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  • #2257468

    It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time


    by jack-m ·

    The idea for this topic came from the answer “muzhik” gave to the Tshirt question.
    It seemed…etc.
    I used a metal probe to find a twisted pair that had tone on it in a telco central office and bumped the wrong thing. DC voltage knocked me back 15 feet to a concrete wall. at the time….

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    • #3212891

      Another Phone Story

      by cmiller5400 ·

      In reply to It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

      One of my former coworkers was trying to tone out a phone jack and instead of using the toner he was using his finger and was holding the toner listening for it. Well, one of the lines must have had juice running in it because his hair stood on end for a short while.

      • #3212690


        by zdnetaaa4 ·

        In reply to Another Phone Story

        Sounds like your coworker found an uncovered HiCap, 48volts, that’s why they put those annoying little red caps over them….

    • #3212868

      Phones use electricity?

      by tink! ·

      In reply to It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

      Yea, you don’t realize how much charge those things use until you accidentally touch the wrong spot and get shocked. (twice)

    • #3212859

      Careful– Phone lines can BITE

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

      I guess maybe the phone technology has gotten left in the past. Phone lines are 48 volts DC, and can really knock you on your butt. That 48 volts comes from the central office, and is backed up by rooms and rooms of batteries. That’s why I still have the old style tone dial phone that plugs to the phone jack and that’s all. When your power goes out, kiss the cordless, answering machine and the fancy stuff goodbye, they need power. The light up dial works even when the whole city is dark. That 48 volts might not kill you but could weld you to ground if you don’t watch out.

      • #3212809

        48 volts with no amperage

        by jack-m ·

        In reply to Careful– Phone lines can BITE

        Phone lines are normally,in either talk or idle mode, 48 volts with about 0 amps. But ringing voltage and amperage is a diferent story. I could run a mainfram in a jiffy using my finger and holding the alligator clip in my closed fist.
        No clicking on the customer’s line, no interruptions of alarm circuits etc. But hit a phone that’s ringing and you’ll say OUCH! every time.

        • #3231670

          Ouch is right

          by don christner ·

          In reply to 48 volts with no amperage

          One time I was adding a phone in my basement. Of course I didn’t bother to use the right tools, teeth make a good wire stripper, right? Not when you’re stripping a wire and receive a phone call. My tongue hurts just remembering it!

        • #3199375

          Phone ring voltage

          by pinroot ·

          In reply to Ouch is right

          Phones operate on 48V DC (Positive ground, or it was at one time). However, ring voltage is (or was) around 100VAC (it varies depending on your distance from the Central Office in the home), 20Hz. It’s not much different than sticking your finger in a 110VAC light socket. 🙂

      • #3231673

        VOIP out, too

        by truedinosaur ·

        In reply to Careful– Phone lines can BITE

        In noting that the fancy stuff does not work when the power is out, VOIP was not mentioned. It will also be out when the power dies. Unless you have a small UPS for the modem. This makes me ask, is DSL signal still available if the phone works? And what about cable based internet service?

        • #3231632

          UPS on the cable modem & VOIP

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to VOIP out, too

          I have a slightly elderly (but with good batteries!) APC 1200 on the Cable modem, Vongage box and router.

          Newer one upstairs under wife’s PC, portable phone, upstairs switch.

          Amazing what stays on when the neighborhood goes dark.

        • #3212603

          How long…?

          by noyoki ·

          In reply to UPS on the cable modem & VOIP

          How long do you get with the UPS? We just had a power outtage in Queens (near NYC) late July – some people had no power for over a week…

        • #3277112

          Not that long

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to How long…?

          … but quite a few hours anyway with just the cable modem, Vonage box and one router on it.

    • #3212720

      Back in high school…

      by hobbitt ·

      In reply to It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

      A LONG time ago, I was student lighting director for the school’s drama club. The lighting system was at least 30 years old (the dimmer “panel” was a bank of rheostats, each 2 feet in diameter!). It was so old that many of the cross-bar switches, which tied a bank of lights to a rheostat, were defective or outright missing. Whenever we set up the lighting design for a show we ended up having to move switches around so we could control the appropriate light bank(s). Each switch tied into two copper bars, and was locked into place with two screws.

      So one day another fellow and I were moving switches around. It’s backstage, and there’s no natural light. We decided to leave the mains live, so the work lights would be available. (You can see where this is going…)

      He’s screwing in the switch and I’m standing right behind him, looking over his shoulder. The screwdriver slipped and shorted the bars. Knocked us both back about 20 feet. I ended up with a few hot metal spatters on my glasses, and the screw was welded (!) at right angles to the screwdriver blade. How he escaped getting burned is a miracle.

      Needless to say thereafter we shut the mains down and used flashlights!

      Oh, and the year after I graduated the whole system was condemned by the local fire inspector and replaced with a state-of-the-art (1972) electronic system.

