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Compact Warning Lights Illuminate Studio

Also: Are you or others you know using drones for facility inspection?

Fig. 1: Corbin Campbell’s studio light pole, made by American LED-Gible Inc., is shown. A plastic boot completes the installation. Corbin Campbell is chief engineer for Mid-West Family Marketing, owners of four stations in Springfield, Mo. He suggests that engineers take a look at industrial lights from American LED-Gible Inc., found at and seen in Fig. 1.

The cost is around $130 for the four-light stack. Each light stack is pre-built from one to five lights, and each light can be set individually to flash or not. They also can be supplied with buzzer options.

Other companies make similar products, but this model is designed for industrial plants where managers need to indicate machine status. Corbin has placed them in 911 centers to indicate whether call takers were on the phone.

Corbin chose the four-stack for his studio application, using this legend: red for EAS; green for request line ringing; yellow for hot line ringing; and blue for future use, possibly an after-hours doorbell.

The base against the ceiling tile is a wall protector that normally attaches to a wall to keep a door handle from crashing through drywall. It makes the finished installation look more polished.

The light bulbs are also available in two sizes.

As you can see in Fig. 2, Corbin used Molex brand connectors to allow for a quick disconnect in case the lights need work.

Editor-in-Chief Paul McLane has a question for Workbench readers:

Who among us in the Radio World family would not love playing with drones? But beyond just the fun factor, could video drones be a new tool for tower maintenance and facility inspection? Do you know of engineers or tower companies that have used video drones for this purpose?

As prices continue to drop, we’re thinking there’s a use here for radio facility managers or tower crews. If you are blazing a drone trail, at the tower or in other workplace applications, drop a line to [email protected].

At the NAB Show RF Boot Camp and SBE Ennes Workshop this year, I spoke about the value of a portable infrared thermometer.

Cumulus Rockford Market Chief John Huntley has been using a Fluke 62 Mini Infrared Thermometer Gun for a few years. It is available online for under $120.

The beauty of this instrument is that it has a focal point of 1:10 units, which enables users to measure smaller objects from a further distance, and works just fine in the presence of 5 kW at 1440 kHz.

Fig. 2: When the lights are wired to a Molex connector, it will be easier to remove them in the event that they require service. In addition to checking for hot spots in electrical breaker boxes, it can be used in ATUs and the phasor, because the instrument is not affected by RF. Point the instrument at all copper tubing or strap junctions, as well at coil clips or rollers. The thermometer can be used to identify hot capacitors, as well as those that are about to fail.

In John’s case, his AM directional parameter readings were wrong; things returned to normal after he replaced the capacitor.

John brings the thermometer along in the winter, too. He uses it to check transmitter-site generators for coolant heater failures. Yes, you can use your hand and do a touch test; but sometimes the IR thermometer is easier for checking for heat in the radiator from the outside of the cabinet.

The two gensets he maintains are propane fueled, but they are liquid mode and temperamental to start without heat in the coolant and engine block. A liquid mode genset has a vaporizer that uses heat from the coolant to change the propane to vapor.

John also recently used his thermometer to check for heating of bullets on 3-inch rigid non-flanged line within the building. The site had been installed 14 years ago.

He found that the inner conductor on the line to a dummy load had been cut with a tubing cutter. The result was that the bullet would not insert fully into the inner and was only making contact in a narrow ring. John made the correct assumption that the rest of the internal plumbing plant was that way

The noncontact thermometer verified the condition from the outside at each connection. John scheduled an outage and was able to cut back an inch or so on each end of the inners, using a fine-tooth, hand-driven reciprocating cutter (also known as a hacksaw). He then smoothed the rough edge with a file and replaced two bullets that had lost their springiness.

John C. Huntley is chief engineer and director of IT for Cumulus Rockford.

Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send Workbench tips to [email protected]. Fax to (603) 472-4944.

John Bisset has spent 44 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He handles West Coast sales for the Telos Alliance. He is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.