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Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
Trumpy Offline OP
As the default Moderator of this area, I am asking each and everyone of you folks to at least say Hi in this thread.
Tell us what you're up to and how things are with you.
I'd like to get some real discussion going on this area, let's see how it goes.
If you want to chime in with a thread, go for it, we're here watching......

grin whistle

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 206
OK, it's only polite to say "Hi" in return.
I could be considered a fraud on here as I'm not and never have been a contractor. Now retired, I spent most of my working life in aerospace on the design and development testing of military aircraft systems.
The design and construction of engineering test laboratories and facilities involved dealing with high frequency, (400Hz), and DC which can sometimes produce some unexpected results when operated along with domestic supplies for test gear etc. Stray earth currents were a common source of problems.
This type of work developed my knowledge of and interest in installation practice.
I enjoy following ECN and thank the moderators who take the time and trouble to keep it running.

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
Trumpy Offline OP
Geoff in UK,
Don't ever think that you come across as any sort of a fraud.
In the UK, I remember back in the days of PaulUK being here and he said that anyone and his dog could call themselves an Electrician, that is why he turned his back on the trade in the Eastern Norwich area and left this place as well.

With this area covering such a WIDE area in terms of Geography and current laws and Regulations pertaining to wiring practices, I'm of the opinion that we should ALL keep in contact here to keep up with the latest stuff from each individual country, no matter how far flung they might be.

Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 76
Hello as you can see I'm active in a couple of threads right now I read all the comments others make with great interest its a shame some people get fed up with the trade but I can understand it especially when you get gobby or abusive customers personally I've not met to many maybe I'm just lucky or perhaps being female helps. Happy new year guys and girls

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 48
Hi all - I'm often here in spirit anyway! I do read a lot of the posts, but it seems that as I get older, the less time I have to do anything outside of work - including posting things here. I really should make the effort, after a lifetime of contracting I have seen some very interesting stuff. However, I would to some extent agree with what Paul said when he left. That's not to say there aren't some great electricians about, but having taught in a college for a while, I can see why some slip through the net....
Anyway, I hope 2016 is good for you all, where ever you are.

Joined: May 2011
Posts: 10
Guess I'm a bit of a strange one too!

I've never been an Electrical Contractor. I have a degree in power systems engineering (the science of transferring bulk power across the network). After graduation I drifted into music and spent a good few years working on power generation & distribution on the UK festival circuit. I've helped plan, worked on & 'babysat' the power infrastructure on most of the major UK festivals.

I've now grown up (aka got tied of coiling cables in a wet field at 3am) and work for a Company that builds educational teaching equipment - were I'm responsible for power systems products.

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 29
Likes: 1
Hi. I'm a retired TV and electronics engineer. Spent most of my working life in the UK but went back packing (was not called that then) around the world in the 70s and worked in Port Hedland Western Australia for a while.
My interest in this site is seeing how electrics is done elsewhere plus my memories of what I saw around the globe. Interesting website here as well:

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,498
I originally came here as a secondary school student after I got interested in US wiring on my school trip to NYC at age 15. Later I did a 2-year course in electrical engineering and renewable energy, which means I'm qualified to carry out electrical work but not to acquire a licence and open a business - for that I'd need another set of quite extensive exams.

Afterwards I worked in electrical planning for a short while, mainly planning the wiring of new railway stations (originally only the 230/400 V side but later also the switch track heating at 231/462 V 16.7 Hz) with occasional retirement homes and domestic buildings (in less fancy terms we once had to draw plans for wiring a top-notch block of flats for a super-rich MD, including a direct lift into the sitting room of his own top-floor loft). During school I also did a - rather horrible - one-month internship with a contractor, mainly carrying stuff, sweeping up and getting beer. Oh and once replacing sockets live, ended up getting a faulty socket that exploded 1 cm from my fingers when I pushed in the live wire. That was the sort of shoddy contractor that'd use yellow/green for switched phases and fuse 1.5 mm2 wire at 25 A for temp power. Unmetered too, no RCD and no earth. Not to mention the general work ethic and alcohol consumption.

Now I'm back to university and nearly finished with a teacher training programme (English and history) for secondary schools. I'm still interested in electrical work and do my own work whenever possible.

Last edited by Texas_Ranger; 01/02/16 09:28 PM.
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 384
For me it started at the age of 13/14 in the Boy Scouts doing my electricians badge. We had an EC who was one of the scout leaders and he taught us all how to wire a basic circuit from plug, through switch, to light fitting – all fixed down to a make-up board. The advanced course was the 2-way (US 3-way) switches. I was only able to learn about intermediates later from my uncle who was an industrial electrical fitter.

That coupled with A-Levels in physics gave me an understanding of why it all works along with life’s healthy respect of how it shouldn’t work. So I grew up with red-black-green, ring and lighting circuits and then moved to South Africa. Old fashioned BS546 systems and I had to learn about branch rather than ring circuits. Same old colours except the three phases were red, white and blue as opposed to red, yellow and blue in the – then modern – British system. I saw red, yellow, green in Russia – travel broadens the mind!

And so to the States where black became live and white neutral – for me a serious mind-shift. Plus that other American phase, sometimes red – but usually also black – which provided my access to that elusive 240V that I desired for all of my South African/European kit that I had just imported into the good ol’ USA, along with my young family. More concerning for me was the lack of distinction between lighting and power circuits, ubiquitous 120V and the requirement for RCD protection in the kitchen – (for RCD, please read what ever is the present acceptable acronym – I hope you know what I mean).

Being an Englishman – though widely travelled – I can vouch for a genetic love of tea which, despite America’s safety culture, demands water at the point of phase transition (100C/212F at sea level). It isn’t rocket science to realise that this is more rapidly achieved using a 3kW (British 240V) kettle than a 750W (120V US) one. Thus the visceral need to provide a 240V outlet in my adopted American kitchen – Legally and within code!

Thus I started some internet searches and happened upon ECN – and being a complete outsider – posed a very gentle question, having read and reread the 1996 NEC. Can I have a 240V outlet in a US kitchen and does it need a RCD? (the latter outside of swimming pools, being a rare and expensive beast). I never pretended to be anyone other than who I am – a geologist with practical know-how – and was met with a friendly reception and an interesting debate started amongst those NEC experts.

The long and short:- 240V OK as long as it is for a dedicated appliance greater than 1500W– my kettle was truly dedicated; and the RCD provisions were only in respect of 120V circuits. Result!

Tea vicar?

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Hi, I have not posted anything for a few years now, but I still look in now and again and exchange rare emails with Trumpy. I'm still living in France and am still doing the 'wood-mangling' for pleasure, currently working on an eight-drawer desk in some really nice genuine Cuban Mahogany that I've been hoarding for many years, but was too frightened to cut due to the staggering value per cubic foot. It's now over 25 years since I worked for a living, but what with multiple pensions and a good wife to curb my mania for tools, I've never been so well off!
Best wishes to you all.

Wood work but can't!
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