He was using a handsaw that the plumbers use to cut PVC. It has a
plastic handle that would have provided some protection. But there
were no arc burns on the blade. Strange.
The circuit was never under any significant load. At the time it
first tripped the only load were two alarm clocks. The greatest load
that it ever received was from the motors on an adjustable bed.
The arcing was between, as best as we could determine, a hot leg and
ground. This was a four wire conductor - two hot, one neutral and one
ground. There is a possibility that neutral was involved too as some
of the insulation was damaged but we didn't see any arc burns on the
Glad you found it. The issue here was that conditions were such that slight
moisture/movement variation provided intermittent conductivity (or arc)
between the nicked conductors, and at other times, there wasn't enough
carbon path to show up on the instruments.
Heh. The last time I did a full house rewire (actually a major duplex
rewire, two systems), every time I came over for a wiring stint, the plumber
had managed to do something awful to the wiring I installed the previous
time. Like the time his 3" drill caught a wire, and pulled a _whole_
circuit, boxes and all, out of the wall.
At one point, about 50% of each day was spent fixing what the plumber
wrecked from the last time.
[He really was a damn good plumber. It was a huge and difficult job. He
apologized, I eventually forgave him ;-)]
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
On Fri, 03 Feb 2006 21:17:42 -0000, firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris
It was intermittent to the degree that it passed a test by an
Ideal(TM) circuit analyzer. If any of the conductors were shorted or
open at the time the Ideal tester would have found it.
This meter also measures ground to hot current and it was showing a
very low reading, something like .12 volts. Anything under 2 volts is
considered to be within the normal range. After the cable was repaired
the ground to hot voltage went to zero.
Aparently there was some leakage between ground and hot all of the
time, but it was not enough to cause the breaker to trip most of the
I have always though that the electrician should be the last trade on
the job. Plumbers can do a lot of damage that often is not obvious
until someone finds a dead circuit or worse.
However, it's the low-voltage stuff, like phone, that is PARTICULARLY
vulnerable to damage by subsequent persons working around it.
Telephone is the "Rodney Dangerfield" of the utility world. It gets NO
RESPECT AT ALL from the other trades.
Build a shed and cut the underground phone drop? No sweat.
Don't call the phone company and risk being held responsible, if it was your
mistake. You simply splice it back together with wire nuts and thermostat
cable, tape it up and put it back in the ground. It will last several months
until well after you've cashed the customer's check.
Moving a wall and need to extend the telephone cable? No sweat. Solder a
pipe and NUKE the phone cable? No problem.
Don't pay a professional. Just piece it out with a length of thermostat wire
and wire nuts and you're done! The customer won't discover the effect of your
shoddy work until well after you are long gone. (And it's ALL under
Yes, Virginia, there IS a special way to make - and repair - phone cable.
There has been for almost a hundred years. Call before you dig!
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