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Disclaimer: The conventions offered here are not the only combinations possible.

I’m wasting energy so I attempt to rewire.

To repair electrical connections, determine what your conductors are made of.

I open my wall to see what’s inside. Unscrewing the switch plate cracks the decades of paint that flake around the revealed hole. The plaster tumbles out and away.

Conductors of dissimilar metals shall not be intermixed where physical contact occurs between dissimilar conductors.

I study the roundabouts of the switches, the outlets of the outlets. Circuitry is a circulatory system. A current transfuses only through specific types of conduct.

Electrical wiring connections in one diagram can look identical to those in another, but the functions involved can be very different.

I draw a schematic and base my sketchy blueprint on how I see the wires run. I’m interested in illumination—in something that feels hot. I don’t know what I’m doing.

A. TERMINALS

Locating breakers is done by trial and error. This is a two-person job.

Anything can become a fixture but I’m unsure what successful connections look like. You come over and we begin to clarify this modest maze of filament.

In one-way or two-way switches it shall not matter which terminal receives which wire of a pair of traveling wires.

You turn my breakers on and off and I yell at you from the other room when a circuit loses power.

Hazards result from the overloading of systems that did not provide for increases in energy.

A failure in our back and forth burns every fuse in the box. You’re leaving town and I’m leaving my lights out. I close up my walls all by myself.

B. SPLICES

The number of circuits confined in a single enclosure must be varyingly restricted.

I want an additional outlet in my bedroom. I find a new you to take the protective cover off my only socket, grind the wall gaping, cut a wire to patch an extension on.

Create safe connections by soldering. Soldered splices shall be spliced securely before soldering and then be soldered.

We’re working in the dark when he asks if I believe in chemistry. Electricity can be a chemical reaction. It can make my hair stand up on end and it’s OK to be turned on.

Two wires shall never contact under a single-sided screw.

This is more like chemistry than the chemistry he means. I get rubber gloves to prevent shock. This is the chemistry that prevents things from going up in flames.

C. TEMPERATURE LIMITATIONS

The temperature rating of conductors shall be coordinated with any connected conductor.

The cables coiling out of the walls lack labels. We weave strands of aluminum and copper together. Maybe this is how we make something to plug into.

Adjust and correct your ampacity to avoid an overcurrent.

I begin to understand circuitous by thinking like it. We wind these cords around right angles and amp up the energy, but there’s no spark.

1. Equipment Provisions

There may be more than one power cable in your diagram with no indication which one is incoming with respect to your breaker box.

My mistake is considering this cable the beginning when, in fact, it is the end. He’s wired this way, outgoing and leaving the door open behind him when he goes.

Check for the presence of deteriorating agents where you are bonding.

There’s a live line behind the old outlet and a dead front exposed at the failed outlet. The air is charged but my thread’s gone cool. A little too cool.

2. Separate Connector Provisions

Separately installed pressure connectors shall be used with conductors of similar ampacity.

I step back from the mess of my baseboard. I secure some drywall, spread spackle and paint to repair. Unlike measuring units of current, this is simple.

This is not an intrinsically safe system.

There are walls within my walls and within those walls are wires that don’t work. When you come over, though, everything is electrocution.

D. INSTALLATION

A calibrated torque tool shall be used to achieve the indicated torque value.

You’re back in town and the only person in this dark city calibrated enough to grapple with this torque.

Connection can be made on a device by any combination of screws, back-holes, clamps or wire nuts.

We demo the cement wall to restore the original electric connection. Dust can be combustible but we don’t need to set the air on fire to see.

An inverse time circuit breaker is a delay in tripping action, which delay decreases as the magnitude of the current increases.

So much of lighting something up is not getting burned. It feels good when we turn the power back on.

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