A word of caution to anyone trying some of the antics outlined for testing circuits found posted on this web site.
A general branch circuit in any home protected at 15 amps carries enough heat energy to melt metal. If there is enough energy to melt metal wonder what it would do to human tissue.
No one and I repeat no one should ever start using cords and electronic clips trying to connect live circuits to anything. This would be like playing Russian roulette but with a full cylinder minus one instead of an empty cylinder with only one round.
I would also hope that the owner and moderators of this site would try to maintain some sort of common sense safety as they monitor the post of their members. Personally I must correct such nonsense when I see it for a clear conscience for myself.
Remember this; no one controls you safety but you yourself. If it doesn’t sound safe then it probably is not.
More people die each year from a 120 volt circuit than any other voltage.
Last edited by Terry; 12-20-2010 at 10:50 PM.
Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett
Thanks Mike. There is too much less than safe information given by some on this site. It is nice to see such practices refuted. The trouble arises when the poster cannot distinguish between professional advice and the other stuff.
Apparently I missed an earlier thread which is the subject here. ( I have been back in Richmond VA for a week trying to remember how to drive in snow! First time in maybe 30 years for me!)
It is true that internet forums are to some extent the wild wild west, and participants are free to offer lousy advice! We certainly see that on the plumbing side from time to time. Homeowners should value any advice based on what they paid!!! But of course, if the poor guy knew enough to recognize bad advice when he sees it, he probably wouldn't have needed to ask in the first place. So this is a perpetual dilemma! The moderators are not a 24/7 monitor! And as a moderator, I generally won't delete something, just because it is different than the way I might have suggested. This is an open forum, and anything someone offers may be of value in some way. But if I see something I think is unsafe or unwise, I will comment on that. We especially value the input of folks like Speedey and JW in this electrical area, because they know what's up, and I hope they continue to provide their valuable insight on a regular basis.
Thank you jimbo; that was nuanced.
If I may be permitted some leeway to write something humorous: a friend of mine always tells me to put my tongue on the red and black wires to see if the current is live. He adds that within a couple years my tongue will have healed, so no harm done, because it heals. This is what he says routinely when we work together and approach a circuit for the first time. We always work in two's around electricity, never alone.
In discussion threads, when someone writes stuff out that could "do with" a little re-directing or correcting, I find it is most helpful to add information in a neutral tone of voice without exclamation marks.
Yes the picture in the original post (thanks Terry) was a 20 amp circuit but I do hope that everyone understands the same thing will happen at 15 amps.
The purpose of the picture is to show the amount of heat that will be allowed to flow for around two seconds.
A rule of thumb one can use to figure the amount of current that any breaker will allow is six times the number on the handle for 120 cycles (two seconds). This means a 15 amp breaker will allow 90 amps and a 20 will allow 120 amps for two seconds before tripping.
This trip curve is built into all breakers and time delayed fuses. For more information see 430.248 and 430.251(A) of the NEC. Let’s use a 5 horse power single phase motor at 230 volts. FLA (full-load amps) in 430.248 equals 28 amps. Now in 430.251(A) LRA (locked-rotor current) for the same motor equals 168 amps or six times the FLA.
With some of the advice given such as using clips and drop cords to test a live circuit means that the live circuit will be exposed during testing and a danger to life and limb and is also against every safety procedure outlined by NFPA 70E which is adopted into the Department of Labor, OSHA division. Should I allow my employees to use these types of procedures in the field I would be shut down.
Now I’m not the brightest bulb in the box but if it is unsafe for my employees who have a background in the electrical trade wouldn’t it be unsafe for the do-it-yourselfer who has no knowledge at all in electrical trade?
Then we have this thing called liability that the owner of this site could be standing in front of as well as the person who gave the advice. Yes this has already been tested in a court of law. Just check out some to the other electrical sites who delete and ban such people for legal reasons as outlined in their rules.
For anyone to think that just because it is 120 volts it is alright and no one will get hurt is totally preposterous as more people die from contact with 120 volts each year than any other voltage.
You might see someone working on a panel in sandals and shorts and tee shirts but what you didn’t see was pros.
I have seen many construction workers dressed this way on the job site. I remember one year when we were working on a school and OSHA came on the job. A month later the job site was littered with orange paper hanging on every gain box on the job site.
In total there were over a hundred thousand dollars in fines levied with safety clothing at the top of the list, such things as hard hats on backwards and no safety shoes.
My crew was hit for no grounds on cords for a total fine of a thousand dollars. This will never happen again as the rule is simple, cord damaged in the trash it goes, no questions.
