You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

As the number of harmonics-producing loads increases, it becomes more important to address their influence when making any additions or changes to an installation… (more)


Oil fouling in HVAC/R systems can cause efficiency losses of up to 40%. With “traditional” mechanical solutions only partially effective in addressing this problem, the answer may lie with “nucleo-molecular regenerative (NMR) nanotechnology”… (more)

Limit switches for liquids are used throughout process engineering as standard. It is, however, recommended that all technical solutions should be reduced to one universal measurement principle… (more)

Li-ion batteries have emerged over the last 15 years to capture over half of the sales value of the secondary end-user market, with applications such as laptop computers, cell phones and camcorders (known as the “Three-C” market)… (more)

An overview of all the available electric motors, together with their main characteristics and the areas in which they are used… (more)

An LED workshop hosted at the recent Industrial and Commercial Use of Energy (ICUE) conference highlighted the urgent need for LED standards and guidelines to ensure that South Africa does not become a dumping ground for substandard equipment… (more)

A recent decision by the Labour Appeal Court has been misinterpreted by some as meaning that employers must now unconditionally grant their employees sick leave on the basis of “sick notes” from traditional healers such as sangomas. That is not correct, and it is important for both employers and employees to understand the true current position… (more)

The latest SANS 151 published in August 2012 for fixed electrical storage water heaters has taken a bold step by adding an energy efficiency label as a legal requirement to geysers… (more)

I have a few concerns regarding what seems to be a conflict between the electrical and gas standards… (more)

How long have you been associated with the ECA(SA)?

Some 35 years ago, I travelled to Johannesburg for a formal interview to see if I was considered “ECA material”. The interview was conducted by about five people – and they weren’t very friendly either. They asked all sorts of questions, some of which didn’t even pertain to the electrical industry! After about an hour of interrogation they excused me. The next morning, they let me know that I had been accepted and I have been a member of the ECA(SA) ever since. I was elected vice chairperson of the then Pretoria branch in the late 1980s and kept the position throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s…  (more)

Question: A rather “controversial” article by Gauteng accredited inspection authority Mark Palmer in the August issue of Sparks Electrical News recently focused specifically on clause 5.3.1 of  SANS 10142-1 and highlighted the legality of the use of wall boxes for the installation of electrical equipment in roof and ceiling spaces. In Clause 3.33, electrical equipment is clearly defined and includes wireways. What does one do when an entire rewire of an older installation has to be effected? Wall boxes were extensively used as draw boxes. Do we replace the wall boxes?… (more)

Many governments still believe that implementing new schemes and procedures will lead to successful projects, but they often do not realise that changes in the landscape level usually take place slowly, over decades…  (more)

An LED workshop hosted at the recent Industrial and Commercial Use of Energy (ICUE) conference highlighted the urgent need for LED standards and guidelines to ensure that South Africa does not become a dumping ground for substandard equipment… (more)

In this, the first “lead editorial” for 2013, we take a look at the events of 2012 and highlight the challenges, opportunities and threats to the local market and our industry over the past year… (more)

  • Great tablet from Acer with Windows 8
  • The ultimate hands-free car kit
  • Headset redesigned for the Xbox 360
  • It’s not a phone, or a tablet – it’s a Note!… (more)

In this monthly feature, Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV, executive chairman of the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust (SAARDT), looks at various technologies and activities that drive amateur radio. SAARDT is dedicated to the development of amateur radio in South Africa with a special interest in the youth. The organisation is funded by donations and supports the South African Radio League and SA AMSAT…  (more)

  • Alcatel-Lucent builds Airtel’s network backbone
  • Ericsson and MTN roll out commercial LTE
  • Two killed attempting to bomb Airtel, MTN
  • France Telecom-Orange launches ACE submarine cable service
  • Ethiopia’s mobile subscribers now over 18-million
  • Kenya prioritises network security
  • Cellcom first to deploy fibre-optic network in Liberia
  • Somalia gets 3G mobile service
  • Tanzania: Airtel offers hefty tariff review
  • Econet takes over Zimbabwe’s TN Bank… (more)

RF harvesting is a viable option for a wide range of applications, with proven technology providing a platform for prototyping new products. Battery-powered sensors can be replaced with a selection of components and power balancing… (more)

