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  1. I agree with the above two posts. I have been meeting the PDH training requirements in multiple states for years and have only had to pay for a few PDH courses over that time period (mostly because I waited too close to the renewal date to complete the credits). A number of links to trade publications that offer free PDH training can be found by searching google or are collected for engineers use on sites like (see: ). As the second post in this string notes it is important to keep your original state license. An active license for your original state of licensure is generally required to get a license by reciprocity in another state (no exam required). Once you give up the home state license you basically have to start the whole application process over if a license is needed in the future. Looking at the WI continuing education requirements it appears that the free trade magazine training will likely qualify for WI PDH. It looks like WI requires 30PDH every two years with 13 of the units in a training session where you can ask live questions and get live feedback. The free "live" webinars typically will meet this requirement in most states (New York Excluded), with the remainder of the PDH units are open to use the pre-recorded training sessions (verify if you need to take the ones with a short quiz at the end). You may need to pay for the 2 ethics units required by WI but that's usually available for $25 or less. PDH requirements vary by state and sometimes change so you should always check them yourself. What I copied for WI PDH is noted below: Completing short courses or tutorials and distance education courses offered through correspondence, DVDs, or the internet are permitted. Credit for a minimum of 13 PDHs shall be obtained via courses where the registrant interacts in real time in a traditional classroom setting, computer conferencing or interactive video conference where participants are present in the same room or logged in at the same time and can communicate directly with each other and ask questions of the instructor.
  2. Many states with a two year renewal cycle like Florida require 30pdh hours to renew so going to 18pdh is not too stringent in comparison. Are there really any engineers out there though that forget how to be ethical every two years and need a refresher. Who really thinks "man, I almost thought it was okay to lie, cheat, steal, mislead, misrepresent, bribe, ignore the code, issue someone else's design as your own, get a kickback from a contractor by letting them put in substandard or lower than bid level installations, advertise you have experience that you don't, sign drawings you did not review and have only heard the project name once at a ball game, ... , but I just had that ethics course refresher and realized it was wrong so I didn't do it". Really??? Are ethics rules really changing that fast that we need a refresher on them every two years. Um, no. At least the state of Texas will give you and anyone a freebie ethics course a few times a year if you want it: I think it meets Florida's requirements.
  3. I think you get a pass until your renewal in 2015. They should have the bugs worked out by then.
  4. Well, I started the fingerprinting process today. I got to enjoy sitting on the phone for 35 minutes to find out that the they know their online form has an error in it but they have not had time to correct it yet (or to add a note to tell users what to do). The instructions the board mails you to resolve this problem are incorrect too, which of coarse means the Texas board is aware of the issue and has not made sure it was fixed either. The work around is quick so I will share it with you below to save you the phone call. After you register for your fast pass (it's nothing like the disneyland fast pass) on website #1 - step 1 (, you then have to go to a different website in step #2 and enter some information from website number 1. Once you enter that information then you get a form where you have to enter your address, height, weight, drivers license number, ... The problem is the form wont let you continue if your drivers license number has more than 8 digits (or so it says). The board provides instructions that if you have more than 8 digits then just enter the last 8. It turns out the drivers license entry must have exactly 8 digits, and you cant enter any alphanumeric letters, and all zeros did not work for me. So if your license has any alphanumeric letters in it then it will not work. Per the phone operator, just enter the number 9 eight times and select "other" for the drivers license "class". It worked. The person on the phone did tell me that they get this question all the time. Somehow that did not make my sitting on the phone for 35 minutes to find that out feel like less time. Hope this saves you time if you run into the problem. Now that I started the process they are probably already feeling safer in Texas.
  5. What engineering field are you looking to get into? (civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, computer, manufacturing, aerospace, electronics, chemical, controls, ....)
  6. When I looked this up a few weeks ago the board site said they were starting the fingerprint program with the March 2014 renewals. Looks like you lucked out this year.
  7. Thanks for posting. I just read through the sunset report and the fingerprinting justification ( They claim the benefit is more accurate identification of criminals using PE licenses compared to their current method of running background checks via name and other identifying information. They dont appear to state that they have found any problems with the current system, only that it is not as good as fingerprinting. I'll do it because I have to but those of you who live in Texas should share their thoughts with the senator who sponsored this bill. It does not really protect the public any better. It's just more paperwork. As an extra benefit though I also just read that this same senator is against passing the "no texting" while driving bill (at least this year). I dont know what's in it because I dont live in Texas anymore but texting while driving in Texas is obviously less dangerous than allowing engineers in Texas to renew their licenses without taking their fingerprints (or so it would seem).
