If fiber optics were to have a dual arch-nemesis, it would definitely be that nasty pair known as Dirt and Grime. Think about how you can’t see quite right when your glasses or windows are smudged up. That’s because any dust or stickiness settled on see-though glass or plastic obstructs the proper flow of light, so objects on the other side can appear distorted. The same thing is true with optical fibers – these clear glass filaments relay data (in the form of light signals) from one point to another, and if their end-faces are covered in dust, fingerprints, or other grimy residue, the signals just aren’t going to come through right. Think of it as a bad game of telephone – you start out with a clear message at one end, and get stuck with a garbled mess at the other. Talk about something being lost in transit…
When it comes to fiber optics, clean connector end-faces equal clean data. It’s a simple as that. You just need to know that the cleaning products you’re using are truly taking all of the contaminants with them, instead of leaving a few particles behind to mess things up later. One of the most well-intentioned but sloppy connector cleaning implements out there is the fiber optic cleaning swab. Often made out of cloth or foam, these swabs may seem to get the job done, but are actually notorious for leaving behind microscopic bits of lint, which are often generated by the swabs themselves. You’re really not doing yourself any favors by using them.
You would be greatly helping yourself out, though, by cleaning your fiber optic connectors with Fiber Connector Cleaning Sticks from MicroCare. Just like swabs, they’re flexible and made to fit inside the alignment sleeves of fiber connectors, but material and cleaning-action wise, they’re worlds apart. MicroCare cleaning sticks are tiny cylinders molded from from lint-free fibers. When a solution-dampened cleaning stick is inserted into an alignment sleeve and pressed against the connector end face, its fiber ends actually open up slightly, allowing them to spin off-center as you turn the connector. This simple action allows the fibers to pick up far more dirt and debris, and actually wick the contaminants up into the tip. When that cleaning stick is removed, nothing is left behind except a squeaky-clean end face.
I can’t believe I’m doing this. Me, the chick who swoons when she hears words like “vein” and “needle”, and runs screaming from the room Macauley-Culkin-in-Home-Alone-style when her friends and family decide to go TMI and start swapping surgery horror stories. Today, I’m tackling the medical world. Yikes.
We’ve talked about home cable management, office cable management, and special event cable management – but today, we’re going to the hospital. You heard me. They may smell funny and weird me out, but on the serious side, hospitals are chock-full of critical cables and hoses that need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. There’s no time to waste when a medical emergency arises, so monitor leads, hoses, and other cords need be in order – when someone’s life is on the line, doctors and nurses shouldn’t have to stop to untangle equipment first.
That’s why the Cord Caddy™ Medical Cord Organizer has been such a hit with healthcare professionals. Their jobs are stressful enough without having to wrestle with disorganized equipment carts. The Cord Caddy™ mounts right onto medical stands, IV poles, wall brackets and other fixtures to manage cables right at their sources.
In addition to the general neatness and time-saving factors, there are also the matters of infection control and money savings. The Cord Caddy™ is instrumental in keeping hoses and cables off the floor, which not only prevents them from being dragged through who knows what kind of bacteria, but also keeps them from being trampled underfoot during procedures. I’ve read testimonials from hospital department heads, raving about how much money the Cord Caddy™ shaved from their annual cable replacement expenditures. So think about the Cord Caddy™, medical professionals. It’s one worthwhile investment – for you, for your employees, and for your patients.
Filed under: Electrical, Energy Conservation, Workplace Safety
A lot of us worry about carbon monoxide silently and invisibly building up inside our homes, so naturally, we make sure to stay safe with carbon monoxide detectors. But from the business/public safety standpoint, have you ever realized that CO can easily reach dangerous levels in garages and warehouses, too? Any enclosed area that plays host to vehicles and machinery that run on (read: burn) natural gas, wood, coal, or petroleum products can develop deadly high concentrations of carbon monoxide.
In these settings, one answer is to keep ventilation fans running at all times, constantly circulating air so that CO doesn’t have the chance to build up. This generally does the job, but it can also leave facility owners with hefty electric bills, as well as cause an undue amount of wear and tear on the vent fans, which will inevitably need to be replaced every few years when they burn out.
