Trying to make sense of late father's wiring diagrams

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Guzzle

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A neon lamp fires @65vac, it might respond to phantom (capacitively coupled) voltages.

A 100w lamp tests for a lamp in series with your wire-under-test & a hair dryer tests for connection integrity, but with these you need clip leads, pin jacks & a soldering iron.

Did you know that the whole PoCo in some cases can be pretty accurately reduced to a 120v source in series with a half ohm resistor?
 

Eddie_T

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I have gotten used to the glow level of my neon tester with me as a ground so that's a bit phantom as I am not really grounded. The last time I tried to help a friend with a three-way switch problem in an out building I got a shock with the fused disconnect pulled out of the sub panel. I still want to solve the mystery (of both the switch problem and the shock) but we landed on a switch configuration that works for him and he has lost interest.
 

zannej

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My friend doesn't want to use any tester that has to be inserted because he's been zapped a few times. I'll have to see about neon testers.
What is PoCo? (I should know it but my brain is not working right now).
 

Guzzle

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with me as a ground so that's a bit phantom as I am not really grounded.
You probably had 0.6 mA thru yourself.
I think skin resistance varies with applied voltage [the elec. chair is 2400v, above 600v the skin punctures] & the GFCI people have figured this out six ways from Sunday. C. Dalziel got data by shocking human volunteers & large dogs decades ago.

Zapped? Wear gloves & sneakers. Try not to have current go thru your chest, your cardiac muscle might get confused.

PoCo = Power Company. There is also GaCo & WaCo for us city slickers.
 
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Eddie_T

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I suspect that friend is a hazard, to himself and the Zan.
 

ekrig

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I happen to notice that the outlets on the bottom of the diagram (North?) are connected to one that is outside. Exterior outlets should be on a GFCI protected line, meaning that there is a GFCI outlet at some point before (unless you see a breaker that has that protection already). I've heard that GFCI outlets have an expected lifetime ~5years. If you find that outlet and replace it, hopefully that will fix the subsequent connections. (Note that the GFCI outlet may be working, even though it is not protecting the connections on the load side.)
 

zannej

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What my friend described was sparks flew out and whatever testers he was using were forced out. I think there were some bad connections or something. I got him some boots for electricians for one of his birthdays and he's been wearing them. I do think electrician's gloves would be a good idea. He does know what he's doing, but he has very odd bad luck. Then his tooth broke (unrelated to the tree incident).

Shortly after Xmas he nearly got taken out by a fallen Xmas tree in the road. A truck drove over it and kicked it up at him. He had to swerve out of the way to prevent it from hitting his windshield- hit his mirror instead. He works on wiring stuff all day-- mostly with computer/arcade stuff though.

ekrig, I have no idea to tell what outlets serve the outside- except I know at least one of them goes to the outside AC unit and the water pumps are outside. Not sure which breakers serve the outside plugs that are in weatherproof boxes.

I do plan to replace all of the outlets I can get to. Dad built some shelves in some places that block access because he didn't think about outlets needing to be changed in the future.
 

Guzzle

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My friend doesn't want to use any tester that has to be inserted because he's been zapped a few times.
So he won't get zapped but he'll never figure out elec. problems. They're hard enough even with instruments that usually give correct readings.
 

ekrig

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The 3rd diagram on your first post, has a "not working" note in red pointing to several outlets at the bottom. There is also an outlet outside, in what I'm assuming is a covered areas because of the light. There is no arrow to that outlet but likely that one is also not working. Check the outlet inside to see if it is GFCI (the one with the smallest arrow), because that seems to me the most natural place to protect the one outside.

If you are planning to replace it, I believe that GFCI outlets are now required in the outside boxes directly, and thus you may not need one inside. But I also don't know if cascading GFCI outlet is a problem?!
 

zannej

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ekrig, the area with the light is a covered porch. There are no outlets on the outside part. If there were, they were removed long ago. On the inside of that adjacent room (an outlet on the top wall above the word "dedicated"), there are scorch marks on the wall to indicate that something burned up at some point while the tenants were there. There are also scorch marks around the outlet connected to the switch in my brother's room. Both outlets were replaced.

I forgot to mark the back door light. It was smashed during a hurricane and has never been replaced, but I know it has the wrong kind of box. It's over the back door. I will have to use the correct box for it (if I can find out what kind). It uses an interor light box but needs an exterior light box.

In that front room to the left of the closet the outlet was gone-- tenants removed it for some unknown reason and didn't even cover it back up. I can't remember whether or not it was ever replaced but boxes are piled in the way.

I do want to figure out how to make it so the outlet in my brother's room is not controlled by the switch-- I think it was done that way for a floor lamp as the room initially didn't have a ceiling light.
 

Eddie_T

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If your friend solves the sparking problem by avoidance I suspect that he is not very knowledgeable about electricity. I don't mean that as an insult, most people aren't.
 

zannej

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If your friend solves the sparking problem by avoidance I suspect that he is not very knowledgeable about electricity. I don't mean that as an insult, most people aren't.
I think part of the problem is that he forgot stuff after a traumatic brain injury. He's still trying to recover his memories. Not a good combo though. So, I don't want him to do anything that puts him at risk. He did diagnose a problem at a friend's trailer when fixing electrical using a no-touch tester thingy. If that is not accurate enough we'll have to try the vom.
 

Guzzle

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if cascading GFCI outlet is a problem?!
It makes troubleshooting difficult.
I test outlets first with a small bulb from hot ground to check for upstream GFCIs but you have to listen for the click.

And my frau's hair dryer plug has a GFCI in it & it plugs into the bathroom wall GFCI. The plug occasionally trips but the wall hardly ever, even tho it passes the self check.
I guess I should use the bulb on the wall GFCI.

GFCIs have a trip curve like fuses & circuit breakers, they act like a 5mA breaker. It kind of implies that people are like house wiring. :D
 

Eddie_T

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For small houses electricians used to chain outlets around the outside walls then wire inside walls to use the least amount of wire. I thought about doing that for my larger house as a ring circuit coming back to a second breaker but wasn't sure the code permitted it. My idea was that it would place more copper in the circuit than if the circuits were separate.
 

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