Fuses and a tiny flame

robertz6November 29, 2012

I have a cerca 1960 house with 100 CH amp fuse box. Of the eight fuses, only two are labeled on paper. I was going to label each fuse, and try and figure out how much juice was going thru each fuse. I looked thru my two short DIY books on wiring, found no warning about removing good fuses (such as a warning to take the plugs/blocks? out before taking out individual fuses).

I removed the fuses one by one to discover what outlets and lights they controlled. Started at the number eight and the last one was number one. No problems with the first seven, but number one sparked as I unscrewed it. When the fuse was removed, there was a flame at the back of the holder contact. After two seconds, it did not die out and I pulled the two plastic square plugs out which killed all the house power.

There is a bit of dark coloration on the threads of the number one screw-in. I put the plugs back in, and the seven fuses are in service. Number one fuse is still removed. Not aware of any items that it supplied power to, even checked the outside lights. Getting a bit of a scare, I got around to putting a second smoke detector (this one is a Photoelectric, the eleven year old was a Ion) close to the fuse box.

So I guess there are a number of questions?

1) Should I have pulled the block plugs out each time I remove or insert a good fuse?

2) Is there a simple gizmo that might screw in to a fuse socket and measure the amps/watts going thru it? Kinda like the simple Kill-A-Watt EZ meter I have. That would be a lot simpler than trying to measure the juice going thru each outlet.

3) Is there such a thing as a blank or dead fuse, sold to just seal out a unused fuse holder? I could just use a blown fuse, but it might be nice to have a easily identifiable one.

4) Seems I could use some more lessons/info on wiring and such. Previously I have only replaced a number of fuses, and a couple of plugs on cords. Any suggestions on books or internet sites with good info?

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Scrw in fuses that have a load on them will arc as they are removed.

The longer you spend unscrewing them and allow the arc to continue the more damage is done to the contacts.

It is simply a weakness of Edison based fuses under load.

Ii would be better to remove any plug blocks when unscrewing Edison based fuses that are still working, or unplug any cartridge fuse block preceding the Edison fuse block to remove power.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:09AM
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>2) Is there a simple gizmo that might screw in
>to a fuse socket and measure the amps/watts going
>thru it? Kinda like the simple Kill-A-Watt EZ
>meter I have. That would be a lot simpler than
>trying to measure the juice going thru each outlet.

It's possible. Use a screw-in receptacle
( http://www.damarww.com/product.asp?sub=109&prod=03461A )
and put one probe of a cheap watt meter into each blade opening. The total load carried by the fuse (recept in this case) will pass through the meter.

Here is a link that might be useful: cheap watt meter on ebay

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:36PM
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