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AKPilot

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Anyone have a good on-line place that can show me how to do light switches and wall outlets, and still have all my hair when I'm done?
 

mach7

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Just be careful!

Are you replacing or installing?

It's not hard, you just have to be diligent. Google has always worked for me. Just type in a question.

good luck
 

Peartree

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Not an internet resource, but for Joe average homeowner I recommend the Reader's Digest Fix-It-Yourself Manual. It has a nice section on wiring wall switches, double switches, outlets, etc. as well as basic plumbing and a host of other handy stuff.

I have two copies (got 'em both as gifts, both picked up used at yard sales).

Should be easy to pick up a cheap used copy using Fetchbook or Amazon.
 

Indiana

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There are a lot of videos on youtube.
 

sunward

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.... how to do light switches and wall outlets....
What do you mean by "do".

If you adding to an existing outlet, easy to follow black/white/ ground. If you need to tap into the main panel, I wouldn't recommend it unless you know what you are doing and have done it before.

If this is a one time thing, it may be best to just hire someone. It may be better than having to get all the right tools and make a mess.

If you do it yourself, turn the power off before working and never work alone with 110/220V. In case you do get injured, someone is there to call for help.
 

stickershock23

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turn the power off. then you have no chance of getting a jolt.

I was an electrician for years. A little zap wont hurt. heck I've absorbed so much electricity in my life time, that when I go swimming I line up north and south.

besides you have not lived until you have taken a 277 volt hit. (ask me how I know LOL)
 

AKPilot

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By "do" I mean replace. Just bringing our house into the 21st century.


As far as taking electrical hits, my experience dates back to high school where I touched a starter solenoid with a screw driver. I ended up on the floor a few feet away. Needless to say, those are strong memories.
 

sunward

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By "do" I mean replace. Just bringing our house into the 21st century.....
If you are just putting in new plugs, switches, and fixtures, just turn off the power and then connect the same way. If there is no ground wire, then you need to rewire to add ground - by rewiring.

If you are rewiring, either putting in new wire so there is ground, or even replacing knob and tube, then lots of work.

Three pieces of equipment you should consider. One is a volt meter. Second is a circuit tester that you insert into a wall outlet - checks if wired correctly. Third is a tester for live wires - sounds and lights if a wire is live.
 

luke strawwalker

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Nothing to it really, for 110 anyway...

Turn off the power, first off. Flip the appropriate breaker or the main if you want to be double-sure. Make sure by plugging in a light you KNOW works and is on... (plug in and then flip the breaker:))

For wall outlets, they're really easy. Take off the cover by removing the center screw. Remove the top and bottom screw holding the outlet in the box. Pull the outlet out of the box, take the wires loose from each side (should be white to one side, black to the other, and a bare copper wire ground to a green screw at the bottom) Take your new outlet and attach the wires under the screws, white on one side, black on the other, and bare to the green ground screw on the outlet end. Push it back into the box, guiding the romex wire to the back out of the way (it's pretty stiff) and then install the two mounting screws, top and bottom, replace the cover, and install the cover screw. Done.

For the switch, remove the two cover screws top and bottom, and remove the cover. Remove the top and bottom mounting screws holding the switch in the wall box. Pull the switch out of the box and you'll see two screws on one side with the wires attached. They will both either be white or black, but not both (doesn't particularly matter which-- switches are in series in one leg of the circuit that's why both the same color) It doesn't really matter which color or what anyway, because if the circuit has worked it's wired correctly. Anyway, just loosen both screws and remove the switch, attach both wires under the screws of the new switch (either one, doesn't matter, no polarity) and then push the new switch back into the box, guiding the wire to the back of the box (it's stiff wire) and then install the top and bottom screws securing it in the box, and then install the cover and replace the two holddown screws. Done.

Easier to do than it was to type. There is no "polarity" with AC voltage used in houses, and at any rate, since your not doing an installation, all you have to do is take the wires off the old component and put them back on the new one. So long as you don't switch the ground wire (bare copper) for the hot or return leg (black or white wires) there's no problem, and you're not putting a new box and switch in somewhere there hasn't been one before, so this is about as simple a job as you can do besides plugging in the toaster... :)

You can do this quicker than it took me to type it! Hope this helps! OL JR :)
 

mach7

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If the wire your working with is 14 gauge, most switches and plugs have a hole that the wire slides into and grabs it. Makes installation easy. Just straighten the wire to the correct length (the switch/plug will have a measurement groove
molded into it) then slide into the hole. Done. I think 12 gauge is too thick to fit.

