Canadian Electrical Industry News Week


Andrew Parker

This article is the second of two by the author about the evolution of building controls. Read Part I here.

Lighting controls are readily used in commercial, industrial and residential buildings to save energy. They are also mandated through their inclusion in government building codes and encouraged through energy standards such as ASHRAE 90.1 and LEED.
But the origin of lighting controls is in the theatre. London’s Savoy Theatre was the first in the world to install an electric lighting system in 1881; it used over 1,150 lights to illuminate the stage and auditorium. In 1903, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City had a similar system featuring 96 resistance dimmers. These first controllers were bulky and complicated; they provided little actual control — dimming only — and required manual operation.

We’ve come a long way and continue to realize advancements in dimming technology and its capabilities. Dimming is an important tool in lighting control because it can significantly contribute to energy savings, while minimizing the impact on occupants. Daylight harvesting can be seamlessly achieved, for example, by gradually dimming lighting as ambient daylight increases. Simplification is achieved also by dimming one zone rather than by sequentially switching off multiple sub-zones.

Dimming systems are becoming more affordable. LED technology, for example, is inherently dimmable and new generations of LED lighting and drivers provide dimming as a standard feature. Also, lower cost digital controllers allow for local devices to provide dimming functionality without the need for large, centralized dimming racks and panels.

However, while the use of digital equipment is on the rise, many of the familiar analogue line and low voltage dimming protocols are still commonplace, including two and three wire phase dimming and 0-10V.

Forward phase dimming
Known as standard, forward or leading edge phase control, this protocol is typically known for its use with incandescent (resistive) loads and MLV transformers (inductive loads). To dim these light sources, the line voltage AC waveform is “delayed” at the beginning of the cycle; the longer the power is delayed, the greater the dimming of the light source. It is a cheap solution for single zone dimming and retrofits since it uses the existing line voltage wiring. While inefficient MLV and incandescent loads are being phased out, some “incandescent compatible” LED lamps have been designed to work with most 2-wire forward phase dimmers. Typically found in residential and small scale commercial applications, forward phase has a restricted low-end dimming limit.

Reverse phase dimming
Known as reverse or trailing-edge phase control, this protocol was developed to accommodate ELV transformers (capacitive loads). Similar to forward phase dimming, the line voltage AC wave form is “cut off” at the end of each half cycle. As more is cut off, less power is applied to the light source and dimming is increased. While it is more expensive than forward phase dimming, this protocol still provides a relatively cheap solution for single zone dimming since it uses the same line voltage wiring required to power the lighting. Reverse phase shares the same challenges around the low-end dimming limit as forward phase, but is typically compatible with commercial lighting, including LEDs, owing to the use of electronic drivers.

3-wire phase dimming
A variant of forward phase dimming developed to accommodate fluorescent ballast dimming, two line voltage wires (plus a neutral) are used. The first provides consistent voltage to the ballast for proper cathode heating, thus allowing for a broader dimming range. The second, or dimmed hot, provides the forward phase control signal. This protocol improves dimming performance over a 2-wire system, but loses the simplicity and ease of retrofit. It is typically used in small scale commercial applications.

Phase dimming with LED retrofit lamps
Dimmable LED retrofit lamps for commercial and residential applications are readily available, but should be carefully considered for critical dimming applications. Wide variations that exist in both the dimmer and LED source characteristics can lead to equally wide variations in dimming performance and compatibility. This compatibility between the controller and the light source is difficult to predict, so mock-up testing is often the best course of action.

0-10V analogue
Sometimes referred to as 4-wire dimming since the power and control signals are supplied over separate pairs of wires, 0-10V dimming has been commonly used in commercial dimming systems of all sizes for many years. It is emerging as the default dimming option with commercial LED fixtures. One reason for its rise in popularity was its documented open standards and consistent performance. The protocol uses two low-voltage, polarity-sensitive conductors to provide a dimming signal, while power is supplied separately to ensure proper operation of the driver. Low end dimming limit and reliability are improved over other analogue protocols, and can be more easily calibrated to provide logarithmic light output to closely match the human eye’s perception of changing light levels.

