Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year New Beginnings New Experiences

Ah, yes, the new year. It's always filled with new goals, determination, and regrets from not accomplishing the goals I set last year! But the good news is, I have made and completed goals that I did not anticipate at the beginning of last year. I won't go on how it is important to set goals and stuff because this blog is intended for more of my electrical and engineering experiences.

Anyways, lately at work I've been working on this RV site project. It is humongous--at least it's huge to me. I have never worked on a project that covers so much land. Because the site is so large the Main Service Entrance Section (SES) is at a higher voltage. So, two new things I've been able to get some experience in.

To be honest, the project is very difficult. The site has very little to absolutely no labeling or anything to clue in where things are fed and due to past disasters some of the areas in the site are abandoned and all the electrical equipment is ruined. Not only does that make it difficult, but I'm also new to RV electrical. So, as a recap of everything, I am a complete n00b for this project. However, as my favorite math teacher said "An engineer is really a jack of all trades, master overnight," I have been able to wrap myself around this project once and for all.

The project is in California, so unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the site visits with my boss. But he documented his visit with tons of video. The first video I watched was the Main SES. When I heard the voltage was 2400V/4160V I was like, "What the heck??" I had to rewind and watch that part again. I heard right. That really shows how green I am to this project.

The voltage of the project has actually been the most interesting part, however. It amazes me how electricity can be transferred at so far distances with reasonably sized wire. I mean, I'm talking something like a single 1/0 conductor feeding hundreds of RVs. Of course, that wire is carrying 2400V and 1/0 conductors can carry up to 150A at 75 degrees Centigrade, which would equal to about 360,000 watts, or 360kW. That's a ton of power. Doing a rough calculation, approximately over 200 RVs could be powered (with a 30A receptacle) off that one 2400V leg. This is with demand factor of course.

Although this project has been difficult, it has been an incredible learning experience. I feel like I could take on any RV park now, but just like anything in the field of engineering, clients have different needs and conditions, so projects can be just as challenging even if I've done a hundred RV jobs. I might as well say the same for street lighting project too!

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