Secondary and rechargeable batteries are critical to our daily lives. In this article we discuss how to evaluate the performance of batteries during R &D, manufacturing and while in service. As personal mobile devices become our primary form of communication, backup power such as an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) to support critical data centres becomes an absolute must, and as the use of secondary batteries in business and industrial equipment becomes more widespread, the need to easily evaluate the performance of batteries is no longer just an option… (more)

Managing pH is one of the most important control parameters in our daily lives –with many practical aspects affecting us. If the pH of your morning shower water or shampoo is wrong – expect an itchy head that day; or if the pH of your water is low expect your geyser to fail and your water pipes to start leaking soon. You can also expect carcinogenic heavy metals to remain in the solution, to the detriment of your health in the long run. If the pH of the paint used on your car was wrong – expect its colour to change and fail, and you will see rust long before you have finished paying for it…  (more)

A linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) is an absolute displacement transducer that converts a linear displacement or position from a mechanical reference (or zero) into a proportional electrical signal containing phase (for direction) and amplitude information (for distance)… (more)

As market demands and business drivers continue to evolve for customers in manufacturing and production industries, it is very clear that organisations are under significant pressure to increase the speed and agility of their business and manufacturing operations… (more)

This article explains how system availability and uptime are affected by AC power outages and provides quantitative data regarding uptime in real-world environments, including the effect of UPS on up time. The data includes the effects of power outage frequency and duration, the restart behaviour of the equipment, and factors related to the reliability of the UPS…  (more)

Lightning and surge protection methods are frequent topics of discussion among engineers and technicians. While all agree that protective measures are essential, not everyone has the same view on implementation. We invited industry players to participate in a virtual panel discussion to discuss various aspects of lighting protection… (more)

There was general optimism for telecommunications in Africa at AfricaCom 2012 held in Cape Town in November 2012. Many delegates spoke about how telecoms in Africa is taking off and how broadband is becoming available in many countries… (more)

South Africa is not lagging behind when it comes to the world of supercomputing, and yet is mainly associated with the Square Kilometre Array project and the high volume of data that will need to be analysed. The Centre of High Performance Computing (CHPC), situated in Cape Town, already has an impressive track record… (more)

South Africa’s ongoing efforts to train its way out of the deepening skills crisis by using formal, traditional training methods won’t achieve much, says Ryan Falkenberg, a director at Clevva, a software-as-a-service company that specialises in enabling under-trained and inexperienced staff to perform like experts. Rather, he believes, effort should be focused more on developing people’s meta-skills, and supporting specific-skill development through smart technology-enabled workplace support… (more)

After the jubilation of being chosen as the primary country hosting the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope, with eight other African partner countries, South Africa is wasting no time putting in place the regulatory framework for the project. South Africa’s new Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act protects 12,5-million hectares in the Northern Cape as a radio astronomy reserve to ensure the future of radio astronomy in the region. The most important regulatory aspect is creating radio-quiet zones so that radio waves can be received from space without interference… (more)

Within the enterprise market, system integrators are faced with ongoing changes, and only companies able to understand and to adhere to these changes have a chance to survive. Technology is moving forward in leaps and bounds. Not only are the products getting smaller and more intelligent with ever more processing power, but it is the applications that get the customer’s attention… (more)

The final regulations governing South Africa’s migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television were gazetted on 14 December 2012 and will ultimately make spectrum available for broadband applications. Broadband will be the ultimate winner but the question now is how long does industry have to wait before the allocations will be made and how will frequency spectrum be allocated?… (more)

The student has raised issues of real concern, not only to students, but also to the Universities of Technology in the country. At TUT (Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment), we make every effort to place students during their WIL training (P1 and P2) and expose them to industry. We will welcome additional industry involvement and facilitate any roadshows by industries… (more)

I am a mature age student studying electrical engineering – light current – at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), specialising in telecommunication engineering. Something that I find strange is that there are always claims of a lack of skills in the South African engineering industry, and something must be done to encourage more and more youngsters to study engineering, yet there seems to be no support from the industry in assisting students to acquire those skills. Where is industry in supporting young people?… (more)

Working across continents has advantages –this became clear in an interview with Takeo Kobayashi, senior vice-president Yokogawa global headquarters; Harry Hauptmeijer, president Yokogawa Europe & Africa and Johan Louw, MD Yokogawa South Africa… (more)

It started innocently enough. The first one was free. So you tried it. And you liked it. And you wanted more. So you went back, this time handing over R29,99. It was good, but it could have been better, so you tried one for R249,99… (more)

EE Publishers – The geospatial professions: where to from here – Mozilla Firefox

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