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One for the pros, how young did you start, just curious?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by Robin0577, 17 Feb 2013.

  1. Robin0577

    Robin0577

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    Just for the sake of curiosity, and as a sort of follow on from older threads such as this one, http://www.diynot.com/forums/electrics/so-who-are-electricians.294883/page-5#2148348 a question for all those here who are either fully qualified sparks or hold some formal electrical or electronic engineering qualifications....

    How many of you learned the very basics of electrical circuits, long before your formal training by experimenting as a child either with some kind of electrical or electronic experimenter kit, other ahem... "less structured experiments" or as an adjunct to the use of some other electrical toys, i.e train or scalextric sets, R/C models, lego/mechano models, dolls house lights etc. etc.

    How many of you entered your formal training without any such basic understanding from your youth?

    I'm most definitely in the first category and I suspect that the majority will be. I remember my primary school teachers thinking I would become an electrician** and I just wanted to see how early on others had shown their future career path.

    **for the purposes of this thread I'm using the widest possible definition of "electrician", one that includes pretty much any job in the field of electrical & electronic engineering.
     
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  3. Spark123

    Spark123

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    I served my time as an Electrical & Instrumentation Tradesman, starting when I was 16. Before then I had tinkered about with electronics and could put together basic circuit boards at secondary school. I remeber playing around with one of those Tandy 200-in-1 electroncs kits years before that! I used to have buckets of lego too
     
  4. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

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    I used to mess about with a 1.5V battery, a little switch and a lamp and lamp holder. I think I got fascinated following a primary school science lesson.

    I did a GCSE in electronics.

    At 15 years old I did work experience at a local electrical contractors for two weeks, and after that they offered me some work in the school holidays. Following that I was offered an apprenticeship, and was working full time for them before I even received my GCSE results. I have been doing it in one form or another ever since.
     
  5. ericmark

    ericmark

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    My dad was a mechanical engineer running a set of four power stations inside a steel works and I mean power stations they controlled not only electrical power but also air, steam, and at least two different gases. So from about 6 year old played with electric. By 12 years old built crystal sets and by 13 I was selling Clive Sinclair kits I was building to fellow students until the teachers worked our they were not hearing aids.

    However on leaving school well moved to college as "O" levels not done in my school I became a motor mechanic with local council and from there became an auto electrician. Learnt how to repair traffic lights and was employed by a submersible pump firm who also did traffic lights which was my first move into professional 415 volt work.

    From there I flitted between 415 volt and 12/24 volt for quite a few years. It was working abroad were the comment was it's electric your an electrician fix it. The buck stopped at my door there was often no one else to turn to I just had to fix it and in the kitchens if I failed there would be loads of hungry men.

    It was the same when I moved to programming PLC's guy employed to do it had a heart attack so no option I had to learn quick. Touched on many specialist areas from tunnel boring machines to PMR radio. Never really got into high voltage did a little work abroad but never in charge. Worked on generators from small 1.5kva to the 600MW at Sizewell B.

    Once I finished working I went back to University and got my degree in electrical and electronic engineering. I did at one point sit in on some lessons at college when studying IT but the lessons were so basic no way could I have stuck at them. Fellow students did not know iron was a conductor how the lecturer kept his temper I don't know?

    Apprenticeship deeds say I am an engineering craftsman and don't say is mechanical or electrical and suppose my written qualifications were as Auto Electrician and C&G 2381, 2382, 2391 but no one seemed to care what bits of paper I had.

    Titles also changed from Auto Electrician, Electrician, Electrical Engineer, Alarm Engineer (No1), Advanced Electrician, even from time to time Mechanic.

    Away from work also took my Radio Amateur Examination and became a radio ham (VP8BKM, GW7MGW and VR2ZEP in that order) my father-in-law was electrical project director for Liverpool Hospital Board and my son has also gone into the trade. Non of us were electricians to start with. My dad was an engine room artificer my father-in-law an undertaker and my son a cook. My son also into radio GW7PVD and now works in a glass bottle factory who are helping him get his degree now in final year. He of course has things like C&G 2391 and 2382 and before becoming a cook studied maths at University and with Dad and both Granddads in the trade really it was only to be expected he would move to our trades.

