Thursday, September 15, 2011

Anti-Photo Radar Club (Rant)

I realize that this post isn’t related to my expertise as a the Internet Electrician, but it’s something that I believe my readers can benefit from, so please forgive me for this, but I’m just trying to help out here, and maybe save you a few bucks!Most of us are law-abiding citizens, and I would never be an advocate for breaking the laws of the land, be it a minor misdemeanour, or criminal in nature. However, I do take issue with the cash grab that municipalities like to call photo-radar. I try to keep my speed within normally accepted tolerance levels, but I don’t pay as much attention to the posted limit as I do to keeping up with the flow of traffic. To me, if the posted limit is 60 MPH, and most of the traffic is travelling at 75 MPH, to drive at the speed limit in these conditions is more of a hazard than going with the flow. This is my opinion only, of course.Here is one of my own personal experiences with photo-radar.
Several years ago, Sandy’s Father was in the Hospital in Edmonton Alberta, and we live about a 2 hour drive south of there. We were on our way to Edmonton for a visit one day, and I got caught by an officer with a radar gun for speeding. I hadn’t had a ticket in several years, so I reluctantly accepted the consequences, knowing that I was probably lucky that I haven’t been ticketed more often over the years. After receiving the ticket carrying on our way, I set my cruise control at the posted limit (maybe slightly above), just so as to not get stopped again. When we got the City, I lowered my speed to the flow of traffic, and being a freeway, although now inside the City, I assumed the limit was likely 60 MPH, judging by the flow of the traffic. Feeling quite proud of myself for being a model, law-abiding citizen, we got our visit in, and returned home later that day.

To our surprise, a few days later I receive another speeding ticket via photo-radar from the City of Edmonton. As it turns out, the posted limit was only 50 MPH and thus I’m mailed yet another ticket for $125, adding to the $75 ticket from Police Officer earlier that day. Two tickets within an hour of each other, costing me an extra $200 over the normal expenses related to the trip. Thus began my distaste of photo-radar.

There are many products available on the market today, designed to foil the photo-radar system. Most are plastic plate covers that by various methods, are thought to blur or obscure the image of the plate number that the camera captures, adding some degree of doubt that the ticket will reach the rightful registered owner of the car. All of these devices are quite easy to spot from behind the vehicle. Many States or Provinces now have legislation drafted to combat these devices and are worded as such that the vehicle plate must be free of any obstruction, and be visible at all times. With these visible plastic covers, the vehicle will likely get pulled over and the driver will be asked to remove them, or given a ticket for obstructing the license plate.

A new product has reached the market, and it is designed to break the backdraft that exists behind most vehicles that causes dust, mud, snow or ice to accumulate, thus obstructing the plate. This helps the vehicle owner to comply with the legislation that exists that says the plate must be visible, clean, and easy to see. One possible additional benefit to this device is that it just may block the last digit of the plate number from showing up clearly on the photo-radar generated speeding ticket. That’s because the camera angle that photo-radar operates on is about a 22 ½ degree angle from the rear right hand side of the vehicle. Nice touch. The product has been tested in practical conditions, and it works as designed. Notice how you cannot see the device when approaching the vehicle from the rear, and the licence plate is clear and unobstructed.

Now look what happens when the picture is taken from the position of the photo-radar camera.
Notice that the last digit of the plate is not captured, thus making it impossible to send out a ticket to the vehicles registered owner.They are made from a flexible and nearly unbreakable black plastic, and are paintable to match the exterior of the vehicle. The mounting plate is pre-drilled with mounting holes to match all standard licence plate designs, in North America, Europe, Australia, and more.

They also work on the smaller plates for motor cycles.

These special devices are now available for sale on our website for the low price of $25 (plus S & H). Really quite a bargain considering that they function as designed to keep your plate clean and unobstructed, and just might save you the nice little surprise that arrives by mail for too many of us un-suspecting, generally law-abiding citizens.

Click here to get yours today!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Internet Electrician Trademark

Somewhere along the way since launching our website back in 1997, I started to call myself the Internet Electrician. It seemed like a good moniker for an electrician whose website content was designed around helping out the homeowner with his or her electrical questions and problem solving on this new thing called the Internet.

