastically. As a result, Denmark recently downgraded expectations from 400,000 electric cars by 2020 to 200,000. The negative trend was further illustrated by the state-owned energy provider DONG's recent decision to cease investment in the Better Place electric car providers.

Friday, 15 February 2013

'Electric cars won't catch on'

'Electric cars won't catch on' – former Volvo boss

Pure electric vehicles will not become mainstream sellers within the next 15 years, according to former Volvo boss Stefan Jacoby.

“I have made myself unpopular before by saying this, but I do not believe they have a mainstream application in the foreseeable future,” said Jacoby, who left Volvo late last year and is currently pursuing other opportunities in the automotive sector.

“The reasons are clear: the price, the uncertainty of what happens to the batteries as they lose charge-holding capacity and the emotional distrust of a car that can leave you stranded on a highway in traffic and 40-degree heat are all problems.

“Think how you feel when your mobile phone runs out of charge and there’s nothing you can do – the feeling of sitting in a car that has run out of charge would be much worse.”

Jacoby added that electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, would likely only thrive in niche areas of society. “Some countries have adopted them energetically, and legislation means that some niche applications will take off, such as with short distance taxis, but overall I do not believe electric vehicles will have a role in the next 10-15 years.

so there you have it, the future is hybrid / fuel cell

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Electrical Safety Register

South West Beds MP Andrew Selous has welcomed a new “safety register”, based at a Houghton Regis HQ, which lists electrical contractors.

He said the Electrical Safety Register makes it easier to find a registered electrician.
It is based at the Houghton offices of NICEIC, the UK voluntary regulatory body for the electrical contracting industry.

The register, from the Electrical Safety Council and the Electrical Contractors’ Association, lists companies registered with NICEIC, the ELECSA or ECA certification schemes. See

Valentines Day

Ah, the sweet smell of fresh cut roses, chocolate, champagne and sugar-covered strawberries fills the air this romantic time of year.

I'm speaking of Valentines Day. These are some of the favorites that are often given, but this year, why not surprise your sweetheart with something that is a bit different.. After all, it is an electronic world we live in these days and there are plenty of devices out there that will make your sweety smile and say, "I love you!" but have you got enough sockets????

can we help?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

attempting electrical jobs such as rewiring and installing complicated electrical equipment in an attempt to save cash.

A new survey by the Electrical Safety Council shows that millions of people are attempting electrical jobs such as rewiring and installing complicated electrical equipment in an attempt to save cash.

What they don’t know is that by law, electrical work must be carried out by a registered electrician, or at least approved by a local building control office.

Experts are worried that this lack of understanding could result in serious injury or death, with figures from the Electrical Safety Council showing that electricity kills at least one person in their home each week, with almost 1,000 seriously injured every day.

 By placing more importance on cost, rather than credentials, many homeowners could be putting their lives at risk in an attempt to save money.

The survey reveals that one in seven consumers have rewired areas of their home, one in five have carried out a fuse box change, one in six have attempted an electrical installation in the garden, while one in eight have or would attempt to install cabling under the floor in their home.

As a result, more than a third of registered electricians are called to fix botched jobs at least once a month and almost one in five contractors have seen dodgy electrical work, which has caused injury to the homeowner.

Shockingly, a quarter of Brits did not know that if you are conducting electrical work in the bathroom, kitchen or garden you need to get the work done by a registered electrician or notify your local building control office, otherwise the work could be illegal.

Further to this, one in six did not know it is a criminal offence to carry out work that does not comply with building regulations, while one in five are not aware that when moving into a new home, you should always ask to see a certificate to prove the house meets the current wiring regulations.
The Electrical Safety Council is urging anyone planning on carrying out electrical work in their home to always use a registered, competent electrician to ensure that the work will always meet the necessary regulations.

Director general Phil Buckle said: “Some of the figures from this survey are truly alarming. There is clearly a need to continually educate homeowners on the dangers of electricity in the home.

