Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . . - Page 2

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Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .

volts500 wrote:
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Not as stupid as buying the house, plugging in a space heater, and
going to bed.


Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
Some would argue NO GOOD in a residential environment.  Consider a 15
amp circuit in a 30 year old home, that has never been tripped in 30
years.  Now someone plugs in a faulty space heater and it overloads the
circuit, but the breaker doesn't trip !  Don't think this can't happen.

This is one of the reason I like fuses.  They trip no matter what age
they are.

When they first used circuit breakers they were exclusive to commercial
installations.  In fact many were used for lighting and acted as the
switch for the lights.  The maintenance man went around each evening
and turned off the breakers to shut down the lights.  This amounted to
"exercising" the breakers and likely kept them mechanically sound.

Breakers can also be "welded" - something you would never find in a
fuse.

There are also different grades of circuit breakeres and you can bet
builders aren't using the top-of-the-line in residential construction.


The fire we are talking about was a residential care facility, but if
you saw the before pictures you would realize it was nothing more than
an old wood building.  Many parts of rural Missouri lack any type of
building codes.

Again, these are just my personal opinions, YMMV.



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Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
Under normal conditions, the breaker trips before any equipment
damage is done. These may have been defective breakers.

--

Christopher A. Young
  You can't shout down a troll.
  You have to starve them.
.

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Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
On Fri, 12 Jan 2007 01:03:28 -0500, "Robert Green"

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Good info.  I was always told, never intentially create a makeshift
fault to test a protective device, because it might only be designed
to work once, or it might fail badly, and never work right ever again.
Creating a dangerious situation.

Always use 'approved' techniques, test buttons, etc.  Oh and only use
qualified electricians.  ;)

tom @ www.BlankHelp.com


Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .

Tom The Great wrote:
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No wonder my fuse-tester isn't working right!


Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .


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Imagine how many more people might have died if the fire had occurred from
an unintentional fault. Maybe no one would have died if it had never been
shorted, but there was obviously a deeper problem than an electrician with a
screwdriver.



Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
Well I am the poster who checks breakers by shorting:(

First I turn OFF the breaker!

Then I check its dead with a test lamp or meter!

Then I short it intentionally just in case!

Over the years this method has saved me from some possibly nasty
shocks:)

I have discovered boxes fed with multiple power sources in one box,
never a good idea if you ask me......

I have also discovered some bad breakers that didnt trip under full
short. On these I replaced all the breakers in the panel

Also leared FPE stab lock breakers are a known fire hazard......

I dont believe theres a difference between a intential or accidental
short, the breakers should trip either way. 100% of the time. and
become more sensitive to overloads as they age.....

For good reasons soon ALL receptables will be GFCI and arc fault
protected


Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .

[snip]

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[snip]

I recently had an electrician replace a standard switch (in a dual gang box)
with an Insteon switch. (My left arm/hand have reached the point of near
uselessness, my left leg sometimes withraws support without warning and the
switch was adjacent to the kitchen sink so I decided it was safer to seek
the help of a pro.)

When he found there were multiple power sources in the box by blowing two
fuses, I made a caustic comment which, surprisingly, did not increase the
invoice amount.

He said multiple sources in one box is against code but, as I'm not an NEC
expert, I cannot confirm this. Anyway, the building is 60+ years old so it
may have been legit when built. (Our resident Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jibe, aka
Local Village Idiot, will probably comment, especially if he has again
skipped today's dose of lithium carbonate as he so often does.)


http://davehouston.net
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/roZetta /
roZetta-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
On Fri, 12 Jan 2007 01:03:28 -0500, "Robert Green"

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Sounds like untested hypothesis used to fuel conjecture.  (See below ;-)

Quote: "The wiring MAY have become overloaded" hence "blow[ing] breakers
MIGHT be a bad idea (my emphasis).

A literal reading of the NYTimes article does _not_ indicate that the fire
was shown to be caused by tripping a breaker in my opinion. The information
provided is insufficient to know what actually happened. I'd need much better
information before making any inferences from this vague description.

http://www.townhall.com/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ContentGuid=82c6c40b-62ea-4e5b-9e7c-6a54a9fe707d
    " The Nov. 27 fire at the Anderson Guest House started in the attic
and swept through the one-story building. State fire officials cited an
electrical short or overload as a possible cause. "

 "The facility had been cited for failing to conduct an annual fire
inspection in 2000, but had not been cited for fire problems in more recent
years. The three other facilities run by the same company all had received
fire safety citations since 2003."

