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Old 31st Aug 2020, 10:15 am   #1
DonaldStott
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Default Bodges

We've all experienced the "joy" of removing a vintage valve radio chassis from it's case only to realise very quickly that it's been got at by the Phantom Twiddler/Dabbler.

But we also have occasions where things have just been 'bodged' with no regard for safety and where it's clear that the set has also been got at by the Phantom's Apprentice.

One recent example I had was where the two core mains cable had been replaced for some reason but had simply been twisted and joined inside the case and the two joints covered with sticking plasters - an accident waiting to happen!

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There must be many more examples out there?
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 10:24 am   #2
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Bodges

I once aquired an nice little Schaub Lorenz set which had been 'converted' to live chassis operation after the mains transformer failed. The odd thing was that the bodger had fitted a replacement transformer, but had used a heater transformer only - the radio used E series valves. It was unbelievably dangerous with exposed metal all over the place. I managed to find a proper mains TX that fitted, and earthed the metalwork.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 11:14 am   #3
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Default Re: Bodges

Regarding mains bodges, the worst and most dangerous I saw was when I was a TV man back in the '70's.

The householder had wired Christmas tree lights to the mains with a length aerial coax. The inner live, and screen to neutral. There were kids around as well! Doesn't bear thinking about...
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 11:56 am   #4
slidertogrid
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Default Re: Bodges

Over the years I saw many horrendous dangerous joins made to mains leads.
If I customer brought a set in for repair we would always check the plug correct any faults, very often the lead was wired over the top of the flex grip and over half had a 13A fuse fitted. we always did this free of charge. If we found a dangerous mains lead we would ask permission to replace it and only charge for the replacement wire no charge for fitting.
Customers always agreed to this without problem. With the exception of one...
The set was a Thorn 8000 or 8500 . The mains lead had a join in it just as it exited the set, This was a piece of "chock block" and had bare wires poking out of it. then further down the lead there was two joins bound in black tape with two bits of cut off flex sticking out of them and then finally a foot from the plug a join made with $cotchlocks! (Or Something like that, it was a while ago!)
When we rang to speak to the owner his wife answered the phone and said her husband wouldn't be happy if we changed the lead so we best leave it. we explained that we couldn't repair the set and leave it like that as we would probably be liable if something happened.
She then gave permission to change the lead. we duly did this and put the old lead less plug in a plastic bag with the set.
When the chap came to collect the set we placed it on the shop floor while he paid the bill. He paid and then saw the bag on top of the set. "what's that?"
We explained about the lead and why we had to change it. We explained that we had been given permission by his wife.
The bloke instantly went into a rage saying we had no right , he didn't want the new lead, he connected his lamp to that! Pointing to the old lead..
We tried explaining but it was no good he wasn't listening. he shouted I don't want that ! And then he wrenched the new lead out of the set which tipped it over onto its front, bringing the flex grip and half of the on - off switch with it!
He threw the new lead on the floor picked up his set and stormed out!
By this time everyone had come out of the workshop and was standing behind the counter. As he banged the shop door shut one of the engineers said "Funny chap" turned around and went to put the kettle on..
Somewhere I still have the video tape from the security camera . Whenever something worth keeping was recorded I kept the tape. I do have a few...

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Old 31st Aug 2020, 12:14 pm   #5
AC/HL
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Default Re: Bodges

Not unsafe in itself, I once went to a house where the TV mains lead had been shortened "for neatness" and was a straight line between set and socket. To get in the back the screen faced the wall. Must have been a simple fault as I completed it blind.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 12:18 pm   #6
greg_simons
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Default Re: Bodges

Well slider, that's one bit of footage I'd love to see!, never had a customer that angry, most of the stuff i saw was fairly run of the mill, like silver paper plug fuses, even a few nails!, nearly lost my life on one bodge though, bush ctv25, mains switch had one pole shorted out, in an unguarded moment i caught the chassis while holding the aerial plug, i escaped, just, to tell the tale but it taught me a stern lesson to keep one hand free at all times.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 12:37 pm   #7
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Default Re: Bodges

I recall a Decca 100 series TV that had a headphone socket fitted. On inspection there was no safety approved isolation transformer but just wired across the speaker via some resistors. The lash up was removed without consulting the customer on safety grounds. The customer was quite put out by this but after explaining low lethal his conversion was, he eventually came around and appreciated what had been done.