Now working on a site where the electrical system has not been energized yet is a lot different than telling a DIYer to connect a cord of some sort using alligator clips while this circuit is live. Yes to check voltage the circuit must be live but proper personal protective equipment should be used when doing so.
When I send someone to trouble shoot a problem I have a set in concrete rule.
NEVER WORK A CIRCUIT THAT IS LIVE FOR ANY REASON. WHEN CHECKING VOLTAGES ON A LIVE CIRCUIT THE PROPER PPE “MUST” BE USED. Anyone not adhering to this rule is immediately discharged without debate.
I will not check a live 120 volt circuit unless I have my safety equipment in place and I have been doing electrical work for over 40 years. I have been in the classroom for more than 10 years. I think that my experience gives me at least one step more knowledge than a do-it-yourselfer which is being told on this site to disregard any and all safety when troubleshooting live circuits.
If this site is going to give advice to the DIY then let’s at least try to give them some sort of safe advice instead of some of the death traps that have been posted lately before someone ends up hurt or dead.
quote; NEVER WORK A CIRCUIT THAT IS LIVE FOR ANY REASON. WHEN CHECKING VOLTAGES ON A LIVE CIRCUIT THE PROPER PPE MUST BE USED.
Wouldn't it be UNNECESSARY to "use the proper PPE" since your FIRST rule says that the circuit MUST be deenergized?
The only time that NFPA or OSHA will allow the working of a live circuit is to check for voltage or amperage. NFPA 70E is adopted by the Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration division as the guidelines for safety. Once this is adopted by state or local government it becomes law.
The opening of a 240 volt single phase panel that is energized will require the person doing the work to have the following; Safety glasses or a full face shield, fire retardant clothing, voltage rated gloves, and voltage rated tools when approaching the live terminals of this panel.
For someone that has done some reading but has not been reading the safety side of what they think they know to start giving unsafe testing information over a web site such as this one is nothing short of criminal. It has already been proven that there is some liability to both the site owner as well as the person giving the advice should something goes wrong.
The average person will die from one tenth of an amp of current flowing through the body. This can easily be achieved at 120 volts through the human body and to start using alligator clips on drop cords would be an easy way to achieve this road to death.
Then we have this thing called arc-flash where there is no physical contact with a live circuit but instead the circuit becomes faulted in some manner such as these clips sliding off and touching each other.
Look at the receptacle that Terry posted in the first post of this thread. Do you think that there was flying debris from this arc? Do you think that there was a bright flash? This was the very same thing as an arc welder in use and the danger to the eyes is the same. The danger of flying debris is the same such as those little red things we see coming from the point of weld. This can easily set a person on fire and had been documented as doing so.
Yes we need to monitor this type of post to ensure the safety of those trying such antics. The average do-it-yourselfer would think that this person must know what they are talking about and will end up hurt.
Copper is going up, too. It is predicted to go up to 6 a pound for number one scrap copper within the next month or so.
It usually goes up in the summer with construction going on, they are baffled as to why it is going up now. This is just a prediction.
As to what someone has on their door meaning that they are a professional means nothing. One could write whatever they wanted on a door and this would not mean they were anything at all.
“You” think that working in a live panel is………………
It is you that thinks there is such a disparity between law and reality at the same time thinking of someone working in a live panel. If you would simply think of someone obeying the safety rules set forth then no one would be working on a live panel at all now would they?
Then to use an analogy of someone doing so while having their privates connected to a well casing shows a total lack of any type of common sense. What is the purpose of such a statement? Are you one of those who lead to such a disparity between the laws and reality? Are you one of those who pay absolutely no attention to the posted speed limit while driving through our school zones?
Tell us just what you are doing to close this growing gap between the laws set forth for all of us to live by and reality.
Here you go,
I THOUGHT the electrical guy would remember to shut off the power before working on my electrical, but he didn't, I HAD to... for his own good.
Damn though he wasn't naked.
I see nothing wrong with what he doesn't want to wear, just rubber boots are fine. They are safe and I wouldn't mind handing him tools.
Last edited by Cookie; 12-23-2010 at 07:16 AM.
Oh, you made this old old widow woman laugh...
by the way, this electrician did forget, he would had been in serious trouble if I didn't do what I did...
I was married to the best electrical man in this county. Plus, I won two Westinghouse's in my hayday for electrical.
My old woman look is so deceiving.
Last edited by Cookie; 12-23-2010 at 01:38 PM.