House ac mains hot/neutral swap?

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Jan

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May 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/7/00
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I've become the default Mr. Fixit for my mother-in-law. Last month she
called, saying half of her house (in the U.S.) was without power. Sure
enough, when I arrived, one side of the breaker box was dead and, when
called, the power company rapidly confirmed the loss as a problem on
their end. After some time on a generator supplied by the power
company, her service was restored. (She has 1970s-standard 200-Amp
240-Volt service.)

A few days later, she called me again. She has some outdoor lights that
run on a timer -- one of those 120 V SPST "little gray box" hot water
heater timers. She says they haven't turned off since the power was
restored. Thinking the relay in the box was shorted (and not having a
voltmeter with me at the time), I replaced it, to no effect. The
lights, which are connected via conduit, are supplied with standard
3-wire (gnd, neutral, hot) service.

The only way I can figure that this happened is if the switch was moved
from the hot side of the circuit to the neutral side (so that the gnd
wire now completes the circuit at all times). (I'm going out again with
a voltmeter today to confirm this.) Should this be the case, however,
and since the switch itself wasn't rewired, I conclude that the power
company switched neutral and one hot side when they restored her
service. Questions:

(a) If this is so, should anyone care? Is this an unsafe situation?
(b) Should I call the power company back out to set things right, or
just move the light timer switch to the (new) hot side of the circuit?

Thanks in advance.

-JJ.


Paul Pu239

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May 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/7/00
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I doubt what you suspect has happened. First of all, even if the timer
was breaking the neutral - the lights would still go out. Check the
time clock to see if it's keeping time. Then check to see if the
mechanical trippers are nice and tight on the dial. Those little motors
that run the clock are known to go bad.

Jan wrote in message <39154ED4...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>...
:I've become the default Mr. Fixit for my mother-in-law. Last month she

:

ja...@adelspamlessphia.net

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May 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/7/00
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Yeah, that was the first thing I checked ... the clock is fine. I watched
the gears turn. Just to be sure, I replaced the entire timer unit ...
clock, switches, trippers, relay ... all to no effect. (I, too, have had
bad experiences with those little motors.)

And, since the neutral is in parallel with the ground wire, it bypasses the
switch if it is in the neutral.

Any other ideas?

-JJ.

Greenlight

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May 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/7/00
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Not likely that the neutral and hot legs were crossed at the utility pole.

To trouble shoot, you must take this as a scientific lab experiment with an
open mind and few assumptions. For example, first check for power at the
lights. You didn't say if you tried replacing the light bulbs? Is there a
neutral and/or hot leg at the lights (this will tell you what conductor is
discontinuous there)? To eliminate the switch measure if it transfers power
on the "on" position by adjusting the clock to night time. If power is still
not transferred to the load side terminal, then the switch mechanism is
malfunctioning or the power connections to the switch are not correct. If
however power is transferred to the outgoing load side terminal and
conductor of the switch, and the lights do not go on, then you have
eliminated the switch as the problem. Then the problem is either in the
conductors or any junction in-between.

Jan <ja...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net> wrote in message
news:39154ED4...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net...

Paul Pu239

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May 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/7/00
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ja...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net wrote in message
<39157948...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>...
:Yeah, that was the first thing I checked ... the clock is fine. I

watched
:the gears turn. Just to be sure, I replaced the entire timer unit ...
:clock, switches, trippers, relay ... all to no effect. (I, too, have
had
:bad experiences with those little motors.)
:
:And, since the neutral is in parallel with the ground wire, it bypasses
the
:switch if it is in the neutral.
*******The ground is never connected to the nuetral at the load end of
the circuit so there should be no current path through it********
:Any other ideas?
*******The utitliy co would never be able to connect the service like
you suggest without blowing many things out in your house - not to
mention the fire works they would experience out at the street if you
have a grounded water main*******

Check your wiring at the timer/relay. You must have a problem there.

:-JJ.


:
:Paul Pu239 wrote:
:
:> I doubt what you suspect has happened. First of all, even if the
timer
:> was breaking the neutral - the lights would still go out. Check the
:> time clock to see if it's keeping time. Then check to see if the
:> mechanical trippers are nice and tight on the dial. Those little
motors
:> that run the clock are known to go bad.
:>
:> Jan wrote in message <39154ED4...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>...

:> :I've become the default Mr. Fixit for my mother-in-law. Last month

:> :
:

William L. Bahn

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May 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/7/00
to

ja...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net wrote in message
<39157948...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>...
>Yeah, that was the first thing I checked ... the clock is fine. I watched
>the gears turn. Just to be sure, I replaced the entire timer unit ...
>clock, switches, trippers, relay ... all to no effect. (I, too, have had
>bad experiences with those little motors.)
>
>And, since the neutral is in parallel with the ground wire, it bypasses the
>switch if it is in the neutral.
>

Think about this for a moment. If the neutral is in parallel with the
(safety) ground wire, and they swapped the hot and the neutral, then as soon
as the switch closed you would have a dead short between the hot and the
safety ground.

>Any other ideas?

Jan

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May 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/14/00
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Just for closure, let me report that the supply to the timer *did* have the
hot and neutral switched -- but, as indicated by all on the NG, it wasn't
the fault of the power company. When I got there (with the proper tools
this time) and checked the polarity, I couldn't believe it, either. I
traced the light timer supply back to outlet #1, supplied in turn by conduit
coming from outlet #2. Outlet #1 was reversed, outlet #2 was correct. Upon
opening outlet #1, I was suprised and dismayed to see two *ORANGE* #12 wires
facing me, coming out of the conduit.

Having had enough suprises for one day, I put my mother-in-law under
cross-examination. She couldn't recall who had wired the garage (it had
been more than 20 years ago); however, it was probably her late husband who,
born of the Depression, couldn't bear to spend money on "something he could
do himself."

I then traced the wiring for the light timer. It was properly color coded
(wht/blk), however, clearly the installer had become confused with the two
orange wires, and had connected the neutral to black and hot to white at
outlet #1. Since the lights functioned, he didn't check further. The reason
for the light timer failure (staying on all the time) was determined to be a
broken neutral wire inside one of the outdoor light fixtures: It broke off
of at a crimp in the socket and shorted to the metal fixture housing, which
was grounded. (One could see the pitted copper on the end of the wire, and
melted insulation.) Since the switch was in the neutral side, rather than
the hot side where it should have been, this bypassed the switch. This must
have happened coincidentally with the power company's difficulties, leading
to the erroneous conclusion that the two events were related.

So, the wiring is now replaced and connected correctly, and the timer
functions properly. Thanks to all respondents, who forced my thinking into
the correct direction. Morals:

1. Codes exist for a reason. Even if you *do* get it wired correctly using
your own "signature style" (which didn't happen in this case), the next poor
sucker is going to have a heck of a time. If he's still alive to do so.

2. Never trust the customer. My thinking on this problem was led astray at
the beginning by my mother-in-law's innocent connection of the power problem
and the light timer problem, which I accepted without critical analysis.

JJ.

Paul Pu239

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May 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/14/00
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Good for you Jan.
She's lucky no one got zapped with that setup!


