Use a 3/8 inch drive hex wrench/socket (a socket with a
short hex wrench in it), suitable extension and a ratchet.
Tape up the extension if you so wish. Find a nice piece of
dry wood, plywood, 2x8, 2x10... whatever you fill
comfortable with not falling/stepping off from and stand on
that. Look over exactly where the hex lug is and what could
possibly get in the way when you turn/wrench on it. Then
carefully crank them down.
Don't get too carried away with this. That is more than
enough wrench. If you pop/split one (been there, done that)
it is a pain-in-the-xxx to fix and it HAS to be fixed.
Especially on a hot panel in current use for important
things, like keeping beer in your fridge cold.
If you feel really uncomfortable doing this, find an
electrician that works on commercial/industrial stuff. They
will torque them down with a big grin on their face and
maybe help you drain some of that cold beverage in the
fridge afterwards ;-) There is even a good chance they won't
bother with the wood either. Some of my old work boots were
okay, some gave you a small tingle and some would knock you
on your butt if you weren't standing on something insulated
I really think you need a small pony motor to bring the big
10hp idler up to speed first though... or at least partially
spin it up <shrug>.
A good molded handle T type Allen wrench would probably be safest. The
molding would likely be enough insulation, but a wrap of electrical tape
wouldn't hurt. You're only insulating for 120V so it's not that bad. The
bad part is mostly the what if in the event you somehow create a short.
I've seen worse than that. The one that amazed me was the line that ran
from a manhole that had a 4' high plywood wall around it, through a 6'
length of that yellow jacked cable protector on the ground, up a tree
and then tree to tree at about 8' high alongside a sidewalk for a good
two blocks before disappearing down an alley. This was not a simple 240V
feed to a nearby building, it was a primary feed, probably 13.2kV and
was well within reach of anyone on the sidewalk.
On Fri, 13 Jan 2006 15:01:22 -0600, with neither quill nor qualm, Jon
Wuss. Get a long-reach 1/4" (or 3/8") drive allen socket, shrinkwrap
both the allen and the socket, and wear gloves. Not a problem, guys.
First in google: http://search.ebay.com/allen-socket
If you're still afraid, triple-shrink the allen portion. Just remember
to leave 3/16" bare at the working end, eh?
Chaos, panic, and disorder--my work here is done.
http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
I *HATE* and *DETEST* working live.
I cannot reccomend that you do so, but hypothetically, - if you were to
consider doing it yourself - further to the other peoples comments, take
off metal rings, watch straps, neck chains etc. Dont wear *any*
synthetic fibre clothes that can melt or burn etc. Outer clothing
should be heavy wool or leather (cotton burns too easily) and cover as
much of your skin as possible. Wear goggles or protective glasses,
vaporised copper goes a surprising distance and wont do your eyes any
favors. Gumboots would be a good idea in addition to the DRY insulator
to stand on. To reduce the risk of taking a shock across the heart, keep
one hand, preferably your left in your pocket at all times. Have a
trained first aider standing by with a phone, a dry powder fire
extinguisher, a blanket to put you out if you are the fire and a dry
broomstick to seperate you from the line just in case. Remember, if you
are working live, any earthed surface or object is a hazard. You cant
shield the terminals you need to tighten but you may be able to shield
most of the box, conduits etc. so there is NO WAY you can come into
contact. Remove or protect any sharp objects etc. you could get thrown
against. Make *SURE* you have good enough lighting, and that it is NOT
dependent on the circuit you are working on. Dont have a hangover,
coffee, too much tea, be tired or just awakened or unwell - you need a
steady hand and a clear head.
Final advice, *HIRE IT DONE*
I think your going a bit overboard there, those precautions are a bit
more suitable for primary work or at lease 480V switch gear. Remember
that we are talking about 120V here, it doesn't take that much to
insulate against 120V, heck where you are you use 240V as your normal
household voltage. The threat in what's being proposed comes from the
high currents available, not from the voltage.
Bolt-on type circuit breakers are routinely connected live and not much
of a problem. The key thing is that there is generally a main breaker
upstream to shut things down in the event of a short. Working live
before the main breaker if there is a short things will stay lit up
until something melts open, doing a lot more damage.
