2019-09-18 (W) PillarGame Fire Hazard Special

In my job, I ensure the quality and safety of the electrical panels my company builds. As an engineer, I owe it to everyone to make sure all reasonable precautions are observed. When I do projects at home, one might think that this reasoning would have been baked into my thoughts, but I proved today that I still have a lot of growing ahead of me.

I needed to access the inside of the pillar where the controller sat, so I carefully lifted it out of the center. When I designed the copper tape slip rings, I spaced them farther apart than the width of the tape so they should never short out. I stand by this reasoning, but it only works so long as everything is straight up and down. As you can see by the exposed white plastic corner of the foam brush, there was a short, and I can tell you there was smoke.
Fire number 1

I learned my lesson about moving parts with power available. The next time I screwed up though involved a sloppy solder joint. I resoldered a small bit of wire bridgeing the high voltages on each strip because the bottom helix was malfunctioning and could be caused by an inconsistent supply. Instead, I found out the power converter was capable of charring all the insulation off and causing more smoke. I hope my boss doesn’t read this blog.
Fire number 2

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