Author Topic: Some people shouldn't own variacs  (Read 700 times)

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Offline GregDunn

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Some people shouldn't own variacs
« on: September 27, 2018, 12:26:45 am »
OK, not really repair, more like "made safe again".  When I picked up my HP6920B at the hamfest this weekend, I was walking past a table from an estate sale and this huge variac called out to me.  I only have a very cheap, low current unit in the lab, and frankly I was afraid it was going to blow its fuse sooner or later - or worse.  This thing was beefy enough to handle anything I was likely to throw at it.  The people handling the sale said they had powered it up and it worked, but had no idea what a variac should cost, so I Googled variacs and showed them "see - anywhere from $20 to $1000, depending on who made it or how much power."  They said "OK, $20."  Sold!

I knew it was going to take a little cleanup - the first thing (you can see) is that the previous owner decided it needed a handle, so he bent up a piece of aluminum pipe and screwed it to the case.  Yes, through the case, who-knows-how-close to the windings.   :scared:  The next thing (take my word for it) is that he apparently used it with equipment having grounded plugs, so to make them fit he drilled a hole under the plug. :wtf:  I disassembled it and undid all the safety hazards.  It's not badly made and even has a cheap voltmeter to indicate the voltage.  Weighs about 20 pounds at least. 

I'm just hoping that this wasn't an estate sale for someone who electrocuted himself... 
 
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Offline sokoloff

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Re: Some people shouldn't own variacs
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 12:29:24 am »
The next thing (take my word for it) is that he apparently used it with equipment having grounded plugs, so to make them fit he drilled a hole under the plug. :wtf:
That's a particularly odd combination of lazy and industrious... (Isn't an extension cord or a cheater plug easier than getting the drill out and having a go at it?)
 

Online coppercone2

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Re: Some people shouldn't own variacs
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2018, 12:55:45 am »
this is because ham shacks deter women which allows for beer use during complex tasks
 

Offline GregDunn

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Re: Some people shouldn't own variacs
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 02:19:42 am »
The next thing (take my word for it) is that he apparently used it with equipment having grounded plugs, so to make them fit he drilled a hole under the plug. :wtf:
That's a particularly odd combination of lazy and industrious... (Isn't an extension cord or a cheater plug easier than getting the drill out and having a go at it?)

I have been known to use a cheater plug when working with audio gear, as long as I know where the ground is and how my test equipment is connected.  This guy probably had some high power RF gear in his shack, and that's not to be fooled around with lightly...  I hope that at least he looked inside before applying the drill; the ground pin would have been in close proximity to the hot input lead, and the little grommet holding the power cord was already loose and easy to rotate in its slot.
 


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