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#177487 - 05/04/08 02:57 PM GIs in Iraq and Afghanastan dying from bad wiring
wa2ise Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 771
Loc: Oradell NJ USA
New York Times article

Seems some GIs are getting shocked and some killed from badly done wiring by contractors on American bases in Iraq and Afghanastan. Seems no inspections are done.


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#177488 - 05/04/08 02:59 PM Re: GIs in Iraq and Afghanastan dying from bad wiring [Re: wa2ise]
sparkyinak Offline
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Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1296
Loc: Alaska
Sad but not surprising
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#177492 - 05/04/08 04:57 PM Re: GIs in Iraq and Afghanastan dying from bad wiring [Re: sparkyinak]
Tesla Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/04
Posts: 1280
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Generally, Federal installations don't get inspected. You you see some of the stuff on domestic military bases.

Fouled up neutrals and grounds would be typical.

As to the picture: it looks like some work in progress, perhaps some terrible attempt at temp power with a genset just out of view.
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#177503 - 05/04/08 08:56 PM Re: GIs in Iraq and Afghanastan dying from bad wir [Re: Tesla]
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Let me get this straight ... roadsides littered with bombs, an opposition that only turns to shooting at you when there are no locals around to terrify / exploit ... and you're worried about the NEC?

De Oppresso Libre

I don't want to hear anyone whining about business being slow, or there not being enough work. Get your tails over there, and help fix the problem.


Edited by renosteinke (05/04/08 09:04 PM)

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#177509 - 05/05/08 04:00 AM Re: GIs in Iraq and Afghanastan dying from bad wir [Re: renosteinke]
SteveFehr Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1192
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Electrical inspections are done, just not by electrical inspectors. On military bases, the AHJ is whomever the responsible officer is, or more often, someone they delegate who has more knowledge in the area (seabee electrician, or staff electrical engineer, for instance). Small commands in the field might have nobody at all remotely qualified to inspect electrical, mechanical, environmental, etc, yet are still responsible.

The contracting officer is responsible for ensuring the work is done according to contract (DoD guidance includes NEC), but that usually only comes at the SOVT at the very end of the project, and not during temporary work used to support the project. I'm not going to get into anecdotes, but safety is taken VERY seriously in the military. Yet, they have more leeway for risk than one in the commercial world might have, and the AHJs have more vested interest in the project, since the AHJ also typically is the one paying for the work and recieving the product; it's not so cut and dry as a city inspector's "I don't care what it costs or how long it takes, fix it right". For instance, CO of a command might authorize the enclosures be removed from transformers to prevent them from overheating, if he/she feels the risk of losing the mission outweighs the risk to personnel safety. And yes, they are held personally accountable for that decision, or a similar decision made by anyone under their command.

Edit: Also, wanted to mention that there is such a thing as a "battle short", which is a switch than can be thrown during battle that shorts out nearly every single fuse and breaker on a weapons platform. Makes sense if you think about it militarily: you'd rather the equipment runs until it bursts into flames than to nuisance trip offline during combat; repair cost means little if your ship is sunk or tank is blown up.


Edited by SteveFehr (05/05/08 04:09 AM)

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#177536 - 05/06/08 06:07 AM Re: GIs in Iraq and Afghanastan dying from bad wir [Re: SteveFehr]
Ann Brush Offline
Member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 155
Loc: Ohia
 Originally Posted By: SteveFehr

Edit: Also, wanted to mention that there is such a thing as a "battle short", which is a switch than can be thrown during battle that shorts out nearly every single fuse and breaker on a weapons platform. Makes sense if you think about it militarily: you'd rather the equipment runs until it bursts into flames than to nuisance trip offline during combat; repair cost means little if your ship is sunk or tank is blown up.


While this may be or have been true for relatively simple and largely mechanically controlled weapons systems it certainly is not the case for todays high-tech electronically controlled systems. These sensitive devices simply fail and cant operate under the shunt conditions described above. You have to have all electronic systems working perfectly to control the weapons system you are using - there is no mechanical or human control possible.

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#177555 - 05/07/08 03:38 AM Re: GIs in Iraq and Afghanastan dying from bad wir [Re: Ann Brush]
SteveFehr Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1192
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Battle short is still there, and still in highly sophisticated electronics systems. Not in all of them, mind you, but is in many of the critical ones. Often with a metal toggle level under a nice red protective cover, like the kind of button you might use to fire a missile.

The issues in Iraq/Afghanistan are different, though. There is no such thing as battle short in the showers, just shoddy worksmanship. A lot of the local contractors are to blame- US has the luxury of restrictive electrical codes that are enforced; the rest of the world, especially the third world, gets by with dangerous crap. And when we sub out to them... SURPRISE! I'm half surprised the photo in this article is of an american panel instead of something they just hobbled together with bits of wire and breakers on DIN rails.

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#177656 - 05/09/08 05:53 AM Re: GIs in Iraq and Afghanastan dying from bad wir [Re: SteveFehr]
petey_c Offline
Member

Registered: 01/30/05
Posts: 62
Loc: Miller Place, NY USA
During my time in Kuwait and Afghanistan, I saw some pretty horrible wiring jobs. The power panels came with all the CB blanks taken out. When I got home, I mailed a dozen back to my relief (who was an electrician in Fl.). They were using a 8 ckt panel as a switch. Nothing like walking into a dark container and fumbling around looking for a breaker on a panel cover with six of the remaining spaces open. As bad as some facilities were, I'd always thought that I didn't have to worry about getting killed in the shower (except by a stray mortar). Ignorance was bliss....

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