Corresponding To Electric Ambivalence

With the panel switch in the on position (within the electrical panel in the basement), and the wiring laced up to the outlet, everything seemed to be in place. And even though the Brother’s power cord was only utilizing three out of the four wires – there was still power coming through to the machine. Except it would very quickly cause a short in the Brother’s power switch, this caused a little bit of smoke, but was otherwise an achievement. If you tried to immediately restart the machine it wouldn’t flinch at all, but if you let it sit for a few minutes so the switch could cool off, then it would turn on again – only to short out and smoke again. All in all when the switch was hit – you could hear the motor hum. Although strangely enough the motor on the Brother DB2-B791-015 is a servo motor and supposedly all servo motors run silently until the electric clutch mechanism is engaged to power the motor/and belt.

One thing that was obvious, was that there was one wire from the Brother’s power cord not being utilized (the white). What had not come to light was the fact that there were only three wires from the electrical panel coming through the outlet(?). After scouring many hardware stores and other retail establishments, it became clear that there was no such thing as a 2-pole – 4-wire male outlet (please interject if otherwise). This of course was a frustrating turn of events. After looking at the 4 wires and trying to figure out where they would go for many many hours, the solution only grew more and more abstract. Until the solution came. Obviously there needed to be a fourth wire running from the el electrical panel, this could ensure a 4-wire-to-4-wire connection regardless of poles, or volts, or whatever else. The fourth wire would be a neautral, so about 30 feet of neautral, or ground wire was purchased and pushed through the conduit. This wire was grounded in the electrical box. In every electrical box you will see a 7″ long aluminum piece of bar-stock that has entry points for ground wires, all of which can be used at any time, the other end of this component has a lead that runs into some kind of super-ground in the floor or outside somewhere (maybe the worlds largest piece of rubber?). With the fourth wire installed there was no longer a place to attach it into the existing store bought female outlet (that the electrician installed). And because there was no male 2-pole/4-wire socket it was clear that the machine had to be “hard” wired* into the electrical box. So the outlet and the socket were thrown out and all eight wires were strung up – red to red – green to green – white to white – and black to black. No discrimination here.

Somehow during this time a new question was brought to light. The issue of how many phases the motor was. Remembering that there was a note on the motor placard which claimed the number of phases as three, it seemed fuzzy why that was not recalled. At some point it was called to attention and a from there it was smooth sailing, kind of. The Brother DB2-B791-015’s Mitsubishi motor was in fact a three phase motor. And of course – of course – of course – 3phase power is not common. most homes, or small business buildings are only 1phase. Whereas 3phase is something used in large buildings, and high industry centers. The problem was the phases, not the poles, or the amps, or even the 220 volt outlet. Phases began to control the Brothers life in a way never imagined.

*An example of something that it hard wired, would be a ceiling fan taking place of an existing light fixture. When you install a ceiling fan you have to open up what is called the “J” Box (the “J” stands for Junction) which is under (in this case above) the existing light fixture you already have. The “J” Box is mounted in the ceiling and does two things. It first provides a place for the wires to live within so that any loose connections – if they throw a spark – keep that current away from insulation or building materials which may be flammable. Second, the “J” Box provides a standard place for screwing fasteners into to hang the light fixture or ceiling fan from. The “J” Box is sunk into the physical hole in the ceiling from above so it acts as an inverted anchor. Back to taking that appart, once you have the wires in front of you coming out of the “J” Box, you have to wind them together with the corresponding wires from the ceiling fan unit. This is what hard wiring is – making a permanent connection between wires – rather than an outlet which is similar to wiring something because it can harness that electrical current, but is not permanent. Of course when you hard wire something, be sure that the electrical switch on the panel withing the electrical box is in the OFF position.

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