Jan wrote in message <391E9833...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>...
:Just for closure, let me report that the supply to the timer *did* have

:

J Kelley

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May 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/22/00
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In article <39154ED4...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>,

Jan <ja...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net> wrote:
> I've become the default Mr. Fixit for my mother-in-law. Last month
she
> called, saying half of her house (in the U.S.) was without power.
Sure
> enough, when I arrived, one side of the breaker box was dead and, when
> called, the power company rapidly confirmed the loss as a problem on
> their end. After some time on a generator supplied by the power
> company, her service was restored. (She has 1970s-standard 200-Amp
> 240-Volt service.)
>
> A few days later, she called me again. She has some outdoor lights
that
> run on a timer -- one of those 120 V SPST "little gray box" hot water
> heater timers. She says they haven't turned off since the power was
> restored. Thinking the relay in the box was shorted (and not having a
> voltmeter with me at the time), I replaced it, to no effect. The
> lights, which are connected via conduit, are supplied with standard
> 3-wire (gnd, neutral, hot) service.
>
> The only way I can figure that this happened is if the switch was
moved
> from the hot side of the circuit to the neutral side (so that the gnd
> wire now completes the circuit at all times).

First, there is no reason to believe that the switch was altered when
the utility restored full electrical current. Most likely, that was
due to an open circuit in one of the mains, a common occurance
resulting in the condition you describe. Even if the switch was
altered so that the neutral was switched, the ground wire should not
complete the circuit unless there is some other faulty condition
connecting the ground to the neutral connector of the timer. This
would produce a dangerous condition but that alone would not prevent
the timer from working.


(I'm going out again with
> a voltmeter today to confirm this.) Should this be the case, however,
> and since the switch itself wasn't rewired, I conclude that the power
> company switched neutral and one hot side when they restored her
> service. Questions:
>
> (a) If this is so, should anyone care?

If that was so, someone would immediately care, but that case is most
unlikely. If a main leg and the neutral were reversed, the problem
would show up in many more important ways. First, the service
connection might explode if full current was fed to the neutral lug of
a properly grounded service panel. Second, even if the panel was not
grounded and did not go up in smoke, the 240 volt circuits would only
see 120 volt potential and about half of the 120 circuits would be at
240 volt potential.

> Is this an unsafe situation?

If it were to exist, it would constitute a lethal hazard of the first
order.

> (b) Should I call the power company back out to set things right, or
> just move the light timer switch to the (new) hot side of the circuit?
>

Call them again to confirm that their side of the service is correct
and ask them to check your side for proper neutral connection and
grounding (most utlities will proved this service at no charge). Next
hire a licensed electrical contractor to repair the wiring in the
house. Your playing with something that can and often does kill. Mr.
Fixits sometimes wind up fixing themselves and their families for good,
just to save a few bucks.

J Kelley

> Thanks in advance.
>
> -JJ.
>
>


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

J Kelley

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May 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/22/00
to
In article <39157948...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>,

ja...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net wrote:
> Yeah, that was the first thing I checked ... the clock is fine. I
watched
> the gears turn. Just to be sure, I replaced the entire timer unit ...
> clock, switches, trippers, relay ... all to no effect. (I, too, have
had
> bad experiences with those little motors.)
>
> And, since the neutral is in parallel with the ground wire, it
bypasses the
> switch if it is in the neutral.
>
Your presumption that the neutral is in parallel with the ground wire
is incorrect. While the grounded current carrying conductor
or "nuetral" and the equipment grounding conductors are connected to
the common ground/neutral buss at the main service panel, they do not
run to the same connections in the field and are not in parallel in any
sense. Equipment grounding conductors are safety measure and are not
installed to carry current for electrical devices. They only carry
current when a ground fault exists and it is this function that trips
over current circuit breakers and ground fault circuit interupting
devices.

> Any other ideas?
>
Hire an electrician.
>
J Kelley

J Kelley

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May 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/22/00
to
In article <shbfiv...@corp.supernews.com>,

"William L. Bahn" <wb...@uswest.net> wrote:
>
> ja...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net wrote in message
> <39157948...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>...
> >Yeah, that was the first thing I checked ... the clock is fine. I
watched
> >the gears turn. Just to be sure, I replaced the entire timer
unit ...
> >clock, switches, trippers, relay ... all to no effect. (I, too,
have had
> >bad experiences with those little motors.)
> >
> >And, since the neutral is in parallel with the ground wire, it
bypasses the
> >switch if it is in the neutral.
> >
>
> Think about this for a moment. If the neutral is in parallel with the
> (safety) ground wire, and they swapped the hot and the neutral, then
as soon
> as the switch closed you would have a dead short between the hot and
the
> safety ground.
>
"Think" again Willie, you got that all wrong. Switches are often wired
by do-it-yourself electricians so that the neutral is switched instead
of the main. It's unsafe, but it works. If, as you said, "the neutral
is in parallel with the (safety) ground wire," then the ground wire
would merely be a redundant neutral and would work the same as
neutral. That's something unqualified and unscrupulous electricians
sometimes do in order to avoid replacing a bad nuetral conductor.
Switching neutral and ground is another unsafe procedure that works.

What is your field? You can't possibly be an electrician, an
electrical engineer or anything related to electrical circuitry, and
yet you presume to advise in an area where wrong advise could result in
death.

J Kelley

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May 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/22/00
to
In article <391E9833...@adelSpAmLeSsphia.net>,
I don't know where you live and so do not know what electrical safety
laws may be in place there. However, in some of the United States,
what you have just confessed to could net you a very stiff fine, as
large as $5,000 for repeat offenses. If in the future, someone should
die as a result of your electrical work, you could, in any state, be
held liable for manslaughter and those that advised and encouraged your
work could be held as criminal co-conspirators.

J Kelley

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to

Joe Bloe <Joe...@thebarattheendoftheuniverse.org> wrote in
message news:ml6kis08uo476qpa8...@4ax.com...
> On Mon, 22 May 2000 08:07:03 GMT, J Kelley
<kal...@my-deja.com>
> Replied:

>
> Equipment grounding conductors are safety measure and are
not
> >installed to carry current for electrical devices. They only
carry
> >current when a ground fault exists and it is this function
that trips
> >over current circuit breakers and ground fault circuit
interupting
> >devices.
> >
>
> Grounding conductors do NOT trip overcurrent protection
devices.
>
You got that wrong. When a short circuit occurs to shunt line
voltage to the grounded frame of an electrical device, the
equipment grounding conductor causes an immediate high current
to flow through the circuit breaker protecting that circuit,
causing that breaker to trip, thus preventing line current from
continuing to electrify the frame of the device. In that case,
current would flow through the circuit breaker, the ungrounded
current conductor (what you call "hot") the device frame, the
equipment grounding conductor to the ground/neutral buss at the
service entrance panel, thus closing the circuit with a low
resistance path. That function is one of the basic reasons for
installing equipment grounding conductors: To prevent prolonged
electrification of electrical device frames and enclosures.
That is in fact one of the chief safety features of equipment
grounding conductors.

> Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters do,

Your sentence structure renders your meaning vague, but I assume
that you mean to say: "Grounding conductors do NOT trip
overcurrent protection devices. Ground Fault Circuit
Interrupters do." In other words, I understnd you to meant that
grounding conductors do not trip overcurrent devices but Ground
Fault Circuit Interrupters do trip overcurrent devices. If that
was not your intent, please clarify. In the mean time, I will
assume that to be your meaning. If so, you are completly wrong.
A GFCI receptical will only only trip and interupt current at
that receptical and other outlets downstream if so wired. A
GFCI device will not trip an overcurrent circuit breaker unless
it is in fact a GFCI circuit breaker which incorporates both
GFCI protection as well as overcurrent protection.

> but main circuit protection
> breakers "break" the circuit in an overcurrent condition in
the "HOT"
> conductor, not the grounding conductor.

Your "hot" conductor is incapable of tripping a circuit breaker
by itself. There must be a path to either neutral or ground
(which are ultimately connected to the same buss). If the load
is slightly greater than the breakers design rating, it will
trip eventually. If an ungrounded conductor is shorted to the
properly grounded frame or enclosure, even if only momentarily,
of an electrical device, the circuit breaker will trip
immediately.

> If the fault causes the
> grounding conductor to carry more current than the breaker
handles,
> then obviously the HOT conductor will as well, but it is the
current
> in the HOT conductor ONLY that trips the breaker.
>
You obviously know little or nothing of electrical circuitry.
Current can not flow "in the HOT conductor ONLY." Current must
flow throughout a completed circuit simultaneously, whether it
be through the neutral as is normal, the other HOT conductor in
a shared neutral pair of circuits as is also normal, through the
equipment grounding conductor as in a short to ground condition,
through the frame of the device directly to earth ground or
through the frame of the device through a grounded human or
other being. The equipment grounding conductor is there, among
other things, to provide a safer path for current shorted to the
frame of an electrical device. Since electrical current will
follow the path of least resistance, should a short occur
causing an electrical enclosure or device to become electrified
with someone touching that enclosure or device, most of the
current would be shunted to the ground/neutral buss thus
protecting the person touching the enclosure from a more severe
shock while at the same time causing the circuit breaker to
trip. The person in contact with the enclosure might only
experience a mild short shock rather than the electrocution that
could occur in the absence of the grounding conductor.

> Many many ground faults are carried directly into the ground,
and
> do not travel along the fault conductor....particularly if its
path is
> faulted (the ground conductor).
>
> GFCI is the type that senses ground fault.

There is more than one kind of ground fault. A main shorted to
ground is most certainly a faulty condition, although it is not
the kind of condition the circuitry within a GFCI device is
intended to handle. Nevertheless, GFCI devices are designed to
be grounded although they may be installed where separate
equipment grounding conductors are not available as in many
buildings wired during the first half of this century.

> Not standard overcurrent
> circuit breakers.
>
> In ANY case, one should NEVER swap hot and ground at the load
> terminus (outlet) OR at the panel as the wiring specifications
for
> power are for safety not conveniences.

Of course not. This kind of swap is only done by incompetent or
unscrupulous installers as I asserted in the message to which
you are now responding.

> This is also true regarding
> fault conductors...they should NEVER be used to replace a
neutral
> conductor.

I have no idea where you came up with the term "fault
conductors." I assume that you are referring to equipment
grounding conductors. In any case the same answer applies:
This kind of swap is only done by incompetent or unscrupulous
installers. The problem here is that there are many buildings
that have been wired or altered by such. Moreover, that's what
this thread is all about.
>
The only things that you have said so far that are correct and
make sense are your last statements that essentially agree with
what I said in the original post to the effect that neutral,
grounded and ungrounded conductors should not be swapped. In
this respect, the main difference is that I recognise that such
things are common although dangerous and I also recognise that
although dangerous, this kind of improper wiring will actually
work. That is one of the reasons why so many people are killed
by such wiring. It works until the day that the building is set
afire or someone is electrocuted.

One question for you on topic: What are your qualifications in
the electrical construction trade, that is to say with respect
to the electrical wiring of buildings?

J Kelley

J Kelley

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May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
message news:592liscvls1lgi0f4...@4ax.com...
> On Tue, 23 May 2000 01:57:13 -0700, "J Kelley"
<kal...@my-deja.com>
> Replied:

>
> >You got that wrong. When a short circuit occurs to shunt
line
> >voltage to the grounded frame of an electrical device, the
> >equipment grounding conductor causes an immediate high
current
> >to flow through the circuit breaker protecting that circuit,
> >causing that breaker to trip, thus preventing line current
from
> >continuing to electrify the frame of the device. In that
case,
> >current would flow through the circuit breaker,
>
> which is on the HOT wire....duh...remeber....the breaker is ON
the HOT
> wire....hot conductor can't get from a to b without passing
through it
> first.
>

You have just exhibited a common misunderstanding of electrical
current flow. It does not start at one point and proceed from
point to point step by step. Current flows throughout the
circuit simultaneously. In order for it to be flowing through
the breaker and the ungrounded conductor, it must at the same
time be flowing through a return path. That return path will be
the equipment grounding conductor in the case of a short to
ground in an electrical device.

> > the ungrounded
> >current conductor (what you call "hot") the device frame, the
> >equipment grounding conductor to the ground/neutral buss at
the
> >service entrance panel, thus closing the circuit with a low
> >resistance path. That function is one of the basic reasons
for
> >installing equipment grounding conductors:
>

> That's what I said
>
No, you most certainly did not. If you had done so, you should
have and would have inserted reference to that as a quotation.

> > To prevent prolonged
> >electrification of electrical device frames and enclosures.
> >That is in fact one of the chief safety features of equipment
> >grounding conductors.
> >
> >> Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters do,
> >
> >Your sentence structure renders your meaning vague, but I
assume
> >that you mean to say: "Grounding conductors do NOT trip
> >overcurrent protection devices. Ground Fault Circuit
> >Interrupters do." In other words, I understnd you to meant
that
> >grounding conductors do not trip overcurrent devices but
Ground
> >Fault Circuit Interrupters do trip overcurrent devices.
>

> Wrong I meant that circuit breakers are for overcurrent either
by load
> or fault, and that GFCI is for fault based interruption only.
>
I'm glad you cleared that up. I suggest a little proof reading
in the future.

> > If that
> >was not your intent, please clarify. In the mean time, I
will
> >assume that to be your meaning. If so, you are completly
wrong.
> >A GFCI receptical will only only trip and interupt current at
> >that receptical and other outlets downstream if so wired. A
> >GFCI device will not trip an overcurrent circuit breaker
unless
> >it is in fact a GFCI circuit breaker which incorporates both
> >GFCI protection as well as overcurrent protection.
> >
> >> but main circuit protection
> >> breakers "break" the circuit in an overcurrent condition in
> >the "HOT"
> >> conductor, not the grounding conductor.
> >
> >Your "hot" conductor is incapable of tripping a circuit
breaker
> >by itself.
>

> Duh....


>
> > There must be a path to either neutral or ground
> >(which are ultimately connected to the same buss). If the
load
> >is slightly greater than the breakers design rating, it will
> >trip eventually.
>

> Duh...


>
> >If an ungrounded conductor is shorted to the
> >properly grounded frame or enclosure, even if only
momentarily,
> >of an electrical device, the circuit breaker will trip
> >immediately.
>

> Duh....the current IS in the HOT and does not have to be in
the fault
> conductor at all....it could pass through the earth to the
pole
> outside even...that's why they get grounded as well....right
to their
> center tap.....which is the neutral.

