February 2020 Newsletter

Madison Section Newsletter

Vol. 23, No. 2           Serving IEEE Members of South Central Wisconsin               February 2020
Newsletters are archived online at IEEE-Madison Web Site.


Upcoming Meetings

February Section: The Futue of Work -- Innovation, Technology and Creativity
Joint with IEEE Greenbay and Milwaukee Sections
Thursday, February 6th at 5:30 PM in Fond du Lac

Event Info


The Leaders of IEEE Madison wish you a prosperous, safe, and productive New Year!


Past Meetings

None to review at this time.


Joint Meeting with IEEE-Greenbay and IEEE-Milwaukee Sections


VFD Talk

  • Thursday, February 6th, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
  • Thomas Triumph, Futurist, Management Consultant and Author
  • Location:
    Knights of Columbus Hall
    795 Fond du Lac Avenue
    Fond du Lac, Wi 54935
  • Please Register at the IEEE-Madison  event page.
  • Family Style Dinner and Talk for a $10 fee.

Talk:  Are you in awe yet? Technological advancements are encouraging significant societal shifts. It is our collective responsibility to continue innovating, improving and creating. Please join IEEE at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Fond Du Lac to listen to nationally-renowned Thomas Triumph present on the future of work - and be ready to receive some nice giveaways! A quick video message from Tom is here.

Bio: Thomas Triumph helps companies grow by collaboratively helping them reinvent their business, product development, and marketing. Along the way he’s helped large Fortune 500 organizations act nimbly and small entrepreneurial companies scale. He’s been a participant in two global technology revolutions—and has been part of some remarkable success stories (and some misfires), and he’s the author of the book Evolve or Die: Lessons for World-Class Innovation & Creativity.

Tom fulfilled a childhood dream of living aboard an ocean research ship and tending to the mini-sub (Cousteau was on the Board), wrestled in the Olympic trials, and helped oversee the design and fabrication of the largest composite hovercraft ever built in the US. He resides in North Carolina and is an ultra-runner who envies Tom Hanks’ long run as Forrest Gump.


  • Volunteers:   We need volunteers for:  YP, ECN, LMAG, PES/IAS, Section and EMB.  Please contact one of our officers for more information, or see us at an upcoming meeting.
  • Joint meeting with the IEEE-North Eastern (Greenbay) Wisconsin Section:  On Thursday, February 6th, the IEEE Madison Section will hold a joint meeting with the IEEE North Eastern Section in Fon du Lac that will feature futurist Tom Triumph.  The meeting will include dinner, the talk, and an opportunity to network.  The IEEE Milwaukee members have been invited as well. Tom's video describing the talk is available at this link.
    - Ride Share: This meeting will be an opportunity to meet some members of the other two IEEE sections in Wisconsin.  Because of the commute to Fond du Lac, I will help coordinate ride-sharing.  If you can drive, or are interested in riding along with someone, please email me: tjkaminski@ieee.org.
  • February ECN:  Is being scheduled now as a visit to 100State co-working space for a talk by 5nines and a tour of their facility afterward.  Stay tuned for the details.
  • March Life Member Affiliate Group: Jack Kisslinger will give a talk on the history of some of Madison's significant computers, theNicolet 1070/PDP-8, the Nicolet 1080 and the Department of Defense SAGE computer.  It will be held at UW-Space Place on March 19th in the evening
  • Volunteers Needed: Are you interested in volunteering?  If so, IEEE Madison is looking for a few people interested in a few exciting new volunteer positions.First, the Executive Committee is looking to fill a new position of auditor.  This position will work with the Treasurer and the Executive Committee to review all expenditures and ensure that IEEE Madison remains compliant with all IEEE policies and procedures, as well as applicable laws.  The auditor will also serve on the Finance and Audit committee.  If you are interested and wondering how much time this volunteer position will require, it is estimated that it will be at most a couple hours per month.  If you are interested, please contact Nathan Toth, IEEE Madison Section Chair, at tothnj@ieee.org.

    Secondly, IEEE Madison will be forming an Ethics Committee.  The purpose of the Ethics Committee will be to foster awareness of ethical issues, promote ethical behavior among members of IEEE Madison, and advise the Executive Committee on IEEE Ethics policy and concerns.  The Ethics Committee will consist of 3 or more members of IEEE.  For those interested in volunteering for the ethics committee, please contact Nathan Toth, IEEE Madison Section Chair, at tothnj@ieee.org.  The time commitment for this committee will be approximately 2 hours per month.
    Volunteering for IEEE Madison helps to grow a community of engineers, scientists, and technologists in the Madison area.

