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Are these wires live or safe to handle

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J Murphy

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Last pic is probably a 24V or 12V automatic control or telephone/ethernet (?)
With 12V you can damage them more easily than they can damage you. 24V is where you will feel a jolt... but that box on wall is the real issue.

Do NOT try to fix something if you don't have proper tools or know-how.
 
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Not sure what you mean by "safe to handle". You could certainly secure that one drooping in front of your glass doors up and out of the way so no one clothslines themselves.

The cables look like CAT3 (phone) and CAT5 (old ethernet) cables and "should" not carry any live voltages that would cause any harm. The worst case, "most likely", would be getting hit with 60 - 105V (depending on where you live) "ring" voltage. This is the voltage sent down the line from the telephone company's DCO (dial central office) to cause your landline phone (if you have one) to ring when you get a call. Ring voltage only appears when you get a phone call. If you happen be touching the bare wires when that voltage comes, it will certainly get your attention, but "should" do no harm (unless you have heart issues, or maybe a pacemaker).

You could also safely cut each wire in each cable separately. Cutting two or more at once "may" cause a short ("if" they are live) that you "might" feel. But "if" quick with the cut, you "should" not.

Now I keep saying "should", "if", "most likely", "may" and "might" because without me being there with my meter and cable tester to test and inspect the lines, and see where they originate and where they terminate, I cannot be sure, one way or another.

So best advice:
Do NOT try to fix something if you don't have proper tools or know-how.
 
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I swear @Bill_Bright , I learn something every time I see you post in a thread. You really do know something about everything. Always coming with some knowledgeable.

JAT
 
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I know enough to be dangerous! LOL

Actually - at least with electronics, after 50+ years as a certified electronics tech, I should finally know a little bit about it. Now my goal is to share when I can as that helps to refresh "those little gray cells" before they fade away completely.

Anyway, I hope I was helpful for the OP. Thanks for the kind words.
 

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Just cross the naked cables and see if something sparks.

In an electronics class I was in a guy did thay to see if the 12VAC PSU was on. The teacher did not approve.
 
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Just cross the naked cables and see if something sparks.

In an electronics class I was in a guy did thay to see if the 12VAC PSU was on. The teacher did not approve.
I was tempted to reply "grab it with both hands and find out" but was afraid the user well, might.

Gotta be careful with what you think is just humor online.
 
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I was tempted to reply "grab it with both hands and find out" but was afraid the user well, might.

Gotta be careful with what you think is just humor online.

Yeah, I understand the latest TikTok challenge is to cook chicken in cough syrup (like Nyquil) and presumably eat it on camera.

No matter how preposterous something is, someone is going to try it. Common sense sadly isn't as common as it should be.

Just a few days ago there was some super brainiac who pulled a bulk capacitor out of a TV without realizing that a charged one can pack a punch for years.
 
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Just a few days ago there was some super brainiac who pulled a bulk capacitor out of a TV without realizing that a charged one can pack a punch for years.
Being naive is not the same thing as knowing better and doing it anyway. Unless someone has had some exposure to electronics safety concerns with those caps, I think it is fair to expect many would assume once unplugged, there would be no charge. And in fact, there "should" have been a bleeder resistor or similar device in the circuit just for that purpose.

Of course, that assumes everything was undamaged and working properly - which anyone with any sort of electronics safety training would never assume.

Yeah, I saw that Nyquil and chicken thing. I don't get that at all. Even if you extracted the alcohol and medicinal components out of the Nyquil, who would want bitter, black licorice, menthol tasting chicken? Yuck! And green yuck, no less! :kookoo:
 
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Being naive is not the same thing as knowing better and doing it anyway. Unless someone has had some exposure to electronics safety concerns with those caps, I think it is fair to expect many would assume once unplugged, there would be no charge. And in fact, there "should" have been a bleeder resistor or similar device in the circuit just for that purpose.

Of course, that assumes everything was undamaged and working properly - which anyone with any sort of electronics safety training would never assume.

Yeah, I saw that Nyquil and chicken thing. I don't get that at all. Even if you extracted the alcohol and medicinal components out of the Nyquil, who would want bitter, black licorice, menthol tasting chicken? Yuck! And green yuck, no less! :kookoo:

Well, that TV manufacturer deliberately silkscreened several very prominent "don't touch" symbols on the PCB.

It's not like they can print that capacitors can cause serious injury in twenty languages. And what about those people who don't read any of those twenty languages? Mr. Super Brainiac survived unharmed due to sheer dumb luck despite blithely ignoring very explicit warning signs.

Anise and mint have been used as culinary flavorings as well as medicinal remedies for centuries. Anise was so valuable that Romans used it to pay taxes. Mint has been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1000 BCE. Whether or not it's fashionable in middle America in 2022 is a separate point. Alcohol itself in various forms is still used very frequently in cooking, more abroad than here in the USA.

This TikTok challenge is still incredibly stupid but a lot of people seem to think that's fine to get more pageviews, followers, subscribers, ad impressions, whatever. It's today's Internet.

