Metric. Yes Or No? Explain Your Answer. - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

 DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum Metric. Yes or no? Explain your answer.
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03-29-2008, 07:31 AM   #1
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In the electrical world, there are kilovolts, millivolts, microfarads etc. All of these units are very simply multiples or divisions of 10, 100, 1 000 etc. Of course, there is "scientific notation", which greatly simplifies the "powers" of numbers. How about the decimal. Fractions are now rarely used & are cumbersome to add, subtract, multiply or divide. As an engineer, I've had some difficulty dealing with American units (that have not been converted to the Metric system). For example, US gallons is a very old measurement. I believe that it was adopted from the British but afterwards, the British changed this measurement to Imperial gallons.

Anyway, Australia has been Metric for over 30 years. Actually, my grandmother who is now 85 years old, was instrumental in assisting with the slow transition from the difficult Imperial system to the simple Metric system. Her job was to make sure that retailers in our area, had changed their measuring equipment within a fixed period of time (about 2 years). Even at 85, she is fully conversant with both systems but she prefers Metric. Why? It's a thousand times easier than the old system.

Even though I grew up learning both systems, I can honestly say that the Metric system is by far the easiest to use.

What do you think?

http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/internat.htm

http://www.ukma.org.uk/why/myths.htm

http://www.ukma.org.uk/why/myths.htm#cost

http://www.ukma.org.uk/why/myths.htm#usa

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03-29-2008, 08:33 AM   #2
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I grew up and at mid span the switch happened, I can recite most imperial and metric designations as I was taught conversion tables before I was actually taught what metric is.

Converting 300 million people is no easy task in the US

I remember when I first moved to the US I had not done any conversions for over 20 years, concrete in Canada was always in meters and I could always calc out my meters without any problems, first project here I needed 150 meters...somehow my rusty conversion came out at 180 yds...obviously I was a little short and the riches I was looking at originially just were not there.

The numbers are large in metric i.e. 4x8 sheet goods are approx. 2400x4800, most people can't comprehend that number, can't envision it and think holy cow that's hugh...can you deliver?

A 2x4 is a standard term, who wants to ask for 5x10's?

The relationship between measurements in metric is easier to calculate and cross reference between each other, i.e. 1 liter of water will weigh 1 kilogram. water will freeze at 0 and boil at 100 degrees celcius. All the metric people worked together to integrate everything, standard is another story, looks like people all over the map were working on it. Seems like some guy in corner A had a container and said this is a gallon, corner B made a temp scale and made his temp before he got the gallon of water and tried to boil it, but when he did and it did boil his scale read 212, so water boils at 212. There is no consistancy, but we all know how it works...and that makes it not broken.

I have an advantage on job sites now, some product shipped in from a foriegn country will be in metric...I have the tape measure everyone wants to use.

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 03-29-2008, 10:42 AM #3 " Euro " electrician     Join Date: Apr 2006 Location: WI & France { in France for now } Posts: 5,369 Rewards Points: 2,000 I used to live in France before and i got used with both metric and standard mesurements and with wire size as well i do go back and forth with both MM2 and AWG size but very instering part for tempture rating on electrical devices they used metric so pretty much universal allover the places sure i go get alot of equmient from European area and they run alot of metric stuff in there and not too long ago one GC pestering me for the metric tape mesureing devices but for wire colour codes that diffrent story i will leave it out for now most of my bleuprints i normally print out i used with metric mesurement first then second set for standard mesurement in case some guys cant figre it out Merci,Marc

 03-29-2008, 12:17 PM #4 Idiot Emeritus   Join Date: Mar 2008 Location: Fernley, Nevada (near Reno) Posts: 1,849 Rewards Points: 1,492 The metric system does indeed make alot of sense. Other than having to learn a new system, I have only two problems. 1) It's easy for me to picture kilo's and mega's, but I have trouble with mili's and micro's. Maybe since I'm right-handed, I just can't think on the right side of the decimal point. lol. 2) I just cannot get past the fact that a meter is a device to measure, not a unit of measurement. Gomer: "We need 800 meters." Clem: "I got 4 of 'em, I didn't know they made 800 of 'em" Some of the metric stuff I do pretty good on, others not so hot. If someone asks me for a 10mm wrench, I know to look for one about 3/8". If however, they tell me somehing is 50 meters away, I haven't a clue. I got out of high school in 1974, and I can remember them telling us "you might as well throw your USA tools away, it'll all be metric next year." 35 years later, most stuff made here is still US standards. I think alot of us are willing to accept change, but there's just some stuff thats so ingrained into our way of thinking that it's simply not worth it. Consider the penny; basically worthless, but still in use. Rob
 03-29-2008, 12:22 PM #5 Member   Join Date: Oct 2007 Posts: 2,294 Rewards Points: 1,000 I was taught the basics of metrics in grade school....about 1962. It made sense and I am still waiting for the conversion that was coming. My guess is that when gasoline gets a little higher they will convert so they can price it by the liter and confuse us into thinking it's cheaper.
 03-30-2008, 02:08 AM #6 Res Ipsa Loquitur   Join Date: Dec 2007 Location: Southeastern PA Posts: 363 Rewards Points: 250 Metric is great to calculate and use the same denominations between different forms such as liquids, length and mass. The problem is that we get hung up on the conversions from US standards. Back in my grade school days we had a discussion about making items in metric versus trying to find the US equivalent. At that time is was agreed we should just convert and forget about matching between std and metric. It happened with 2 liter soda bottles & liter water bottles yet no one seems to be having problems with that! __________________ Did you ever stop to think, then forget to start again?
 03-30-2008, 10:54 AM #7 Licensed Electrician     Join Date: Feb 2008 Location: central wisconsin Posts: 989 Rewards Points: 514 I think it is a vast conspiracy. I now need 2 sets of sockets, wrenches, allen keys, etc. And two brains, one for wire temperature and electrical calculations, and another for whether I need my long johns and how far it is to the job site.
03-30-2008, 02:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by 220/221 I My guess is that when gasoline gets a little higher they will convert so they can price it by the liter and confuse us into thinking it's cheaper.
I hooked up a digital gas price sign the other day. I told the supplier I think they are making a huge mistake by not including a "10's" position on the money portion. With the way it is going, \$10/ gal is not out of the realm of us seeing it.