“With this in mind, the Electrical Safety Register was launched by our charity in partnership with the Electrical Contractors’ Association. It offers consumers an easy to use database, where they can find a certified contractor and be sure that the work that is carried out will be safe and up to standard.
“We hope that by launching the Electrical Safety Register, we can help to reduce the number of deaths and accidents that occur each year through incorrect electrical work.”

Electrical Safety Register spokesman Tony Cable , adds: “These shocking survey results really do highlight the importance of the Electrical Safety Register.

“It is vital that people make sure that the electrician is registered, especially since less than a quarter of those asked even bother to check their sparky is fully certified.

“When looking for someone to carry out electrical work, too many homeowners are making their decisions based on cost, rather than credentials; a mistake that can prove to be deadly. Therefore we are urging people to use the Electrical Safety Register to help them to find a competent local electrician, so that they can stay safe in their home.”

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Is it OK to calculate the Zs?

Is it acceptable to calculate Zs (the earth loop reading at the furthest point on a given circuit), and why - when one does calculate it - it's not always very accurate.

Clearly, when a Zs reading is obtained and it is lower than the external loop impedance Ze + (R1+R2), this is because of parallel earth paths, but sometimes it is also higher which, I'm led to believe is to do with RCDs/MCBs.

If it is OK to calculate the Zs, then how can we be sure that it is correct (if - in different situations - the Zs can end up higher or lower)? Please could you explain this?

Also, which is the correct and proper method, as I'm tired of telling my foreman that carrying out a Zs check isn't necessary

Answer 1: The measurement of Zs of a final circuit can be determined using two methods:

1. By direct measurement.
2. By adding the value of Ze to the R1+R2 of the circuit at the end of that circuit.

It is necessary to carry out a Zs measurement by either of the above methods to record in the relevant column in the test schedule, and also to ensure compliance with table 41.3 of BS7671: 2008.

It may be that you are measuring from the busbar of the consumer unit or distribution board - you would then be reading the resistance of the MCB/RCD, which would give you a higher reading because of the resistance of these devices.

See 'Snags and Solutions, Part 3 - Inspection and Testing Snag No. 32 and No. 40. These provide explanations on how to measure and calculate these variables.

Answer 2: If an R1 = R2 value is obtained for a circuit and a Ze is confirmed at the mains position, then it can be reliably found by adding the Ze + (R1+R2) as a calculated maximum Zs.

If, at that point, you are unsure, or wish to confirm that the Zs is as expected, then a Zs test should be carried out - if it is indeed safe to do so.

Therefore, it is not a formal requirement that you must carry out a Zs test. However, such a test would help to confirm that the calculated Zs is indeed accurate and in compliance.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Employee of the month for January is...

Robert Sneddon for two cracking rewires

well done Robert and those who helped

electroconvulsive therapy

When electricity and the brain are mentioned in the same sentence, your mind might immediately jump to disturbing images of people receiving huge shocks while covered in electrodes, strapped to tables.

But electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment has developed considerably since the days depicted in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  A current study at JAMA Psychiatry examines a treatment called transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS).

Could this fairly new form of electrical treatment for depression really be effective — and without the negative side effects of ECT?

This new treatment, which involves stimulating the brain with a weak electrical current, is starting to be considered as an alternative — and potentially effective — treatment for depression.  tDCS, unlike traditional ECT, passes only a weak electrical current into the front of the brain through electrodes on the scalp.
Patients receive the treatment once a day for 30 minutes and remain awake and alert during the entire procedure.

Depression in adulthood remains a common and often under-treated condition.

Depression can occur at any age, but it typically emerges in the mid-20s. Women experience depression twice as frequently as men, and symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Major depressive disorder, which may be diagnosed when depressive symptoms last for 2 weeks or more, is understood to occur in 15 to 17 percent of the population.

Symptoms of major depressive disorder can include a depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, reduced energy, increased fatigue, diminished activity and reduced concentration and attention.

These and other symptoms, particularly when prolonged, impair a person’s ability to function in day-to-day life, making effective treatment essential.