Examples of 0-10V protocol standards are:
• NEMA ANSI C82.11 Standard for High Frequency Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts, Annex A, Low Voltage Control Interface for Controllable Ballasts Supplements
• IEC 60929 Annex E, 0-10V Sinking (lighting control)
• ANSI E1.3 0-10V Sourcing (theatrical control)

Digital addressable lighting interface (DALI)
While many digital dimming control protocols have been brought to the market requiring special and often proprietary equipment, DALI has emerged as a leader through its use of an open, non-proprietary digital standard. Guided by international standard IEC 62386, DALI is similar to 0-10V in its use of separate line voltage and low voltage wiring and since components from different manufacturers are interchangeable. But the similarities end there. The digital protocol provides individually addressable dimming control and bi-directional communication for data feedback. For example, if a driver fails, the system can provide instant notification of required maintenance.

Looking forward
As manufacturers continue to simplify, educate and perhaps even work together, reservations in the industry that surround dimming will gradually disappear. Not only are dimming systems becoming more affordable as LED technology permeates the lighting landscape, there are other positives too. For example, we have the ability to adjust correlated colour temperature (CCT) to match the familiar warming appearance of dimmed incandescent lighting or to support circadian rhythms to promote health and wellbeing. In addition, as building codes continue to require greater energy savings and as control system prices continue to drop, leveraging dimming technology to provide the solution will be an easy decision.

Andrew Parker, P.Eng., LC, LEED AP is a controls and lighting specialist at Salex in Toronto and a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES). Salex is a lighting agency in southern Ontario, distributing and facilitating commercial lighting systems for architects, engineers and designers;
This article is the second of two by the author about the evolution of building controls. Read Part I here.


Title: Ready, Set, Scale: How to Grow Your Field Service Business

SimProThrough many trials and tribulations, you’ve grown your business to where it is today. It’s taken blood, sweat, tears, long hours and sacrifice. But, it’s all been worth it to have something which you can call your own. It’s even more worth it when you can finally take that next step to grow your business even further and expand your service, project and maintenance work.

That moment when your hard work has finally paid off and you’re able to take your field service business to the next level. But, then it hits you - you’re not sure how to take those next steps or what you might need to make sure you don’t fail.

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Become a Wiser Approved Installer


Get access to exclusive benefits, product discounts and resources that will help you drive more business, and lower energy bills for your clients.









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Switch to Smart, Switch to Easy, Switch to Beautiful

Schneider Connected LivingScrewless wall plates. Smart Outlets. Square D™ Switches and Receptacles are raising the bar on aesthetics, ease of installation, remote lighting control and connectivity.








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Liteline Continues Canadian Investment

EIN BC Liteline 400Adding continued investment in Canada to its core foundation of innovative Design, installation efficiency, and personal customer service, Liteline has just announced the opening of its 12,729 square foot Showroom and Lighting Distribution Center in Langley BC.

The new Liteline Facility is located at 26550 Gloucester Way, Unit A110 and will house the new Liteline Distribution Center along with a product showroom. Stocking our 2-day QuickShip items, this new facility will service B.C. to Saskatchewan, as well as the Pacific Northwest and California in the United States allowing product to be delivered faster.

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Changing Scene

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Vivi White has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Electrical Safety Authority ...
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The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is looking for a seasoned business executive drawn from an ...
David Rellinger, Vice President of Systems Transformation for Schneider Electric (SE), has been ...
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The Labour Mobility Tax deduction will provide tax recognition on up to $4000 per year, in eligible ...

Vivi WhiteVivi White has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) by the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.

“As Chair, I am pleased that the Ontario Government recently appointed Vivi White to the Board,” said Annette Bergeron. “The Electrical Safety Authority’s efforts over the years have greatly improved the safety of the people of Ontario. It’s an important mandate and requires a strong, talented and diverse board as we transform into a modern regulator.”


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Omnicable joins ETIMETIM North America announced that OmniCable has joined the product classification standards organization. Headquartered in West Chester, PA, OmniCable has 24 locations throughout North America, and also owns Houston Wire & Cable (HWC). The company partners with many electrical manufacturers and only sells to distributors.

According to John Dean, Director of Marketing & E-Commerce, OmniCable/HWC, “The wire and cable industry is often called commodities, but there are very distinct features and attributes for the different products our manufacturers produce. 

