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Setra Systems Application Note: Current Switch Technology Comparison with Sure-Set Switches

2013 December 5

(to download this application note from Setra Systems, just click here [PDF, 313kb])

You are a controls contractor who installs current switches. A job calls for the installation of fifteen current switches on a variety of motors with different ratings. You have two choices of current switches, a fixed set-point or an adjustable set-point switch.

setra sure-set current switch

The Sure-Set Current Switch from Setra Systems

The fixed set-point switch is great because you can do the install without ever working on a live circuit, increasing your safety and eliminating the chance of dealing with an arc flash incident. The only problem is that you have 15 switches to install and you do not know the horsepower of each of the motors, so you are forced to carry a number of different set-point switches in order to make sure that you have enough switches with proper set-points to complete the job. Not only is it expensive to carry this type of inventory, but unless you carry fifteen of each switch, you can’t guarantee that you have the necessary switches for the job. If it happens that you run out of one type of switch, you may have to come back another day with the sufficient number of switches, costing you not only inventory but also time that you could have spent on another job site.

The adjustable set-point is flexible enough to be used on a variety of different powered motors, thus it eliminates the cost of carrying excess inventory. While increased convenience is great, it also compromises your safety by increasing your risk of experiencing an arc flash hazard. During an installation of an adjustable current switch, the installer is working on an energized circuit and must wear a PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Suit. The installer must adjust the potentiometer with an insulated screwdriver until the LED indicates that the switch is at the appropriate set point. Arc flash hazard is unpredictable and can be caused by one of a number of different circumstances, making installing a current switch within a live enclosure a dangerous job. Is the money saved from carrying fewer inventories worth the price of your safety?

Until recently, these were the only two options for controls contractors; however a recent innovation from Setra Systems will change the way controls contractors can purchase and install current switches. Setra’s new Sure-Set Split Core Current Switch (Model SSC) offers all of the same cost savings associated with the adjustable current switch without compromising the safety of the installer. Each Sure-Set (four models) has nine pre-configured set-points, allowing the installer to safely match the settings of the switch to the rating of the motor and complete the installation on a cold circuit, eliminating the need to make any adjustments in the vicinity of a live enclosure.

Most motors where these switches are installed are rated in horsepower (hp) rather than amps. Calculations can be time consuming if the installer needs to match the amp settings on the switch with the hp settings on the motor. The Sure-Set is calibrated in horsepower, with a scale that covers the most common motors which saves the installer time because there is no need to make any calculations. The scale selector also has mechanical detents to assure the installer that the correct range has been selected.

The Sure-Set is the answer to the problems of every controls contractor. Not only does it solve your inventory and safety issues, you can also save time on installation because there is no need to wear a PPE suit. The Sure-Set is a contractor’s best opportunity to save money on installation, inventory and safety. Ditch the suit, cut your install time and put the savings back in your wallet.

©Setra Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Once again, we’re offering exclusive CAN2GO product training at our Pittsburgh office, 10.29 – 10.30.13.

2013 October 3
by admin; 6,741 views

We had a terrific response last year when we offered you the opportunity to visit our Pittsburgh office and participate in a two-day product and programming training session for CAN2GO products.

So this year we thought we’d go ahead and do it all over again. We’re funny like that.

can2go controllerIf you’re a control contractor or system integrator, you’ll most likely want to come find out about CAN2GO products, which offer wired and wireless solutions for HVAC, lighting and metering building automation applications. With their products, you can save time on the job and money on electrical costs by:

  • Controlling lighting and HVAC in one controller
  • Controlling EnOcean and ZigBee end-devices
  • Controlling wired end-devices
  • Supporting metering applications
  • Creating gateways from EnOcean to BACnet, ZigBee to BACnet and more
  • Deploying wired and wireless solutions
  • Managing your BAS using a web BEMS

And now we’ve got your chance to learn much more about CAN2GO when we host an exclusive training session on October 29th and 30th.

Yes, that’s coming up soon. So you’d better hurry up and read the rest of this.

