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Free Solar Energy training

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Re: Free Solar Energy training

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 23 Mar 2017, 20:25:30

This was not a "high threat zone" when I moved here. But once they started the "Sanctuary City" BS, illegal criminals commit crimes and get released so they won't be deported. I understands that this annoys them to no end, they have to go to the trouble to get new false IDs before getting aprehended for the next crime against Americans.

The Democrats will tell you the controversy is over racism and bigotry, and the Republicans want to break up Hispanic families. That's not it at all, it's all about illegals in criminal activity.

Everybody would understand that if they didn't dodge jury duty.
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Re: Free Solar Energy training

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 24 Mar 2017, 00:04:43

Reading through the above discussion on electrical safety vs. expense and codes, etc., a few thoughts.

My electrician was an IBMer and actually had an electrical engineering degree, so he actually understands the physics behind what he does.

Since I was interested, he explained some things to me, asked me about preferences (like safety vs. cost, functionality vs. cost, etc.) He worked on my place on days he had free. So it was slow progress with a project here and there, but since I was willing to tolerate that he worked cheap and we did a project at a time and didn't rush things.

One thing he insisted on right away is that he refused to do anything unsafe, no matter how much I wanted to save money doing that. I responded that I suspected we'd get along very well, given that attitude.

He said he'd seen a LOT of really scary/dangerous things ignorant or careless people had done to various personal residences. And yet, aside from some scorch marks or small fires in small electrical boxes, he'd never seen anything really close to a house burning down purely because of a bad electrical installation. He indicated that the standards improve over time, but that for about a century the standards have actually been pretty effective re safety, or there would have been a HELL of a lot more house fires, generally.

One thing he just HATED though, was the wooden(!) electrical boxes my father had made for some lamps he wired into the basement. Hated them to the point he cut the main cords off near the lamps (without asking permission) when I indicated I wasn't interested in using those lamps anyway. I kind of shudder to think of it now, knowing how metal electrical boxes are to contain small fires. My dad basically hand made those out of BALSA wood, which is like tinder.

He liked that I always leaned toward using heavier wiring, switches, outlets, etc. given the choice, as long as the difference wasn't "crazy" expensive.

We discovered various things while he was replacing the original fuse box with a modern breaker box. 1). The house I'd grown up in and my parents lived all my life in was apparently never grounded for the past 45 years or so. When they had a water softener installed, the metal pipes were replaced with PVC. Well, it seems they originally grounded the house with (get this) a COAT HANGER connecting the fuse box to a metal pipe that had gone into the ground (but was removed at that time).

I kind of flinched a bit. He calmly pointed out nothing had happened for 45 years, lightning storms and all, but that we should "prioritize fixing that". The modern grounding uses two (redundancy) thick copper rods 6 feet long that get driven all the way into the ground, and get attached to the box with some fairly heavy metal straps. Just a WEE bit sounder looking than a coat hanger and some random pipe!

The 20 year old furnace wasn't grounded. He suspected the original furnace wasn't grounded either, so they just did the new one the same way. He grounded that using modern code standards.

Originally everything major in the basement was on one circuit. Furnace, both sump pumps, washer and dryer. He put each of those on a separate circuit so, for example, some sump pump problem didn't mean my furnace wouldn't run.

So, I suspect that overall, the safety discussion above is valid, but the answer to a "reasonable" level of safety is probably somewhere in the middle. Knob and Tube wiring is obsolete (he had mentioned that at some point), but it's not like knob and tube houses were burning down left and right.
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Re: Free Solar Energy training

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 24 Mar 2017, 02:37:11

Outcast_Searcher wrote:-snip-

So, I suspect that overall, the safety discussion above is valid, but the answer to a "reasonable" level of safety is probably somewhere in the middle. Knob and Tube wiring is obsolete (he had mentioned that at some point), but it's not like knob and tube houses were burning down left and right.


No they were not. When wiring went from Knob and Tube to cloth insulated, safety improved. When we went from cloth to vinyl insulation, safety improved. When we went from fuses to circuit breakers, safety improved. It's simply not visible to a single individual, unless that person is a statistician working for the UL compiling the results from tens of thousands of residences. Not to mention, this is the accumulation of knowledge from over a century of data collection.

You either believe in the numbers, or you trust your instincts based on your personal experience. The best practices in electrical, plumbing, the building of earthquake-resistent structures, weatherproofing, insulation, etc. are derived from the experiences of millions of people, just as are the best practices in medicine. You collect the data and analyze the results, and when you get a safer outcome, you change the NEC, the building code, etc.

Certainly, the world is replete with people who would disregard what the numbers say, and do their own thing. I'm not one of them. If I am in the market for a new home and I see obvious amatuer construction, or plumbing, or electrical work, I'm going to ask for an inspection. I will consider the cost of bringing the structure up to code in whatever bid I make. If I am building a new home and decide to exceed the minimum worksmanship and safety standards required, I'll do so. My money, my decision.

