Classic mistakes

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  #1  
Old 08-21-15, 06:40 AM
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Classic mistakes

Here's some I've made over the year's to try and dispel the idea that I was trying to say I've never made any.
I used to take care of a customers 6 rentals.
For the second time one of the renters had kicked in his front door because his wife kept locking him out.
I know for a fact what size the door is and the last two popped right in the R/O with no trouble.
I get the old one out, and go to set the new one in place and it's to tall.
I get the tape out, measure the hole, measure the jambs, sure enough the new one is 3/4" to tall.
Now I stand back and try to figure out how to cut the header to make it fit since the store is an hour away to return it.
I lay the door down to get it out of the way.
That's when I notice the 3/4 strip tacked on the bottom to protect the threshold in shipping.
Daaa.
I used to live on a 37" Sport Fisherman boat.
Had it out in the bay one day when a storm came in fast.
By the time I made it back in all the bouncing around had plugged up one of fuel filters, so I'm running on one engine.
The current is running like someone plugged the plug in a bathtub, the winds blowing a gale.
I get the boat back in the slip without any damage thanks to some people that ran down to catch the lines.
I turn around to walk away from the helm and my coat catches both shifters and slams then in reverse with the engine still running.
So out I go pulling people over board as I go from them trying to hold me in place.
Bet if I had of shut the engine off it would have worked out better.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 07:25 AM
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I thought that I made a mistake once but I was wrong, I didn't.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 07:30 AM
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Making mistakes is part of the learning process but when you make a mistake on something that you know better ...
 
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Old 08-21-15, 09:04 AM
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My favorite is when I first started working on electric. I saw a box with #10 stranded wire and there was a Black, White, Red and ground.
Wasn't sure what the red was for so naturally I decided to touch it.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 09:30 AM
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bet you didn't do that again
 
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Old 08-21-15, 10:40 AM
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I had an electrition on site for a big job I was working on so I asked him to kill all the outlets on a 75 ft. long wall we where removing.
I saw him check a few to make sure they where dead.
We start cutting wires and for some strange reason out of 10 outlets they had ran just one in the middle of the wall on it's own circuit.
Time for some new wire cutters.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 12:00 PM
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Remember, the FIRST time is a mistake.....the SECOND time is a choice.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 01:16 PM
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Summer break between HS and Tech school I worked for a custom lumber shop, I was their delivery driver or anything else they needed guy. I went to pick up one of the old timers who had finished up a repair on some custom stairs and after we loaded all of the tools he was still looking around for something. I asked and he said he couldn't find his 2' square. Suddenly his eyes light and he goes half way up the stairs to where he is eye level with the first landing. He says "darn, now I know why I was bending so many nails". When I looked you could just make out the outline of his square he left under the subfloor. Bet it is still there.

Bud
 
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Old 08-21-15, 05:54 PM
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I have always said that the sign of a good craftsman is how well they hide their mistakes.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 06:17 PM
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I used to live on a 37" Sport Fisherman boat.
Your biggest mistake was not buying a bigger boat.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 06:36 PM
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Actually, I made a couple of mistakes. Around 1970 I was an auto mechanic & we had hoses to connect, to the exhaust pipes that would remove exhaust, from the shop. I tuned up a car & was ready to take it for a test drive but forgot to remove the hose from the tail pipe. I drove the car off the lift & it ripped some of the aluminum piping, from the ceiling. I remember hearing some German guy yelling, you really did it this time. I can't say if the joint that I smoked earlier was to blame.

In 1972, I was still a mechanic. On a brand new car, I drilled a hole for an aerial (aka antenna) in the front fender, of a Mercury. The customer ordered a power antenna which required a hole drilled, in the rear fender. I can't say if the joint that I smoked earlier was to blame.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 06:41 PM
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When I was a teenager I worked in a couple of boat shops. The one for this story was an upscale shop catering to the 'well-to-do" boating crowd.

Anyway, this Grand Banks is in the shop for some work. I'm installing a cut-out switch for the electric windlass (anchor winch for any landlubbers) and Bob is tasked with installing a box for a deep freeze in the pilothouse deck. I don't remember where the Grand Banks were built other than in Asia but they used teak like we would use fir. This boat had a teak parquet deck in the pilot house and Bob laid out the perimeter of the box with masking tape and then used a Skil saw to make the cuts, finishing the corners with his hand saw. He then went into the engine space to push out the section but it wouldn't budge. He then went and got his planking hammer (similar to a sledge but with a wide, round face) and started to beat the section loose. I see all these pieces of parquet flying off as I finish my job.

