The Old/Illegal Electrics and Electrical Disaster Stories Thread

DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
edited December 2015 in General Discussion Posts: 15,071
illegal_wiring1.jpg

Here is the thread for your stories/videos on old and illegal electrics, whether real-life or in fiction (Jeffrey Deaver's The Burning Wire comes to mind) and for general electrical disasters etc.

I'll start this thread rolling with the following true story:

My brother told me of a job he was on in an old house in Kilkeel, Co. Down, NI a few years ago (he has been a burglar alarm maintenance man for many years). Basically he went up into the attic of this old house and was confronted with an electrical wiring system that was rather eccentric to say the least of it. Apparently back when the house had been wired originally (a long time ago one supposes!) the practice had been to wire the house using only the bare current-carrying copper wire that one would find inside our much safer plastic covered wires nowadays. The lady of the house warned him (superfluous to say!) "I think it might be live up there!" In effect, if anyone had touched the live copper wire that went around the wooden support (wood is not a conductor of electricity luckily) it was nailed to they would most likely have been electrocuted. I asked him about this little story a few days ago and said that I wondered what one would have called this particular wiring system. I was expecting a name for it. His reply was simply "Insanity, insanity!" :))

I wonder if any of our members here have any other stories about electrical wiring disasters they'd like to share with us? :)
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Comments

  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited December 2021 Posts: 15,071
    Okay, to get the ball rolling here is footage of the dreaded arc flash:

  • Posts: 5,767
    Not exactly a flashy story, since nothing went up in flames, but the flat I used as a student had a phone installation from probably the 50s or so. Apparently not many people demanded maintenance, so when I called for a telephone guy one day, he didn´t really know what to do with it, it was really funny to watch him get acquainted with it. He was used to very simple boxes with a few orderly cables inside, and instead he found what appeared to be a bird´s nest built from tiny red cables, apparently hundreds of them. It really was the phone installation, because there was no bird shit on the floor underneath, and after the guy left the phone was working again.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    boldfinger wrote: »
    Not exactly a flashy story, since nothing went up in flames, but the flat I used as a student had a phone installation from probably the 50s or so. Apparently not many people demanded maintenance, so when I called for a telephone guy one day, he didn´t really know what to do with it, it was really funny to watch him get acquainted with it. He was used to very simple boxes with a few orderly cables inside, and instead he found what appeared to be a bird´s nest built from tiny red cables, apparently hundreds of them. It really was the phone installation, because there was no bird shit on the floor underneath, and after the guy left the phone was working again.

    Thanks for your story - very interesting to hear that. Things don't have to go up in flames in order to qualify for this thread! I thought that it would be something a bit different for our community here. Glad to hear the phone worked for you afterwards! :)
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    Interesting webpage on electrical faults/outdated electrics in the UK:

    http://www.niceec.co.uk/electrical-faults/
  • Posts: 5,767
    I just remembered, when I lived in my student flat, the whole electricity of the house was from the 50s or 60s, and I had to isolate the earth line of the plug of my bass amp, otherwise it would make a constant sizzling noise.
    Not sure if any electricity outside Germany has an earth on their plugs.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    boldfinger wrote: »
    I just remembered, when I lived in my student flat, the whole electricity of the house was from the 50s or 60s, and I had to isolate the earth line of the plug of my bass amp, otherwise it would make a constant sizzling noise.
    Not sure if any electricity outside Germany has an earth on their plugs.

    Yes, we have earths in our plugs here in the UK too. I imagine it's standard practice but I don't know in all honesty.

    A sizzling noise? I'd have been really worried by that! :)
  • Posts: 5,767
    It sounded pretty much like an interference on the radio. I wouldn´t say I was worried with my little bass amp, but I was a little worried that the whole electrical installation in the house might melt down one day ;-).
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    boldfinger wrote: »
    It sounded pretty much like an interference on the radio. I wouldn´t say I was worried with my little bass amp, but I was a little worried that the whole electrical installation in the house might melt down one day ;-).

    Yes, that could have been a distinct possibility by the sound of things. Thanks again for sharing your story - that's exactly what I created this thread for! It is slightly odd perhaps, but it interests me nonetheless! :)
  • edited February 2015 Posts: 5,767
    Sure. As a former musician, I always was fascinated by metal guitarists almost being electrocuted due to broken cables or other malfunctioning equipment. Especially when a band travels abroad, there seems to be some potential for electric mayhem \m/
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    boldfinger wrote: »
    Sure. As a former musician, I always was fascinated by metal guitarists almost being electrocuted due to broken cables or other malfunctioning equipment. Especially when a band travels abroad, there seems to be some potential for electric mayhem \m/

    Indeed, every country's electric system is probably different hence the "electrical mayhem"! :)
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I remember many a musician fixing a fuse with a bit of silver cigarette paper. ;)
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The Lazenby Pit
    Posts: 42,469
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited February 2015 Posts: 15,071
    DrGorner wrote: »
    I remember many a musician fixing a fuse with a bit of silver cigarette paper. ;)

    On that subject I remember watching a programme on TV years ago where the lead singer of a band had his hand literally frozen to the microphone due to an electrical shock or fault of some kind. Luckily he survived the experience and lived to tell the tale...
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    A very good British Public Information Film ('Electrical Safety') from the 1970s on this subject matter:

  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited July 2015 Posts: 15,071
    Electricity has such amazing power - Compilation:

  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    Just thought that I would update this thread a little (there are other stories I want to share in time as well):

    My brother (see his old electrics story related in the OP) was telling me a while back that workmen that are going in to paint doors, walls etc. in electrical substations are told by the Electric Board/Public Authority that if it is dry weather they are to keep at least ten feet away from any of the electrical components in the substation. We all know that electricity can jump to the nearest conductor - in this case a potentially a human being (if they get too close).

    And if the weather happens to be wet when the workmen want to paint in the substation? They are not to enter due to the vastly increased chance of their being electrocuted. We all know that water acts as a conductor of electricity of course.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The Lazenby Pit
    Posts: 42,469
    I once saw a guy in Morocco changing a fuse in the hotel where I was staying, and suddenly he got burned and fell of his ladder.

    I asked him if it hurt, and he looked at me with dazed eyes, replying "Yes."

    All I have for now.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    I once saw a guy in Morocco changing a fuse in the hotel where I was staying, and suddenly he got burned and fell of his ladder.

    I asked him if it hurt, and he looked at me with dazed eyes, replying "Yes."

    All I have for now.

    Well I'm very glad to have it to add to the thread collection here, @Thunderfinger.

    I understand that it's a bit of an esoteric topic, as fascinating as it is! :)
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The Lazenby Pit
    Posts: 42,469
    With my username, I should be the guy changing that antiquated fuse, but this was the 80s and I was just a nobody back then,
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    With my username, I should be the guy changing that antiquated fuse, but this was the 80s and I was just a nobody back then,

    Never mind, just know that you are very special to us now.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The Lazenby Pit
    Posts: 42,469
    Thanks. Old, illegal and electric.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    Thanks. Old, illegal and electric.

    ...are all things that you are not?

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The Lazenby Pit
    Posts: 42,469
    Except one of those.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    Except one of those.

    You're an illegal? I'm phoning Donald Trump right away!
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The Lazenby Pit
    Posts: 42,469
    Yes, hello?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    Yes, hello?

    Good call. :))

    I am not quite that extreme...yet!
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    Awesome Electrical "Improvement":

  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,071
    A news story I heard on BBC Radio 4 in the car earlier on this week that I wanted to share in this thread. It made me smile and thankfully the monkey involved was unharmed.

    Kenya nationwide blackout caused by rogue monkey


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36475667
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,116
    Dawn of the Planet of the Monkeys!
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    True, this could be them testing our defences , possible because we killed a gorilla
    last week ? ;)
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