That's right, as I mentioned in my immediately preceeding
message, there are several possible return paths for a short
circuit, the most desirable of those return paths being the
ungrounded conductor.
>
> So....IDEALLY speaking fault conductors carry faults, but not
all
> fault conductors (EMT etc) a contiguous.....happens all the
time.
>
What you call fault conductors and what I call equipment
grounding conductors have a function far beyond the conduction
of ground fault current. Ground Fault Current Interuptors can
and often do operate without equipment grounding conductors.
They are a relatively recent addition to available and required
protection devices as compared to equipment grounding conductors
which have been around from the beginning of the industry and
have been a universal electrical code requirement in the USA
since the middle of this century.

> There are 1 million volt 3200MW DC links in this country that
use
> earth ground for 1200 kilometer runs....if the plus DC or the
minus DC
> line fails, the ground carries the entire demand...
>
> Ya J Smelley we are all utter idiots here....we could sure
use your
> help....NOT...
>
You're a teenager?

> The part YOU fail to realize is that the breaker is inline
with the
> HOT conductor....therefore that's where the current flow must
be.

You haven't the foggiest notion of what I understand or do not
understand. The current must flow throughout a completed
circuit consisting of breaker, ungrounded or "hot" conductor,
circuit load or short and a return path. Normally that would be
the neutral conductor or the opposite ungrounded conductor in a
shared neutral pair in the case of current flowing normally
through a normal load. In the where electrical current is
shunted to the frame or enclosure of a properly grounded
electrical device however, the return path will be through the
equipment grounding conductor. It is the presence of that
equipment grounding conductor that allows sufficient current
flow through the breaker, the ungrounded or "hot" conductor, the
short and the equipment grounding conductor to the
ground/neutral buss, to trip the breaker. Without the
equipment grounding conductor, the frame or enclusure of the
electrified device frame or enclosure would become a potential
killer.

> Of
> course it requires a complete path ya ding dong....

If you actually realise that, why did you make the absurd
statement: "If the fault causes the grounding conductor to


carry more current than the breaker handles, then obviously the
HOT conductor will as well, but it is the current in the HOT

conductor ONLY that trips the breaker." That statement
presupposes that the current in the grounding conductor that is
" more current than the breaker handles," is different than the
current in the "HOT" conductor. It also presupposes that the
current in the "HOT" conductor flows in that conductor "ONLY."
In the case that you yourself stated: "If the fault causes the


grounding conductor to carry more current than the breaker

handles, then obviously the HOT conductor will as well," It is
by your own words obvious the same current flowing in the
equipment grounding conductor flows in the ungrounded "HOT"
conductor, therefore the current that trips the breaker is not
flowing in the "HOT conductor ONLY." Instead, it is flowing
through both conductors simultaneously.

> The point is they
> protect the circuit from being overloaded by any load not just
a
> fault.
>
. What you have clearly indicated by your own words is that you
do not understand the function of equipment grounding
conductors. They are not installed merely to conduct the kind
of "ground faults" that GFCI are intended to deal with. They
were in place as a safety measure long before GFCIs were
available and even longer before they were required. Do you
suppose that equipment grounding conductors were determined to
be a necessity and were required many years before the existence
of GFCI's in anticipation that such a device would eventually be
invented, developed and itself required?

> > > If the fault causes the
> >> grounding conductor to carry more current than the breaker
> >handles,
> >> then obviously the HOT conductor will as well, but it is
the
> >current
> >> in the HOT conductor ONLY that trips the breaker.
> >>
> >You obviously know little or nothing of electrical circuitry.
> >Current can not flow "in the HOT conductor ONLY." Current
must
> >flow throughout a completed circuit simultaneously, whether
it
> >be through the neutral as is normal, the other HOT conductor
in
> >a shared neutral pair of circuits as is also normal, through
the
> >equipment grounding conductor as in a short to ground
condition,
> >through the frame of the device directly to earth ground or
> >through the frame of the device through a grounded human or
> >other being.
>

> Other being....you mean like yourself right?
>
You are making many points suitable to your condition.

> Is that when you were wired?

> Like we need a refresh on thread topics too....


>
> >>
> >The only things that you have said so far that are correct
and
> >make sense are your last statements that essentially agree
with
> >what I said in the original post to the effect that neutral,
> >grounded and ungrounded conductors should not be swapped. In
> >this respect, the main difference is that I recognise that
such
> >things are common although dangerous and I also recognise
that
> >although dangerous, this kind of improper wiring will
actually
> >work. That is one of the reasons why so many people are
killed
> >by such wiring. It works until the day that the building is
set
> >afire or someone is electrocuted.
> >
> >One question for you on topic: What are your qualifications
in
> >the electrical construction trade, that is to say with
respect
> >to the electrical wiring of buildings?
>

> Funny, I never thought asking someone questions about their
person was
> on topic in a technical forum...that is to say with respect to
it
> being any of your business...
>
> I make 160 KV DC xray supplies (among other items)...I think I
know
> what a return path is.
>
If you really do know what a return path is, you should not make
foolish statements to the effect that circuit breakers are
tripped by current in the "HOT" wire "ONLY."

Next question? Do you perform electrical wiring in buildings as
a sideline?

Every day on this planet, someone is injured or killed by faulty
electrical wiring. It is one of the most dangerous conditions
facing modern society. One of the most pervasive reasons for
the widespread existence of electrical hazzards is the existence
of unqualified installers of electrical wiring in buildings.
These so called electricians are most likely to be involved some
way in a trade associated with electricity and think that
because the have worked with electrical devices in another
environment, they are thereby qualified to install premisis
wiring. The graveyards are crowded with their victims.

I am a licensed electrical contractor, a licensed master
electrician and a licensed electrical engineer with 40 years of
experience in the electrical construction trade. Throughout
that time, I have observed thousands of lethally hazzardous
electrical conditions most of which were due to the inept and
illegal work of bootleg electricians. I take pleasure exposing
them whenever possible.

J Kelley


Paul Pu239

unread,
May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
You forgot to consider a line to line trip - such as in the case of a
line to line overload. A breaker trip without any involvement of the
neutral (grounded circuit conductor) or equipment grounding conductor is
certainly possible.

Paul


J Kelley wrote in message <8gdgt7$esp$1...@news.efn.org>...
:

:Your "hot" conductor is incapable of tripping a circuit breaker

J Kelley

unread,
May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to


Yes, that's another possibility I didn't consider.

J Kelley

Paul Pu239 <paul...@sprynet.com> wrote in message
news:8gf9jm$k0m$1...@slb0.atl.mindspring.net...


> You forgot to consider a line to line trip - such as in the
case of a
> line to line overload. A breaker trip without any involvement
of the
> neutral (grounded circuit conductor) or equipment grounding
conductor is
> certainly possible.
>
> Paul
>
>
> J Kelley wrote in message <8gdgt7$esp$1...@news.efn.org>...
> :
>

> :Your "hot" conductor is incapable of tripping a circuit

J Kelley

unread,
May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
message news:hhgmis80n02uga42j...@4ax.com...
> On Tue, 23 May 2000 09:26:35 -0700, "J Kelley"
> I am from the future....I came back in time to "wire" only
those
> structures which you utilize or reside in throughout your
life...and
> others like you...I have a list.
>
> Gives ya that warm fuzzy feeling doesn't it...