Based on only the information provided, it is  possible that _nothing_ that
the worker did had _anything_ to do with starting the fire -- much less
popping the breakers.  The furnace (which is itself a mechanism for creating
fire) was broken _before_ he started and the article is mute on even whether
that was fixed.

Or the worker may have jumped or shorted out a furnace component such as an
SCR, and _also_ popped the breaker with the latter having nothing whatever to
do with causing the fire.

If the worker shorted out or interconnected components or wires in an
electromechanical system, even temporarily, he may have damaged something
creating the hazard in that way. He was, it is written, trying to repair a
furnace, which has motors and relays and sensors and burners that themselves
create fire.  

I recently discovered that the single control on my downstairs heating system
that turns the burners off if the boiler gets too hot is a single
thermostatic mercury switch on the hot water pipe leaving the boiler. If the
circulation pump were to fail AND the mercury switch failed, the gas burners
would _never_ turn off because the thermostat would continue to call for heat
and the 80,000 BTUs produced by the boiler would not be removed by
circulating the water so the house wouldn't heat.

Moreover, the circulating water goes only to a heat exchanger in the air
handler. So a similar problem could be created if the multi-stage thermostat
(heat pump,  boiler, or heat pump + boiler)  was inappropriately programmed
and the lone thermostatic switch failed. I discovered during the programming
of a communicating two-stage heating thermostat that in one possible mode,
the only thing between normal temperatures and an overheated boiler *was*
that single heat-actuated switch!   (I've added a second switch to my own
setup as is required -- I've been told -- by commercial at least some
residential codes .)

So if the existing problem the worker was trying to fix was (eg) a bad pump,
and the added problem he caused (or not) was  stuck overtemperature switch,
the combination (as in my case) could itself cause a fire -- especially if
such a system were in an attic (as in the case cited) surrounded by squirrel
nests or leaves or stored items or other flammable items. Or not ;-)


... Marc
Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

 

Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
Last I heard they had pretty much decided that it will be impossible to
determine the cause of the fire.  There's no doubt that service done
just prior to the fire will always be suspect.  About 10 months ago a
Chinese restaurant near me had a small fire just before closing.  The
fire department came and put out the small fire and told the owners to
go home.  About an hour later another fire was called in and the
building was a total loss.  Seems the fire department didn't do a very
good job of checking and a small undetected fire in the duct was the
cause of the more serious fire.

After a recent storm in my area there were numerous dumpsters in my
neighborhood.  One was filled half full with damp to wet roll
insulation.  Apparently someone threw a cigarette or something hot into
the dumpster and started this insulation burning.  I don't believe it
ever really grew into flames, but it smoldered all night and when we
came back in the morning the paint was totally burned off the dumpster
from the heat.  The insulation was still smolderng and putting out a
lot of smoke, but no flame.  Prior to this I had been under the
assumption that insulation was sort of fire resistant - guess not.


Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
I have been a office machine service tech my entire adult life since
1975, we are trained to test by overloading etc all resettable safety
devices so we know they work when needed


Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
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I've read a number of online news reports aqbout the Anderson group home fire.
I didn't find anything about an electrician having
shorted anything.  Do you know a link to this information?  Absent that, I
wonder if this isn't part fact (the fire certainly did
occur) and part modern urban legend.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-866-1100
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .

Robert L Bass wrote:

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 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/20/us/20brfs-Fire.html

 "The worker told investigators that he did not know which circuit
breaker operated the furnace and that he deliberately tripped the
system, according to a report from the Missouri Fire Safety Division."


Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
The URL requires a login.  Thanks for posting the quote.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-866-1100
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



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Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment to blow breakers might be a bad idea . . .
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www.bugmenot.com is handy for working around those.



Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment (If your doctor did this)
Nurse, where does that vein come from?

I don't know doctor, lets tie it off and see what artery pops.

Cool, it will save us a lot of time.


Re: Why deliberately shorting equipment (If your doctor did this)
I thought that was standard operating procedure.  After four months of chemo I
thought they'd found and ruined every vein I have but
they always managed to find someplace else to shove that blasted catheter.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-866-1100
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>


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