      • #3212686

        Hey that’s cool ZZZZTT uh w’happned?

        by cerebral*origami ·

        In reply to Back in high school…

        A friend of mine and I were playing around with a furnace induction coil.
        (The thing that makes the spark that lights the oil coming out of the nozzle)
        Well we had a Jacob’s ladder going (remember those old Frankenstein movies with the 6″ spark climbing the wires?)

        And I noticed the screw was loose on one side.
        Hey I had an insulated screw driver and I didn’t want to unplug it (we didn’t have a switch just an old lamp cord we twisted on)

        Well I’m tightening the screw and the wires the spark was climbing melted, drooped down and touched the back of my hands (I had scars for years). That’s the last thing I remember.

        I woke up on the other side of the room, the wooden chair I was sitting in was splinters and I couldn’t see straight.

        My friend was asking if I was alright he said I somersaulted backwards out of the chair and rolled across the floor.

        I ended up with burns on the backs of both hands, memory problems, and arrhythmia (although that last may have always been there wasn’t noticed until after the accident.

        For those who want to know the output of a furnace induction coil is 10,000 volts at a 1/4 of an amp.

        I?m a lucky SOB! 8^)

        • #3212475

          Jacob’s Ladder

          by ecooper12 ·

          In reply to Hey that’s cool ZZZZTT uh w’happned?

          I hadn’t thought of this in years, but in 8th grade science class, the teacher set up a Jacob’s Ladder and invited us all to come closer and put our hands between the uprights. Well, somebody knocked them over and I instinctively reached out to catch them both in one hand. I had some kind of residue on my hands left over from shop class which was tatooed into my palm for about a week after that, LOL!

      • #3212597

        I hear that one…

        by noyoki ·

        In reply to Back in high school…

        I did backstage theater for years in college (was my major) and highschool. The college I did actual work for (not the one I attended – that one was still on sandbags if that says anything!) had a vertical ladder (metal) up in the tormentor (1st wing) with bars running horizontal for lights.

        I’m a 5’2″, ~95lb girl carrying 2 Altman 6×12’s (1 in each hand) up this ladder to about the height of the theater ceiling (the highest lights were to be changed out from 6×16’s or something – stupid LD didn’t calculate the spread right when he made the light plot). That part actually was fun. I was a little monkey back then.

        Anyway, I hooked them them onto the bar for a moment, lightly tightening the C-clamps of course, hook my leg around the ladder so I had both hands free, get ready to unplug the lights, and call out “Hey _____, kill channel __!” He says “okay!”

        What I didn’t realize was that he wasn’t talking to me….

        Since those specific lights weren’t working (bulb blew on one of them, I think), it’s not like I could tell the difference just by looking at them.

        Needless to say, had I actually been standing on the ladder like a normal person, I probably would have fallen out of shock, and had I not yanked the thing out really quickly, I probably would have been welded to the outlet.

        There was some sort of short in the cable, plug, two-fer, or outlet – all I knew was it hurt like a B!TCH!

      • #3231275

        Back in high school – now that’s a good topic

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to Back in high school…

        One year the science teacher had to teach us about distilation and multiple distilation, like in what you do with petroleum. This was aprt of the carriculum that year, as was fermentation. I’m sure he thought he had a good idea at the time, but he nearly got sacked for it.

        On our benches we set up distilation systems, as per the cariculum hand outs. We took impure local creek water and distilled it into pure water – heat it up and let it reform through condensation, simply yep.

        Meanwhile, back at the teacher’s desk, he set up a multiple distillation process. This whole bit took three weeks. The deputy principal was a tad upset when he found out the rig on the teacher’s desk was turning various fruit and vegetables into alcohol. He didn’t twig until the end of the fifth week when it was still there while we were studying fermentation for the second week. We never got to try the end product, but the teacher kept sipping it and adjusting it while it was going.

    • #3277011

      Back in college…

      by colonel panijk ·

      In reply to It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

      Around ’79 or ’80 our computer club accepted a local company’s donation of a Burroughs B-3xxx something system. I would guess it dated back to the mid-60’s and consisted of two units maybe 10’L x 2’W x 6’H. We got it prepped to remove, and the company rep swore that the power breakers had been turned off. The guy with the screwdriver was a couple of years older than us and wise to the ways of the world. He said, “Stand back!” and laid the screwdriver across the computer power supply terminals. [b]BANG![/b] [i]Now[/i] the power was [i]really[/i] off. The company rep looked a bit embarrassed and excused himself. I guess the guy with the screwdriver was pretty lucky that he didn’t get splattered with molten metal or something — those were some pretty seriously-sized power cables! Oh well, nobody hurt — no blood, no foul.

      Oh yeah, I don’t think we ever got this beast fully working. An Apple II or a Trash-80 had as much computing power. Our school computer was an IBM 360/67 with a whopping 2 [b]giga[/b]bytes of DASD. The primary means of input was punch cards. Ah, those were the days, kids!

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