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[#] Mon Apr 04 2016 17:16:08 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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The UK plug is like that too. The current carrying prongs are insulated except for the tips, and the ground (earth) prong makes contact first. They even specify how it's supposed to be wired, with the earth wire longer than the other two, so if the cable gets pulled out of the connector, the earth wire comes off last.

What is totally crap -- is the NEMA 5-15 plug we use in North America. We can't even agree which direction it faces. The prongs are uninsulated all the way down, there's no internal fuse, and until recently there were no shutters on the outlets. Worst of all, it uses a voltage that is insufficient for larger equipment, probably selected by the evil Thomas Edison (the Bill Gates of his day).

[#] Tue Apr 05 2016 01:18:56 EDT from ax25 @ Uncensored

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NEMA is good enough.  It thins out the herd.

I was almost thinned out by a bank of capacitors once due to bad grounding.  Also, a NEMA socket was at fault a few times (think electric lawn mower), as well as a string of X-Mass lights more often than not.  Ok, strike what I said.  NEMA sucks.  Cheap, but deadly.



[#] Tue Apr 05 2016 11:36:49 EDT from triLcat @ Uncensored

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the Israeli one is shown upside-down (unless it's just always installed upside-down)

 



[#] Tue Apr 05 2016 17:21:14 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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That's it, I'm replacing all of the outlets in my house with twist-lock receptacles.
That'll take care of everything.

Actually, the C14/C15 connectors would be great for general purpose domestic use, since they have a shroud around them and you can't touch the prongs without removing the entire plug. But then there's that small matter of you don't know what voltage it is until you plug it in...

NEC 2014 is pretty asinine. They now require AFCI protection in almost all living areas. Combined with the previous requirements for GFCI protection [ http://tinyurl.com/hkhmu5e ], new installations often have load centers absolutely packed with those f***ing pigtail wires on every breaker. It's probably time for GE and others to come up with a new circuit breaker form factor that has neutral stabs built in. This is a shame because circuit breakers were a rare case where the form factor hasn't changed in a long time for most manufacturers.

[#] Tue Apr 05 2016 18:39:31 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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We need to replace the panel in our house.  The company that made it has long since gone out of business and finding breakers is difficult.  It also wasn't large enough for the house and we need to add some circuits.  

Are any brands better than others?  What is the minimum number of breaker punch outs we should get?  The house is all electric, it has electric baseboard heating so those take several spaces.

 

 



[#] Wed Apr 06 2016 15:01:49 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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What brand is the existing panel? I don't suppose it's Zinsco/FederalPacific (aka "if you have this panel you're lucky it hasn't burned up already")?

For a new (or completely replacement) installation, you can't go wrong with:
* General Electric (yes, the bank -- they make electric stuff too!)
* Square D
* Cutler-Hammer

Those are the brands electricians speak well of. Contractors will generally go with whatever is cheapest.

For an all-electric home with a single load center, a 40-position panel is typical. If you have room for it, of course. Otherwise you end up using a lot of half-size breakers, which is fine, but given a choice I'd rather have full-size breakers in every slot.

Leave the upper right two positions empty if you ever want to install an interlocked generator breaker.

[#] Wed Apr 06 2016 16:03:46 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Hey, IG.
Are you (or have you) considered going to solar panels?

--Vince (ever the evil one!)

[#] Wed Apr 06 2016 16:59:49 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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Wed Apr 06 2016 03:01:49 PM EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored
What brand is the existing panel? I don't suppose it's Zinsco/FederalPacific (aka "if you have this panel you're lucky it hasn't burned up already")?

 yup.  Both of the electricians we had for a quote said the original contractor did a very nice job.  This is before we talked about getting a new panel.

 

Leave the upper right two positions empty if you ever want to install an interlocked generator breaker. 
 

I don't think I want to worry about that, it is in my mother's house.  When my father was alive he had an oxygen machine we talked about getting a gas powered generator but it isn't an issue anymore.  



[#] Wed Apr 06 2016 17:10:05 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I demand that all of my electricity must be produced with nuclear reactors or fracked natural gas!

Seriously though, the electricity where I live now is so cheap that I have no interest in investing in solar panels. Also I just put in a brand new roof and I don't want to ruin it!

The big thing now is the "Solarize <your town's name>" scam. These people will put solar panels on your roof, FREE! All you have to do is agree to buy all of your electricity from them, for the lifetime of the contract. Any excess capacity is sold (by them) back to the grid, and any deficit is purchased (by you) from the grid.

Fine print: they put a lien on your house, so you can't get out. If the market price for electricity drops below what they're charging you for electricity produced by their solar panels on your house, tough luck.

