By Pranjal Pokharel

Event Coverage Head of The Zerone 2020

Photos by: LOCUS Photography

A group of 5 students have gathered around their instructor. Before them is the ‘magnum opus’ of the Home Electrification 2020 – a practical model of bulbs, wires and MCB connected in a circuit to simulate house wiring. The connection seems alright on board, but one of the bulbs connected to the two-way switch fails to glow. The instructor ponders over it and changes one of the bulb holders. Voila! It works and the looks of confusion on their faces change to elation. One of them even lifts the circuit board in the air in what you’d call a declaration of conquest. Rest of the participants don’t seem too bothered by it. They are busy themselves; twisting the wires into the switches, arranging the bulbs on top of the board, working their way beneath to lay down the live and neutral wires. An ‘electrifying’ atmosphere indeed.

“To tell you the truth, whatever you learn during the workshop can be done by technicians, probably much better than the participants. But the thing about electricians is that they have become masters at their craft through practice, something that is not regularly accessible to engineering students, “ Madan Thapa, Electrical Coordinator of LOCUS 2020, says, “As such, Home Electrification provides an ideal practice scenario for students before they start debugging faulty wires at their homes. The students don’t just mug up the difference between a one-way switch and a two-way switch; for example, they must successfully demonstrate the connection of bulbs through both types of switches before we move on to the next topic. Why does sparking occur in power sockets, especially when high voltage consuming appliances are connected? Because, the high voltage generates enough energy to ionize the nearby air itself. Why do we need to make the ground pin thicker in comparison? How do you connect wires with 3 cores? While we provide answers to several such questions, practice, backed by adequate technical knowledge, is the cornerstone of our workshop.”

Who says theory and practical can't go hand-in-hand?

Home Electrification is a relatively new addition to the long list of LOCUS Events, in the sense that this is only its second edition following the inaugural event last year. But by no means is it any less significant. Conducted jointly under LOCUS 2020 , Electrical Club (Pulchowk Campus) and Free Students’ Union (FSU) 2073, Pulchowk Campus, it is one of the few events that has immediate practical implementations upon completion. The upgraded syllabus that includes understanding house wiring systems, connecting the live and neutral wires at power sockets and switches, calculating power consumption by various loads at home, three-phase power supply, safety while working with live wires, solving problems related to MCBs to name just a few, is relatable to people even from non-technical fields; people who simply want to avoid the hassle of calling an electrician every time they need to replace a damaged switch.

FOCUS! A participant in one of the practical sessions.

Pradeep Adhikari, first-year Civil Engineering (BCE) student and a participant at the workshop, agrees - “The workshop does appeal to students from departments other than computer, electronics and electrical. As a civil engineer, I will, at some point, have to work with electrical engineers in the field. If I already have some basic idea about the building wiring system, it will certainly help me coordinate much better with them in the future. It is certainly exciting to know what goes on beneath the plasters of the wall, although I did hope the syllabus delved a bit deeper than the simplified format we are currently being taught.”

Last year, the syllabus was oriented towards students from every year of engineering studies and as a result, the number of participants was quite high. While initially expecting the number of participants to decrease, the final count was a respectable 120 students in total, almost evenly distributed in the morning and evening shifts. With one of the categories of LOCUS Projects being electrical, the workshop aims to instill some basic practices in students who are interested in demonstrating an electrical project in the main event. After an hour of lecture on the topic to be covered for the day, a practical demonstration is done – an example being the demonstration of working of MCBs during short circuit conditions. Through such practical presentations, it is hoped that students can realize the circuit in practice as well as adhere to the safety measures they will need before working on the connections.

Hands-on approach exemplified. Participants observing the working principle of a tubelight.

Pratyush Poudel, the president of the Electrical Club, explains the role of the club during the event, “The role of the club as organizers of Home Electrification 2020 can be summarized in three main points – providing the necessary hardware/equipment such as soldering rods and dc supply, working as volunteers/assistant instructors during the 6-day event and marketing. Most of the instructors this year were a part of the club last year. Something we’ll need to work on during the event next year would be the coordination among the organizing committee; not at all bad this year, but we did have some miscommunication regarding the syllabus.” Asked for a brief introduction to the club, he replies, “Electrical Club represents all the electrical engineering students of Pulchowk Campus, working to establish themselves in this field through research and projects. We’ll also be involved in other electrical events to follow, such as Circuit Fabrication and Basic Circuit Design, so watch out for that!”

Free Students’ Union (FSU) 2073 President, Roshan Thapa Magar, is all smiles on the morning of day 6. The workshop has been officially concluded, with the certificates now firmly in the hands of the participants. There is a rough drawing of the interior of a house on the white board, with black lines of live and neutral wires traversing through switches in different rooms and into the light bulbs. Beneath the board are switches, bundles of wire, bulbs and the models the participants have prepared for the day. With a proud look on his face, Roshan Thapa Magar provides the closing remarks for the program – “When the FSU committee of 2073 was convened, one of the first agendas on the table was the lack of adequate electrical department-related programs. Home Electrification was created out of that need last year. The FSU has always promised to provide financial support for programs beneficial to the all-round development of the students of Pulchowk Campus, and so we will continue playing our part in similar future events to follow. The future is yours to change, fellow engineers!”

Faces glowing as bright as the bulbs. Participants after completing the final circuit.

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