A tale of woe, including carelessness, stupidity and laziness....

Jon Elson elson at pico-systems.com
Wed Aug 26 20:17:54 CDT 2015

On 08/26/2015 12:02 PM, tony duell wrote:
>> Yup, in the first house I owned, i had a "computer room".
> Whereas now you have a 'computer house' ?
>> The previous owner had done some retrofits and installed an
>> outlet in a closet.  I plugged a printer into that outlet,
>> and my computer (S-100, CP/M) into another on the opposite
>> wall.  Some strange things happened, some chips got blown, I
>> didn't know why.  Then, finally, I put my hand on the
>> printer and something connected to the computer and got a
> You were very lucky. An arm-to-arm shock is about the most
> dangerous you can get. That (of course) is why you keep your
> left hand behind your back  when working on anything with
> high votlages.
I guess I have good heart circuitry, as I have gotten this 
type of shock a number of times, without any terrible thing 
happening. Always when totally unexpected, as I was not 
AWARE that what I'd be doing had any shock potential.
>> big shock.  Quickly investigating, I found a Romex staple
>> had been driven through the Romex, severing the safety
>> ground and tying it to the hot!  This was back before outlet
>> testers were common items.  Well, that explained some blown
>> chips, etc.
> OUCH!. I've seen some dubious wiring in my time (and just becasue
> somebody has the right bit of paper to say they are a qualified
> electrician does not mean they do good wiring in my experience!)
> but that is lethal. Don't they test wiring after it's installed? Over here
> you are certainly supposed to (and a megger would pick that up
> even if the short wan't quite there yet).
Oh, YEAH, this place was later found to have some REALLY 
dubious wiring, that must have been missed by several 
inspectors.  They had a fire there quite some time before I 
moved in.  There was burned wiring in a basement ceiling 
with the Romex outer jacket melted off, and the inner wires 
deteriorated.  They had a feed for some baseboard heaters 
with 30 A breakers that had been re-routed to ordinary 
outlets.  This was all presumably done by a previous owner.  
Well, we KNOW why they had a fire, don't we?

I've never met a residential electrician that would even 
know the WORD "megger".  Certainly, they don't use them to 
check house wiring.


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