>
> >Every day on this planet, someone is injured or killed by
faulty
> >electrical wiring. It is one of the most dangerous
conditions
> >facing modern society. One of the most pervasive reasons for
> >the widespread existence of electrical hazzards is the
existence
> >of unqualified installers of electrical wiring in buildings.
> >These so called electricians are most likely to be involved
some
> >way in a trade associated with electricity and think that
> >because the have worked with electrical devices in another
> >environment, they are thereby qualified to install premisis
> >wiring. The graveyards are crowded with their victims.
> >
>
> I'm president of the "So Called Electrician's Labor Assn."
> We have 3 million subscribers...everyday in this country one
of my men
> are out there installing something for some new Unsuspectima
victima.
> Why shoot man...we get zapped and zap others all the time!
Whenever
> there is a "calling" we are there. We're all Master So
Called
> Electricians...

>
> >I am a licensed electrical contractor, a licensed master
> >electrician and a licensed electrical engineer with 40 years
of
> >experience in the electrical construction trade. Throughout
> >that time, I have observed thousands of lethally hazzardous
> >electrical conditions most of which were due to the inept and
> >illegal work of bootleg electricians. I take pleasure
exposing
> >them whenever possible.
>
> Like anyone gives a nanosecond of caring what YOU do....
>
> What was that little tid-bit you spewed forth about you not
knowing
> ANYTHING about what I do or do not know? I shouldn't have to
quote
> you... you were referring to yourself....coin other side
now...
>
>
Thanks for the revealing self portrait.

J Kelley

J Kelley

unread,
May 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/23/00
to
message news:vvimiss7jihougt2h...@4ax.com...
> On Tue, 23 May 2000 19:37:37 -0700, "J Kelley"
<kal...@my-deja.com>
> Replied:
>
> >

> >Yes, that's another possibility I didn't consider.
> >
> >J Kelley
> >
>
> Ohhhh... where'd yer fault current flow on that one?
>
> Ya....so there....return that instantaneous reading %-]
> I did....it came back same as it ever was....little sparky
guys
> in...little sparky guys out...
>
> Hahaha...Yer a legend in your own mind...and...me...
>
> I'm just a "So Called Electrician"
> Hohohoho Green Giant...(big green FAULT wires)
> TQ

If you have to soil yourself, don't you think that you could
find a more appropriate and private place? What next, self
immolation on the internet?

J Kelley

J Kelley

unread,
May 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/27/00
to

Inspector Twelve <i...@abnt.org> wrote in message
news:392c4482....@checkyourshorts.com...
> <snip Foolishness>

> >I don't know where you live and so do not know what
electrical safety
> >laws may be in place there. However, in some of the United
States,
> >what you have just confessed to could net you a very stiff
fine, as
> >large as $5,000 for repeat offenses. If in the future,
someone should
> >die as a result of your electrical work, you could, in any
state, be
> >held liable for manslaughter and those that advised and
encouraged your
> >work could be held as criminal co-conspirators.
> >
> >J Kelley
>
> Hi, J Kelley et al.
>
> In my state of residence the amount of the fine is not limited
as it
> is in yours and is dtermined by the skill of the plaintif's
attorney
> and the mood of judge or jury handing down the verdict. Sounds
chancey
> to me to help someone save the cost of a repair bill.
>
> Another note: The future is an indefinite amount of time as
there's no
> statute of limitations for manslaughter.
>
> Most states do allow for Homeowners to perform their own
electrical
> work and have provisions for municipal or state inspection to
insure
> NEC compliance. The underlying notion, left over from the
family
> farmstead days, is that if they make a fatal error it will be
their
> own family that perishes or suffers. Today, with people buying
and
> selling homes, this should no longer be the case for obvious
reasons.
>
> I once saw an Ann Landers or Dear Abbey article posted on the
door of
> our local supply house about a fellow who wired his own
swimming
> pool..............it was signed by his widow!
>
> Go ahead and work without the proper professional
qualifications. In
> all likelyhood the lights will come on and the vacuum will
work but
> it's no guarantee that when the fault current is cleared and
grandma
> is still shaking on the floor that the other relatives don't
nail your
> ass to the floor in the courtroom if the inheritance didn't
make them
> as well off as they wished.
>
> Come to think of it, I recall an incident in my town when a
parishoner
> did some electrical work, as a volunteer, at a local church.
After the
> fire (no deaths, fortunately) their fellow God loving
parishoners sued
> them for all they had.
>
> Keep up the good work, J Kelley, I'm confident that you know
how tight
> to make those splices and I hope Mr. Fixit doesn't kill anyone
to save
> the cost of an hours labor by their qualified electrician.
>

Here in Oregon, if the property is not now, nor in the near
future intended to be for rent, sale, lease or exchange; and if
the person making the electrical installation is the property
owner or an immediate family member (spouse, parent or child
living together as a family unit) of the property owner; no
electrician or electrical contractors license will be required.
However, electrical work performed by property owners does
require the same electrical permits and inspections as with
licensed electrical contractors, without exception. There is a
severely limited range of repair and maintenance not involving
electrical wire and connections, that may be performed by
property owners without permits. Property owner requirements
and exemptions are covered in Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter
479 Section 479.510 et. seq. Violation of any provision of ORS
479.510 to 479.945 or rules adopted thereunder is punishable by
a civil penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $5,000. ORS
479.990(5) Penalties.

Apart from the civil penalties, criminal penalties may of course
be applied for cases where unlawful electrical work is found to
be criminal in nature. A case where persons or property incur
harm or damage due to illegal electrical work, would come under
close scrutiny for criminal prosecution. Further, a finding
that a building fire was caused by illegal electrical work would
be considered a godsend by insurance adjusters who might then
have good cause to deny the property owners claim.

Under ORS 479.620, apprentices must be state licensed and must
work only under the direct and immediate supervision of an
assigned journeyman or supervising electrician (a master
electrician) , journeymen must work only under the general
supervision of a supervising electrician and all supervising
electricians must either be licensed electrical contractors or
in the employee of a licensed electrical contractor or of a
plant or institution approved by the state for such employment.

There are no free agent electricians in Oregon except the
illegal bootlegging kind. When they are caught plying there
trade here, they usually find that it has suddenly become most
unprofitable. So far, that has not stopped their illegal
practice and probably never will, but their careers are usually
very short..

J Kelley

eh...@bellatlantic.net

unread,
May 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/30/00
to
What point are you talking about?

As close as I can figure it, the point being made by the
poster to whom you responded here nets out to:


"So, the wiring is now replaced and connected correctly, and the timer
functions properly. Thanks to all respondents, who forced my
thinking into the correct direction."

What is he confessing to??

