Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Wizardry behind Electrickery......

It's official!

Electricity, and the way it works, has, as I had long suspected, absolutely nothing to do with physics.

Dismiss from your minds, therefore, all notion of electrons, sine waves, volts, watts, amperes and all that stuff which makes the head hurt.

No, instead accept the simple and eternal truth:

It's all done by magic!

You may remember a few posts back my describing our friend Jeremy as The Electrickery Wizard of choice round these parts.

In doing so, I had no idea how close to the truth I actually was......

Today he was back on the mooring at our neighbour Jude's boat. The inverter was not working at all.

(I presume this means it was leaving all the electricity the right way up....)

Anyway, they popped over to Pippin to borrow our interweb so Jeremy could get the manufacturer's number.

Over a herbal tea (all wizards drink this apparently), he let me in to what had hitherto been The Big Secret.

Electricity does indeed work by magic.

The magic is in the blue smoke.

All electrical components, be they wires, plugs, switches, circuit boards, fuses, diodes, valves, capacitors, resistors, rheostats, inverters or whatever it is all contain a certain amount of British Standard blue smoke. (Look for the Kite Mark......)

If this blue smoke ever escapes into the atmosphere, then the magic escapes too.

This means the whatever it is won't work any more.

I had no idea it was really all so simple!

Jeremy rang the inverter's makers to ask certain arcane questions regarding a Mending Spell.

(Apparently this was a possibility because none of the magic blue smoke had leaked out.)

The Head Wizard at customer services thought 'it might be the switch' and a case of 'dirty contacts'.

I was most concerned to hear this: after all, if people on the assembly line are going to frequent lap-dancing clubs then they should jolly well wash their hands thoroughly before starting work.

It would save no end of trouble.

But never mind that. The Head Wizard turned out to be exactly right!

Jeremy cast some runes (or whatever it is that you do with a Phillips screwdriver) and Jude's inverter was turning electricity the wrong way up once more in no time!

Hurrah for Jeremy!! Electrickery Wizard par excellence!!


  1. My contacts in the trade tell me that most electronic equipment is made in the city of Shenzhen in China, a city wreathed in all the excess blue smoke left over from the production process...

    1. That makes perfect sense!

      And to think you spent the best part of an evening trying to pull the wool over my eyes with that 'electricity is physics' malarkey!

      Nice try, but I wasn't convinced then!


  2. Ha Ha John you do really make me chuckle!
    I was apprenticed as an industrial electrician in the late 70's and still earn a living in such circles. However, it has always made me laugh how doing something simple to someone "in the know", like wiring a two way lighting switch, produces a response similar to those old cowboy/indian movies when the savages first encounter "white mans magic".

    Keep up the good work

    WB Cinnamon Girl

  3. Absolutely correct, in the R.N. the long thin bits that connect components were always referred to as "Magic string" which conveyed the "Wiggly amps" to where they were required.