Electrical Forums a Scary Place

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  #1  
Old 03-15-09, 06:59 PM
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Electrical Forums a Scary Place

Not one but two posts over in the Electrical forum that just make you shake you head at just how clueless some people can be but just forge ahead taking wild guesses about how even basic electrical components work. Don't they teach this stuff in high school physics anymore?

I'll admit probably a bit weird that I could wire a lamp by the time I was seven but geeze. Of course if it is electronic and doesn't have vacuum tubes I'm totally lost so I guess I really don't have room to talk. {LOL}
 
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Old 03-16-09, 04:24 AM
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You're right. We both got involved with the posts, and my head is still spinning. They wire it wrong and have no problem plugging it in!!! Duh, why didn't it work??? Did I blow it up??? Like you say, you get some sort of knowledge of physics even if you sleep in class. I'm like you, electrical knowledge came sort of natural at an early age, but electronics......gotta take a back seat. BUT I will ask questions before I plug it in.....good grief.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 11:27 AM
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Of course you also run into the results of some of these experiments in real life to. I was living in a very old garage apartment. Wiring consisted of a single fuse panel with a built in safety switch. Well along the way someone decided to add a second circuit so they used one of those pigtail lamp holders they use to use for outdoor lighting. Not totally bad. It did have the proper Edison base fuse in it. That wasn't even the scary part. They wired it on the line side of the safety switch. Throw the safety switch and half the circuits were still live. It was tucked inside so didn't see it first time I threw the safety switch to do some work assuming that killed all circuits.

Or I believe I have mentioned before one bit of really nifty wiring I saw on a job where the neutral came from a different meter then the live. That takes real ingenuity.

One that really scared me was in my own home. I was taking down a a metal swag fixture. Was holding it in my hand when I dropped the canopy. Dropped the light about a second later when my mind processed what I was seeing.

Like many old houses the light Jbox has multiple connections even a separate circuit spliced in there. What it didn't have was a ground wire. The light was a newer light with a ground wire and apparently this confused the installers who were convinced all three wires need to be connected somewhere. They picked the hot side of an unrelated circuit that ran through the box for the ground wire. Yep, the whole shell of the lamp was hot relative to ground. Luckily in the previous ten years I'd never been grounded when II touched it.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 12:07 PM
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Try working in hardware retail.You wouldn't believe what people have done or want to try to do.

There are some things every year like the double male plug for Christmas lights.when you tell people it doean't exist and the solution is to rewire your tree so the lights aren't backwords the reactions can be anger,disbelief or "I'm going to make one".

We long ago adpoted a stance of non invlovement.We can't stop people from buying something but we can and do advise them we will not assist them in what they are trying to do because we then become liable for the outcome.

Not too long ago I had a guy come in who was remodeling a restaurant.He needed an extension cord for some sort of oven that pulled over 30 amps.We had no cord heavy enough.He had a radio that he used to tell the business owner the info.

A half hour later a different person came in that was recognized as the owner who had been told the info.He bought a cord rated for 15 amps.

We all looked at each other and just said ok look for the firetrucks....which will eventually come.

And that's just one story of many many.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 03:03 PM
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What is the fascination with double male extension cords.....????? I had a guy on a jobsite that wanted to "electrify" his jobsite trailer. He mounted a 20 amp receptacle in an approved box with an approved bubble cover, so I thought he was going to use that as a take off point for his saws, etc......WRONG, he was going to make a double male plug extension cord an use it from a receptacle at the temporary pole to plug it into the receptacle to energize his trailer. He got sent home. And they breed.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 03:07 PM
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Come on guys...its called "thinning the herd"!
 
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Old 03-16-09, 03:15 PM
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Forgot to mention on the extension cord story that the guy bought the parts to "make" the two cords fit together....

Which is part of another major story...the expectation and/or desire to create adapters for different voltage electrical cords.