Anyhow, I'm glad to see that OP has decided to seek assistance from a professional.
 
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Being naive is not the same thing as knowing better and doing it anyway. Unless someone has had some exposure to electronics safety concerns with those caps, I think it is fair to expect many would assume once unplugged, there would be no charge. And in fact, there "should" have been a bleeder resistor or similar device in the circuit just for that purpose.

Of course, that assumes everything was undamaged and working properly - which anyone with any sort of electronics safety training would never assume.

Yeah, I saw that Nyquil and chicken thing. I don't get that at all. Even if you extracted the alcohol and medicinal components out of the Nyquil, who would want bitter, black licorice, menthol tasting chicken? Yuck! And green yuck, no less! :kookoo:
I have mentioned this before, but my boss at work told me that he was repairing a tube amp for a friend of his. Saw a burned out tube socket, so he grabbed it. Then picked himself up, walked back over to the amp, discharged the rest of the capacitors, and replaced the socket.

It is easy to forget.

If you don't know, assume it can kill you - the only safe way to deal with electricity.



Also, cooking with Nyquil will evaporate the alcohol - so you have bitter, black licorice, menthol tasting chicken with medicinal components (possibly broken down to who-knows-what).
 
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I have mentioned this before, but my boss at work told me that he was repairing a tube amp for a friend of his. Saw a burned out tube socket, so he grabbed it. Then picked himself up, walked back over to the amp, discharged the rest of the capacitors, and replaced the socket.

It is easy to forget.

If you don't know, assume it can kill you - the only safe way to deal with electricity.

Most sane people will get the lesson after being shocked once.

Cooks deal with this daily. Assume a metal pan handle is screaming hot. Some cooks will leave a towel on the handle (although that can fall off) and others will sprinkle flour on the handle as an indicator. You might know which pans are hot, but other people can't read your mind.

I've seen dumbass home cooks who have tried to catch falling knives. Stupid. People have been doing idiotic stuff long before electricity showed up in people's homes.

If an amp or capacitor has been discharged, you could affix a piece of tape that says "Discharged".

In this discussion, even using a multimeter won't tell the whole story if you put it on a line that is ring voltage but not ringing at the time of testing.
 
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You've had good advice already so I'll only say: whoever paints over electrical conduits and cables should stay away from anything related to paint. Not only it looks hideous but it also coats the insulation.
 
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You've had good advice already so I'll only say: whoever paints over electrical conduits and cables should stay away from anything related to paint. Not only it looks hideous but it also coats the insulation.

LOL, the first time you go outside the USA, you'll freak out at the sight of buildings that are centuries old with wires, cables, pipes all over the exterior and heavily painted over.

This includes UNESCO World Heritage sites and monuments.

Painting over electrical wires and conduits is what people do.

What is "best practice" doesn't mean everyone is going to follow it.

I know this is very difficult for IT people and electricians to understand.
 
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LOL, the first time you go outside the USA, you'll freak out at the sight of buildings that are centuries old with wires, cables, pipes all over the exterior and heavily painted over.

This includes UNESCO World Heritage sites and monuments.

Painting over electrical wires and conduits is what people do.
Caroline! is not from the USA, but I can tell you that it happens here too.

Doesn't make it a better idea.
 
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Caroline! is not from the USA, but I can tell you that it happens here too.

Doesn't make it a better idea.

Regardless, if you want the wires and conduit unpainted and the homeowner wants them painted, who do you think makes the final call?

After all, from the photos this looks like a residential site.

I assume you are not married.

In the real world some people have priorities that occasionally outweigh electrical best practice policies. In a perfect world, it would all be buried and hidden in walls but we don't live in that dreamworld.
 
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Anise and mint have been used as culinary flavorings as well as medicinal remedies for centuries.
No doubt - but with chicken? Perhaps to kill the rotten meat smells and tastes due to lack of refrigeration. Maybe in a sweet cookie, it might be okay. But I sure have never seen a black licorice and mint chicken item on any restaurant menu. And frankly, while anise has a similar taste to licorice, they are not related at all. Licorice is a bean while anise is related to parsley.

Also, mint and menthol, while related, have different tastes.

Regardless, Nyquil only has "Flavor" as a listed ingredient, no licorice, anise, mint or menthol. It does not even say natural or artificial. And who knows what happens to those "flavors" when exposed to frying pan level heat?

As far as paint on the wires, none of that bothers me (and I have lived in and/or been to dozens of different countries). Painted wires are everywhere. As long as the paint does not interfere with the actual conducting wires, outlets, switches or other electrical connections, no big deal.
 
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LOL, the first time you go outside the USA, you'll freak out at the sight of buildings that are centuries old with wires, cables, pipes all over the exterior and heavily painted over.

This includes UNESCO World Heritage sites and monuments.

Painting over electrical wires and conduits is what people do.

What is "best practice" doesn't mean everyone is going to follow it.

I know this is very difficult for IT people and electricians to understand.
Ugh. I cringed just imagining something like that.

