Fun With Plasma (Re: Fiber only in DataCenters?)

Jay Ashworth jra at
Mon Dec 24 16:52:54 UTC 2012

----- Original Message -----
> From: "George Herbert" <george.herbert at>

> I have also, independently, melted and partly vaporized multiple cubic
> centimeters of 8 ga wire with a (purely accidental, I assure you)
> short of 12 volts from a serial stack of D-cell sized NiCd
> rechargeable batteries. The same works well with an old car 12 V
> battery and any conductor up to wrenches (not recommended at home...).
> What's the old saying? Volts hurt, Amps kill?


Back in... this would have had to be 1994 or 5, the St Petersburg Main GTE
CO (SPBFLXA89F, I think) was off the air for about 12 hours.

Completely off the air.

As I understood the story later, some New Guy went into the battery room to
do some work, and had not yet gotten the memo about vinyl-dipped tools.

He supposedly got a 12" crescent wrench across the main bussbars.

Now, to properly appreciate this, you have to know that while the
load *at that time* was 30k lines of GTD5 and 2 50k line 5ESS remotes... 
the building was 7 stories tall... and was originally all crossbar.

That battery room was rated, I was told, for about 8000A continuous at
-52VDC nominal.

The wrench flashed over into plasma on the spot; they never found any
of it.  Just zits on the bussbars where it hit.  The guy was deaf for 
about a week.

I never did hear if he lost his job or not.  They probably took the 
cost of deploying all of St Pete's Police out to strategic street
corners to take emergency reports out of his paycheck, though.

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                  Baylink                       jra at
Designer                     The Things I Think                       RFC 2100
Ashworth & Associates         2000 Land Rover DII
St Petersburg FL USA               #natog                      +1 727 647 1274

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