Bringing Down the House

Raymond blogs about power outages at work, and he says he'll blog about a time when an employee caused one. Been there, done that.

Here's what happened.

In the summer of 1992, I was working in the engineering R&D lab at Thomas Industries. My dad worked there as a sales manager, so I was able to get in during the college summers and earn some extra money. One day I was running some sound tests on a compressor, and I also wanted to do some voltage readings of the motor during the test run. I was using a meter that could measure either volts or amps depending on the setting of a switch. I've used it before, but I just flat-out forgot to check the switch, so I had the meter in parallel with the motor with the setting to "Amps".

Guess what happened when I plugged the compressor in and the current saw a nice path of (essentially) no resistance?

I brought the entire building to its knees. Completely knocked the whole building out for a couple of seconds before things came back online.

I felt really stupid walking out of the sound room admitting that, yeah, that was me, the college kid who's getting his degree in electrical engineering.

* Posted at 09.20.2005 12:09:58 PM CST | Link *

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