In this jam-packed two-day session, you’ll get an overview of network design and CAN2GO wireless technology planning; an overview of CAN2GO product capabilities and Lua scripting – including how to program HVAC and lighting applications; and you’ll receive hands-on exercises in configuration, wireless planning and Lua scripting. Even better, once you’ve completed the training you’ll be eligible to purchase CAN2GO products on at a specially-discounted pricing.

This is a must-attend training event because we are the only U.S.-based resource for purchasing CAN2GO products and we have limited availability that’s getting scooped up fast.

Here are some incredibly important bullets with more information and things to click:

Time is flying – so register NOW to ensure you get a seat.

Let’s hear your opinion: answer our one-question product development poll.

2013 July 22

In the close collaborations that we form with the manufacturers whose products we sell on our site, we frequently get into deep “what if”-type discussions about products, industry trends, and how to work together to meet the challenges of building automation pros such as yourself.

And usually what happens next is that those manufacturers return to their design and engineering teams to come up with exciting and innovative new products for you to use.

We were recently kicking some ideas around, and decided that we’d reach out to you to weigh in:

Would you be interested in purchasing a wireless CO2 sensor - one that could be installed without the need to attach power or a signal wire?

View Results

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Thanks for your opinion!

Join us for our June webinar: Creating Material Kits on

2013 May 31

Last month, we hosted our first Project Management Tools webinar, and in fact we pulled it off – if we humbly do say so ourselves – rather successfully. Both webinar sessions were filled to capacity, we took a handful of great questions, and our attendees have given us some terrific feedback.

jim kalafatis june material kits webinarSo naturally, we’ll tempt the gods of fate once more and ask our resident Senior Webinar Host and Online Tools SuperGenius™ Jim Kalafatis to cover a new topic in June.

Is that overselling it? We certainly hope so.

Either way, on June 11th, 2013, at 10:00 AM EST and June 18th, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST, Jim will show you how to build a material kit in your customer dashboard.

“What’s a material kit,” you say? Good question!

  • It’s an online tool that helps you create a kit of parts that you order with regularity.
  • This allows you to build, for example, a panel with all of the parts inside it, or a VAV box assembly, or anything you want, with as many parts as you want.
  • And once you’ve built a material kit, you can save it in your online account and order it with a single click as many times as you want in the future.

The webinar will be about 30 minutes long, and it’s ideal for control contractors, purchasing agents, accounting folks, project managers — pretty much everyone at your company. The only requirement is that you need to have a customer account on our site; if you currently don’t, you can register here and we’ll create an account for you before the webinar.

Join us for our May webinar: learning to use project management tools on

2013 April 30

We’ve mentioned to you a number of times that your customer dashboard on offers a robust set of project management tools that will change the way you order control parts for your projects — and save you plenty of time and truckloads of money. But even though we tell every single person we know about these tools, we occasionally meet a customer who isn’t taking advantage of them.

jim kalafatis project management webinarSo if you’re one of those folks, it’s time for us to bring out our big guns: Jim Kalafatis.

Because on May 9th, 2013, at 9:00 AM EST and May 23rd, 2013, at 3:00 PM EST, Jim’s hosting a webinar jam-packed with tips and tools that’ll help you save time, reduce errors and make your projects run more efficiently. You’ll learn:

  • How easy it is to upload an entire valve schedule or material list into your online shopping cart
  • How to organize your projects into purchasing phases and keep track of what’s been ordered, invoiced and shipped
  • Where to view all of your product documentation in one place
  • How to find all your invoices for a single project on one screen
  • …and lots, lots more.

The webinar will be about 30 minutes long, and it’s ideal for control contractors, purchasing agents, accounting folks, project managers — pretty much everyone at your company. The only requirement is that you need to have a customer account on our site; if you currently don’t, just click the orange REGISTER NOW link at the top of the homepage and we’ll create an account for you before the webinar.

If you’re going to the AHR Expo next week, stop and see some of our site’s suppliers!

2013 January 21

ahr expo 2013Next week, a handful of us from will be traveling to Dallas, Texas to attend the 2013 AHR Expo with a couple thousand of our closest pals in the HVAC industry.