    If you are interested in any of the above positions or are interested in volunteering for any other position or task, please contact Nathan Toth at tothnj@ieee.org.

  • Renew your IEEE Membership:  It is that time of year to renew your IEEE Membership and help support the Madison Section.  A portion of your dues goes to financially support the Section, allowing us to host events with little or no cost to members.  To renew your membership, click on this RENEW NOW link.

Reviews of Past Meetings

  • January PES/IAS Meeting (Review by Don Neumeyer): On January 21, 2020 Jeff Miller, President and Owner of JMB & Associates, spoke on Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) and how they can provide advantages when properly installed and configured. They can be a mysterious black box to many people for their first application or knowing the current technology capabilities. The talk helped remove the unknowns of when and how to apply in different situations and environments. Jeff has been in the variable frequency drive and motor control industry for over 30 years and shared his many experiences.
    VFD are becoming “smart” devices which can be customized for energy savings and still maintain functional job performance.  A review of fan laws showed the relationships between, speed, air flow, static air pressure, torque, and motor horsepower required. A set of tables were illustrated for a 100-horsepower motor running a fan at constant speed. A conversion to a VFD could change the annual energy cost from $69,000 to $22,000.  The duty cycles can vary, but savings are substantial.

    VFDs that can change both frequency and voltage can find the most energy savings. This response was graphically shown as linear vs. squared V/Hz. This is known as flux optimization and is not available on simple drives.
    Three types of drives were compared for their respective costs, capabilities, and life cycles.
    A key to success is good wiring practices. Always separate the motor wires, the line wires, and the control wires. It is best to use metal conduit and have the dedicated grounds from the motor to the VFD chassis and then the chassis to the main ground bus.

    Adding fuses to the protection system provides the best protection against internal VFD faults and potential fires.  However, never just replace the fuse with a spare! Find the why and the location of the problem first. A simple fuse replacement could damage more equipment.

    The presentation further included a review of: NEMA guides, cabling, surge/transient protection, cooling, disconnects, and enclosure types.  The limited value of having VFD spares in inventory was discussed. The electrolyte capacitors in VFD’s have a limited shelf life if not kept periodically charged which is not likely in typical on-site shops.
    The group had many questions which all stayed for a little overtime.  It was suggested to find on YouTube additional information on “flux optimization.”

    Jeff Millers slides are available at this LINK.

IEEE Madison Leadership

  • Section Chair – Nate Toth
  • Section Vice Chair – Hugh Schmidt
  • Section Treasurer – Tom Kaminski
  • Section Secretary – Mike Stemper
  • Webmaster – Nate Toth
  • PES/IAS Chair – Mike Stemper
  • PES/IAS Vice Chair – Dan Ludois
  • PES/IAS Secretary/Treasurer- Don Neumeyer
  • EMB Chapter Chair – Dennis Bahr
  • Life Member Affinity Group Chair – San Rotter
  • Life Member Affinity Group Vice Chair – Charles Cowie
  • ECN Chair – Matt Nowick
  • Young Professionals Chair – Nate Toth
  • Members at Large: Clark Johnson, Craig Heilman, Dennis Bahr

Membership Upgrades

Those interested in upgrading their IEEE membership level should send their resumes or other information showing five years of significant performance in an IEEE-designated field to Charles J Gervasi via email at cj(at)cgervasi.com. Madison Section Board will attempt to find Senior IEEE members knowledgeable in the applicant’s area of practice who may be able to provide references. You are invited to attend thinformal networking portion of the monthly Section meetings (starting at 11:30am) to meet the Section Board members and discuss intentions.


About IEEE

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE (read Eye-Triple-E) is an international non-profit, professional organization dedicated to advancing technology innovation and excellence for the betterment of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through IEEE’s highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. It has the most members of any technical professional organization in the world, with more than 300,000 members in around 150 countries. The IEEE consists of 38 societies, organized around specialized technical fields, with more than 300 local organizations that hold regular meetings. Discover what IEEE Member Discounts can offer you. The Member Discounts portfolio consists of insurance products and programs for the home, office and travel, all at excellent group rates and reduced pricing. Visit IEEE Member Discounts to see what’s available in your location and enjoy the savings. For more information, please visit: IEEE.ORG.