Air Traffic Jam
While installing new generators for the FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center in Fremont, Calif., the crew I was working on started punching into a concrete wall from the main electrical room to the computer room. The UPS filter for the main radar/computer was just in front of the slot we were cutting, so I decided to install a wooden block to prevent concrete dust or rock from entering the area. As I leaned over to cover the slot, my toolbag touched the UPS filter emergency stop button — it was the only button without a plastic guard covering it. As a result, the UPS dropped offline, the existing emergency generators failed to pick up the load, and for 18 minutes the radar from Honolulu to Reno, Nev., blacked out. Thankfully for me, the situation was blamed on the missing button guard.
Drywaller for a Day
I was running a crew on a school addition when I noticed that the drywallers had covered up a receptacle opening in a wall.
Since they were still on-site, I told them about it and asked if they would uncover it for me. They insisted that there was no electrical box in that location. Of course, being the highly observant and knowledgeable electrician I am, I told the drywaller that either he uncover it or I would, and my way would not be as clean as his. Unfortunately, he continued to resist uncovering the box, so I did what I thought any good electrician should do and put my foot through the wall where my receptacle should have been.
As it turns out, there was no box there, and a look at the plans revealed that there should not have been an opening in that location. I spent the afternoon repairing drywall.
Illustrations by Clint Metcalf