    Looking back in the family tree there have been engineers of some sort in the family as far back as we can go. Sir Charles Palmer and his brother George Palmer who I am direct descendent built the shipyard in Jarrow building the first screw collier. George designed the engines.
     
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  7. Taylortwocities

    Taylortwocities

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    From an early age, I always was messing about with light bulbs switches and batteries (Woolworths, of course) making all sorts of wonderful spaceship control panels, etc.

    Built a few radios (started with Heathkit) avid reader of Wireless World, practical wireless etc.

    Left school and joined GPO (Telecomms) as telephone apprentice as it gave me a career waving a screwdriver around.
    Spent 30 years in telecomms, datacomms and later data security (authentication/ encryption etc).

    IT industry left me behind as the DOTCOM bubble burst late in the 90's . Happy to give up trying to make the quarter's numbers for NASDAQ companies and decided to be a proper sparky at the age of 51.
    Did 3 years night school C&G 2360, 2391 etc etc while learning on the tools mostly working for myself.
    I've been a self-employed electrician ever since.

    So, take your pick 17, or 50 years old...
     
  8. Robin0577

    Robin0577

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    Thanks for the input guys, the answers so far seem to confirm my belief that most of us were tinkering with electrics as children or at least well before embarking on any formal training.

    My own answer of course is similar to most of yours, my father was/is a self employed motor mechanic and though in theory now retirement age he seems to suffer withdrawal symptoms if he hasn't touched a spanner for more than a few days. :LOL:
    He taught me how to handle basic tools safely at a very early age and more advanced ones as soon as he thought me physically capable of handling them. I'm not sure what made me become more interested in the electrical rather than mechanical side of things but by my early teens he was getting me to fit radios etc. to cars as he preferred the mechanical jobs. The toys I had as a child were almost all engineering related in some way, Hornby trains, Meccano, and the various kits to build your own crystal radio/morse buzzer/whatever, then progressing to Practical Electronics and similar magazines as I got a bit older.
     
  9. ricicle

    ricicle

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    16 years old but wanted to be an electrician before then after playing around with crystal sets, meccano, train sets, scalextric and wires/batteries/bulbs from a young age.
     
  10. bhm1712

    bhm1712

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    I started out at a young age, probably about 6 or 7 as my dad had ( and still has) an old Derby Corporation trolley-bus. I remember him asking me to help him clean the contactors one weekend when i went with him to his storage unit where he was restoring the bus. I think from that moment on i became interested in electrics/ mechanics. I always had various items like somebody else has said - 1.5v battery cell, lamp and lamp holder etc. Then i moved onto DIY electric kits like crystal radios, theremin kits and guitar fuzz boxes. I had been playing guitar from an early age and got into old valve amps which my parents lovingly bought for me over the years when i was too young to work and buy myself. Started stripping down engines and gearboxes about 11 years old and got called alot at school for not conforming to the playstation generation and the call of girlfriends etc when i was more happy at home in the garage replacing the head gaskets on a Rover V8 or sorting the timing out on the Bamford stationary engine which i managed to acquire, at the same time as refurbing an old 1960's Vox AC30 amp i had.

    At 17 after dropping out of college doing music and physics because it just wasnt me, i applied for a dual skilled apprenticeship at Boots Manufacturing Nottingham, and got the job. There i did a 4.5 year term in both electrical and mechanical engineering. After that finished i got a job in the electrical department and from then on have always been electrical. I went from electrical breakdown maintenance, to Controls and instrumentation and then onto PLC and HMI programming and became supervisor of a department which became the controls systems and automation department. I then decided to leave Boots due to change in company stance on UK home brand manufacturing and got a job with a global tobacco company as sytems and electrical specialist. Thats where i am now. So one could say now, i commit sin on a daily basis. But it pays extremely well and is the most satisfying job i have ever done.
     
  11. DIYnot Local

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