Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services
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Blog for July

Okay Folks, here we go with my blog for July.

First off I had my half-year tax bill from the IR, the robbing swine’s. But I can’t really complain, if I hadn’t earned any money, I wouldn’t have to a tax bill. So I’m only a victim of my own success.

Apart from that (which sent me off in search of a stiff drink) I have remained just as busy in July as I was in June. I am still whizzing round the M25 (as and when whizzable) and seem to do a regular loop involving Horley, Dagenham and all points in between. I sometimes wonder if I might reach maximum speed for a “Slingshot” trajectory to Mars.

One thing you will notice on the roads these days is the amount of smoke coming out of people’s cars/vans while “Vaping”, Bloody hell, they must be straining to see in there! I gave up smoking in 1999, I didn’t use any drugs, plasters, hypnotism or voodoo. I just stopped. One thing I try not to do is preach to those who can’t give up because I can appreciate how addictive this habit is. But when I see people “Vaping” I can’t help but feel revulsion for the amount of smoke these things seem to generate and also feel sorry for how deluded these people are – they are still taking smoke into their respiratory system and that can’t be good. If you want to stop, and you may have had many failures but at the end of the day you must want to stop and you will know when you are ready to stop. But my advice is simple – just stop. If necessary avoid all those triggers that you associate with smoking; Beer, Coffee, Friends that smoke. If you can stop for 24 hours you can stop for life. The first day is the worst, after that you will do a week, then a month and so on. You will then find you can face those “Triggers” again but this time not feel the need to have the smoke that you used to crave. And of course your breath, hair and clothes will smell sweet again. The downside is you will probably start to eat more as your taste buds return to normal so you may well put on a little weight. But like Doc Brown said in BtF1 “I thought, what the heck”.

In spite of being busy, I had some extra time off halfway through the month and used it to catch up with paper work and a bit of equipment maintenance. One thing I had to change was the wiring to the 13A plug tops I use for test instrument and maintenance training. For this I use 13A plug tops with a 3-terminal section of chocolate block araldited to the top to make easy access for probes etc. Now when I first made these (x 4) I was a bit short of wire and just used whatever colours came to hand. Consequentially, some were wired in Orange, Green/Yellow and Black or Red, Green/Yellow and Blue. Now you would have thought that as we are dealing with mature students they would easily be able to take on board these colours and relate them to the more usual Brown, Green/Yellow and Blue. I should have known better. One thing I have learnt in my teaching life is that some people cannot accept any deviation whatsoever. If the drawing does not line up precisely with the example some students go into “Hyper-wobble” like some kind of mental Dalek – staggering around mumbling “Does not compute, Does not compute”. I actually think the cure for this condition is a smack round the head with a length of 4” x 4”. It’s the same with calculations. When working through an example, if the results do not exactly tally some guys cannot function. So when preparing worked examples you have to spend a lot of time making sure the calculations line up exactly or have a baseball bat ready to administer some common sense with.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it previously, but it’s worth mentioning again. While doing work on a test rig recently I was horrified to find that an RCD in fairly common use was stuck on and did not trip on the x1 test. I have of course come across this in the field before but this was a unit that is often used and should be pretty loose. It reminds me that it is an insurance company recommendation for all circuit breakers (in Industry and Commerce) to be “exercised” every 18 months. I think this makes good sense as I am aware of many installations wired by me and protected by circuit breakers that have not been switched off for several decades. So, when you are putting together Maintenance Packages please remember to include “exercising” those breakers.

I have just received a request for basic electrical training in August at a company I used to work for, so standby for my August report to see how that went.

In the meantime may your god go with you and try to be nice before going for the baseball bat option (but I do think that even God would sometimes say “pass me that bat!”).


13 Comments to Blog for July:

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