Stupid Mistake, and Safety Reminder

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by thingmaker3, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. thingmaker3

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    This afternoon I was crawling around in an attic working on some lighting. I pulled a piece of romex from a box where I had placed it a month ago & checked it with a DMM - just to be thorough (or so I thought...) I read zero volts.

    A moment or two later, there was a brilliant blue flash and an angry buzzing for what seemed like several seconds. (Was probably several milliseconds, but seemed longer.) It was at this point I began to suspect something might be amiss. Once the green blob obscuring my vision receded enough, I climbed down from the attic to commence troubleshooting & investigation.

    I found a kitchen light on the other end of the romex. The hot of my future-use leg had been hooked up - but not the neutral. This is why I read no voltage between hot and neutral in the attic. It was as though had I put one lead on hot and held th other "thirty foot lead" in the air. I should have checked hot to ground as well!

    Always check voltage to ground before assuming a circuit is safe!
  2. Gadget

    Distinguished Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Ouch. We all get those occasional wake-up calls. I have the burns to prove it.
  3. recca02

    Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    ..and i have a charred SMPS because of a stupid mistake,
    i guess u can never be too careful when it comes to electricity.
  4. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    I have a wire stripper with a big notch in the cutter blade to remind me about checking live wiring.