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Testing and Capturing Electrical Data—In Case Something Goes Wrong

January 2015


Wirelessly monitoring current at the big game with the Fluke Connect™ app

When asked to explain how events unfolded during an unusual play, football coaches have a standard reply: "We'll have to look at the tape."

When football plays go awry—a running back is tackled in the backfield, a quarterback is sacked or gives up an interception—coaches go to the videotape to see what happened. Pouring over game film, to see how players on both sides of the ball responded to specific situations, is a big part of a modern coach's job.

For electrical engineers, electricians and technicians, the equivalent of game film is data captured by test and measurement tools. Among the data points are thermal images, temperature, voltage and current readings. All are important to capture both on the spot and over time.

At University of Phoenix Stadium, site of Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz., WBL Services is setting up and managing telecommunications and internet services for thousands of media partners—TV and radio broadcasters and print media—both at the stadium and at media row in the Phoenix Convention Center.

"We come in and do a complete overlay network," said Bill Lipscomb, president of Seattle-based WBL Services. "That includes all the fiber, all the broadcast infrastructure, all the internet, network Ethernet and telephone system. And we put that on our own power as well so we are total independent of the stadium infrastructure."

WBL captured data on incoming power during the big game using an a3001FC iFlex Module as well as the Fluke Connect™ app on phones. It will monitor the power in real-time and capture data for later reference—just in case something goes wrong.

The real-time data will tell them if there are dips or spikes in current that could impact the phone or internet services in the press box or outside the stadium.

If an internet bank goes down in a press booth, for example, WBL could check the current readings logged in the Fluke Connect™ app to see if there was a problem with the power supply, rather than the Ethernet connection. Keeping a log over time will help them at other venues by establishing a baseline on current levels.

At any Super Bowl, all electrical workers are looking to guard against what happened in New Orleans on Feb. 3, 2013, where a power disruption caused a blackout in the stadium after Beyoncé performed at halftime.

"It's quick, It's easy," Shane Conner, a WBL contractor, said of Fluke Connect™. "I like that you put it on, push a button and you're good to go. Because when we're out here we have a lot of work to do and we don't have a lot of time to get it done."

And if the power does go out there is a record.

"I can easily send them that Fluke report. It's good to go and it has the time stamp, date stamp. We can say we provided you what we said we would provide. And after what happened in New Orleans that's a big concern for everybody."

Lipscomb and his crew also like the safety aspects of connected tools. "We began using Fluke Connect™ some time ago in high-power arrangements where we can monitor the equipment from a safe distance," Lipscomb said.

"The wireless stuff to me is all about safety," Conner said. "Today with the NFPA 70E and all the OSHA requirement out there, the wireless technology is very important to contractors because, for most of us, putting on PPE or having a 40-calorie suit is a very difficult thing to do.

"We drive out here on golf carts, we walk up to these pieces of equipment and put our meters on the outside. We don't have to get into the internal mechanisms of the equipment. So I can walk up, clamp it on, synch with my phone, walk away and then I can get back on my laptop and get all the data I need. I really never have to come back out here again."


The free Fluke Connect™ app is available for Android (4.3 and up) or iOS (4s and later) smart phones. Learn more at www.flukeconnect.com.


FLUKE and FLUKE CONNECT are trademarks owned by Fluke Corporation. NFL and SUPER BOWL trademarks are owned by the National Football League. All team marks and other trademarks are owned by their respective owners. Reference to marks owned by others is made solely for the purposes of accuracy, clarity and context and is not intended in any way to imply any affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement by the respective mark owners.