Why Should You Buy an Arduino Starter Kit?

Contrary to its name, the Arduino kit is actually a better buy for hobbyists and enthusiasts who already have a strong grounding in electronic invention – basically because it does not come with a manual. If you are looking for a real beginner's kit then you should consider instead the SparkFun Inventor's Kit, which has a printed manual with it so you can learn the basics before you start to get more involved.

The Arduino starter kit is really best used by existing hobbyists with a level of experience already – who need to top up their inventor's bag of bits prior to starting their next project. The starter kit comes with a large selection of useful bits and pieces, from a breadboard to resistors and capacitors, and is therefore perfect for helping ardent amateur inventors get the most from their creative streaks.

It is split mainly into inputs, outputs and sensors – plus a micro controller board and a bread board (no, you do not get to decide what color the bread board comes in and beware, you also do not get to choose between the two variants of the Arduino Uno (the micro controller board you get with the Arduino starter kit either.) There are flex, resistance, ambient temperature and light sensors, plus a trimmable knob for volume control or adjusting contrast.

You also get LEDs, a buzzer and a selection of resistors, both at the normal and the heavy duty ends of the spectrum.

You do not get a box for the Arduino Uno; you do not get push button switches. To create a full workbench kit, then, you need to set yourself up with equipment not available in the Arduino starter kit. The Sensor kit and a box for the Uno itself are both good investments to make sure that your inventing room is stocked up with everything you could conceivably require from the basic Arduino starter kit.

After that, the sky is your limit! Why not get hold of a 4wd Arduino robot platform, and mount the micro controller on top of it as the base work for your very own mechanical friend? With the range of light sensors and pressure sensors available in the Arduino kit, plus extras from the Arduino sensor kit, you will be able to create a flexible and tightly controlled robot from scratch. Now that would be an impressive achievement!

The great thing about any starter kit is its list of cool components – the things that you can not get just by walking into your local electronics store and asking for them. The Arduino starter kit scores big here.

Hire A Home Electrician Or Do It Yourself?

Hire A Home Electrician Or Do It Yourself?

While you may have the desire to modify or upgrade your home's electrical system to fit your needs, you need to be sure that you know what you are doing before you begin. When it comes to the basics, electrical systems are quite simple, but beyond installing a ceiling fan it becomes very tricky and dangerous. Read this article before you decide whether you want to tackle the project yourself or hire a professional.

The first thing you should ask yourself is if you have enough experience with electrical wiring? If you intend to tackle a wiring project in your home, you should have at least some experience in dealing with such a project; keep in mind you are dealing with dangerous component, electricity! A wrong move or mistake could cost you your life! Be sure that you know the local and state codes when it comes to electrical wiring. Regulations have been put into place to protect you and anyone that may purchase your home in the future from harm. Electrical wiring that is improperly installed is a major fire risk and can cost you a great deal of money later if it was found to be illegally set up. As a homeowner, you can do your own electrical upgrades, but remember you are not exempt from the permitting process. Once the work is completed, your city or towns electrical inspector with perform the final inspection to insure the job is done right and meets all safety codes.

Another question to ask yourself is if you have the proper tools to do the job safely. Remember, if you do not have the proper tools, you could be putting yourself and others at risk. You can find guides online that can give you a list of the items you will need based on the type of project you are doing. Do not start until you know that you have exactly the equipment you will need to do the job safely and accurately.

Of course, professional electricians can charge from $ 40 up to $ 70 an hour. Should you be considering this route, you need to look for experience with versed skills to accomplish a job that will be cost effective for you. One of these would be snaking wire through walls; this eliminates additional wall repair after the fact. Before you decide to do the project on your home, you should have a few electricians give you quotes on the work that you want done. This way you can compare the costs. When you do this, be sure to estimate the value of your time per hour and include that in the cost of doing-it-yourself.

Updating your home through electrical wiring changes is a big project that can add a lot of value to your home, if done right. Before you decide to do it on your home, be sure you have considered whether or not you have the skills and time necessary to complete the project accurately or hire a professional. Now you have the knowledge you need to make a smart decision about who should do the electrical wiring project in your home.

