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sparkies - what bodgy work have you seen done by laymen?

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  1. #1
    notanapprentice dan76's Avatar
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    Default sparkies - what bodgy work have you seen done by laymen?

    ok this is one for the sparkies .
    there are always threads about why people should be able to do their own work so i thought id start one on why they shouldnt.

    first one is the cattle farmer whose bulls would break normal elec fences so he hooked it up to 240v to stop them.
    a gem miner up here in cq who made his own power point out of strips of a coke can and the wooden walls of his humpy
    a bloke who was making his own extn lead and had one of those plugs that have a socket on the back as the socket end of the plug.
    a bloke near toowoomba whose house still had the old rubber insulated cables being used who refused to let me fix the wiring said he would use a lamp cause the bed room light had died, would cost too much he said.so i had to put a j box on it.
    the telstra bloke who had a single gpo on the light circuit and mounted into the v of the truss next to the manhole with no protection on the back of the outlet. in his garden shed he had a lead with a plug on each end going from the gpo to a fluoro with a socket in side of the fitting with the lead for the fluoro cut off and taped up???

    thats the few off the top of my head, im sure the other tradesmen have many more stories.

  2. #2
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    at work we had an "import" engineer who didn't have the correct plug adaptor for his laptop power supply. He used a pair of scissors to cut and strip the ends of the lead, twisted them and stuck them in the socket by his desk.

    We also had "import" photographers come onsite as contractors with their own lighting equipment. This included lights with non matching plugs which we intercepted before they too did the above, but also light boxes which they had constructed themselves in their hotel room. Not only were the boxes pooly constructed but the electrical was rubbish. They used flat tps going into plug tops, which didn't use the hooks [can't recall the proper term] of the plug top, which meant that when the cable was tugged on, the cable seperated from the plug top; fluros were barely fixed to the boxes, and the cable was rubbing against the metal edges of the fitting were it entered. The metal fittings weren't earthed, polarity was reversed and at the terminals for the light, there was either exposed copper for about an inch behind the terminal or the screw was clamped firmly over the insulation.

    They complained when we confiscated the light boxes and repaired them.

    The weird thing was, when they needed something painted they went looking for "zee master painter" [their term not mine] but not once did they ask for "zee master electrician" to construct their light boxes.

    And i'll mention it, but i suppose every one has heard of nails being used inplace of fuses.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan76 View Post
    the telstra bloke who had a single gpo on the light circuit and mounted into the v of the truss next to the manhole with no protection on the back of the outlet. in his garden shed he had a lead with a plug on each end going from the gpo to a fluoro with a socket in side of the fitting with the lead for the fluoro cut off and taped up???
    Are the Telstra guys classifed as Electronics or Data Technicians? Or are some of them classed as electricians?

    A curious MH

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    Hi,

    I once had to repair a piece of homemade (as it turned out made by a student - non qualified) scientific equipment that only had a two wire cord attached to a uncovered pump inside it).

    Fortunately an email was sent out to all students stating that any electrical equipment used in the department was not to be used until it was checked visually and by a testing machine.

    MH

  5. #5
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    Default Where do I start

    I pulled a GPO off a kitchen splashback a few weeks ago and discovered speaker wire attached to the active and neutral.
    I traced the cable up the wall cavity and into a cupboard to a GPO that had the rangehood plugged into it.

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    Incorrect polarity, missing or defective neutral, missing or defective earth, mixed circuits, little or no labelling, wrong cables (size, type, protection), incorrect isolation (switched neutral and such), damaged or no insulation. I could go on, but if it can be done, its been done.
    Funny thing is, anyone can buy the rulebook, which states clearly (in most cases) how things should be done.
    I wont give advice either.

  7. #7
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benja View Post
    Funny thing is, anyone can buy the rulebook, which states clearly (in most cases) how things should be done.
    If they are going to do it illegally why would they worry about regs

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    Quote Originally Posted by nev25 View Post
    I pulled a GPO off a kitchen splashback a few weeks ago and discovered speaker wire attached to the active and neutral.
    I traced the cable up the wall cavity and into a cupboard to a GPO that had the rangehood plugged into it.
    That doesn't sound good.

