63 thoughts on “DIY Tip Of The Day:”

  1. Ouch. Hopefully that didn't leave a mark. Thoroughly familiar with Mr. Electricity, and with Mr. Gravity, but have been fortunate not to have been introduced to one by the other. The shakes go away in a day or two…

  2. Ouch! Welcome to the 110 Volt club! That and then a fall cannot be pleasant.

  3. Hope you're OK. I remember being taught that hot wires look just like cold ones.

    I also remember being a slow learner, but picking things up right quick after a couple of "up close and personal" episodes.

  4. In between the sniggers and guffaws I really am feeling sympathy. Then again you are talking to the guy who stuck his arm blind inside the old vacuum tube radar array with 200-300 volts floating around in it to grab something. Maybe we're cousins???

  5. Glad you're still alive, if at times wishing you weren't. I've had the odd shock in my time.

  6. You haven't shocked yourself until you've done it well enough to make you wet yourself in the process…Did I just share too much?

    Ah well, c'est la vie!


  7. Ouchies. Having been zapped a couple times with plain 110, I can relate.

    Here's hoping for a quick recovery.

  8. Did you know that if you make contact with 110 under a roll-top desk, and straighten up suddenly, and are twelve years old and well under a hunnert pounds, the desk won't even move?

    I found that out, after I woke up…

  9. And NEVER believe the SOB who tells you he turned off the breaker in question…
    Standing on a ladder cutting one leg of a three-phase line fed off a 40 amp breaker. Fortunately the ladder was wood, the cutters were insulated and I was wearing rubber soled boots, so all that happened was my arm decided that it wasn't going to listen to the commands from the brain as I cut into the wire, heh, heh, heh.

  10. "And NEVER believe the SOB who tells you he turned off the breaker in question…"

    Absolutely. Check it yourself (twice!) and lock it out.

    And then check it again with the multimeter if possible.

  11. I'd also advise against sticking a finger, a tongue or any other appendage for that matter in the socket or plug to make sure it's off. I speak from personal experience[don't ask] when I say "Oh shit. that hurts!"

  12. My Fluke Volt Alert "pen" is my best friend when I'm around wiring.

    It let me know that not all was kosher when I went to replace a switch and outlet in my garage.

    It turns out that some idiot had wired two separate circuits so that they shared a neutral return. I'd flipped the breaker to the circuit I was working on but still had current. Oops.

    Some folks shouldn't be allowed near a hardware store.

  13. Hope you're doing okay, and have no lasting concussion or other injuries from Mr. Volt, and his thuggish friend Mr. Amp.

  14. Also, frayed 220v table saw cords should be checked only after said cord is unplugged… I got to teach a few PNG citizens that little lesson through personal example.

  15. Isn't electrickery fun?

    Who needs gravity, when the laser lab wall is only about 5 feet away from the laser beam alignment station?

    60w CO2 gas laser-tube surgical system. The mirror mounts on the tube ends are live, about 22kv, unremembered amps. You have to adjust the mirrors while running, to tune the beam for best power and mode. Allen wrench with an insulated end. Sometimes you would get an arc that would bounce you off the (too close) wall. Rule 1: one hand behind your back. Rule 1a: use your right hand (heart location). I'm left-handed…

    Oh yeah, CO2 laser burns will heal very fast, and no scars!

  16. Glad to hear you're ok. (Or as ok as you can get.) As far as electricity-related noodle incidents go, let me just say that jacobs ladders & cats do not mix…

  17. "And NEVER believe the SOB who tells you he turned off the breaker in question…"

    Absolutely. Check it yourself (twice!) and lock it out.

    And then check it again with the multimeter if possible.
    I'll third this. My husband's an electrician – he trusts only those little Volt Pens or a meter.

  18. +1 on the multimeter from me, too. Damned living room outlets on the circuit breaker labeled "kitchen".

  19. @BMiller: The genius who wired my basement spliced two branch circuits together at a GFCI outlet.

  20. In voltmeters we trust.

    Especially after doing a demo in an old building where all the electricity was off – i.e. the line fromthe pole inthe street was disconnected.

    …AAANDD discovering that 1/3 the building was fed from an arm thick cable that came in from the next building over, installed circa 1910 and on no-ones papers.

    "HOLY SH%T" was, I believe, the term the electrical guy called in to investigate my emphatic protestation that the "@#$@#$@" circuits were still hot, used.

    The inspector and next door building owner also plotzed.

    Remeber, electrical shocks are like landing aircraft, so long as you can walk away, it's all good.

  21. Ouch! Remember, gravity isn't just a good idea, it's the law!

    I hope all your parts in still in the right places.