Removing power is the smart thing to do, which is why many of us don't do it, and get blasted. 110 probably wont kill you. 220 is a whole different animal.
That stuff is dangerous!
 

luke strawwalker

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If the wire your working with is 14 gauge, most switches and plugs have a hole that the wire slides into and grabs it. Makes installation easy. Just straighten the wire to the correct length (the switch/plug will have a measurement groove
molded into it) then slide into the hole. Done. I think 12 gauge is too thick to fit.

Removing power is the smart thing to do, which is why many of us don't do it, and get blasted. 110 probably wont kill you. 220 is a whole different animal.
That stuff is dangerous!
Probably... I've had my share of shocks... not much fun. I stepped on a chafed dual-lead (indoor type) extension cord one time and zapped my little toe- MAN THAT HURT!!! Felt like it blew off!

I haven't gotten a 220 shock but the main difference I've heard is, that 110 will "freeze" you so you can't let go, where 220 just plain blows you across the room and off the wire. I've let go of 110 but I don't know if it was luck or what.

Course, I've been shocked by a 12V tractor battery before-- sitting on top of a metal grain combine hooking up the battery cables with a wrench, in 100 degree heat, with me soaking wet with sweat, and it zapped me right up the wrench, through my body, and straight out my wet clothes back to the grounded sheet metal I was sitting on... that one jangled me pretty good!

Got nasty shocks working on farm equipment before too, pulling a gearbox off a cotton picker transmission, arms through the frame unbolting the box, and lightning struck up the road, and induced current from the nearby strike zapped me pretty good. Less than a week later, while trying to tarp down a load of cotton in a thunderstorm, I reached through the wire-mesh trailer wall to pull the tarp down because it was about to blow off in the pouring rain, and lightning struck up the road, and induced a current in the trailer wire-mesh wall-- ZAP! Again! :eek::rolleyes:

I stayed out of the rain for about a year after that... :)

Just respect the stuff, check to make sure the circuit is dead with a test light or voltmeter and everything's cool (and stay out of the lightning storms! ) OL JR :)
 

judo

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220+ hurts. 110 can kill you. It's an Ohm's law thing. With voltage and current inversely related, it has something to do with the natural resistance of the human body being rated at x ohms. The current of 110 is real close the electrical activity level of the human body. House current wants to override what the body is producing.

I saw a video several years ago on industrial safety when I was working for Vistakon. The video was produced by Ford Motor Company as a part of a settlement with OSHA after a major accident. Mostly it covered current-limiting vice voltage-limiting circuit breakers and how much faster current-limiting breakers are. Part of the presentation was home videos of people dying from encounters with 110. These were not re-enactments. It showed the actual images of people alive one second, and dead in the next heartbeat.

Two that I remember went like this: A young man had just finished washing his Jeep. The driveway was wet from the washing and he was rolling out the shop-vac to vacuum the interior. His mom was shooting the video as he was about to drive off for his first semester away at college. He was wearing flip-flops/sandles/thongs on his feet. He leaned down to turn on the vacuum. He didn't know about the bare wire on the vacuum's cord. You saw a spark jump from the little rocker switch and he was dead before he hit the ground.

Second guy was an accident waiting to happen. A friend was shooting a video of this guy walking around in his flooded basement. It may have been for an insurance claim (guessing). You could still see flashes of lightning from outside the basement windows. The water may have been up to his knees. Look around your house. How high up are you outlets? As he is walking around he looses his footing and grabs a bare metal pipe above his head to keep from falling into the water. He fell over into the water: Dead.

On the other hand, one of my son's favorite Sunday school teachers used to work for the Jacksonville Electric Authority as a lineman. One day while working, he took a shock across his body. It was really high voltage. It did not kill him. At first, the doctors thought that they would only have to amputate his hands. The longer they operated, the more electical damage they found in his arms. His left arm had to be completely removed; he retained about 4 inches of his right. He drives. He hunts, bow and gun...in Ohio. Not sure how. I think his friends load his weapons and he triggers them somehow with his teeth.

110 will kill you, if it hits you in the wrong spot.
 

stickershock23

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Probably... I've had my share of shocks... not much fun. I stepped on a chafed dual-lead (indoor type) extension cord one time and zapped my little toe- MAN THAT HURT!!! Felt like it blew off!

I haven't gotten a 220 shock but the main difference I've heard is, that 110 will "freeze" you so you can't let go, where 220 just plain blows you across the room and off the wire. I've let go of 110 but I don't know if it was luck or what.



Just respect the stuff, check to make sure the circuit is dead with a test light or voltmeter and everything's cool (and stay out of the lightning storms! ) OL JR :)
all good thoughts.

Almost any electricity can kill you. all depends on how and were you take a hit. biggest thing is it going through your heart.