Do freestanding stainless benches have to be earthed in a commercial kitchen?

Question: Do freestanding stainless benches have to be earthed in a commercial kitchen installation?

If so, in what manner?

Answer: Generally not. As such benches are neither exposed, nor extraneous conductive parts, they do not require earthing or bonding.

but as standard, we do it as best practice. so its up to you...

Save the planet

with energy saving controls

Conventional and programmable room thermostats using the very latest TPI technology (Time Proportional Integral) have proven features that improve boiler firing efficiency and contribute significantly to energy savings.

It is TPI technology around which the latest HRT room thermostats and C-Stat programmable room thermostat ranges are designed.  Both controls outperform many older styles of thermostat with their precise and efficient software optimising the boiler firing regime so it fires for shorter durations as the room temperature approaches the set point.  In tests undertaken independently by the industry body TACMA, this created the potential for energy savings in the order of 10% when used with modern condensing boilers.

Horstmann also promotes best practice with householders and installers that can likewise create efficiencies and savings.

It is estimated that some 8 million homes in the UK are operating central heating systems with controls that are rudimentary at best and also highly inefficient.

Again, TACMA has identified this situation in a piece of independent research with the common denominator in the affected households being they are running a heating system without a room thermostat. 

In other words, the boiler water temperature is pre-set, a time switch is fitted to control the on/off function and then individual TRV’s (thermostatic radiator valves) are relied upon to provide the room temperature control.

Adding a Horstmann room thermostat to an existing installation could not be easier. Horstmann has developed units that are wireless for simple, trouble-free installation without additional cabling and damage to decor.  There are also wired and battery versions ideal for upgrading existing installations.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Have you got an RCD?

Something for a Sunday

But this could really be for any day..

sorry a bit of topic today...

Sometimes a perfectly good argument can be stretched too far. In the argument “religion should have no place in the 21st century”, is it a claim too far? Ping, it springs back and you get a bloody nose.

Steven Dawkins is quite obviously an intelligent man, but I can’t see credence in his argument than Religion is portrayed as a force of unremitting awfulness, a poisoned root from which no good fruit could grow. Furthermore, I can’t see why the question, ‘Is it true?’ has no shades of grey

The assumption is always an absolute, by ‘true’ it is interpreted as ‘literally true’. The assumption is also so literal that if the answer is ‘no’, then that closes everything. But it does not. Just because something is not literally true does not mean that there is no truth, or worth, in it.

Even if Adam did not exist. The story of Eden speaks profoundly about ourselves and while on a mission of pulling down religion as wholly valueless as you might if only temporarily have to pretend there is worth until anything remotely as good to put in its place.

In the same way that many church goers and synagogueites refuse to admit what their arguments miss, for fear the whole edifice will crumble, so it is that many atheists fear any similar concession for fear that their line will break and the religious flood through the breach. But I think we should be frank. There are things which both side miss. These little grey areas of inconsistency are a great big gulf between the two sides.

If you keep telling people that they lead meaningless lives in a meaningless universe you might just find yourself with — at best — a vacuous life and a hollow culture? What would that do to the already worrying recessional suicide rates? Professor Dawkins with blood on his hands...

Religion should not be believed to be literally true. There is still a place to ask questions.

Prof D wishes to whip out the carpet without filling the void why are we here? How should we live? How can we be good? Where is the answer? In a parachute, a helicopter or anything else science can offer. To the best of my knowledge science does not have an answer for even part of the questions that will be left unanswered. Not an iota

Who will speak of those things religion once answered, or tried to answer? What would the world be like where there is no comfort on approaching death, no human forgiveness, remorse, regret or reconciliation? Will morality take up the mantle?

Please don’t label all religion as bad, use your energy to fill the void with discussions of profound dimensions.

Remember when America left Iraq, the chaos that ensued, the lawlessness. Please think on kind atheists.

The gulf between believers and non-believers can never be addressed because the key protagonists are both extremists. Neither side is prepared to make a deal.