It was pointed out to us that it would be prudent to protect that branding effort by getting the name trademarked. We set out with our formal application back in May of 2010, and after some consultation with one of the legal team members of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, for various reasons that he pointed out, the possibility of being granted the trademark didn't seem too promising. We had thought that the request was going to be relegated to the "pending" file, and that we weren't going to get the coveted status. To our surprise, we were informed by e-mail that the trademark had been approved, and soon later our sealed certificate arrived by registered mail. So here is my first official use of my name, now with the proper identification behind it. Exciting stuff, eh?

Terry Peterman

the Internet Electrician® "Registered, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father’s Day 2011, and This One is For My Dad, Lyle Peterman

As I write this, my Dad is going to be 85 years old in two months. Although he complains about aches and pains, and says he can hardly move anymore, he still manages to move at a pace that would be the envy of most men his age. If the lawn needs mowing, the hedge needs trimming, or the sidewalks need edging, it’s done with an urgency comparable to that of the need to put out a wildfire.

In the winter the snow isn’t allowed to get too comfortable lying on the driveway or the sidewalks as it will be shovelled off and piled in nice neat banks well out of the way, and if the banks get too high, they will be relocated to the center of the yard for reasons twofold; to make room for more snow, and to provide even watering of the lawn when spring arrives and the piles melt.

We (family) all like to tease him about this relentlessly, but our motive aren’t critical, only that we wish he would spend a bit more of that energy enjoying himself and taking part in more activities related to recreation rather than work, but that’s just not the way he’s wired. Dad was born and raised in Saskatchewan, and through a time period where you soon learned to work hard and appreciate what you had, as that wasn’t a lot.

Life on the prairies taught you the values of hard work and that if something needed to be done, just do it. That’s what built the character of a man that not only served his family well, and passed on his values to all of us (sometimes more than we’ll admit), but made for the kind of employee that all employers desire to have. Dad worked from his young adult years through to retirement with predominately one oil company (although the company changed ownership many times). He is one of the lucky ones that enjoyed an early and long retirement, and has reaped the benefits of a pension since he was about 62 years old.

Dad is someone that can, and is able to do just about everything. He taught me everything; mechanical, plumbing, carpentry, painting, electrical work and more. His garage, along with two outbuildings (on a residential lot), are home to just about every tool or piece of equipment known to mankind. When you have something that needs repair, you drop it off to Dad. If you need a tool, he’s got it, and is willing to lend it out as long as it finds a way back. If not, rest assured he remembers who borrowed it last!

Here`s a story that epitomizes my Dad, and one that I`ll always remember. A few years ago I took an old axe to him for sharpening, and to replace the handle that was frayed and broken after a few missed swings at the chopping block. Not only was the axe sharp enough to shave with, but the handle was replaced to factory specifications, and the rusted old head of the 25 year old axe had been sanded down, cleaned, and repainted two-tone, with fireman`s red paint, transitioning to white towards the blade that is typical of the textbook axe you see in featured images.

So that paints a picture of my Dad, and a picture that I`m proud to paint of him and to show off to anyone who cares to read this. Here`s hoping for many more years to enjoy with him, and I am thankful for all the years I`ve enjoyed with him up to now. Happy Father`s Day Dad!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Back from Mexico

We had a great time in Bucerias Mexico again this year, and we are now back in Arizona for a month before heading north again. The problems with the Internet service never did get sorted out so my apologies for the lack of posts to the blog here.

Having to seek out a wifi connection caused us to only get the basic tasks done, like checking e-mail and responding to time sensitive matters. I did have time to gather more pictures of some Mexican electrical work and as soon as I got home I posted the 3rd and final installment of Mex-electrical, and you can find it on the website by clicking here.
Since my last blog entry, I have responded to 2 more questions in e-locals' blog-off series. Blog off #3 was about the:"Limitations of Going Green", and blog-off question #4 was asking the panel of experts their thoughts on what home improvements have the best impact on resale values. Click the links to check out the responses. I was able to weigh in on both topics.

eLocal is a great resource for helping consumers find businesses in their local neighborhood with their comprehensive and user friendly directories. From roofers to electricians, and lawyers to dentists, find them listed at

Check out our website often as I will be back to adding content on a regular basis, and our next e-zine should be out next week!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Viva Mexico!

