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  1. #1

    Default just a tip 4 you

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    I know there are times when a troubleshooter or a 1 man crew leaves the customer without finding the problem,its fustrating,not being able to help.Blinking lights are the worst ones,some seem to lead to a neutral problem,and some not.To the naked eye all connections look good,could it be a lug on a transformer?Well some of those that can through you for a loop,only to be close to where you started checking voltage at.Ive found several problem areas inside the breaker box,usually @ the neutral lug inside,and the problem is that the really small rivit that holds it in place is broken.At night the pipe that goes from the meter to the breaker box sometimes will glo,the pipe now serving as the neutral trys to return to the system.Iknow some guys wont go that far and stop at the meter,that your choice,usually a small jumper is a quick fix.Also seen the line wires burn up sometimes in the breaker box,a splice will fix that one,i know,some guys wont splice there.But would you splice there if it were your home?And finally the blinking lights call that goes away as soon as you jump out of the truck,thats everyones favorite,one guy i knew used a blow dryer with leads and hooked it up to the meter jaws ,then he would check voltage,never know what the next guy will rig up.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by reppy007 View Post
    I know there are times when a troubleshooter or a 1 man crew leaves the customer without finding the problem,its fustrating,not being able to help.Blinking lights are the worst ones,some seem to lead to a neutral problem,and some not.To the naked eye all connections look good,could it be a lug on a transformer?Well some of those that can through you for a loop,only to be close to where you started checking voltage at.Ive found several problem areas inside the breaker box,usually @ the neutral lug inside,and the problem is that the really small rivit that holds it in place is broken.At night the pipe that goes from the meter to the breaker box sometimes will glo,the pipe now serving as the neutral trys to return to the system.Iknow some guys wont go that far and stop at the meter,that your choice,usually a small jumper is a quick fix.Also seen the line wires burn up sometimes in the breaker box,a splice will fix that one,i know,some guys wont splice there.But would you splice there if it were your home?And finally the blinking lights call that goes away as soon as you jump out of the truck,thats everyones favorite,one guy i knew used a blow dryer with leads and hooked it up to the meter jaws ,then he would check voltage,never know what the next guy will rig up.
    Fixing problems on the customer side of the meter can be a "double-edged sword". Your company could be held liable for problems later. Temp fixes can get you in trouble also.
    Tightening connections, etc. is probably common for lineman to check/fix, but beyond that I would advise them to get an electrician.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    1,716

    Default What do you use to find open neutrals?

    We use a Super Beast. If you use the adapter, you can at least tell if the neutral problem is on the member's side of the meter. Hotwire is right about it being a 2-edge sword. We generaly will tighten a loose neutral for a member. But we never replace wire. And there are times you can see that a new piece of 4/0 would fix the problem and get the member back in power. We just don't take the chance.
    Note to self, just because it pops into my head doesn't mean it should come out of my mouth.

  4. #4

    Default correct

    Quote Originally Posted by hotwiretamer View Post
    Fixing problems on the customer side of the meter can be a "double-edged sword". Your company could be held liable for problems later. Temp fixes can get you in trouble also.
    Tightening connections, etc. is probably common for lineman to check/fix, but beyond that I would advise them to get an electrician.
    Repairing customer equipment can get you in some really hot water. While you may think you are doing someone a favor, you may also be setting yourself up for a court hearing. If your company policy forbids you to enter a customer's residence or work on customer's equipment, trust me, don't do it. Don't ask me how I know this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    South East Texas
    Posts
    3,278

    Default

    Ummmmmm we also needa keep in mind that our fellow IBEW folks commonly known as Narrowbacks do this stuff for a living and actually feed their familys by doin it.they also are bonded where we aint. I do understand the lil ole lady deal but what happens when she gets it all confused n tells the firemarshall that the guy from the utility said he had it fixed.Its even dangerous to reset a customers main for em nowadays. Just imagine what a trained lawyer would do to you on the stand........... Do you know that a breaker trips for a reason? and did you check out the entire circuit before resetting it? The answer is always gonna be No and they wud make you look like the biggest idiot on the planet and Your company will pay thru the nose for what you tried to do as a courtesy to the customer.

  6. #6

    Default correct again

    You're exactly right Poot, you may also be taking work away from fellow brothers and sisters. In my case, I never even touched the customer's equipment. I did go inside the home because she was an old lady, it was March, and I didn't want her standing outside in the cold. She misunderstood everything that I told her and it ended up in court. You have to be really careful what you say and who you say it to. It shouldn't have to be that way, but unfortunately, it is.

  7. #7

    Default

    In the area that I service, I know many electricians...so when the customer has a problem I give them their phone numbers. Most of them are at a loss when they have an electrical problem and ask if I know of any electricians...as a courtesy to the electicians, I carry their cards or have their phone numbers listed in my cell phone, I am more than happy to throw them some business. I have a couple that are very low priced, and if the customer is "on a fixed budget" I will call the electician and mention the "cash flow" problem and they usually cut the customer a break...I have a great working relationship with the electricians in our area...On the other side of the coin if I have to go in and convert an old A-base meter to a socket, it is not uncommon for me to render the customer permanently "lightless" just by the act of turning their power off. I could throw in a quick jumper, but I dont do that...I carry extra blocks with me and will replace the block if the lug or lugs will not tighten back up...after all they had lights until I arrived to change the meter so I feel an obligation to leave it the way I got there. Most electricians do not save old A-Base blocks on upgrade jobs, so it is kinda up to me. Burnt up lugs or broken blocks in a socket meter....well, I carry spare parts with me, and could fix it in a lot of cases, but I PREFER to give the job to the electricians.
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    Abraham Lincoln

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth
    Posts
    638

    Default

    Coop I worked you could get away with little things. Nowadays I've never once stepped foot inside a home and never will. Every now and then I bring them outside and show them good voltage on the load side of the meter socket and that's it.

    It's more fun trying to explain we stop at the weatherhead. Even better when you do a hazardous disconnect until they get repairs.

    Matter of fact I gotta run by a place tomorrow where I gave him 24 hours to make repairs or his service is cut.

    liability liability liability

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Fort Worth
    Posts
    638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by duckhunter View Post
    We use a Super Beast. If you use the adapter, you can at least tell if the neutral problem is on the member's side of the meter. Hotwire is right about it being a 2-edge sword. We generaly will tighten a loose neutral for a member. But we never replace wire. And there are times you can see that a new piece of 4/0 would fix the problem and get the member back in power. We just don't take the chance.
    I have a super beast - 20 amps and a mega beast - 80 amps. It'll burn it open.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    1,716

    Default

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    I'm a big fan of the "beast". We have some old ones with analog display still in use. But the Super Beast is on 3 different trucks. You can do a heck of a lot of troubleshooting in a short time with one.
    Note to self, just because it pops into my head doesn't mean it should come out of my mouth.

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