Making the Right Call for Electrical Problems

Making the Right Call for Electrical Problems

Common Electrical Problems

Living in a metropolitan hub brings with it a fair share of electrical problems for the homeowners. The increasing population in these places means that the strain on the city's electrical supply is huge. This can cause major electrical problems in homes. The best option is to call a licensed electrician to come in and diagnose the problem.

Why call a licensed electrician

When facing electrical problems, most homeowners are in the horns of dilemma in deciding which services to avail. This is because the city flourishes with Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts, who pose as professional handymen and who seem almost too keen to put their overrated DIY instincts and skills to the test.

It is another matter that, unlike a professional electrician, they can attempt to solve only the simplest of electrical problems which are better suited to their limited skills-set.

There are many do-it-yourself enthusiasts who usually do not know what they are trying to achieve and are akin to a bull in a china shop. Where licensed electricians get the job done in the most professional manner, novices drill through electrical cables, hammer nails in all the wrong places, plug the wrong wires etc.

Other than the obvious threat that flirting with electrical systems poses to life, ambitious do-it-yourself ventures may also cause an overload when least expected which results in a fire.

Furthermore, most of these enthusiasts and handymen would volunteer to do any nature or scale of electrical job with some of them even posing as licensed electricians to boost their business prospects. But because they lack both the skills and knowledge, both of which are a necessary prerequisite for solving electrical problems, major problems that are beyond their capacity only end up worse.

Additionally, amateur electrician knows little about standard connections and is there before likely to install loose connections in your electrical wiring. These loose connections in electrical systems can be precursors to arc faults and electrical fires as they cause electrical joints to overheat which results in short circuits.

In the worst case, loose connections can prove catastrophic, not only causing equipment damage but also leading to personal injuries and loss of life.

Final Decision

Although it is slightly cheaper to hire an unlicensed electrician, you may be courting a high degree of risk just by letting an inexperienced novice electrician tamper with your electrical wiring. A professional electrician guarantees safety and convenience through implementation of latest NEC safety protocols and guidelines. So why not choose an experienced professional over an unlicensed novice?

Electricity Woes – Open Ground

Electricity Woes – Open Ground

What is Open Ground

In electrical wiring jargon, the term 'open' means no connection. It reiter to saying that:

* has either come come apart

* was not done the proper way

* is not grounded properly and / or

* does not make contact

The term 'open ground' describes such wiring that is not attached to the green ground screw on the receiver and which, as a result, does not qualify as a ground conductor. Most Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts volunteer to resolve their electrical wiring problems on their own without finding the need to hire the specialist services of an experienced professional.

However, matters such as fixing an 'open ground' are well beyond the capacity of amateurs because of the risks that they entail.

Why Choose Professional Electricians

It is better to choose professional electricians as they are trained for the job. They know the ins and outs of electrical systems and can carry out a proper diagnosis of the problem and then solve it. The amateur handymen do more harm than good as they do not have the skill or the experience to deal with open ground problems.

Hazards of Open Ground Wiring

Why is it so essential to properly ground three prong receptacles? Unexpected recipient and circuits that have not been properly grounded give an “open ground” reading upon testing. Such wiring does not provide the intended safety levels expected of it as it is bound to cause electric shock sooner than later even resulting in injuries, death and property damage at the hands of an electric shock or fire.

Therefore, such electrical problems need the immediate attention of qualified electricians who are highly educated and experienced in their field.

Other Causes of Electrical Anomalies

Typically, electricians report other frequent causes of electrical anomalies to be loose connections inside the receptacle box, faulty receptacles, improper wiring, and faulty test equipment. Additionally, a receptacle also fails if it is unable to be tested due to blockage or damage.

Although it is admittedly cheaper to hire the services of handymen and unlicensed electricians, the risk that you put your home in increases substantially.

With shoddy workmanship, you will have limited alternatives towards remedial measures in the reliably similar event that you suffer damages due to the fault of inexperienced, unlicensed contractors. Licensed electricians, in addition to manufacturer's warranty on components and equipment used, give customers a one-year warranty on workmanship.

So, next time you pick up the phone to call a licensed, experienced electrician, you will not need to take time in deciding.

