[Prev][Next][Index]

# Darned decimal points

```Drat.  And here I promised everybody I would say no more about electricity.
<ggg>

Let me see, I think 5 Amps at 240 Volts equals 1,200 watts.  That is what my
toaster uses. 5 Amps at 240 Volts is 5,000 milliamperes.  I kind of think
that is enough to make ME toast, too!  <ggggggg>  The difference could be
considered nothing more than a misplaced decimal point.  5 milliamperes at
240 volts would not "toast" you, but would be felt.

Apparently, electrical codes vary quite a bit from country to country.  Here
in the USA, National Electrical Code (check me, George, I am writing from
memory, which has proved embarassingly fallible in the recent past!  :-) )
requires a building to have ONLY ONE GROUND (earth in UK) connection.  That
is what makes your GFI work.  There is NOT supposed to be ANY current from
any of the "hot" wires to Ground!! 110 to the "neutral," the other 110 also
to the "neutral," 220 from one of the 110 lines to the other 110 line.
Unless, of course, you have 3-phase current, which does not seem to be the
case, at least, not in this discussion.  As I remember, all electric outlets
within a number of feet from a water source MUST be equipped with GFI.  I
don't remember the distance.

I HAVE had a GFI trip.  I didn't feel anything.  They work really, really
FAST.  So, I am still here, writing annoying comments. <gggggg>

_Please, folks, be careful._ If you don't have a GFI outlet powering
EVERYTHING in your fish room, get one of the "portable" ones that is sort of
in the middle of an extension cord, etc., and use that. If your wiring was
not done by a licensed electrician, get out that little neon tester I
mentioned a while back, and TEST THE OUTLETS!!  You should get a glow at the
NARROW slot, NOTHING at the WIDE slot.  A really BRIGHT glow from narrow to
wide, or from narrow to the "ground" hole.  I once lived in a house where the
code was exactly reversed - "Neutral" was hot, "Live" was grounded, "ground"
was neutral. Wire colors were also off - both red and black were grounded,
white was live. Now you know how it was that I got a 250 volt DC palm to palm
shock once, from a radio transmitter power supply. On second, thought, test
your wiring with the neon tester, regardless of who put it in.

My teacher regarding electricity is a Licensed Professional Engineer, with a
phD in Electrical Engineering.  He does a great deal of work as an Expert
Witness, and says that is a very challenging task.  He has to be sure complex
subjects are understood by ordinary folks.  So, if I oversimplify a bit too
much, it is because I don't want to leave a wrong possible interpretation.
Unfortunately, sometimes I don't succeed. :-(