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#37219 - 04/23/04 07:53 AM What was your first spark?
Trumpy Offline


Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8532
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Sorry, this may have been asked before.
But, at what age did you start mucking around with basic Electrical stuff.
I'm not willing to start an argument here, but I reckon that us Guys that started on Crystal sets and Basic radio's had the wood on you "lamp and switch" guys!.
We might have needed the long-wire aerial, but we got something out of it, even if it was only AM!.
But, as far as the question goes, What on Earth made you get into Electricity?.
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#37220 - 04/23/04 08:35 AM Re: What was your first spark?

Wow does that bring back memories! Got a merit badge for radio and made a crystal set.
Wrapped a toilet paper tube with bare copper and had an open crystal with a sheet metal scratch "tuner". Had an aerial from my room window out to a tree. Had a radio shack electronics set after that and spent hours building "stuff". I had radios and speakers and wire running all over the place. In my late teens I got a job at an electrical and plumbing supply store. I realized I could make more money in a trade and started bugging every electrical contractor that came through the door. Finally got hired and I still remember my first few minutes on the job - My foreman handed me a receptacle and said "put that in" I gave him a blank look and he started laughing. He was a great mentor and friend. Taught me alot about the trade as well as life. Great memories! (My first code book was 76.) Thanks for letting me ramble.

#37221 - 04/23/04 08:47 AM Re: What was your first spark?
AutomationMan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/11/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Sumner, Texas USA
For me it was at about the age of 3 or 4 in the early fifties when I asked how the TV got its picture. When my Dad told me it came through the air my curiosity took over my life to some degree.

Once in Basic Electronics class in the army I then understood how it worked. After a few years of radar troubleshooting and repair in the Army, it was an EE degree. From then on it was electronics as a career for life. A life that hopefully will go on for many more years yet.

Have a great day,

#37222 - 04/23/04 08:59 AM Re: What was your first spark?
Bill Addiss Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA

I don't remember if I ever got anything other than static from my Crystal and "Cats' Whisker" set. But it was fun building ...


#37223 - 04/23/04 09:22 AM Re: What was your first spark?
Spark Master Flash Offline

Registered: 07/28/03
Posts: 145
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
When I was a little kid, we moved to a different house and all the loose household items had moving tags with copper wires attached. I gathered a bunch of the tags, stacked them in a pile, straightened the copper wires, then inserted them into a receptacle.

I quickly learned a little bit about grounding, resistance, voltage and amperes a few cycles into 60 Hz. Mom put cold mustard on the burns. It took me a while to delve into electrical work again.

Building a router table, I wanted a long cord on the outside, a receptacle inside and a switch mounted through the side of the router table carcase so I could turn it on and off with ease. First I read two electrical books, then I put the electrical setup together in the router table, not paying enough attention to proper terminations. Popped the circuit breaker, then looked into it - I found that I had run the hot and the neutral to the two terminals on the switch! Dumb novice mistake! That was a learning experience.
"When in doubt, short it out"

#37224 - 04/23/04 12:19 PM Re: What was your first spark?
Mean Gene Offline

Registered: 10/20/03
Posts: 137
Loc: Ohio, USA
I was just born with electricity in my veins. As a child in elementary school (1960's) all of my science fair projects involved low voltage lamps, motors, knife switches, bell wire and lantern batteries.

By age 10, I had graduated to repairing television sets. All there was back then was black & white sets, but most everybody had one. I would remove every vacuum tube from the set, carefully noting where they came from, take them all to the local department store's U-TEST-M machine and test them one at a time until I found the bad one. They all had specific part numbers on them and a catalog hung on the machine to cross the number over to the brand they sold. Almost every repair was a bad tube, a wire that had come loose or just a tuner that needed cleaning with an aerosol cleaner. People from all over the neighborhood brought their sets for repair. I probably worked on 1 or 2 sets a month.

The inside of a B&W television set is also where I first learned the function of a capacitor. I can remember to this day the surprise I received when I touched one in a set that had been unplugged for hours, only to receive a shock that knocked me to the ground. Thank God I was a lot closer to the ground back then. I've been dealing with electricity in one way, shape or form ever since.

#37225 - 04/23/04 01:33 PM Re: What was your first spark?
BigJohn Offline

Registered: 03/06/04
Posts: 352
Loc: Boston, MA
I think my first real "spark" was probably when I took a cut appliance cord, plugged it in, and touched the phase and grounded conductors together... Scared me. Went and told my mother what I had done so she would have warning in case that big spark was also happening back behind the walls...

I don't even know where it began. Some of the earliest memories I have are of "taking things apart" which usually involved beating the mess out of them with a hammer until I could look at all the gizmos inside... I like to think I've gotten a little more tactful as the years have progressed....

I'm interested in how everything works. I just focus on electricity because it's the only one that was a big mystery (and still is, in a lot of ways ). If you take apart and engine and look at all the pieces carefully, it's usually pretty aparent how they're all supposed to work. But I could desolder every single component in a VCR and still have no clue in the world what they all did for each other.


#37226 - 04/23/04 02:28 PM Re: What was your first spark?
ga.sparky56 Offline

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
I had no interest in things electrical until I was about 28. I had been an auto mechanic until then.

I took a job as a maintainence man in a wire-making plant,and worked with a semi retired EE/electrician. He got me interested,I went to night school,and have been doing electrical/plumbing work for almost 22 yrs.


#37227 - 04/23/04 05:41 PM Re: What was your first spark?
Bjarney Offline

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
I have vivid memories at an early age of a “fluggling” incident.

Several editions of the ARRL Radio Amateur’s Handbook were a prime source of information through the years.

First looking through a copy of the 1971 NEC was strange and discouraging… {What in the world is “Electrical Metallic Tubing” and “Disconnecting Means”?}

[This message has been edited by Bjarney (edited 04-23-2004).]

#37228 - 04/23/04 09:02 PM Re: What was your first spark?
DougW Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1083
Loc: North Chicago, IL
My first memory of anything electrical was reaching into a 2" x 3" opening, and grabbing the piece of greenfield my dad was dangling down from the box above it.

I had little hands. I was about 3, and mom & dad were owners/rehabbers of a 2-flat in Chicago's uptown neighborhood.

Dad taught me how to do things "to code", since the City would conduct random inspections on DIY's back then, and it made sense to do it right the first time. Learned electrical, plumbing, and carpentry.

When I got my house in '96, found most of the old linen/rubber covered wiring was cracked near the ends in the boxes - so, since it was all RMC, I just hooked the new to the old and pulled. Read my dad's copy of "Electrical Wiring Simplified", and connected everything back up. Went from 4 circuits in the house to 12.

My old fire chief heard that I did wiring, and asked me to wire his garage. I kinda cringe at the work I did back then. All to Code, but a little unsure on workmanship.

Just started going from there. Opened a "handyman" business that "happened" to specialize in electrical - did it all to code, and learned more as I went. Did a few jobs, and eventually wound up working for a guy with a shop for a few months. Being former union, I learned about "work more, jaw less". Left him, then wound up with a buddy from another FD at my most current shop. Studied correspondence class, and that, along with time worked, got me into the City's Code exam. Passed with flying colors, got insurance, and here I am.

Some of the tools I have (and HAD - see theft post) belonged to dad, and I swear sometimes when I'm about to "F" up, I can hear dad saying "what do you thing you're doing?".

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