110 volts tends to make you tighten up, or lock your hands, arms etc thats why you tend to get hooked up on it. 220 tends to push you away.
again its the amps that will kill you.

also the higher the voltage the more you tend to feel it.

really high voltages, 208, 277, 480 really hurt, and again tend to throw you off, if its two phase and lock you up if its single phase. and again will kill you if it goes through your heart.

watch a good electrician working in a live panel, they work with one hand behind their back. that way if you do take a hit it wont go through the heart.

now very high voltage 10,000 and higher, just plain old blasts you. you burst into flames body parts fly off etc. or just burns the heck out of you. and if you're lucky it kills you fast.

but back on subject, if your doing stuff at home go buy a "tick tracer" its a little pen like thing that you hold NEAR electrical wires, if there power there it beeps and lights up. you dont even have to take the switch/outlet plate off to see if there is power present. they are good cheap insurance. available at home depot etc for under $20

be safe.
 
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Peartree

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Tic tracer, or whatever you call it have been one of my best acquisitions and it has saved my butt more than once from working on a live wire I *thought* was turned off.

Second HUGE danger (especially in North America) is that household current (it IS the AMPS that kill you) is very close in frequency (60 Hz) to the normal frequency of the signals the human heart uses to regulate itself (approx 55-58 Hz?) A shock through the heart often doesn't cause a ton of damage, but thrown the heart into fibrillation and it stops. My wife volunteered with the Red Cross and taught First Aid/CPR for more than twenty years. A close friend of hers lost a child to a low voltage shock from an electric cattle fence (back before the advent of CPR) and she (the friend) became a lifelong advocate of CPR training for farmers.

THESE CLASSES ARE CHEAP! The average person and even the average school kid, especially by Jr. High is more than capable of learning CPR. If someone is dropped by and electrical shock there is a VERY good chance that CPR can save their life. PLEASE take a class and sign up your wife and kids.

It might be your life that gets saved.

(climbs down off his soapbox)
 

JRThro

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220+ hurts. 110 can kill you. It's an Ohm's law thing. With voltage and current inversely related, it has something to do with the natural resistance of the human body being rated at x ohms. The current of 110 is real close the electrical activity level of the human body. House current wants to override what the body is producing.
Voltage and current are *directly* proportional, not inversely.

Ohm's law is V=IR, where V is voltage, I is current, and R is resistance.
 

judo

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D'oh! It's been too long since "A" school and many years since I saw that video. With the resistance of the human body as a constant, they must have been varying I and V until they they got to the same R as the human body. V/I=R. It's when the R's match that electricty gets deadly. The subject was current-limiting breakers.
 

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You said you were replacing outlets and bringing the house up to 21st century.

Does that mean you have the nob and tube? I haven't had to deal with that, but I've heard its actual a very safe system because the hot wire is in a different run then the return wire, they can't short together and start fires.

What about aluminum wire? I had that in my first house. You can't use the run of the mill CU rated switches and outlets. You have to get the more expensive AL/CU rated. You also can't use the small holes on the back with the AL wire, you have to use the screw terminals. I ended up attaching 10" pieces of CU wire to the Al wire and using the cheaper CU rated outlets when I replaced one. You do have to use certain types of connectors when connecting AL to CU though, you can't just use a standard wire nut.

Besides here, Google, or other internet sources, if you have a hardware store like a True Value or Service Star in the area, you might want to talk to the people in the electrical section. The smaller stores survive in the Home Depot/Lowes areas because of customer service and expertise. They can usually give you very good advice. I've also found if you stop in the big stores like Home Depot and Lowes during the middle of the week days when the retired guys are working part time you can usually get some very good advice from some pretty knowledgeable people.
 

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Grabbed spark plug wire once (okay it was twice, but THEN got smart-er). OUCH
 

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OK, aside from the serious side of getting electrocuted.....

This video makes me laugh (to tears) everytime I see it. It reminds me of my friends.........

http://video.google.com/videoplay?d...93&ei=LnN2SeMmg6ivAr3OnLIF&q=fake+shock&hl=en

We used to charge up automotive condinsers and slip them into each others pockets and when you reached in to get your keys or something.......lot of volts and little amps..... and you had a heck of a time getting your hand out of your pocket........usually followed by lots of cuss'n.....
 

Handeman

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We used to charge up automotive condinsers and slip them into each others pockets and when you reached in to get your keys or something.......lot of volts and little amps..... and you had a heck of a time getting your hand out of your pocket........usually followed by lots of cuss'n.....
In the navy we would take mil spec capacitors, wrap with electrical tape and then tape a lead up along each side. Charge it up good with a megger and toss it to the first person through the hatch. Most didn't catch it a second time.
 

jflis

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Ok, shocker stories...

In my past life as an engineer with DEC I did a project on redesigning a monitor with a 17" tube. So, our lab was full of monitors in various stages of assembly and dis-assembly...

