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Posted: 8/23/2017 10:27:21 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/24/2017 1:54:26 AM EST by Subcooled410]
Newbie here, but a long time lurker, But have been in the service and repair end of electrical and Hvac for thirty five years.
I have seen just about everything , and then tomorrow comes and Damn if I dont learn something new. To quite honest I have seen alot of Shit out there and some of it is not pretty !

Enter the do it your self guy. crawling down in the crawl space to add his own ice maker water line for his new refrigerator... simple enough right? WRONG ! The water line had a bad heat tape wrapped around it thirty feet away.
His wife got to wondering why it was taking him so long .

Recently a general contractor was working on Air Conditioning unit, Believe it or not, it was One of those so called simple Capacitor change outs you read about here , or see on Youtube , High Fail Item...Easy to change ... Save Some Cash ! Had just enough time to tell his home owner buddy... Damn This Thing Bites ! Never even knew his own heart had just stopped !

Like I said I have been in the business thirty five years , and have seen, and been thru some shit... It is out there just waiting to Kill You ! If your are not sure...Dont Fuck With It ! The people giving advice are not there and actual circumstances do not apply ! Murphys Law Does !!!

If you still insist on saving a few dollars ... Read and follow label directions.
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 8:09:43 AM EST
Am I understanding this right: the DIYer bridged the contacts on a start capacitor? What would have been a better way to fix this problem?

FYI--Per the COC, If you post when drunk, you're supposed to add a little beer mug emoji.
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 8:50:39 AM EST
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Originally Posted By ChickenDaddy:
Am I understanding this right: the DIYer bridged the contacts on a start capacitor? What would have been a better way to fix this problem?

FYI--Per the COC, If you post when drunk, you're supposed to add a little beer mug emoji.
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Worthy of a sticky if you ask me, how bout mods
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 9:00:04 AM EST

The water line had a bad heat tape wrapped around it thirty feet away.
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What does this mean and how did it contribute to gentleman's, I assume, demise?
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 9:06:03 AM EST
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Originally Posted By ChickenDaddy:
Am I understanding this right: the DIYer bridged the contacts on a start capacitor? What would have been a better way to fix this problem?

FYI--Per the COC, If you post when drunk, you're supposed to add a little beer mug emoji.
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sounds like he discharged the capacitor through his heart 
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 9:06:58 AM EST
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Originally Posted By captainpooby:
What does this mean and how did it contribute to gentleman's, I assume, demise?
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Originally Posted By captainpooby:

The water line had a bad heat tape wrapped around it thirty feet away.
What does this mean and how did it contribute to gentleman's, I assume, demise?
I'm very confused on how bad heat tape on a water line could kill you as well?
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 9:07:00 AM EST
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Originally Posted By captainpooby:
What does this mean and how did it contribute to gentleman's, I assume, demise?
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Originally Posted By captainpooby:

The water line had a bad heat tape wrapped around it thirty feet away.
What does this mean and how did it contribute to gentleman's, I assume, demise?
electrocuted himself
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 9:25:49 AM EST
I assume that both instances mentioned by the OP were essentially electrocutions.

The ice maker guy went to install one of those self puncturing and sealing ice maker water taps in the line. The "bad heat tape" up the pipe had essentially connected the hot wire of the 120V to the copper pipe. When the installer touched the pipe while sitting on the ground in the crawlspace the 120 was router from his left hand, across his heart and to wherever he was touching earth.

The starting cap guy didn't follow basic safety when replacing this particular item. At a minimum he should have pulled the connection block on the AC unit to remove all AC (alternating current) power then used a shorting probe to short out the cap before attempting to remove it.


That said, starting cap guy was just stupid. He caused his own issue. The ice maker guy, well I am guessing that 99% of plumbers and other "professionals" would have gotten zapped as well. Maybe ice maker guy had an underlying heart condition and a quick jolt of AC sent him into a lethal arrhythmia. Besides, who the hell looks for AC voltage on water pipes when doing plumbing work.
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 12:16:59 PM EST
Even pro's die stupid deaths or kill coworkers. Friend is a Workers Comp lawyer. He represented two guys family's that were under a house in the winter installing duct work.
Upstairs the breakers were turned off with a big sign that said "DO NOT TURN ON ANY BREAKERS"

Well one know it all decided he wanted to power his heater so he flipped on the main breaker. Yes, he had to move the sign out of the way to do it. As soon as he flipped it on, it tripped. Hmm, let me try that again.