I guess a couple times a week I get asked for or asked how to make etc a way to plug a 220v into a 110v or a 110v into a 220v or a 15 amp into a 30 amp or a 30 amp into a 15 amp and on and on.

As usual you tell them it doesn't exist and get all sorts of reactions.

And one other story is people who think the way to deal with an overloaded circuit is to put in a higher amp rated breaker or fuse.

As in a 15 amp circuit keeps blowing so they want to put in a 30 amp breaker or fuse.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 03:30 PM
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part of the problem with the double male ended cord is the user is not aware of the proper receptacle (a male receptacle if that makes sense) to use. All they know about are the typical female receps so they make them work.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 05:39 PM
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I can't count how many times I've responded in that forum, " the fact that the original poster asked this question makes me nervous about doing their own electrical work." I mean, come on, it can only kill you if you screw up.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mitch17 View Post
I can't count how many times I've responded in that forum, " the fact that the original poster asked this question makes me nervous about doing their own electrical work." I mean, come on, it can only kill you if you screw up.
Mitch I started this post on a day it was taking every bit of my self-control not to respond "Put down the tools, step away and call an electrician now." Thank goodness home plumbing doesn't involve ammonia or superheated steam or the guys over in plumbing would have them dropping like flies. Oh wait, there is always natural gas and propane.
 
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Old 03-16-09, 07:00 PM
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I agree, nap, with the recessed male plug. I have one on my Diesel to plug it in on cold nights. I think if the guy I mentioned had used his head, he could have installed one just as easily as he did the dangerous one....but nooooooo!
 
  #12  
Old 03-17-09, 08:06 AM
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I agree that when I read many of these posts in the electrical forum, I shake my head and wonder how some people can be so clueless. I was like Ray2047, I grew up working with all types of wiring, old (tube type) radios and TV's, small appliances, and I was proficient enough by age 13 to wire our barn with reclaimed materials out of an old house we were tearing down. My parents were products of the depression, so if you could do it yourself and reuse whatever you could, that was how it was to be done. My dad and his brother did all the wiring in the new house dad built in '51, and he taught me a lot about basic wiring when I wasn't much older than a toddler. What he didn't teach me, I learned from checking out how-to books at the library or taking 4-H classes on electricity and electronics. Growing up in a farm environment, most us boys learned from our dads, uncles, and grandads the basics of wiring, car repair, carpentry, etc.

Now we live in a completely different, urban society where people seem to have lost the basic skills over the years, and everyone seems to have to money to hire professionals to do every task. Electronics and appliances are meant to be thrown out rather than repaired. It seems like the days of a father passing down to his son the basics of electricity, plumbing, and carpentry are long gone. Give a 10 year old kid a battery, knife switch, bulb, and roll of wire, and ask him to make it all work, and I bet the majority of them wouldn't have a clue. Yes, they can program their IPODS, but can they grasp the faintest clue as to circuit theory? Nope.

Unfortunately, now this new generation is buying all this electrical "stuff" at the big box stores and that coupled with the worsening economy, is making do-it-yourselfers out of people who are ill-prepared. Yeah I agree its scary and we shouldn't hesitate to tell folks to drop the tools, step back, and call a professional, if they don't appear to have a clue as to what they're doing.
 
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Old 03-17-09, 08:42 AM
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When you are actually in the world of dealing with these people one on one and see it up close and personal,you really have to wonder why more of them aren't dead.

One word here:Just because there is an actual way to do something doesn't mean explaining that way to a non professional is going to guarantee they do it that way.

Let's face it.Some people are dumb.And some people are going to either not get what they are told or are going to do it "their way" no matter what they are told.

I see it all the time.You explain to a customer how to do something right and proper and they go home and find "short cuts" or rig it up some other way than right.Some times they blame you when it goes wrong.

It is part of the job now for me and my co-workers to just walk away when we see this in their eyes or can tell from what they say and how they say it.You become somewhat of an amateur psychologist in retail.You can do your job and instruct them but you can't go home and stop them from screwing it up and all too often you see the screw up before they can actually screw it up.