  22. Also remember that the capacitor in an electronic flash gun is never completely empty, and don't use a metal screwdriver to tinker with the innards. It makes one believe in teleportation.

  23. 1. OUCH! Hope you're OK! The stars you see floating about may harbor life forms.

    2. Unless you wired it yourself, don't trust it. (Victim of 50 year old wiring)

    3. "Blogger Tam said…

    Did you know that if you make contact with 110 under a roll-top desk, and straighten up suddenly, and are twelve years old and well under a hunnert pounds, the desk won't even move?

    I found that out, after I woke up…"

    That explains a lot, Tam. 🙂

    Terrible way to get some sense knocked into you, though.

    Ulises from CA

  24. Oh man, I hope you are recovering! You ought to hear the electrical mishap stories my better half tells, from when he used to work for his brother the electrician!


  25. 100VDC at half an amp is no fun either! Blew the top off a knuckle on a finger once. Fortunately the path was betwixt finger tip and second knuckle.

    (Repairing 1kilowatt linear amp for my ham rig.)

  26. BTDT, got the T-shirt with the scorch marks…

    Was modifying a rackmount CRT computer monitor to run off 220/240V for sale to the UK. Installing a toroid step-down transformer but having problems siting it so that it didn't distort the CRT image, so I was moving the transformer about in the unit trying to find a "sweet-spot" that didn;t distort the image. Note: 220V HURTS LIKE A MOTHER. It is the magic number, The voltage isn't high enough to throw you clear of the source, but high enough to kill you dead. I HATE 220/240V. I couldn't feel my arm for a couple days…

  27. Dawg; Are you sure that it was an Tijuana pirate radio station? Perhaps it might have from the aliens that the air force pilots said de-activated the nuclear weapons???
    Glad you're ok.

  28. When working on a center pivot irrigation machine with 440VAC 3 phase, with return the earth rather than a wire, keep an eye on the panel over at the edge of the field. When the guy drives up and gets his bolt cutters out to cut your lock off, you get the '06 out to convince him otherwise.


  29. Ouch!

    Of course, being in high voltage service myself for the past thirty-odd years, I could do one of those "mine is bigger than yours" stories, but I won't.

    I know it hurts, but you're lucky. it also kills.

    Be careful out there. You're irreplaceable.


  30. Anonymous said…

    "And NEVER believe the SOB who tells you he turned off the breaker in question…"

    Especially when that danged SOB is your older brother, you are working in a hot attic, skinnied up under the roof near the eaves, and laying your chest on some copper water pipe. The junction box in question happened to be hot, the underside of the roof happened to be full of the sharp end of a bunch of roofing nails, which you just happen to encounter at a high rate of speed as you discover thah SOB brother of yours didn't turn off the breaker.

    I came down out of that attic with my hammer in hand ready to do some Cain & Able on my brother. Unfortunately he ran faster than me.

  31. Anonymous 4:42: This is one of the reasons I prefer fuses to breakers. You can remove the fuse and put it in your pocket. The other reason is that a breaker might fail closed, but never a fuse.

  32. FYI, 440 will vaporise a screwdriver shaft. That's the only time I ever heard thunder inside a building. The flash was pretty bright too. He just stood there staring at the empty screwdriver handle in his hand for a minute or so. No, it wasn't me.

  33. Been there, done that. As a young and stupid 17-year old kid working in a garage. Boss tasked me to replace burned out flourescent tubes in ceiling fixtures. Couldn't quite get one in, so tried to guide it with a finger on each terminal. Damn lucky I didn't fall off the ladder onto the cement floor.

  34. The one that hurt worst was a 220 kiss while installing hvac.

    The one I remember most is being about 12 or so, knee deep in snow out playing in the woods, needing to pee, and NOT seeing the strand of electric cattle fence at just about shin level….

    You figure out the rest…

  35. I think my hubby wins, after being sent dancing across the room after getting a heckuva jolt from the picture tube of our old 26" console tv. The picture had gone down to a single line, and Hubby pulled out the Reader's Digest how-to-fix-darned-near-anything book my dad so helpfully gave him. He was smart enough to unplug the tv first. However, he didn't flip to the second page of the fix-yer-tv instructions and see the warning about making sure the picture tube was safely discharged before attempting any maintenance. (Those suckers can hold a WHOLE lot more than just 400 volts.) He nearly flew across the room as the tube used him as a grounding discharge, his fingertips singed and sooty and his arm dancing about as if independent from his body. After we both recovered from the shock (pardon the pun), he announced, arm still jiggling, "I'm going to Walmart to buy a new tv."

  36. what hurt worse….the jolt or that sudden stop when you hit the ground?

