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Billy_Bob's Achievements


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  1. Well I guess the easiest and safest way to figure out what it goes to would be to have one person at that panel, then another go and turn on the heaters. Listen for clicking of the relays below. If not that and you have light switches like above, then try those and listen for clicking. A relay (or contactor) is an electrically operated switch. When it operates, it makes a clicking noise.
  2. I can't see the bottom part of that very well with that picture... Are those relays/contactors near the bottom?
  3. Good! This China nonsense is getting to be quite scary to say the least. I was interested to know why those in China continue to manufacture unsafe products. Seems to me they are shooting themselves in the foot! Anyway the following book explains what is going on in China and why... Book: "Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the China Production Game"... http://www.amazon.com/Poorly-Made-China ... 0470405589
  4. And what did you do when you saw that? As for fixing all that, I would not know where to begin... I think I would get a chair and sit there for awhile and study the mess. Or if the homes are vacant, maybe rip out the whole works and start over from scratch. Hopefully you do not need to keep everything operational while also updating because someone is living there!
  5. I would love to be there when they call an electrician to clean up that mess and see the look on his face!
  6. When I installed a woodstove in my house, the building inspector went by the woodstove and chimney manufacturer's specifications and installation instructions. So *that* was the code. And clearances change by type and model, so I guess that is the best thing to go by. Here is a big manufacturer of chimneys... (Tons of documentation) http://www.selkirkcorp.com Then the electric company has "Electric Service Requirements" which would cover clearances. Here is that for Pacific Power (as an example)... http://www.pacificpower.net/con/esr.html
  7. Yes that is the kind of connection which would have "detailed engineering specifications" as to proper installation, maybe need to apply some sort of goop, and the nut would need to be tightned to a certain tightness. (Or the connection could fail.) But this is not something which would be messed with in the field, so probably no mention of how to install that connection on the label. I would call the panel manufacturer and ask if the connection can be repaired or if the whole panel has to be replaced. FYI - I used to service large mini computers the size of a refrigerator. These had a main DC power supply of about 10 volts. And the main wires to this were the size of car battery cables. (Lots of amperage.) And there was a problem with the connections to these cables getting hot. And you could touch these connections because it was only 10 volts DC. They were hot to the touch. Anyway engineering studied the problem and told us to get torque wrenches and tighten the bolts to a certain tightness... So there I was in the computer room with an automotive tourque wrench going at it with all my might. My boss walked by and saw me and said; "What on earth are you doing? Are you going to change the oil next?" (I explained.) Anyway I tightned the nuts to what the engineers said to, then the connections were cool after that! (They were already what I would call "tight" before that. After using the torque wrench, they were more tight though.) Quite interesting! WARNING! Never touch the main connections on an electric panel! The power is *always* on to these connections even with the main breaker off! There are "non touch" temperature guns you can aim at something like this and get the temperature.
  8. Actually quite common. There can be a loose connection and only one wire going back to the panel is making a connection. And another circuit using the same "neutral" could have its circuit "completed" by turning on an appliance. More common is that when the main cables are installed in a main panel and meter socket, these need to be tightened to a certain tightness (usually in "inch pounds" [12 inch pounds = 1 ft. pound]). This would be on the panel label. You would use a "torque wrench" like would be used for an automobile. And these main high amperage connections are in a class by themselves! They carry so much electricity, that tight is not good enough! Not quite as tight as it should be and the connection can have "resistance" and get warm. Or hot. Then as you use electrical gizmos, then turn them off. The connection(s) get hot/cool, hot/cool. Eventually the connection works it way loose so there is no connection! And quite common for people to not tighten these connections to the specifications on the panel label. They may not have a torque wrench or whatever. Or they may not read the directions. Then this problem occurs. With aluminum wiring, you need to apply "anti-oxidant" goop to the wires or corrosion and a poor connection can occur. Equally bad is to over tighten. Some men are "king kong" types and they will tighten the lug nuts too tight, the bolts will strip, the panel will come flying off the wall, or the whole house might turn upside down! [^] WARNING! The main connections to main electrical panels are always ON. Even with the main breaker off! So not a do-it-yourself thing! The electric company may come out and "re-torque your lug nuts" for free. Or they would be happy to disconnect power so this could safely be done. Then re-connect power when the work is completed. NEVER work with live electricity if there is another option. (And with a home, there is ALWAYS the option to turn off the power or have it disconnected.) And if the problem is not with a main connection, then call an electrician. This would be an advanced troubleshooting problem. Takes a lot of knowledge of how to use a multimeter, knowledge of construction / wiring (need to guess where the wires run and where the loose connection might be), and electrical troubleshooting knowledge / experience. There are also wire tracing tools an electrician would have. Finds where the wires run in the walls. Easy to install a new outlet, but many people would not be able to find a problem with that outlet if it was not working due to a wiring problem....
  9. Let's see... Look up at the wires on the electric pole... With 3 phase, there are 3 wires coming from the electric power plant. You could say that these 3 wires are coming off the generator from three evenly distributed points on the generator. Or three points around a circle. Then we take those three wires and use them to power an electric motor. THIS power would be like 3 horses walking around a circle and atttached to arms which go to a central rotating shaft. The "power" of the horses is evenly distributed from three points in a circle. And because of this, 3 phase electric motors run more "efficiently". And that is the big benefit with 3 phase power, to run large electric motors for things like air conditioning, elevators, machinery, etc. Things you would find in a business, large building, or industry. For homes, look up at the electric pole again. You will notice just one of those 3 wires being used for the house transformer and from there the wires going to the house. Just one phase is being used. Single phase. Then the transformer does what it can with this single phase. That is to produce "opposites". While one is +, the other is -. Then it switches to where the first is - and the other is +. 60 times a second (60 cycles - or "alternating current"). BUT the two hot wires going to the home are doing their +/- business at the same exact time. Because this comes from that one wire above - just "one" of the phases. As to horses in a circle, I suppose this would be like 1/2 horse going in a circle. And another 1/2 horse going the opposite direction in the circle. (Together they make one horse!) There is a point where they meet and there is a point where they are the farthest apart. (Note: All 3 wires up above that are 3 phase alternate 60 times a second.) 3 phase picture... http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... rm.svg.png Single phase picture... http://www.electricalknowledge.com/imag ... veform.gif More... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-phase_electric_power
  10. "You've got to stay on top of things every single minute!" --Mommie Dearest
  11. I think it needs some of that colored tissue paper tucked here and there. Like they use in those paper bags they give gifts in these days... I once found a piece of cardboard used instead of a metal junction box cover! How much does a metal junction box cover cost? 40 cents?
  12. Tell him he should go "teach" the local electrical inspectors all about his new invention. It would do these guys good to learn from someone so knowledgeable about these things! (Tell him to take plenty of pictures...) [:-graduat
  13. Perhaps they are using those speakers as the doorbell? Or intercom? In my house, I couldn't hear the doorbell upstairs or in the garage, so I added additional speakers there (electronic doorbell).
  14. FYI - My electric company has what is called "Electric Service Requirements" on its web site. And the rules are different state by state. (They have notes - one state do this, another state do that.) So might want to see if your electric company has something similar on its web site. This has all sorts of rules for where overhead wires can / can not be run, clearances, etc.
  15. I guess that is why the electric companies don't seem to be bothering with much in the way of security measures to prevent copper theft. Perhaps they feel the problem mixed with a little greed on the part of the thieves will take care of itself over time...
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