Electrical Testing

Tip of the Week: Try Not to Measure Things

Setting up ways to monitor equipment provides a safer way to check whether it's operating efficiently.

The headline above is heresy, isn’t it? You’ve heard, “What you can’t measure, you can’t fix” and other adages. And take a look at the collection of impressive test equipment any top notch electrical services firm or maintenance department has in their bag.

But that sentence does have wisdom, if you add four words to the end of it. Let’s make it, “Try not to measure things you can monitor instead.”

Consider a simple job like putting a DMM on the service switchgear to test for low voltage. A simple task, but one wrought with danger, and one that is merely taking a snapshot. A power monitor can continuously monitor for low voltage without exposing an electrician to live conductors at the highest energy level in the plant. It can also continuously monitor for a long list of other power characteristics. It will catch momentary issues, too.

Consider something more complex, like conducting an infrared survey in a critical panel. Because the equipment will be energized with the covers off, this task involves some danger. Simply meeting the NFPA 70 E requirements is a job in itself. What if you bought an infrared camera just for this panel, and left it in there properly set up? If it has an IP address, you can access the images from any safe place. At any time you wish, without suiting up or removing covers.

If you start looking for monitoring opportunities, you can improve uptime and safety simultaneously. You’ll also reduce the drain on limited maintenance resources, using them where previously you lacked the resources to be effective.

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