Later that day or maybe the next I find Bob in the loft gluing the pieces back on the section of the removed deck. He says to me, "That's the difference between a journeyman and an apprentice. The journeyman knows how to fix his own mistakes."


Now one of mine. I'd like to say this happened early in my career but truthfully, it happened within a year of my retirement.

I was working as a shift engineer in an industrial powerplant. It was during the winter and we were switching from oil to gas fuel (gas curtailment) every 12 hours or so. I was on oil and while making the switch to gas I forgot that there were TWO switches I had to change, an electrical and a control air. to make the switch the burner control needs to be brought to minimum, a changeover button pressed to energize both fuels for a period of time (90 seconds as I recall), the primary fuel selector (electrical) switched and then the control air valve switched. Once this has been done the burner control is then brought back to the previous level and the secondary fuel secured.

Well, I did everything BUT change the control air and the result was that I was firing BOTH oil and gas but with only enough combustion air for one fuel. I looked into the back of the boiler furnace and it was so dark I couldn't see any flame at all. Then it hit me and I ran back to the control board and swapped the control air valve which closed the oil valve. I looked outside and the smoke was so thick you could walk on it. Fortunately this entire episode only lasted a minute at worst. I had never made that mistake before or since, in fact I had been praised several times over the years at how well I made fuel changeovers.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 07:29 PM
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Oh wow...... I can just imagine the soot.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 02:58 AM
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We start cutting wires and for some strange reason out of 10 outlets they had ran just one in the middle of the wall on it's own circuit.
Time for some new wire cutters.
I was prepping the outside of a 100 yr old church for paint, my helper was scraping near the top of the gable at the rear of the church and found the remnants of an old extension cord hanging out of the siding. He asked if he should cut it and I agreed. There was a big POP, small flash and his knife hit the ground with a nice notch burnt out of it

Who would have thought some bozo [maybe more than one] would have wired up an outside light with an extension cord, removed the light later and left the live cord
 
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Old 08-22-15, 04:02 AM
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Brian: You mentioned wire colors. Brings a thought to this laymans mind.

If memory serves me, household three wire, white coated 3 wire type, has three colors.
Black is HOT.
White is common. Return wire.
Green is ground.

If I got that correct then who's idea (dumb in my opinion) was it to make BLACK the HOT wire???....

Seems the colors should be RED is HOT, White is return or common and GREEN is ground.
Therefore the romex should have those three colors.

Everywhere else We see RED it means caution, hot, stop etc. Not BLACK. Makes no sense. To the layman anyway.

Kindly care to explain.
Thanks.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 04:17 AM
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I used to perform Georgia Quick Start assessments for industries such as Georgia Pacific, Cooper Tire, etc. One test would have them wire up a simple receptacle/switch/light mock up board with an incoming hot cable. Most did fine. One guy wired it up backwards with Black as the ground. Well, as it turned out, he only worked on DC wiring in vehicles and really had no AC knowledge. Just looked odd.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 04:38 AM
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Sharp Advice, romex is available with a third wire & it's red which is also a hot lead. I was also accustomed to black being the ground since I did auto electric before AC.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 06:28 AM
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Red, black, blue, and color other then white or green can be a hot wire when working on 120 volts.
Years ago they changed the controls + wire in boats to yellow so it would not get crossed with the 110 volt wiring.

PS I bought that 37' Pembroke sport fisherman for $10.00 from a doctor that would show up every 4 years or so and was upset because it would not start every time he tried to use it.
But that's a whole other story.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 10:13 AM
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Unless I missed something. Didn't ask the question correctly, etc. Always possible.

Question is why is BLACK the HOT wire????

I am not referring to DC wires nor boats nor anything else etc. House wire.
From a layman's prospective this is not a rocket science question nor one of an electrical tech.

Always see three colors. BLACK. WHITE. GREEN.

Anybody know "Why is BLACK the HOT wire"????...

 
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Old 08-22-15, 10:33 AM
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Because code calls for it to be hot. White is neutral and green or bare is ground.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 10:47 AM
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Sharp Advice,
I don't know if that question can be answered. I'd be curious to know also why black was chosen as an identifier for the hot wire on a standard 2 conductor cable with ground.

