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Power cable fire

Message #1 - Posted 2009/01/15 - Ian McCall

That was fun. Got to work this morning, plugged my machine into the long figure-of-eight cable I leave connected to here, and noticed I got no charging light. Unplugged it, connected and heard a crackling sound. Looked at the connection and...

...and noticed the orange glow coming from the figure of eight cable. In the next second whilst I was reaching for it, the flames started. Nice burning smell too.

Mac fine, power supply fine, figure of eight cable in the bin. I have them coming out of my ears, so it's no great loss. Am -very- happy I was around to see it though, I spend a while away from my desk at work and the whole thing took only a few seconds to start off.

Cheers,
Ian

Message #2 - Posted 2009/01/15 - T i m

On Thu, 15 Jan 2009 09:28:48 +0000, Ian McCall wrote:

That was fun. Got to work this morning, plugged my machine into the long figure-of-eight cable I leave connected to here, and noticed I got no charging light. Unplugged it, connected and heard a crackling sound. Looked at the connection and...

...and noticed the orange glow coming from the figure of eight cable. In the next second whilst I was reaching for it, the flames started. Nice burning smell too.

Oh, not nice. Whereabouts did it catch fire (and I know it was 'at work') <g>. My bet is just at the point where the flex enters the moulded figure_of_8?

Cheers, T i m

Message #3 - Posted 2009/01/15 - Ian McCall

On 2009-01-15 09:42:58 +0000, T i m said:

Whereabouts did it catch fire (and I know it was 'at work') <g>. My bet is just at the point where the flex enters the moulded figure_of_8?

Indeed - that's exactly the place.

Cheers,
Ian

Message #4 - Posted 2009/01/15 - T i m

On Thu, 15 Jan 2009 09:43:40 +0000, Ian McCall wrote:

On 2009-01-15 09:42:58 +0000, T i m said:

Whereabouts did it catch fire (and I know it was 'at work') <g>. My bet is just at the point where the flex enters the moulded figure_of_8?

Indeed - that's exactly the place.

Hmm, hindsight n that ... I can generally tell when such cords have past their best and that's when the flex and the plug don't seem to be a single entity any more. ie the plug and flex move freely about each other.

I am also careful / aware when packing such things away that I don't put unnecessary flex / bend at the weak points.

Lucky you caught it when you did though!

Cheers, T i m

Message #5 - Posted 2009/01/15 - Graham J

"Ian McCall" <ian@eruvia.org> wrote in message news:6t8dugF9ivpbU1@mid.individual.net...

That was fun. Got to work this morning, plugged my machine into the long figure-of-eight cable I leave connected to here, and noticed I got no charging light. Unplugged it, connected and heard a crackling sound. Looked at the connection and...

...and noticed the orange glow coming from the figure of eight cable. In the next second whilst I was reaching for it, the flames started. Nice burning smell too.

Worth installing a smoke detector !!

Last summer my neighbour's garden shed caught fire at 2am - nobody knows why, but it did have an electricity supply and a security light ...

At the time I was planning to convert my summerhouse (really a nice wooden shed with glass windows) into a temporary office while redecorating the room indoors that is normally my office. So I took the precaution of installing a smoke detector and linking it to the one indoors. That way if the computer in the summerhouse catches fire the alarm indoors will also sound ...

--
Graham J

Message #6 - Posted 2009/01/15 - Ian McCall

On 2009-01-15 11:30:38 +0000, Graham J said:

Worth installing a smoke detector !!

We have one at home. This was at work though, where the consequences could be that the automatic sprinklers for the whole floor could be switched on. Bye bye everyone's machines...

Cheers,
Ian

Message #7 - Posted 2009/01/15 - Ric

On 15 Jan, 11:54, Ian McCall wrote:

This was at work though, where the consequences could be that the automatic sprinklers for the whole floor could be switched on. Bye bye everyone's machines...

Cheers,
Ian

...that's certainly one upgrade path. Possibly a bit drastic, but...hmmm (eyes aging laptop)

Message #8 - Posted 2009/01/15 - Graham J

"Ric" <infobubble@gmail.com> wrote in message news:2a813029-2368-4e5a-b0c3-b5350a49b2ad@35g2000pry.googlegroups.com...

On 15 Jan, 11:54, Ian McCall wrote:

This was at work though, where the consequences could be that the automatic sprinklers for the whole floor could be switched on. Bye bye everyone's machines...

Cheers,
Ian

...that's certainly one upgrade path. Possibly a bit drastic, but...hmmm (eyes aging laptop)

Years ago (1970) I worked for a part of the Philips organisation in a lab where TV monitors were designed.

Old Roy designed the line output stages, and was very proud of his new transistor designs. He carefully worked out the worst case power loss (proper maths!) and specified a suitable heatsink. He really complained when the case designers reduced the sizes of the ventilation holes saying that everything would overheat and catch fire.

In due course these monitors were made, and one operated 24/7 at the end of the lab. One day, it caught fire. Old Roy said: "I told you so!". Almost everybody else stood about gawping. Phil, who was the new boy, rang to the other end of the lab, grabbed a fire extinguiser, shut off the power, and promptly put the fire out. The general view was: "Phil, you shouldn't have done that, if it had got a proper hold we would have got a nice new lab!"

In less than a year, we were almost all made redundant and the place was shut down. I think Phil was the only one re-deployed elsewhere ...

--
Graham J

Message #9 - Posted 2009/01/16 - Richard Torrens

Previously, T i m wrote:

Oh, not nice. Whereabouts did it catch fire (and I know it was 'at work') <g>. My bet is just at the point where the flex enters the moulded figure_of_8?

Constant bending at the weakest point eventually breaks some of the internal copper strands. They can then penetrate the insulation, form a resistive short to an adjacent conductor and start a fire.

Don't bend any leads to sharply and if you are flexing them, make the bend radius reasonably large.

If a cable entry point starts to feel a bit less stiff than normal - replace the cable.

-- ------------------------------------------------------------------ Richard Torrens. News email address is valid - for a limited time only. http://www.Torrens.org.uk for genealogy, natural history, wild food, walks, cats and more!

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