There are so many rigged up half way situations out there just waiting to crash and burn.
 
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Old 03-17-09, 11:26 AM
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We had a customer a few years ago that needed his well pulled. We told him the power lines that ran over the well would need to shut down(7500 volts).
He told us we did not know what we were talking about, and he would just pull his own well. We told him he can not pull it with the lines still on. You can die! We told him it did not matter if we did the work or not, the lines have to be shut down. He asked us to leave.

We even called the police, and the power co. and told them what he was planing on doing. They came out and told him DO NOT do this with the power on. He told them he was going to tie on to his friends well for awhile.

Needless to say, a few days later, he tried to pull his well with the power still on.
While he was pulling the first joint of pipe, it fell into the lines.
After an 18 week hospital stay, he has only one foot, one forearm and 6 fingers left.

Sometimes it doesn't matter what lengths you go to too point a person in the right direction. People do not always do what there told.


Travis
 
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Old 03-18-09, 09:05 AM
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I don't post that often but it is not just the electrical forum that has scary posts. I see them across the board.
 
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Old 03-18-09, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by waterwelldude View Post
Needless to say, a few days later, he tried to pull his well with the power still on.
While he was pulling the first joint of pipe, it fell into the lines.
After an 18 week hospital stay, he has only one foot, one forearm and 6 fingers left.
not that I am doubting your story at all and I am ignorant as to pulling a well (well, at least anything deeper than my own 75'well)

How long is that "first joint of pipe" you spoke of. 7.5 kV lines are not real close to the ground.
 
  #17  
Old 03-19-09, 06:48 PM
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I'm seeing an interesting variation on this theme in Electrical right now. What if someone is asking how to do something safely but you know the correct answer should be don't do it. What if it is something you know can be done relatively safely with precautions but know one slip and every thing can go wrong? What if you knew he was going to do it any way? Do you withhold info which could possibly prevent a disaster because that would seem to be an endorsement of his action?
 
  #18  
Old 03-19-09, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by nap View Post
not that I am doubting your story at all and I am ignorant as to pulling a well (well, at least anything deeper than my own 75'well)

How long is that "first joint of pipe" you spoke of. 7.5 kV lines are not real close to the ground.

The pipe joints are 21' long, steel. The height of the casing is around 18" from the ground, then add about a foot more for vice or clamp. Not sure what he used to hold the pipe.
Then add at least a foot for a lifting plug or chain. I think he was using a chain to tie on to the pipe to lift it.
Then add about two more feet for the top of the pole truck he was using.

He was using a kind of gen-pole truck to lift it.

The lines looked to be around 25' feet or so.


The truck we use is 32' with the pole retracted, 52' extended.
 
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Old 03-19-09, 07:18 PM
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It is getting contagious. Doors and Windows forum this evening. Guy with casement windows wants to change out the IGU's. We're trying to tell him most often they are sealed units. His final response was he was going to take a table saw or router to them and remove the IGU by force. Try as we will, he will still touch that tempered glass with the tip of his router and have a floor full of glass beads. Go figure.
 
  #20  
Old 03-20-09, 05:56 AM
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Today's customer story for me is...

Phone rings,I unfortunately answer.Guy is calling about painter's tape.Wants to know how much it is,sizes,types and what it is about it that makes it better to use for painting.

I go take a look,come back,give the info.explain what about it is different from regular masking tape,etc...

Silence...

Then he starts talking about how expensive it is...that it costs too much on and on...

End of the conversation: "I'll just use duct tape"

Duct tape as painter's tape......
 
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Old 03-20-09, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by spdavid View Post

Duct tape as painter's tape......
hopefully he buys his paint from you too 'cuz he's going to need some to replace what the duct tape removes.
 
  #22  
Old 03-20-09, 04:13 PM
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He'll need more than some tape....

I really hope he's married.I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the wife sees the results.
 
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