Exterior cables make sense if the buildings are historical and you can't smash the walls to properly run conduits and junction boxes, but in normal houses it's unsightly and sometimes plain laziness/lack of knowledge from the installers.
If it was an industrial building or warehouse sure having cables run over the walls is fine and useful if there's the need to troubleshoot or spur a pair of wires.

Caroline! is not from the USA, but I can tell you that it happens here too.

Doesn't make it a better idea.
It's common where I live too, particularly when it's TV coax and landlines, most installers simply drill a hole in a wall to route the cable inside and then staple it to the wall. I know they don't earn much but come on all you need is fish tape and a wall plate to do it right, not even a whole plate sometimes, you can install a TV/RJ11 module that fits the existing box and be done with it.

I might be a perfectionist after all.
 

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Ugh. I cringed just imagining something like that.

Exterior cables make sense if the buildings are historical and you can't smash the walls to properly run conduits and junction boxes, but in normal houses it's unsightly and sometimes plain laziness/lack of knowledge from the installers.
If it was an industrial building or warehouse sure having cables run over the walls is fine and useful if there's the need to troubleshoot or spur a pair of wires.


It's common where I live too, particularly when it's TV coax and landlines, most installers simply drill a hole in a wall to route the cable inside and then staple it to the wall. I know they don't earn much but come on all you need is fish tape and a wall plate to do it right, not even a whole plate sometimes, you can install a TV/RJ11 module that fits the existing box and be done with it.

I might be a perfectionist after all.

Those installers are paid to do ___ number of jobs per shift. They aren't paid to do the "best practice" or ideal job, they are paid to get it to work in the least amount of time. You can always pay someone else to do it right. Whether or not you have the time or budget does come into the equation.

There's nothing wrong with wanting high quality but everyone makes compromises somewhere in their lives. Do you cook your own meals from scratch? Do you grow your own vegetables? Raise livestock? Or did you just use some app to have your last meal delivered to your doorstep?

Again, it's always hilarious when IT types and tech geeks insist on "best practices" when they certainly ignore it for most aspects of their lives.

Guess what? Some homeowner in the past wanted these painted over more than they cared about the insulating properties of a coat or two of household wall paint.

I assure you that people who restore and maintain UNESCO World Heritage sites weigh a number of considerations before deciding on how to proceed. Some things may be non-negotiable like an elevator for mobility-challenged people or fire alarms on walls of some historic palace.
 
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and sometimes plain laziness/lack of knowledge from the installers.
I would not call it laziness. Sure, sometimes it may be laziness. But to me, if the wires are already exposed, but considered [more or less] permanent, then it just makes sense to paint over them to help make them blend in. A painted wire is less visible than exposed wires, and conduit too. And to be sure, I have seen lots of painted conduit too.

If running new cable runs, it is not always practical to pull cables through walls, floors and ceilings. And it certainly would cost a lot more to have someone else do it. I know of no one who enjoys crawling around in critter infested crawlspaces under homes, or in hot, dusty, itchy, fiberglass insulated attics.

I turned a minor catastrophe in to a good thing a few years ago. The 50 year old ceiling in my basement collapsed. What a huge mess. Then I realized it exposed all the floor joists for the main level above. I took that opportunity to wire my house with ethernet and phone, and wired for surround sound for my home theater system and for my surround sound for this computer in my computer room. :D But had the ceiling never collapsed, there likely would be quite a few exposed wires running along baseboards and such.

Paint does not hurt the insulation on wires. And in fact, paint over mechanical connections can help prevent those connections from vibrating loose over time.
 
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LOL, the first time you go outside the USA, you'll freak out at the sight of buildings that are centuries old with wires, cables, pipes all over the exterior and heavily painted over.

This includes UNESCO World Heritage sites and monuments.

Painting over electrical wires and conduits is what people do.

What is "best practice" doesn't mean everyone is going to follow it.

I know this is very difficult for IT people and electricians to understand.

Yep.... We have cities full of that

I would not call it laziness. Sure, sometimes it may be laziness. But to me, if the wires are already exposed, but considered [more or less] permanent, then it just makes sense to paint over them to help make them blend in. A painted wire is less visible than exposed wires, and conduit too.
Because of this.
 
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Conduit yes, but exposed wire is not code around here. Painted conduit I have nothing against.
 
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I get the feeling that some people here don't really see the world as a place where human beings live. They just think in terms of "best practices" for a colocation facility, a server room, some lab, etc. and thus say "don't paint over conduits or wires" without acknowledging that people live in the types of spaces presented in these photographs. The concept of harmony is utterly lost on some.

In fact, they go as far as to imply that the paint's insulation properties could be damaging. You know, I think today's household conductors are designed to take a coat of paint because if they weren't the jacket around the wire would clearly state "do not paint".

There just seems to be a substantial disconnect between the real world and what happens inside the head of some people, not just here at TPU but pretty much all tech discussion forums. These people have no understanding of context or situational reality. They probably look at a 2000 year old Roman aqueduct and blurt out "Poor engineering!"

So strange.
 
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