June 2008 Tech Talk Online Q & A

Q: I just had to drive about fifty screws in trim at an alarm installation. The trim was hardwood and because of the delicate nature, I did them by hand. I did not want to chance damage using my drill. My hand is about to fall off. Are there any tips that could have made life easier for me? 

A: This is an old trick of mine that has saved some sweat and strain. Take a small resealing container and fill it with liquid soap. Next time you have a bunch of challenging screws to drive just dip the screw thread in the liquid soap first. It will twist easily in place. Also, don’t forget to convert to square drive screws when you can; it will save tons slips and slides.

Q: I find myself at times running a long cable run only to find out that due to an unexpected electrical load (door maglock), I have to go back and run a larger gauge cable. Do you have any suggestions on helping me avoid these mistakes? 

A: Here are a couple of ideas. One is to try to calculate the voltage drop (E=IR) that you will experience from the load. If you find yourself in this type of jam and you have spare pair in the same cable, you can try to double up the spare pairs by wiring them in parallel. This will reduce the resistance of the wire run and may give you that extra margin for the door control to operator. This can even be done in some instances when you run into a PoE (Power over Ethernet) load problem on UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cable. Last choice is that you can also place an external power supply closer to the door control device.

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