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Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion




FlukeElectrical distribution problems are not always immediately identified as issues with power quality. An example of this is a thermal-magnetic circuit breaker. When it trips, the indication is generally a short circuit, ground fault, or overload. At times this can be put down to an old breaker that needs replacing.

However, it’s important to investigate the types of loads on the system and monitor harmonics for a potential disturbance. This article explores common issues with power quality and how to troubleshoot those issues.



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EIN Romex 12 2 Recall 400This recall involves a yellow electrical wire, 12/2 NMD90 75M Romex SIMpull cable, sold by the spool. Products were also sold at Home Depot designated as article 108196.  Only cables with a time stamp between 12:41 and 18:02 are affected by this recall. 

The recalled product contains a neutral wire that is a smaller 14-gauge wire, contrary to the stamp on the wire identifying both the neutral and “hot” wires as 12-gauge (i.e., "12/2"). 

The recalled product contains a 14-gauge neutral wire instead of 12-gauge (as labelled), thus it may not perform as expected in 12-gauge applications, resulting in a risk of those applications having impaired performance and/or compliance with safety codes or standards.

Go HERE for more information


Product News

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Southwire's new 100' LED string lights with 12,000 Lumens.    
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Greenlee Mobile Bending Table for 881 Series Hydraulic BendersGreenlee is bringing secure and easy-to-transport conduit bending capabilities to jobsites with the introduction of its Mobile Bending Table for 881 Series Hydraulic Benders. The new product combines the latest in anti-theft protection with enhanced mobility, easy set-up and quick teardown.

“Electricians are constantly trying to do work more efficiently. Anytime we can shave time off a job, it’s a win – and this product delivers that with easier set-up and portability. At the same time, we know that protecting equipment from theft is an issue for a lot of tradespeople. The new Greenlee Mobile Bending Table for the 881 Series Hydraulic Benders is our latest solution to help professionals safeguard their investments and increase productivity,” 

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Klein Tools Upgraded Testing KitKlein Tools introduces the Premium Electrical Test Kit.

Premium Electrical Test Kit (Cat. No. 69355)

  • Refreshed kit that features three new product releases geared towards a variety of electrical testing applications.
  • Kit includes instructions and all required batteries.

Manual-Ranging Digital Multimeter with Right-Angle Test Leads (Cat. No. MM320 – Exclusive to Cat. No. 69355 and Cat. No. MM320KIT)

  • Measures up to 600V AC/DC voltages, 10A DC current and 2-ohm resistance
  • Also tests batteries, diodes and continuity.

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Brady M211Design, preview and print – all from your phone. Simple and intuitive, the M211 Label Printer is built for the job site, running all day on a full charge while resisting drops, shocks and crushes.

  • Simple. Easy. Intuitive.  Seamlessly design, preview and print labels from the industry leading Express Labels App on your familiar smartphone and swiftly connect to your printer.
  • Label it once.  Now with both pre-sized and continuous labels in 90+ cartridges, filled to the brim with reliable, tested and dedicated label materials that stay attached and remain legible on every surface and in any environment.


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Peers & Profiles

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Watt’s the Word is a recently launched Electrical Industry Podcast hosted by Zack Hartle and ...
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As of February 2021, Martin Stephenson is the new President and CEO of Signify Canada.   ...
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EngWorks was formed in 2004 as an electrical engineering and consulting firm by Allan Bozek, “After ...
Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Mercury Lighting services national retail, ...
Among the recipients of the 2021 Clean50 Awards announced last month is Carolina Gallo, Vice ...
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Brent NeillyBy Blake Marchand

Brent Neilly is the Group Marketing Manager with Milwaukee, he has a background in business communications with a B.A. from Brock University, as well as experience working in the construction industry.

“When I joined TTI (Milwaukee’s parent company) it was kind of a perfect match, I had some marketing knowledge from my business degree and some industry experience from working in the trades.” Neilly gained his experience covering an area from Orillia to Timmins, Ontario when he first joined the company as a Field Sales Rep, as well as on their Job Site Core Trade Specialists in the GTA where he found his niche working with utility clients. 

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