We're here in lovely Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico for the 3rd February in a row. The weather started out very unseasonably cool, but has come back closer to normal now.

One challenge that Mexico can present is the unreliability of some of the creature comforts, like wifi service at our condo. This results in us trudging down a large hill with laptop in tow, to sit at Jo Jo's Cafe.

Blog-off #2
E-local's second Blog-off question is out and the comments have been published. This one was about the design trends for 2011, and our thoughts on where things are going. See the thread here.

Answer to the question on previous post.
I had numerous responses to my picture with some questionable electrical wiring, and I published a few of them. The answer was C, and Susan hit it right on the nose. I was in Calgary last summer, and spotted this mess on a sign can in Calgary Alberta! Shame on that mess! It looked to me like Mex-electrical and that's why I took the picture. What were the odds that someone else reading my blog noticed the same rat's nest? Way to go Susan!

Mex-electrical #2

I will be doing a post dedicated to Mex-electrial, and have been busy gathering video and pictures. Here's a sample thus far.

This is an open pony panel on the way up the steps to a sports bar here in Bucerias. It's about eye level, and easily reachable by anyone wanting to stick in their fingers, children and adults alike.
Hopefully our internet service will be restored at the condo soon so we can get back to some more regular posting to the website, and here on the blog.
We'll see if manyana ever comes!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

eLocal’s Inaugural Blog-Off!

We're down to the last week before we migrate south for a month in Bucerias Mexico, so we have a lot to get accomplished before we leave. We should have reliable Internet access where we are staying, but we're not sure how often we will be able to post new articles and update the blog, but we'll do our best while gone. I'm hoping to post another article on the subject of what I called: "Mex-electrical", a popular post a while back, featuring some of the most interesting electrical installations I encounter while travelling in Mexico.

Here is a picture I took of an electrical installation to a lighted sign. Can you guess where this is?

Is it,

a) Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

b) Bucerias, Mexico

c) Calgary Alberta, Canada

Post your answer as a comment on this post and next blog entry I'll tell you the answer.

We took my parents to the airport on Wednesday for their return flight home to Alberta. We had a great time with them, and luckily the cold snap there broke just in time.
In my last post here I posted a video of my Mom shooting hoops in the pool. Later I convinced her to come for a ride on my motorcycle, and she loved it! I'll see if I can get Dad to buy a Harley when he comes to visit next fall?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was invited to be a part of a panel of experts in eLocal's Blog-Off series.
To quote eLocal,
"eLocal is thrilled to announce a new blog-off series that will bring bloggers and professionals together to discuss hot topics and exciting trends in home improvement.
No more searching the web for the answers to your most pressing home improvement questions. This series gives homeowners information directly from the experts, while also creating a new forum for industry leaders to network and exchange ideas".

The first question was out last week, and for this first Blog-Off article, they asked the experts when in the design process homeowners should make plumbing and electrical decisions.

You can read the compiled results of the responses by following this link. Please check it out and you can also get involved by posting a comment if you feel compelled to do so.

Hasta Luego!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Challenge for a New Year!

Today I received the first question for the "Blog Off" series that I was asked to participate in. This is sponsored by e-local, and as soon as the answers are compiled I will post a link here, as well as on our website. A series of relevant questions will be posed to the panel of selected "experts" and each will post a response to open up debate. It should be fun, and I'm looking forward to it. The first question was related to planning for a bathroom renovation, and what should be the most important consideration, artistic vision, or the location of the plumbing and electrical components of the project.

