Author Topic: How NOT to work on mains  (Read 1836 times)

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Offline b_force

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How NOT to work on mains
« on: October 21, 2017, 12:09:05 AM »
There has always been a lot of discussion around safety and how strict certain rules & regulations need to be followed.
Some people know I am pretty easy about it, as long as people use their brains.

The following example is however something I wouldn't approve and I would like to show (and teach) people why.
In this case it's more about showing it to the public on a very bad way and pretend it's perfectly normal way of working.
Although I already get the shivers how (apparently) a standard Canadian fuse/distribution box/board and wiring looks like (would be illegal here), the main problem is that this guy doesn't seem to understand a few basics.

Just a few things to point out;
- You are working in a CAT III (and CAT II) environment. This means ALWAYS switch off the main switch/fuse (if possible) and are at LEAST very much aware of the risks (in the video the guy clearly isn't)
- Stick to the correct colour code for wiring. Not only for yourself, but also for any 3rd party (electrician or whatever) who needs to do any repairs/when selling the house.

Is it not just for plain safety, the insurance company won't pay a cent if they discover (and most times they will) you goofed up something with the electricity.
Not something you want if your house burns down (not very likely, but still a possibility) or someone else gets injured.

I know it depends on the country you're in, but I would never leave (relatively) high power mains cables just flapping in the breeze.
One hit with a heavy (sharp) object, like some timbre board and you can already risk quite some damage on the cables.
In fact it's mandatory to put them through a PVC pipe in many other countries.

I like Matthias videos a lot, and I understand that some people get all annoyed about safety complains, but this is right on the other side of the spectrum
In this case it doesn't cost much more and isn't much more work, instead being lazy and frugal to take a lot of extra risk.
Just unnecessary and far from being smart = not using brains.  :--

« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 12:17:47 AM by b_force »
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Offline schmitt trigger

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 12:31:21 AM »

I agree with you, it would take you an extra 60 seconds to take down the main breaker. And if you are really safety-conscious, put a lock and a tag.

The problem with this video, is that we don't know how many hundreds of inexperienced people who watch this video, and follow those steps.
 
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Offline b_force

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 01:56:33 AM »
The problem with this video, is that we don't know how many hundreds of inexperienced people who watch this video, and follow those steps.
EXACTLY my point!

I mean all these heated debates on the forum are just being a bit pedantic about small details.
I think most engineers and electronics hobbyists understand that it's something to be careful with (only how much is still a debate, but let's not go into that).
Like you said, in this case there are people who have 'some idea' of electricity, and that's were the real trouble starts.
Matthias is smart enough not to get into a lot of trouble with it (he is also very aware how he moves/works), but I don't think many people would understand the importance of it.
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Online rrinker

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 02:03:06 AM »
 I won't take the cover off my box (US same as Canadian) without turning off the main breaker. Certainly not install or a remove a branch circuit breaker without killing the main. But then, I've seen professional electricians replace a switch or outlet and not turn off the branch circuit - sorry, I prefer to not take that chance and kill (and check - at least until I get to know just how my house is wired) before I touch anything mains - even if it is a wimpy 120V compared to all you 240V places.



 

Offline Jay_Diddy_B

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2017, 02:29:23 AM »

Snip ...

- Stick to the correct colour code for wiring. Not only for yourself, but also for any 3rd party (electrician or whatever) who needs to do any repairs/when selling the house.

Snip...


The colour code is correct for Canada.

The black is hot, the red is the other hot. The red sheath is used to indicate 220V

The 110V outlets with three wires plus bare ground is standard wiring in most Canadian Kitchens. This allows 15A to be taken from each hot wire, 30A total. Nothing wrong with colour code here.

I echo the concerns about working on a live panel. I would turn the main breaker off if I was working on the panel.

I don't think that the 220V outlets should be mounted so close to the floor. I belief that there is a minimum height above the floor. Outlets are normally 12 - 18 inches above the floor. (I am sure it varies from location to location).

Regards,

Jay_Diddy_B



 
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Offline IanB

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2017, 02:45:19 AM »
Stick to the correct colour code for wiring. Not only for yourself, but also for any 3rd party (electrician or whatever) who needs to do any repairs/when selling the house.

He did.

Quote
In fact it's mandatory to put them through a PVC pipe in many other countries.

It's against code to put Romex in a conduit in North America.

I think you should avoid trying to translate local practices to a totally different jurisdiction. Every country has different codes and different traditions.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 
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Online kripton2035

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2017, 02:48:21 AM »
like he said in the video, if he shuts the main breaker down, he wouldn't have any light to shoot the video ...

Online bd139

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2017, 03:26:25 AM »
like he said in the video, if he shuts the main breaker down, he wouldn't have any light to shoot the video ...

