Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hold my beer while I swap out this circuit breaker....

"Hold my beer while I swap out this circuit breaker...." I was sort of looking forward to those being my last words. I was hoping for a Darwin Award. But it was not to be. My electrical problems are solved (at least temporarily), and I didn't even shock myself.

As you may recall from our last episode, I had returned from RockFest only to find that the power in much of my house wasn't working. I checked the breakers and found that none of them were tripped. And I checked the fuses and found that none of them appeared blown.

But I figured that before I called an electrician, I ought to at least be able to tell him which breaker I thought was bad. So I got a pad of paper, made a diagram of the breaker box, and proceeded to test each breaker, noting what, if anything, went off when the breaker was tripped. And for each breaker, something went off. Which was not at all what I expected.

One of the rooms that had lost power was a bathroom in which I'd done a bit of rewiring, and I'd thought I remembered turning the power off at the breaker box. Apparently I was confused.

Having found that the problem was not in the breaker box, I rechecked the fuses. The fuse box has six fuses in two rows. So I drew my diagram of the fuse box and removed each fuse in turn to see if anything went off. I started on the left side, and something went off for each fuse. Then I tried the right side, and I got exactly the opposite result. Although none of the fuses were blown, it was apparent that the problem was in the right side of the box.

As it happens, above the fuse box is another fuse box, with two great big fuses. I deduced that each of the big fuses controlled one side of the regular fuse box (I didn't drop out of engineering school for nothin'). I had checked these before, and they both looked the same--corroded and black. Their little trick fooled me the first time, but now the evidence pretty clearly pointed to one of them as the culprit. And sure enough, when I pried the right one out, the metal cap on one end fell off and a cloud of soot poured out.

And so, after a quick trip to Home Depot, Wang's back online. And feeling pretty silly about missing something that should have been so obvious.



Blogger Laurie said...

I am laughing with you, not at you.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 5:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm laughing at you!!!! Poodles

Thursday, June 30, 2005 5:26:00 PM  
Anonymous The one who wants the chair said...

Glad you're not dead!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2005 9:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Thumby said...

How does an engineering major become a philosophy major? I never saw that at Texas A&M.

Monday, July 04, 2005 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they even have a philosophy major at Texas A & M?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 1:41:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Texas A&M does indeed have a Department of Philosophy. They even offer doctoral degrees.

But I didn't go to A&M. I went to a small engineering school in Indiana that only offered degrees in math and hard sciences.

The trip to philosophy involved a move to University of Houston and stops in architecture, fine arts, and history.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 8:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know where you were, but I wonder if you spent more years as an undergraduate than I did. It sounds like we could be even, or close to. Not counting the college classes I took during high school because I could and they were free.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 8:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...


Fall 1981 through summer 1986 as an undergraduate. About 160 hours, including a few graduate seminars, but not including the high school stuff I got college credit for.

Then a year of grad school in philosophy from 1988-1989, and then law school.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Thumby said...

Dear Anonymous:

Texas A&M has a philosophy department, and when I was there it had 42 philosophy majors out of 40,000 students.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 10:28:00 PM  

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