Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Shocking Experience

When I was at work earlier this week (yes, it's already my weekend -- I love "retired" life) some guys came around asking if my group had a megger; they weren't really sure what one was (we normally deal with digital voltages), but had heard that our group might have one. It turns out we did, and as I was explaining how they worked, I talked about some of the uses of a megger on a submarine. (Some of those uses were actually in accordance with the approved Maintenance Requirement.)

This got me thinking about some of the electrical "pranks" that are often played on submarines. I'll be honest -- I was never comfortable working around electricity on the boat (probably due to an unfortunate incident when I was growing up on the farm and accidentally peed across an electric fence -- yes, the shock can travel up a stream of urine). From back in my days of ET "A" school where people were always getting tossed capacitors that had been charged on a 9V battery to the classic "hook a megger up to something metal, then hide and let 'er rip when some unsuspecting NUB touches it" prank on the boat, I knew that Submariners had to have a healthy respect for high voltages, as well as those who may try to hurt them with same for laughs.

My favorite "electrical prank" was discussed here. Anybody have any good stories about electricity and the Submariners who used (or misused) it?


Blogger Vigilis said...

We had a sonarman who was a real con artist. He was able (with just a vice and hand file) to make master keys for padlocks in about 20 minutes. He would borrow someone's keys for a legitimate purpose, make himself a master for a lock protecting items he might want someday to borrow, and return the keys. He even had his own master key to the COB's storage cages.

You can imagine the excitement whenever this guy had duty. We thought he had straightened up after an off-base incident one night involving him and a shipmate's wife who, when awakened by this guy crawling through a window of their apartment, pulled a gun on him and called the local police.

It was just not going to be. Soon, when various pieces of portable electrical equipment were plugged into our barge's 120vac circuits there would often be a very loud POP at the receptacle. Whoever was holding the plug would be rattled to say the least.

Since equipment was never damaged nor was line power ever interrupted, we would laugh at the suckers who had not first checked the plug to make sure there was no hair-like, almost invisible strand of fine copper wire wound around the neutral and hot blades.

As experienced sailors, you will guess the last one startled before this prank was permanently discontinued.

8/11/2010 6:21 AM

Anonymous HMCM(SS) Retired said...

Ok, pls don't laugh...

When I was a brand new HM1(SU) onbd HGR just coming out of new construction I had the pleasure of conducting the first sanitation inspection prior to opening. In my walk-through w/the MSC, I noticed a small square just above one of the sinks in the galley. As I reached pointing to it with my figer in prep to ask what it was, I got knocked back against the wall with the shock of my life! It turned out that I had just touched the "live" receptacle for the sink's missing heating element.

As you can guess, the roar of laughter ensued and I heard the MSC tell me, "Oh, sorry about that Doc, are you ok?" Hmmm.. Revenge is a dish best served cold and thus, began my submarine training!

8/11/2010 6:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had two "genius's" on our boat. Both were EM2 nukes.

Their game was a contest to see which one could hold the leads of the 500V Biddle in their hands the longest, while the other cranked it as fast and hard as he could.

It was not uncommon in AMR2UL, to see one cranking the Meggar like a mainiac while the other was in the fetal position on the deck, gritting his teeth and trembling uncontrollably. When one gave up, they traded places.

Nukes are intelligent, but not always smart.


8/11/2010 7:00 AM

Anonymous Jim Armstrong said...

I heard the tale of the Pollack electrician who, while in shipyard before I got there, was in the habit of carrying a plastic lunchpail. It had two metal closures.
One day, after he had set his lunch down, it was borrowed. The lunch was removed, and a very large capacitor was soldered to the closures. A quick charge with the megger, and of course, when he comes back, goes to open it up, he winds up tossing it across the room.

8/11/2010 7:05 AM

Anonymous ret.cob said...

In AMR1 LL in 644 (in the North Atlantic with condensation on the deck (DCT tops)) there was a lathe that used submersible pump connection in ML for power. An A-ganger and nuc-mechanic, on opposite sides of the motor, facing each other, lift the motor away from the stand for cleaning. They were going to set it on a workbench, but stopped halfway, looking at each other. I'm wondering WTF, watching them be electrocuted, without a clue. They move the motor back to the stand and as it approaches, a giant blue arc was struck between the motor casing and the stand. They slumped to the deck. I called for the corpsman. They lived, but they didn't sleep for a while. Cable was frayed.

8/11/2010 7:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once saw a nuke EM light a fluorescent bulb from his nut sack while holding a meggar lead on his tongue with the other lead on the end of the bulb. One of the funniest things I ever saw.

8/11/2010 9:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back on the Florida fish in the mid 80's we were sitting in the crews mess for breakfast. EM2, gets his toast stuck in the toaster and as we all sit there and watch gets a fork and is just about to stick it in the still plugged in toaster.
EMC yells at him then walks up to him. He pulls the plug out of the socket and punches EM 2 on the shoulder saying, " That's for being stupid." Then he hits him again and says.. " And this is for embarassing me!!."

8/11/2010 9:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had this one ET/QM on the Baton Rouge who would let the sonarmen megger him daily. It was really funny to watch the daily megger and see how long he could hold onto the leads. From what I remember, he got really good at it, and could hold on for quite some time while someone cranked away.

