Puzzle - what happened with house wiring?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Roderick Young, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Roderick Young

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 22, 2015
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    A friend of my brother's is getting a new house built from the ground up. This is in the United States, 230 volts split into two, 115 volt sides of the line. A licensed electrician hooked up everything. There were about 100 LED recessed lighting canisters throughout the house - not just in one concentrated area. Power was turned on for the first time, and every single one of the LED lights blew out. What do you think happened, and whose fault was it?
     
  2. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Could be a couple of causes, I would check the voltage on the fixtures without the lamps plugged in.
    If it is mis-wiring it would be the electricians fault, obviously.
    If the wrong fittings were supplied by the home owner then it would be his loss.
    Max.
     
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  3. MikeML

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 2, 2009
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    A minor correction. Standard residential voltage is now 120V/240Vac.

    Normal lighting circuits are supposed to be 120Vac (Line=Black wire to Neutral=White wire).
     
  4. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Sounds like the electrician although licenced was not educated or intelligent which as I have learned first hand in my life of servicing peoples electrical systems is sadly very very common. :mad:

    More than likely he got the common line and one of the hot lines switched around and never did a preliminary three point voltage check to confirm the mains were hooked up correctly thus resulting in him hitting everything on one side of the 120:240 split with the full 240 VAC.

    If that's the case its his fault and he gets to replace everything that was damaged. If the mains and sub systems were installed correctly and all the LED units went out then I would be looking at the LED lamp manufacturer for answers.
     
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  5. Reloadron

    Active Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    Whoever installed the lighting is where I would place the blame or liability. If I install lighting or for that matter anything electrical in a residence I have the responsibility of making sure the house wiring is correct and all voltages correct before I install. I can't assume anything.

    Ron
     
  6. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    I'm not sure what being a licensed electrician means in the US. I had 3 licensed electricians work on the electrical for a remodel I did 20 years ago. The first flaked out and 2 others were brought in to redo/finish the work of the first.

    The first was an idiot and claimed to be some sort of inspector/trainer. He installed a new panel and forgot to reconnect my hot water heater; which wasn't part of the remodel other than it needed to be connected to the new panel. He kept working on the distribution panel when it was live and damaged several of my electronic gadgets. I wanted him to wire a 4-way switch for some lights, but he couldn't remember how to do it and wasn't inclined to look it up...

    The 2 who finished the job were idiots too. They hacked up new kitchen cabinets to install wiring (I just discovered that they made a removable shelf non-removable because they drilled a hole in a corner of the shelf to install wiring for the cooktop), made mistakes cutting holes for outlets and just used oversized cover plates to cover their goofs, they wired my generator panel incorrectly.

    Don't count on inspectors to catch all of the shoddy work or code violations either; they seemed to try, but they're not perfect...
     
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  7. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    Seems like the mostly likely error is that the electrician wired 240V to the fixtures.
     
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  8. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    In the UK; it seems to be plumbers that couldn't organise a bunkup in a brothel.
     
  9. Reloadron

    Active Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    This gets a little off topic but as to "licensed electrician" and similar terms. Here in Ohio being a licensed electrician simply means someone has taken and passed a state examination. Taking the test involves paying the state a fee. I happen to live in Bedford Heights, Ohio. Bedford Heights is a small town in the Greater Cleveland suburbs.

    My neighbor wanted to upgrade from 60 Amp service to 200 Amp service. Older home with a fuse box. To do electrical work here in this town, like the surrounding towns, you start by pulling a permit from the city. Yes, you pay for the permit a $35 fee. The city requires the work be done by a licensed electrician on their approved list. To get on the list the electrician needs to apply to the city, pay a fee, have proof of passing the state exam and be insured and bonded to work in the city. The cost to get on the city list is $100 annually and must be renewed year to year. So a permit is pulled and in this case a new masthead/weatherhead is mounted with pipe running down the outside wall to a new meter box. If the pipe is on a driveway you can use EMT but PVC is not acceptable on a driveway side. Once the new breaker panel is installed the city will inspect, check for new grounds and all grounding and make sure the new panel is up to code. Once you have the passed inspection, only then will the power company come out and run new line to the pole and masthead. No inspection? No power transfer.

    So yes, the state and city get their bucks but... The customer has recourse if the job is a hack job or things are done wrong. We had a licensed and bonded friend pull the permit, we all did the work, and now the new panel is installed. Little by little, room by room, we are removing the old knob and tube and installing all new wire and outlets. Everything done with good materials and done to code.

    I have like many followed up on some really poor work. The fact that someone is a licensed electrician simply means they took a canned test and paid a fee to the state. It is no guarantee they actually are good or even know what they are doing. When it comes to IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) here in Ohio an apprentice works 5 years taking all necessary test before journeyman status is achieved.

    Ron
     
  10. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    A few decades ago I did a stint doing the electricals for a second hand furniture shop. On one occasion we delivered something to a house that had a wooden fuse box with a glass window in the front - that was probably illegal even that long ago.
     
  11. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
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    The first electrician who worked on my remodel was a journeyman. He had an apprentice with him and she was clueless. She was running wiring in my attic and didn't know to walk on the rafters. I had so many nail pops in the garage I'm surprised she didn't fall through; she wasn't small.

    All work had the required permits. The inspectors found some problems, but some pretty blatant code violations were missed (like scrap wood left in a crawl space that eventually attracted termites).

    I would have gone after the contractor (who also flaked out), but I came to find out while he was doing the work that he was an ex-con and I didn't think it was worth the risk.
     
  12. Reloadron

    Active Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    Doesn't surprise me. During my career I had the pleasure of working with some the best in the trade or business. I also got to know some of the worst. Friend of mine's kid is a supposed to be journeyman and the kid is perpetually unemployed. Following Hurricane Sandy how can you be an unemployed journeyman electrician in NY? Problem was at his father's urging he was pushed through and fed the gouge for test. The kid is clueless and never lasted on any of the jobs he was on. Last I heard he was working in a warehouse in NC for $10 an hour. :) Better there than in someones breaker panel.

    Ron
     
  13. Roderick Young

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 22, 2015
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    Quite correct, but in Hawaii, they run a little low for some reason. Our house in California is 246 volts right at the service panel.
     
  14. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
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    In the UK they fiddled the tolerance limit to bring us in line with the 230V used in the EU.

    Going back to when the hotch-potch of AC and DC mains in various regions, originally the supply was standardised at 250V, but that eventually settled down to be 240V.

    It can vary within the tolerance depending how much cable between the consumer and sub station, but the + tolerance was "stretched" so they can end up with 240V and still say they're within spec.
     
  15. Roderick Young

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 22, 2015
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    Thanks everyone for your theories. Since this was just my brother's friend, I didn't pursue the matter. We never did find out what the technical issue was, but since the same electrician had wired in the lights, I believe he took responsibility for the damage.
     
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