EE terms

Subject: EE terms
From: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 10:31:10 -0600 (CST)

Hi, everyone. Is anyone else here laboring in the vineyards of
electrical engineering?

I'm working on a manual about circuit breakers, and various stylistic
problems keep coming up. My question to fellow EE writers is, do you
have a style guide or other resource that you draw on to help sort out
problems like the ones I am about to list?

I've looked at IEEE publications, and there are many, but I haven't been
able to identify or get my hands on the one that might contain the
standards I need.

OK, here's what I'm mostly dealing with:

1. Noun clusters. I'm trying to walk the fine line between overly
simplifying things (because of my own ignorance) and leaving unnecessary
noun clusters in place.

Example: Contact open â travel OCB/overall test/one break per phase

This is the proposed caption of a figure provided by an engineer. This
engineer sees no problem with this wording, but even though I am not an
electrical engineer, I do. My only hope is to ask the product manager,
who is my boss, to review these with me one by one and either approve
them or suggest revisions.

2. Inconsistent capitalizations. All of the illustrations show wave
forms that reflect the opening and closing of breakers. There are a
zillion possible combinations, because breakers have different numbers
of contacts and they open and close in synchronized ways. One figure
caption is this: Reclose Open-Close Time.

I'm willing to believe that it is meaningful . . . but I have trouble
with a related sentence that says "The Reclose Open-Close Time, as shown
in Fig XX, is . . . ." Opening and closing is what circuit breakers do,
and it's what a 400-page manual is all about. Are these terms therefore
capitalized? In some contexts, but not others? As in "The circuit
breaker opened," but "The circuit breaker Open rate is 8.3 ms"?

3. Inconsistent terms. "Close time" or "Closing time" -- these terms
occur interchangeably in the document, and there are plenty of other

EE writers -- how do you handle this stuff?

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