  8. Wow, I must have been having a bad week when I listed "people not checking their work" as one of the "biggest issues in the workplace". I don’t recall what was going on that that time but I guess it goes to show you that what’s going on can affect us. I am going to change my answer on this question and I am glad to see that the group did not give a well-deserved “what were you thinking” chain along the way. What is the biggest issue that affects your workplace? Communication is the biggest challenge. It is understanding what your client or co-worker needs. It is explaining what you are providing in a way that can be understand by your audience to find out if they agree or want something different. It is asking for help if you need help to meet the schedule or need help with technical expertise. It is about taking the time to get buyoff on your assumptions and help everyone avoid surprises or missed expectations. Good communications helps our clients understand what’s included in what they asked for, what the options are, how much the options cost, and how long the options take to do them correctly. They can then make informed decisions on direction or deliverables while taking our recommendations into account. Good communications do not eliminate all problems or guarantee error free work, but it sure helps the process. Communications skills are the key to helping resolve problems or differences in expectations that do arise in a way that builds positive relationships and helps the project or deliverable be considered a success. What would it take to solve this problem? Creating an open work environment where people feel free to communicate knowing they will be heard and will get constructive responses and support in a positive way. People already have a fear of saying they don’t know how to do something or that they can’t get it done in the time provided. Think about this in your response so that you don’t build on these fears. The best engineers don’t know everything. The best engineers know what they don’t know and how to get what they need to do it right. Understand that communications goes both ways and sometimes the person you are working with may not have the experience to understand that they are missing something they need so you need to keep in touch and communicate too. Consider that you might need to do better, and if that is the case what can you do to get back on track. Be flexible to allow others to adjust their approach or direction without making it a negative. Don’t format your communications like a repetitive legal document which starts to put others on the defensive, but do document what is being done and why for others to review. Stop the long email chains by using the phone or having a meeting. Put requests or actions for others at the top of the email unless they don’t read the whole document (people get busy you know). Think about how you can make your client or team look good and exceed expectations because in the end that goes a long way towards project success.
  9. This is probably too late for your class, but here you go anyway: • What type of work do you do? Electrical Engineering • Why did you choose this career? I had always been interested in electricity, computers, and what made things work. I took many things apart as a kid so that I could see how to put them back together and find out how they operated. •What is the biggest issue that affects your workplace? People not checking their work before they present it as complete (or they just are not learning from past mistakes - I tell myself most of them are just not checking their work - They tell themselves there was not enough time) • What would it take to solve this problem? You would think a discussion or two on the topic but that does not consistently work. To solve the problem the person doing the task has to take ownership of it and be credited when successful and responsible to help fix it when it is not. • What type of person do you think is most suited for this type of work/this college? Persons who can understand the big picture of what they are doing so that they know the importance of their design contributions and how they can affect others designs or construction. Being technically competent is important too. Not necessarily a genius, just having a good technical foundation to know when a result does not look right or when someone really does need more detailed information to build it instead of relying on them to fill in a lot of blanks. • What are day-to-day challenges you experience? Most day to day challenges are coordinating schedules and timing to keep clients happy and deliverables on schedule while providing what seems like instant feedback to those who call, come by the desk, or email. It seems that the culture today is one of feeling like responses should be real time when questions are asked without necessarily taking into account many engineers work on multiple projects for multiple clients and may not be working on their project at that particular time. • How has your job changed over time? The speed of communications along with the transition of designs largely being computer based has led in many cases to clients feeling like it is okay to make late stage changes in the designs and ask you to pick them up for free because these changes can occur much faster. This often still results in significant work but it is not necessarily perceived as such by the clients making the changes and emailing them to give you instant access to their revisions. Email, FTP sites, cloud sites, tablets, ipads, smart phones, and these types of devices have created the expectation of instant contact before and outside of the workday for many in the industry. • What do you like best about your job? Going home. Just kidding. I personally like the variety of design work I get to do. I dont work on a specific type of project all the time but have the opportunity to work in many different market sectors to provide power, lighting, and low voltage systems designs. I also like being able to work directly with clients and being able to visit jobsites and see actual design work built and turned into functional installations that people use. Visiting jobsites also provides a great feedback loop because contractors are always willing to share what they liked and what they wish was different in the design package. Many contractors have good ideas and knowing what works well for installation or cost on the construction side can help all designers become better engineers.
  10. I agree with sticking to one designation as noted above. Use either P.E. or Peng depending on the project or who you are marketing. If you have a LEED credential most persons will go ahead and add that onto the end to for marketing reasons. That is probably the only second one I would list, or equal, if you have it. Save the other designations for your resume (under credentials - not following your name).