The compromises must be religion must give up the aspiration to intervene in secular law, especially of those who are not members of their faith.

But non-believers should concede that when it comes to discussions of ideas, morality and meaning, religion does have a place.

Dismissing religion as some relict of our past is not moving the debate on and maybe in the middle somewhere we can search sincerely for the meaning of life.

I wonder if ACAS could help with this. The role of conciliator does not come naturally outside of the realm of business as there is no money to be lost. Are we looking at another century talking past each other?

Truth – there are many truths', they may not be the whole truth, but very little is.

I will close with a line from a boxer

I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want.

Muhammad Ali

Friday, 8 February 2013

India named least green country for electric cars

Coal-dependent power generation sees India bottom of a ranking for emissions from electric cars, with Paraguay top

Paraguay is the greenest place on earth to make and drive an electric car, according to analysis by independent research group, Shrink That Footprint, which has assessed the impact of grid-powered electric vehicles (EV) in twenty of the world's leading countries.

In India and China, where power generation is heavily coal-based, electric cars result in emissions similar to traditional petrol vehicles. In India, a fully electric car generates emissions comparable to a 20 MPG (US gallon) petrol vehicle whereas in Paraguay, using one produces emissions comparable to a 218 MPG petrol vehicle.

one of the most energy efficient ventilation solutions

Ideal for the new build and refurbishment market, the Avantgarde range features Xpelair’s most advanced DC motor, ensuring superior reliability and efficiency. The Avantgarde DC is capable of intermittent or continuous ventilation with an optional pre-trickle function and boost speed selectable at point of installation.

The Avantgarde DC also features a stylish new grille for improved aesthetic appeal, along with a unique low energy internal instant shutter mechanism to protect against external noise ingress, draught and unwanted heat loss. The range is available in both 100mm and 150mm sizes and is compliant with the requirements of the Building Regulations 2010.

Steve Mongan, Head of Marketing at Xpelair Ventilation Solutions, commented: “The launch of the new Avantgarde DC range follows the success of the AC models and is part of our extensive investment programme to bring carbon friendly ventilation solutions to the market.

“With the new DC motor and low energy internal shutter mechanism, the Avantgarde DC is the perfect addition to the range as it is designed to be one of the most efficient fans on the market and can also be used as a whole house decentralised mechanical ventilation system.”

Available in four options, the range includes a humidity model with the new ‘Active Humidistat’, which automatically adjusts the humidity trigger point as natural relative humidity (RH) levels change.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

UK Power Networks fined over worker death


UK Power Networks (Operations) Ltd, which supplies power to the East of England, London and the South East, has been ordered to pay £420,000 in fines and costs after an employee died while working at one of its Essex sites.

Electrical engineer John Higgins, 59, from Colchester, was killed at an electrical substation in Bishops Hall Lane in Chelmsford on 7 May 2008 when a device he was working on for manually adjusting voltage ratios, known as a transformer tap changer, exploded.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard today (4 January 2013) that the explosion caused a fire at the substation. Mr Higgins died at the scene despite the arrival of Essex Fire and Rescue within minutes of the alarm being raised by staff from nearby Anglia Ruskin University.

The incident also blacked out a large part of Chelmsford, including Broomfield Hospital.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that UK Power Networks had failed to properly assess work with tap changers and to devise procedures for the work. It had also failed to adequately train employees for carrying out this task.

UK Power Networks has since introduced revised procedures to safeguard staff.
UK Power Networks (Operations) Limited, of Newington House, 237 Southwark Bridge Road, London, was fined £275,000 with £145,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

After sentencing HSE Inspector Steven Gill said:
"John Higgins lost his life in tragic circumstances that could have been avoided had this activity had been properly assessed and managed by UK Power Networks.

"His death illustrates how dangerous work on or near electrical distribution networks can be, and how imperative it is that employers - large or small - ensure that all activities involving high voltage electrical equipment are properly assessed and that safe systems of work in place.

