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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
No one else would hire me. Still having that problem. Sure glad it's Friday. What a week! Is MacDonalds hiring?

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 176
My first encounter with electricity was when I was 7 and I took my first battery operated toy apart. Prior to that, I thought touching any wire, even unconnected, would electrocute me.
My first encounter with 120V was when I was 8. I had a small physics set that required a 9 volt battery for the motor. My dad never bought the battery, so I hooked the alligator clips to the prongs on a fan cord. The motor wasn't connected at the time. I went to go get some kool-aid and plugged the fan in so my mom wouldn't yell at me for havin the fan unplugged. Secons later, I heard POW! and saw a blue flash. [Linked Image] I ran to my bed and cried, because I thought I'd be grounded. Turns out my dad didnt ground me. He explained what voltage and AC were.
When I was 11, I was indirectly shocked by lightning. It hit a pole about a half mile away. A spark jumped from the radiator to my knee and I fell over (I was watching the storm out the window)
My first experience with home wiring was at my dad's friend's house. Her husband, an electrical engineer with a masters, put grounded single pole switches in instead of 3 ways. She asked me to come check it because everytime she'd try to turn the light on, the breaker would shut off. He hooked one of the hots to the ground screw. Good thing the box was grounded as I was leaning against a radiator, and if it wasn't, the breaker wouldn't trip and I would have got quite a jolt.
I am now 19, an electrical engineering student at community college (Formerly at Penn State until my grades slipped and I lost financial aid). I mostly work with electronics and microprocessors. Hpwever, I live with a friend and I am rewiring his house. (I know, DIY! However, I have been doing it to code because I am well aware of the danger, and I have my neighbor, a retired electrician, take a look at everything. I don't want my work in the photo violations forum. The person who wired the house 25 years ago is now the inspector for Pittsburgh or Allegheny County or something. According to my neighbor and my own observations, there were many violations. His work was charity work, as he is my friend's uncle. However, he just wanted in and out as fast as possible. This last part was a bit off topic, but I didn't want chewed out for being a DIY [Linked Image].)

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 49
At the age of three, I bit into a phone cord. Have the scar inside my upper lip. It feels that I was destined to ply this trade.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
Originally posted by Voltron61:

At the age of three, I bit into a phone cord...

Ick! Reminds me of the guys who used to strip wire with their teeth. I still wince when my brother-in-law opens beer bottle with 'em.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
I've been told that somewhere around the age of 2-1/2 I grabbed a screwdriver from my father's hand while sitting on his lap as he wired a plug.

My first contact (literally! [Linked Image] ) with 240V that I remember vividly was running over to "help mommy" unplug the vacuum cleaner, being unable to grasp the big plug properly in my small hands and then putting my fingers behind it to get a better grip before she could stop me. I remember it stung pretty good, and I guess I was lucky it was across fingers on the same hand. I was probably about 4 at the time.

Certainly I was playing with batteries and bulbs by the time I was around 5, and my interest (obsession?) just snowballed from there.

It was simple radios and amplifiers by the time I was 8, then onto all the old radios, TVs, tape recorders etc. that neighbors put my way after they discovered my growing hobby. This would have been around the mid 1970s by that time, and 1950s/60s domestic equipment was in plentiful supply as people turned out attics or put stuff in the church jumble sale. I acquired many old units that way!

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 06-20-2004).]

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 127
It seems that I always had a fascination with electricity. I remember way back when I was 6 or 7, wiring up a "loose" outlet with zip cord, plugging it in to see if it'd work, and at least once I recall sparks. I also remember wiring up a brass-shell Edison lamp socket on zip cord and messing around with it outside; a (probably) non-polarized plug and the brass lamp shell, combined with likely damp feet, made me respect electricity much more. MAN, DID I GET BIT (TWICE)!!! My dad never cared at all about me messing with electricity (maybe I wasn't such a good kid...!)

I was truly mesmerized by fluorescent lighting as a kid. Once, in grade school, our 4th-grade class was on the way to the auditorium where we were taught music appreciation. The "electricians" (custodians) were replacing the old triple-Saturn-ring incandescent fixtures (you know, the ones which were popular in the early-to-mid-50's that used those silver-bottomed 300W bulbs) with fluorescent ones just outside the auditorium in the lobby, and while the rest of the class headed in for music I decided to stop and watch the fluorescent lights going in. When class was over, the teacher saw me NOT in class (I valued my attendance very highly back then so this was extremely unusual!!) she just shook her head and mouthed the word "No!" and that was it.