Will we see you there? It’s certainly possible, but we’d also like to suggest that you stop by and visit a bunch of our supplier-partners who will be exhibiting their newest and greatest products at the show. Here’s a quick peek at who among our manufacturers will be there, and where to find them:

  • Automation Components (ACI), Booth #940
  • Bacharach, Booth #1118
  • Badger Meter, Booth #2616
  • BAPI, Booth #825
  • Belimo, Booth #733
  • Blue Ridge Technologies, Booth #933
  • CAN2GO, Booth #945
  • Cleveland Controls, Booth #2313
  • Connect-Air International, Booth #715
  • Contemporary Controls, Booth #889
  • Continental Control Systems, Booth #761
  • Danfoss Graham, Booth #1333
  • Dent Instruments, Booth #823
  • Dwyer, Booth #675
  • E+E Elektronik, Booth #766
  • Eaton Cutler-Hammer, Booth #2349
  • E-Mon, Booth #5620
  • Functional Devices, Booth #779
  • GE Sensing-Telaire, Booth #804
  • KMC Controls, Booth #729
  • Neptronic, Booth #629
  • ONICON, Booth #925
  • SenseAir, Booth #720
  • Setra Systems, Booth #890
  • Solidyne, Booth #972
  • Spartan Peripheral Devices, Booth #739
  • Vaisala, Booth #872
  • Viconics, Booth #953
  • WattStopper, Booth #839

Have a terrific time in Dallas, and we hope to see you there!

Here are five spectacularly great reasons for you to buy all of your wire from

2013 January 14

We’d like to take this opportunity to say a word to you today, just one word:


See, we know that wire is important to the everyday operation of gettingwire and cable from connectair on your building control projects done – but the way that you’re currently purchasing wire for these jobs is, most likely, inefficient and costly.

As always, we’d like to help you with that. So allow us to spend a few minutes acquainting you with these Five Spectacularly Great Reasons to Buy All of Your Wire from

  1. The glorious convenience of one-stop shopping.
    You’re already coming to for so many parts that you need for your projects, but did you know that you could add wire to your shopping cart as well? In fact, you can find hundreds of wire and cable variations on our site, filter them by gauge, conductor, shielding and rating, and choose specific packaging options: reels, in boxes, or reels-in-boxes.
  2. Consistent, reliable pricing.
    This one is a pretty big deal. Pricing on wire and cables is subject to wild fluctuations because copper – wire and cable’s primary component – is a worldwide commodity item.So when most wire distributors quote you a price, you’re never really sure if they’re treating you fairly. Today they might cut you a deal because copper prices are low and they want to win your business; tomorrow they could gouge you on price because the market’s more volatile.

    So what do you do? You end up spending way too much time and effort chasing the best prices on wire, but you can never truly be sure if you’re getting the best price.

    We do it differently. Our wire manufacturer ConnectAir International works with us to keep prices consistent and reliable over time, despite fluctuations in market prices. Because ConnectAir buys in bulk, they’re able to keep their prices steadier than just about any other cable supplier in the industry.

  3. ConnectAir has specifically designed cables for the controls industry.
    In fact, very few other companies even stock cables and wire designed for your controllers. ConnectAir is the source of cables expressly made for systems by:

    • Alerton
    • BACnet
    • Johnson Controls
    • LonWorks
    • Siemens
    • Trane

    So that means you can easily find a dependable cable solution for your system on our site – and feel confident that it’s the right one.

  4. We save you money on shipping, too.
    We save you time and money on your shipping because ConnectAir sends it directly to you, not to a distributor’s warehouse where it has to be rerouted and shipped again. And even better: ConnectAir has multiple shipping locations (in Anaheim, CA; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Tracy, CA), so they can deliver your wire and cable order anywhere in the United States within three days – and they’ll ship it ground freight for free on orders over $1150!
  5. We know control contractors and we know how to solve your problems.
    Our many years of experience in the HVAC contractor world mean that we’re right there on the spot with you if you need advice and support (which you can find on right here!), and we work closely with ConnectAir to ensure that you can get everything you need. ConnectAir also offers customer-specific labeling options and colors through our site, and doesn’t require minimum orders.

Thanks for reading.

Take a quickie one-question poll about webinars on the blog!