As I mentioned in my last post, my parents are here visiting with us until January 19th. My Dad is 84, and my Mom is 82, and are both in good health. They used to come down here to Arizona and stay in their R.V. for some of the winter months in the past, but the challenges of driving a big rig this far became an issue, so they stopped doing that a few years back. Now that we have a place down here they can come stay with us to help escape at least some of the long winter back home in Alberta Canada. The timing has been good as the last several days back home have seen temperatures in the -20's and -30's. and lots of new snow and blowing snow. It is supposed to warm up to seasonal temperatures by the time they return later this week.

We have been spending time visiting, playing cards, watching movies, and had a great game of golf here yesterday. Here's a video of my Mom shooting some hoops in the pool, something that is in stark contrast to what she would be doing back in the frozen north.

I had a question regarding the installation of a motion sensing switch in a room with a 3-way switch network in place now. The person wanted to know if this is possible, and the answer is yes! With the wiring in place now to enable a 3-way switch network, the installation of the motion sensing switch is possible at either switch location (pick the one with the best 'view' of the room), and the proper splices will need to be made at both switch locations to make this new arrangement work. The switch that gets abandoned will have to be covered with a blank cover plate after the splices are made. I would have to know the details of the existing wiring to be able to advise on the correct splices to make.

The tip of the week involves the maintaining your existing tool collection so you don't have to replace them for years to come. Clean and dry your tools after each use, and lubricate when necessary. I could learn from my own advice here as you will see when I take you on a video tour of my own personal tool bag, coming soon.

Take care, and work safe!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Another Christmas Season Past.

Well 2010 is in the books, and I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! We are looking forward to great year ahead!

Our Christmas was quiet, but very nice. My son Lyle was here and we enjoyed some nice weather, hanging out by the pool,

watching some movies using my new outdoor projector and the new inflatable projector screen (an early 'Merry Christmas to me' present),
and took a motorcycle ride in to the hills towards Globe.

We also golfed,
and took in a Phoenix Suns vs. Miami Heat basketball game (pretty much an NBA all-star game).
Being of Scandinavian heritage, our family celebrates on Christmas Eve, so we opened up a Skype video chat with the rest of the family back home, they had a traditional turkey dinner, while we feasted on Alaskan King Crab (not a traditional Christmas dinner)!
Lyle left on Christmas Day, and Sandy and I went for a twilight round of golf to complete our Christmas.

We were able to squeeze in another round of golf last week between working on the website, and spent New Years Eve with our good friends Rob, Judy, and Sharone over at the Turner residence. The final highlight of the season is Sandy's birthday (January 2), and as per her request, we spent the day hiking in the area on Superstition Mountain.

The route we took was the Hieroglyphic Canyon Trail, and the hike takes you up to the Hieroglyphic Spring, and on the rock walls around the spring you can see many petroglyphs carved in to the rocks by the ancient Hohokam Indians.

The Christmas season always seems to get me thinking about the really important things in life, like family and friends. We've been blessed with such good families on both sides, and our siblings fit in to both groups, family and friends. I'm lucky to have both of my parents (Dad Lyle, 84 and Mom Agnes, 82), and they are coming for a 2 week visit here on January 5th, so we're looking forward to spending some quality time with them.

There's a lot of new content on the website so check that out. Sandy has been putting together clips that we have from my appearances on a nationally broadcast television show a few years ago, and I have put together several new posts as well. The easiest way is to check the recent articles section on the homepage.

I had a question from a website client that needs some immediate attention.


What causes an outlet to get hot, melting the varnish on the wall, and the white wires are burnt at the ends where they connect to the receptacle?


This is a very dangerous situation caused by a high resistance connection at the receptacle on the neutral side as a result of a loose terminal, or more likely that they used the push-in terminals at the back of the receptacle. This needs immediate attention as it poses a fire risk. This is something that the homeowner can repair if the proper safety precautions are observed (shut off the circuit), and a proper repair is done. If not, refer this to a qualified electrician. The device needs to be replaced, and the heated sections of the wires need to be cut back, and a new device installed.

Keep the questions coming! I will attempt to answer the quick ones here on the blog, and if the question warrants a detailed response, I'll post it as an article on the website.

Again, Happy New Year, and all the best to you and yours in 2011.