So it’s sort of a Catch 22. If you don’t monitor and control carbon monoxide levels, you put yourself, your employees, and your customers at risk for CO poisoning – or even death. But if you responsibly keep tabs on things and take measures toward maintaining safely breathable air, you’re going to significantly lighten your wallet, as well as consume a lot more electricity than you probably need to. What’s a business owner/property manager to do?
Check out this 3M™ Macurco™ Carbon Monoxide Detector and Fan Controller, that’s what. This CO detection unit actually wires into your fan control system, so that your ventilation units only need to run when a certain level of carbon monoxide is detected in the ambient air. As long as levels remain safe, your fans stay off. But as soon as elevated CO levels are detected, this unit automatically fires up the fans, and leaves them running until the air has been adequately cleared. As a result, the 3M™ Macurco™ control system not only saves lives, but your utilities budget and fan components as well.
How’s that for a happy medium?
Sorry, this item has been discontinued.
Call it blogger’s block. I was wracking my brain for days, trying to settle on which product to write about next, and just kept hitting wall after wall. All I can say us that it’s a good thing that my husband has been on a home theater kick this week, because the other night, while we were out for a stroll, conversation took that turn, and I started to school him on some of the cooler A/V accessories out there. Somewhere in the course of my monologue, Vutec’s ArtScreen™ came up, and a lightbulb went on in the old cranium. “By gum,” I thought, “I haven’t told them about that one yet!” And so, here we are.
Now ladies, I know that many of you, like me, have guys who are Jonesing for a sizable plasma or LCD screen, which would preferably be mounted smack in the middle of the most prime living room wall. And guys, I know that it’s hard to talk your women into one of those, because (also like me) they just don’t want to have to look at it all the time. And that’s where the ArtScreen™ comes in -it’s the middle ground that just might make it possible for everybody to get what they want.
The Vutec ArtScreen™ is what is technically referred to as a “screen masking system,” but in regular people speak, it’s a clever disguise for your wall-mounted HDTV. Made up of a custom frame, a small motor, and your choice of “art,” the ArtScreen™ lets your TV be a TV when you feel like watching something, but also helps it masquerade as wall art when it isn’t in use.
Here’s how it works: you select a framing material that best suits your tastes, and it’s made into a custom frame according to your TV’s exact measurements. This frame is fitted with a motorized roller, which raises and lowers a custom “canvas” (featuring artwork from Vutec’s collection, or a design of your own) at the touch of a button. Wanna catch the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory”? Click. Picture up. Had enough TV for the time being? Click. Picture down.
You know you want one.
Filed under: Home Theater, Power and Data Distribution
First of all, let me say that I am not a two-face. A few months back, I did a blog post on a line of home theater wall plates that act as transition points for A/V cables wherever they enter into, or emerge from, your walls. Really neat products. Today, I learned about a different set of wall plates that operate under the same general concept, but with a slight design twist. So, before I tell you about those, I just wanted to clarify that I still fully endorse the first wall plates I wrote about. But new mention-worthy things come along from time to time, right?
Okay, now that I’ve cleared the air, we can get down to business. Like I said, the particular wall plate we’re going to be talking about today, the Recessed Media Box by Datacomm, is made to cover cable entrance and exit points on your walls, but unlike the hooded designs you’ll find a lot of the time, they’re styled more along the lines of self-healing grommets. If you’re wondering what the heck I mean by “hooded design” and “self-healing grommet,” let me explain.
In every home theater setup, there comes a point where your A/V cables need to come through the wall and attach to your A/V equipment. So far so good? And while some people go for schmancy, professionally-wired wall plates, some of us want to forego the extra steps and expense, and just pull our cables out of a hole in the drywall and carry on with our business. But you don’t want an ugly, rough-cut hole staring you in the face. That’s where hooded wall plates come in. They create a neat border around the exit point, and protect cables from abrasion as they come through the wall. The hood actually helps to further neaten things up, and direct the overall cable flow.
