Monday, March 28, 2005

Buying used electrical retail

I've talked about buying electrical from a wholesale stand point but now is the time to talk about the retail aspect of it. Basically the same principles apply. You want to know who you're getting the material from and what kind of guarantees come with it. The best companies have been in business for years and guarantee there work. It helps if you're getting a used circuit breaker to know that it has been tested before it goes out the door. The Professional Electrical Apparatus Recyclers League or PEARL is an association that sets standards among electrical surplus dealers. PEARL promotes the distribution of safe, high quality recycled power equipment, electrical construction materials and apparatus. A primary goal is to bring certainty, conformity, consistency and accountability to the used and surplus electrical marketplace. To this end, PEARL develops information, networking and other services for the proper recycling and reuse of electrical power equipment. This is an excellent source for companies that are working for your business and your trust.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Square D Bus Plugs

The hardest job I've done recently was buying Square D bus plugs. The factory had been shut down for several years and the problem was the county that had the tax liens and the bank that had all the outstanding loans where arguing over who had the right to sell the stuff. I made my deal and I think that the people assumed that there would be no way to get the bus plugs out in the time period that I was given. Bus Plugs are well marked and tell you everything that you need to know on the manufacturers name plate. This involves voltage and amps and whether it has a ground. Usually however the bus plug is ten feet in the air hooked to the busway. This makes it difficult to not only get the information but also to take the bus plugs down. Once you get them down it's fairly simple to crate them and ship them to the buyer. Another way to do it is to sell the busway with the plugs still on and then you take the sections down in without the additional work of taking the plugs off in the air. If you want the quick money you can just take the higher amp bus plugs and leave everything else but if you have the time, sell every thing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Allen Bradley Motor Control Centers

The checklist for buying motor control centers is long and varied but here are some to think about.

  1. Establish that although Allen Bradley still makes motor control centers the ones that you are looking at are not new and the price of what they cost new has no bearing on what they are worth now.
  2. Motor control centers are divided in vertical sections with doors on them. You have to open each door and see what type of starter is behind the door. An Allen Bradley size 5 509 starter is worth more than a size 0 or size 1 starter.
  3. You need to know if they have circuit breakers or fuses
  4. The model number is written on the motor control center along with technical information like voltage and amps.
  5. Motor control centers are difficult to remove and can easily be damaged by someone who is not qualified.
  6. Sometimes motor control centers are electrically feed from the bottom.

These are just a few things to think about. Remember If you are buying them you need to look at them before you price them. Everything sounds great on paper until you have to face scratched, dented, or painted motor control centers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Square D Circuit Breakers

Square D Circuit Breakers are very valuable on the used electrical market. They are great breakers and everyone uses them. When you buy circuit breakers it's important to look at several things.
  1. Condition: are they chipped, broken or have they been in the weather. A breaker can look great but if it came from a flooded area or ocean front after a hurricane then you can have problems.
  2. Accessibility: Can you remove them with ease? Is the power still on? Would you be better off leaving them in the electrical panel and taking the whole thing?
  3. Presell: Do you have a buyer waiting for them. ie.
  4. Vintage: Do they have completely black faces, label faces, or the newer style computer generated label.

These four helpful hints start you on the process of buying used electrical to sell to dealers.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Transformers, Motor Controls, and Circuit Breakers My first job

I had been working since the seventies buying and selling new used and surplus electrical equipment but it wasn't until the nineties and NAFTA that I started working for myself. NAFTA caused so many Textile plants to shut down and move to mexico that it was unreal. The first job that I went out on my own and bought was a Burlington Industries plant in Ashville, N.C. It was a large plant on the river that three men had bought as an investment property. When I came in it was to look at the electrical but what I did was so much more. Burlington Industries did a great job of clearing equipment out of the plants that they shut down but usually the support equipment that was left over was still worth a great deal of money. This plant had Allen Bradley motor control centers, ITE and Westinghouse electrical panels, Transformer with Substations, and chillers and cooling towers every where.
The first thing that I did was get a list of all the equipment that was availiable and start pricing it with companies that bought it. For the ITE and Westinghouse Electrical panels, Allen Bradley motor control centers, and circuit breakers, Jim Griggs at . Transformers and substations, there is no one better than Steve Belyea at . Finally Trane and Carrier Chillers and BAC Cooling towers, Bill Koch at . Once you have a price for the equipment then you have to figure out how to get it out of the building without harming the building. I was lucky to have a guy named Ken Rainey who could rig equipment out of rooms that you often thought that they had built the room around the equipment. Having an estimate on what it will take to remove it and what you can sell it for still leaves you with having to buy. What helped me on this job was showing the owners that the price for all this would pay for them to rewire the plant to run just lights and cut the power bill by thousands of dollars a month. This was my first job on my own and it helped that the companies that I sold too paid when they said that they would.
What is important to remember is that all this electrical has wires that run to it and once the equipment is gone it's just hanging there. 500 mcm weighs one and a half pounds a foot. Conduit is usually in ten foot sections and there normally is three leads inside the conduit. It's easy enough once you have the feet to multiply by one and a half to get how many pounds you have. Call the local scrap man and get a price. I had a wire stripper so the price I was getting was for number 1 bare bright. The copper paid for the labor of getting the equipment out.

How to buy used electrical

Buying used electrical is something I've done since I was twelve years old. Circuit Breakers, Starters, Motor Control Centers. I've bought everything that is out there. Square D, Allen Bradley,Ge, and Cutler Hammer have supported me throughout my life. I never worked for them but I bought and sold their used electrical supplies. It has taken me to interesting places and more than one interesting person has entered my life because of it. This will be some of the stories and people that I've met along the way. It will also tell you how to buy and sell surplus electrical.