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Old 02-13-2015, 02:35 PM   #21
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I started replacing outlets, switches and light fixtures at 12 yrs old at a apartment complex. My friends dad who was the super taught me carpentry and plumbing. I learned electricity by reading books including time life diy stuff, taking stuff apart and putting it back together. By 13 i bought a 1/2" bender and started practicing bends. I installed my first conduit run that year in the basement to feed my Tyco racetrack. By 15 i was installing Nema heads and doing sidework for my friends parent and school faculty. I installed a new 150 amp service that yr. a licensed ec covered it and promised me full-time employment once i graduared high school. At 16 i nearly died in a three car accident that left me hospitalized for 3 mos. and recovering for the following 6 months. By 17 i was a full-time helper for a company always giving the mechanics advice they would follow. I have electrons flowing through my veins, it's a shame wall street stripped all the money out of my trade, I love the work, hate the business.
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Old 02-13-2015, 05:07 PM   #22
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Default From sixth grade on

When I was in sixth grade I did a battery, switch and bell project. Being a dumb 11 year old I made a carry handle out of the wire for the battery
(6v lantern), wire turned red and burnt me! Asked teacher why and he said to take electric class next year. Took 2 years of basic electric class, and then went to vo-tec for 3 years of "industrial electric". worked for a EC for last 6 months of school full time. 1 year later was offered two apprenticeship, IBEW local 98B or government apprenticeship. At the time union was slow government was not soooo. Served four year apprenticeship as an industrial electrical control mechanic.

9 years at machine repair
10 years electrical foreman in plant
14 years my own EC business
3 years as a cowboy
3 years and counting back working as a industrial electrician
Blew my retirement on cowboy business work till >>>>>>>>>>>
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Old 02-13-2015, 05:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
Those were GE, they just ripped them down for LED's



Some of them were like these below.
.

then they had these on the main streets 400 watts...

I see you have the street light addiction too. My bedroom lighting up until i went out on my own was a 70 w ITT 113 mounted just like pictured.
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Old 02-13-2015, 06:54 PM   #24
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Went to college, then worked in a medical clinic, then for a recoding company. Turned thirty-five and decided that an office job wasn't for me. Got into electrical before I got too old to do the work. Been at it for 15 years.
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Old 02-13-2015, 07:27 PM   #25
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Started at 17, thought the guy that offered me a job was a plumber, turned out he was an electrician. Thank God.

http://youtu.be/mViO9mnCTBo
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Old 02-13-2015, 07:34 PM   #26
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[quote=Shockdoc;1660753, I love the work, hate the business.[/quote]
How true!!
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
Those were GE, they just ripped them down for LED's



Some of them were like these below.
.

then they had these on the main streets 400 watts...

Sadly i can indentify each head on that wall, a GE m250, A GE M400, a American Electric 113 and a Westinghouse OV 12😎
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:09 PM   #28
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I have little doubt reading all this that many were simply born to be in this trade






~CS~
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:25 PM   #29
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I got started at about 13 with the electricity merit badge.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:32 PM   #30
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During my sophomore year, I was given the choice between staying in HS, or going to a vocational school. I chose the vocational school since I didn't like most of my teachers at my HS. I was told to choose two classes to look at, and I chose carpentry and electrical. The day we were scheduled to look at these classes, I ended up being late and missed the bus. I had to drive to the vocational school, and ended up missing all but 5 minutes of the carpentry class. I was there for all of the electrical class, and since I was ready to get the hell out of my HS, I decided on taking the electrical class.

My dad used to repair TVs back in the 60's and 70's, so I've always had a curiosity about electricity.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:44 PM   #31
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got a heathkit electronics book and kit when i was 9 played around with it for a while and when i was 12 helped out a local electrician for a bout 4 years doing house and farm wiring.
took votech for electrical (did very well) after high school went into the navy as weapons system tech.
there met up with a british master sparky who taught me a lot of things.
after military i was hired at a local glass factory and after 10 years there apprenticed in the electrical dept.
at this time i'm a crew leader for my shop, senior instructor, data systems and security technician and @53 now can retire early in a year and a half
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:08 AM   #32
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Started in retail, joined the army to learn electronics, Worked on pinball and video games.
Got hired as an electrician in a cotton mill due to new electronic controls.