Another bodge I remember was on an old hybrid mono TV where another dropper resistor had been left suspended by its connecting wires hanging down from the original. It was pretty close to the set's wiring so a potential fire hazard.

Dealing with the public can be very enjoyable but there will always be a small minority that are stubborn or ignorant and just won't listen to good advice.

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Old 31st Aug 2020, 12:43 pm   #8
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Default Re: Bodges

I remember back in the early 70s an old EKCO coming into the workshop for repair, looking at the chassis there was the largest Christmas tree dropper I have ever seen not only every section was o/c but had been linked out with RS dropper sections when a couple of these had failed these had been linked with 3 5 watt resistors in parallel and a couple of 7 watts in parallel.
9 resistors in total.
The ironical thing was at the time a replacement dropper was available and was replaced,along with several capacitors and rectifier Valve.never saw the customer again until years later he came and purchased a TV from us and said that because the radio was still working fine after years of problems he had decided to give us his custom, Ironic that that bodge finished up gaining us a returning customer.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 12:50 pm   #9
Philips210
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Default Re: Bodges

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonaldStott View Post

One recent example I had was where the two core mains cable had been replaced for some reason but had simply been twisted and joined inside the case and the two joints covered with sticking plasters - an accident waiting to happen!
I wonder what the insulation resistance of sticking plasters is. I suppose it depends on whether they are of the standard type or cloth variety

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Old 31st Aug 2020, 1:20 pm   #10
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Default Re: Bodges

Probably one of the worst/dangerous ones I've seen was when I was helping a friend renovate his house. All the old wiring had to come out & I found, just under a floorboard, the downstairs socket ring which had been spliced. Not an issue in itself but whoever had done it had simply twisted the wires together then insulated with sticky tape. This was then put in a notch they'd cut out of one of the floor joists. Apparently when he'd had the electrics checked they'd found a live/neutral/earth problem which they couldn't pin point & advised the best thing to do would be to re-wire throughout. Looks like I'd found it by accident.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 1:28 pm   #11
dave walsh
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Default Re: Bodges

Not a Radio but I re-wired a house that my brother had bought. It was a bit grotty but empty, relatively clean and accessible. The bathroom looked the best with a modern electric shower [not so common at the time]. In the roof space I found that the regulation [then] 30 amp feed must have run out. It was twisted on to some 2.5 ring cable going to the box and insulated with plasters. The earth hadn't been connected either. I couldn't believe it! The IR of the elastoplast would have been zero with the shower drawing quite a few kilowatts on load. There were also some of the old style "tobacco tin" junction boxes up there as well [with very sharp edges and porcelain covers with aged twisted wires inserted-still in use!] It was a great pleasure to strip out and replace that lot. There was a choice of death by fire or electrocution.

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Old 31st Aug 2020, 2:07 pm   #12
Philips210
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Default Re: Bodges

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnybear View Post
every section was o/c but had been linked out with RS dropper sections
John
Ah yes, The RS 'Polo mint' dropper repair sections. I never liked using those but would as a temporary measure whilst waiting for the correct dropper if the customer couldn't wait. There were 100mA and 300mA versions. I still have quite a few of these knocking about.

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Old 31st Aug 2020, 2:32 pm   #13
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Default Re: Bodges

This was a bodge that luckily didn’t occur or there would have been deaths.
I was at a house fixing the TV and the customer said he wanted to recess the TV into the wall. Make it nice and tidy.
He then showed me where he was going to place the tv, in the chimney breast above the gas fire. This wasn’t a flat panel tv, 90 degree CTV.
Hate to think what would have occurred if I hadn’t explained the folly.

