do electricians do things to screw with the next guy?
  Re: do electricians do things to screw with the next guy? by carwashguy (I have a 3 way circu...)
I like it, thanks!
  Re: do electricians do things to screw with the next guy? by carwashguy (I have a 3 way circu...)
Our house was a custom build by an electrical engineer who was also a ham radio enthusiast.  He also fancied himself as an electrician.  As we have lived here and upgraded systems, I keep finding "different" ways that things were done.

He may have done the electrical himself in the house build.  For example, the generator guys came on Friday to begin installing the new backup power generator.  They told me the original generator was installed in an illegal manner.  I knew that the backup power got into the box via a manual switch, and that the only way that one could absolutely avoid sending live voltage back out into the grid was to physically shut off the main breakers.  I had a 12-step process to get the backup power going; shutting off the mains (there are two 200-amp mains) was Step 1, even before starting the generator.  I had to develop those instructions myself; I have no idea how the original owner did the switch over.

Many of the circuits in the house are very lightly loaded circuits and most of those circuits are 20 amps.  I guess I'm fortunate compared to many who don't have enough circuits and many are already maxed out, if not overloaded.

The two electrical panels were not organized in a coherent manner.  For example, circuits for kitchen counter outlets, the island, and a separate peninsula are spread across the two panels.

The guy apparently found a large pile of heavy electrical extension cords.  He used some of the cords with the ends cut off as supply lines for stuff in the basement.  Fortunately, I've only found this situation in areas I can see.  I've done plenty of work inside the walls here, and all of that work has been standard romex.

He had to do the original work well enough to get an occupancy permit, I guess. 

I like having 400 amps of power available.  Unfortunately, the new backup power generator will only power one of the two 200-amp panels, so there's going to be additional work next week to get all of my "must-have" circuits into one panel.
  Re: do electricians do things to screw with the next guy? by carwashguy (I have a 3 way circu...)
Whenever I rough in 3-way switches there'll be two reds, a black, and a ground twisted together. When the line is at one 3-way and the load at the other; the black gets red tape to indicate travelers, and white is the neutral for the load. If the line and load are both in the same box then the white becomes red. That leaves us with the problem of the newer code that requires a neutral at the switch. I've installed 3-way occupancy/vacancy switches in this situation and some connections had to be changed but they didn't need to have a 4th conductor. The directions were confusing mostly because I had to first figure out which wiring diagram, of many, to use. I  set it up as a vacancy sensor because the two switches were at opposite ends of an "L" shaped hall. You can choose to turn the lights on or off from either location, but they would always turn off after 3 minutes of "vacancy".
Sign at N.E. Vocational School Cabinetmaking Shop 1976, "Free knowledge given daily... Bring your own container"
  Re: RE: do electricians do things to screw with the next guy? by Phil Thien ([quote='EricU' pid='...)
(12-22-2018, 11:27 PM)Phil Thien Wrote: White IS neutral, everything else is hot.

yes, absent reidentifying.  The problem was that he thought that all he had to do was keep things color coded in order for it to work. Fortunately, all his mistakes ended up with dead switches and outlets.  I suppose he probably made some mistakes where he ran power to neutral and corrected those right away when the circuit breaker blew.  

It would have been really nice if the 3 way circuit in our kitchen had the neutral in the switch box, I assume it's in the ceiling box.

I try not to engineer any wiring. You can get yourself into a lot of problems that way. The code is written by firefighters for a reason.
  Re: do electricians do things to screw with the next guy? by carwashguy (I have a 3 way circu...)
(12-22-2018, 09:21 PM)carwashguy Wrote: I have a 3 way circuit that wasn't working.  I took it apart to test continuity and figure out how it was wired.  The power comes into the ceiling light but does NOT attach to the light but goes on 12-2 wire to the first switchbox using the white wire as a hot but does NOT connect to the switch.  In the first switchbox it connects to the black wire on 12-3 wire to second switchbox to the connect to the 3-way switch.  The Red and White wires are used as the travelers back to the first switchbox and then to the black wire from the switch on the original 12-2 back to the light.  
It just seems like the most difficult way possible to wire this circuit.   Upset
Do Electricians do things like this just to give the next guy a headache?  

What I am guessing what happened was it was originally as a 2 wire switch loop with one switch, at a later date a second switch was added for the light.   Doing it in this manor required less (if any) tearing into existing walls and ceilings.   I do not think it was wired that way when the original rough in was installed.  Roly
  Re: do electricians do things to screw with the next guy? by carwashguy (I have a 3 way circu...)
I am not an electrician, but taught Electricity and Electronics for many years (trained as a Broadcast Engineer). My favorite thing was teaching the students 3-Way Circuits. Most were definitely stumped by them.  Most recently, I had my 12 year old son assist me in troubleshooting a problem in a 3-way Hall Light circuit.  Went step by step, turned off power, checked for power.  Pulled one of the switches, then showed him how to check Continuity.  He discovered one was bad, so we replaced it. Circuit worked then.  He was very proud of it.  The No neutral used as hot, is relatively recent change.  My house mid 60's had the living room circuit with 12 gauge wire to the outlets and 14 gauge wire to the switches for the switched outlets.  When I discovered this I changed the breaker to a 15 amp. The worst thing I found though was the previous homeowner wired the basement cut all the grounds and buried the junction boxes.  Then on the dinning table light he just wired nutted the NM to the power switch, no junction box.  The list goes on...... Dan
  Re: do electricians do things to screw with the next guy? by carwashguy (I have a 3 way circu...)
the PO of this house buried a smoke alarm above a dropped ceiling.  So far I have seen no evidence of buried junction boxes, but probably it was because he didn't think of it.  Some people should be banned from the Borgs for public safety reasons.
  Re: do electricians do things to screw with the next guy? by carwashguy (I have a 3 way circu...)
i've found one circuit powering one outlet.  One stretch in the basement started out with 12/2, connected to 12/2 aluminum (no appropriate connectors, that connected to a 12/2 no ground, which ended up back on 12/2 copper wg.  It went into a box where it split, one part to a light the other to nowhere.  The wire was hanging loose in the insulated ceiling, still connected to the run.  Where it tee'd was not covered so he could easily have taken off the cover and removed it from the circuit.

The furnace shared a line with the lights for the basement even though the basement has a lot of circuits.  I guess I had never done anything on the furnace except during the daytime so I never turned on the lights until one night when I had an issue with the furnace.  Lights on, flip the circuit breaker and next thing I know I'm in the dark.   Laugh Laugh Laugh    I wasn't laughing at the time. 

Same house had a one sided deadbolt on the basement door with no way to get in or out of the basement other than that door.   Raised
Ignorance is bliss -- I'm very, very happy

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