Introducing SparkyHelp

SparkyHelp will be a series of articles, posts and some training materials aimed at assisting fellow Electricians. Now in saying this, I am not by any means stating that I know all there is to know. What I do have is a number of years experience in the trade, and this includes Domestic Installations, Industrial Installations, Fault Finding, Circuit Design and basic PLC Programming.

Given the number of years that have swooped by since I completed my apprenticeship and how I had to find ways to teach myself during this time, I feel it may be useful to pass whatever skills I have developed on to others.

Now, this following statement may step on some toes

In my humble opinion, I feel that training seriously lacks when it comes to teaching our new entrants into the trade! I have worked with a number of Sparky’s over the years and have found that there is a huge gap between training and employer expectations. This is probably more when it comes to the Industrial Installations and/or fault finding on equipment

You may not be of the same opinion and if so, please post your thoughts. Should you agree, do the same and tell me which areas you would like to be covered here and I will do my best to assist.

Consider this. You have just started working with a fully qualified Electrician and then you realise that he/she does not understand the difference between a relay and a contactor, has never been taught how to read a schematic diagram and has absolutely no idea how to design a control circuit. Who would be to blame for this? In my opinion, not the Electrician, but rather the training system.

Was it different when I served my apprenticeship during the late 70’s early 80’s?

I was fortunate to have served my apprenticeship on a mine and lucky enough to be very stubborn. I used to spent many nights with circuit diagrams to figure out how a machine works. During those years you were expected to know how the circuit diagrams for Direct On Line and some Semi-Automatic Star/Delta Starters off by heart. When you sat your Trade Test, the circuit diagram for fully automatic starters would be provided. I made a point to know them as well as I did not want to be lost if there was no diagram. When it came to circuit design, I could not get my foot in the door anywhere as every company I approached wanted someone with experience. The problem was to try and gain experience without any formal training and no opportunity to gain the experience.

Again I taught myself how to design circuits for machinery and this taught me a very important thing. You have to be passionate about your trade or you will not succeed! To me it was more than work, it was my life! What I would like to do is meet other people that are just as passionate about their trade and would like to receive some help/advice/training material.

I will try to keep the site as informative as possible, help with Electrical Fault finding techniques I have used. One thing that you will see popping up frequently is that of safety. It is very important that you never lose sight of that, both for yourself and the users. I simply can’t stress enough how crucial it is to ensure you never ever take a shortcut when working on electrical installations.

I have also made contact with other specialist service providers to assist in some areas. This will be driven by the response I get from people using this site. We can turn it into a very useful tool for ourselves where we can ask for information, share information and ideas or simply just have a quick question answered.

Let’s keep up the good work and remember, do your work to a standard that will make you proud to say that you did it.