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dang near got killed this weekend

 1:21 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

My mom's house was hit by Sandy so we are doing a lot of rebuilding. It's almost done now.

I was cutting a piece of wood with a sawz all and needed an extension cord.. I plugged one end into the outlet and picked up the sawzall cord in one hand and the other end of the extension in the other.

It took me a second to realize I had 2 male ends.. No offense to anyone but male-male doesn't work here.

For a second I was trying to figure out how I plugged the female end into the outlet and then it hit me.. It was a male-male extension cord.

God watches out for drunks and fools and I don't get drunk .. Had it been wet and/or had I grabbed it a bit further up I might be laying on a slab right now.

One of the knuckle dragging IDIOT contractors we had working there must have had a genset to backfeed the house electrical.. Totally illegal and dangerous..



 3:28 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Glad you lived to tell the tale.


 4:26 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)


Glad to hear you're still with us to tell the tale.

I assume you destroyed that rogue lead.


 4:45 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yep - Side cuttered the ends off.


 4:57 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am happy/glad! you survived... but there was little danger. That's why electrical codes are enforced... no way to connect that cable, no danger. I have no doubt that acute embarrassment and palm on head thumping occurred. Been there, done that myself.

As far as Sandy is concerned, we on the Texas Coast after Ike and are still playing catch up to what we lost, know what you are going through. All best wishes on speedy recovery!


 7:57 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Glad you survived!

Reminds me of the time my Dad decided to install an outside light on our summer cabin at the lake. You know those ramshackle places that were cobbled together by water enthusiasts back in the 40s or 50s before everything had to be built to code and the wiring was so old it still had cloth insulation, at least some of it did where it hadn't disintegrated or been nibbled at by bugs and mice. Nothing is labelled, so without a volt meter you can't tell if they're hot or not, or what voltage for that matter.

Anyway, Dad finds a pair or wires and hooks it up to a lamp and nails it to the outside wall. We go inside and slip the switch and >KABLAM!< a nice surge of 220v from the main line hits that 100v light and it explodes like a hand-grenade. It blew with such force there was glass many yards away from the house plus the light socket was no longer nailed to the house, it had blown off the wall and the nails went flying as well.

My Dad then knew it was the OTHER 2 wires and rewired the light successfully.


 8:20 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Many years ago I was rewiring the wall connection on our new drier because the plug in the wall was different than the one that came with the new drier.

I looked at the electrical panel and cut the 220 off that was labeled (drier). Feeling safe I was all over the plug unscrewed the wires and when I pulled them out of the box they touched and bam sparks flew.

Don't know how I wasn't knocked from all the fingering I was doing on the wall connection something was watching over me.

Now I don't trust what is marked on the panel I check the circuit after it has been cut off, if I don't have a checker I cut the whole panel off.


 9:10 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

bwnbwn - I usually stick a WELL insulated screwdriver in if I don't have a voltage checker.

when I was I worked at a home supply store and had a guy come in insisting on a cord that seemed odd. After a few minutes I realized he was trying to plug a 110v air conditioned into a 220v outlet. If I had sold him the piece to make the cord that thign would have run like heck.. for about 1 second...


 10:00 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Before my days in the "computer world" I was an electrician ... As such, I learned to be super cautious:

1) Find breaker and turn it off
2) Test with voltmeter
3) Stick screwdriver in and "slap" with finger

Only then did I feel secure. And, yes, never trust the breaker box labels.

If I was not within visual proximity of the breaker box I would always lock the breaker or box with a padlock. If neither the breaker nor the box had a locking mechanism, I would find the next "parent" breaker/box until I found one that could be locked.

Even so, despite all possible precautions, I have been "nearly" electrocuted an innumerable number of times, and "actually" electrocuted once.

Also, for the record, if someone gets "stuck" to hot wires, don't try to pull them away from the wires. Think force and violence. If you can see where they are holding wires you may WHACK their hands/arms with an object. Alternatively, you may FULL BODY TACKLE the person away from the wires.