J Kelley wrote:

>
> I don't know where you live and so do not know what electrical safety
> laws may be in place there. However, in some of the United States,
> what you have just confessed to could net you a very stiff fine, as
> large as $5,000 for repeat offenses. If in the future, someone should
> die as a result of your electrical work, you could, in any state, be
> held liable for manslaughter and those that advised and encouraged your
> work could be held as criminal co-conspirators.
>
> J Kelley
>

J Kelley

unread,
May 31, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/31/00
to
In article <39343F9E...@bellatlantic.net>,

eh...@bellatlantic.net wrote:
> What point are you talking about?
>
> As close as I can figure it, the point being made by the
> poster to whom you responded here nets out to:
> "So, the wiring is now replaced and connected correctly, and the timer
> functions properly. Thanks to all respondents, who forced my
> thinking into the correct direction."
> What is he confessing to??
>
>
The poster, who was obviously not a licensed electrician, confessed to
making and repairing electrical building wiring. In most states in the
USA, that would be an illegal act unless such act was exempted by law.
No such exemption was indicated.

I'd be interested in learning about states where such work would be
legal. I have heard that Texas is one such state to the extent that
electrical codes and electrical safety laws either do not apply or are
not enforced outside of city limits in some counties.

You know where Texas is, don't you. That's where three drunk Mexicans
once stood off the entire Texas Army for several weeks at a place
called the Alamo. I'm proud to say one of those hombres was my uncle.

Joe Bloe

unread,
May 31, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/31/00
to
On Wed, 31 May 2000 08:29:32 GMT, J Kelley <kal...@my-deja.com>
Replied:


>The poster, who was obviously not a licensed electrician, confessed to
>making and repairing electrical building wiring. In most states in the
>USA, that would be an illegal act unless such act was exempted by law.
>No such exemption was indicated.
>
>I'd be interested in learning about states where such work would be
>legal. I have heard that Texas is one such state to the extent that
>electrical codes and electrical safety laws either do not apply or are
>not enforced outside of city limits in some counties.
>
>You know where Texas is, don't you. That's where three drunk Mexicans
>once stood off the entire Texas Army for several weeks at a place
>called the Alamo. I'm proud to say one of those hombres was my uncle.
>
>J Kelley
>

You show *some* of your true colors here conchita.

There were more than three drunk mexicans.

OK so your a proud idiot. Too bad one of them wasn't your dad.

TopQuark...

Greenlight

unread,
May 31, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/31/00
to
Well you asked. Actually I don't like the Oregon system very well at all
because it is way too top heavy. California on the other hand does not
require (yet) electricians to be licensed. In house wiring permits can still
be taken out by the Industry and in most cities also by the home owner. Of
course the work still has to be inspected, but why do we need extra
government regulations and bureaucracy to license our electricians. (We
could use better inspectors though.)

Electrical contractors however do have to be licensed and they are held
responsible for the work, quality, training, and hiring of their employees
both legally and financially. Why do we need the state to train, test, and
license each electrician while the industry can be self regulated through
the existing system. Proof forthwith is that California does not have more
electrical fires, electrocutions, or electrical failures per capita than
other states. Hey Kelly, you're from a state that prides itself in having a
non-burdensome and non-invasive government bureaucracy but in this regard it
is actually bulkier than California.

Yep, there are already plans though to soon have the state license each
apprentice -- then it will be journeyman, then there will training schools
sprout up to give out the answers (for a fee), and then there will be CEU
requirements (currently there are none), and required in-house training, and
more certification, individual bonding, background checks, and more such
absurdia and their parasite industries making the millions, but IMO these
additional costs will only be passed on to the consumer in terms of higher
costs of living and more bureaucrats. It's simply not needed because the
facts speak for themselves. The reason it is going to happen is because of
certain greedy self-serving interest groups -- not so strange that the IBEW
and NECA already have a nationwide training and licensing program already in
place is it? More government regulation is not equal to higher quality or
safety and if done so excessively actually lowers it. If it isn't broken,
then don't fix it should apply here, but greed, control, and domination
marches to a diffrent drummer.

J Kelley <kal...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
news:8h2igv$qn3$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...


> In article <39343F9E...@bellatlantic.net>,
> eh...@bellatlantic.net wrote:
> > What point are you talking about?
> >
> > As close as I can figure it, the point being made by the
> > poster to whom you responded here nets out to:
> > "So, the wiring is now replaced and connected correctly, and the timer
> > functions properly. Thanks to all respondents, who forced my
> > thinking into the correct direction."
> > What is he confessing to??
> >
> >

> The poster, who was obviously not a licensed electrician, confessed to
> making and repairing electrical building wiring. In most states in the
> USA, that would be an illegal act unless such act was exempted by law.
> No such exemption was indicated.
>
> I'd be interested in learning about states where such work would be
> legal. I have heard that Texas is one such state to the extent that
> electrical codes and electrical safety laws either do not apply or are
> not enforced outside of city limits in some counties.
>
> You know where Texas is, don't you. That's where three drunk Mexicans
> once stood off the entire Texas Army for several weeks at a place
> called the Alamo. I'm proud to say one of those hombres was my uncle.
>
> J Kelley
>
>
>

eh...@bellatlantic.net

unread,
May 31, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/31/00
to
Thanks - I can't see the whole thread.
Actually, the code becomes force of law when it is
adopted. If a code has not been not adopted by the
governing community (county/state/whatever) , then
there is no law against a homeowner doing his own
work, unless such a law has been specifically enacted.

If the National Electrical Code is adopted, then there
is not a law against unlicensed people performing the
work - again, unless some specific law to that effect
has been enacted. The NEC specifies "qualified persons"
not "licensed persons", and does not even contain the word
licensed or electrician. So it is really questionable whether
what the poster did was an illegal act, in the absence of
knowledge of whatever laws are in place in his area.

New York is a place where there are local codes that
allow a homeowner to perform his own electrical work.
I do not know how pervasive that is across the state,
just that there are areas within the state where it is
allowed. In one township you must pass a test administered
by the local inspector to demonstrate qualifications to be
granted a permit to begin the work, if you want to do it
yourself. Whether this is a money making scheme and little
more I cannot say. I imagine there are similar situations
in other areas.

Anyway, from what I read it appeared the poster knew what
he was doing, found some bad wiring and either had it corrected
or fixed it himself. I applaud that. I would much rather that he
fix it then leave it as a safety hazard, questionable illegal acts
aside. In other words, I would rather that the circuit be safe,
even if the work, although correct, was illegal, than have the
poster stay within the law and leave the circuit unsafe.

I *hope* you would agree. I see your comments as falling
on the other side - criticizing him for the possible "illegal
act", rather than applauding him for making things safe.
Will you reconsider your position - or perhaps I
misunderstand it.

Brent R Brian

unread,
Jun 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/2/00
to
Which hombre, the drunk, or the Texan ??

B

J Kelley

unread,
Jun 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/2/00
to
I prefer the California system to that of Oregon. I'm now from Oregon,
but by way of California where I plied the electrical trade from '60
to '86.

All in all, I'd prefer a system with the least possible government
involvement. Bureaucracies never fail to create more problems than
they solve. Today, a home buyer has no real way of knowing what kind of
electrical hazard lies hidden within the walls and attics of of the
property he or she is purchasing, but most will rely on real estate
laws requiring full disclosure and electrical safety laws requiring
that wiring systems be installed to a safe standard. Those laws do not
work well because no bureaucracy can protect us against human nature.
People will continue to create hazardous conditions out of avarice,
ignorance and stupidity. Real property buyers would be better off
suspecting the worst and taking steps to fully investigate their
purchases without any reliance on the assurances of sellers, realtors
or government protection.

