Waterproof cable and wire splicing made easy

If you’ve ever accidentally chopped through a wire or electrical cable, you know how much fun it can be to try to repair it so that it stays waterproof, dust proof, weatherproof, etc.

I recently had just such a fun experience myself. It turns out that there are quite a few nice products out there to make the splicing process WAAAAY easier.

Keep in mind that the type of splice you use depends greatly on the application – and even the type of wire (solid vs stranded).

A wire splice for an automotive-type application must be pretty strong, because vibration is obviously an issue.

An underground electrical cable doesn’t have to withstand vibration, but it definitely needs to be waterproof!

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DEAR GOD the circuit breaker keeps tripping – What to do?!

First, remain calm. Second, watch this video!

A tripping circuit breaker or GFCI/RCD/differential breaker can be really annoying. It normally doesn’t happen.

When it does, the end result can be that you run around the room with your undies on your head, screaming like a wildperson.

Obviously, if your vacuum cleaner is charred and black and there’s a funny smell in the room, you’ve just figured out why the breaker tripped. But usually, the problem is a bit more subtle than that…

It turns out that with a bit of work, you can often cleverly narrow down the problem to one gizmo and save yourself some money – without setting anything on fire!

Yay!

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EEK! #5 – Breaker Panels aren’t so scary after all

I usually see people freak out when they open the door of their circuit breaker panel. No more!

Note that I’m using European breakers and EU-type panel design as my example, so if you’re in North America or certain other countries, you’re not gonna see the same thing. Still, the general principles are the same.

Also keep in mind that there are far more gizmos that you might find in your panel: combined GFCI/circuit breakers, timers, and even a nifty gizmo that turns off circuit B when circuit A is energized.

Having said all that, if you just need a basic intro to breaker panels of all types, this is a good place to start! Then follow up with a book or an internet search for your specific location, and Bob’s your uncle.

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EEK! #3 – 3-phase power

Why does AC electrical power come in 3 phases? What the heck is a “phase”, anyway?

In this episode of the EEK! Series, you’ll learn about 3-phase power and its advantages.

In short: fewer wires, more power, and the Earth itself is a conductor.

In addition, 3-phase industrial motors are more efficient and don’t require a starting capacitor since the 3 phases are “rotating” already.

Be sure to watch EEK! #1 and EEK! #2 first!

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Safely power your electronic gizmos when traveling internationally

Everything you need to know about powering various electric and electronic things when traveling internationally. Plug adapters, voltage ratings, transformers, and all that jazz made simple!

Note: My audio recorder ate the good sound 🙁  so I’m afraid we must make do with highly-processed Backup Audio this time. Always have a backup!

Anyhow, watch the video below.

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The Difference Between Neutral and Earth Ground in AC Installations

Oh dear...If you’ve ever had the pleasure of upgrading old electrical wiring in a residence, you know that a separate earth ground wire was generally not used in the past. In such cases, you find yourself with 2 wires: live, and neutral.

Now, you might want to install a grounded outlet without redoing a lot of wiring. A common method of getting around this little problem is to install the new 3-conductor outlet by tying live to one prong, neutral to the other prong, and then using a jumper wire to connect neutral to the ground connection inside the outlet.

“Theoretically, this should work just fine!” you reason.

It turns out that theoretically, you are in fact correct. Practically speaking, adding a “ground” in a 2-wire installation by tying neutral and ground together has several serious – and possibly dangerous – drawbacks.

Here’s the scoop.

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