Angela, our Senior Electrician was called to a job with an emulsion pump out of order. The pump had been used the previous day and there had been rain over the last few days. The pump controls and variable speed drive were fitted inside a weatherproof enclosure which was mounted outdoors. All wiring ran inside through properly sealed ducts and there was no obvious reason why the unit should stop working. An initial inspection by Angela showed the variable speed drive had failed so she disconnected and removed it for replacement. A cursory inspection inside the drive revealed the cause of the failure …
There had been a visitor. A gecko had crawled inside to enjoy the warmth but had shorted out the electrical supply to the variable speed drive and blown up the components. Voltage inside a variable speed drive can be in excess of 500V DC so unfortunately there was no hope for the gecko. Variable speed drives like this cost approximately $800 - $1000 to replace and with the reinstallation costs on top the whole exercise could run into a couple of thousand dollars, certainly an unwanted cost for an unwanted visitor.
On another occasion, a dead frog had been found caught up across busbars inside a large switchboard. There had been a draining pit below the switchboard which had not been drained. The frog caused arcing between itself and the busbars as well as carbonisation of the busbar cleats. Fortunately, the damage was relatively minor however the frog could have caused a blow up of the switchboard resulting in an entire switchboard failure with a cost of many thousands of dollars. In this case, holes had been left unsealed in the bottom of the board. It is not uncommon to also find geckos living inside switchboards as they are attracted to the high humidity and the warmth.
The moral of the story is that wildlife love to find ways into electrical equipment, however, frogs, geckos, and electrical equipment do not mix. Always check your electrical equipment regularly to avoid the costly replacements and repairs.
Ensure enclosures and switchboards are well sealed. Your valuable assets need to be maintained.
Electro Systems are Industrial electrical contractors located at Brendale in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. The company was incorporated in 1990 and has been operating since 1981. Electro Systems provide specialist electrical, PLC, and instrumentation systems in addition to general industrial, electrical installation, and maintenance.