On the other hand, you can have a self-healing grommet-style wall plate – case in point, the Recessed Media Box. With this type of face plate, cables are fed through radial slits in a flexible material. These slits gently grip and conform to your A/V cables, holding them in place while ensuring that no gaps or holes are left around them. The gap-free factor is the part that I really appreciate, because I’m not completely sure that I’d want an ever-open hole in my living room wall. In the event that pestilence or mold spores were lurking behind my drywall, I’d want them to stay there, not have a way to creep through. But that’s just me… I’m an apartment-dweller with shared walls, so personally, I just like the idea of having somewhat of a seal in place.
Filed under: Electrical, Energy Conservation, Power and Data Distribution
Autumn is here, Halloween’s right around the corner, and now that the Sun is coming up later and setting a little earlier every day, I’ve been thinking that this is the time of year when an outdoor timer could really be appreciated. A lot of people have outdoor lights that are set to timers, but during the Fall and Spring, when daylight hours can drastically shorten and lengthen, it can be tough to synchronize your outdoor lighting with ever-shifting sunrises and sunsets. Instead of having to constantly recalculate and reset things for yourself, how about letting a photosensitive timer take care of things for you?
UPM’s Outdoor Programmable Timer makes timed lighting a no-brainer because it’s equipped with a built-in photocell that detects ambient light levels. When the photocell detects darkness falling, it automatically turns the lights on, and the next morning, it shuts things off when it senses that the Sun is putting out enough light for you to get around by. Sounds like a nice thing to have around, doesn’t it? You can always know that you’ll come home to a lit path, and if you’re one of those go-getter morning people who leave the house before it’s light out, you’ll still be able to see where you’re going.
This is not only great for those of us who tend to trip over ourselves in the dark, but it also helps you to be more aware of your surroundings in case the might be any uninvited guests lurking in the shadows. I don’t want to go on too much of a tangent or bring unpleasant things to mind, but I live in crazy South Florida, and simply put, things happen. I used to live in a neighborhood where a decent-sized feral cat would occasionally prowl during the night, and lately I’ve been reading newspaper stories about people being robbed near their front doors as they’ve gotten home from work late or left very early in the morning. I used to leave the house before 5am, so needless to say, I appreciate the extra measure of security that mere light can bring. A timer like this just makes that easier.
And back to business – I’m just going to tell you one more thing. I’ve been focusing on the photocell aspect of this timer, but I should mention that it also has a time dial for manual settings and overrides, so that gives you a little more flexibility for more fun things… like Christmas lights.
Up until a couple of years ago, when I was involved with a home remodel that involved a lot of recessed lighting, I never really thought about the fire risk involved. I’ve always liked recessed high-hats, but my musings about them pretty much always went along the lines of: “Wow, those look nice,” and “When will I be able to afford lighting like that?” On the other hand, watching them being installed makes you realize a couple of things that should be, but often aren’t, obvious characteristics of can light fixtures.
First of all, when they run for any length of time, lightbulbs get hot. Which brings me to my second point: when it comes to recessed lighting, all of that bulb-generated heat is building up inside your ceiling. See any potential for problems there? To be fair, can lights are called “can lights” because they’re enclosed in a (you guessed it) can-like structure that provides a measure of safety by isolating the hot bulb from surrounding building materials. But once in a while, a recessed lighting fire does break out, and it’s a smart idea to have some backup in place just in case that flaming light fixture happens to be in your home or business.
That’s where Tenmat fire-rated lighting covers come in handy. These cup-shaped mineral fiber coverings actually fit around each high hat, to provide extra insulation between light fixtures and ceiling materials. And in the event that fire does occur, they intumesce (that is, expand and char upon exposure to high heat) to seal out smoke and prevent your ceiling from igniting. It’s a simple preventive measure to take, but it can ultimately prevent or greatly reduce fire spread and structural damage.
