4 Things You Can Learn from Vintage Electrical Stuff

4 Things You Can Learn from Vintage Electrical Stuff

As technology continues to advance, new equipment and skills find their way into the arsenal of electricians. In addition to new materials being used to make electrical installations safer and more convenient, there are also a number of so-called “smart” devices that electricians are increasingly being called upon to install.  Despite this, though, there are a lot of things that you can still learn from vintage electrical equipment that may help you on the job.

Identifying Older Equipment

One big thing that you can learn from vintage electrical items is how to identify older pieces of electrical equipment. Not only can this help you to determine how a piece of equipment is hooked up, but it can also aid you in testing it for functionality. If the equipment is something you’re likely to recycle or refurbish, this will also aid you in identifying the types of metal it contains or any necessary replacement parts you might need. The more familiar you are with older equipment, the easier it will be for you to identify similar pieces even if you have not specifically worked with them in the past.

Alternative Tool Usage

As electrical devices evolve, the way that we work on them changes to meet the needs of newer pieces of equipment. If you work on a lot of older electrical components, you may find yourself having to come up with creative solutions that don’t always mesh with the ways that you work on modern pieces. This can be a very useful skill as it not only prepares you for older ways of using your tools on electrical equipment but also teaches you to think out of the box a bit more when working on any job.

Refurbishing Old Structures

The more you work with old electrical components, the more familiar you are with their energy needs and how they’re wired. If you’re reworking an old home or other structure and trying to bring the wiring up to code, this knowledge can be extremely useful. As you update the wiring, you’ll be able to recognize specific component needs and address them. Being familiar with vintage electronics can also help you determine when pieces need to be replaced with a more modern alternative to meet current electrical codes.

Upcycling Electrical Items

Taking older electrical pieces and finding places for them in the modern world requires a knowledge of both how they’re wired and what their electrical needs are. Vintage lighting and other electronics can make great conversation pieces, but it’s important that they’re installed safely. In some cases, you may even have to replace internal wiring or other components to make them safe. Obviously, being familiar with these types of vintage items will make reworking and adapting them for modern usage significantly easier.

So Much More to Learn

Vintage electrical items are typically much simpler in design than modern electronics. Despite this, it’s still important that you take the time to learn about them before assuming you can just jump in and tackle any job with vintage hardware.

There are a lot of differences between the way early electrical devices were made and how they’re made now, and spending time learning about these differences can be fascinating. These items can give you a glimpse into the past, and learning all you can about them can make you a better electrician, moving into the future.

What’s the oldest piece of vintage equipment that you’ve encountered on the job?

1 Comment

  • Jon Cochrane says:

    I’m currently updating 2phase 4 wire switchgear in center city Phila. The building is using split bus sub panels for there general lighting on each floor. There all being fed from the main 2ph 4wire basement switchgear. Old old old.

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