Ok we've gone from linear idiocy to exponential idiocy now.

Just use a flipping video light or GTFO the Internet.

Then again I know someone who's an electrician who is much worse than this. He doesn't even have a working meter, drills holes in walls without checking for pipes and cables (unsuccessfully numerous times) and his shed went up in flames.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 03:28:35 AM by bd139 »
 
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Offline BrianHG

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2017, 03:27:43 AM »
 :palm:
__________
BrianHG.
 
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Offline Lightages

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2017, 04:15:46 AM »
This is why I am so insistent that a meter actually match the rating it claims and I why I say that CATIII is needed for a general meter It is to protect people from themselves, and for the meter to survive another day.

Safety ratings on meters are not for those who know what they are doing or want to be careful, but rather for fools and the uneducated.
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Online macboy

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2017, 04:28:29 AM »
Stick to the correct colour code for wiring. Not only for yourself, but also for any 3rd party (electrician or whatever) who needs to do any repairs/when selling the house.

He did.

Quote
In fact it's mandatory to put them through a PVC pipe in many other countries.

It's against code to put Romex in a conduit in North America.

I think you should avoid trying to translate local practices to a totally different jurisdiction. Every country has different codes and different traditions.
Romex is a brand name, generically it is NMD90 cable, and it is definitely allowed inside conduit.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2017, 04:50:23 AM »
Safety ratings on meters are not for those who know what they are doing or want to be careful, but rather for fools and the uneducated.
A fool shouldn't even look at it, period.
They should not even touch a multimeter and use it for these purposes.

Romex is a brand name, generically it is NMD90 cable, and it is definitely allowed inside conduit.
Thanks for the clarification, I guess we just call it double isolated wire.
I am not familiar with these cables at all, so forgive me, but in general the ones I am used to ar not as sturdy as PVC pipes for electricity.
Besides running loose wires is just asking for trouble.
It also makes wiring the cables trough the building a billions times easier.
I don't see any technical or safety reasons why it would be bad to put any wire into some kind of plastic piping?
Unless you're pushing to much current trough them and they are getting way to hot, but than you're doing it wrong anyway.

I think it's obvious I am not judgemental, but just putting out the differences.

Btw, if I recall well, Matthias was actually saying in the video that he used a slightly different colour coding?

Here an example picture.
Not a very good one, but it's about the idea.
(weird that the box is made out of metal)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 04:57:08 AM by b_force »
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Online HighVoltage

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2017, 07:19:34 AM »
Even in Germany I have seen people working on 3 phase 400 V panels without turning them off.
And then even use non insulated screw drivers
 :palm:
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Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2017, 08:08:53 AM »
The guy is an f#ing idiot to be working on BUSBARS with the power on.  If he slips he could get a nasty burn and a flash injury to his eyes.

A slightly different matter from working on the output side of an installed breaker with the power on, where you at least have the breaker to limit the energy if there is a short.

Plus if you're going to use a meter on busbars you want sheathed probes with only the tip exposed.
 
Not sure about the USA, but in the UK if you use a black wire for live you should mark it such at both ends, for example by putting a ring of red tape around it.  We don't use split phase supplies but the same situation arises with light switches where there is a switched live.
 
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Offline eugenenine

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2017, 08:16:01 AM »
Different color code in the US, black is hot here, cold is neutral red is second hot for 220 or switched hot for a three way switch.  And inside of floors and walls no conduit so what he's doing is up to code.  Other than the risk of touching the bus bar he's not doing anything else unsafe, and I've seen many electricians pop new breakers in without shutting off the main, if you are careful about it there is little risk.  Careful being insulated mat and shoes, only one hand in the box at a time, etc.
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2017, 08:24:51 AM »
Even in Germany I have seen people working on 3 phase 400 V panels without turning them off.
And then even use non insulated screw drivers
 :palm:
I have seen men working on 415 3 phase power lines in a water filled hole in the road in pouring rain while the power is still on, working hot is safe as long as you know what you are doing and have the requisite safety equipment and precautions in place.
 

Offline Nusa

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2017, 08:26:57 AM »
Stick to the correct colour code for wiring. Not only for yourself, but also for any 3rd party (electrician or whatever) who needs to do any repairs/when selling the house.

He did.

Quote
In fact it's mandatory to put them through a PVC pipe in many other countries.

It's against code to put Romex in a conduit in North America.

I think you should avoid trying to translate local practices to a totally different jurisdiction. Every country has different codes and different traditions.
Romex is a brand name, generically it is NMD90 cable, and it is definitely allowed inside conduit.