That having been said ... I do have a big sunny backyard, so if I ever found a *fabulous* deal on a few panels and a grid tie inverter, I could put them out back ... but again, my electricity is so cheap it would take a long time to recoup the investment.

[#] Wed Apr 06 2016 17:23:32 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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 yup.  Both of the electricians we had for a quote said the
original contractor did a very nice job.  This is before we talked
about getting a new panel.

Heh. Zinsco (aka Federal Pacific) panels are quite nice ... too bad they have a habit of burning down the houses they are installed in.

The breakers often either burn up on their own or fail to trip during an overcurrent condition. Either way you've got crispy critters.

[#] Wed Apr 06 2016 18:43:49 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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I guess we will replace the panel.  No one mentioned the dangers.  I did some searching and see a lot of negative information about them.  Seems the contractor used a lot of end of life cycle items when the house was built in the mid 80s.  When we had our windows replaced they said it had lead paint, which was odd because lead paint was discontinued in the 70s.

 

Okay, we will get the panel replaced, especially because we are adding a 220 circuit and that will fill it.

 

Thanks.



[#] Wed Apr 06 2016 18:47:53 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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That having been said ... I do have a big sunny backyard, so if I ever

found a *fabulous* deal on a few panels and a grid tie inverter, I
could put them out back ... but again, my electricity is so cheap it
would take a long time to recoup the investment.


Not sure where you are, IG, but don't forget about power outages. The system I will be installing here will 100% off-grid, selling excess back to the power company for roughly 70% of the year, buying a small amount from them in the midwinter, and with enough battery reserve to power the house for 2.5 days.

I'll let you know how it all works out once they (the installers) complete the shade/sun survey (this friday).

No lease. Straight purchase. Unsecured personal loan based on the post-installation value of the property, with monthly payment structured to be no more than 50% of my current utility (electric) bill over the most recent 12 months averaged.

And the tax credit (30% of total install cost) is all mine to keep.

--The Ever Evil One

[#] Thu Apr 07 2016 10:13:37 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Sounds interesting.  If you're up for it, I'd like to ask you to post frequent updates (including geek porn photos).

I noticed that you are calling it "off grid" but also mentioned selling power back to the utility.   Are you planning to use an isolated inverter or a grid tie inverter?  That is usually the big decision to make, because an isolated inverter will work in an outage, but you cannot mix solar and grid power together, nor can you sell excess capacity back to the utility.  The grid tie inverter allows you to do both of those things, but it requires the utility to be online in order to operate.



[#] Thu Apr 07 2016 11:27:22 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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I am sure the solar company knows that which they do.
I told them what I want.
They told me they can do it the way I want.
And it will all be in writing in their final bid spec.
If it ends up being different....

Cause of Action: Breach of Contract

[#] Thu Apr 07 2016 13:00:36 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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That's great, but "I will trust the vendor" doesn't make for interesting conversation
:)

[#] Sun Apr 10 2016 11:23:30 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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[#] Wed Apr 20 2016 18:14:00 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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They complained about paper bags and made us switch to plastic only to complain about plastic.

They complained about incandescent bulb so Bush outlawed them and we switched to CFL, which they complained about so we switched to LEDs and....

http://www.businessinsider.com/astonauts-photos-from-space-leds-light-pollution-2016-1



[#] Thu Apr 21 2016 08:20:30 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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If your main interest (in re: lighting around the house) is lowering your overall cost, you just cannot argue with LED bulbs. Watch for sales - they do happen at your favorite home improvement store, even WallyWorld or CostCo.]

I have most of the house switched over and it made - roughly - a $15/mo. reduction in the electric bill. The bulbs will have paid for themselves in about 14 months and should last 10 yrs each.

[#] Thu Apr 21 2016 18:04:55 EDT from the_mgt @ Uncensored

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I once read that your light sources only contribute about 8% to your electricity bill, so there is a rather reduced potential for further improvement.

And since IG uses electricity as main heat source, he can only save anything on days were he is not using the heat, I guess. On a cold day, the "wasted" heat of a normal bulb should reduce the amount of heat that his heating system needs to generate. Or are there levels of efficency when it comes to producing heat with electricity?

Another observation is, that LED lamps might die far sooner than announced. Cheap ones and expensive once. We lost two 75€ ceiling lamps this year, both survived just a little longer than the 2 year warranty period.



[#] Thu Apr 21 2016 18:43:43 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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I have pointed out in the past how often LED lights fail.  If you look at traffic lights they have missing segments.  I would see trucks with missing segments on their lights.  I didn't think they lasted but I figured they improved since I noticed it many years ago.  



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