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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Electric Blogging - the Story Continues

By Wednesday evening, we had four additional light fixtures that ceased to provide light.  Combine that with the lack of electricity for the washer and it was time for help.

I had also noticed the lights dimming occasionally over the previous few days.  "Probably a heavy tool operating nearby or other major load outside the building," I thought.  A knock on the door removed those possibilities.  "Fire from the box," reported Joseph, the ten-year old boy from across the hall, assisted by his older sister.

Not a real fire.  Just a bit of electric sparking creating a blue glow around the edge of the box.  Ah, the crackle of energy and the smell of ozone.  Nothing like it!  We put in a call for assistance and went into minimum power consumption mode for the night.

I don't have a picture of my own electrical hook-up for you but here is a similar one from a few floors away.

The right-hand box is telephone wiring, the center one contains the mains running vertically throughout the building and the left holds the apartment owner's master breaker.  It was the connection to the main that was giving us problems.  Here is a close up of that neighbor's connection.

When my electrician arrived on Thursday he was not easily convinced of a problem out here in the master connection area.  Dimming lights, crackling and sparks soon convinced him to focus there.  I would have diagnosed the problem as too small a clamp since tightening it down ran us out of bolt before things got good and tight.  A little improvising got us an adequately tight connection, though.  All that fiddling with the wire at the main had caused the connection to the master breaker to come loose.  Perhaps it was never as tight as it should be.

Back inside, the washing machine problem was located.  This was found to be caused by the wires to the washing machine switch being not connected to anything where they were run from the nearby outlet box.

The four light fixtures were re-wired with new non-Chinese sockets.

This fixture got a new mounting in the center of the ceiling medallion where the screw hook had pulled out during repairs.  Here is a close up of the wiring.

Whew!  Another afternoon's supervision out of the way.  Lights are on, the washing machine works and everything is back to normal.

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