National Electric Code

What is National Electric Code?

Many people who are in search of licensed professional electricians are unaware of the term NEC or the fact that it stands for National Electric Code. In layman terms NEC is essentially a document sponsored by the National Fire Protection Agency which outlines regionally adoptable standard to ensure the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment.

Importance and Benefits of National Electric Code

To simply understand how and why NEC aligns itself to electrical servicing practices, it is important to thoroughly go through the complete manual as it answers all questions from why a bird can sit on an energized power line without getting shocked to why installing a lot of wires close together reduces the amount of current they can individually carry.

For professional electricians who have been prominent in the field for an extended period, it becomes easier to understand the Code rules.

Most high profile electricians make it a point of ethics to religiously follow these guidelines to ensure maximum custody of customers' interests. Although not enforceable or binding, these regulations are scrupulously implemented by most states to safeguard the interests of the general public.

Why Choose NEC aligned Professional Electricians?

Not all electricians enjoy the honor of being awarded the Highest Electrical License and all of their professional personnel rigorously follow National Electric Code. All electricians are hired only upon passing the most meticulous tests and comprehensive national background checks.

In homes, it is common for wiring to be installed directly in walls without additional protection. However, commercial and industrial buildings require wiring to be protected from damage. So it is more commonly installed inside conduit or ductwork made of insulated materials like plastic or wood.

Electricians at Your Service

Following the National Electric Code, qualified and certified electricians ensure protection of cables by intensive use of flexible spiraled metal armor. This allows conduit and ductwork to be installed prior to installing wire cables. The NEC spends considerable time documenting and regulating electric-related safety protocols, with guidelines on various electrical issues.

Therefore, whenever you need assistance with installation, maintenance, removal or replacement of broken cables, electricians provide the best quality of service while including the safeguard of customers' interests.

It is dangerous to leave electrical problems lying around unattended for too long. There is the risk of danger to your home and family. Act quickly and contact a registered electrician for all your electric woes.

Electrical Wiring Hazards in Your Home

Electrical Wiring Hazards in Your Home

Cities with hot and humid weather conditions cause several weather related problems for the residents. In the summer, the homes became infernos and the need for cooling increases. A majority of the homeowners turn towards air conditioning systems to beat the heat. As a result, the demand for electricity goes up during the hot months in these places.

However, the higher the number of cooling systems in a house, the greater the chances of electrical wiring hazards going unnoticed. Electricians have the responsibility of emphasizing the priority with which local residents need to address such wiring anomalies.

Particular attention is given to concealed wiring that is channeled through walls and ceilings as they pose a larger threat to homes and their inhabitants for the fact that they are understood and therefore more likely to be overlooked.

For unprofessional and inexperienced electricians, finding faulty understood wiring in walls and ceilings is as tedious a task as searching for the elixir of life. This is what induces local residents to knock at the door of professional and experienced electricians as they can only correct the simplest of electrical irregularities on their own.

The major problem with concealed wiring is that years' worth of history of electrical hazards tend to be overlooked, such as frequent tripping of circuit breakers or recording accidents of electric shocks. These are obvious signs of a major electrical overload and require urgent attention to prevent much serious consequences such as a fire or loss of life.

Electrical equipments face an overload when a power surge exceeds their capacity and this causes a short circuit along the wiring. Understandably, any devices connected to the main circuit are also affected as a result.

On such events, electricians are at your humble service to address your woes and it would be ill-advised to undertake such a dangerous task by yourself. While it is common for local residents to frequently indulge in ambitious do-it-yourself ventures to save cost, such attempts can prove counter-productive, increasing the problem you set out to correct tenfold. Please do not try this at home!

Because do-it-yourself volunteers usually do not know what they are trying to achieve, they may play the role of a bull in a china shop, drilling through electrical cables, hammering nails in all the wrong places, plugging the wrong wires etc.

Other than the obvious threat that flirting with electricity poses to life, do-it-yourself ventures may also cause an overload when least expected which can cause a fire. Therefore, to save time and money why not let the experts handle it?