Funny, though, I wound up being a surveyor instead; nonetheless, I still have a great interest and deep respect for electricity, the NEC and those in the electrical trade. More than once I seriously considered being an electrician and even talked to the state Labor & Industries folks in person about it some years ago but it never panned out in the public sector where I've been for 25-plus years now. Maybe as a second career? I can hear it now- "Hey, Alex! Bring your dentures over here so we can prep this MI cable!!!" [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

No wire bias here- I'm standing on neutral ground.
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 289
i started at about 5 too, with batteries and flashlight lamps. later disassembled radios, vcrs ect and tried to get something from the remnants running...

the first time i got badly psycho sparked was at about 6or 7 when screwing a E14 baset 15v christmas light bulb into an E14 230V socket and plugging in. the bulb blew, thank god i was not injured.

the first physically bang was years later, i guess when i was around 16. it smelled burning from outdoors, i stuck my nose into an un-used outlet to smell if it comes from there and got banged on MY NOSE because the outlet was totally wrong wired. 2 wires had been swapped and the GND was hot (The Schuko outlet has a touchable GND contact). Ouch, that one really kicked.

[This message has been edited by :andy: (edited 06-20-2004).]

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 22
I think I was 3 when I started to have an interest in electricity. I use to have these RadioShack electronics kits which would allow u to build radios, flashing LED circuits and many others. I was always excited for some appliance or electrical gadget in our house to break so i could take it apart. I also use to wire receptacles and lights in various combinations using old extension cords and the plug them in.

My first encounter with 120V was when I was 4 and I stuck a set of keys in on outlet [Linked Image]...
I was not shocked cause I stuck the first key in the neutral slot and the second in the hot... so the current went through the key ring and not me [Linked Image] but the big blue flash still scared the @#$% out of me! My parents found out about this when they discovered the TV would not turn on!

Another bad incident I had was when I was in my teens... I was making a power supply to transform 120V AC to 6 and 12 V DC... but I wired the transformer backwards and when I plugged it in, it created a huge plume of black smoke and I immediately unplugged it!.. Instead of lowering the voltage to 12V i got something like 1400V instead. [Linked Image] The transformer and everything was totally fried and it smelled like hell. The breaker never tripped tho. From then on I was much more careful with transformers. [Linked Image]

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 4
Junior Member
This is a great thread!
As many of you have pointed out it really brings back a lot of memories.
My dad was an electrical contractor, so I naturally started at a pretty early age. He had one fellow as a foreman who delited in teasing "the boss's kid". Our company did skads of apartment complexes and we were sent to one of these projects. The foreman (John) assigned me to do air conditioner hookups. The units were on pads outside each apartment. I would go inside and turn off the breaker, then go back out and wire it up. Several units into the detail I was getting pretty confident and just sailing along, but when I started making the connections on this one it bit the blazes out of me. Shaken, I went back in to make sure I had turned the breaker off. Sure nuff, it was off, so I went back out to finish. BANG! Got me again! Man it hurt. I was really confused. Checked the brkr again. It was off. I was more careful now. Finished and moved on to the next one. Turned brkr off and went out to do my work. BANG! Burnt me again. But this time I heard some muffled laughing from inside the apartment.
I know you all have figured out what was happening. John was sneaking around behind me a turning the brkr back on, then laughing when I got zapped. Pretty funny, huh?
Glad he had his laugh, cause he spent YEARS paying for it!

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 07-08-2004).]

You con du it with BURKEY BENDER conduit bender
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 200
Well... I have always taken things apart - much to the annoyance of family and friends!! [Linked Image] Graduated onto regular things like changing plugs/fuses at about 7; we were always moving around the world ( dad was in the forces ) so everything was to change schuko>Brit>schuko...etc.

My first 'sparky job' was at prep school. Some plonker threw a shoe across the dormitory and hit the light switch - an old surface mount roundle. Out came the penknife and off came the cover; trouble was the base was shattered too. I nicked a switch out of an attic room and swapped it over live [Linked Image] ...I was about 9. Just finishing when the master on duty saw the lights on and came in trough the bathroom door...jeez did I get a walloping!! When I think of all the potentials for major crises in that little escapade - I guess I deserved the cane [Linked Image]

My first connection with 240V came not long after that at home. We had an old Rodgers valve amp / 'hi-fi' set that I used to blow pop music out on [Linked Image] All the components were plugged into the back of the amp using the most _basic_ 2-pin plugs... One day I reached behind to unplug the deck without looking ... [Linked Image] I remember to this day falling to the floor thinking "I'm too young...not yet". It scared the bejesus out of me and taught me a lifelong healthIER respect for 'leccy.

If hindsight were foresight, we'd all be millionaires!
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