He killed both guys installing duct work since electric lines under the house were still being terminated and one was touching the duct work that was just installed.
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 1:32:45 PM EST
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out 

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means.  If not, learn it before it's too late.  You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 1:47:38 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out 

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means.  If not, learn it before it's too late.  You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
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Why I personally don't do much with electricity. I'll hang a new light, fan etc but not much more. Electricity scares me.
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 7:06:15 PM EST
Who hasn't arc welded a 12ga copper wire to the tip of their Spyderco stripping wires when installing a new outlet on what was suppised to be a dead circuit?
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 7:29:48 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out 

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means.  If not, learn it before it's too late.  You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
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It doesn't sound like that would have helped in either example.
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 7:59:35 PM EST
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Originally Posted By rca2222:

It doesn't sound like that would have helped in either example.
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Actually, it would have 100% stopped either or both.

You have to understand the protocols behind the slogan, that's why I said to people should "learn" what the slogan means.  The protocols include de-energizing all power sources - external (power main) and internal (capacitive, pressure, heat, etc).
Link Posted: 8/24/2017 8:02:32 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Actually, it would have 100% stopped either or both.

You have to understand the protocols behind the slogan, that's why I said to people should "learn" what the slogan means.  The protocols include de-energizing all power sources - external (power main) and internal (capacitive, pressure, heat, etc).
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Originally Posted By rca2222:

It doesn't sound like that would have helped in either example.
Actually, it would have 100% stopped either or both.

You have to understand the protocols behind the slogan, that's why I said to people should "learn" what the slogan means.  The protocols include de-energizing all power sources - external (power main) and internal (capacitive, pressure, heat, etc).
I lived with those rules for many years.

Who locks out a copper water line?

How does one lock out a capacitor?
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 12:41:38 AM EST
Ok guys...now for a few that lived to tell about it !

Went on a service call for a new refrigerator with a strange odor inside...opened the door and sure enough it stunk..The Delivery guy had hooked up the Ice Maker line to the Copper Fuel Oil Line !
No harm no foul...Nothing a New Refrigerator wont fix LOL

Several years later got another call ...New Refrigerator, strange odor...Bingo I got this with out even opening the refrigerator door...Down to the basement I go to trace the new ice maker water line...Right to the copper LP Gas Line!!! Holy Shit !! I went to the Main Breaker Box, took a deep breath...didn't smell gas, so I threw the main breaker!! So far so good...Back upstairs and the customers are looking at me like I just shut off their life support.
No time to explain, I tell them to GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOUSE !!! They follow me out the door, and around the house...When I got about five feet from the LP tank, I hear OH MY GOD behind me...I shut off the gas and looked at looked at them...I will never forget the look on their faces...But then again I probally had one of those looks on my face as well.
We were all lucky that day !!! Just Damn glad I didnt open the door on the refrigerator..picture twenty three cubic feet of nice cool compressed LP gas vapor below its flash point, now open the door, the vapor rapidly expands,and with the help of the evaporator fan to mix in the fresh oxygen...Good chance it will reach its Flash Point...about the time the door light switch makes ! Ever seen a twenty three cubic Pipe Bomb LOL
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 6:31:14 AM EST
Un-freaking believable. Stupid is as stupid does. Can't fix stupid. Dumb as a box of rocks...I could keep going.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 6:45:24 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means. If not, learn it before it's too late. You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means. If not, learn it before it's too late. You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
How do you lock out panels that don't have a lock-tab or means of attaching a lock? Most residential panels don't have that means. Is there something available to allow LOTO?


Originally Posted By 0100010:
Who hasn't arc welded a 12ga copper wire to the tip of their Spyderco stripping wires when installing a new outlet on what was suppised to be a dead circuit?
I haven't... I ALWAYS verify a circuit is dead unless I'm working on a live circuit and then I do it with GREAT care and caution.

Who strips wires with a high-quality pocket-knife anyways? I use a utility knife; it's much easier to get a good strip without cutting into the copper.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 6:59:50 AM EST
Some people are capable of f*****g up a wet dream.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 7:17:23 AM EST
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Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
How do you lock out panels that don't have a lock-tab or means of attaching a lock? Most residential panels don't have that means. Is there something available to allow LOTO?


I haven't... I ALWAYS verify a circuit is dead unless I'm working on a live circuit and then I do it with GREAT care and caution.

Who strips wires with a high-quality pocket-knife anyways? I use a utility knife; it's much easier to get a good strip without cutting into the copper.
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Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means. If not, learn it before it's too late. You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
How do you lock out panels that don't have a lock-tab or means of attaching a lock? Most residential panels don't have that means. Is there something available to allow LOTO?


