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  1. #1
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    Default Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Hi all;

    I came across this electrial wall outlet today.
    In one of three of these outlets is a plug, which appears to be a fuse of some type, but I am not sure. Please take a look at the attached photos. It has the brand "Sierra" molded into the "plug". Has anyone else seen these? Does anyone know what they are for?

    Thanks,

    Eric Lybeck

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Sierra Electric was a P&S/Legrand subsiduary, (the line has since been discontinued) my guess it is a antenna outlet.....


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    I believe that might be a rotor (antena) control box connection. Cord from outlet to control box you kept on top of TV set (or as "space command" showed up for the TV set you might keep the rotor control box nearer the armchair) so you could use dial to rotate antena to get signal for different channel broadcast from different direction. Now its done remotely with cordless & digital precision with memory settings to a tuner box.

    Multiple locations in room perhaps so TV could be placed in other locations depending on furniture arrangement, only one cord needed as box's location would change.


  4. #4
    Cobra Cook's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Was the wiring in the house Knob and tube?


  5. #5
    Donnie Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Just curious, does it have power going to it?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    whether this is an older signal remote for an antenna rotator or a reverse cord cap (ones I remember had the pins on the cord cap not the wall outlet) for 300 ohm (twin lead) ribbon antenna signal connection it should be removed and deactivated.

    The ribbon (twin lead) had less than a 20 yr useful life - usually much less, and required special install including offset from any metal and twisting (x twists per x feet) to avoid interferance, rotor cable had similar limited useful life and older systems were not grounded (next standard was three-lead cable - third for grounding (earthing). Some rotor cable (5-lead) included power vs. power supply up at the rotor and controller.

    With todays expanded electrical usage and electronics in the home 300 Ohm ribbon cable (leakage, interferrance) and ungrounded rotor cable (for antenna rotator - ungrounded, and beyond useful life) are ancient and not to todays safety standards. Now with OTA having gone digital - you'd find using the archic system impossible without upgrading to a modern controller - which all I've seen work with 75 ohm coax or R cable, etc. so you'd have more signal losses and interferrance potential with all the 300 Ohm to 75 ohm transformer/connectors likely not going to work resulting in nasty pictures. Plus ungrounded antenna system - not good.

    I suppose there's a chance its some sort of reverse C type very old european converter outlet but I don't think so. I suppose the antenna rotor might have been for Radio (amature radio - i.e. HAM) operator's broadcast signal/reception antenna, not just OTA Television reception. The HAM guys used to do all kinds things with post WWII surplus and CD equipment too - so some of the adpaters and such they used were especially funky and specialized, a lot of old HAMs were set up to still broadcast and receive without POCO power - i.e. battery, generator, etc. Including controlling their directional antennas at their base station often up on high towers.

    I think the "Sierra" was next known as "High Sierra" and may still exist.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-18-2009 at 09:20 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Thanks for the input to everyone.

    There is no voltage to either pin, and the idea of antenna hook up sounds reasonable, as this home (built in 1975) has an old antenna on the roof, and is in a remote location that would have required max antenna performance to get any type of quality signal.

    Thanks again,

    Eric


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post

    I think the "Sierra" was next known as "High Sierra" and may still exist.

    Sierra Electric through the years....

    McDonald Mfg. Los Angeles CA "the Sierra line" (1950's)

    Sierra Electric Corp.

    Sierra Electric /Sola Basic Industries

    Sierra Electric Pass & Seymour/Legrand

    The line was discontinued about 1999-2000, they also had bought Slater, so would guess 1 had to go instead of 2 lines of wall plates.

    High Sierra is a clothing line


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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    "High Sierra" was/is a line of antennas and their accessories esp. HF for mobile and base Amature radio enthusiasts, screwdriver type (tuneable), etc. From what I've found on a few HAM sites, they're still out there. The El Dorado High Sierra package seems to be a favorite for base station usage by those living in communities with strict CC & R prohibitions.

    I was basing my mention on memory - it took some doing but I tracked this down:

    From their "about us" page:
    High Sierra Antennas is a division of Heath Tech Inc; a California corporation. High Sierra Antennas is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Nevada County, California. Production of antennas and accessories began in this historic gold mining area in 1993. This is a very beautiful part of California. It is mountainous and heavily forested. Temperatures range from below freezing to the mid 90's. High Sierra Antennas is located near the gold rush towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley.

