ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
Top Posters(30 Days)
sparky 4
Recent Posts
Dimmable LED 2x4 lay in fixtures
by gfretwell. 12/13/17 09:49 PM
2017 NEC Changes
by sparky. 12/13/17 06:57 PM
Casino Wiring methods
by HotLine1. 12/09/17 10:44 AM
Ground wire Size to water Line.
by HotLine1. 12/05/17 12:11 PM
Flexible conduit to an outside Spa
by gfretwell. 12/05/17 12:28 AM
New in the Gallery:
Gallery Test
Popular Topics(Views)
243,040 Are you busy
179,474 Re: Forum
170,399 Need opinion
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 36 guests, and 9 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate This Thread
#71088 - 10/21/06 11:46 AM recorder  
denversparky  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 16
Anyone have a suggestion on an affordable meter/recorder. I am trying to test for a circuit being turned off in the middle of the night. I have traced it and can not find the circuit switched. The circuit is for emergency lighting and I am having to replace batteries every month

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#71089 - 10/21/06 01:25 PM Re: recorder  
JoeTestingEngr  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 791
Chicago, Il.
Why don't you start by just using an indicating cube relay and a NO push button. Wire the PB and contact in parallel between the line and relay coil and return the other end of the coil to neutral. Energize, push the button and leave. If you come back to find a dropped relay, you know you had an interruption.

You could get more info by leaving the push button out and using your contacts to drive a battery powered hour meter and/or cycle counter. A N.C. contact could drive the hour meter to log the cummulative time of power off while the other N.C. (or N.O.) contact could drive the counter. If you don't need time stamping, you're done.

#71090 - 10/21/06 01:35 PM Re: recorder  
SteveFehr  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
Chesapeake, VA
Could you set up a camcorder to record some of the lights on the circuit? Would have a timecode tag, too.

#71091 - 10/21/06 03:59 PM Re: recorder  
HotLine1  Offline

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,878
Brick, NJ USA
Are you saying you can't find the emergency light circuit??

E-ltg should either be on the local ltg circuit, before switch, or a dedicated circuit with a breaker lock.

Methods outlined above are great ways to determine time of power off.

If you 'find/know' what circuit feeds the e-lites, just put a handle lock on it.



#71092 - 10/21/06 05:01 PM Re: recorder  
denversparky  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 16
Joe- exalent idea thanks
Steve- Federal campus, Cams a BIG NO NO
HotLine1- Traced the circuit back to panel I have found no switches and i installed lock on breaker. This place (as most Fed locations) has outside contractors inspected very poorly or never.

#71093 - 10/21/06 06:45 PM Re: recorder  
SteveFehr  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
Chesapeake, VA
Denver, just because it's federal doesn't automatically rule out cameras. I just sort of threw it out there as an idea, but if it's something you want to try, don't just disregard it- it's all a matter of asking the right person. Especially if the area you want to set the camera up at is unclassified! Ask your sponsor, they can talk to the security manager on your behalf. Heck, they might already have the info you need on the security cameras!

Really, if this is a secure area, you'd have to go through the same security procedures with anything capable of data logging. It would be harder to get permission to set it up in a secure area, but since you don't really need the tape, you could view it right there under the supervision of your escort and have the tape destroyed when you've gleaned what you need from it.

Oh, a possibly easier idea- do you have an ammeter with a min/max setting and an AC/DC adapter? You could clamp an emergency cable, set it on min, and see if it reads 0 the next morning. Or if the batteries in your ammeter are dead when you come in, that's probably a good indication, too!

Edit: idea2: splice a wall clock onto one of the emergency light circuits [Linked Image] Won't tell you when the outage happened, but will tell you exactly how long it was!

[This message has been edited by SteveFehr (edited 10-21-2006).]

#71094 - 10/21/06 07:18 PM Re: recorder  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
I think that you're on the right track with a recording type of device. Indeed, since the problem may be intermitant -say, only on Saturday morning- you'ld want to record for a greater period than one night.

BUT- since we have no idea what's going on, why don't we start from scratch?
Verify the volts into the units. Then, verify the volts arriving at the batteries. It isn't impossible that the units themselves are killing the batteries.
Be alert of over-voltage as well as under-voltage. Heat is a real battery killer- and feeding a battery too many volys will kill it quickly.

Indeed, you might place a thermometer in the units. If these are tamper-resistant fixtures, they could very well be too hot. Especially if the night crew covers them up so as to sleep better! I think medical thermometers have a 'stop' that holds the high reading.

Some places have folks with way too much time on their hands. Some bored folks might be cycling the test buttons- either just for fun, or for some light after 'lights out.' Either case, repeated charge cycles probably aren't good for the batteries.

Absent a proper chart recorder, you're left to improvising. I'd wire a small clock, or electromagnet, inside one of the units. These will at least indicate (depending on how wired) if the test button was pressed or the power failed at some point.

I really can't think of an over-voltage indicator, though.

#71095 - 10/21/06 08:03 PM Re: recorder  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,142
You should be able to rent a recording volt meter. If you were any closer I would lend you my Dranitz. That will give you a log of any event on the power lines

Greg Fretwell

Member Spotlight
Sebago, ME, USA
Posts: 109
Joined: January 2005
Show All Member Profiles 

2017 Master Electrician Exam Preparation Combos
2017 NEC Electrician
Exam Prep Combos:
Master / Journeyman


Shout Box
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.017s Queries: 14 (0.003s) Memory: 0.7955 MB (Peak: 0.9544 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2017-12-14 15:10:08 UTC