What a retired engineer does in bad weather
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    RodW's Avatar
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    What a retired engineer does in bad weather

    We had 14 inches of rain here last June, so I needed an indoor project! I was also tired of playing "breaker roulette" at the electrical panel every time I needed to work on something. The obvious answer (warning: engineer stereotype!) was to create a complete floorplan for my house and label every outlet, switch, and data jack. It took longer than I expected, but has been a huge time saver ever since -- also a safety asset, since I discovered this older home has two live circuits in some of the switch boxes. That can ruin your day when you think the power is off!

    Here's one of the room images. A worthy investment if you have both time and patience...


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hey, I want a title too! ZachinCO's Avatar
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    Cool, what program you using?
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    Breaker roulette - that’s good.

    In a 100 year old house it’s always an adventure - one of us at the breaker box in the basement and one yelling from upstairs until you hit the right one.

    This house still has some of the ceramic insulators on the beams in the basement and has been rewired a few time by the look of things. One room has 1/2 the outlets on one breaker and the other 1/2 on another which also feeds half the barn.

    I really need to do the same and map it all out.
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    RodW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachinCO View Post
    Cool, what program you using?
    Sadly, leveraging my 26 years inside the Washington, DC Beltway, I just used PowerPoint.

    I tried Chief Architect Home Design software first. The images weren't as appealing and it was harder to add the labels I wanted. Visio was probably the right answer, but I wanted something more mainstream that so my wife was comfortable with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RodW View Post
    Sadly, leveraging my 26 years inside the Washington, DC Beltway, I just used PowerPoint.

    I tried Chief Architect Home Design software first. The images weren't as appealing and it was harder to add the labels I wanted. Visio was probably the right answer, but I wanted something more mainstream that so my wife was comfortable with it.
    That’s nice and I wish I had that but unless your wife is an engineer she is going to say, whatever.
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    Nice.

    Is it to scale?

    I just got a label maker and marked the outlets and switches with the circuit number.

    Finding the breaker isn't hard. Short the circuit and find the tripped breaker.

    Finding the wires is also a specialty of mine. Last summer I found the wire to the microwave with a drill bit while hanging the TV bracket.
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    Great job! We usually get a lot of rain in April....are you up for a road trip??!!

    Forget my question in your other thread.....i can see from the data ports you have laid out what the patch panels are for in the communications room.

    When I re-wired the original house I had things marked very well and it made sense.....then the additions and upgrades happened. I need to go through the panel and house and do the same thing.
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    RodW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtgt View Post
    Nice.

    Is it to scale?

    I just got a label maker and marked the outlets and switches with the circuit number.

    Finding the breaker isn't hard. Short the circuit and find the tripped breaker.

    Finding the wires is also a specialty of mine. Last summer I found the wire to the microwave with a drill bit while hanging the TV bracket.
    Yes, it's to scale. My PowerPoint trick is is to enlarge the slide's paper size so I can just divide actual dimensions by something easy. I then use print settings that shrink the output to fit the actual paper that's in the tray.

    I used a tone & probe kit to trace phone, TV, and data wires. I have four breakers that control things I haven't found yet... I may need your services!
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtgt View Post
    Nice.

    Is it to scale?

    I just got a label maker and marked the outlets and switches with the circuit number.

    Finding the breaker isn't hard. Short the circuit and find the tripped breaker.

    Finding the wires is also a specialty of mine. Last summer I found the wire to the microwave with a drill bit while hanging the TV bracket.
    About 15 years ago we were building a 4000 sq/ft house for a customer who decided he wanted to save a few bucks by using 2x's to frame the 4 stall garage. I was in the garage and heard someone outside hammering the sh!t out of the outside wall. I looked toward the noise and it was in the area of the flush mounted service panel which was completely active and remembered the siding was going up. In case anyone doesn't know, a flush mounted service panel is precisely the depth of a 2x4. I walked outside and sure enough the guy hanging the siding was attempting to hammer nails into a fully active 200 amp service panel. When I told him what was on the inside of that wall, I thought he was going to pass out. Lucky boy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtgt View Post
    I just got a label maker and marked the outlets and switches with the circuit number.
    This is how just about every modern factory I've been in does it. Panel & circuit numbers on each device. When something blows, no one know where the drawings are, never mind has the time to find the right one!

    Al
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