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Questions On The Code => General Discussions on Code => Topic started by: GEsoftwhite100watts on December 21, 2012, 11:55:00 pm

Title: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: GEsoftwhite100watts on December 21, 2012, 11:55:00 pm
Inspired by this thread on LG...http://www.lighting-gallery.net/index.php?topic=1534.0
So, what are some of the stupid and dangerous things you've seen or done with electrical wiring/devices?
Here are some of mine...done at my own house...you gotta do what you gotta do, it's not like I don't know any better...
Using one F32T8 and one F40T12 tube in F40T12 residential-grade "ShopLite" fixtures with LPF ballasts.  I didn't have enough F40 or F34 lamps at the time, so it was sorta legitimate and not like I didn't know any better...tried to use those two lights minimally until I got the right tubes...
daisy-chaining multiple extension cords and/or power strips
Keep in mind for all these that my area is off the grid...everyone produces their power via generators or alternative energy sources...
At one time we were giving a neighbor power via a 100ft #12AWG extension cord (more specifically a Rigid (Home Depot brand) one.  Worked fine since with generators many people's houses are fed with a piece of Romex with a plug on it going to the main breaker panel (if there even is one LOL)
Running power to an outbuilding with a piece of #12AWG extension cord wire fitted through PEX water pipe as conduit...and buried a few inches beneath my unpaved driveway...
Using wirenuts on stranded wire...mainly in florescent shoplights lights powered by extension cord wire.  Then I discovered the wonderful word of crimp connectors. I still use wirenuts for testing occasionally though...
Hooking up temporary outlets (again on #12AWG extension cord wire) without the ground wire connected
Fusing the once-leaked-tar ballast in my rescued Sears shoplight with a defunct set of Christmas lights (so it's on a 3 amp fuse).  This was inspired by Joe's advice, however I need a smaller fuse...but 3A is better than nothing if it fails catastrophically is my theory...
I've even used strings of Christmas lights as makeshift extension cords...
daisy-chaining those "Y" adapters for light bulbs and/or light bulb outlet taps so I can use four or six or eight bulbs (CFLs) in one socket...did this before I got my vintage F40T12 shoplight when I needed more light...
I'm sure I can think of more...plus see my posts in the LG thread on this (I'm ace100w120v on LG)...
At a neighbor's house there is an outside light that's one of those temporary socket thingies that you conenct with wirenuts that's been temporarily there with exposed Romex and wirenuts for years with a spiral CFL, and was recently relamped with a daylight one.  Previously it was a 23w 2700K Converv-Energy and now it's a daylight (not sure what kelvin) (13w) WestPointe which is actually more pleasant since it's dimmer and daylight and slightly mercury starved as those are analgam-based and don't do so well on chilly Southeast Alaska nights. (looks like moonlight on snow and isn't a bright glare bomb; IMO those 23w 2700K CFLs are bright and glary)
I've also seen extension cords used as a substitute for Romex
And 34w florescent tubes in fixtures ballasted for 40w...Result: ballast meltdown
CFLs in can lights, which although the heat will theoretically kill them quicker means the fixture is fireproof since as we all know those like to smolder and even flame out at EOL.  Luckily I've never had it happen to me, just a couple infant mortalities which is acceptable out of the many I have...the 13w GE Helicals are decent quality...
I've seen a #12AWG cord direct-buried about a foot deep, too.
And electrical tape repairs on underground phone wire at my house (which failed)
I'm sure I can think of more...

Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: A_lights on December 23, 2012, 04:31:46 pm
Interesting stuff you've done,  i think id be kinda cool to live off grid for a while...although my generator would probably not last too long running all the time lol...would need a diesel one

I've fried some ballasts wiring them wrong (only electronic ones) and fried lamps accidentally because of shorted ballasts, I've been shocked by a few not grounded fixtures,  ran fluorescent lamps on 175W MH ballasts. .fortunately I've not had any CFLs or MH lamps fail badly. .yet!
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: GEsoftwhite100watts on December 23, 2012, 06:23:11 pm
Yeah, so far I have been lucky...
From looking at that 4KW generator you have, I imagine it'd be a real gas guzzler and pretty noisy too...
Someone I know had a Briggs&Stratton 4KW thing for a generator that was SUPER noisy, didn't run right, and backfired like CRAZY, especially when shut off...BOOM! and a bright flash from the exhaust.
Since it rarely ran right it looked like disco lighting in their house at times...until it blew it's head gasket. I bet the neighbors were happy when that happened...
Have you tried running any of your lights on your generator? At least you have SOMETHING for during a power outage...
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: Mike on December 24, 2012, 11:52:57 am
I got the $h!t scared out of my last night. I was on my grandpa's basement (the one with the troffers) and had my left hand on the fridge's freezer door handle and i touched my other hand onto the metal JB that had the switches for the troffers. I got on HELL of a shock accross my arms! I don't know what the hell happened! At first i was standing like i mentioned then i touched the junction box and YYYOOOOWWWWWW!!!! Next thing i know the frezzer door flew open and the switches all went up like they would in some scarey movie!

