Friday, December 24, 2021

Adventures in recreational wiring

Here I sit, typing with a bandage-and-duct tape on the end of my left middle-finger.

Yesterday I was moving toward my plan to wire a power disconnect into the wiring outside the garage, beneath the over-hang. I want to be able to run a generator and back-feed into the house-wiring in the event of a power outage.

All the usual precautions were followed. I waited for Mrs ERJ to leave on an errand because watching me work makes her nervous.

I stacked enough tires on the ground to bring my eyes up to the level of the disconnect and electrical box I was tying into.

Yes, Virginia, I dropped the power to the garage and checked it with the test-tool.

One of the complications was that I was under the overhang and the wiring and receptacles were backlit by the sun. Visibility was not that spiffy.

Of course I am of the bifocal generation. The work was too close for the top lenses and too high for the lower part of the lenses.

Me, looking through the bottoms of my bifocals as I worked on the wiring.

It was a simple matter to drag some more tires from my stockpile and make a second pile of tires for my rear foot

Somewhere in the events of stripping wire and running it I jabbed the end of my finger with the utility knife. The cold was a blessing. I didn't feel it when it happened.

Wire-nuts with wings are far superior to the un-winged nuts. And red ones are the boss when you are trying to connect several wires especially if the ends are not smooth and straight.

IT took three iterations of pulling it apart and checking connections before I got good continuity. I decided that I hate wire-nuts that don't have "wings".

I ran the generator for a couple of hours to make sure nothing shook loose.

Happy, happy, happy.

Except for one circuit in the garage that went toes-up.

More diagnostics. The breaker for that circuit puked. 15A breakers are as rare as hens teeth in town. Must be a supply-chain issue.

I cludged the system by doubling up to a breaker that was good. It shouldn't be an issue since the circuits are lightly loaded.

I will have to pick up some 15A Eaton CH style breakers the next time I am in the big city.

It is always something.


  1. Stacked tires on the ground to stand on? Don't they have ladders in Eaton Rapids?

    Disclaimer; I have used a five gallon bucket upside down as a step stool...and lost my balance and fell.

    1. I promised Mrs ERJ to not work on ladders while hospitals in Michigan are full of patients.

      The step-down facilities are not receiving because of staffing issues. The hospitals cannot discharge (many) patients so they are constipated.

      Mrs ERJ believes that working on a ladder is risky. So, to make her happy I do not use them.

  2. A couple weeks ago a friend asked me if I had a couple outlet boxes he could get as the hardware stores and lumber yards were out. He said that they told him the contractors were buying all of the inventory because they were afraid there was going to be a total collapse of supply. ---ken

    1. Limit 10 for this item at Menards. Not that I need ten of them.

      Shortages create their own downdraft.

  3. That sounds the sort of job I keep for a quiet time over christmas when I want to get away for a spell. No chance of getting any parts means I have to plan well in advance.

    I agree about the tyres, but my sense of balance is poor anyway.

    Have a good christmas and thanks for all the entertaining blogs this year

  4. Sorry to hear about your injury. I'm certain the tires had nothing to do with it. I hope you got the mess cleaned up before Mrs. ERJ observed it.
    It ain't the fall that gets you. It's how you stop that's tricky.

  5. Red wing nuts also rule because they don't show blood stains.

    1. These comment threads need a like button for stuff like this.

  6. Next time, try WAGO connectors:

  7. Joe, progressive bifocals work wonders. There is always a place on the lens that let's me see.

  8. WAGO are all we use, wire nuts suck. AC circuits and DC circuits can use WAGOs, and they are simple, cover a variety of wire sizes, have a test port and are reusable.


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