The matter of grounds and electrical systems are a whole topic in itself. In fact, most destructive currents enter a structure through the ground conductors themselves. Amazing things happen with lightning.

I once specified the computer room power in a room approximately halfway up the tapered black Chicago skyscraper known as the "John Hancock Center":
Image
This is a buiding constructed of massive steel structural beams and steel plate/poured concrete floors, then clad in glass. There are "equipment spaces" every 10 floors in the building, which means that when you cool a computer room, you will run copper plumbing as much as 5 floors up or down, to the nearest equipment space. The massive A/C compressors were connected to the evaporator units in the computer room, where they blew cold air under the raised "plenum" floor. You could alter the distribution of cold air by locating perforated floor tiles near your equipment, a typical sort of arrangement where equipment is reconfigured frequently.

You would not think that a computer that was located hundreds of feet from any building exterior, in the center of a steel structural skeleton of massive steel beams and girders, would ever experience lightning damage. But ours was gutted by lightning and I was sent by my irritated boss to do a post mortem. The lightning had struck the top of the tower and was conducting itself down towards the Earth, when it encountered those A/C compressors, which were interconnected to the computer room with 3" diameter copper pipes, brazed together in one continuous piece. Of course, copper has lower electrical resistence than steel, most of the current flowed down the piping and into the computer room, where it was bonded to my carefully specified 1" by 1/8" super-heavy duty copper straps that formed the equipment grounds. Crispy critter computers was the result, and the HVAC guys got the blame, for not installing "dielectric unions" in the cooling loops to break the circuit.

In residences as well, the path taken by destructive lightning currents is most often the grounding system itself. The two ground rods mentioned above is the former "best practice". The new "best practice" is to drive a ground rod every 6' around the building, and interconnect them with a copperweld cable loop buried about 6" below ground. The idea being, make a low resistence path for lightning striking the ground anywhere nearby, so that it flows AROUND the residence and NOT THROUGH IT. The single connection between the circuit breaker panel and the ground rod system remains at the main panel, and ALL other external connections, including water and communications, are nearby the electric service and connected at the same point to ground. If you have solar panels or antennas on the roof, you ground everything to the "main building ground" at that same point where your electric service enters.

As you may have guessed, I also have that EE degree, and had practiced EE for 36 years when I retired in 2015. But I am still an IEEE member and still bound by the code of ethics to give good advice. The other EE mentioned above by Outcast_Searcher seemingly has similar ethics.
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Re: Free Solar Energy training

Unread postby baha » Fri 24 Mar 2017, 04:51:56

My old farmhouse has a full set of lightning rods on the roof. One shaped like a rooster that spins in the wind. They are all bonded to a huge aluminum grounding electrode conductor and connected to 2 dedicated ground rods located more than 30' from the electrical system ground rod. Lots more effort put into that than the ground for the main panel.

I am not a fan of lightning rods, they attract lightning as well as protecting you from it. Since I have lived here we have been hit twice. We get lots of afternoon thunderstorms. Both times I was on-line on my computer and there was no effect on the electrical system. I saw the flash and heard buzzing and snapping noises as the strike was directed to ground. No previous house I have ever owned has been struck by lightning so I am sure the rods attracted it. But no damage so I guess I'm ok with it. Maybe in the future I will connect them to a Frankenstein monster machine :)

I really need some of those super capacitors they keep promising.
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Re: Free Solar Energy training

Unread postby GHung » Fri 24 Mar 2017, 10:41:07

Pretty good stuff, KJ. When I built my house, I distributed ground rods around the house under the concrete footings. I mostly used copper pipe we had removed from a large home during a remodeling job, and I also salvaged long pieces of #6 copper grounding wire. My brother said I was crazy when I soldered it all together in a big loop. I also added several regular ground rods to the mix, all of this before I poured the footings. Even the rebar in the footers and the rebar in the concrete foundation walls is bonded to my grounding array.
A single grounding rod sticks out of the slab just below the power panel where all of my electrical and water systems ground to.
We've taken some massive hits at or near the house with no damage to the electrical or solar systems. The only damage I've had came in over the telephone land line which didn't get past the Cuttler-Hammer lightning arrestor I installed. It blew that sucker off the wall, but didn't affect any of the house's phone system or network.
Each of my solar arrays is grounded through lightning arrestors both at the array and inside at the charge controllers. In my case, a pound of prevention has been worth a ton of cure. No damage in over 18 years.
Another thing that may be helping is the well-grounded metal barn on the hill above the house. I've actually watched it get struck hard, before I dove for cover.
Think Faraday Cage when building, especially if you live where there is frequent lightning. I'm wondering if all of this will help if/when a big EMP hits.
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