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Simple residential power usage display - Page 4

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Posted by Nina on May 13, 2006, 12:20 am

Jim Baber wrote:





since the main power is cut off at this point, there should be no danger during
installation :)
how does the inside unit plugged into "any A/C outlet* get it's signal?

I also have a couple 20amp feeds off my main, on outside wall which don't come
breaker panel so any motors attached there would presumably be non-registered
have their own 20amp switches)

Posted by meow2222 on May 13, 2006, 10:51 am

Nina wrote:



you want

wrong, and fatally wrong. Take his advice.


Posted by Nina on May 13, 2006, 11:33 am

meow2222 wrote:

why? when I turn off my main power from the utility, the power is off to my

Posted by Harry Chickpea on May 13, 2006, 3:24 pm


If you have a main disconnect switch or fuses that can be pulled, you
might be correct.  HOWEVER, when dealing with mains power, you NEVER
EVER make assumptions.  As a single simple example, fire alarm systems
commonly are directly connected to mains power without any circuit
breaker or switch that can be used to turn them off.  On one hand, you
can understand the idea that a Darwin award nominee might be annoyed
at the beeping of an alarm, or the cost of the false alarms, and try
to disconnect an alarm.  The fire department doesn't want that.
However, the code required solution creates a known hazardous
condition of a constantly "hot" circuit, even if you think you have
cut mains power.

Circuit breakers can fail to trip without much indication.  If you
depend on tripping a breaker to cut power and that breaker has been
welded by a lightning strike or power surge, or is defective, you are
dead.  The chances of it happening are slim, but far better than
winning the lottery.

There are other situations I can think of, with ground loops and
connection issues that I wouldn't even attempt to warn you about,
because what you want to do is not safe for you to do on your own, and
I don't want to offer any false sense of security.

Professional electricians older than about 30 are almost maddeningly
slow, precise, and methodical.  They double check their equipment and
their work, constantly verify meter readings and safety meansures, and
they refuse to be rushed or coerced into doing something they don't
understand or agree with.  They are the ones who survived.  

***The simple fact is that you are not in any way qualified to be
putzing around in an open circuit breaker panel, energized or not.***
Can you do it and get away with it?  Probably, but quite frankly it
would be stupid to do so, especailly if you are financially able to
buy the equipment you want without blinking an eye.

I used to help my father build radio stations.  I've done wiring of
major circuits in my own houses.  When I ran into a problem of
overheating between my house meter and breakers, I didn't hesitate to
spend the money and call a professional electrician.  I'm sure that if
he was uncomfortable with what he had to do, he would have called in
to the power company for assistance.

We all like to think we know how to do things.  Often we can take a
chance and if it doesn't work out, we just try again or call someone
in.  Electricity doesn't work like that, and the two major places a
homeowner should steer totally clear of are the insides of any monitor
or tv, and the main breaker panel.  The risk/reward ratio is just not
there.  Chancing of doing something good are slim, chances of killing
yourself or burning down your house are great.

Posted by William P.N. Smith on May 13, 2006, 4:30 pm


No, the main feed to the panel is still live, unless you turn off a
breaker somewhere else.

I've got a breaker on the meter box that really does cut off power to
the main breaker panel (except the generator auto-starts), if the
breaker you are talking about is _inside_ the panel it won't cut off
power to the wires you need to put the toroids onto.

Please don't fiddle, under a hundred bucks for an electrician is worth
far more than your life.

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