Reminder: Never connect a generator to home wiring without transfer switch

bzs at bzs at
Wed Aug 25 18:30:52 UTC 2021

Ok, I'll be the curmudgeon...

Is this really a problem in practice?

Most people I've known who worked around electrical mains etc assumed
the worst at all times and it isn't all that difficult to protect
against as one works.

I realize one can infinitely invoke "better safe than sorry!", "an
ounce of prevention...!"


Except maybe that one guy at Harvard who came to replace what turned
out to be a 100+ year old, home made, "breaker" which fed our machine
room which was hidden in a narrow dark hallway winding around our
machine room behind an unmarked metal, locked doorway. I had no idea
it existed but we had no power so I called for help.

It was just a single copper bar about the size of a small candy bar
tensioned into hot clips. Probably 400A but who remembers.

He removed the old one confidently enough, grabbed the new one with
rubber-handled pliers and gloves and...

  Him: Have you ever played football?

  Me: Actually, yes, I have, why?

  Him: If something doesn't look right when I put this thing in just
  tackle me clear of it as hard and as fast as you can.

  Me: Um, ok.

It all worked out fine and I wrote a memo that maybe Harvard could
spring for a proper $500 breaker box?


        -Barry Shein

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