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#72735 12/07/06 10:06 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline OP
Thinking of this thread for a while, and was prompted by the "path of least resistance" thread.

So, let us all know about those harrowing milliseconds when you have had something like this happen. IMO it hurts worse than getting a jolt from a straight voltage....

  • Working in a box with other circuits - thinking you have them off - you find that some joker "picked-up" a neutral from that one you are working on - YEOW!!!!
  • Testing a Hi-Lo voltage problem you accidently touch the ground or neutral bar which is no longer the same as anything else. You become the parralel path.... YEOWCH!
  • Relamping a 4' T-12 wrap around fixture. You open the difusser and out drops the ballast cover - and THE BALLAST! Someone used the fixture as a wire-way for some other lighting, the wieght of the ballast pulls the neutral apart and the load side one comes down and smacks you right in the face while you reach for something to grab before falling off the ladder. Grrrr...
  • Working in a crawl space a plumber says he got shocked. You ask how, says he got shocked by a conduit, and he uses his tape measure as a pointer as he reaches across you with his hand on your shoulder as you hold on to some nearby pipe, the one he was working on - you both get nailed... Later you find that some dope used a water line as a neutral.

Just some of the dumb ways to get shocked that I have compiled over the years. The last one was a week or so ago.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#72736 12/07/06 11:18 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,438
I went to an old house once that someone had repaired the broken neutral on K&T by wrapping it around a gas line in the basement [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

#72737 12/07/06 11:23 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
Since we're on the topic of neutral conductors.

Does cuurent flow from negative to positive because the grounded conductor adds current on it's return trip?

#72738 12/08/06 09:15 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
I've actually had an incandecent lamp glow when I got my finger in a neutral path on accident.

The human dimmer!

#72739 12/08/06 09:45 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
How many watts was the lamp?

#72740 12/08/06 10:07 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
Don't recall, might have been a 60 or 100. It just glowed a little bit as I got hit. It kind of added to the excitement, like an ! to the pain. Now I know what resistors go through. [Linked Image]

#72741 12/08/06 12:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
Which is exactly what I was getting at.

I was once shocked by the return path of 277v circuit. I was young, hungover from the night before, and mounting an exit sign to a suspended ceiling. The design of the sign called for mounting the canopy first, then wiring it, then finally attaching the body of the sign to the canopy. The stripped back THHN wire made contact with my elbow and knocked me off the ladder. I'll never forget it.

#72742 12/08/06 06:14 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 812
Here's one of my dad's stories on this topic:

Coworker gets called out to a MH Park for a "No Cable" Call. Goes to the DMARC on the side of the house, opens it up, and the cable was "blacker than black" (as in burned.) He looks at the porch light, and notices it's going on and off, on and off, on and off. He realizes what's wrong, and runs to the door and tries knocking. BAM! He get blasted into the yard. More concerned for the people and their house burning down, he does it again, with same result. My dad pulls up, and calls the people in the house, telling them to flip their main breaker off.

What was happening? The neutral was lost in the UG service, and it found a new way to the ground. Onto the aluminum siding, and through the cable. Funny part? The people didn't care, or notice their lights were flickering, they called when the cable went out! POCO was there the next day, with a backhoe. They were back there the next day, with shovels.

Ian A.

Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
#72743 12/09/06 08:10 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,498
I had one where I still can't figure out how it happened.
I was at anindoor flea market, plugging in an old portable record player. It didn't do anything, so I touched the small connector where the cord went into the player (similar to the well-known figure 8 connector) and immediately got bit! Even though I was standing on a wood floor with rubber soles on my shoes it hurt pretty bad.
Yet when I thoroughly tested that cord later I never managed to find a fault.

#72744 12/09/06 10:02 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 272
I remember like it was yesterday, back in 98' I was working at Ft Benning Ga. Installing new ballasts in 277v fixtures, I disconnected the hot..capped it off, then same with the Neutral, but before I capped it with a wire nut, I let my left finger slip down on to the other 'paw' was resting on the backside of the ballast cover. OUCH!

Luke Clarke
Electrical Planner for TVA.

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