I haven’t talked much about fiber optics up to now, but I just learned about a fiber optic stripper that really caught my attention, and I think it’s more than worth a mention. Prepping optical fibers for splicing and termination tends to be a precise, and somewhat tricky, procedure, and things can get even more complicated and time-consuming when particularly stubborn fiber coatings are involved. Installers need to effectively strip off coatings without causing damage to the delicate fiber beneath, and that can be a challenge if the stripping tool used is purely mechanical. Baked-on coatings don’t always give way the way you’d like them to, but they’re generally much more compliant if you just apply some heat. That’s why the Jonard Thermal Fiber Optic Stripper works so well – it combines the softening effects of heat with the mechanical force of stripping blades, and leaves you with perfectly stripped fibers, no matter what they were coated with in the first place.
The whole key to the Jonard thermal stripper working so well is that the heat levels and exposure times are completely customizable to the particular type of fiber you’re working with – you’re not limited to a narrow range of coating materials. And the whole procedure is very easy – you just insert the fiber into a simple clamp platform, close the lid over the heating element, and let the heat do its job. When the LED on top of the unit lets you know that the heating process has been completed, you simply remove the fiber from the unit by gently pulling it out through the stripping blades, which grab onto the softened fiber coating and strip it cleanly away.
Jonard fiber optic strippers are available in adjustable-blade and fixed-blade styles, are RoHS compliant, and have power supplies that are UL rated in the United States and Canada.
These days dimmers aren’t just cool, they’re all the rage. With the way everyone is “going green” while trying to max out on home automation and design details, you pretty much have to catch the dimmer wave if you want your home or office remodel to be truly up-to-date. And really, the renewed push on light dimmers isn’t such a bad trend to be in the midst of; after all, these sliding switches can help you customize the mood in any room of your house, and also go a long way toward cutting down on energy costs and lengthening the life of lightbulbs. As a matter of fact, during a recent training session with our Lutron rep, I learned that a 10% reduction in a room’s light level is barely perceptible to the human eye, yet can actually double the lifespan of a lamp or lightbulb. Not too shabby.
So naturally, this is going to roll around to a product – and judging by the fact that I just mentioned Lutron, you’ve probably already guessed that this is a Lutron dimmer. You got me there. We began carrying a bunch of different (and, may I also add, designer) Lutron light dimmers, but I think I’ve found my favorite. The Vierti™ Single Touch Dimmer. This high-tech little number is a far cry from the older, round knob-style dimmers that many of us still have in our homes. As a matter of fact, there’s nothing resembling a knob on it – instead, you adjust the dimmer by just sliding your finger up and down a vertical LED bar! Kind of like using an incredibly responsive touch screen instead of pounding away at a keyboard. Sounds a little fun, doesn’t it?
In addition to looking great and being incredibly easy to use, the Vierti™ has a few very unique features, including a function that allows you to create your own “maximum” lighting level (say, 85% instead of 100%), and dimmer position saver that lets you see the level that the dimmer was last set at, even when it’s turned off.
Being that today’s featured product is a USB cable, it might not sound that exotic or impressive, but it can be a real lifesaver when the connection cord to your printer or digital camera goes MIA. That’s because the 5-in-1 QuickConnect™ is no ordinary USB cable – it comes with 5 different connectors that can customize a single into just about any USB configuration you could possibly need.
Here’s how it works: the kit comes with either one or two cables, depending on the particular one you choose (the cables range in length from just 18″ all the way to 15′). The cables are foil and braid shielded to cut down on electromagnetic interference, but what really sets these USB cables apart is the fact that their connectors are removable. When a specific USB connection, you just pop off the existing connectors and snap on the exact ones you need. And that’s it. Pretty easy, right? Hardly anything to explain. But that’s the nice thing about it – so many possibilities, so little effort and expense.
The main benefit of this USB kit, as I mentioned earlier, is the fact that it can really bail you out when you’re in a pinch for the right connection. Just about every digital device nowadays comes with its own USB cable, so it can be hooked up to your laptop or PC. But if you should lose that cable, having the 5-in-1 QuickConnect on hand can save you frantic trips out to the electronics store, and the expense of shelling out for multiple USB cables.
They may call the items in the Kendall Howard Performance Plus™ Series “LAN racks,” but in layman’s terms, they’re really just the ultimate in workstations. These heavy duty modular workstations are designed to be positively loaded with computer equipment, while still giving you a flat work surface to sit at for writing and typing. These bring you the best of both worlds – they give you the benefits of both a desk and an ultra-sturdy server rack.