It was honestly pretty cool how the switches all went up in sync. I dunno, maybe it flipped them when i got shocked but i don't remember anything i saw or heard when i got shocked, but i remember exactly what i was feeling for about two seconds. Not only did it scare the hell out of me, it hurt really bad! Damn, i even have blisters on my two index fingers.

It burned at my two index fingers. After my arms flew back (i kinda stumbled back a bit too, but kept my balence) my arm muscles were DRAINED! I mean i could barely lift my arms for a good ten minutes and heart was going a hundred miles and hour. thank goodness it was atleast still beating! i hear all sorts of stuff like if you get electrocuted across your body it can stop your hear or something. :o :(

anyways,  i went and grabbed a tube of wrapping paper to shut the freezer door and to flip the switches off LOL. Any idea what would cause such a freaky shock?! :o
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: joe_347V on December 24, 2012, 12:45:31 pm
I got the $h!t scared out of my last night. I was on my grandpa's basement (the one with the troffers) and had my left hand on the fridge's freezer door handle and i touched my other hand onto the metal JB that had the switches for the troffers. I got on HELL of a shock accross my arms! I don't know what the hell happened! At first i was standing like i mentioned then i touched the junction box and YYYOOOOWWWWWW!!!! Next thing i know the frezzer door flew open and the switches all went up like they would in some scarey movie!

It was honestly pretty cool how the switches all went up in sync. I dunno, maybe it flipped them when i got shocked but i don't remember anything i saw or heard when i got shocked, but i remember exactly what i was feeling for about two seconds. Not only did it scare the hell out of me, it hurt really bad! Damn, i even have blisters on my two index fingers.

It burned at my two index fingers. After my arms flew back (i kinda stumbled back a bit too, but kept my balence) my arm muscles were DRAINED! I mean i could barely lift my arms for a good ten minutes and heart was going a hundred miles and hour. thank goodness it was atleast still beating! i hear all sorts of stuff like if you get electrocuted across your body it can stop your hear or something. :o :(

anyways,  i went and grabbed a tube of wrapping paper to shut the freezer door and to flip the switches off LOL. Any idea what would cause such a freaky shock?! :o

O_o O_o :o First of all I'm glad that you weren't hurt or anything. I'm guessing either the freezer or the JB wasn't grounded properly and that one of them had a ground fault.
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: Mike on December 24, 2012, 06:01:46 pm
It's an old fridge, so it's probably not grounded or if it is the ground may be faulty. i didn't go near the fridge again though. i've gotten those little tiny shocks before from touching the metal of a fridge but never a full electric shock! The junction box and troffer wiring is all recent (about my age or a few years older) and seems to be all to code. I've never been shocked before by touching the JB. I really can't put my finger on it (no pun) since when i touched any other objects or jsut the JB and fridge individually prior to my shock i didn't fell any shock. It's driving me nuts not knowing what happened. Also, if i feel fine should i still be concerned? I didn't tell anybody (my cousins know though since they were in the basement with me ans though i was faking it at first. They said i practically frozen in place.

I've actually been shocked quite a few times. When i wired my yardblaster i accidentally forgot to wirenut the wires (i only twisted them) and when i touched the fixture i got shocked in my left hand. My bucket light shocked my when i wired the socket with reversed polarity. The bucket is "grounded" by the socket's shell so when the polarity was reversed i bet you can guess what happened when i touched the metal bucket... Is it pure luck that I'm still alive or are 120V shocks not really that dangerous?
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: GEsoftwhite100watts on December 24, 2012, 07:14:12 pm
From what I've heard 120v (which I'm assuming this was) is THE MOST dangerous power to work with for two reasons:
1. It's closest to the electricity of the human heart, sounds like it really messed with you!
2. Since it's still a fairly low voltage people don't respect it as a dangerous thing.
I've been zinged a few times by 120v from stuff like removing plugs from an outlet and while trying to remove it my finger got in the way and shorted across, leaving my hand nicely tingling for a couple minutes or trying to change broken-off light bulbs when unbeknownst to me the power was still on, creating sparks and smoke and bright flashes and scaring the cr@p out of me but not shocking me.
From what I understand, DC is actually more dangerous than AC. 32VDC (remember that boat that burned and later sank at the dock along with the wiring disaster pics I have on LG?) is what they THINK started the fire there...I've been told that stuff is pretty sparky.
12VDC isn't too "hot" from what I'm told, although I'm not going to try that.  Same with licking a 9 volt battery or an electric flyswatter (those have high voltage but not many amps and amps is what kills you which is why tasers are super high voltage and knock people down quickly).
Now if you are now thinking 32VDC is bad, try 120VDC!!!  Such a thing did exist, mainly on old boats.  Now I'm told that stuff was REALLY HOT!
Were the switches in a metal box with a metal faceplate? I'm guessing either somewhere in the box there was a loose uninsulated wire touching the box and/or a fault in the freezer that went through your body and was grounded out by the building's electrical system at the switch (since I'm assuming you were wearing shoes it couldn't go directly to ground through what I'm assuming was a bare concrete floor.
I know someone who was shocked by opening a refrigerator...
You might want to let your grandpa know about this or if nothing else put up a sign warning people or something!
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: joe_347V on December 24, 2012, 07:28:35 pm
At high voltages DC is more dangerous than AC since the current causes you to grab on...with AC since the current varies you have a higher chance of letting go of the wire. That's why 3rd rails found in subway systems are so dangerous...they tend to run at around 600v DC.