I learned electrical on a 600 volt system, so when I started classes, I was lost on the whole 480/277 stuff.

I have been at my current job for 25 years.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:23 PM   #33
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Started working with a friend and his Dad in 1982 Running cables in a foundry for blast furnace. We did industrial and residential. I am 46 now and SS says the earliest possible retirement is 67.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:26 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky970 View Post
I was an instrument tech for 2 yrs, played electrician for 10 yrs, did E&I maintenance for another 4yrs, and back to electrical for the last 6yrs.
I have considered e&i. Can I ask why you got out?
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:27 PM   #35
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Started working with a friend and his Dad in 1982 Running cables in a foundry for blast furnace. We did industrial and residential. I am 46 now and SS says the earliest possible retirement is 67.
I doubt anyone in the trades, especially electrical, ever truly retires.

Borgi
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:56 PM   #36
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I wasn't destined for a higher education so that meant.... the building trades.

Right out of high school (70) I started installing lawn sprinklers. I knew that I had gone as far as possible after a couple/three back breaking years so I jumped to electrical.

I spent the 80's doing general construction/remodel and operated a small retail business, then went back to strictly electrical contracting in 90 something.

I've pretty much hated every single day of every single job and I'm thankful that I don't have to do it daily anymore.

I'm a lazy ass and this **** is hard.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:07 PM   #37
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Always fiddling with electrical and mechanical stuff as a kid.
(Discovered capacitance in the TV's picture tube at a young age).
Worked in automotive as an engineer.
Did some Army stuff.
Went back to Automotive as a Manager, could not stand being confined indoors in meetings and blabbering on email and phones all day.
Took an electrical course at the local college. It confirmed that I wanted to be an electrician.
Bought a pouch and tools, and knocked on many doors.
Dug ditches, drilled holes, hauled wire, was running crews by my second year of apprenticeship. Never looked back and loved every day.
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Old 02-15-2015, 11:13 PM   #38
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I originally thought I wanted to be a programmer. I was always taking stuff apart, both electronic and mechanical, but not so good at putting it back together.

My grandpa was a union electrician and taught electronics when he was in the air force. I remember him teaching me things before I even thought I wanted to be a programmer. I was too young to understand a lot of it, but I think some of the basics sunk in, and I feel I have a pretty good knack for 60 Hz sinusoidal alternating current. I took 1 year of EET and then dropped out, binary math was overwhelming and TTL was all but dying out.

I then went through a mechanical kick and took 1 year of automotive tech at our community college. Dropped out after realizing I didn't want to be hunched over the hood of a car for a career, and that mechanical aspects were going to take a back seat to electronics in the automotive world. I was in the Honda "scene" working at a salvage yard and doing OBD conversions. Where others were doing butt connectors or wire nuts, I was soldering and heat shrinking, so stayed pretty busy until I decided to join the WWOOF program.

That ultimately brought me out to New Mexico, to learn farming techniques in the high desert, especially soil building and water management. I took a break from that to join Americorps for 6 months on a saw crew to do fuel wood reduction in northern California, and trail decommissioning in eastern Idaho.

I returned to New Mexico from Americorps to the previous farm, but fell into a rough interpersonal situation and fled back to my home state of Ohio. My uncle(in-law) was working for a company in commercial electric and got me on board with them as a helper. This was around January 2011.

To this day, I still miss the scenery of my western home, and despise Ohio. I am enrolled in an electrical trade school here and have to see it through, plus Columbus is booming and there is loads of work nearby.
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:01 AM   #39
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I wanted to be a welder. Took college classes while in highschool for welding. Had a welding job right after highschool. Hated it. I knew right away that wasn't for me. Got a job helping remodel a nursing home next. There I met some cool guys. They would have me help at times. I was found countless times reading books on what they were doing. They finally offered me a job. Since we have no state licensing for electrical. I had to enroll in the plumbers apprenticeship. It was a blast. I worked with the same three guys for about five years. The company did plumbing, hvac\r, electrical. All commercial and industrial.