Performance Plus™ LAN racks come in a standard 80″ height (well, that actually changes to 84″ if you choose to use the optional casters), and can have either a 24″ or 30″ depth (your choice). You can also choose from 4 different widths that range from 36″ to 72″ inches. All of these sizing choices give you great flexibility to find the exact fit for your needs and work environment – there’s even a corner model available for situations where space is tight and there isn’t much real estate available along the walls.
But no matter which option you choose, the one thing that doesn’t change is the incredible weight capacity – each shelf on a Performance Plus™ workstation can handle up to 850 lbs of equipment! With this type of capability, there’s not much reason to keep purchasing desks and server racks separately (unless you really need an enclosure, that is). These LAN racks make ideal work spaces in data centers and IT labs, but they’re not limited to computer applications – with their rugged design and high weight capacity, they also make terrific work benches and shipping stations in factories and warehouses.
Those of you outdoor adventurer types who like to take photographic equipment and other electronics down rivers, up mountains, and across deserts have probably found that the same natural elements you love being in touch with can wreak havoc on electronics. Even in the smallest doses, water, dirt, sand, salt, weather, and even animals can render valuable cameras and communications useless very quickly.
You can’t very well leave your camera at home (don’t miss out on those photo ops), and you need to have cell phones and walkie-talkies on hand to communicate with other people in your group (nobody get lost, now), so your best bet it to protect your traveling electronics with B&W outdoor cases.
These completely watertight and dust-tight cases stand up to shock and exposure to chemicals, and are made of corrosion-proof ABS plastic, so you never have to worry about anything rusting out. And if, in your travels, you have elevation changes to consider, that’s no problem – B&W’s outdoor cases have built-in pressure equalization valves, so activities like plane flights and mountain climbing won’t cause the cases to pop open from air pressure buildup.
Another great feature of these specialty outdoor cases is that they’re available with fully customizable foam inserts, which can be uniquely configured so that they perfectly cradle you equipment – there’s no danger of it knocking around loose inside the case. And if security is an issue, you even have the option of padlocking B&W cases, thanks to their sturdy, built-in padlock eyes. And you’re not even limited to carrying them around by their handles, briefcase-style. If hands-free is your idea of the way to go, just go with the optional backpack accessory, which allows you to transform your B&W case into a backpack when it’s time to hit the hiking trail.
There’s no doubt about it: we’ve all been brainwashed to think of Duct Tape as the Great American Fix-All. And to be quite honest, it is. But what about those times when repairs need to be unquestionably watertight, when you want to wrap something up in tape without the chance of someone ever peeling it off? If that situation sounds familiar, I recommend that you free your mind, break away from the Duct Tape cult, and give Turbo Tape® a try instead.
Made of a silicone and rubber compund, Turbo Tape® looks a lot like a big roll of black electrical tape, but it’s very different. While most tapes (as we know them, at least) are made up of fabric, vinyl, or plastic coated with an adhesive on one side, Turbo Tape® is self-bonding, which means that it fuses to itself without the help of adhesives or glues. When you wrap it around hoses, automotive components, or cables, Turbo Tape® creates a watertight seal that starts setting a few minutes after the tape is applied, and cures to a void-free, unbreakable bond within 24 hours. No peeling apart here.
In addition to being water-tight, Turbo Tape® is electrically insulating, and can protect you from electrical shock up to 400 volts. It’s great for protecting components from the wearing and loosening effects of vibration, and can even be used in extreme temperatures (-76°F to 500°F) without expanding, contracting, or cracking.
If you have an HDTV that’s wall mounted in a dedicated home theater room, chances are pretty good that viewing angle is never a problem – after all, in situations like this, chairs and sofas are usually arranged so that everyone can view the TV head-on, and at fairly close range. But many of us don’t have the space or budget for a dedicated home theater, and have our plasmas or LCDs in a multipurpose room instead. These days, the concept of the “Great Room” rules, and this means that many homes are embracing an open floor plan that combines kitchen, living, and dining areas. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to see your TV whether you’re on the couch or at the table?
Now you can. The Chief® iC® Swinging Arm Wall Mount brings a full range of motion to flat screen HDTVs up to 50″ in size. It not only allows you to tilt the screen up or down, it also lets you swivel and angle it freely from side to side, and can keep your HDTV snug against the wall for a traditional look, or extend it out into the room to give you a more up-close view. This wall mount can really let you make the most out of a flat screen in any multipurpose room.