240v (phase to ground) is by far more dangerous than 120v since the voltage is higher so it overcomes the skin's natural resistance easier. This means the current can go across the heart easier. Remember than current NOT voltage is the killer here. It takes less than a 1A of current across the heart for it to stop. Static electricity is a few kV but because the current is very low you won't get killed. Similarly a 9v battery connected directly across the heart can kill because of the high current. The only reason why it dosen't kill you when you touch the terminals is because 9v isn't enough to overcome the skin's natural resistance. 

You should either fix the fridge or let your grandpa know that it tends to shock people...the fridge sound dangerous.
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: Mike on December 24, 2012, 10:24:47 pm
@ Andy; yeah it was a metal JB with a metal cover. I'm thinking the fridge is the culprit here. And yes, I was wearing shoes, though the floor has those 1970s brown and tan checkered pattern arranged tiles. Assuming there is a fault in the fridge, if someone barefoot opens the fridge, they'll get a nice shock too. It's not the switch since i was turning it on and off (not rapidly; i'd flip it abotu every 20 seconds or so to watch the lights turn on lol). I wasn't until i leaned my left hand against the freezer door on the fridge that I was shocked.

@ Joe; yeah I should've definetly told someone when i was shocked. I'm seeing him later this week (going to his shop to help him buff out my OV-10's reflector, which he's had forever lol. I might sneek my OV-25's reflector over too while we're buffing the OV-10's heheh) so I'll let him know. Even if the fridge was grounded, if it's shocked me, then there's a loose wire or something inside that needs to be addressed. I'm definetly afriad to touch the fridge again though. :o
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: A_lights on December 24, 2012, 11:55:33 pm
Wow that's scary!
I would say its that fridge...a loose wire somewhere touching the ungrounded case, definitely have that fixed...no sense in throwing out an old fridge..they last a long time even though they're less efficient..I've heard of some lasting 60+ years with minimal maintainance,  the voltage might have been higher then 120V because some motors have a high voltage starting i think

I've been shocked about 3 times..once from a plug when unplugging and the other from a F4T5 light that ran off 4 AA batteries,  another time was fairly mild from a 2 lamp.F40 shoplight with a loose ground and a wire touching the case intermittently

Anyways Glad you lived! Its scary with 120V because you Tend to black out and feel tingly and numb. .its such an odd bad feeling
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: GEsoftwhite100watts on December 25, 2012, 08:58:13 pm
I hate that "Zing!" feeling when you get shocked...
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: Mike on December 26, 2012, 05:19:36 pm
yeah it definetly feels different from any other pain.  :(
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: GEsoftwhite100watts on December 26, 2012, 07:40:50 pm
I personally wouldn't even classify it as pain...just this annoying, scary, "ZING!"...
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: Mike on December 26, 2012, 07:54:00 pm
i guess you're right... Actually, i think electric shock is considered to be a burn. If it's bad enough it can burn you alive (HV lines, etc...) My index fingers hurt to the touch. They didn't blister though and i don't expect them to though this was the worst shock i've ever gotton. i just don't want to get shocked again. And go figure: for once i WASN'T messing with any electrical stuff. LOL
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: GEsoftwhite100watts on December 26, 2012, 10:04:16 pm
I've only been mildly shocked before...but I've shorted wires/leads together or had light sockets malfunction before making the house go dark :o
BTW I know this is off topic but what happened to the forum games? :)
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: Mike on December 26, 2012, 10:38:40 pm
The whole house eh? I don't think I've ever tripped a breaker before. My house is new so it's safe to say the circuts are a bit harder to overpower since there are so many LOL. Older houses seem to have more problems with fuses blowing or circut breakers tripping because A), there aren't enough outlets in a room so everything is stuffed into one outlet on one circut, B) new wiring is added by adding onto an existing circut to cut corners instead of runing a new circut. Probably other reasons too.

About the forum games, I feel bad not doing them but I've been somewhat busy and I don't want to do some games and not others. Let's just say my art teacher is a bit demanding LOL.
Title: Re: Stupid and/or Dangerous things you've Seen or Done...
Post by: GEsoftwhite100watts on December 26, 2012, 11:49:48 pm
Tripping the breaker on the generator that is...