The Melni connector
About six years ago I was in my garage and looked up at a package of miscellaneous electrical crimps and thought, ‘here’s something that hasn’t been changed in over 60 years! There’s got to be a better way to do this!’ My idea came to me in a flash and I drew it up on the back of an old manual. When I showed this to my buddy (who’s an electrician) he called me a choice name then told me “you might have something here – this is cool!”
Basically my invention uses a metal spiral that contracts down on top of the conductor. Once the conductor is attached, any force that pulls the conductor away from the connector creates more pressure (Think Chinese finger trap). We use compression glands to tightly seal out all moisture, air, gas and oil. The existing procedure for a 4/0 connector requires a crimp connector, crimp tool, tape, hot or cold shrink and about 15 minutes of labor!
In the past couple of years there have been numerous catastrophes where power has gone down and stays down for an extended period of time. I can’t imagine the challenges these people face and the lineman working as fast as they can to restore power. My invention has the potential to minimize the time expended on these connections and make it so that stricken areas can get back on line much quicker. Occasionally linemen are required to make these connections while the power is still on. The Melni connector instantly insulates the conductor so the lineman is protected. Last winter I observed a lineman making a 4/0 connection in 9° weather. He had to remove his gloves and apply heat packs in order to continue. The connection took him close to 20 minutes to complete, after setting up his tools and then putting them away. My hope is that with the Melni connector it will reduce that time immeasurably and make the lineman/electricians jobs easier.