J Kelley

In article <udcZ4.75014$k5.19...@news1.frmt1.sfba.home.com>,

J Kelley

unread,
Jun 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/2/00
to
In article <3935505D...@bellatlantic.net>,
My position remains the same. I am opposed to the unqualified making
electrical installations without adequate supervision. A home owner
may obtain that supervision for the small cost of an electrical
permit. Most who avoid permits do so because they don't want to take
the trouble and expense to follow the electrical code, don't know how
and don't care enough to learn.

No one of them are apt to obtain adequate information and they will
certainly abtain no supervision here on this forum. They may get just
enough to information to make their system work, whereupon it will
thereafter lie in wait for the first victim.

I've encountered more electrical hazards in private residences than in
any all other venues combined although most of my electrical experience
has been in commercial and industrial settings.

J Kelley

unread,
Jun 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/2/00
to
A combination of both, of course. Texas is a Mexican name and was a
Mexican province.

J Kelley

In article <3937A53A...@prodigy.net>,


Brent...@prodigy.net wrote:
> Which hombre, the drunk, or the Texan ??
>
> B
>
> J Kelley wrote:
> >

Jeff Zamrzla

unread,
Jun 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/4/00
to
Greenlight,
I take exception to your stab at the International Brotherhood of
Electrical Worker. You see, I am a proud union member and having witnessed
the aftermath of the electrocution of a friend several years ago,who was not
union, it is slow witted persons such as yourself who seem to not care about
the safety or training of journeypersons such as myself. The IBEW/NECA
training you spoke of could have saved my friends life if he'd been trained
by someone who knew the dangers of 15KV cabling. That is precisely why we
need national training and state licensing for all persons engaged in
electrical construction and maintenance ( my friend was a maintenance
"mechanic" for Exide Battery in Salina KS).
The bottom dollar is for the shop owners or corporation to make as
much money as they can, and if not for some very courageous men in the late
1800's, electrical safety would still be where it was when the linemen's
union was first formed, about 12 linemen( they did all inside and outside
work then) dieing a day nationwide! The union has educated many in the
industry and helped to make California as safe as it is today from
electrical fires and danger of electrocution.


"Greenlight" <saha...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:udcZ4.75014$k5.19...@news1.frmt1.sfba.home.com...

Joe Bloe

unread,
Jun 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/4/00
to
On Sun, 04 Jun 2000 18:02:10 GMT, "Jeff Zamrzla"
<jzam...@kscable.com> Replied:

>Greenlight,
> I take exception to your stab at the International Brotherhood of
>Electrical Worker. You see, I am a proud union member and having witnessed
>the aftermath of the electrocution of a friend several years ago,who was not
>union, it is slow witted persons such as yourself who seem to not care about
>the safety or training of journeypersons such as myself. The IBEW/NECA
>training you spoke of could have saved my friends life if he'd been trained
>by someone who knew the dangers of 15KV cabling. That is precisely why we
>need national training and state licensing for all persons engaged in
>electrical construction and maintenance ( my friend was a maintenance
>"mechanic" for Exide Battery in Salina KS).
> The bottom dollar is for the shop owners or corporation to make as
>much money as they can, and if not for some very courageous men in the late
>1800's, electrical safety would still be where it was when the linemen's
>union was first formed, about 12 linemen( they did all inside and outside
>work then) dieing a day nationwide! The union has educated many in the
>industry and helped to make California as safe as it is today from
>electrical fires and danger of electrocution.
>

It was 1881 when the IBEW was formed.

That's no reason though for it to cost a weeks pay for an hour's
work. That's what presents a danger as someone makes the uneducated
decision that they can perform the task without qualified personnel.
It's always about money.

TopQuark...

Greenlight

unread,
Jun 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/5/00
to

Jeff Zamrzla <jzam...@kscable.com> wrote in message
news:CQw_4.17245$t63....@typhoon.kc.rr.com...

> The bottom dollar is for the shop owners or corporation to make as
> much money as they can....

<SNIP>

Gosh that is pretty simple == why didm't I think of that?.

> The union has educated many in the
> industry and helped to make California as safe as it is today from
> electrical fires and danger of electrocution.

What you say is staight out of the book, but it's not based on facts.
However, surveys that I have seen point to the opposite i.e., that many
independent contractors take pride in their jobs to the extent that they
have their own higher quality training programs. IBEW has traditionally
lagged behind especailly in high tech. The facts speak for themselves,
IBEW/NECA partnership are pushing for economic advantage in this regard. I
don't blame them for feeling threatened or being greedy and self interested,
but I do not need to fool myself that they are deserving of any furtehr
government subsidy. Statitistics do not show that IBEW tarining is safer
than many independent contractors, nor do statistics prove that states that
require electricians to be licensed (versus just their electrical
contractors) have any better safety records. If you have a factual source
that opposes this statement, please refer me to it, otherwise I will take
your statement as either an advertisement or a delusional self
congratualtory propaganda rant.

No I don't want to use this newsgroup to argue independent contractor versus
union, but rather in regards to the electrical industry, more regulation is
not always "better" regulation nor is it always fair or honest. All that is
necessary is to have the buck stop somewhere. In California it is the
El;ectrical Contractor and/or the licensed Professional Engineer who
sometimes is the same feller.

Jeff Zamrzla

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Jun 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/5/00
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Check the url http://www.ibew.org/Safety.htm. does any non-union contractor
have access to such a non-government sponsored sight?

"Greenlight" <saha...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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Jeff Zamrzla

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Jun 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/5/00
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Also, I should not have omitted that I worked non-union for 20 years before
joining the union. I have seen both sides of the fence and much prefer the
side I'm on now. The education you spoke of is next to non-existent in the
construction sector. ABC or Vo-tech classes produce electricians who are not
able to do the job without allot of supervision, I know from having been
there. Where have you been and what are your qualifications for saying what
you've said to me?

"Greenlight" <saha...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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Greenlight

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Jun 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/5/00
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Hey Jeff loosen up. Anybody in the trade knows that there are both "good and
bad" union and non-union contractors. Electrical contractors have many
sources of electrical safety info and there are many newsletters and
magazines that exist in the trade. Whether or not that info gets to the
electrician or the electrician reads and understands it, is up to a
responsible contractor who both values safety and quality. The info at the
IBEW site is available elsewhere.

My neighbor and one of my best friends is in charge of the IBEW training
program at the local community college. Of course they pride themselves in
doing a good job, but quality training is available elsewhere as well.
Another very close friend has been employed in the unions for over 30 years.
His job is to tow the line that the unions are valuable and better. He
openly admits it. Are they perfect, no, but in the past they have done some
good, I admit. The bottom line to me though is not "is for the shop owners
or corporation to make as much money as they can" but rather for both
industry and unions, both government and independent contractors --
everybody in the trade to clean up their acts more and this requires the
willingness to see their own weaknesses, a certain amount of sincerity,
honesty, and integrity which comes from not simply parroting party lines.
Sometimes "the emperor is wearing no clothes" and IMO it is best to
acknowledge it in order to improve the situation.

As stated above, I do not desire to waste either of our time in the old
union versus non-union debate. My comments attempted to address some
sweeping generalizations and stereotypes that you stated which did not hold
true in my actual 30 years plus experience in the trade.