I got my masters plumbing license. I don't like it too much, besides the cleaning drains and sewer part. I took a few years off in 2004 to work at a machine shop doing production and industrial maintenance and electrical .During that time. I got my EC license. Was doing some small jobs when I had time away from the machine shop. Well when the depression happened the machine shop closed. That was 2008. I started working for myself full time.

Present day I have moved to the neighboring county. Have to re test for MY EC LICENSE. I am also considering testing for my masters in HVAC, and boilers. In the new county I live in.
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:24 PM   #40
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I began while in college as a helper to an electrical outside technician for an electrical motor repair company trouble shooting everything from 32 VDC fishing boat generators to large 480 volt pump motors. Decided that I liked doing electrical work more than studying to be an engineer.

Then got a job as an apprentice in the city maintenance department. At twenty years old, I became the youngest journeyman ever in the city. We did new construction and maintenance for municipal buildings, sewage lift stations and treatment plants, ball parks, marinas, and traffic signals.

I then got a job at the local paper mill. I was the first hired as a journeyman (instead of going through their apprenticeship training) in over 50 years. There I worked on everything from 4 – 20 milliamp instrumentation systems, 125 – 250 VDC variable speed drives (fed from motor – generator sets and rectifier units), 480 and 2300 VAC motors and starters from 5 – 1500 Hp, and steam turbine generators and switch gear for 2300 and 13800 VAC generators (5 – 20 Megawatt). I believe some of the equipment was used by Noah to build his ark – open 2300 volt motor starters with live buss bars and only 2 feet of clearance from the front of the starter to the brick wall behind you. Safety equipment was a 3 foot long hot stick and your knowledge. Oh yeah, the lighting in the MCC was 100 watt keyless lamp holders about every 10 feet. I had to wire up some of the 2300 volt pump motors standing in knee deep paper pulp water in 120 degree – 95% humidity conditions while hoping the motor next to me did not short out before I finished. (2300 volt motors make a distinct growling ‘whuummph’ sound when they blow up!!! I know because I have been up close and personal when it has happened.)

While we were on strike from the plant, I took a job with a local EC. When I applied, he asked why I had not taken the Master test. I said I had never needed the rating. He said, “If you had one, you would not be asking me for a job, you would be competing with me for contracts.” So, while working for him, I took the masters test and got my masters rating. A couple of years later, it looked like we were going to strike the mill again, so I quit the mill and began my own contracting company.

I was in business for 25 years (don’t ever have a partner!!!). We did commercial, light industrial, and mostly residential (some tract homes, but mostly custom houses in the $400 k to $5 M range). Many of my former employees who I trained are now in business for themselves. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, the housing boom enticed us to go heavily into residential (we had many of those years as the contractor pulling the most electrical permits in the county).

2008 happened to us in a big way. Our electricians were really great residential wiremen with limited commercial experience, but the only work around was in commercial. We did enough commercial, trying to keep our guys employed, to go severely into debt. Debt brings out the differences in partners – we decided cut our losses, to split and shut down the business. We did not believe in bankruptcy or not paying our creditors, so I am still paying off the mortgage re-finance loans to cover those business debts 7 years later.

Because of a lingering back injury from a wreck, I can’t physically do electrical work anymore. So now I work for a city doing non-physical work. I miss the challenge of doing electrical maintenance, design, and construction – I don’t miss dealing with employees, GC’s, and homeowners who think they know more than you about how to wire things because they saw someone on TV telling them how to do it (usually not doing it to code or even down-right unsafe). I do have the satisfaction of seeing the thousands of homes and businesses we wired and talking to former customers who tell me that they appreciate the work we did for them and that they have not had any electrical problems. I have about 7 years left until retirement – if I ever get to retire.

The only wiring I get to do is helping friends and family with their electrical problems – I do the light weight stuff and they have to do anything heavy. I also am a sound tech. I get to use my electrical knowledge to design and trouble-shoot sound systems. (It’s amazing how few sound techs and even electricians do not understand how grounding and bonding, when not done properly, can result in terrible noise and even electrocution problems.)

Electrical work is a great career. I began when we did things hot all the time -- safety was not our prime concern -- getting the job done was. I was fortunate to only have one serious electrical related incident. Now safety is the utmost concern. Stay safe!!! Watch out for yourself and everyone around you while doing electrical work. I wish I was still doing it.
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