"There is no room for error or complacency when working with high voltage equipment."
For information on electrical safety at work visit the HSE website at

Source: HSE Website - 04/01/13

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Floor and Ceiling Heating Systems

As a registered Devi (Gaia) Floor and Ceiling Heating installer we were most interested to see this, not much new. but informative nevetheless

The 17th Edition of the Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2008) introduced additional sections on special locations in 2008 that were not previously included in the 16th Edition. Among the special locations introduced were requirements for floor and ceiling heating systems contained in section 753 of BS 7671:2008.

The obvious risks associated with floor and ceiling heating systems are penetration of the heating element by nails, drawing pins, screws, etc., pushed through the ceiling surface.
Similarly, there are concerns that underfloor heating installations can be damaged by carpet gripper nails, etc. To protect the building structure and provide precautions against
fire, there are requirements to avoid overheating of the floor or ceiling heating system.
Protection against electric shock

As you would expect the protective measures of obstacles, placing out of reach, non conducting location and protection by earth-free local equipotential bonding are not permitted. These measures are contained in Sections 417 and 418 of BS 7671:2008 and are not for general application. The protective measures of section 417 provide basic protection only, and are for application in installations controlled or supervised by skilled or instructed persons. The fault protective provisions of Section 418 are special and, again, subject to control and effective supervision by skilled or instructed persons. In addition the protective measure of electrical separation (section 413) is not permitted.

Regulation 753.411.3.2
Where the protective measure is automatic disconnection of supply, heating units without
exposed-conductive-parts, must have a metallic grid, with a spacing of not more than 30mm, (as an exposed conductive part) installed above the floor heating elements or under the ceiling heating elements. The grid must be connected to the protective conductor of the electrical installation and the heating system protected by an RCD with a rated residual operating current not exceeding 30mA for fault protection. A note below regulation 753.411.3.2 limits the rated heating power to avoid unwanted tripping of the RCD.

Regulation 753.415.1
A circuit supplying heating equipment of Class II construction or equivalent insulation must be provided with additional protection by use of an RCD with a rated residual operating current not exceeding 30mA.

An RCD is a protective device used to automatically disconnect the electrical supply when an imbalance is detected between live conductors. In the case of a single-phase circuit, the device monitors the difference in currents between the line and neutral conductors. If a
line-to-earth fault develops, a portion of the line conductor current will not return through the neutral conductor. The device monitors this difference, operates and disconnects the circuit when the residual current reaches a preset limit, the residual operating current (IΔn). An RCD on its own does not provide protection against overcurrents. Overcurrent protection is provided by a fuse or a circuit-breaker. However, combined RCD and circuit breakers are available and are designated RCBOs.

hope this helped

Fragment Retention Lamp

Just supplied some of these for English Heritage

GlassGuard® and provides details about the IEC 61549 Fragment Retention Lamp Standard. The brochure highlights the benefits for using GlassGuard® fragment retention lamps in a wide variety of industries where lamps need to be protected in order to minimise the risk of glass contamination. This includes food processing, public sector, pharmaceutical and hotel and catering.

clever idea, not just for food area etc...

Monday, 4 February 2013

P A Testing


OVER half of business premises inspected by Cumbria’s fire and rescue service in 2011-12 failed a safety audit, new figures show.

A study by Safety Management (UK), a fire-safety specialist based at Burton near Kendal, reveals that 201 of the 391 audits carried out in the year to March were deemed “unsatisfactory”.

Fire officers served 48 enforcement notices over that period.

Safety Management (UK) says that businesses and organisations are gambling by cutting back on safety.

Many wrongly believe they have fire safety covered.

The firm’s managing director, Brian Gregory, said: “The figures suggest that business is still not getting it right when it comes to managing fire safety.”

Sunday, 3 February 2013

St Jame Church, Silsoe - New lights

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home

A home energy expert, from not-for-profit energy group Ebico, replies: Fundamentally, this depends on the battery type, its capacity and its age (and efficiency).  