  37. As a redneck that happened to work for a redneck in the electrical field… I have had far more ZAPS than I can even remember.

    As said previously it is like a rough landing of aircraft… if you walk away, all is good.

    To make light of the situations as they occurred, I would tell who ever asked if I was okay… "Well I am positive I am alive and it feels GOODDDD!!!"

    Drop a new pair of "Kleins" (lineman pliers) into the back side of the breakers in a 400+ volt panel and you hear all sorts of thunder, see all sorts of lightning and some heavy metal music… When the fall out the bottom, let them cool a long time and throw away… they will never work again with the missing bits of steel and welded hinge point!

    hogdogs, aka…

  38. Ow! Owowowowowow! Glad you're OK enough to write about it.

    Word Verification: blech. Fits perfectly.

  39. Don't trust breakers.

    Get a pair of strippers with an induction current detector built into the handle.

    Wave the handle near the work before touching. If it lights up, correct the problem, and then go find someone to drag to the hurt locker.

    The folks above have posted all sorts of amusing ways the power can mysteriously return.

  40. Just be glad it was not a jet engine igniter! If you get hit be one of those… lets just say you will be knocking at St. Pete's door sooner than you ever thought! Jet fuel takes a helluva lot of juice to ignite!

  41. and appropos of nothing at all, I am here to tell you that on can feel the differerence in the tingle between british 50hz 220 and American 60 cycle 10. The 50 HZ stuff is less enjoyable.

    and a real shock makes you pee down your leg until you ground yourself enough via the urine to pop the breaker…

    or so I have read….

    Glad you are ok.

    INNIT amazing the things we do to keep our womenfolk happy?

  42. Like we say in this neck of the woods… Einaaaaaaa!
    Glad you survived the encounter with said gentlemen!

  43. Like we say in this neck of the woods… Einaaaaaaa!
    Glad you survived the encounter with said gentlemen!

  44. And Back in the day when you TAGGED things out…there is always the knucklehead who comes up to the box and looks around and cant see you working UNDER the deck on the 440v 3ph power to the hydraulic powerpack that you are hooking back up after an errant log end trim ripped the wiring out of the motor J-box on the way by. When I got back up off the floor and shook some of the pins and needles out of my right arm, I heaved a 3# hammer at him (I'm LEFT handed to throw) while he was checking the control circut voltage to see why his powerpack was not running…

    He got fired, I got 3 days off for heaving a hammer at him…and hitting him.

    After a few more mills and RF gluers (BIG vac tube linear amplifers – the 15KV sort) I gave up and my Fluke Volt Alert pen is my best friend when I'm around wiring.

    Glad you are still with us "Dog!

  45. Being a new homeowner, I've been introduced to all the crazy shenanigans previous owners will do to wiring. Such as a bare 220v heater circuit sticking out of a wall..

    Probably my worst encounter with Mr. Electricity was working on a lawn tractor. Choke lever was right next to the spark plug lead. Let me tell you right now, that 15-20KV DC is NOT your friend. Took about 5 hits to the fingers before I could get my hand off the lead. Thank God for low amperage. Took about three hours for my right arm to start working right again though.

  46. Clearly you are still alive, able to type and in full possession of whatever remains of your faculties. I'm reasonably happy you didn't get seriously injured.

    As the story was related to me, the final words were, "Okay, turn it on." right after which the entire garage was illuminated in a brilliant purple flash of light.

  47. My first encounter with the evil duo of Mr. Gravity and Mr. Electricity came while attempting to change a lightbulb when I was 5 years old. I remember this thrumming sensation, and then waking up. I know roughly how much time I'd lost, due to what programs were showing on the TV before and after my accident (at least 5 minutes, but less than 10).

  48. Bergman:

    That would be about right. Short term memory is strictly electrical in nature. Medium term memory consists of short term stuff that stick to your attention for more than five or ten minutes, and gets stuck chemically.

    Long tern stuff is so ingrained that your brain's data recovery section will always be able to dredge it out after about 15 to 30 minutes of hard subconscious work.

  49. Rorschach said "220V HURTS LIKE A MOTHER. It is the magic number, The voltage isn't high enough to throw you clear of the source, but high enough to kill you dead."

    I beg to differ on the bit about not being high enough to throw you.
    As a young man I picked up a faulty kettle while the power was still on (240 volts) and my jumping muscles did throw me clear across the room. But you're certainly right about it hurting like a mother. Yes, oh dear yes!

  50. "Unplugged" neon transformers make your hand go numb about halfway to the elbow. Even funnier since I was on the phone with a customer after just saying to him "Now make sure that's unplugged before you check it or it will give you a heck of a shock".

    Irony, kind of like goldy not not as shiny.

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