High Voltage

When I talk of high voltage, I generally mean 480 to 50,000 volts.  Some construction sites, like dam building, generally use 480 volts for all of their electrically powered tools like electric saws, hammers, etc.  At 480 volts this equipment runs very smooth and even.

Most commercial and industrial buildings will use 480 volts.  However, higher voltage means higher danger and more rules.

While working with 120 – 240 volts I have probably been “bit” 100 times.  After 70 years and more, I still survive, but I have heard many horror stories about high voltage.  I recall one story one of my relatives told me.

He was an apprentice working with an old experienced journeyman.  There were two high voltage cables running through an underground cement tunnel.  One cable was dead, the other one live.  Their job (should they choose to accept it) was to cut out the dead cable and leave the other one running.

The cables traveled down the tunnel, went out through the concrete side of the tunnel, and reappeared back through the tunnel walls further on.

Not having the equipment we have today, they could not determine which cable was alive and which was dead.  After much tracing  of the circuitry and wire routing, and making “educated guesses”, they proceeded with the task.

The journeyman got a great big cable cutter out and told the apprentice; “You go back up the tunnel and around the corner.  If you hear a loud explosion and see a bright flash you run out of the tunnel as fast as you can go.  It will be too late for me.”

The apprentice did as he was instructed and the journeyman cut the cable.

It was the correct one, so nothing happened.

I sometimes wonder if this had anything to do with the apprentice leaving the electrical trade and getting into something else.

Stay tuned for more.

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