When you need to install a new power outlet or light switch, one of the first things you need to do is cut a hole in your drywall so you can install a junction box. Now, you’d think it would be easy to just break out a utility knife and cut a little rectangular piece out of the wall, but you’d be amazed at how many people mess this simple task up. Either the holes are cut too large, so that visible gaps can be seen around the receptacles, or the boxes can be installed crooked, which also leaves you with an awkward-looking end result.
One of the main reasons why so many bad drywall cuts are made is because most people just eyeball the whole thing – after all, most of us only have 2 hands, and it can be awkward trying to juggle a tape measure, pencil, utility knife and level. Unfortunately, taking the easy route usually carries a high rate of human error, and that’s why you see so many sloppily-installed light switches out there. But what would you say if I told you that you could still take the easy route, but make a perfect junction box hole every time?
Don’t worry, this doesn’t involve giving away your firstborn or paying 12 easy installments of just $19.95. Actually, it a one-shot deal that lasts you forever (as long as you don’t lose it) and will only set you back about $13. Meet the EZ-Cut™ Template and Level from LSDI.
This ingenious little invention is pretty much any electrician’s dream sidekick, and it’s kind of hard to believe that someone didn’t think of this sooner. The EZ-Cut™ template gives you a guide to cut around, so your drywall cuts will be just the right size every time, and since there’s even a built-in level, they’ll have the added benefit of actually being straight, too. No more juggling multiple tools for what should be a simple task – just hold the template/level against the wall with one hand, and cut around it with the other. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re installing a single or dual-gang (read: standard or double-wide) wall box – this little gadget has you covered for both sizes.
When it comes to working on high voltage lines, heavy duty rubber gloves are one of the most important types of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) you can use to prevent shock, electrocution, and burns. With the power to insulate your hands and forearms from deadly electrical current, dielectric rubber gloves can be the difference between life and death if you should come into contact with live electrical circuitry.
But in order to be fully effective, lineworker’s gloves need to be completely intact and free from damage – even a very small hole or tear can compromise a glove’s protective qualities. For this reason, it’s a must for electrical workers to routinely, and very carefully, inspect their rubber gloves for even the smallest signs of damage or deterioration. In the interest of making potentially dangerous flaws easier to notice, Salisbury has created Bashlin PPE Rubber Gloves, which, unlike many other protective gloves on the market, are made up of multiple layers of different colored rubber.
These multicolored layers make it easier for the eye to spot breaches in the electrically-insulating rubber – if there’s a hole in the outer yellow layer, the color below it shows through. Bashlin rubber gloves are made from natural latex, are “cement-dipped” for extra insulation and resistance to liquid permeation, and are available in different lengths and classes to fit different jobs.
In server rooms and data centers, one of the most important aspects of managing computer equipment is keeping it cool. When servers and other network components run, they produce heat, and when you have a whole room full of electronics, things can get toasty pretty fast. And here’s the problem: despite the fact that computers can really crank out the BTUs, heat can actually cause a lot of damage. Overheated components, in a best-case scenario, don’t run as efficiently as they should. But it can get a lot worse – when running too hot, computer equipment can be irreversibly damaged, completely shut down, and force you to foot the bill for both new equipment and network downtime. Needless to say, that can turn into a very expensive situation.
The moral of this story is that you should never skimp on thermal management – no good can come of it. But there are so many choices out there for server room thermal management – how is one to decide? In addition to having a great air conditioning system in place for the entire room, you need to consider how you’ll tackle the excess heat issue server enclosure by server enclosure. When you have components rack mounted in cabinets, they’re more prone to heat build-up because everything is confined. So, you can opt for rack fans, vented doors and side panels, or get really sophisticated with a liquid-based cooling system that pumps coolant through a system of pipes to absord and carry away heat. Or, if you want a complete solution that will cause you the least amount of hassle, you could always just go with a Lake Effect enclosure from Great Lakes.
The Lake Effect server enclosure is built for cooling; in fact, we like to think of it as the ultimate cooling enclosure. From the outside, it looks like any other cabinet, but it’s the patented thermal technology hidden inside that makes it so special. The key is the Lake Effect’s pressurized front plenum chamber, which lines the entire front panel of the enclosure top to bottom. It uses vanaxial fans, which were originally invented for use in the aerospace industry, to maintain a constant 65° temperature inside the front plenum. This keeps the ambient temperature of the entire enclosure at a safe level, and protects your equipment from the malfunctions that occur from overheating. The Lake Effect uses absolutely no liquid coolants and refrigerants, and doesn’t require any wall, ceiling, or raised-floor penetrations – just set it directly on the floor, and you’re ready to go.