By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We had a peculiar problem come up. It was after nightfall and we were preparing to make a foray to the Land of Nod, and the wife had already shuffled off to the bedroom. I was busy brushing my teeth when I got one of those “Honey, something’s wrong here” shout-outs. “The light just went out here in the bedroom.” One more thing to do with my spare time. Happily a spare fuse helped in the end.
At day’s end, my thinking mechanism is never at its best. By the time I could ponder the “why did that happens” and stumble my way to the bedroom, the light had mysteriously turned itself back on. A couple of days later, the complaint resurfaced – this time, the light wouldn’t turn on. I suspected perhaps a “bum bulb” and was about to start into the fixture, but I needed more light on the subject. Reaching up to the ceiling light switch, I was mentally illuminated when that light wouldn’t illuminate. Obviously more here than a bad bulb.
I racked my brain to recall if I’d recently drilled any holes or driven in any screws that might be responsible for setting off a loss of power to the lighting circuit down in the bedroom, but drew a blank. So off to the fuse box, where I nearly had to stand on my head to read the circuit tags. Do I have a spare fuse? I started to pull the fuse serving the bedroom circuit – only to have the lights pop back on. “Ah, just a loose fuse,” I chortled.
Yeah, and I’m a loose nut
Because, sure enough, within days, the bedroom blackout returned. This time I pulled the fuse out for a closer inspection. The fuse is one of those contemporary plastic-bladed style fuses, and a quick look through the window on the fuse didn’t show anything suspicious. But a closer inspection of the blades revealed blackened pitting on the blades – the telltale sign of electrical arcing, brought out by a not-so-tight connection.
In a “what’s to do now,” situation, I thought about disconnecting the battery power to the fuse box and taking after the fuse clips in the box with emery cloth. I’ve dealt a “temporary fix” to such problems in a shore-power breaker box, but always sweat bullets about possible outcomes of such a stunt. I pondered drilling out the rivets that held the fuse clips and trying to get a replacement clip. But then my own light came on – there were a couple of spare fuse clips in the box.
So I simply removed the hot wire from the “downstream” side of the offending fuse clip and hooked it up to one of the “open” fuse clips. With a fresh, unpitted fuse, I soon had the lighting circuit lit up again, with no qualms about safety.