too many words by laura lemay

how not to play with electricity

The heater timer died in the hot tub a few months ago. Filtering, no problem, but the heater won’t come on unless I turn it on manually. I don’t remember this kind of thing on a daily basis (please), so the hot tub has been cold a lot more than it has been hot recently. (of course given that it has been 112 degrees a lot this summer sitting in the a cold hot tub might be considered a good thing).

Thanks to my previous excursion into the world of hot tub repair, I knew that I could buy a new timer online. But I thought I would test the timer first to make sure that there was power coming into it.

I didn’t actually really know what I was doing with Eric’s multimeter. I’m a software gal. But I put the dial on AC and stuck the probes into a wall socket and got 120V on the meter so I figured that was close enough to knowledge; that would tell me if there was power to the timer, or at least if there was something there other than “0.” So far, so good.

There were four connectors on back of the timer. I started with one probe on connector one and the other on connector two; nothing. I moved the second probe to connector three and then


Bright purple light. Smoke. Ew, the smell. And, oops, some of the probe was no longer there.

The bad news is that I now owe Eric a new set of probes for his multimeter. The good news is that other than the funny black stain on it I did not destroy the heater timer. In fact, it works again just fine now now. Which is good, because it means I don’t have to actually do any more testing without actually knowing what it is I’m doing.

Software. Think I’ll stick to software. No bright purple lights in software.