2013 January 14

Here’s the thing: if you’re a registered user of, you’ve got at your fingertips an impressive assortment of project management tools that you might not be currently using, even though they could save you serious time and money on your building automation control projects.


If scheduled a free webinar so that you could learn how to maximize the free tools and functionality of our site to your time-saving advantage, would you want to participate?

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(keep in mind: voting on this question does NOT register you for a webinar. we’ll follow up with you separately if enough people are interested in signing up.)

How the creation of a simple – but brilliant – duct smoke kit solution saves you lots of money on shipping.

2012 November 9

Sometimes – in fact, lots of times – we’re amazed by the casual way in which our nearly 150 manufacturer-partners come up with new ways to solve problems in our industry. Sometimes it’s through the creation of a piece of technological brilliance: a new sensor chip or a more accurate wireless widget.

And sometimes, it’s simply a matter of cutting something up into smaller pieces.

Take the example of duct smoke kits, which are small plastic tubes that you stretch across the inside of an air duct in your building. The tubes gather air in and funnel it to a duct smoke detector, which then senses whether or not there’s smoke present in the duct. Then the detector sends a signal to your controller, activates smoke dampers to close – you know the rest.

But here’s the thing: these duct smoke tubes are most often purchased in 5- or 10-foot lengths, depending on your application. And they only weigh about a pound, but when you wanted to order them and have them shipped to you, you were locked into paying shipping on a big, long box.

Was that too many words? Here’s the idea:
long duct tubes in a long box
Now keep in mind that when you’d order these, you might pay 100% of the cost of the product – or more – just in shipping.

Well, someone really smart over at Space Age Electronics looked at this problem and thought “Golly, that’s just not right” (I’m paraphrasing) – and then came up with an incredibly bright and simple idea: invent a new tube kit that breaks down into sections, making it smaller and easier to ship.

Wow. Just: wow. Here’s the new idea:
small duct tubes in a small box
Now you can order Space Age duct smoke kits in 6-foot lengths that separate into three easy-to-fit sections, and you won’t have to choke on the shipping charges anymore.

Thanks for reading.

Are you getting the most out of our new e-newsletter? Here are three handy ways to find out.

2012 August 9 e-newslettersSince June, we’ve been sending out a monthly newsletter directly to the email inboxes of our customers and pals, and so far the response has been terrific. It’s been a great way for us to connect with both our site visitors as well as our manufacturer-partners, and to share news and product information on a regular basis.

All the same, we wanted to make sure you’re getting the most out of the newsletter, so we’d encourage you to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Wait, what? I’ve been getting an e-newsletter?
    You sure have! If you’ve ever bought anything from or if we’ve met you, called you, sent you quotes, visited with you at a tradeshow – whatever – we’ve most likely included you on our distribution list. If you haven’t seen it, however, it’s possible that our newsletter is stuck somewhere in your email program’s spam filter. Double-check there if you haven’t been getting it. If it’s in your spam or bulk mail folder, you can “clear” emails sent from us in the future, which will ensure that you get the next edition of our newsletter in September. (and by the way, if you have missed them and they aren’t in your spam filter and you WANT to see them, just email Alan Lopuszynski right here and we’ll send you out any back issues of the newsletter)
  2. Boy, would I LOVE to share the newsletter’s videos and product news with my friends and coworkers. How the heck do I do that? e-newsletter registration buttonA fine question indeed. If you’ve enjoyed or found valuable information in the content of our newsletters, why not pass it along to your industry pals? You can forward our newsletter directly to others, share it via our pages on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, or encourage people you know to visit the homepage and look for the dazzlingly orange Get Our e-Newsletter button near the bottom of the page.
  3. Why hasn’t sent me some goodies yet?
    Ah, the best question of all. Here’s the deal: if you share a video you saw in our newsletter* with your staff – perhaps at a weekly meeting – and then let us know about it, we’ll send you some goodies to enjoy at your next meeting. Just send your contact information and which video(s) you shared to and we’ll do the rest!

If you answered all three of those questions, congrats. You’re officially enjoying our e-newsletter. Any other thoughts or suggestions? Just give us a shout in the comment section below.

*or, truth be told, anywhere on our site.