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  • Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

    Did a drain cleaning and camera job today for a new forum member with a plugged up sewer. the pipe was a combination of abs, orangebird and clay. all non metalic pipe.

    had my k-60 plugged into an outlet in the garage that was suppose to be a gfi protected outlet piggybacked from anoter outlet along with my k-60 having a gfi line cord.

    what i noticed was when i was running my cable in and out of my k-60, i was seeing an arcing between the cable and machine. i've never seen that before. used my meter and found some power when hooking my lead to my machine frame and ground. it was less than .01 volts, but it still registered. the water service is copper, but there was a grounding bonding wire disconnected. seems like the ground rod was removed, but the water line is copper into the ground.

    i eventually swapped outlets and seems like the arcing was gone. glad i didn't short out my k-60, seesnake or myself

    i don't ever remember seeing this before.

    ps. i did clear the line and and got him up and running.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

  • #2
    Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

    Thanks for the reminder Rick . I will pick up one of these today ! Grainger item #5yl47 in line 15 amp, 120 volt Inline GFCI $66.00 . I'LL find it cheaper elsewhere . We should all use these daily on customers homes !
    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

      did you ever figure what was electrifying the water in the drain?
      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
      attributed to Samuel Johnson
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

        Loose neutrals, also a dangerous situation, can cause similar effects. Or maybe static electricity built up from the metal snake on the plastic pipe? If the ground was an insulator you'd see small sparks at the machine.
        ~~

        ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

          Originally posted by Plumber Punky View Post
          Loose neutrals, also a dangerous situation, can cause similar effects. Or maybe static electricity built up from the metal snake on the plastic pipe? If the ground was an insulator you'd see small sparks at the machine.
          Wow for time in the trades ,You are one sharp DUDE ! Gramps is impressed
          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

            I think the issue was with the outlet and the water was just the path to ground. Never tripped my gfi on the machine. And the outlet I was plugged into was suppose to be on a gfi piggyback outlet.

            When I changed to a different outlet, the problem, arcing went away.

            Rick.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

              Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
              Wow for time in the trades ,You are one sharp DUDE ! Gramps is impressed
              Thank you sir
              ~~

              ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

                Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                I think the issue was with the outlet and the water was just the path to ground. Never tripped my gfi on the machine. And the outlet I was plugged into was suppose to be on a gfi piggyback outlet.

                When I changed to a different outlet, the problem, arcing went away.

                Rick.
                I'm no electrician for sure. The switching of the outlet may have provided a better path for ground/neutral than the other circuit. I saw this in my cousin's house. Using one GFCI receptacle with a drill cause the lights to get brighter in that area of the house. Other areas were unaffected. Switching the receptacle, as you did, made the problem 'disappear'. His GFCI never tripped either. I'm not sure why not, I don't know the workings of the GFCI receptacles/cord adapters or how reliable they are. I'm used to the breaker panel installed units that protect everything downstream.

                Perhaps an electrician can chime in on the oddities of electrical flow and MTBF of GFCI units?
                ~~

                ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

                  Improperly wired outlet. Really bad for your camera if you plug into one of these

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

                    TRC GFCI OUTLET TESTER TECH RESEARCH - Cable Protection Systems - 8XEY7|30090-012 - Grainger Industrial Supply

                    This what I use to check outlets but truthfully don't do it on a regular basis. Will do for the camera work now. Josh, my toolbox monitor has a fuse in it....does the new cameras have one and would the fuse protect anything in Rick's situation?
                    Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

                      if there was a boot leg ground or reversed polarity boot leg ground one of the three light wire testers may not show it, and I do not know if a ground fault would show it either,



                      GFCI work
                      Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs):

                      will dropping a hair dryer in a sink trip a GFCI (not necessarly)


                      the GFCI will only trip if the power going in and coming back through the white and black wires is imbalanced,

                      it could be possible for power (from a nother source) could be flowing on the ground and not effect the line coming in,

                      now if that power from the line is leaking to ground then a proper working GFCI will trip, but as show above is there is no place for it to leak it will not trip,
                      Last edited by BHD; 05-10-2013, 01:04 PM.
                      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                      attributed to Samuel Johnson
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

                        Originally posted by Josh View Post
                        Improperly wired outlet. Really bad for your camera if you plug into one of these
                        Thanks Rick N Josh. This is a wake up call for all with cameras ! When You Plug into a homeowners receptacle , "You are rolling the dice with a valuable Piece of equipment ! His brother in Law ,Pluto ,May Have wired it 240 Volts last Sat. !!!!
                        Get an in lineGFCI AND USE IT !! Gramps
                        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

                          Originally posted by Josh View Post
                          Improperly wired outlet. Really bad for your camera if you plug into one of these



                          That's what batteries are for, love mine

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

                            Cheap way to check is a plug-in GFCI tester. About 8 bucks, they have 3 lights on it and will show reverse polarity, open ground, open neutral, etc. I use it to double check co-apprentices outlets

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Drain cleaning putting on a spark show

                              Originally posted by Highlife View Post
                              Cheap way to check is a plug-in GFCI tester. About 8 bucks, they have 3 lights on it and will show reverse polarity, open ground, open neutral, etc. I use it to double check co-apprentices outlets
                              Not according to the YouTube video that bhd linked. Even the $300. Meter pretty much failed.

                              Rick.
                              phoebe it is

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