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What is this?


elgato
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I found this on circuit breaker used for an electric dryer. What is it, and what is it's purpose. I've never seen this before. Thanks in advance for your responses.

It's probably a capacitor that's being used as a phase coupler. At some point in the house's history, someone probably had an X-10 system. These are control systems that you place throughout the house and that "talk" to each other over the existing wiring. Without a phase coupler, the "talk" would have to travel all the way back to the transformer to get from one pole to the other. With a phase coupler, the "talk" just has to make it to the panel and find the bridge at, in this case, the dryer breaker.

Let's say you wanted to be able to have your TV turn on at 8:00 every Thursday evening. You'd put an X-10 module on the receptacle and plug your TV into it. Then at some other place in the house, you'd plug in an X-10 controller. You'd program the controller to turn on the TV module at the right time and it would. You could set the controller to turn on & off a dozen modules if you wanted and all of the communication would take place on top of the 120-volt ac lines.

X-10 systems were really big with the pocket protector set in the '70s & '80s.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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X-10 systems were really big with the pocket protector set in the '70s & '80s.

Guilty! I've never actually owned a pocket protector but I will confess to having been a gizmo freak and installing X-10 receptacles, switches, etc, all over our first house in the late 80's. For some reason, one that makes little sense now, it seemed like a good idea to be able to dim every light in the house from the bedroom! It was a phase I went through and somewhere in the basement of our current house there's a box full of the stuff gathering dust.

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X-10 systems were really big with the pocket protector set in the '70s & '80s.

Guilty! I've never actually owned a pocket protector but I will confess to having been a gizmo freak and installing X-10 receptacles, switches, etc, all over our first house in the late 80's. For some reason, one that makes little sense now, it seemed like a good idea to be able to dim every light in the house from the bedroom! It was a phase I went through and somewhere in the basement of our current house there's a box full of the stuff gathering dust.

Get that stuff on Ebay! There is a whole emerging group that loves to collect the geek stuff of yester year.

Tom

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Thanks. Are there any inspection implications with the installation of capacitors? This was a Bed and Breakfast mansion built in the 1830's, but certainly updated.

The capacitor shouldn't cause any problems for them other than making it a bit more of a pain in the butt for a future electrician to work in the panel; he'll have to watch out for the capacitor leads. If it isn't needed anymore, you might advise them to have an electrician pull it out the next time he's there for something else.

Maybe you can sell it to Richard in case he ever wants to relive his geek days.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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