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#20546 - 01/15/03 08:03 PM Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
ThinkGood  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,081
Milwaukee, WI
The author of that posting wrote:

My wife called me on my cell phone and told me that the power was out in 2 rooms and she smelled something like it was burning.

Such a situation warrants an immediate call to 9-1-1 or whatever emergency number is used to reach your local fire department. Hopefully, your FD is equipped with a thermal-imaging camera to locate possible hot spots that would not normally be visible.

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#20547 - 01/16/03 11:02 AM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
mamills  Offline
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 745
Wharton, Texas, USA
Absolutely correct! A call to the Fire Department comes first to "safe" this situation, followed by a call to a professional Electrician.

Our FD is very fortunate indeed to have a Thermal Imaging Camera. We have used it many times, most recently for a violent electrical failure such as has been described. Upon our arrival, we did not find any heat at the burned-out wall receptacle (homeowner had extinguished this fire already), but we DID find an excessive heating condition in the attic. It turned out to be a burned connection in a J-box (a 1900 box without a cover, incidentally) which ignited a small box stored nearby [Linked Image]. Without the camera, we might have missed this when we checked the attic for fire extension.

Mike (mamills)

#20548 - 01/16/03 03:13 PM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
Bill Addiss  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,878
I've been thinking about getting an Infrared Thermometer to help in finding weak/hot connections. Sometimes it's real obvious where a loose connection is, like when one outlet glows like a Jack-o-Lantern, but other times it's not. Does anyone here use them?


#20549 - 01/16/03 03:23 PM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
ThinkGood  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,081
Milwaukee, WI

Are you part of the FD? Any details on the camera? I have never seen one, but I have heard of them being used in such situations.

I also have read about them being used to find "cold spots" from poor insulation (that is, doors, windows, etc. -- places where your furnace fuel money is being wasted).

Then there are the super-duper spy uses to "see" people through ceilings and walls [Linked Image]

#20550 - 01/16/03 04:43 PM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
classicsat  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 456
Basically it's a supercooled CCD,
that shows heat as various colors.

#20551 - 01/16/03 05:07 PM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
We do not have one but we often have a subcontractor check our work before we turn over the building.

They give us a report with pictures and reports.

It is great if there is a problem it shows big time.

As an example we had a thermal image of a panel 41 breakers all dark but 1 breaker very bright. It was a SP 20 with 19 amps on it, a lighting homerun was forgoten and someone had jumped 2 circuits together out side the panel.I am sure this would have been a service call later.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#20552 - 01/16/03 05:27 PM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
JCooper  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 228
Kendall Park, NJ USA
I have only used them in the fire service, New Jersey started a program where they are buying every fire department a thermal imagin camera, I think street price on an average unit is about $3k.

#20553 - 01/16/03 06:59 PM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
jes  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 103
What is the general experience out there with catastrophic failures of duplex receptacles?? Any experiences with this? Brands? Conditions?

#20554 - 01/16/03 07:02 PM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
electure  Offline

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,260
Fullerton, CA USA
I've got a cheap ($100) infrared thermometer that has come in quite handy. I use it whenever I've got switchgear open, and it's found a few hot spots. Also, I've found a couple of hot motor bearings with it. I'm not sure of the accuracy of the temp readings, but the differential readings can still give you an idea of what's going on.
And yes, good thermography equipment can run an easy $20K.

#20555 - 01/16/03 07:45 PM Re: Re: "Exploding Outlet" post  
mamills  Offline
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 745
Wharton, Texas, USA
Actually, I have not used it a lot myself. I am a chauffer/engineer with the FD. Mostly the "young guns" on the attack lines and the guys doing salvage and overhaul use this camera. It hits on any kind of heat source (fluorescent ballasts, live embers, hot wiring in walls, hot motors or transformers, hot breakers or fuses, human body heat, etc). Our Sheriff's Dept. even used it one time to locate an escapee hiding in dense underbrush! [Linked Image] I believe this thing produces a black and white image, with a heat source appearing as a brilliant white "glow" on the screen. It's made by Bullard, and the price of this thing was astronomical...about $9K with a 12 volt charger [Linked Image].I think someone got to us on this deal, because I know from reading here at ECN that some members have models that are FAR less expensive.

Mike (mamills)

[This message has been edited by mamills (edited 01-16-2003).]

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