The Hell of the strange shifts has ended. Tomorrow is catch-up-on-sleep time and then I am on a new shift pattern. Short shifts for four days and long ones for two. This suits me since the short ones will leave me with enough energy to write and build models. I’ll only come home tired two days a week.
Those days are Friday and Saturday which would deter most young folk from my job. They are the socialising days for most but at my age, I can do the Smoky-Drinky any time I don’t have to be up early next day. Most of my friends are crippled and/or unemployed (we freaks stick together) so there are no specific days that must be observed.
This week was another covering-holidays thing for the guy who cleans Local Gadget Shop and I am cured of any temptation to buy electrical goods there. All week, the fire alarm has been faulty and sending out a piercing beep every few seconds. After two hours in there it’s like having nails driven into your eyes. I was sober all week (the horror!) so turned up at 8:30 or earlier each day, all bright and almost awake. When I left I felt like I had downed a bottle of whisky the night before.
Nobody in Local Gadget Shop knew how to fix it and nobody seemed bothered about getting it fixed.
They have heaters because they think it’s cold (I worked in a T-shirt in there, it was bloody tropical). Not just heaters, these are the industrial fan heaters that look like jet engines. 2.8 kilowatts each. There were two plugged into a double wall socket. I pulled one out to plug in the vacuum cleaner. Nothing happened so I asked the manager if he had tripped the circuit breaker again. It had popped earlier in the week too.
His response? ‘Oh, I guess that socket can’t take two heaters’, and off he went to reset the breaker.
I was aghast. Calculating in my head, I worked out that he had a current drain of approximately 23.25 amps on a 13 amp outlet, in a shop with a faulty fire alarm. And he is the manager of an electrical goods shop.
When you have a double socket in the wall, you do not have 13 amps per socket. There are two sockets but only one cable coming out of the back of it and that cable is rated 15 amp. You use and fuse at 13 amp so the cables don’t burn. A twin socket is 13 amps total load.
The equation is P=VI where P is power in Watts (remember a kilowatt is 1000 Watts), V is voltage (for UK assume a non-fluctuating 240 volts, it’s not real but it’ll do) and I is current flow in Amps.
So to work out the current drain, simple algebra turns the equation to I=P/V. Whereby you have those two heaters at 2.8 kW, total 5.6 kW or 5600 Watts as P and 240V as V. The answer you get is approximate because the 240V fluctuates and transmission is not perfect but it’s already way beyond mains rating anyway.
Where did I learn all this complex electrickery? In school. I knew this before I left school. The manager of Local Gadget Shop does not know this. The man in charge of selling and installing electrical equipment and who is qualified to do so, does not know this. The EU does not want me to install my own electrical stuff, they want me to pay an idiot to balls it up.
Scary, isn’t it?