    .....
    Our first major product, the motorized antenna has existed for decades. If you look in QST magazines in the mid to late 1950's you will find ads for a screwdriver antenna. Two guys were marketing the design. Later, those antennas were sold by Swan under the name Swantenna in the 1960's. While Jim, W6LG worked for Electronic City, sold Swantennas at that store. You will find a copy of a June 1963 QST showing two different motorized antennas. A company did obtain a patent for the same design in the 1970's. The company is no longer in business and that patent has long since expired. So it is a myth that one guy invented the motorized antenna. And, that myth persists.

    Beginning in 1993, it was High Sierra Antennas that really popularized the motorized antenna. The company has run ads in QST since that time and the company has attended hundred of shows across the country. Early on at shows, guys would stop just to look at the antenna go up and down. They had never seen anything like it. Now that High Sierra has established the motorized antenna as a great antenna for home and mobile use, attending shows around the country is just not possible.

    http://www.hamcq.com/index.php (Link to High Sierra).

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 12-19-2009 at 12:40 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Mr. Watson seems to be correct regarding the antenna company, but that's the Sierra Electric type font that Lee Bordner's ad agency (Ripley, in LA I think) came up with. I seem to recall seeing the patent drawing not too long ago and it was asigned to Sierra Electric Corp. of Gardena, CA.

    Last edited by Eric Ramsing; 07-30-2010 at 10:46 PM. Reason: misspelling

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Speaking of odd receptacles: from last week, first time I've seen these.

    Ungrounded first floor receptacle outlets of various styles and energized K&T in the basement... leaves you wondering what's in the walls and ceilings...

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Speaking of odd receptacles: from last week, first time I've seen these.

    Ungrounded first floor receptacle outlets of various styles and energized K&T in the basement... leaves you wondering what's in the walls and ceilings...
    I will sometimes pull a cover and see if the walls are lath and plaster. If so, it's a good bet the K+T is still there too.

    I have no idea why you would need a 4 prong plug. Maybe for 2 slim plugs?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Electrical wall outlet - Odd - What is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Speaking of odd receptacles: from last week, first time I've seen these.

    Ungrounded first floor receptacle outlets of various styles and energized K&T in the basement... leaves you wondering what's in the walls and ceilings...
    M.T.,

    I haven't seen one of those types in a long time. Goes way back. One of the types not "grandfathered" - must be removed/disabled.


    Before standardization, there were more than one 2-pin configurations for plugs and socket/plugs and wiring clusters adapters.

    Most of us are familiar with the Hubbell (sp?) design with the blades parallel on two planes (type 1) but there were the socket adapters and plugs with the blades in-line and other designs for caps and socket adapters/cluster adapters and therefore 2-in and 3-in one receptacles before NEMA standardizations, etc. (type 1, 2, etc.) Type 2 not allowed in res. for decades.



    That type receptacle (which provided for four devices) each side could accept two of such to be inserted on each side. I do not recall at the moment if the receptacle device was at the time limited to 10A or 15A for 125V but I believe it was a 10A protection max configuration for 125V/250V. {early "sockets" circuits (lighting and wiring "clusters"/sockets)were limited to 10A}. Each half is a 2-way duplex for spring blades of 2 different configurations (again IIRC). I do not recall the mfg/patent. IIRC the standardization to 15A protection minimums for lighting showed up sometime in the 20s or 30s. At points in the 50s and 60s additional restrictions for residential and receptacle types/configurations permitted.

    There were some 120V appliances which had plugs in-line plane for two blades (which used socket adapters for connection in the early days) and 250V appliances connected that way.

    These go back to the time where "socket" type appliances and lamps were still in common use, and their various adapters for use with bladed receptacles, socket/plug adapters, etc. both 250v and 125v.

    Early lamps and appliances (both resistive and motor - such as household fans, fans with heaters (cores or "bulbs") were made for the early DC electrification, or (chicago) AC electrification, and some fans for example were made to work in Either DC or AC, not always requiring a cap, pin or socket adapter to connect to the household "outlet".

    Either way, the 2-way four device multi-outlet is obsolete, unsafe by todays standards, and should be remediated (and the wiring/circuit path design of the "outlet"). Obviously an ungrounded metal face plate is unsafe also. Following some old catalog pages on other vintage "receptacles" from the early electrification knob-and-tube era.

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    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-01-2010 at 10:44 AM. Reason: photo re-upload problem with original.

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