The comprehensive and quality work that any electrician does is the result
of an electrical contractor who stresses safety, in-house training, positive
motivation, and detailed supervision whether the contractor is union or not.
The contractor must make it clear to the employee that they will be rewarded
for safe and quality work and that they must take the required time to
effect it as well as use the accepted materials. They must be encouraged to
ask questions if they do not understand the job and given an opportunity to
expand their knowledge, training, and their vocational opportunity. This
continued integration and on-site education (when the electrical contractor
allows for such employee inter-action makes "work" interesting and actually
more productive. I don't know how this model; would work in Bechtel Corp.,
but for small and medium electrical contractors it seems to have worked out
well for some without taxpayer supplied training, job screenings, testing,
and other related non-productive bureaucracies.

Jeff Zamrzla <jzam...@kscable.com> wrote in message

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Greenlight

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Jun 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/5/00
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Jeff Zamrzla <jzam...@kscable.com> wrote in message
news:AvP_4.57078$_l1.3...@typhoon.kc.rr.com...

> Also, I should not have omitted that I worked non-union for 20 years
before
> joining the union. I have seen both sides of the fence and much prefer the
> side I'm on now. The education you spoke of is next to non-existent in the
> construction sector. ABC or Vo-tech classes produce electricians who are
not
> able to do the job without allot of supervision, I know from having been
> there.

My condolences. Every contractor is different. Yes, a union contractor at
least guarantees a certain minimal level of trained employees, but quality.
safety, and employee relationships are dictated by management policies where
no successful contractor could survive in the long run with an untrained,
unskilled, and unknowledgeable work force.


< Where have you been and what are your qualifications for saying what
you've said to me?

Let's not get into who is more "qualified" which usually comes down to who
is in authority or rather who is "right" and who is "wrong" beacause
that's another wasted trap. Either what I said is helpful and rings true or
it does not. It might cotradict a belief, but what I say reflects my own
experience. Simply stated I am licensed to do electrical work in three
states (granted two if them have reciprocal agreements) but the bottyom line
for me is that I have worked on "thousands of successful job site
installations as a "successful" licensed electrical contractor for over 20
years while having been in the trade for over 30. Do I know everything,
certainly no... but that's how I learn new things. I am most proud that I
trained a few employees (from scratch) who later became successful
electrical contractors on their own (a process which I encouraged). These
guys still have a natural curioisty for electricity and are still learning
being postively self motivated and still take pride in their work (as their
ability to do the best job that they can do given a specific budget). IMO
this "attitude" occurs when there is a friendly team feeling on the work
site which I leads to greater overall efficiency in the long run.

Once we can get past admitting the fact that unions are political
organizations which desire to inflenece the government toward special favors
to their own selfish advantage, then we can maybe get to the point of how to
improve both the installation part of the electrical industry and its impact
upon both the worker and the consumer, but if we play games (toting one
party line or the other) neither interest is best served. Yes?

J Kelley

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Jun 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM6/5/00
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In article <CQw_4.17245$t63....@typhoon.kc.rr.com>,

"Jeff Zamrzla" <jzam...@kscable.com> wrote:
> Greenlight,
> I take exception to your stab at the International Brotherhood of
> Electrical Worker. You see, I am a proud union member and having
witnessed
> the aftermath of the electrocution of a friend several years ago,who
was not
> union, it is slow witted persons such as yourself who seem to not
care about
> the safety or training of journeypersons such as myself. The IBEW/NECA
> training you spoke of could have saved my friends life if he'd been
trained
> by someone who knew the dangers of 15KV cabling. That is precisely
why we
> need national training and state licensing for all persons engaged in
> electrical construction and maintenance ( my friend was a maintenance
> "mechanic" for Exide Battery in Salina KS).
> The bottom dollar is for the shop owners or corporation to make
as

> much money as they can, and if not for some very courageous men in
the late
> 1800's, electrical safety would still be where it was when the
linemen's
> union was first formed, about 12 linemen( they did all inside and
outside
> work then) dieing a day nationwide! The union has educated many in the

> industry and helped to make California as safe as it is today from
> electrical fires and danger of electrocution.
>
>
I am a former member of the IBEW (Local 441, Orange Co., CA). I am
proud to be no longer associated with that union. I'm certain that the
feeling is mutual.

Although I didn't apprentice through the IBEW, I am quite familiar with
their apprenticeship program, having found it necessary to take Local
441 to court in order to enforce my right to take their journeyman
wireman examination in 1975. In order to prevail, I found it necessary
to investigate their apprenticeship extensively. I found the four year
IBEW apprenticeship program to be a farce intended more to indoctrinate
than to teach.

One of the most important things I discovered was their practice of
spending the last few weeks of the fourth year of apprenticeship
training classes teaching apprentices the journeyman wireman
examination specifically, question for question. One of the
instructors for that program (a local "E" board member) actually
bragged to me "We don't turn out any dumb apprentices. We see to it
that they all pass the examination."

I have worked with many IBEW “journeymen” who couldn't solve an Ohm's
Law or a Watt's Law problem. One way to gauge their knowledge was to
ask them for the maximum number of 60-Watt light bulbs that could be
energized on a 15 Amp branch circuit without exceeding circuit current
rating. I did not find one IBEW "journeyman wireman" who could answer
that simple question, although I do admit that I didn't put the
question to the entire membership.

The president of Local 441 in those days was a man named "Zack" Huggins
who carried a journeyman's ticket. To the best of my knowledge and
belief, he was constantly employed at the highest possible scale but
never touched a tool, having absolutely no electrical training or
experience. It seems he was invited to join the IBEW by his "good old
boy network" friends that ran the local. As far as I know, his
employment was strictly limited to the pretentious roll
of “storekeeper” on big projects where he received journeyman pay for
sitting on his ass and jawing with his buddies while working
electricians came into his jobsite “store” and picked up materials as
they would have done on any other job without a storekeeper. I belenve
that he did occasionally sign for materials delivered to the jobsite.

I am also familiar with the kind of specialization categories in which
many IBEW "journeymen" were then employed. Take for example the job of
installing troffer lighting in commercial and industrial settings.
Many IBEW “journeymen” were typically employed as specialists in the
installation of such lighting, while other specialty electricians
installed the receptacles for the fixture’s pre-wired whips. The
troffer specialist’s job was to drop fixtures into the ceiling grid,
plug the whips into the pre-wired receptacles, secure the fixtures to
the grid and attach earthquake supports provided by the ceiling
contractor. For this task, they were required by the IBEW to receive
journeyman wireman’s pay. Many of them carried journeyman tickets but
appeared to know nothing of electrical wiring. The same things applied
to those whose work was strictly limited to wire pulling and other jobs
requiring only limited knowledge and skill. Those work practices are
appropriate to the industry, but the requirement of journeyman pay for
that kind of work amounts to nothing more than featherbedding.

Now is the time for eh...@bellatlantic.net to whip out his American
Heritage Dictionary and explain in detail how I have just libeled the
IBEW. He will be wasting his time because that issue will never be
brought to trial. The IBEW employs an army of competent attorneys who
are well aware of the union’s practices and know that truth is the
prefect defense in a libel action.

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