Episode 31 – Closing Down Shop


Well my dudes and dudettes…it’s time for some lasting change.  In this episode I talk about my recent decision to shut down my electrical contracting company and go back to work for someone else.

I’ve taken about 4 months off of making any content online.  I’ve had some experiences that have shaken my perspective on life and business.  I’ve come to the crashing realization that I do not enjoy being a business man.  I’ve always thought that I was destined to own a business and run a company, and in doing so I’ve left some important things by the way-side.

I love being an electrician.  I’ve stated that on many occasions and by now that is common knowledge for most people.  I was TRYING to love being a business man and thought that I could easily do both at the same time.  Boy was I wrong.  Being a businessperson is an entire journey on it’s own that takes many years to perfect.  It also requires a number of people around you as mentors and examples to really nurture your journey.  Being the person that’s out in the field doing the work while having to be in the office answering phones, doing bids, marketing, chasing money, and managing employees turns very quickly into an allday-everyday job.  I found myself consumed 24/7 with getting business and chasing money, and after a year of thinking that’s what I wanted for my life I came to the understanding that I was living a lie.

I was offered a job by the man who first hired me as an apprentice.  He is one of the men I respect most on this planet, and is the only man I’d willingly leave self-employment for.  It’s been a couple months of working for him now, and my life is back to sustainability again.  I have a paycheck and can pay my bills again!  I’m still keeping my company open but not advertising.  I’d like to still be able to do side-work legally and to do that I need to maintain my contractor’s license and general liability insurance.

It has been an outstanding year of learning, successes, failures.  I’ve left the money behind and now go boldly into the future humbly as a lifetime student of this craft.

If you enjoy these episodes please click SUBSCRIBE and LIKE our videos!  Also check out our podcast on iTunes and Stitcher! (<<<—click the links to teleport directly there!)



Episode 24 – Solo Saturday – (The Woes Of Being A Master Electrician)


Today I get to work alone. None of my guys wanted to work this weekend so I have to fill in and take care of some loose ends. They’ve been busting their little electrician asses for me all week so they deserve to have 2 solid days off.

In this video I go over a few jobs that I had to do today and finally documented an talked about the jobs as I was doing them. Some of you have been asking for more shots out in the field so I’m trying to up my production game on these videos!

Please leave comments and let me know what you think!

If you enjoy these episodes please click SUBSCRIBE and LIKE our videos!  Also check out our podcast on iTunes and Stitcher! (<<<—click the links to teleport directly there!)




Episode 16 – What Separates A Good Electrician From A Bad Electrician?


What separates the quality from the riff-raff? In this episode I give my OPINION about what it takes to be a good electrician from watching the guys who came before me.

Being good at anything requires constant study, dedication, commitment , and pushing yourself beyond your old boundaries. Being a good electrician is the same. With the exception of who you apprentice under, you can control how good or bad of an electrician you are. You know what I’m talking about, you see other guys around you doing shitty hack work or other guys doing outstanding neat work and wonder…”who should I be copying?”

As a rule of thumb I try to always remember the phrase “IMPRESS YOURSELF.” When nobody but you is looking, are you impressed with the work that you do? Do you cut a lot of corners and get that crap feeling in your stomach like “I hope nobody comes up here and sees this after I leave.” Or do you stand proud and think “this is some of my best work to date”

You are in control of how good (or bad) you become. I suggest reading everything you can get your hands on: books, magazines, textbooks, facebook groups, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, instagram followers, youtube channels, consume ALL of it. Keep your self inundated with what you’re passionate about and it will be less difficult to stay focused on it.

Also…love what you do, it makes being good at it way easier!

Thanks for watching, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE! Also check out the Journey 2 Master Podcast, Facebook Page, and YouTube Channel.

vlog – http://www.journey2master.com
podcast – Journey 2 Master (iTunes and Stitcher)

YouTube Channel – Journey 2 Master






Episode 15 – Talking To The EATON Engineers About AFCI/GFCI Issues

In this episode I go over the response I got back from the Eaton engineers about AFCI, GFCI, and DF (AFGF) breakers.  I have to say, I’m impressed with the prompt response and depth of detailed information they provided.

Many of you who follow us on Facebook, and are engaged in the several groups we’re a part of, participated in the roundup for questions to ask the Thank you for all of the input, we got a fairly quick response from them, and they did not short us on the details.