Iggy is considering working on the feed to his panel. We presume there
is a supply company fuse somewhere upstream but with Iggy, who can tell?
With the exceptions of the gumboots, making sure you are clear of
sharp/spikey objects and keeping one hand in your pocket, everything
else is equally applicable even when working on 48 Volt BATTERY
supplies. With that in mind, does the fact that he's not likely to get
himself accross more than 120 V (though there is 240 V in there phase to
phase) make a lot of difference compared to 240 V panels over here. As
I said, vaporised copper & steel is not your friend. If one of the
screws shears and the driver slips, what happens next?
Nearly everyone was concentrating on insulating the tool, not on
protecting Iggy. IMHO he needs to do *BOTH* so that if something goes
wrong, he's got a chance to come back and tell us how he *nearly* had a
bad accident, rather than the alternative.
The fuse will be on the primary side of the distribution transformer and
is unlikely to blow if someone shorts one phase in their panel.
The construction details of all the code approved distribution panels in
the US take care of pretty much all the clearance issues.
Not a lot, only a small difference in the insulation necessary and any
decent electrical tape will be good for either.
Can't happen in the US panelboards (from the last few decades at least),
the top of the Allen setscrew is generally close to flush with the top
of the connector block. It's also a decent size Allen setscrew, like
5/16" or possibly 3/8" so it's unlikely to strip internally either.
We must presume that he has enough sense to not try this while standing
barefoot in a puddle, after all he hasn't killed himself with his RPC or
Thanks, Pete, Ian, and all.
I just retightened these screws, with an L shaped Allen wrench. I did
it by wearing dry leather gloves, I held the end of the allen wrench
using linesman pliers that have insulation on them. At no time I held
the wrench by my hands, only with pliers. The house did not explode
and the screws did in fact take some tightening, without even a huge
I will see if this helps. My wife and baby are sleeping in the
affected room, so, I will try it later.
My own thinking right now is that nothing was wrong with these
screws's connection, even though they were not super tight. What was
wrong is that the UPS that the TVs and other electronics are on, has
an old battery that needs replacing. When the power dips a little, the
UPS is too quick to change to a battery, which did not work due to
poor condition of the battery. The solution is replacing the battery
(and the UPS). I am going to put that equipment, which is kind of
expensive, on an APC 2200 UPS instead of the current APC 1400 UPS. I
recently bought several 2200's from the military.
I'd expect the screwdriver, wrench or whatever to loose a fair bit off
the end then. Over here, we tend to have a *LOT* of households tapped
off each phase in turn of a three phase 240 V main. Due to the
extremely large current available, the feed to the meter comes through
an electricity company owned fuse, (or one per phase). Wireing up to
that fuse is NOT MY PROBLEM and after the meter is my responsibility. I
can pull that fuse if I need to work on the board, but have to get the
company out to check and reseal it on reconnection.
And so it is with modern consumer units (thats what they call the
domestic ones with an integrated masin disconnect) over here.
Good to know.
I've stripped out some real horrors over here. Pre war as far as I
could tell. Mahogony case with a mica window, two brass buss bars with
*thumbscrews* !!! and either side more thumbscrews and terminals for the
other end of the fuse wires. It had fuses in both live and neutral, (I
belive there used to be a DC system that was symmetrical about ground in
the area) and it had a couple of its set of little sprung flags left
that would pop out into the window when the fuse wire broke to indicate
which circuit was blown. The disconnect feeding that was a knife switch
which had a metal guard that wasn't grounded. The whole lot was wired
with cotton covered wire with totally powdery hard rubber insulation.
Not supposed to still be in service, but the previous owner had been
there since the place had been built back in the 30's. She used to plug
her iron in the kitchen light socket. Between that and a three phase
panel and sub panel in our workshop where some idiot had ripped out the
conduit which had been the sub panel ground and rewired it without one,
and the bare unlabelled buss bars inside, there are plenty of ways to
get in trouble over here.
The government has finally brought in a law that all domestic
installations must be inspected by an approved contractor (who will
normally insist in being paid to do the work as well as to inspect) and
changed the wiring colours so as to keep the DIYers honest. Looking at
some of the stuff I've seen, I guess its probably for the best, but
those of us DIYers who were working to code are slightly pissed off
because previously, unless you were very lucky, you'd wind up having to
sort stuff out that wasn't up to spec if you had occasion to open up
any part of an installation that had passed a full inspection, or even
find remedial work you had paied for 10 years ago hadn't been completed.
