Hello Peeps, this is my report for August and early for once!
July was pretty quiet for bookings thankfully, that meant I could get on with jobs I wanted to do in the house and garden; Finishing the bathroom for one thing!
August looked as if it was going to be similar but a rush of last-minute bookings soon changed that. So this month I have been to: London (City), St Albans, Sittingbourne (x3), Peterborough and Horsham.
Whilst at Peterborough the factory I was training maintenance engineers in suffered a total power failure (nothing to do with me) but I felt obliged to get my hands dirty and get them back online asap. Total power failure not linked to the incoming supply is unusual. The biggest problem on this occasion was getting hold of keys to panels! Sometimes brutal decisions have to be made in these situations so several locks had to be smashed/forced. After this power was restored fairly quickly (by bringing the load back up sub-main at a time). As to the actual initial cause of failure, I reckon the main ACB hadn’t been set up correctly for inrush current, so I made a quick call to the manufacturer and arranged for a sales engineer to call in and set the thing up properly. Most suppliers will provide this service as they realise that this may hold the key to future orders.
Still thinking about undertaking the 18th Edition training back in July. I always think it is very beneficial for anybody in the training profession to occasionally undertake training and an exam themselves - a variation on "Physician heal thyself". I think it is extremely useful to see other trainers in action and also for us to feel the stress and worry of those taking an exam. I undertook my training and exam at an ECA centre in Cardiff and I must say the trainer was excellent. But with regard to exams, I have one piece of advice: "People who revise Pass" - it’s as simple as that.
Although very familiar with the regs I made sure I had plenty of practice and spent some time reminding myself what the changes were. It paid off, I ended up with a good score (not quite 100% but very close), can you imagine the abuse I would have suffered if I had failed!
Summer continued to be pretty hot and I suppose the gloom and doom merchants will continue to blame "personkind" for climate change. What if somebody were just to poke their head above the parapet and say "What if climate change is a naturally occurring event?" My God, that would be a brave person. I'm only going to say that Pepys recorded oranges growing in London in the 1600's.
Anyway, have no fear, winter will soon be here, we will have trains not running due to leaves on the line and motorists stranded in snow on the M77. I’m sure this used to be called “Weather”.
I also see certain celebrities showing their Eco credentials by posting on Facebook - "New Rule: Every time you visit the beach, pick up three bits of plastic" Well that’s very good, very noble. But what if I can’t find three bits of plastic? should I take some with me just in case? Is there a problem with plastic in the sea/ocean? I'm sure there is, but not around the UK or most of Europe. In this screwed up world the words of where it is a problem can’t be spoken for fear of the big R, but try looking around India, Malaysia and parts of the Caribbean. I suppose celebrities wouldn't think of going anywhere else for a holiday. Perhaps they should take their crap home with them Nuff said.
As mentioned in a previous post somewhere I'm pleased that the proposed part on Energy Efficiency has been (momentarily) shelved from the 18th Ed. Once again, this is a idea motivated by the eco-greenies but not suitable for BS7671, it has no impact on safety or good practice (for safety). I do in fact grow more and more disheartened when I read news from the IET as I see an organisation becoming more and more obsessed with playing the PR game: "Lets get more women into industry" and "Trump brings about end of world" I just want an IET that delivers information for good engineering, not politically/PR motivated bullshit.
Generally speaking, I think too many organisations (Industry, Government and local councils etc) pay too much attention to surveys and PR advisers. To illustrate this point the “Office for National Statistics” claimed in 2010 that “2.5 million people in the UK had received an electric shock”. Now this was out of a population of around 55 million. But let me ask you: in 2010 did anybody ask you if you had had an electric shock? cos nobody asked me. Surveys are worthless unless you do 100% sampling (and unless 100% of those surveyed tell the truth). I think what this bunch of jokers at “National Statistics” did was a telephone survey of probably a 1000 people and then extrapolated those figures upward. This provides meaningless twaddle and useless data. Ask those around you, most people have had an electric shock. Probably doing stupid things in childhood, like poking a knitting needle into a socket. A large number of us survived because we weren’t connected up very well, or what you might call “good luck”. Try it the next time you are in a group of people, ask “If you have had an electric shock raise your hand”. I’m sure you will find a figure of more than 4% of the group, for example; in a group of four people this would equate to less than one person out of four, possibly a major limb or head of one person in fact. Because that is the claim by “National Statistics”.
You only have to look at the “Boris Effect” to see that when someone is brave enough to say the words that we are prevented from saying, far from going down he is applauded. Look at Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the PR goons said “not likely” so what went wrong? The answer is quite straightforward, most hardworking folk are too busy to take part in surveys, write letters to the Guardian or send e-mails. Surveys are worthless – organisations of all shapes and sizes, you should be smart enough to realise this. If you really want to know what the groundswell of opinion is go into your local pub or take a seat in a company canteen and listen to what working class people are saying, not the opinion of some middle-class journalist from his flat in Pimlico. When the time comes people go out and vote. Take notice of what they want. Simples.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could travel back in time and interview people who may have puzzled or perhaps inspired you. Some of you might like to have a chat with Einstein or Newton. For my part I would love to have twenty minutes with Nikola Tesla. Hold on a minute, have I just stumbled across the idea for a radio series? It could rival “Desert Island Discs”! “Twenty Minutes With…” I love it. Ok here goes: this week its “Twenty Minutes With” – Nikola Tesla.
Me: Hi Nick, thanks for meeting with me today.
Tesla: No problem Ted, I hope I am worthy of your attentions.
Me: Well, likewise Nick. Now what about this whole AC/DC thing? Edison really cocked up there didn’t he?
Tesla: No, No, not at all. But he was a greedy schwine you know. What he wanted was a very close control of electrical distribution so he could charge more for the supply. That was why he hated AC – it laid the way for easy distribution through transformers, because as you know, DC can not operate a transformer unless pulsed.
Me: Yes, that was my take as well. That was why he electrocuted elephants on the streets of New York; to “prove” that “this new AC is just too dangerous” wasn’t it. But why was it that after your death the NSA/OSS/CIA confiscated all your research notes?
Tesla: (little chuckle) Well Ted, our twenty minutes is nearly up and of course I was dead at that time so wouldn’t know much about it. But I have a feeling that the electric weapons I designed and possibly a way to provide free electricity for everybody might just have had some bearing on that.
Me: Nikola Tesla, Electrical Engineer Exceptionale, thank you for your twenty minutes. Please give my regards to everyone else on that island where people can “disappear” to. Next week I will be talking to The Shah of Iran and Marylin Monroe.
Fade to outake music.
Nikola Tesla was a shining star, a man light years ahead of his time. We owe him so much in modern life. He could easily be called the father of AC for his work on transmission alone without even considering his work on single and poly-phase motors. But the man was nearly always fiddled out of money and respect. It was only a few years ago that America finally and officially recognised that Tesla made the first radio transmission and not Marconi.
The moral of the story may be if you have discovered something that may be a total benefit to mankind, and might be free to all (perhaps you have developed a working cold fusion generator in your kitchen) then keep it under your hat until fully patented. As I said in my blog last month – be kind, but don’t be a schmuck.