I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Lanson D Relyea – Product Line Manager, and Robert (Bob) E Handick – Master Electrician at Eaton for taking the time to answer these questions with great detail and promptly.


1)      Will they come out with a duel function type CL Classified breakers? They have them in AFCI (Eaton cl120caf).

[Eaton]: Eaton may consider releasing a classified version of AFGF if there is enough demand. The testing requirements for classified breakers per UL are very labor intensive and expensive. Eaton has to test the breaker in every family of loadcenter across all manufacturers to verify the breaker and loadcenter will work together as a system.

2)      Why do all brands twist the neutral pigtail, and is there any down-side to straighten them or to cut them short?

[Eaton]: The twisted or coiled pigtail is simply to fit the breakers in the packaging in the most efficient way. When installing the breakers the pigtail can be kept coiled to allow the ability to extend it or keep short without the need to custom fit via cutting and re-skinning. There is no harm caused by cutting the pigtail or to extend using a wire nut and extra piece of wire (as allowed by the local AHJ).

3)      Is there any new developments being made for motors?  They need to have more tolerance built into the AFCI’s for motor circuits… Nusicance tripping on refrigerator, freezer and window A/C units gets old real fast.  May be different rated AFCI’S, like the personnel and equipment GFCI’S

[Eaton]: Current generation Eaton AFCI product has been designed to be the least susceptible to brush type universal motors that are inherently noisy due to the nature of their design. Our current product does a really good job at distinguishing the difference between the intended arcing inside the motor verses a dangerous unintended arcing situation. Eaton has a dedicated team of engineers that constantly looks to refine our algorithms to ensure compatibility with new and existing appliances.

4)       I’ve noticed a lot of problems with mixed loads. Led and fluorescent on the same circuit. I’ve had a lot of problems with the tripping when led lights are on same circuit as an incandescent light and especially with a ceiling fan.  What gives?

[Eaton]: We believe the real issue is the conducted emissions (noise) being generated by the LED’s electronic switching power supply more so than mixed loads. Some LED’s are found to be exceeding the conducted emissions limits set by the FCC. This noise looks very similar to a series arcing condition and if all conditions are met, the breaker may trip. The breaker also need to have a minimum amperage of current flowing through it at the same time it recognizes the noise in order for its arc protection to kick in (varies by manufacturer) which is probably why you see more issues when using other loads along with the LED’s on the same circuit. LED does not draw much current so the noise itself does not trip the breaker until you add more load such as the incandescent bulb as you described.

5)      Please ask about the coordination with appliance manufactures. The breaker needs to know the signature of appliances that create arc like noise and know to ignore them. Some manufactures ignore the need to make things that comply or to inform breaker manufactures. We end up with the requirement for arc detecting breakers but manufactures that make things that will cause trips which are not arcs. We need better coordination.  How do they address this, and do they even try?

[Eaton]: Eaton designs our AFCI devices expecting that appliance manufactures will to adhere to the FCC regulation for conducted emissions. If there is a new appliance or device on the market that exceeds FCC limits, it may create an issue for interoperability.

NEMA has designated a task force to align the AFCI manufacturers with the appliance manufacturers through AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers). This partnership is designed to set common design standards across both manufacturing groups. It also allows for a direct connection between manufacturers if there if there are any interoperability issues between the specific brands.

6)      Why do some power tools(shop vacs especially) trip afci’s. I know a lot of power tools have brushes which arc, but aren’t the new combination afcis supposed to be smart enough to prevent tripping?

[Eaton]: These power tools, shop vacs and vacuum cleaners use brush type universal motors which are inherently noisy due to the nature of their design. This noise looks almost identical to dangerous arcing condition and sometimes would cause unwanted tripping in legacy AFCI devices. These devices can also have high inrush currents which can also be similar to an arcing event. The AFCI industry has continued to evolve its technology to get better at distinguishing the difference between the arcing inside the motor verses a dangerous unintended arcing situation.

7)      I’ve had an issue with AFCI breakers and AFCI receptacles on the same circuit.  They seem to chatter and trip each other, or if you have any ballasted lights (LED especially) they make the lights go haywire like a 70’s dance party!  Also, I’ve seen the same with GFCI receptacles installed on the same circuit as a GFCI breaker.  One keeps tripping the other, only way to fix it in both circumstances is to remove one or the other.  What’s going on inside these things to make this happen?

