Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fun with Electricity

Breaker Box
Studying household wiring yesterday, we pull the cover off the circuit breaker box and take a look inside. The two big, fat aluminum leads from the power company connect to the two banks of circuit breakers, one lead to each bank. From there, black (hot) leads carry current all over the house. The white (neutral) leads complete the circuit. All of the white leads connect to a couple of bus bars that are connected together and to the neutral line from the meter. They are also connected to the ground wire that presumably goes to a steel rod pounded into the ground. Used to be you could use water lines for this purpose, back when water lines were made of steel. Plastic lines won't work for this purpose. Gas lines are still made of steel, at least some of them are, but somehow connecting up an electrical line to a gas pipe doesn't sound like a very good idea, even if it isn't normally carrying any current.

The bare, copper, ground wires coming into the box are also connected to the same bus bars as the neutral (return) lines. We really don't want any electrical device to not have a safe return path.

Cordless Phone

We finish our inspection and put the cover back on. A few minutes later my wife discovers that the phone is not working. That's weird, it was working fine a few minutes ago. What could have happened? A smart person would have realized that the boys were playing with the power and maybe they broke something. The first thing to check is that the phone is actually getting power. The cell phone modem (that the cordless phone plugs into), plugged into the same outlet as the phone, has got power, the little blue lights are all glowing happily. Tested the wall wart and it's fine. The phone must be dead. Order a replacement from Amazon for $25, be here Tuesday. Go to bed.

This morning at oh-dark-thirty my wife wakes me up to tell me that the coffee maker isn't working. Waaahhh? Go check the breaker panel and last breaker on the left bank is off. Must have hit it when we were messing about.

Verizon Wireless Home Phone

The cell modem must have a battery that enables it to keep the LED's glowing even when there is no power. Stupid modern gimcracks.

Plugged the phone back in and it's working fine.

1 comment:

AndrewP said...

I love stories with a happy ending!