The other major factor in this is the electricity tariff used and its cost.  Electricity supplied through an Economy 7 tariff (which has two distinct peak and off-peak rates) will cost less than a standard rate tariff for an overnight charge. 

How much does it cost to charge an electric car and how many times a week would I need to do it?

Looking at the major manufacturer’s vehicles, a full overnight charge would cost around £1.50 on Economy 7, whilst a charge (irrespective of day or night) on a standard tariff would cost about £3.40. For one full charge like this, electric cars can travel between 60 and 120 miles, depending on the model.  

The choice of electricity tariff-type is, however, not as simple as it appears as any electricity used outside the off-peak period on Economy 7 is much more expensive than a standard rate.  
So it’s important to consider carefully how much electricity is used in your home during the daytime before deciding which type of tariff (i.e. normal or Economy 7) is cost effective for you. 

For comparison, purely in terms of ‘fuel’ cost, a small electric car costs about 1.4p per mile compared to around 9.5p for a diesel car of a similar size.

Read more: 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

10 Ways to Protect Kids Online

Children engage in online shopping, social media, mobile web, and computers just like adults do. Many parents feel a bit overwhelmed by technology and often throw their hands in the air and give up. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. It is essential that parents educate themselves on safe, secure online practices in order to set a positive example and provide guidance for their children as they navigate the web.

Parents who lack experience with the Internet, computers, or mobile phones must learn the basics before they can adequately monitor their children’s habits. A parent’s discomfort or unfamiliarity with technology is no excuse to let a child run wild on the Internet.

As with any task, one should start with the fundamentals. Spend as much time as possible with kids in their online world. Learn about the people with whom they interact, the places they visit, and the information they encounter. Be prepared to respond appropriately, regardless of what sort of content they find. Remember, this is family time.

  1. Narrow down devices: Many parents set up the family computer in a high-traffic family area, and limit the time children may spend using it. This is still good advice, but it becomes less feasible as more children have their own laptops and mobile phones, which can’t be so easily monitored.
  2. Recognize predatory behavior: Teach children to recognize inappropriate behavior. Kids will be kids, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to say mean things, send racy pictures, make rude requests, or suggest illegal behavior. If it isn’t okay in the physical world, it isn’t okay on the Internet.
  3. Use parental controls: Consider investing in computer security software with parental controls, which limit the sites kids can access.
  4. Discuss right from wrong: Decide exactly what is and is not okay with regards to the kinds of websites kids should visit. This dialogue helps parents and children develop a process for determining appropriate online behavior.
  5. Clamp down: Children should be restricted to monitored, age-appropriate chat rooms. Spend time with your children to get a feel for the language and discussion occurring on the websites they wish to visit.
  6. Stay anonymous: Do not allow children to create usernames that reveal their true identities or are provocative.
  7. Be secretive: Children should be reminded never to reveal passwords, addresses, phone numbers, or other personal information.
  8. Limit exposure: Kids should not be permitted to post inappropriate photos or photos that may reveal their identities. (For example, a photo in which a t-shirt bears the name of the child’s city or school.)
  9. No strangers: Never allow a child to meet an online stranger in person.
  10. No attachments: Children should be taught not to open online attachments from strangers.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Fiat 500e most efficient electric car in the USA

Fiat's 500e should cost $500 (£310) a year to run

The electric Fiat 500e has been rated as the most efficient electric car on sale in the US, according to the country’s Environmental Protection Agency. It should deliver 108mpge, a measure for determining how many miles an EV can travel on a quantity of battery-generated electricity that has same energy content as a gallon of petrol.

That means it beats the Nissan Leaf by just 2mpge, and the figures give it a range of 87 miles, which Fiat claims is best in class. The figures improve in urban driving, where the Fiat is rated at 122mpge on the US city cycle.

The EPA estimated the 500e’s annual electricity costs at $500 (£310), based on predicting the cost of electricity over 15,000 miles . The 500e goes on sale in California only this spring. There are no plans to introduce it in Europe.