Originally Posted By 0100010:
Who hasn't arc welded a 12ga copper wire to the tip of their Spyderco stripping wires when installing a new outlet on what was suppised to be a dead circuit?
I haven't... I ALWAYS verify a circuit is dead unless I'm working on a live circuit and then I do it with GREAT care and caution.

Who strips wires with a high-quality pocket-knife anyways? I use a utility knife; it's much easier to get a good strip without cutting into the copper.
There are lockout devices that attach to individual breakers.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 8:01:54 AM EST
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Originally Posted By 0100010:
Who hasn't arc welded a 12ga copper wire to the tip of their Spyderco stripping wires when installing a new outlet on what was suppised to be a dead circuit?
View Quote
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 8:03:47 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 8:23:56 AM EST
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Originally Posted By rca2222:
There are lockout devices that attach to individual breakers.
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Originally Posted By rca2222:
Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means. If not, learn it before it's too late. You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
How do you lock out panels that don't have a lock-tab or means of attaching a lock? Most residential panels don't have that means. Is there something available to allow LOTO?


Originally Posted By 0100010:
Who hasn't arc welded a 12ga copper wire to the tip of their Spyderco stripping wires when installing a new outlet on what was suppised to be a dead circuit?
I haven't... I ALWAYS verify a circuit is dead unless I'm working on a live circuit and then I do it with GREAT care and caution.

Who strips wires with a high-quality pocket-knife anyways? I use a utility knife; it's much easier to get a good strip without cutting into the copper.
There are lockout devices that attach to individual breakers.

Link Posted: 8/25/2017 9:05:39 AM EST
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Originally Posted By rca2222:

There are lockout devices that attach to individual breakers.
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Thanks! Didn't realize a universal solution was available...
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 9:22:13 AM EST
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Originally Posted By frogdiver:
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Originally Posted By frogdiver:
Originally Posted By 0100010:
Who hasn't arc welded a 12ga copper wire to the tip of their Spyderco stripping wires when installing a new outlet on what was suppised to be a dead circuit?
No, but my father welded a pair of dykes shut with an exciting *pop*.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 9:32:59 AM EST
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Originally Posted By ChickenDaddy:
Am I understanding this right: the DIYer bridged the contacts on a start capacitor? What would have been a better way to fix this problem?

FYI--Per the COC, If you post when drunk, you're supposed to add a little beer mug emoji.
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Can one put emojis in signature lines?
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 11:51:52 AM EST
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Originally Posted By SigOwner_P229:

Thanks! Didn't realize a universal solution was available...
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The ones in the pictures above work on the common US style breakers usually seen.  Thermal magnetic breakers, more common in Europe but catching on over here, take a different lockout. 
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 12:13:39 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out 

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means.  If not, learn it before it's too late.  You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
View Quote
This +1000.

If you don't know what this is and you do any kind of electrical or mechanical work, you need to stop what your doing right now and learn it.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 12:29:43 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out 

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means.  If not, learn it before it's too late.  You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
View Quote
That, and if I've spent any significant amount of time away from what I'm working on I always recheck the locks and still check the load with a meter. I've seen way too much stupid on the job.

Since we're talking about safety, how many of you always turn your body away from disconnects and only use your non dominant hand to turn them on and off?
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 1:21:55 PM EST
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Originally Posted By harleyrkc:


That, and if I've spent any significant amount of time away from what I'm working on I always recheck the locks and still check the load with a meter. I've seen way too much stupid on the job.

Since we're talking about safety, how many of you always turn your body away from disconnects and only use your non dominant hand to turn them on and off?
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One hand always goes in your pocket.

IIRC, in both examples given by OP, the operator was lying on the (damp) ground underneath the house.  This is the perfect position to be electrocuted and there's little hope for escape or timely rescue - you're trapped.

Does the NEC or the plumbing code require metallic pipes to be grounded?  If not, perhaps it should. 


I am not familiar with heater tapes wrapped around pipes (it never gets very cold here).  It seems some damage to the insulation occurred or the double insulation rule was violated.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 1:35:40 PM EST
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Originally Posted By 0100010:
Who hasn't arc welded a 12ga copper wire to the tip of their Spyderco stripping wires when installing a new outlet on what was suppised to be a dead circuit?
View Quote
I have wire strippers. so no.

