From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric Y. Chang)
Subject: Re: household electrical failiure
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 18:27:26 +0000 (UTC)
Organization: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 18:27:26 +0000 (UTC)
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]
: I read in sci.electronics.design that Take off UrPants to reply
: wrote (in <20021104053552.29301.00002443@mb-
: mg.aol.com>) about 'household electrical failiure', on Mon, 4 Nov 2002:
: >This may well be true, but so far all you guys have offered me is insults with
: >no explanation to back it up.
: >If you want to
: >convince me, don't just call me ignorant and foolish. I have no way to tell if
: >you guys are just full of shit because you are only speaking in generalities.
Oddly enough, general knowledge does not really substitute for practical
knowledge in many instances, and this is one of them. A messed up set
of wiring for an annex can be messed up in many ways in which even a
clever generalist can spend years debugging. How much does an electrician
charge for service? If it is less than $100/hr, it is cheaper for you to
have him do it. Unless you have overrated your capabilities as a clever
generalist. You should be working on bigger and better things.
You are not a clever generalist. It gives me a lot of pain to say this,
since it is somewhat insulting. There are several ways to tell, but
the two that immediately jump out are that: 1) You do not understand the
importance of a good model. 2) You cannot sense your "blind spots". I
work with a lot of generalists, and they look at things in strange ways
and from all kinds of different positions, but they tend to have several
common approaches. This is necessary, since they work at a severe
handicap as compared to specialists. In summary, I do not intend to be
insulting. I am just pointing out some missing things.
Here is how to address them (constructive portion of post). To hone
your perception of the model, you need to connect general knowledge
with specific knowledge. Get a copy of the NEC and read through it.
As you read through it, surf the web a bit and look at people's comments
on the code. Figure out why the code was written the way it was. There
is a reason for everything. Note that not every article was written
to promote safety. Some were in response to industry pressure, and
actually make things less safe. For example, look at permissible
leakage for kitchen appliances from hot to ground in 220V circuits. And
look at article 625. See if you can spot the contradictions and the
presence of industry's hand. The code may be flawed, but if you can
put it on your side, there will be a lot less flaming arrows being
hurled in your direction.
Second, you need to address your blind spots. Look at the NEC and try
to understand why it forbids live wires dead ending between walls. This
is not a dangerous situation in itself. But, it leads to dangerous
situations, especially if you see a dead end as what it truly is, a
loose end. There are not many books that give good information on
fixing old and possible misrouted wiring. But there are lots of good
books on installing wiring. What use are these to you, you may ask?
They provide a clue to dealing with the blind spots. Here is how to
do it. De-energize all existing wiring. Treat it as if it were
energized. Buy a fox and hound. Check for power before attaching,
then trace out that section of wire. Remove it wherever practical.
Repeat until all of the wiring has been extracted, or stubs are
accounted for *on both ends.* You guessed what comes next. Rewire
the annex. No fair reusing the old wiring. You will probably need
an inspection, but your wiring (if you are indeed a clever generalist
and you follwed a good book with annotations from the code) will pass
with flying colors.
You may not like these suggestions since a rewire over existing
panelling and drywall is time-consuming and expensive. But, you have
already neglected hazards that were pointed out to you by later
posts, with sorrowful loss of credibility coming along with it.
Remember, stupidity and arrogance are very different things, but
their results are surprisingly similar.