Is anyone here an electrician?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Josh Ryan, May 10, 2004.

  1. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    -this is something that has always fascinated me, yet I know very little about it. I can hook up a light, basic stuff like that, but that's the extent of it. I've often wondered what the typical day of an electrician would be like, what tools would be used, does it get routine or are there new challenges etc.
  2. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I'm one of the few men in my family that is not an electrician. From what I hear from my Dad and Brother, the school to become an electrician requires a lot of high level math that you'll never really need on the job site. I'm sure the day to day requirements vary depending on what type of job you are on. I hear it can be pretty physically demanding and you can end up working outside quite a bit. It sounds to me like a lot of times they'll end up spending most of there time bending and installing conduit and then pulling wire through conduit. I also hear that new construction is better (cleaner) work than maintenance / trouble jobs and that mills, especially paper mills suck to work in (for anybody, but especially for outside contractors.) That's about all I know about the electricians life.

    Edit - Dad and Bro are comercial elecs. Dad used to do residential trouble calls and he says that is the worst ...a lot of times - to fix the problem you have to crawl under the house, no matter how many cats the crazy old lady has or what they do under the house... :meh: ...or having to charge the nice old lady a minimum 1 hour service call out because she called an elctrician when the light bulb in the kitchen burned out. :meh:
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I know just enough about electricity to get you killed.

  4. Fork, 120v socket, human.

    Don't let go and you bpppllhh.
  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    -that dangerous level of knowledge, I see it often with: people+computers=disaster.

    I think I know less than that about electricity.
  6. Nah, You go Bzzzzzt. Feels like a really strong vibrator is applyed to your hand. It's more scary than painful. You'd have to use 2 forks. One on each leg of the AC to really get an effect. More myth than reality. The single fork would just get you barely any difference to ground. The higher the voltage the better the buzz. Anything over 220/230 makes me very cautious. That'd prolly give one hell of a ride. Watched a guy fly one time when he hit a 600V motor starter (capacitor)


    I've taken quite a bit of electrical classes for my engineering degree, and did some field work designing HVAC and building controls. I know enough to build my own basic circuts (beyond voltage dividers :) ). Power is very cool. Some people just really have a feel for it, like another sense. Prolly in the same way I am with mechanical things I guess.

    Go try the fork thing :D (Please don't, I have)
  7. leishan


    Aug 11, 2002
    Medina, TN
    I am an Industrial Electrician/Electronics tech and I've seen several people almost die due to getting hit with 120 volts. 280 volts and above will usually knock you off the circuit (possibly killing you in the process). If you happen to grab a 120V wire, it can tense your muscles up just enough so you can't let go. It only takes 25-75 milliamps to stop your heart (a 120 volt circuit is 60 milliamps). I'm the poster child for senseless 120V shocks.........

    OK, enough senseless rambling..... ;)
  8. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL

    Well, I though that a 120 circuit, say in an outlet had the capacity to go until the breaker trips, not in the milliamp range for sure. Basically, most outlest are wired for 15 amp. So if your device draws more than that, a breaker will trip. This prevents the wiring in the wall and the device itself. If you draw to much amperage through the wiring, it can heat up. Sometimes to the point of fire.

    Most homes are wired for 100 amp service. This is the maximum allowable amount of amperage that a house can draw without tripping a breaker(or fuse in some installations). Though the sum of all the circuits capacity is usually well above the 100 amp mark, those circuits in most cases will not all be drawing their max all at once. If they do, the main breaker will trip, and kill tthe whole operation.

    Well, now that class is over, I will say that you should be careful around electrical stuff. Hang around someone that knows a lot. If you are changing an outlet, you might want to get an outlet tester to make sure it is not live. I often like to use a proximity tester. It can test if there is voltage in a line without being in electrical contact with a wire. You can put it on an insulator, a bare wire, or anything like that. It is made completely of plastic, so it will not conduct electricity. But it can sense it in a wire that is not even in a circuit. Great little device. They usually run around 15 bucks, and some have a beeping sound as well as a light to tell you that there is power. Just a good safety device if you are working around electricity. Like I said before, be careful out there!
  9. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I use a multimeter that I got at radio shack. thing has saved me many, many hours with my cars over the years. When I work in the house I usually just go and flip the mains switch.
  10. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Well, sometimes you need electricity nearby, and that little probe helps. It's only 15 bucks, and it's worth it when you do it for a living.
  11. I am. It is boreing.
  12. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Really? What do you do everyday? Industrial or residential? (I know, I've been watching "monster house" too much.)
  13. It is against my rules to talk about work when I'm not on the clock, besides, like I said, Its boring. :oops:
  14. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
  15. Day to day: Residential, new houses.

    Tool belt (electricians)
    Tape measure
    Screwdrivers: including square drives, nut runners, and wobblies
    Pliers: linesman, sidecutters, strippers, needlenose
    Cordless drill

    Usually bang up the main box in the garage, drill holes through the walls (no insulation or drywall up yet), run the main lines for the circuits, hammer in boxes for fixtures/ wall sockets, branch off the main runs to make the circuits (about 10 or 11 wall sockets / light fixtures per run).

    Wire for hot tubs or electric ranges and heaters use 6 or 8 guage copper wire, and that stuff isn't light!

    After the insulation and drywall/paint is finished, we come back in and install fixtures and plates.

    If you ever get into electrician work, go with someone who does new buildings. Less spiders and dead animals.
  16. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    No, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night.