But i have blown my klein screw driver in half before.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 2:46:37 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Does the NEC or the plumbing code require metallic pipes to be grounded?  If not, perhaps it should.
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I don't see it as required by the NEC. Metal water pipes can be used as a grounding conductor, but still require an additional grounding electrode (ground rod, etc.). The water pipe can't be the only ground connection, and if it is used, it must be bonded across the water meter so that there's no chance the water meter affects the conductivity.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 3:48:39 PM EST
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Originally Posted By rjbergen:

I don't see it as required by the NEC. Metal water pipes can be used as a grounding conductor, but still require an additional grounding electrode (ground rod, etc.). The water pipe can't be the only ground connection, and if it is used, it must be bonded across the water meter so that there's no chance the water meter affects the conductivity.
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I asked because mine are grounded and I was wondering how the pipes ever became electrified without blowing the breaker.  I understand about soft shorts and we have no idea of the heater damage, so...  I pity the family of the poor guy who died.

An excellent topic to bring to the DIY Forum.

It's all food for thought, that's for sure.
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 7:50:12 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Four words come to mind -

Lock Out , Tag Out 

Hopefully, the pros here know what this means.  If not, learn it before it's too late.  You DIY guys need to learn this, too.
View Quote
And ...try-out (de-energize)
Link Posted: 8/25/2017 9:19:57 PM EST
While We are on the topic of water lines...Always...ALWAYS... Slap Test them before making any kind of firm contact. I have seen at least half a dozen energized copper water lines in my time. Enough that I am very cautious around any kind of metal piping, not only can they be an excellent ground, but they also can be very efficent conductors as well. Not all circumstances are the same.!!! Always Slap Test Any metal object before making contact.

Just today I spent a couple hours crawling around under a house replacing bad flex ducts, Cpvc water lines so I was pretty relaxed, Till I got a little deeper in the crawl space, and work space was getting tight then I started running into heat tapes wraped on the water lines, and lots of heat tapes lying in the dirt, and lots of extension cords...A sure sign of a Do It your Selfer. What heat tapes that were on the pipes Had been wraped with metal foil tape to keep the mice from chewing them up...Not only making them conductive if they go bad, but actually it can make them go bad in short order, the metal foil acts as a reflector and traps the heat on the outside of the heat tape.and is very common to see them burned out becuse of it. Made for a very uncomfortable morning!!! LOTS OF SLAPPING GOING ON LOL
Link Posted: 8/26/2017 9:47:51 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Subcooled410:
While We are on the topic of water lines...Always...ALWAYS... Slap Test them before making any kind of firm contact. I have seen at least half a dozen energized copper water lines in my time. Enough that I am very cautious around any kind of metal piping, not only can they be an excellent ground, but they also can be very efficent conductors as well. Not all circumstances are the same.!!! Always Slap Test Any metal object before making contact.

Just today I spent a couple hours crawling around under a house replacing bad flex ducts, Cpvc water lines so I was pretty relaxed, Till I got a little deeper in the crawl space, and work space was getting tight then I started running into heat tapes wraped on the water lines, and lots of heat tapes lying in the dirt, and lots of extension cords...A sure sign of a Do It your Selfer. What heat tapes that were on the pipes Had been wraped with metal foil tape to keep the mice from chewing them up...Not only making them conductive if they go bad, but actually it can make them go bad in short order, the metal foil acts as a reflector and traps the heat on the outside of the heat tape.and is very common to see them burned out becuse of it. Made for a very uncomfortable morning!!! LOTS OF SLAPPING GOING ON LOL
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If you are working in an area with high voltages present (especially DC), do not "slap test" anything.  Voltmeters are so inexpensive and easy to use, there's no reason to do this.

Simply put, there should be no voltage present when working, no energy source of any type.  
Link Posted: 8/26/2017 8:16:29 PM EST
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Originally Posted By w12x40:


No, but my father welded a pair of dykes shut with an exciting *pop*.
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I always short the hot and neutral of a line that I've flipped the breaker on. It saved me once but was pretty hard on a pair of lineman's pliers (mislabeled breaker).
Link Posted: 8/26/2017 10:58:30 PM EST
Simply put...Go ahead and TRY.putting your low cost volt meter...or even your high dollar Fluke...on a High Voltage line, and get back to me how that worked out for you. Primary Voltage will explode your meter before it moves off 0.000. Secondary Voltage, sure put your meter on it ... providing you have a constant Line, and a constant neutral, and or ground, other wise your not going to read anything, and Assume the circuit is dead
Calling for a Service Disconnect, Just to change out a breaker? Not Going To Happen ! Shutting down an Entire Job Site to land circuits ? Better make sure your lunch box is locked up in your truck ! IF your work is Isolated to a specific area AND your working with secondary voltage, shut the circuits down, Disable the source, verify with your meter, discharge, and proceed with caution.
NOWHERE did I insinuate you should " SlapTest" live circuits , and I have never met a plumber that even owned a meter! I have however seen Electricity in places you would never expect it...When In Doubt SLAP TEST IT !
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 12:11:05 AM EST
Local elderly ladies were having fund raisers, A Local Do It Your Selfer took it on him self to build a concession trailer that could be taken to auctions,and town fairs,so the could sell their "Prized Pies" . everything went as planed for about two months... sales were booming and they were running out of pies, as luck would have it Helen had baked a few extras, so she went to her car and grabbed a couple more. When She got back to the concession trailer she reached up grabbed the door handle...And the Pies Flew... having kicked off her shoes to be more comfortable standing on her feet all day, she was being electrocuted, she couldn't let loose of the handle. Fortunately Helen was four foot nothing and extremely over weight...From testing Pies... and when she slumped over shear mass took over and broke her grip on the knob. Who said being over weight is bad for your health...It Saved Helens life !!!

It had Rained the night before, and the trailer jacks were sinking into the soft ground...so somebody had put Wood blocks under them....Breaking the Earth ground... somewhere along the way, somebody had Donated an ungrounded coffee perculator for them to sell coffee and hot chocalate to help them boost sales..

There is a lesson here for all you guys with work trailers, campers , toy haulers... the wiring may be up to par now. But you never know when a short will show up from all the bumps and jerks towing it around...Always keep at least one of the metal jack or the tongue jack in direct contact with earth when hooked up to electricity.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 12:53:00 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/27/2017 12:56:33 AM EST by Subcooled410]
Just thought I better throw this in here before I get the ban hammer... after all this IS the Do It Your Self Forum !!
We ALL like the feeling of getting the job done our self, What we learn along the way, the sense of accomplishment , the pride in a job well done...Has No Price !
However,sometimes on occasion it just isn't worth the Cost.
Seek advice, youtube it, read up on it...but take it for what it is worth, after all it was Free advice...and not all circumstances are the same, even the advice of a professional,with years of experience is only as good as you can discribe the problem or task at hand.
READ AND FOLLOW ALL LABEL DIRECTIONS ?

I think it would be nice to have a sticky For an "When Do It Your Self Goes Wrong", A place for guys in the know to post their job related horror, funny, and what the hell were they thinking stories, not only would it be interest but would also open our eyes to the wonder world of Do It Your Self...And maybe save somebody else from potential problems along the way.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 1:25:22 AM EST
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Originally Posted By rca2222:

There are lockout devices that attach to individual breakers.
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But you have to take the panel cover off, or nearly so, to install them. That presents a whole new set of opportunities to smell like buzzard fodder..
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 11:05:18 AM EST
This thread blows. If you've really been lurking for years as you said, you would know that the main contributors to this sub-forum are either professionals in their trades or experienced DIYers. The majority of advice in here is sound and if it isn't, it is usually corrected in short order. I'm really not sure what you're trying to get at with your stupid stories. We come here to ask advice so we do it right and don't end up in one of your stupid stories. The posters here aren't the stupid DIYers your stories come from.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 2:09:09 PM EST
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Originally Posted By rca2222:


The ones in the pictures above work on the common US style breakers usually seen.  Thermal magnetic breakers, more common in Europe but catching on over here, take a different lockout. 
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Say what?

The most common breakers used in the US are thermal-magnetic, AKA 'inverse time' breakers.

The thermal provides for operation for short periods above the actual breaker rating.

The 'slow-blow of the fuse world.

The magnetic produces a nearly instant trip an significant overloads (>800% of rating)

Straight magnetic breakers are rarely seen anymore but have some applications.
Link Posted: 8/27/2017 9:48:44 PM EST
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Originally Posted By rjbergen:
This thread blows. If you've really been lurking for years as you said, you would know that the main contributors to this sub-forum are either professionals in their trades or experienced DIYers. The majority of advice in here is sound and if it isn't, it is usually corrected in short order. I'm really not sure what you're trying to get at with your stupid stories. We come here to ask advice so we do it right and don't end up in one of your stupid stories. The posters here aren't the stupid DIYers your stories come from.
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He's going for a sticky
Link Posted: 8/28/2017 9:19:04 PM EST
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Originally Posted By mrrick:


I have wire strippers. so no.

But i have blown my klein screw driver in half before.
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I put an 18" drill bit though the main coming out of the bottom of a meter on a residence. Lights went down, I said "oh shit", and pulled my 18v Dewalt back out. My bit was short an inch or 2 and had a red cherry on it. Lights came back up, and I called my boss, who called an electrician to replace the main.
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