Common Electrical Grounding Issues

Common Electrical Grounding Issues

Electrical Grounding

In electrical engineering jargon, the term 'grounding' or 'earthing' means to literally establish a connection between the ground and electric equipment that is given to discharge of electrical current.

This linking is achieved by connecting electrical appliances to the earth-prong of an electrical socket, which is itself 'grounded' or connected to the ground. It is also common practice to wire permanent installations to a piece of metal protruding out of the earth such as a metal pipe.

Common Grounding Problems

Grounding problems are commonly found in homes across the larger cities and metropolitans. The ever increasing number of buildings leads to a simultaneous rise in the demand for power. The pressure on the electrical supply is high and there are bound to be some problems experienced frequently by homeowners.

Water pipes, metal pipes or other conductive components within a structure carry the risk of conducting electricity if exposed to live wires.

Dealing with electrical grounding problems seems to be a part of daily life for electricians in large cities as the occurrence of electrical grounding problems is relatively common there. It is due to these dangers that most tenants prefer to hire an experienced electrician rather than settling for the services of an inexperienced handyman.

The main reason for grounding of wires is safety. If a live wire touches a metal part, that part will conduct electric current and discharge it in case an individual comes in contact with it.

Ensure Proper Electrical Grounding

Many people only contact an electrician when they realize that their electrical equipment or wiring is not properly grounded, that too after receiving an electric shock or experiencing a short circuit. This is not wise as the dangers posed by electric current to the human body severely need to be elaborated upon to make the homeowners aware of the risk.

For instance, if you were to touch an electrically charged surface, you would involuntarily receive an electric shock that would seriously injure and burn you. Higher intensity of electric shocks is known to be a causative factor of cardiac arrests.

What is even worse is the fact that electric shocks and electrical components that discharge electrical current can start a fire, causing damage on a massive scale. By asking your local electrician to ground metal parts, you effectively eliminate the possibility of an electric shock as the current will flow through the metal part and into the ground.

Save Money on Electricity With LED Lights

Save Money on Electricity With LED Lights

It should come as no surprise that electricity and energy in general are planned to become more expensive in the coming years. Traditional sources of power like coal and oil are getting more expensive to procure, and the environmental costs of fossil fuels make them politically unpopular. While installing solar panels is definitely a great long-term plan for reducing your dependence on fossil fuels and saving money, an equally powerful way to trim energy costs is to use LED lighting at home. LED light bulbs are quickly becoming the preferred way to save money on electric bills.

Why You Should Switch To LED Lighting

Many people are already familiar with the benefits of using CFL or compact fluorescent light bulbs at home to reduce energy usage. A 13W CFL bulb provides the same illumination as a traditional 60W incandescent bulb, and can last up to 10,000 hours. LED lighting is even more energy efficient, thanks to models that use anywhere from 3 to 16 watts depending on the size of the bulb. LEDs are generally good for up to 25,000 hours, and maintain their brightness over the lifetime of the bulb for the most part.

Making The Change

Switching over to LED lighting is quite easy and straightforward for most people. Many LED light bulbs use the same E27 and GU10 sockets that incandescent bulbs do, so all you'll have to do for the most part is simply screw or fit them into an existing fixture. Whether you're moving interior lighting or exterior lighting from incandescent to LED, you'll find that the hardware itself uses the same socket types in most cases.

LED Applications at Work and at Home

One of the biggest benefits of LED bulbs is that they can be used practically anywhere and replace almost every kind of traditional incandescent bulb you're currently using. They're perfect for under-cabinet lighting, overhead office lighting, garden grow lights, exterior house lamps, and more. The best way to get the most out of LED lamps is to use them in areas where secondary or overhead illumination is needed. They cost a bit more than CFLs, so you'll want to make sure they last awhile. Reserve CFLs for areas where you'd traditionally use incandescent bulbs for direct lighting, such as at a desk.

How To Buy LEDs

LEDs have become so omnipresent in the marketplace that they can be found practically anywhere that traditional incandescent bulbs and CFLs are sold. Amazon and Home Depot are always viable options, and such major retailers typically offer the best price. If you're a serious bargain hunter, you'll want to do some additional research online to find the best deals for buying in bulk or for specific models. Whatever you do, make sure that the bulbs you buy are ENERGY STAR qualified LED lights to ensure that you get the optimum quality and value.