One problem in the U.S. is that most homes are incorrectly wired. The outlets and lights in one room should never be on the same breaker. You put the outlets in one room on the same breaker as the lights in an adjacent room.

Also, I wish installers were better educated in how to balance the power load of a house. It really isn't that difficult, nor does it cost any extra. In fact, you can usually save on installation costs by ensuring that heavier one-phase equipment doesn't run on the same phase as other equipment. You want to spread the load.

Man, the U.S. power grid would have so much less of a load, and have less spikes, if it was just done right from the beginning.


 10:23 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Now a funny Mom story...

My parents ran a small biz that sold stuff advertised with blinking neon lights, think beer lights in a window. She was standing on a step ladder washing the windows with a squirt bottle and the mist stream just happened to make contact when the light came on and she went "AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" until the light went off. LMAO.

At a minimum she was lucky she didn't fall off the ladder and get seriously hurt, let alone electrocuted.

All the had to do was pull that little switch on the back of the light and it was OFF before washing the windows, which she did after that little incident :)


 11:21 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I lived in one house that was built in the '40's. Quickie wartime housing; it was actually moved a few miles downhill at one point (I've seen old photographs) which probably didn't do the structure much good. I soon learned that if I accidentally turned on the toaster while the microwave was running-- or vice versa-- the circuit tripped. (No idea why it was even a circuit breaker rather than fuses, as in my current and marginally newer apartment. Not that I'm complaining.) Eventually I found a configuration that had them running off different circuits so I didn't have to leave myself reminders. ("Wait! Is the toaster running?")

Where I live now, half the kitchen is on one circuit and the entire rest of the apartment-- including the other half of the kitchen-- is on another. This would make sense if I had an electric stove and/or water heater (both located in the half-kitchen part) ... but not so. Mystifying. Is it possible that 1951-vintage refrigerators drew absolutely colossal amounts of energy compared to everything else you might have in your home?


 12:00 am on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'll add one more to this.. I bought a house when I was in my 20's next door to my parents (Rowhouse in philly)..

The toilet was lower than it should be.. The first time I used it I was wondering why my knees were in my nose... Plus, there was a wall with a 24" door with the 30" washer and dryer inside. Turns out that the owner, a first gen italian immigrant wanted a marble floor. So he poured 3" of concrete with an inch of marble over top. (Not the good marble, some type of cement type marble). He didn't bother to raise the toilet first.

I called my dad over and he said.. "I hate to tell you..."

I rented a jackhammer and ripped through the original 3" plus the 4" .. When I started to demolish the wall I looked at the wiring.. When he put the wall in, he didn't have enough Romex to reach to the light switch for the light.. SO HE SCOTCH TAPED LAMP CORD TO THE ROMEX.

Yep, you read that correctly.. Scotch taped lamp cord to the romex to get to the switch. My dad's advice was "We'd better check every inch of wiring"...


 1:10 am on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Now a funny prank I pulled on a co-worker, VP of marketing to be exact :)

I have issues with people that are perfectly capable of doing things like moving a computer and plugging it in themselves asking people lower on the corporate chart to do it for them, so they get some unexpected benefits from having me do it for them.

When I was hooking up a computer for her in the conference room, before we all had laptops mind you, I did my usual trick when plugging in something pretending to be shocked by making a loud "BZZZZZZZZT!" noise just as the plug made contact and appearing to get knocked on my butt from my kneeling position.

She bought it hook line and sinker and looked a little shaken asking me "Are you all right?" and I started laughing and said I was just kidding around but felt a bit like an ass because nobody ever got fooled that good before or maybe I really made it look real.

I dunno but I got a good chuckle out of it :)


 2:53 am on Sep 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Incredibill - That reminds me of something I heard about a while back.. In some cases, the electricians and electrical inspectors don't quite have a full set of brains.

Supposedly if you had wiring where the hot-neutral was reversed and where it was normal in other circuits, you could run into an issue.

That would be if you touched two computers.. one on a proper receptical and the other on one with hot-neutral reversed... Never heard of any actual fatalities but i kept it in mind.

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