[Eaton]: We have not identified any broad issues with having redundant protection whether it by AFCI or GFCI on the same circuit. We have witnessed LED lights flickering as you mention but that typically occurs when the lighting control device is not compatible with the low voltage transformer or power supply and is not an issue with the AFCI device. It is essential that the dimmer is designated compatible for the type of light being powered as well as the power consumption of the circuit.

8)      What are the characteristics of arcing?  I keep seeing that term (AFCI devices detect “characteristics of arcing and open the circuit…) but nobody seems to know what that means.  Is it a sudden change in frequency, waveform shape, resistance, etc…what’s happening to the circuit during an arc (voltage, current, resistance, frequency) etc that make the breakers sense something wrong?

[Eaton]: There are two kinds of arcing, high current or “parallel” arcing and low current or “series” arc.  Parallel arcing is a occurs between two parallel conductors  and has the two characteristics or a large current flow and no lag or lead of current relative to voltage.  Current lags voltage for inductive loads and current leads voltage for capacitive loads.  Series arcing is a little more involved.  It includes a circuit that has a gap in one conductor (line or neutral) followed by a load wired in series.  At the beginning of a half cycle, when the voltage difference between line and neutral is small, no arcing occurs and no current flows.  When the voltage potential across the gap becomes large enough during the half cycle, an arc is generated and current flows.  As the half cycle nears its end, the voltage potential drops and the arc stops.  The high frequency noise generate by an arc is broadband, whereas the spectrum of HF noise generated by a non-arcing load is not uniform and has peaks and nulls depending on the load.  AFCI breakers look for these characteristics to detect an arc and safely trip.

9)      What are the most common issues you find or have complaints about with your AFCI vs GFCI breakers? Sometimes when retrofitting a house with recessed lighting, I’ll add a dimmer and get nothing but problems from arc faults.

[Eaton]: It is essential that the dimmer is rated for the type of light being powered. Also need to verify that the LED (or other lighting source) has a FCC, part 15, class B rating for consumer use. Class A devices are for commercial use and usually do not have high frequency filtering built in which can cause interaction issues.

10)   (another member) We’ve recently been talking about something very similar. Ran a dedicated circuit for a fireplace igniter because we were worried about the arc faults acting up on us.  Technically this should be on an AFCI but it won’t hold when the igniter arc’s.

[Eaton]: Eaton has not identified any issues with igniters. Typically the arc does not sustain long enough or have enough current flowing for our series arc detection to trip.

11)   Why can’t you combine neutrals on two different circuits without the AFCI tripping.  They have to be on their own circuit to work.  Is it that the added length of the combined neutral conductors changes the overall resistance/voltage drop or is it sensing the difference in phase angles (jumping from 60hz to 120hz suddenly)?

[Eaton]: The reason for this is that some AFCI devices on the market have built in ground fault protection. Therefore, you cannot share neutrals from two circuits. The breaker monitors the current flowing out on the black (hot) and the current flowing back in on the white (neutral) conductor. If 5 amps leaves the breaker, 5 amps needs to return. If there are two neutrals tied together on the load side of the breaker, the return current is split in half coming back and the breaker will trip every time. It is also suggested not to combine neutrals because it can make troubleshooting more difficult. If there is an issue and the breaker trips, you must investigate all the branch circuits tied together.




photo courtesy of http://www.eaton.com

Holy hell, working for two weeks in a suburban has almost driven me to my wit’s end.  Not only did the new car smell bother me, but not having all of my toolboxes, my ladder rack, and my cacophony of materials drove me to drink.  Well not really, I’m not a drinker…but I did want to kill a man.

The truck came back with pretty much a new front-end.  New headlight, bumper, grill, quarter-panel, and new paint!  Now I don’t have to be embarrassed to pull up to a job with the passenger-side facing the building.

I can’t tell you how many customers were wierded-out that I was driving a suburban and pulling tools and ladders out of it.  I must have looked small-time, but I explained the deal to each of them.  I was hit by a very zealous sand shark swimming down I-35.  Ok more like I was an idiot and wasn’t paying attention…down I-35.

The 2017 suburban was the tits, but between the brand new interior I was afraid to scratch up, the no-smoking stickers on the dash, and the incessant problem with the Ford Sync system (Bluetooth not syncing some days)…I was glad to see her go!





My NERDY Joy Upon Getting My Baby Back

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: