ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
ShoutChat Box
Recent Posts
Questioning the electrical norms
by HotLine1 - 03/04/21 12:35 PM
Lock-down Thread
by gfretwell - 03/03/21 12:38 PM
Northern Tool Recalls Powerhorse Generators
by Admin - 02/25/21 09:49 PM
You will never guess
by gfretwell - 02/25/21 07:48 PM
New in the Gallery:
Facebook follies, bad wiring
FPE in Germany pt.2
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 17 guests, and 18 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
A little humor .... #188384 08/04/09 04:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline OP
Cat Servant
I was called to work on some sewage pumps; the plumber told me that the customer was insisting on "an electrician who was familiar with and an expert on such systems" Ohhh Kayyy....

Being Nevada, this entailed a trip halfway across the state, into what we call the 'cattle counties.' Well, it was a perfect day for a drive in the countryside. The directions were simple: keep going untill you gas gauge drops below view, then turn left frown

I arrive, and within seconds I am able to identify (from the panel) one bad float and a bad pump. Replacements were procured, and the installation repaired.

Only then did I learn that the 'customer' in this case had an engineer for a husband, some technical training herself, and that both their fathers were on site. One had retired from NASA as a pump and control engineer.

The extreme rust on the old piping was a shock to the engineers; they had never realised sewage was so nasty. Expressing surprise that the Myers pumps did NOT have a fifteen year warranty - I'm not aware of any sewage pumps with more than a three year warranty - they paid for new pumps.

I went on to explain how the floats operated the pumps; this was a mystery to them. the wiring diagram - conveniently intact in the panel after 15 years - made as much sense to our engineers as a Chinese phone book, so I explained the symbols to them.

It seems that they had all tried to 'figure out' what the problem was, and had been baffled. The visible sparks within the 'ice cube' relays as they operated worried the customer. They were worried that they might need to replace a $1000 panel (they didn't).

Well, it's nice to be appreciated. I was also amused when the NASA guy explained to his daughter that I was not 'hindered by an engineering education." laugh

BTW: I'd be very disappointed in any journeyman who would not have been able to identify the problems.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: A little humor .... [Re: renosteinke] #188385 08/04/09 07:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Alan Belson Offline
To the casual observer in a typical French bar, eavesdropping on the conversations of the ubiquitous British Expats propping up the latter, it would seem that there are only 3 subjects of conversation. The exchange-rate pound to euro, the extortionate price of ferry tickets to Blighty for the essential supplies of Hienz baked beans and back rashers, and the French Sewage System: Lack Of. One would have to live in a pretty remote and ramshackle hovel in England which did not enjoy the benefits of a mains sewage works and sewers, loving laid at 1 to 100 falls, for the Victorians just loved digging gurt big 'oles and laying bricks and pipes.

To comply with new environmental laws, [ essentially the crazy idea is that the French have to make a passing stab at treating sewage and not pour it into the nearest ditch- at least that was an improvement on chucking out of the window! laugh ], we had a new system put in in 2005, which cost me half the price of a new car. It has two pumps, one on the exit from the 4000 litre septic settlement tank, to pump settled water to the sealed vertical filter bed [35 cubic metres of sand], and one to lift the filtered water from the filter base it into the nearest ditch! blush

All approved by the highly compensated Engineer lady from the Prefecture, of course, who stomped round inspecting stuff and pontificating over her drawings, while our installer muttered vieled oaths under his breath in patois.

In 3 years, the sewage had eaten right through the support chains on both the expensive immersed pumps, 1/4" thick hot-dipped galvanised steel. The septic tank pump failed at the same time, the raw sewage had got past the seals into the armature and eaten it too. I baulked at the price of a new pump, and got an all plastic pump, capable of handling solids, in the UK for a fifth of the price. System over engineered, you see, by folks with lots of brains but little practical know-how. There was no need for giant pumps capable of hurling the entire contents into the filter in minutes. We only use 150 litres of water per day, so a 500W pump will eat the job. Yes it takes half an hour and not 5 minutes but so what?