8/11/2010 10:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had an EM2 on SSN 708 pull the DC end fuses on one of the SSMGs for maintenance. Too bad he hadn't tagged it out first. Amazing how many feet the arc will go and the machine will still run. His eyes were as big as dinner plates.

Ex ET1

8/11/2010 1:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not submarine story, however still interesting. In early 70's I knew an Air Force Master Sergeant from Hickam AFB who told me this story. He was stationed at Clark AFB in PI, and got in some alcohol related troubles. He says back then The head shrink at Clark set up an experimental alcohol Treatment Program aimed at getting problem drinkers to control their drinking. Had an actual bar set up in a building on base. Patients had three drinking sessions per day, wired up for electroshock and if they got out of hand while drinking they got shocked. At end of third daily session they were given a valium to help them relax and sleep after their triple daily drinking and shocking experience. This went on for ten days.

So, I ask this guy, "Did it work?." He says, "Damn right, I don't fool around with electricity at all anymore." Then we had another beer.

Keep a zero bubble.............


8/11/2010 1:48 PM

Anonymous PW said...

Another EM and I were hot-racking in the 22-man (637 class) in the forward starboard outboard upper rack, right under the doorway to the crew's shower. The OpsML passageway, where the shower entrance was, had that blue rubbery non-conductive decking, and right outside of the shower doorway was a non-skid deck plate. The deckplate was bolted through the deck and the nuts were in the overhead of my rack.

One weekend duty day we pulled the deckplate and drilled out the bolt holes. We taped the shaft of the bolt and added rubber grommets between the washers and rack overhead prior to securing the deckplate. An easily removable braided grounding strap was installed to complete the illusion.

With the strap disconnected and the megger connected between one of the bolts and the boat's hull the occassional unsuspecting victims would get a mild tingle as they opened the shower door. A certain NavET would get a more pronounced zap. Never a cook, yeoman, corpsman, or a-ganger. A few nukes who were in on the prank would fake a shock at random times.

Several times my cohort and I were called to test that the deckplate was grounded, even showing our division officer that we had ensured a good bond by installing a braided grounding strap. It got to the point where everyone would avoid stepping on the plate, period, even those of us who knew.

8/11/2010 4:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

id like to know what you think about this :

8/11/2010 8:22 PM

Blogger Old Salt said...

The best electrical gag I ever witnessed was by several E-div guys who loved to play pranks. They were finishing up an SSMG clean and inspect, and the one told the other to go up and get permission to clear tags while he finished closing it out. He was still in the middle at the time. The other ones coordinated to make a 2MC "Starting the SSMG". Guy inside has just enough time to hear and yell when they meggered the windings. I never saw a guy move so fast while screaming.

8/11/2010 9:57 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

I once watched an unnamed EMC stick a pair of Fluke leads into the test points on a pair of fuses, shake his head at the reading, pull the ground lead out and touch the bare metal, and still not like what he was seeing. He then pulled the leads out, went back to the workbench and plug the leads into the 110 socket and say, "it's working fine", and go back and put the leads into the test points again. Things still must not have appeared right, because he pulled the ground lead out and with this puzzled look on his face he scratched his head with the lead....and zapped the be-jesus out of himself! He had plugged into a set of VDC fuses, with the Fluke set to VAC. I was trying to stop him from touching himself with the lead, but he wasn't in a mood to listen.

8/11/2010 11:43 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

On my first boat (Buffalo) was doing CRDM breaker UV coil testing with an ET2. ET2 pulled off variac leads off the terminal board without turning off the variac or pulling the fuses from the RC-Div workbench receptacle. He went THROUGH maneuvering, the SRO, and into the chain on the throttleman's side. He was by far the biggest guy in RC-Div and for it to do that to him sold me on checking equipment dead FIRST.

8/13/2010 8:18 AM

Blogger Harold said...

I didn't see it, but heard about it during a turnover on my seond ustafish.

Using needlenose pliers to pull fuses on an oxygen generator is a bad idea. The joint between the two halves welds together, and the pliers aren't useable afterwards.

And the guy holding them? One heckuva shock, leaving him trembling and unable to light his cigarette without help for a bit.

8/13/2010 10:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once blew the tip off of a Wiggins probe. I was testing switchgear prior to starting OI whatever it was and was zipping across terminals, and ended up shorting acorss two of them. A loud bang, some molten metal and a toasted Wiggins.

I once watched a fellow EM while he was cleaning a salinity cell. He removed the cell from the piping and unscrewed the protective cover. He then touched the cell probe and yelped, "I think that thing just shocked me. I laughed hysterically when he immediately touched the probe again to verify that he had been shocked. Turns out he had pulled the wrong module in Maneuvering.

8/14/2010 3:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah memories of the wonderful things a megger can be used for during Shellback initiations. Too bad I was the wog at the time.

And from personal experience as a nuke MM in ERLL, I can testify that 120 VDC hurts a LOT more than 110 VAC. Apparently it's pretty funny according to the my shipmate who nearly passed out laughing at the expression on my face.

8/27/2010 4:05 PM

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