Properly Grounding Outdoor Lightning Protectors

December 1, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but one strike is all it takes to destroy your expensive electrical communications equipment. A single bolt of lightning can carry as much as 100 million volts of electricity, there’s no way to know exactly where it will strike and indirect strikes can be just as destructive as direct strikes. Damage from lightning can be extensive and costly, from downtime to loss of important data and compromised security systems.

 

Lightning protectors are an effective and inexpensive way to make sure that your valuable equipment doesn’t get damaged. L-com offers an extensive line of coaxial and data line lightning surge protectors for every application. But in order for them to fully protect your equipment it is crucial that the lightning protector be properly grounded.  Here are 5 tips to make sure you don’t get burned by Mother Nature.

 

1.  Never ground to a building's electrical ground

 

2.  Always use at least 8-10 gauge copper wire from the arrestor to the ground stake

 

3.  If possible, connect to an existing telephone company interface. These are usually on the outside of the building and have a heavy ground stake and wire near them

 

4.  If you are using an indoor device, such as a PoE interface with lightning protection, you must still run copper ground wire to the outside of the facility

 

5.  Use a grounding rod. With proper installation, grounding rods complete a safe path for lightning to discharge. They become the final connector of a grounding electrode, meeting or exceeding most local electric codes with resistance of 25 Ohms or less

 

Video Blog- L-com's Toughest Cable Field Test

November 3, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

Have you ever wanted to test your cables and really push them to the limit? If so, we have a video you MUST watch. We wanted to see just how much abuse our metal armored cables could endure, so we put them through our toughest test ever.

 

Our series of metal armored cables are capable of withstanding the harshest environments and are specifically designed for outdoor, industrial and military applications. Rugged metal armor protects the cable from damage and provides up to 1,500 pounds per square inch (PSI) of crush resistance. The metal jacket also secures the cable from dust, oil, moisture and UV damage. These cables can be used in a variety of industrial applications including factory automation, manufacturing and chemical or petroleum processing networks.

 

Our metal armored cables are currently available off-the-shelf in USB, DVI, HDMI, Ethernet (RJ45) and D-Subminiature styles. Plastic armored cable assemblies with up to 800 PSI of crush resistance are also available. In addition to our extensive off-the-shelf armored cable offering, we can also design and manufacture armored cables to your specifications.

 

Now, check out the video to watch our field test and see just how tough our armored cables are.

 

 

For more videos, tips and tutorials, click here.

 

Best Fit Guide - Modular Plugs

October 27, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

If you’re making your own phone or Ethernet cable, using the right modular plug is critical for the performance of your cable.  But how do you know which one will be the right fit?  With so many so many options available, choosing the right modular plug can be very confusing.  Here are the 4 factors you need to consider to get the best fit.

 

1.  Solid or Stranded Conductor Cable?

The first step is to determine which type of bulk cable you’re using, solid or stranded conductor, because each one uses a different type of plug.

 

Plugs for solid conductor cables use contacts that straddle the wire. This type of cable is typically used for permanent wiring runs inside walls and ceilings. Solid cable is cheaper and less flexible than stranded cable, so it’s best used in areas where flexibility isn’t the priority. Solid bulk cable is usually sold in pull out boxes.

 

Plugs for stranded conductor cables use contacts that pierce the wire. Stranded cable is more flexible and is frequently used in patch cords where flexibility is needed. Stranded bulk cable is usually sold in reels or spools.

 

2.  Cable Outer Dimension (OD)

To ensure your plug will have the proper fit, you must measure the outer dimension of the cable jacket. Most Ethernet cable has a nominal OD of 0.180" to 0.250".

 

Problems often occur when special jackets are used or the job calls for heavy shielding or specialty cable. 

 

3.  Conductor Outer Dimension (OD)

Cables come in many different types and styles. For example, a 24 AWG stranded data cable might have a conductor insulation diameter of 0.046", which will not fit the common RJ-style plug. So it is important to know the exact outer dimension for a good fit and optimal performance.

 

4.  Flat or Round Cable?

Modular/Telecom cable is available with either a flat or round jacket over the wires. The plug should have the appropriate entry to ensure a snug fit with the cable jacket.

