TrueLook offers new 20 megapixel camera for construction jobsites


TrueLook is now offering a 20-megapixel camera system to construction companies across the U.S. and Canada. With this new technology, these companies will now be able to monitor construction jobsites for security, progress reporting and compliance with larger, sharper images and improved digital zoom capabilities. TrueLook’s 20-MP camera is the first and only DSLR camera on the market to come standard with live streaming video and security recording.

TrueLook’s 20-MP camera system provides the following benefits:

• Sharper images – The images are larger by definition making them the sharpest images available for the construction jobsite. The digital single-lens reflex (DLSR) lens makes this camera more responsive resulting in sharper images.

• Convenience – The cameras employ remote auto-focus via the TrueLook interface making it easier to gain sharp focus for the camera at the jobsite. This camera also offers live streaming video and 24/7 security recording – both at 1080p resolution. By its nature, a 20-MP camera employs enhanced digital zoom which adds to the convenience of getting the precise image needed from the jobsite.

• Quality – The cameras deliver images at more than twice the resolution than 4K cameras that are on the market today. The resulting quality of photos and video available from the jobsite are higher than previous models.

“Many of our clients have requested DSLR lens technology,” Pittman said. “With the new lens technology combined with the other features on the 20-megapixel camera, our clients will see even more detail of their construction site with these reliable, secure camera systems. These new cameras take jobsite viewing and security to another level.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Q&A: Seaward talks solar data trends and its cool new gizmo


Solar Builder: What is the most important data analytics trend or innovation that installers should be paying attention to?

Mark Barron of Seaward Solar: Along with ensuring electrical safety on both new and existing installations, it’s also important to measure the actual system performance. Customers invest considerable funds into solar PV systems, and they need to have the confidence that the system is performing at its optimum capabilities.

Larger utility and commercial projects have always taken a more sophisticated view of effective operations and maintenance (O&M) activities to ensure that long-term performance levels associated with financial modeling and initial project investment decisions are maintained.

Now, residential solar installers are also increasingly adopting O&M strategies to protect asset values, meet warranty terms for new projects and monitor component performance at the end of existing warranty periods.

Against this background, periodic electrical testing is the proven method to establish the reasons for any identified underperformance and to enable the application of timely mitigation measures. In this respect, the absolute minimum testing that needs to be undertaken involves continuity measurements, open circuit voltage, short circuit current, insulation resistance and irradiance.

In addition, an assessment of the I-V curve of a PV cell or string during commissioning, or as part of the periodic inspection and testing of a system, can also help to verify that all the modules are healthy and performing at a consistent level in line with their specified parameters.

RELATED: How data can shift the energy market to solar 

SB: How does your PV210 in particular improve the typical electrical testing experience?

Barron: The PV210 is the first instrument to combine the required IEC62446 electrical safety tests for PV systems with I-V curve performance measurement capabilities. It’s portable, easy to use, fast and the most comprehensive test kit available today, eliminating the need for the engineer to carry lots of separate instruments and PC equipment around a site.

With an onboard memory, the test results can be downloaded to our PC software for further analysis and reporting. Three operating modes can give the test operator just the tests required for a particular site, or combine all possible tests with one press of the AUTO test button.

SB: Walk us through the workflow with the accompanying PVMobile app.

Barron: With some I-V curve tracers on the market, a laptop PC is required on site to convert the measured data into curve diagrams so that shapes can be determined and any system faults identified. The PV210 eliminates this need.

If the instrument detects a fault in a string, the results can be sent wirelessly to the Android PVMobile app to create high definition color displays of the I-V and power curves. This gives the engineer immediate visibility of the curves to then start the repair process to rectify the issue without having to leave the site and return after analyzing the data.

SB: How does this add to/enhance the experience?

Barron: There is considerable time savings in not having to download results to a PC to analyze faults and less equipment to carry to site (PC’s don’t like the intense heat that can be on solar farms, particularly in the United States). Simple and quick operation means spending less time on site in hot conditions.

Along with enabling immediate on site performance assessment and fault diagnosis, complete I-V curve and electrical test data can be stored in the PV210’s large onboard memory. Full test and measurement data can then be downloaded to a PC via USB connection for comprehensive system reports and full traceability records of system performance.

— Solar Builder magazine

Stay safe on a roof with 3M’s self-rescue device

3M detachable rescue harnessPersonal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required on the job to help keep workers safe, healthy, and productive, and 3M’s Personal Safety Division makes some of the best stuff out there. The company is showcasing its full PPE equipment product lineup at the 2016 National Safety Council Expo this week in booth #1404.

One device that might interest you or your solar installation staff in particular is the 3M DBI-SALA Self-Rescue Device.

When a worker is suspended after a fall from height, every second matters. To minimize risk to the suspended worker, their coworkers and emergency response personnel, at-height workers need a rescue plan that doesn’t leave them hanging.

The Self-Rescue Device is a flexible device that attaches to a current safety harness and allows workers to lower themselves to safety in the event of a fall from height.




— Solar Builder magazine

Southwire launches nine new meters for electricians (several with Bluetooth technology)

Southwire Tools and Equipment launched nine new meters to help electricians safely and efficiently complete their jobs. Included in this product line are several meters which feature Bluetooth technology, allowing users to save and send readings using Southwire’s exclusive MApp mobile app.

southwire electrical meterSouthwire’s new 140-series TechnicianPRO line features three meters specifically designed for electricians who work in commercial settings. These CAT IV, 600V, waterproof meters have an enhanced feature set, including Bluetooth technology, TrueRMS, Low-Z, fully backlit controls and displays, built-in work lights and magnetic hanging straps.

The three 130-series ResidentialPRO multimeters are compact and ideal for residential electricians. CAT III 600V rated and waterproof, ResidentialPRO meters are available with Bluetooth technology, TrueRMS, Low-Z, built-in work lights and backlit displays.

RELATED: How California’s Rule 21 inverter requirements expand grid capacity, limit energy (revenue) generation 

The 160-series features three meters to address specific market needs. The 16020N is a compact CAT IV 600V meter with an auto-resetting fuse. With its built-in flashlight, non-contact AC voltage detector, bright backlit display and built-in test leads, this is a meter for a wide variety of applications. The 16030A is a TrueRMS meter that auto-selects between voltage and resistance, and features auto-hold to temporarily catch readings on the display. The 16040T model is a compact and rugged CAT III Bluetooth technology enabled meter. With a broad array of test functions, these meters allow electricians to take full advantage of the MApp mobile app.

“Southwire has a long history of developing, manufacturing and distributing innovative products for electricians,” said Payne. “We are proud to extend this legacy with our latest generation of meters, bringing connectivity and durability to the jobsite.”


— Solar Builder magazine

Manitowoc’s Grove GHC55 used for new solar panel assembly technique

manitowoc solar equipment

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Mortenson Construction is using a trio of Manitowoc Grove GHC55 telescoping crawler cranes to perform a new method of solar panel assembly and installation at the Alamo solar farms in Uvalde, Texas. Traditionally, solar panels have been constructed by adjoining several 2 ft by 3 ft modules, each requiring a separate lift. The GHC cranes operate with 100 percent pick and carry capability, increasing efficiency on the jobsite. This allows Mortenson to combine 15 or 20 modules together on a table and then carry them into place to lift about 20 ft in the air for installation. The heaviest picks weigh up to 3.5 USt.

“We have chosen these telescoping boom crawlers because, as a rule, Mortenson will not pick and carry loads on cranes with rubber tires—especially on a remote job site with off-road terrain,” said Steven Klatt, crane manager with the company. “With 100 percent pick and carry, we can prefabricate the solar panels and run the cranes back and forth from the trucks to where they are placed on the solar farm. The crawler tracks easily handle the terrain, and the GHC’s booms withstand the wind. This has increased our efficiency.”

RELATED: Install-O-Matic: One solar company is turning the jobsite into a factory 

— Solar Builder magazine