For What Its Worth

Electrical General notes

Glass fuses, the hidden misconnection

When checking the old glass cylinder fuses, pull them out and pull on the ends. They aren't sealed.  If the end comes off, replace it. The ends should be welded to the fuse material.  The unattached weld is often caused by a cold shot weld or years of vibration.

My first experience with such a glass fuse was in a pickup many moons ago. The guy tried for 3 months to find the intermittent electrical problem. It was on his gas switch for his second tank. Kept leaving him stranded.  After 2 hours of checking everything I could find in the circuit, I noticed the test light flickered when I checked the fuse for the 3rd time.  Pulled it out and the end fell off. The end was touching the fuse, but not welded.  He didn't even complain about the 2 hour labor charge for a 50 cent fuse. Ever since then I pull fuses out to check them first, it can save a couple hours crawling around a car with a test light.

Electrical repairs about 1975... What's it gonna cost?

Customer "how much will it cost?".

Mechanic "$33 an hour".

Customer "Well how long will it take?"

Mechanic "$33 an hour until it is fixed"

Customer "so how much is it going to cost"

Mechanic "$33 an hour for how ever long it takes."

Customer "oh" 

The repairman's side, you demanded quick and cheap!

The customer had brought in a new car that kept blowing the fuse for dash lights etc. This was at a top end high dollar Euro-car dealership.  The customer wanted it fixed quick and don't overcharge all done very noisily.  In this case the customer got just what he asked for.

A young mechanic was taking his time checking the wiring, but the customers demands called for a new course of action.  The boss put a "faster" mechanic on the job.  He started cutting wires until the fuses stopped blowing. Then fixed the original problem.  Then with a bag of "Quick connectors" he spliced all the cuts back together.   Problem solved, at least for a few months.  Until a few bumps or corrosion started making the quick connectors fail.  Be careful what you scream for, you may get it.

Happy Motoring, VHubbard.  June 2009

Last update Sept 28, 2009
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