We got two neat little battery powered gizmos that whistle if the pumps fail, BTW.

Wood work but can't!
Re: A little humor .... [Re: Alan Belson] #188399 08/05/09 06:59 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 169
ChicoC10 Offline
Every time I get together with some of my old college friends who went on to become engineers it takes me 2 or 3 hours of speaking intelligently to remind them I'm not a knuckle dragging moron just because I didn't go into engineering.

The looks on their faces when they realize I can comprehend what they are talking about is hilarious. You should have seen the reaction when they found out I knew what a Class 1 Div 1 zone was.
And even funnier is that THEY didn't know what publication called out the classes! I have no idea where they found out what it was, it was something they needed to know to design certain sensors they were building. And I have to go through the same routine every year or so!

Last edited by ChicoC10; 08/05/09 07:03 PM.
Re: A little humor .... [Re: ChicoC10] #188407 08/06/09 09:37 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 984
ghost307 Offline
When I was going through engineering school the running joke about engineers trying to work in the real world was:

Measure it with a micrometer,
mark it with a crayon,
and hit it with an ax.

Sounded funny then...sounded pathetic when I got out in the world and found that it was true for oh so many of my former classmates.

Re: A little humor .... [Re: ghost307] #188486 08/11/09 12:59 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 317
sabrown Offline
It was nice to have teachers in engineering who wanted us to learn to estimate plus or minus 20% and this estimation typically would be good enough. Hopefully we all learned.

Re: A little humor .... [Re: sabrown] #188487 08/11/09 01:42 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,571
gfretwell Online Content
I know a lot of contractors who underestimated all their profit away. 20% is a big number when net profit might only be 10% if you get everything right.

Greg Fretwell
Re: A little humor .... [Re: gfretwell] #188488 08/11/09 02:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 317
sabrown Offline
I am talking about estimating what will happen to a signal through a circuit. I hear you on estimating costs.

Re: A little humor .... [Re: sabrown] #188493 08/11/09 06:24 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,571
gfretwell Online Content
I'm sorry I was thinking about the other topic sorry.

I suppose they say 20% is OK because that is the tolerance of a cheap resistor.
I knew guys who put pots in the circuit, adjusted them until things worked then took them out, measured them and replaced them with a fixed resistor. Anything not to do a little math I guess. That was before the calculator tho.

Greg Fretwell
Re: A little humor .... [Re: gfretwell] #188523 08/14/09 02:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
Texas_Ranger Offline
In Austria everything flows into a big tank which is pumped regularly by some nice guys in a big truck, the contents are taken to the nearest sewage treatment plant. Beware if the cesspool overflows... i know a house where the basement was closed off for months after that happened, don't know how they cleaned it in the end.

Cost estimating: Sum up everything you might need in a project, add 20% safety, double that figure and add another 50% secret factor. The end result is likely going to be close enough. That's how they did it where I used to work. The HVAC planning guys 2 floors above didn't even bother to sum up everything they considered reasonable, instead they made something up that sounded good for the customer but in fact had no idea what they were doing until final planning stages when they did all the calculations.

Re: A little humor .... [Re: Texas_Ranger] #188524 08/14/09 03:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Alan Belson Offline
Those HVAC guys sound like they trained with the Gummint!
Or perhaps they were totally unsuitable for the job in the first place, like this poor beggar....

Wood work but can't!
Page 1 of 2 1 2


2020 National Electrical Code
2020 National Electrical
Code (NEC)

* * * * * * *

2020 Master Electrician Exam Preparation Combos
2020 NEC Electrician
Exam Prep Combos:
Master / Journeyman


Member Spotlight
Berkley, MA
Posts: 144
Joined: March 2008
Show All Member Profiles 
Top Posters(30 Days)
Popular Topics(Views)
275,680 Are you busy
209,602 Re: Forum
196,952 Need opinion
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3