  11. NEC 110.14(1)(b)(2) and NEC 110.14 specifically require that the calculation limit the ampacity to the lowest rated component of the connection, including the termination. Any sustained amperage that is above the maximum rated amperage of the termination (cable-lug combination) will exceed its rating and violates this section of the NEC as I read it per this section. If you put in a 1200 amp cable but installed it with a 500 amp splice in the middle to extend the cable length the run would be rated for 500 amps not 2,000A just like the termination at the lug limits the rating. I agree with your interpretation and your reasoning. I would not view this as a gray area. If asked to review a failure of this example cable run which resulted in injury or equipment damage I would expect all segments of the run to be rated for the sustained current as described by code and would view components or connections not meeting this rating as a design deficiency. Items such as this can have significant liability attached if a problem were to ever happen. I think your thought process on this one is good and probably worth another tactful discussion with the site engineer.
  12. The way I read the code is as follows. Sorry there is not a simplier way that I see to answer the question. NEC 110.14© allows the 90deg ampacity rating to be used for adjustment of the cable ampacity provided that the resulting ampacity after adjustment is not greater than the rating of the termination rating for the cable. In this case the 75deg rating of the cable is 380A so after all adjustments the rated current through the cable cannot exceed 380A because of the 75deg terminal ratings. This allows use of the 90 degree rating for temperature adjustment, or adjusting to derate for multiple conductors, but per NEC 110.14(1)(b)(2) the resulting ampacity after the calculations are performed is not allowed to exceed the ampacity at 75 degrees. In the case of this example, NEC 430.22 requires the cable to be sized at 125% of the full load current which equals 812.5A at 480V. The NEC 430.22 handbook note clarifies that the 125% conductor size requirement is to accommodate for a sustained running amperage in overload conditions and is not an amperage associated with conductor derating. Assuming a parallel run the cable must at minimum be sized to carry 406.25A after derating per NEC 430.22. Since the maximum amperage after derating for a 500kCM cable is 380A at 75 degrees per NEC 110.14(1)(b)(2) it is not large enough to serve the load the way that I read the code. A 600kCM cable in parallel would is rated at 420A at 75degrees and 475A at 90degress prior to derating. After derating for 35degrees the 600kCM cable is rated for 385A at 75degrees which is not large enough to meet code for this application. Since the 600kCM cable is 90degree rated when the temperature factor is applied the result is a 456A rating at 90 degrees. Per NEC 110.14(1)(b)(2) since the 90 degree rating is above the 75 degree rating for the cable the adjusting rating is equal to the maximum rating at 75 degrees which is 420A. Since 420A is greater than the needed 406.25amps, a 90 degree rated 600kCM cable would meet the code requirement for this example as I read the code. Hope this helps. If the site engineer interprets this differently, please let me know the reasoning. There are many different ways to interpret the code so I do like to hear other perspectives. This one looks clear to me.
  13. I attended a presentation given by Eaton on this topic. They indicated the problem mostly exists when the distance between the source vacuum breaker and transformer is less than 200 feet (at the medium voltage level) and the transformer is dry type. The 200 feet of cable adds impedance which helps to lessen the elevated voltages and rate of rise which causes the insulation to be damaged during some switching events when the arc is being extinguished during the opening of the breaker. The oil in an oil filled transformer acts as impedance and also helps to mitigate the problem caused by inductance in the transformer and system. This is why dry type transformers are more susceptible to the problem. At 480V I would expect the arc to extinguish in fewer cycles when opening or closing compared to the same amperage at medium voltage levels but it would still generate a switching transient. It may dampen fast enough at the 480V level that it is not an issue but it would need to be calculated to verify that was true. I would expect at 480V that the 200 foot of cable distance in the sweet spot of this problem would need to be significantly less to see the problem at 480V. Eaton uses software called EMTP ( to verify if a snubber circuit is needed to protect the transformer from the transient destroying it by popping a hole in its winding insulation. It would be best to run the calculations or have a vendor run them to confirm if a snubber and an arrestor is needed, or if this would only need an arrestor. Using an assumption on this one could end up having high liability down the road. Good luck.
  14. You might want to consider control systems engineering or process controls engineering. Engineers in those fields typically have to work with the system designers to understand what is being controlled and why. They then figure out the best way to control it, and once they have enough experience they assist in testing it in the field to make sure it works and teach others how to use it. This often involves programming of PLC's (programmable logic controllers), DCS (distributed control systems), HMI (Human Machine Interface), and stand alone controls. "Integrator" firms often provide this type of service, although the larger firms often have a group responsible for these controls designs. If you are not into controls, another option would be design build firms. They often need their engineers to be hands on in the field and figure out the most cost effective way to get the client what they need and make sure it works. Good luck.
  15. I took a look at the California Board of Professional Engineers website and I dont see any restrictions for solutions manuals provided they are bound properly. You can always double check with the board to be safe but it looks like solutions books are clearly allowed to me, if they are bound. See the following links for details: Board Rules for the Test: 2012 Test Tips on what not to do: NCEES rules (as referenced on the CA PE Board website in the first link above): Looks like the calculator restrictions are well defined. Make sure you bring a compliant calculator. You will need you calculator to pass the test.
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