I'm there working on something as one of our other engineers, having just tested a monitor, took it apart and was walking across the lab with the picture tube in his hands...

From the corner of my eye I see the moment where his thumb brushes what we called the "touch hole" and got hit with a very low current, many thousand volt zap.

It was a thing of beauty. He's walking across the lab. Suddenly he stops dead in his tracks, kinda jolts a bit, twitches a leg, then continues walking as if nothing had happened. Problem is about a dozen of us in the lab saw it and laughed out loud. It was a hoot.

Never, ever, EVER touch the "touch hole" on a picture tube... :D
 

luke strawwalker

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OK, aside from the serious side of getting electrocuted.....

This video makes me laugh (to tears) everytime I see it. It reminds me of my friends.........

http://video.google.com/videoplay?d...93&ei=LnN2SeMmg6ivAr3OnLIF&q=fake+shock&hl=en

We used to charge up automotive condinsers and slip them into each others pockets and when you reached in to get your keys or something.......lot of volts and little amps..... and you had a heck of a time getting your hand out of your pocket........usually followed by lots of cuss'n.....
When I was in mechanic's school you DIDN'T fall asleep in the electronics class-- we had metal tables for desks and if you fell asleep he would take a charged capacitor and zap the table and you with it (since folks usually fell asleep on the table. If you keeled back asleep in the metal chair, he'd zap the chair.

We learned real quick to get all body parts away from the offender's table or chair!

He also used to screw around making gigantic capacitors out of a roll of tin foil and a roll of wax paper, about the size of a paint can. He was telling the story one day about how he blew a fence post in half when he touched it with the electrode...

As for high voltage stuff, yeah that gets REAL scary! We're out in the sticks and our power lines are the 6000 volt feeder lines with transformers sending 220 over to the meter loop. One day Dad and I are working in the yard on some peice of farm equipment or other and the mama cat who loves to climb trees and everything else climbs the light pole and got too close to the transformer insulator-- ZAP! Cat scream, we look up and all we see if a flaming meteor coming down. Poor cat was thankfully dead, but burned all the hair off the hind leg and mutilated it. And that's just feeder line voltage!

Dad (well I did too for an outage) worked at a nuclear power plant and one night while I was going out to the porta pot I could hear a steady frying above my head. I looked up at the big tower taking three of the six power lines from the turbine generator building transformer yard inside the protected area out over no-man's-land to the main transformer yard outside the fence where the main transmission lines started. I don't know what the voltage was, but the insulators were nearly 6 feet long, so pretty darn high. It was a foggy damp night and electricity was arcing and frying all over the last foot or so of the insulator and the wire... I asked one of the full timer's about it, since I worked in a steel outbuilding toolroom right under the transmission line and didn't want to see the arc burn it in two and drop it right on my toolroom; didn't really care to get vaporized or anything... They told me not to worry, it happened all the time... voltage leaks... :eek::rolleyes:

Dad told me about one guy who fell across the terminals of one of those huge transformers out in the main transformer yard, the ones about the size of a Jeep stood on end with the 4 foot insulators on top... This guy fell off something and landed on the top and across both insulators, and ZAP!

Nothing left but some very carbonized stuff... :eek:

Yall be careful! OL JR :)
 

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Two related stories:

1. A Marine was going through an electronics class as part of his MOS training. The instructor was an attractive female sailor, possibly an officer (I don't remember). He had one of those megger-charged capacitors and thought it might be fun to zap her on the butt. I think she was wearing CNT's, a low-maintenance type of uniform fabric, but heavy on the polyester. The spark was hot enough to burn a hole in the uniform and melt the fabric onto her skin. He was in "office-hours" by the end of the day. He came out a stripe light and headed to a Marine Infantry Battalion.

2. Florida Power and Light had a crew working the little substation out at Lucent Technologies (Cirent Semiconductor). They were supposed to be tightening some lugs on the incoming power lines. The electrician was supposed to have a partner (didn't), and should have had a BIG extension on his socket wrench (didn't). His wrench shorted across two phases and dropped power to the entire facility. It cost us an entire shift's production. I think he lived, but I don't know how deeply he got into the dirt.
 

bobkrech

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Anyone have a good on-line place that can show me how to do light switches and wall outlets, and still have all my hair when I'm done?
Troy

Just go to the local home store and pick up a how to do book. There cheap and you don't need to go back to the computer if you forgot something. Otherwise go here ..

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...=Navigation-_-Homepage-_-LeftNav-_-Electrical

and go to Home Depot on-line electrical projects.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...rojects_view_all&locStoreNum=2668&marketID=39

For example Replacing a wall switch

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...ow-_-wall_switch&locStoreNum=2668&marketID=39

Bob
 
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