the history of wiring


Old 03-16-07, 06:00 AM
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the history of wiring

I thought it might be fun for some of us to remember what evolutionary milestones have occured in the past 60 years or so in home wiring technologies.

I'll start with this, and I expect many additions and corrections from your vast body of knowledge.

1940s, romex replaces K&T; solder/rubber tape/friction tape common
1950's grounded wiring common; 70 amp main fuse panels typical; 3way switches appearing; soldered connections replaced with crimp and covers
1960's 3wire receptacles starting; pvc replaces asphalt/textile in romex sheathing; crimp and covers replaced with "wire nuts".
1970's GFI appearing; Alumimun appears in home wiring; dimmers becoming popular; 125 amp breaker panels typical
1980's wired-in smoke detectors appearing; Aluminum branch wiring dissapearing
1990's 200 amp main panel typical; hi-hats typical; rigid PVC replaces much steel pipe
2000's AFCI becoming common; low energy use lighting typical; whole house surge protection more common;
2010's; any guesses here???
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Old 03-16-07, 07:35 AM
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I'll wager a couple.

> 1990s - 2000s:

Net metering, distributed generation appear.
Everybody and their brother buys a portable generator for the dreaded Y2k; 10% hook them up correctly.

> 2010's; any guesses here???

...maybe stretching into the 2020s.

Price of copper continues to climb -- aluminum wire looks very attractive again, metallurgy produces safer alloys.

Switch loops eliminated by wireless/low voltage/smart lighting controllers. Appliances, load centers much "smarter", shape loads based on daily demand, peak usage.

Localized generation, fuel cell, solar rooftops, etc become more common -- substantially offset grid connections.

LED lightning replaces incandescent, fluorescent, CF.

Increasingly modularized factory assembled and prefab wiring for faster installation by unskilled laborers.

* Wishful thinking: motorized Star Trek doors in every room. :-)
Old 03-16-07, 08:01 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
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My house was built in about 1940, using insulated conductors inside rigid metallic tubing, which looks like galvanized water pipe painted with black enamel [NOT the thinwall stuff]. Many of the conduit runs feature multiple 90 degree bends, must have taken ages to install. Original outlets were ungrounded 2-prong type, but easy enough to retrofit for grounded 3-prong outlets because the metallic tubing provides a ground, all I have to do is install a grounding wire ("stinger", as the hardware guy called it] in each receptacle box.
Old 03-16-07, 03:34 PM
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qutoing aq_guy: Many of the conduit runs feature multiple 90 degree bends, must have taken ages to install

Not if the guy wanted to keep his job it didn;t. Being a commercial electrician, conduit is the norm in my work. I actually prefer it over running rope (NM). Rigid does have some challenges that EMT doesn't have (which is what I typically need to use) but experience and knowing the "tricks" cuts down on the labor time.

oh, and as long as it doesn;t feature more than 4 90 degree bends........
Old 03-16-07, 03:58 PM
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We switch to 220 househould outlets to keep up with the European Union. We cave in reluctantly out of guilt that we still drive othe right side of the road and still use inches and feet and yard. We started this caving in process when we built our first "roundabout" in this country.

Oh. THENNNN...because Tesla's idea for AC won out over Edison's idea for DC...we take it up for referendum as to what way we should go, by allowing the rock group, AC.DC to decide this for us. LOL.

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