Further to this they had a house fire in the kitchen, luckily all the family got out, he had come home from the pub after probably many pints of beer. He had put the chip pan on the cooker about 11pm and fell asleep.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 2:59 pm   #14
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Default Re: Bodges

In some stables, in an outside yard that had later had a bit of corrugated tin roof put over it, nestling under the gutter was a 13A socket, cream bakelite not the outdoor variety. The twin and earth from it went a few feet and then split up, the earth wire was wrapped around a nut and bolt that went through a rust hole in the ancient (once) galvanised gutter, L and N were twisted together and went into a bayonet-cap plug inserted into a pendant light fitting. THe metal gutter was about 30 ft long and went nowhere at either end.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the building an old room had been converted into outdoor loos with a shower. The electric shower was powered from the old cast iron switch and fuse box by the meter at the other end of the buildings by two runs of 1mm squared T and E connected in parallel. 30A fuse wire was in the 5A labelled ceramic holder. There was an isolator switch actually OUTSIDE the shower cubicle, but inside the switch box (metal clad) the PVC insulation on the L and N wires was entirely carbonised by heat. THe earth conductors had been left bare.

An annual test by the electricity board (nameless for now) needed for a commercial riding establishment licence from the council, scored a fail because of an E-N leak. They never found the insides of the isolator, or the socket under the rain gutter. They said they thought it was an old lead covered cable seen high in the rafters. (turned out to be completely isolated, long disused. But they did issue a quote, detailed to the penny

Douglas Adams suggested that amazing feats of non-linear and non-causal maths may happen on the bill from a small bistro. Very peculiar electrical things happen in small farms...

David
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 3:42 pm   #15
McMurdo
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Default Re: Bodges

Back in the 80's when visitng a schoolfriend I noticed on the outside wall of the outhouse was a 13A socket, MK bakelite surface mount type, installed for the lawnmower. Not an exterior socket, but mounted outside nontheless.

I did see an external speaker socket wired to the secondary of a live chassis radio's output transformer. No big deal you might say, but the speaker winding had its bottom end to chassis and a feedback tapping to the output stage. These wires had been snipped. One wonders how they arrived at that solution..
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 3:54 pm   #16
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Default Re: Bodges

One of the worst I saw was a bit of equipment that my late father acquired from a LARGE UK company.

It was a wooden board with one of those WG 110V sockets (you know, like BS1363 but with all the pins turned at right angles) and a transformer. The socket was marked 'Drills only', in other words it was used for running portable power tools.

The transformer? An RS 1000VA autotransformer. Clearly marked by RS 'This component does not provide isolation' or words to that effect.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 4:16 pm   #17
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Default Re: Bodges

One interesting thing (of many!) I found when stripping out the old electrical from this house was the previous owner had put a spur off the ring circuit. Sounds OK at first, right?

Well, all three cables were the old seven strand rubber insulated type. As 21 strands won't fit into the 20A junction box he used, he twisted together one strand from the two ring cables and one strand of the spur, as three strands did fit...

The remaining 18 stands (of all three conductors) weren't cut short, but just fanned out from the cable, and in very close proximity to each other. This one strand of wire carried all current for the mains sockets in a 3 bed house (both up and downstairs)

How the place never burnt down is beyond me, I'd been using a couple of fan heaters in the house in the early days, but having realised how bad the wiring was, I switched the main switch off before leaving the building empty.

More examples if anyone is interested, but suffice to say it has now been completely rewired.
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 4:19 pm   #18
David Simpson
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Default Re: Bodges

As a retired electricity board inspector I've seen numerous bodges to wiring in houses, workshops & farms. Too many to relate. But I guess the worst ones were on farms. If a fuse blew in the switchgear of, say, a 480V split phase bruiser motor, or a 415V 3 phase grain dryer motor - the favourite replacement was a 3" nail or a bit of fencing wire ! Then there are old fishing boats with 24V supplies - - duff cartridge fuses wrapped round with aluminium foil supplied by the cook !

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Old 31st Aug 2020, 6:07 pm   #19
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Default Re: Bodges

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simpson View Post
... duff cartridge fuses wrapped round with aluminium foil supplied by the cook ...
Here's one I removed from a reasonably expensive hi-fi pre-amp just a few weeks ago - so recently, in fact, that the customer hasn't yet come round to pick it up. There's a nice ceramic-bodied RS F500mA 5mmx20mm in there.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 31st Aug 2020, 7:53 pm   #20
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Default Re: Bodges

The best attempted 'repair' I saw was when a tv set came in and I discovered that around half of the components had been snipped out! The customer shamefacedly admitted that they had first asked the milkman to take a look at it...
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