Well he's gone and done it without running into any trouble, thankfully.
Its been an interesting discussion. Thank you.
Thanks guys. I retightened the screws (without trying to apply too
much force). To my slight surprise and delight, the RPC does not seem
to cause the UPS supplying the TV to turn off anymore. My wife says
that lights darken a lot less now. And that is without any extra
capacitors etc. These turnoffs were a little intermittent, so I am
reluctant to announce complete victory.
I am quite happy and thankful to all for your suggestions.
Like I said earlier, I held the L shaped allen wrench with linesman
pliers with insulated handles, to avoid being electrocuted.
On Sun, 15 Jan 2006 03:53:24 GMT, Ignoramus22325
Well, you're not dead and it worked, but if there's a next time,
consider what might have happened if the pliers had slipped on the
allen wrench. I think the various ideas of taping the wrench or using
a plastic T handled wrench, all with dry leather gloves, were less
Glad you found the cause and didn't get hurt.
The allen wrench doen't always stay in the screw or fall on the floor.
It can and often does weld itself inside the box, possibly along with
the pliers. It only has to happen to you once before your willing to
spend 5 minutes and 25 cents worth of tape to insulate the allen
Even if you aren't electrocuted when you weld a wrench in a box you
will usually end up blind for 10 or 15 minutes.
On Sun, 15 Jan 2006 16:50:52 GMT, Ignoramus26433
It was probably a function of coinciding with other large loads like an
electric stove or clothes dryer. I guess you don't have voltage drop
readings from before and after, but since the UPS should be trying to
switch at a specific voltage you may have reduced the drop enough to
miss that threshold. Of course the regulator down the street somewhere
could have been adjusted or drifted slightly higher as well.
You could have a great point about electric stove, which was on at
some points. Like I said, it was intermittent, so I do not even know
if I fully cured the problem. I tried the RPC a few times this
morning, no problems so far.
Here the first protection after the drop is the main breaker in the
house panel. You're responsible for the meter socket on. There are code
limits on the distance the unprotected feeder can travel inside the
house before reaching the main breaker and if the panel and service
entrance need to be further apart you have to provide a main breaker at
the meter socket.
The utility puts their little seal on the meter socket here too, but
they rarely seem to care much about it unless they have reason to
suspect you are stealing power. I had to replace my meter socket on
short notice when it failed some years back so I didn't contact the
utility. It was years later when they changed the meter to the new
remote read ones that they actually put a new seal on it.
Yep, the real old stuff can be pretty scary although people are far too
paranoid about old knob and tube wiring. I'm still not sure the "modern"
stuff is all that good in some areas though. I've seen some pictures of
some apparently much newer service equipment that appeared to be quite
new DIN mount breakers and whatnot mounted on a section of DIN rail. All
fin to that point, but this DIN rail was mounted in an under stair
closed to the back of a stair riser with no enclosure around it. I hope
this was just a one off hack job.
Here the old stuff is "grandfathered" and allowed, but if you do any
significant electrical work that requires a permit you will generally be
required to bring the old stuff up to code as well. Here the homeowner
can generally do their own electrical work, but they have to get a
permit, follow codes and have it inspected just like any electrical
contractor would. Generally seems to be the best way to do it as I will
not permit anyone to force me to pay someone to do what I can do at
least as well myself.
It's interesting how things vary between countries too.
Jim and I appear to be the only logical ones here <G>..and forego all
the crap needed to self start large RPCs, by using a pony motor.
Thats 2 things we agree on. When the third pops up..the earth will
experience a pole shift.
The aim of untold millions is to be free to do exactly as they choose
and for someone else to pay when things go wrong.
In the past few decades, a peculiar and distinctive psychology
has emerged in England. Gone are the civility, sturdy independence,
and admirable stoicism that carried the English through the war years
. It has been replaced by a constant whine of excuses, complaints,
and special pleading. The collapse of the British character has been
as swift and complete as the collapse of British power.
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