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So far Mike Williams has created 12 blog entries.

Too Many Fuse Boxes

2014-10-12T17:09:57-04:00July 8th, 2014|Before & After|

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This family had a total of 5 panel boxes of varying sizes, types, and ages, including not one but two fuse boxes, one dating from well before 1920. Fuse panels in general can be a problem, with one of the big concerns being the possibility of replacing a blown fuse with one large than the wire is rated for.  The older fuse box, the big black one in the center next to the meter, was a type banned by the electrical code long ago, where both the hot and the neutral wires are fused. This arrangement is a setup for serious safety hazards, for example if only a neutral fuse were to blow, and not the hot.

It was a tight budget situation, with dangerous old equipment, so we just replaced the whole bunch of panels and sub-panels with a single modern circuit breaker panel, and upgraded the ground system, leaving the existing RG&E meter in place. The owners did opt for a high-quality Square D breaker panel, arguably the Cadillac of breakers.

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The Wired Henhouse

2014-11-30T23:17:10-05:00November 12th, 2013|Before & After|

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My friends Rob and Patrick live in the country, rehabbing an unusual house made largely of concrete – floors, walls, and all. It’s not as unusual, though, as the world’s coolest henhouse that they built. This October (2013), in addition to some new wiring in the main house, the dining room, and the commercial-sized garage, they had us run an underground line from the garage across a driveway and a private road to the henhouse.

As part of the planning process, I submitted the proper notification for the underground line to “Dig Safely NY,” and they sent out all the utility companies to stake out the area for underground services. Two days later, Rob texted me: “Mike, Frontier [Communications] came by and they have an underground line 10 inches down running right in front of the henhouse. Now the chickens can have phone and internet!”

The fun part of the job was the henhouse interior wiring, including some lights, a timer, and an outlet to power the electric fence they installed, intended to keep the turkeys in and the foxes out (sadly too late for one gobbler that week). Wiring the lights in the henhouse proper was no doubt the closest supervision I can remember working under in years (see the slideshow for proof). At one point, I was on my ladder and dropped a screwdriver; I looked down quickly to see where it landed, but the chickens were even quicker. Two or three were already on it, scrutinizing it intently. I consider myself lucky to have gotten out with my belt and all my tools. Turns out the Claymation movie Chicken Run wasn’t fiction after all!

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The Wired Henhouse! Note the electrical conduit entering at the lower left.