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"What's that awful smell?" Answered

Right at the end of our daily meeting this foul stench began to swirl around us. We couldn't quite figure out what or where it was coming from, but it was nasty. At first we checked the laser cutter since some people in the building like to occasionally burn Stuff That Shouldn't Be Burned and oh man does it reek. But that wasn't it. We check the fridge, but it was fine. We even discovered that it was just inside the building, but we had no luck figuring it out. Then Mike from Potenco walked down the hall and said, "Oh, hey, sorry about the smell. I blew up the transformer." He grinned and walked off to find all the fans in the building to air the place out. Just another day at the tower and another experiment gone awry. But if you don't blow anything up, then you're not going to make any real progress, right?


Isn't Mike something like an environmental engineer (or perhaps something along those lines)? Why exactly to transformers smell so bad when they blow up?

But if you don't blow anything up, then you're not going to make any real progress, right?
This can be substituted for shocks of the electrical variety.... I knocked myself out for a few seconds the other day (really scary in retrospect).... I found a peltier mini fridge next to a dumpster... Plugged it in, and it works! Naturally, I took the back cover off and inspected. I thought maybe the board was overheating (causing failure after enough run time and the reason for it being thrown out).

I proceeded to feel a few heat sinks for excessive heat. First one, a little warm - nothing to be worried about. Second one... WHAM! I was on my back, and a few second later I yelled (the "Argh" variety) enough to cause my roommate to come out.

I found the board's rectifier and felt 60Hz and who knows how many amps (through one arm and out the other (the other arm was holding the back case/ground). My pulse was pretty high for a few minutes :p

Progress... Stupid, I know - but progress :D

Why exactly to transformers smell so bad when they blow up?

It's that awful chemical insulation they put on the wires in the windings. Having one burn up slowly is even worse the "blowing up" . Sometimes you just can't get RID of that smell, even if it is cleaned off of everything, it lingers in your nostrils ! I agree it is rank.

ranker than a burning pingpong ball? Another thing that happened, as it was levitating one side failed, opening up a hole, where a gas was escaping, rotating the ball at a fast pace quickly filling the room.

Everyone has their own "preference" about what smells worse.

tell you what, if you have ever had a transformer overheat and start to smoke, you would understand. I saw this happen to a big ole 100 horse electric motor once, it froze, overheated, shorted and smoked to high heaven. . MAN did the place get rank.

alright, I'll take your word for it. THe only transformer I ever broke was about the size of a quarter and just made a big spark and scared me, lol. I hate resetting breakers, i just don't like the feeling.

Haha, I'll put your name and eMail on a piece of tape and stick it to the motor :p Funny somewhat related story... Today I bought components to make a vacuum limit switch - 15A switch, 15A receptacle, male/female plug ends, junction box... I already have a 16A micro switch, some 3 wire cable, syringes... Hopefully, I'll have planned this out right and everything will go to plan :D