I already told my story about the red wire, that was a good education. That incident happened with no training whatsoever. At that same period of time, I would have assumed black would be a ground or grounded conductor. As others said, I think the assumption of black as ground goes back to learning early in life how to work on auto electric or stereo equipment, thinking there is a positive and negative.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 02:46 PM
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It is really quite simple. In the beginning ALL wire had a black outer color and the designations "hot" and "neutral" had no no meaning. Eventually it was discovered that by connecting one wire to the earth it made for a safer installation. The conductor that was connected to the earth was then "identified" by painting the outer cover white. Even today the conductor connected to the earth is officially known as the identified wire and NOT the neutral conductor. This is NOT to be confused with the equipment grounding conductor, which is also connected to the earth but serves an entirely different purpose from the identified conductor.

The term "neutral" actually applies ONLY to a three-wire method of distributing electricity that was pioneered by Thomas Edison. The generators (called dynamos in Edison's time) in the beginning had only two output wires and output a single voltage. Light bulbs of the day as well as the earliest electric motors were all made to operate on about 105 volts, plus or minus about five volts. This number and range was decided on because of the voltage drop over the conductors from the power station to the last consumer. The generators output 110 volts and the customers nearest the power station received about that voltage whereas customers on the end of the line received about 100 volts. Remember, in the beginning ALL electricity was direct current and could not be "transformed" to higher or lower voltages, that neat little trick had to wait until the advent of alternating current.

In a move to decrease the amount of copper wiring needed, Edison devised a new generator that had TWO windings on the generator that could output 110 volts each. He was able to connect these two windings in series and then by connecting a third conductor to the junction of the two windings could then generate TWO voltages from the same generator. There was the voltage between the one winding and the junction (110 volts) and the voltage from the other winding and the junction (also 110 volts) and the new voltage of 220 volts that was obtained from the combination of the two windings without using the junction. This connection method had a lot of advantages over the use of two totally separate pairs of conductors, one of which was/is that when the loads on the two outside conductors are the same no current flows through the center (junction) conductor. For this reason the center conductor was named the "neutral" conductor.

At the same time larger and larger electric motors were being built and these, of course, required more electrical power. Since power (watts) is the product of the voltage multiplied by the current the increased power at a set voltage (approximately 105 volts) could only be achieved by increasing the current (amperage) in the wiring. Unfortunately, increased amperage required larger sized wires all the way back to the power station. Rather than replace all the existing wiring with larger gauge wiring by using the Edison three-wire configuration all that was necessary was to add a third wire of the same size as the existing and the capacity of the system was doubled. Building the newer and larger motors to utilize the higher voltage made it possible to get more mechanical power with the same size wires.

Now remember, all of the above applied to the usage of direct current. Once alternating current came on the scene the same configuration was used albeit with higher voltages at the power station and then the use of transformers nearer to the point of use to lower the transmission voltage to the more usable voltages of (at that time) 110 and 220 volts. The primary winding of the transformer receives power at the generated voltage and then "steps it up" to a higher voltage for transmission and distribution and at the point of use another transformer is connected with its primary winding connected to the high voltage and the secondary outputting the utilization voltage. The secondary has a very important part, the "center tap" which is a connection on the secondary winding mid-way between the two end connections. This makes the transformer secondary the same as Edison's two-winding generator and the three-wire output from the transformer behaves in exactly the same way as that original Edison concept to supply TWO voltages using only three wires.

Of course since that time the standard voltage has been raised to 120 and 240 volts but the old "110" and "220" designations have never died.

To recap: Originally all wires had black insulation. All wires were isolated from the earth. Edison devised the dual voltage three-wire connection. The midpoint connection was designated a "neutral" connection. It was then found that by connecting the neutral conductor to the earth had a stabilizing effect on the voltage and also added some other safety features. To clarify what conductor was the neutral it was "identified" differently from the two other conductors. This "identity" was eventually agreed upon to be a white color added to the outer insulation of the conductor. Eventually the term "hot" conductor came into usage because the voltage on these conductors was referenced to the neutral, or "grounded" conductor which was at the same potential as the earth. Even today the official designations used in the National Electrical Code are "grounded conductor" (what we know as the neutral) and "ungrounded conductors" (what we call hot conductors).

Does this help?

Here is a picture of a lighting panel in a power station built in 1906. Notice that each switch has two fuses. This was before the use of the grounded conductor so BOTH lines were fused and there was no fixed voltage between the conductors and the earth.

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Notice also that this panel has been modified from its original construction by having the copper bus bar at the bottom cut to allow feeding this panel with the three-wire system. (Look below the white wires at the bottom center to see where the missing copper bus has been removed.) I don't know when this modification was made but it was done for the same reason the three-wire system came into usage, to allow more power to be utilized with the same size wiring.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 03:08 PM
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I don't know if that question can be answered
Wrong again. That question was answered. Good info Furd and quite interesting.
 
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