Actually the answer is maybe, because it depends on where the conduit is. NMD = Non-Metallic Dry service rating, which means it cannot be installed in wet locations. The NEC decrees that the interior of raceways installed underground or in wet locations are to be considered wet locations. In other words, most of the locations where the code REQUIRES conduit are considered wet and NMD cannot be used. So the rule of thumb isn't that far from the total truth in the USA. And I suspect Canada isn't much different.

But you're also right that it's allowable in the basement installation shown in the video. But what he did do looks adequate to me, except for the idiocy with the hot electrical panel. I wouldn't have put outlets in the accidental kick area either, but it's his house.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2017, 08:32:23 AM »
Different color code in the US, black is hot here, cold is neutral red is second hot for 220 or switched hot for a three way switch.  And inside of floors and walls no conduit so what he's doing is up to code. 
The 'no conduit' still really completely explodes my mind, because that's actually a very VERY smart addition to wiring. :scared:
I don't care HOW correct and careful you are with wiring, but piping (conduit) already gives you so much more security and safety.
Like accidentally hitting wires (and therefor short circuiting).
In any logical way of thinking, it's an extremely good remedy to prevent anything bad plus it makes wiring so much easier.
Like I said before, it's not that difficult to hit your wires with something big if they are all flapping in the breeze. :scared: :scared:

Colour codes are all different.
In most European countries it's brown for live, blue for neutral and 'yellow AND green' for earth.
Wires coming from (light) switches) are black, and return in the same colour (so blue)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 08:34:10 AM by b_force »
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Online Monkeh

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2017, 09:21:53 AM »
Y'know, I really can't remember the last time I hit some wires in a wall with 'something big'...

And.. no, shoving that type of wire in a conduit doesn't make things easier..
 

Offline tautech

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2017, 09:49:10 AM »
Until you've spanned a few generations and worked with sparkies that have "been around" it's far too easy to denigrate what was perfectly acceptable practices in other jurisdictions or from another earlier time.

Example
When power came to our part of the world in 1935 ALL installation was in steel conduit, the pitch and cotton covered conductors were drawn though from inspection cover to inspection cover that was mandatory at Tee junctions or 900 bends.
There were NO earth cables, instead the steel conduit was the earth.
I still have circuits like this in my house that give zero problems after all this time.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 09:51:57 AM by tautech »
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Online nctnico

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2017, 10:08:29 AM »
Even in Germany I have seen people working on 3 phase 400 V panels without turning them off.
And then even use non insulated screw drivers
 :palm:
I have seen men working on 415 3 phase power lines in a water filled hole in the road in pouring rain while the power is still on, working hot is safe as long as you know what you are doing and have the requisite safety equipment and precautions in place.
Like an extra person to finish the job if the first one dies?
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Offline b_force

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2017, 10:14:56 AM »
Y'know, I really can't remember the last time I hit some wires in a wall with 'something big'...

And.. no, shoving that type of wire in a conduit doesn't make things easier..
I was talking about 'flapping in the breeze", so that's clearly NOT in the wall.
Although, you can still drill into walls!
It's not about how big the wire is, it's about isolation or simply getting stuck with wires.

Until you've spanned a few generations and worked with sparkies that have "been around" it's far too easy to denigrate what was perfectly acceptable practices in other jurisdictions or from another earlier time.

Example
When power came to our part of the world in 1935 ALL installation was in steel conduit, the pitch and cotton covered conductors were drawn though from inspection cover to inspection cover that was mandatory at Tee junctions or 900 bends.
There were NO earth cables, instead the steel conduit was the earth.
I still have circuits like this in my house that give zero problems after all this time.
Aaaah, the good old days, it was all copper conduct here. 8)
Like, really, looking for the worst solutions EVER!  :-DD

I can also remember my grandma asking that everything she touched tickled, lol, jeeze.
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Offline RGB255_0_0

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2017, 10:16:32 AM »
Have no problems with the cable not being in a conduit/raceway as long as it's tacked down, thus not flapping in the breeze.

We all get worked up over different rules in different countries for little good reason, even though it's perfectly fine.

I clenched my anus a few times with his gesturing at the live panel though!
Your toaster just set fire to an African child over TCP.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2017, 10:52:52 AM »
Matthias is smart enough not to get into a lot of trouble with it

What does intelligence have to do with it? You're only driven by intelligence until the right distraction comes along.

Fuck ups are a given in the long run, prevent them from happening as much as feasible, prevent them from having bad consequences as much as feasible ... and have a will.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: How NOT to work on mains
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2017, 11:09:15 AM »
Matthias is smart enough not to get into a lot of trouble with it

What does intelligence have to do with it? You're only driven by intelligence until the right distraction comes along.

Fuck ups are a given in the long run, prevent them from happening as much as feasible, prevent them from having bad consequences as much as feasible ... and have a will.
Intelligence says (mostly) something about how someone can overlook a situation.
So if you take a risk, you can overlook the consequences. 
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