Blame it on my childhood Mary Poppins movie binges, but the first time I laid eyes on the product we’re about to talk about, all I could think of were Cockney chimney sweeps shouting “step in time” while dancing and jumping over chimneys, stovepipes and other rooftop obstacles. Not that Arlington Industries’ Roof Topper™ Rooftop Conduit Supports qualify as rooftop obstacles… quite the opposite, in fact.
To be honest, I generally don’t really give what goes on on rooftops a lot of thought, unless a storm with driving winds happens to be forcing rain between my shingles and causing a leak, or, of course, I happen to be curled up in front of the TV watching Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke “popping in and out of chalk pavement pictures” and conducting tea parties on the ceiling for the 5,347th time in my life (just an estimate). But the truth is that roofs need to be given quite a bit of though, especially if you need to route pipes or conduit across them and have any respect at all for the National Electrical Code and safety in general.
Roof Topper Rooftop Conduit Supports allow you to elevate conduit and pipes about roof surfaces per NEC requirements without having to drill or install any special hardware. They’re designed with UV-resistant plastic bases that simply sit on your roof deck and allow you to clamp on conduit. That’s it. No heavy rubber blocks that crack and crumble after long-term weather exposure, no power tools or holes in your roof.
Roof Topper supports are intended for use with conduit 4 inches or more in diameter, and are rated to withstand weights of up to 2,000 lbs, so they can tackle just about any job you throw at them. They’re also available in several different configurations, from base-only to models with your choice of struts, end clamps and threaded rods, so all you need to do is select the style you need and install that conduit – so easy! It’s almost enough to make you want to compete in a derby on the back of a carousel horse.
Filed under: Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
Ever know you’re going to have a really long day ahead of you, and stash an extra snack or caffeine source in your glove compartment or purse just in case you need to be saved from a serious mood/energy/blood sugar crash before your insane day ends? I do. The last thing that I want is to turn into a surly and/or diva-ish jerk like in the Snickers® commercials, when all that unpleasantness can be avoided with a little pick-me-up. Well, our hard-working gadgets can crash, too, when pushed through long days without enough power to keep them going.
Okay, so I’m not suggesting that a candy bar or energy shot would ever be able to help in the case of tuckered-out electronics, but here’s something very cool that can: the Power Tube Mini-Charger by Juicebar®. Pretty close in size to a bottle of 5-Hour ENERGY®, this miniature charger acts much the same way: it hangs around on standby to provide cell phones and other small electronics with a much-needed power boost when the batteries are starting to run low.
The Power Tube is designed to be charged from a wall outlet (via an adapter), or your computer (via USB connection), and then maintain that charge for up to 30 days, so that it’s ready to go without you constantly having to worry about topping off the charge every few days. When it’s at full capacity, this tiny but impressive emergency charger has enough juice to more than fully charge a standard cell phone battery, which makes a huge difference when you’re faced with situations that can be made or broken by your ability to make a vital call. And emergencies aside, the convenience factor is amazing, even if you’re only faced with a sudden, inconvenient dip in battery power at an inopportune moment… like when you’re calling in a pizza order on your way home from work.
Having been a die-hard Shrinky Dink fan growing up in the ’80s, there’s one particular variety of cable management product that I never seem to get tired of: heat shrink tubing. What’s not to love? It’s easy (and dare I say fun?) to use, comes in lots of bright colors, and, like my old pals the Shrinky Dinks, transforms before your eyes with the simple application of heat. Come to think of it, said heat application doesn’t seem to release the same burning plastic fumes that my little hand-colored charms did while they baked, so maybe heat shrink tubing is even better than the Dinks (but I digress). And the concepts of “heat” and “shrink” just make sense together; if you don’t believe me, try accidentally throwing a “hand wash cold only, line dry” item of clothing into a warm wash cycle and then the dryer. Ouch.
So you can imagine my confusion when I began hearing talk of a little product called “cold shrink tubing.” What? How is that possible? And now I finally know, and can in fact introduce you to some extremely handy cold shrink tubing.
The reason why cold shrink can be shrunken into place cold is because it’s made of stretchy, highly-conforming rubber, unlike traditional heat shrink tubing, which is made of cross-linked plastic that requires relatively high temperatures to go into shape-shifting mode. Heat shrink is basically pre-expanded, irradiated plastic tubing that “remembers” its smaller original diameter when heat is applied. In the case of cold shrink, a length of rubber tubing is stretched over a hollow, larger-diameter plastic inner core, which is slid over a cable or splice until it’s right where you need it, at which point the inner core is removed, and the cold shrink tubing basically snaps back down to its original smaller diameter, creating a snug, weatherproof seal over the wire connection point.
I don’t know about you, but now that I know the complete story behind cold shrink, I’m a little embarrassed that the mere thought of it used to puzzle me. That said, here are a few fast facts and benefits, lest you’re wondering about actual practical applications. First off, it’s only suitable for low voltage applications (like A/V, voice & data, and coax), is UV-resistant (so it’s great outdoors), and obviously, eliminates the risk of burns and overall charring (to components and people alike) due to misuse, or overuse, of heat guns and torches. And since there are no heat tools in the picture, it’s great for using in the field, and tends to free up quite a bit of real estate in your tool kit, which is never a bad thing.