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Great moments in electricity/electronics

Blog entry posted in 'Uncategorised', May 22, 2008.

One day I found myself working with an elderly semi retired electrician. He was wiring a series of lights down a hallway. He was taking turns wiring, picking up parts, and eating a sandwich. after the 11th light socket was installed all the bulbs where put in. At that point he told me "sonny so flip that switch and let's see what we got". Never the less, I flipped the switch. That was possibly the brightest flash of light I've seen in some time. Out of the darkness his voice said "I take it that wasn't 120 volts, hmmmmmm I have more lightbulbs". He had somehow wired across 220 volts.

The words of wisdom from my electronics instructor in vo-tech school.

#1 a desoldering iron is not a super duper solder shooter.

#2 if a fuse blows don't use a bigger fuse.

#3 if you smell it and it's working fine, there is probably something wrong.

#4 twice the voltage on a motor doesn't mean it goes twice as fast.

#5 Hmmmm it's on fire and working perfectly, I've never saw that before.

What's your "great moments in electricity/electronics;)"? I'd like to see them. Everybody has at least one funny moment.
  1. bananasiong
    Yeah. I tried to recharge a 9 V alkaline DIRECTLY from the main when I was a kid:D. Connecting the live and neutral to the +ve and -ve terminals using tape, and turn the power on from far. I saw smoke coming out with smell :D the battery was HOT after that but no one got injured :)
    bananasiong, May 24, 2008
  2. theinfamousbob
    Sounds like quite an interesting day. There was a kid in my school's technology club that decided to stick a 12V dc motor into a socket; 120VAC didn't agree well with the motor at all. Thank goodness the fire alarm didn't go off now that I think about it...
    theinfamousbob, May 29, 2008
  3. bryan1
    Well ever wonder what the insides of a 555 looks like? I bought a heap of electronic gear off a bloke for a song and in it was a 555 based circuit. so I decided to power it up with a 12 volt battery and found out the fun way the bloke who made it had used the red wire for negative and the black wire for positive. So you can guess what happened when I used the red wire for positive, just a loud bang and the sound of a 555 ic top hitting the shed roof. Surprisingly there wasnt any magic smoke so thats why they call the 555 the indestructable IC. Well unless you hook the power up the wrong way.
    bryan1, Jun 5, 2008
  4. Sceadwian
    Hooked a mains full wave bridge rectifier up the wrong way lights dimmed briefly, fuse popped, four fried diodes, no biggie, took less than 20ms. Just about everyone has done something like that. The great moment was in my mind when I looked at the fuse and realized that in the 20ms it took to blow the fuse that it took me 5 seconds to realize what had happend the entire molecular structure of the fuse wire had been rendered into a liquid and gas phase and condensed on the side of the fuse glass. We truly have no idea of the forces involved in even the simplest of electronics devices. The number of electrons involved in any 20ms's of current flow through an active circuit would take the greatest super computers multiple lifetimes to calculate, and it takes us roughly 300ms to blink. Bang, shock to the conciousness, but you'll never truly understand it, that awe never leaves me.
    Sceadwian, Jun 7, 2008
  5. wmmullaney
    I remember opening up a dead flash drive once, and applying 9v. Kinda funny, everything started frying and smoking and the led exploded.
    wmmullaney, Aug 29, 2008
  6. marlou
    can I ask for just a simple ac voltage regulator with a 220 and 110v output just for our project....
    marlou, Feb 17, 2009
  7. Sinedup
    At tech college, we had to each build a valve amplifier. With completed, tested unit unplugged, I blew my analogue meter to bits, on ohms scale. Turned out a nearby cap was holding a 500V DC charge! We all learn....
    Sinedup, Sep 25, 2015
  8. Sinedup
    Another tip: never solder or apply heat to a 'button cell'. The sealed casing will burst violently.
    Sinedup, Sep 25, 2015
  9. KeepItSimpleStupid
    OK, I was preparing a new semiconductor for synthesis (red phosphorus and zinc). It had to be under vacuum in a sealed quartz tube. I dropped it while sealing with a torch about 2.5 feet in the air. The phosphorus caught on fire. I non-nonchalantly covered it with something and put it out. I usually had to practice on a tube first before sealing it it's been a while. It took about 7 days to fire it in a furnace it and if you were lucky, it didn't go boom.

    I was helping to install a large satellite dish and I slowly started to slide, so I just layed down on my back and stopped. That's what physics was good for.

    I ran a mower without oil (Maybe 10 YO) and threw a rod through it's casing. Dad said, "Your fixing it." Moral: Put oil in cars, mowers etc,

    A lab blew up and no one got hurt. Victory for me. The safety system I designed, built and installed worked. The entire safety and procedures were looked at with a fine tooth comb and changes were made.

    I learned to respect electricity at a young age, so 100 kV @ 0.1 A and 15 kV @ 1.5A, 1000 W into 50 ohms at 13.56 MHz, 3000 A at 6V and 90 A 208 3 phase never bothered me when I had to fix them.
    KeepItSimpleStupid, Oct 1, 2015
  10. fezder
    What i recall is when i was scoping around when using non-isolated 25A PSU, ground loop occured (accident of course....) and 22awg wire didn't like it much, worked like fuse *snap*
    other thing that happened few days ago when mux started oscillating due loss of control signal (mux's control lines were floating) it burned/poofed......
    One really stupid thing happened also, this embararres me but these things are good to talk about: i installed better ceiling lamp, used temporary cord just to test it. I take care when starting permament installations, but what happened (and what luckily didn't happen) was that afterwards i was cleaning up place, and i took a live cord (that temporary) which was still on wall! i know, stupid mistake, luckily anything didn't happen but boy i NEVER been so ''shocked'' when i realised that it was live cord, didn't touch any of wires but still, you get the idea....
    fezder, Oct 15, 2015