 

5.  Shielded or Unshielded Cable?

If you are using shielded cable, shielded plugs should also be used. Shielded plugs have a metal outer shell and are often specified in areas where a shield or ground connection is required. Areas with high electrical noise also use shielded cable and plugs.

 

Whatever plug you need, L-com carries a full-line of RJ45, RJ11 and RJ12 plugs. Watch our instructional video on how to make your own Ethernet cable.

 

Technological Oddities

October 20, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

Ideas for new technology never cease to amaze.  There is no shortage of outlandish gizmos and gadgets being developed.  The next time you think you have a crazy idea, just remember that there’s probably something even crazier out there. Here, we’ll highlight some of the more quirky ideas we’ve seen.

 


  

Frying eggs on a laptop. -We’ve all felt the scorching heat from a laptop burning the tops of our thighs. But who knew a laptop could actually get hot enough to cook an egg? Though not recommended, this can apparently also be done inside a motherboard.

 


  

LED eyelashes - For those who want to make a fashion statement, or when you can’t find your flashlight. These motion sensor lashes turn on and off by tilting your head. 

 

 

 


Prototypes have been made of contact lenses with Micro-LEDs in them. These redefine screen time by providing the wearer with the same view they might have if they were looking at a computer screen.

 

 


 

Cat door that uses facial recognition technology - The latch only opens once it’s confirmed that there’s nothing in Fluffy’s mouth. No more gifts of dead mice at your feet!

 


 

 

Last but certainly not least – the prosthetic finger USB drive. A man lost his ring finger in an accident and replaced it with a USB drive. It’s accessed by peeling back the “fingernail” to expose the USB slot – he’ll never lose his drive again.

 

  

 

If you have a wacky app to tell us about, or if you have comments, please email us at engineeringhub@l-com.com.

 

Engineers’ Choice

October 13, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

We depend on our engineers for their innovative ideas. We asked them what topic, technology or trend they thought we should feature in this weeks post. Our engineers’ choice: USB Type-C connectors. Here is an inside look at the connectors that got our enigneers’ stamp of approval.

 

We all love using USB. The plug-and-play interface makes it easy to connect and charge our devices. But it can be aggravating to figure out which USB cord goes with which device, and then which end plugs in where. Forutnately, our prayers have been answered and the technology gods have given us Type-C connectors.

 

USB Type-C is a tiny connector that boasts fast speeds, more power handling capabilities and a simpler, sleeker design.

 

The smaller, slimmer USB Type-C is a single connnector that can be used on all devices. Designed to replace both full-sized USB connectors as well as micro-USB connectors, it is tailored to fit mobile devices, yet powerful enough to be used with laptops and tablets. Whether you’re connecting an external peripheral to your laptop or charging your smartphone, Type-C connectors provide one cable small enough and powerful enough to do it all.

 

The Type-C connector has a simple, reversible design that makes using USB easier than ever. Completely reversible plug orientation and cable direction eliminate the guess work and frustration of not knowing which end is up when plugging in your USB devices.

 

Made for SUPERSPEED+ USB 3.1, Type-C connectors boast lightning speeds of up to 10 Gbps. They also support a vareity of different protocols that, with an adapter, allow output of HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort and other types of technologies from a single USB port. Type-C connectors are designed to provide scalable power and performance to adapt to whatever your future needs may be.

 

Type-C connectors are also made to support  USB Power Delivery (PD). Currently, a USB 2.0 connection provides up to 2.5 Watts of power, that’s enough to charge your phone, but not your laptop. With USB PD, the power delivery is increased to up to 100 Watts, and the power is bi-directional so it can be sent or received. That means that as long as the device and cable support USB PD, you can use a Type-C connector to charge devices from one another and possibly eliminate the need for a separate laptop charging cord.

 

Though USB technology is backward compatible, Type-C connectors are not, so we will continue to see devices and cords with both Type-A and Type-C connectors. Type-C connectors have been integrated into an increasing number of devices over the past year, they are now found on Google’s Chromebook Pixel and Apple’s MacBook and in the furture they may even replace Lightning connectors on iPads and iPhones.

 

For more information on Type-C connectors and USB 3.1, check out our blog post USB 3.1 – Fasten Your Seatbelts

 

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