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    Tool Whore - 1K Club Member Vernonv's Avatar
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    A heap of (metal) external lights where the earth was not connected. The earth was a separate wire and it could not be pulled far enough out of the external wall (to allow for easy termination), so it was just not connected.

    Oh wait a second ... ... it was a sparkie that did that install - so it must have been right and myself (a mere non-electrician pleb) must have been wrong.
    Cheers.

    Vernon.
    __________________________________________________
    Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like crazy.

  10. #10
    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Can I join in this little huddle in the corner of the forum? I've got some tales of electrical wiring woe I can share with you.

    How about:

    1. Transformer with a star primary wired with an active to the star-point (i.e. where the neutral ought to be) and the neutral wired to one of the active points
    2. What about a piece of equipment all wired beautifully except for connecting the earth from the incoming mains
    3. How about the case of two separate circuits, with two separate plugs, being mis-wired so that the active of one plug used the neutral of the other plug for the return (and vice versa with the other active and neutral). It all works when it is plugged in, but be real careful if one of the plugs is removed.
    4. What about 3-phase equipment wired with IEC 5-core cable where the black was wired as a neutral instead of the light blue
    5. What about running several 15 amp GPOs off the one circuit
    6. What about running a 200A supply and including an isolator but not including a circuit breaker or fuse (and the cable was not rated for the current of the upstream circuit breaker up the supply chain)

    The list could go on and on, but I think you all get the idea...

    Yep, all bad, and some are potentially dangerous. Let's stand around and tsk and shake our heads knowingly at all this non-compliant work and get that warm inner glow that this all supports the argument that only licensed people know what they are doing. Yep, let's bask in the aura that qualified people wouldn't do such wiring, or if they did, they'd certainly catch it during the stringent checking procedures that they'd do.

    Funny how all the example I've cited were done by qualified and licensed electricians and put out for general use only to be found sometime later when I got called in to sort out when something isn't working properly.

    Anyway, don't let me get in the way of you establishing your contention

  11. #11
    notanapprentice dan76's Avatar
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    lol

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    I bought a brandnew townhouse which all the smoke alarms were hooked up to the lights of the rooms they were in. only found out when we were chewing through 9v batteries. All was ok if we left our lights on 24/7
    The sparkie blamed his apprentice. He had to cut holes all through the place to fix and said he would send a gypy round to fix. never heard from him again so I had to get the gyprock fixed myself.
    Also had a mate who was checking out his house during construction one weekend and was nearly thrown through the fence when he bumped into the aircon wiring that was hanging out of the side of the house (live).

  13. #13
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    Speaker wire is meant for... wait for it.... Speakers!

    So I don't want to see any more of it connected to anything else. And you don't normally need speakers in the roof anyway so no real excuses there.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan76 View Post
    ok this is one for the sparkies .

    first one is the cattle farmer whose bulls would break normal elec fences so he hooked it up to 240v to stop them.
    Ok, don't hassle me for the ridiculous question but how much damage would 240v cause if it doesn't kill a bull? (or did it?)

    The reason i ask is because many moons ago i put my hand on a cattle fence and i'm sure my heart stopped!! The neighbours heard me yell (after the initial shock had passed) from a km away. I have horses and know that a standard mains powered energiser doesn't throw out that much electricity.

  15. #15
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    Its not the volts that kills its the amps. With respect to 50hz mains current not only does everyone have a different tolerence to electric shock; it depends on the part of the body that the current travels through as well as the length of time that the shock is received. Generally it takes as little 0.1 amps of mains voltage to be fatal. Mains wiring can easily supply 10 amps and more. An electric fence can deliver 1000,s of volts but at very low current so as to be extremely unpleasant but not fatal, it's also pulsed with the pulses coming a second or two apart and lasting only a fraction of a second.

    When my kids were mere little tackers I caught them giving each other electric shocks with an old hand cranked telephone generator. These things are able to output 120v+ at 0.2 amps. The boys could only take a slow crank before they dropped the wires but daughter could take any thing her 10yr old brother could muster. Needless to say their fun ended when I appeared.



    sparkies - what bodgy work have you seen done by laymen?
    How do know its been done by a laymen. ?

  16. #16
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    ..your daughter is female. Need i say more? Higher pain threshold!

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