Wiring Cr%*p

I am a control freak.  Many people all ready assume this on a different level, however, it is what I do for a living.  Mostly I find this to be an interesting and challenging profession.  But at times I run across a challenge that asks the question “What the F*%$ were they thinking when they built this piece of Cr%*p” 


The other day I was called to look at a system that wasn’t working properly. 

I opened the panel…

“What the F*%$ were they thinking when they built this piece of Cr%*p” 

I just had to take a picture.

 wire nightmare

Bad wiring is common, especially in old systems that have been modified over time without any regard to cleaning up the old un-used wiring.  This is more common than most people realize.  When confronting an obstacle of such magnitude my first instinct is to stop, close the panel and try to imagine the process that lead to the current condition of the control panel.

25 years ago…

Lead electrical installer:  “Ok, Bob all we have is red wire so make sure you label each and every wire with a number that we can reference on the wiring diagram”

Trainee Bob: “Sure, I have some old wire labels that got wet in my back pocket, they should work just fine”


15 years ago…

Lead controls installer: “what a piece of junk, this will work so much better when we get this upgrade complete”

Trainee Bob:  “Too bad the wire labels fell off, but it’s a good thing we have a wiring diagram.”

Lead controls installer:  “Bob, don’t take the old wires out.  We have to run both controls at the same time until we are sure it works right, oh and don’t forget to update the wiring diagram.

Trainee Bob: “Yea, right.  It’s right here in my back pocket…”



“What the hell is up with all red wires, no labels, no diagram, and half of this crap is not connected to anything!  AAaaaahhhhh!



Satisfied that no malice was involved I take a deep breath and open the panel.

Time to get to work.




4 thoughts on “Wiring Cr%*p

  1. Layman Pong says:

    Cut the red wire!
    The RED wire!

  2. planetross says:

    That looks like what’s left after a cat plays with a red ball of yarn.

  3. Burrowowl says:

    Ah, the joys of bad wiring. You should see some of the MPOEs our installers have to deal with in San Francisco.

    see also http://systembash.com/content/tag/datacenter/
    and http://www.vibrant.com/cable-messes.php

  4. Some years ago, I bought a house that was first installed with knob and tube. Then, some time in the 30’s or 40’s they put in a panel and ran BX everywhere, incorporating the knob and tube when they got cheap/lazy. Then in the 70’s, they went to three wire. “Hey, just staple it on to what’s already here!”

    Then I bought the house.

    After finding the zillionth wire that not only scared the hell out of me but also defied tracing, I went to the basement with bolt cutters and lots and lots of new wire. I cut everything except the mains.

    The wife was none too thrilled, but in the end, I knew where it ALL went.

    -Turkish Prawn

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