SAMAC Engineering - Electrical


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Our electrical expertise is used routinely to analyze electrical failures from high voltage power distribution issues down to failed appliances and to electronic components. Whether a fire or failure on a structure, facility, vehicle, or circuit board, our technical experts can find the answers.

Some examples of our electrical failure analysis experience include:

  • Analysis of burned electrical equipment (appliances, mechanical equipment, electrical panels, breakers, etc)
  • High voltage power transmission, transformer, MCC issues
  • Identification of component level faults in burned industrial, commercial and retail electrical/electronic equipment (televisions, cookers, computers, cellphones, etc)
  • Vehicle fire investigations, including Class 8 trucks, pickups, automobiles, etc, to identify fire causation
  • Investigation of faulty heaters leading to a major fire
  • Electrical analysis of vehicle ignition module to determine cause of engine hammering
  • Investigation of wiring problems, including manufacturing and installation issues
  • Wind turbine failures
  • Failed lithium battery packs due to circuit design issues

If you have a file with an electrical failure or a possible electrically based fire, please give us a call at 403-243-2238.

Electrical Arc Mapping

Arc mapping is the process of finding the location of energized electrical events, or arcs, within a defined area to “map” an area of origin. Technically, the basic assumption is that an electrical arc which occurs furthest from the power source, usually occurred first. Used logically and interpreted appropriately, this method is a powerful analytical tool. Results are strong, often definitive, and can be used when investigating any type of fire. Unfortunately, although an excellent tool, it is one that is not commonly used. In SAMAC’s case, our electrical experts routinely use arc mapping in their fire investigations.

The basic premise in arc mapping is to locate, mark, and systematically record all electrical events within a defined area, whether or not you can identify them as arcs. Be aware that melted or heat-beaded wiring is often confused with arcing. Each event is recorded using photographs or video and detailed note taking is crucial. Once all arc events are marked and recorded, the location of each event is referenced on a blueprint or drawing. Knowing the basic architecture of the electrical system, it is then usually possible to evaluate the timeline of the event.

Logical evaluation of each electrical event should proceed as follows:

  • Is the event an electrical arc? If it is not clear on first examination, additional scene investigation or metallurgical analysis should be performed.
  • After verifiying and eliminating all non-arc events, each arc event is evaluated assuming arcs further from the power source usually occurred first. However, even though an arc may have occurred first, it sometimes does not mean that the arc affected electrical current further away. If the wire was not completely severed, a fuse was not ‘blown’, or a breaker not tripped by the arc event, arc mapping may be limited in its use.
  • The arc event data is then compared to circuit data, witness accounts (contractors, maintenance personnel), operational records and other fire data.

Arc mapping, in conjunction with other investigative tools, will greatly assist in proving or disproving the origin of the fire, present a clearer sequence of events, and possibly provide the cause of the fire. At the very least it will provide clients with a thorough and complete investigation.

Our Electrical Team