Final Thoughts

While LED lights will cost you a bit more upfront, you'll realize significant savings over time in terms of electricity costs. If you decide to perform a full overhaul of your home or office's lighting inventory and commit to using LEDs, you'll see an immediate reduction in utility bills. Furthermore, you will not have to spend as much time or money buying and stocking replacement incandescent lamps that burn out more quickly. LED light bulbs are an investment, but they're one that makes prudent fiscal sense when you look at the big picture.

Consumer Units, 17th Edition IEE Regulations, Compulsory But Not 100% Compulsory

Consumer Units, 17th Edition IEE Regulations, Compulsory But Not 100% Compulsory

It almost seems a travesty that with the introduction of the 17th edition IEE regulations that the advantages of this change will not reach its full potential for many years to come. The 17th edition IEE regulations probably achieved more than most changes to the rules has achieved by making it a law that all new consumer units must be fitted with an RCD or temporary current device that controls the power at the distribution point of the electrical supply. In this one change a system where electrical power is cut off almost immediately upon a loss of current was inshrinated in law. This system meant that it was virtually impossible to get electrocuted by a shortage of current through a person to earth, which was possible prior to the introduction of the new consumer units.

There are many ways of distributing current through the system and basically it is still a case of you pay more to get more. If the electrical supply through a house is divided into many sections then each section will have a mini circuit breaker and all of these will pass through the RCD. If one circuit has a fault the RCD will take out all circuits immediately, but the circuits can be restored immediately with the guilty circuit being isolated. If you have fewer circuits then the more of the electrical supply will be affected when power is restored.

It is possible to put an RCD on each circuit but in most cases this is too problematic and not necessary. There is, however, still an argument that we could have like many USA systems as they also have a breaker that trips on an over current situation as well as the RCD. This really is a case of whether you wish a “belt and braces” approach.

The major problem is that whilst all new systems must use a consumer unit, which conforms to 17th Edition Rules, it is not compulsory to replace any existing consumer unit with a conforming unit. The fact that this is not even a requirement for the future is strange and it really is up to the electrical industry to try and provide as much information and advice as possible. This, with luck, would bring quite a lot of systems, which have dangers in the system into a fail safe mode. However this would need legislation if it were made mandatory to replace all older non-conforming units.

8000 Watt Power Inverter – For Serious Power Needs

There are power solutions of any size for anyone. For those with serious power needs, an 8000 watt power inverter is the best solution. Large enough to handle practically any issue and still more affordable to purchase and operate than a gasoline generator, there are a number of issues that could find you in need of a high wattage unit like this. From home use to commercial applications, if you find yourself faced with the need for large scale power solutions that you can actually afford then these devices are likely to be one of your best bets.

Outdoor applications are usually the most logical uses for high wattage unit of this size, and they are really shine in these settings. Mobile vendors or restaurants, such as those who sell their wares at festivals or other gatherings, will certainly be able to take advantage of an 8000 watt power inverter. Whether it's running their refrigeration systems, powering up a sound system or video display to bring in customers, or something else entirely, the commercial applications of a power inverter are many. And simply by wiring together the needed amount of batteries, you'll be able to provide yourself with quiet and efficient power instead of dealing with a large generator.

There are also a number of industrial and emergency applications that will provide a home for an 8000 watt power inverter. Disaster areas that have lost all power can be difficult to work in, but the application of a unit of this size is the perfect way to overcome this obstacle with ease and provide real-time solutions quickly. Whether it's setting up an emergency medical station or powering high-intensity lights during a rescue effort, a power inverter can literally be a real life saver. And of course, you can always simply use one to provide emergency power to your home when the need arises.

If you're ready to purchase new unit of this type, take the time to shop around for not only the best price but also the best features. Good inverters will include overload protection, amp and volt monitors, internal fuses, cooling fans, and more. And to ensure that your unit will be able to power anything that you connect to it, take the time to ensure that the one you're planning on buying has sine wave technology included to deliver the most consistent power possible. To solve serious power needs you need serious solutions, and an 8000 watt power inverter is just the thing you may be looking for.