Today’s post goes out to the 80′s kids – the ones who dug tall bangs, leggings, slouch socks, and snap bracelets. You heard me – snap bracelets. Remember those rigid fabric-covered straps that instantly curled into cuffs as soon as you slapped them against your wrist? Even if you wouldn’t be caught dead in one now, you’d still like to play around with one, wouldn’t you? How ’bout if you could use it to keep wound-up cables coiled? You can. Sweet.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, here. Slooooooooooooooooowww down there, crazy (I’m talking to myself, kind reader, not you – so don’t feel bad). I should probably start out by filling you in on the main event, the thing that the snap-bracelet cable ties are actually accessories to. And that would be the Cable Coiler™ by Kaltman Creations. This thoroughly nifty cable reel sets itself apart from other spools with its motor, which, in short, does all the grunt work for you.
Here’s how it works. You hook one end of a power, network, or microphone cord into the connector holder on the Cable Coiler™, then let it rip! The Cable Coiler’s™ motor turns the reel, spooling cords with absolutely zero effort on your part. And now here’s where the Slap Tie™ (the “slap-bracelet cable tie”) comes into play. Say that the Cable Coiler™ has just finished winding up a cable. You just slide the cable coil off the reel, and in the same motion, knock it against the Slap Tie™ that’s ready and waiting on the side of the reel. Snap! And that’s it. The Slap Tie™ wraps itself around the cable bundle to keep the coil intact, and you’re ready to move onto your next cord. Easy and fun.
Filed under: Braided Sleeving, Cable and Wire Storage, Cable Ties, Clips and Grommets, Cable Wraps, Cables and Wires, Electrical, Power and Data Distribution
No matter who you are, where you live, or how big or small your circle of family and friends is, chances are very good that you know someone whose life has been changed because of breast cancer. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one to it. Maybe you’ve watched someone close to you battle though it and emerge a survivor. Maybe you’re living with it yourself. But one thing’s for sure – once you have a brush with the disease, you never forget it.
Since yesterday, October 1st, you’ve probably begun seeing a lot pink ribbons and references to Breast Cancer online and in the media. That’s because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year, 2009, CableOrganizer.com has decided to jump in and do something to support this admirable, and universal, cause.
And so, today, I’m not going to focus on one cool product, but 9 very worthwhile ones that are not only fun and useful, but whose purchase goes toward supporting breast cancer research, as well as meeting the needs of women who are fighting the disease. If you or someone you know is a fan of the color pink, please visit our Breast Cancer Pink Page, which is full of rosy-hued products that have been chosen to help raise funds in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. From now through October 31, 2009, we’re donating $1 from each purchase of these products to The Donna Foundation, a Florida-based non-profit organization dedicated to furthering breast cancer research and providing assistance to breast cancer patients.
So if you’re already looking into accessorizing your iPod or organizing some cables around the house, please be sure to check out the items on our Pink Page first – by purchasing one of these products, you’ll not only be getting something you need, but will also be helping to prevent and cure breast cancer in the process.
It’s 5:37am, and 15°F outside. You hit your alarm many minutes ago, and it’s taken you this long to talk yourself into braving the inrush of cold air that comes every morning when you break the seal of those toasty blankets. You set a tentative foot on the icy floor, and tell yourself “You can do this! Just run to the bathroom, get a hot shower running, and everything will be okay!” But when you get there and turn the faucet, nothing. It turns out that all the warm water and steam that were supposed to come billowing out of the showerhead turned into a solid chunk of ice somewhere along the way. Frozen pipes suck.
Guess you should have had some Chromalox Thermwire® Wrap! Sound interesting? It is, especially if your plumbing is located in the Northern climes, where plunging temperatures have a way of stopping water in its tracks – especially when it’s in your pipes. Thermwire® is a pipe wrap that not only insulates your water lines, but also keeps them warm with two built-in heating wires. Rated for both residential and commercial properties, Thermwire® is a lifesaver for homeowners, landlords, and business owners alike, because it elimnates the need to run frantically to the rescue with hair dryer in hand. The water shall flow, whatever the weather.
And about the “whatever the weather” thing I just mentioned – Thermwire® wrap is self-regulating, so temperature fluctuations aren’t a problem. When the ambient air temperature increases, Thermwire® eases up on things. When the air temp takes a dive, Thermwire works a little harder. The important thing is, you don’t have to worry about adjustments.
Thermwire® pipe sleeving works on both metal and plastic pipes, and is UL-listed and CSA Approved.