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Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Patience is a virtue
Beth Stackpole   8/19/2011 9:15:28 AM
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Clear cut example of how patience, a practical eye to problem solving, and some tried and true detective work pays off and helps avoid a big clean-up job down the pike.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Patience is a virtue
Rob Spiegel   8/19/2011 9:22:33 AM
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I agree, Beth. This is a pretty clever solution. I beleive this blog is appropriately named Sherlock Ohms, since the solutions usually come from deductive logic in the spirit of the original Sherlock.

BobGroh
User Rank
Platinum
A neat solution!
BobGroh   8/21/2011 11:54:36 AM
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Got to say that was a neat bit of trouble shooting! But it certainly leaves me wondering what the heck the box was doing buried so far back of the wall board surface. 

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Contracors?
Tim   8/21/2011 6:58:06 PM
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It was a great solution to what could have been a difficult situation between the electrician and the drywallers.  Though, it was a little careless of the drywaller to lay board over the electrical box.  Usually, they look for those things.

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Cool post.
jmiller   8/21/2011 9:15:54 PM
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That was one of the coolest stories I have heard in a while.  Way to go MacGyver!  Next time, if you could try and find a way to use chewing gum foil.

herbissimus
User Rank
Silver
Re: Cool post.
herbissimus   8/22/2011 11:16:25 AM
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chewing gum foil = plug (edison ) fuse repair kit

one layer = 15 amps

2 layers = 30 amps

3 layers = don't go there !

BudM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Cool post.
BudM   8/22/2011 11:27:20 AM
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This is an old trick used by alot of old tech like me. I use it for locating bad connection in the breaker panel, bad switches, loose connections, etc.

BudM
User Rank
Silver
Re: Cool post.
BudM   8/22/2011 11:46:58 AM
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The old trick means using transistor radio.

Scootercat
User Rank
Iron
But But
Scootercat   8/22/2011 9:13:45 AM
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Interesting trick...but, how could you discern the box from the wiring leading to it?  Seems like the noise would emanate from the buried wiring and the buried box you were looking for....

j-allen
User Rank
Gold
Re: But But
j-allen   8/22/2011 9:27:01 AM
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It is clever to use a portable radio with a ferrite loop antenna to detect the brush noise, but I agree the signal would not be significantly stronger at the box than along the wiring leading to it.  Perhaps once this method had located the general area, one might use a metal detector, an RF based stud-finder, or even a pocket compass to find the exact spot.  All this assumes that the electrician was not so sloppy as the dry-waller and used a traditional steel box. 

donevol
User Rank
Iron
Re: But But
donevol   8/22/2011 10:41:40 AM
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Most likely the direction or quantity of feeder lines changes at a junction box. Another option is that the electrical bos is/was metal, acting as a shield to reduce the noise radiation.

herbissimus
User Rank
Silver
Re: But But
herbissimus   8/22/2011 11:09:16 AM
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in the old days we would just roll all the wires into the box, but later the electrical code required that for the rough-in to be complete the wires would be connected as they would be when the installation was complete except for the wiring device (outlet), so the hash would propagate from box to box, no problem. also a set of plans could locate the box to within a few feet, then use the transistor radio from there. the box location would usually give off a stonger signal due to the ball of wire in the box.

pedalcommuter
User Rank
Iron
Re: Buried receptacle
pedalcommuter   9/8/2011 5:01:54 PM
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It reminds me of a buried receptacle I had to deal with as a teenager.

I had installed it in a frame addition to the customer's trailer on Lake Norman, NC.  Days later, he called my father and said that he had paneled the room and the receptacle wasn't there.  My father looked at me sternly and informed me of this.  I told him that the customer must have been drunk when he did the paneling - how else could he miss the box sticking out a quarter-inch from the studs?  My dad just told me to go fix it.

I got on-site and could see the bulge in the wall where the receptacle was hiding.  The only problem was that it was "hot" and the breaker box was in the trailer, which was locked.  My perenially inebriated assistant still didn't understand that it was simply a matter of judiciously cutting the paneling to reveal the receptacle and then screwing on the cover plate.  He looked at the concrete floor and said, "Gonna be mighty hard pulling the wire through that concrete floor!"

I took a keyhole saw and bumped it into the paneling where I guessed was the edge of the box.  As luck would have it, it went into the "hot" hole in the receptacle and sent me flying!  My assistant exclaimed, "Told you gonna be hard pulling that wire through that concrete floor!"

Ten minutes later, the job was done.  A month later, I was off to MIT to study electrical engineering.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
The buried electrical box
William K.   8/22/2011 9:15:23 AM
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I agree with Beth, but Bob is right to question why the box was so far back that it could have drywall run right over it and not need a cutout. That is just plain poor work quality. Having done a whole lot of reworks of other peoples installations, it is clear that lazy construction practices make everybody else's work more difficult for many years to follow. 

Of course, I am aware that if the box needs a cutout then the sheetrock installer needs to do more work, which does make the whole job take longer, but if the electrician needs to fight with a box that is set back to far, that also takes more time as well.

Tom Shed
User Rank
Iron
Re: The buried electrical box
Tom Shed   8/22/2011 6:21:15 PM
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...and, the electrical wiring did not meeth the NEC.  Both the electrical and drywall contractors were in over their heads.  

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
The Case of the Buried Electrical Box Subject
William K.   8/23/2011 10:42:42 AM
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The reason the signal was stronger at the box is that the box served as additional radiating surface, ( a bigger antenna), which is why the signal was stronger. This would be the case even if the wire was simply cut off and coiled up in the box. The other reason that it worked in this instance is that the box was at the end of the wire.



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