Remember when they breached the \$1/gal mark and many of the pumps could not be priced for >99.9 cents/gal so they priced it by the 1/2 gallon?

I have absolutely no problem CHANGING to the metric system. What I have a problem with, and what I see most people having a problem with is CONVERTING from standard to metric.

People will look at a 1lb loaf of bread for a \$1.50 but after a conversion to metric, they would be buying a .456 kilo of bread for the same price. The problem comes with they will want to convert that rather than accept that the loaf of bread they picked up that happens to weigh .456 kilo is \$1.50. Then to top it off, the standard package will probably change somewhat and they are then calculating cents/ounce originally and the figuring cents/kilo and then converting one to the other and comparing prices.

We will have to (dare I say this) have to have faith that our government and the merchants will act in a fair manner and watch out for our well being until we are comfortable with the different units of measure and understand what is a good price or not.

I see handyman has posted a similar position.

Maybe we are on to something here.

 03-30-2008, 04:37 PM #9 Member   Join Date: Feb 2008 Location: Atlanta, Ga/Hamilton, Al Posts: 2,487 Rewards Points: 2,350 The only metric "intuition" I don't have is temperature. I have no problem with meters, liters, or kilograms etc. But, if someone says it is 26 C outside, I know it is warm, but I can't gauge just how warm it is. I like the SI system and have learned it in school. I even had a phase in my teens when I tried to convert everyone that would listen to the metric system! But I am nostalgic in a way for the American version of the Imperial British measures. My two qualms with a complete true conversion: 1) the "standard" SI system doesn't use centimeters. Everything is either meters or millimeters. I like centimeters, but it isn't "proper" to use cm in any technical way. Dammit, I want to use centimeters! 2) Old wise sayings don't sound nearly as good in metric: "Give'em a centimeter and they'll take a kilometer". Or "that's a kilometerstone we haven't crossed yet". Or "a liter's a kilogram the world around". Or "a gram of prevention is worth a kilogram of cure". Or "In for a euro, in for a kilogram". Or "After dinner, rest awhile. After supper, walk a kilometer" Or "15 milliliters of honey will catch more flies than liter of vinegar". InPhase277
 03-30-2008, 04:52 PM #10 ICF Construction   Join Date: Oct 2007 Posts: 314 Rewards Points: 250 My metric temperature meter <0 - Put on a wool hat, jacket and some gloves 0 - Put on a jacket and some gloves 10 - spring jacket, bring a sweatshirt if it's breezy 16 - Down to a t-shirt by 10:00am if it's sunny 20 - Down to a t-shirt by 8:00am if it's sunny 26 - Walk out the door in a t-shirt >30 - Bring many liters of water to work that day __________________ Chris
03-30-2008, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by InPhase277 "In for a euro, in for a kilogram".InPhase277
of course the original idiom is "in for a penny, in for a pound" but you misunderstand the reference. A penny, of course is an amount of money but a pound is not in reference to a measure of weight but in reference to the British monetary unit of money signified by the symbol £.

03-30-2008, 06:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chris Johnson My metric temperature meter <0 - Put on a wool hat, jacket and some gloves 0 - Put on a jacket and some gloves 10 - spring jacket, bring a sweatshirt if it's breezy 16 - Down to a t-shirt by 10:00am if it's sunny 20 - Down to a t-shirt by 8:00am if it's sunny 26 - Walk out the door in a t-shirt >30 - Bring many liters of water to work that day
you see, with the spread of a mere 30 degrees, you are going from full winter gear to runnin nekkid through the sprinkler.

with the Fahrenheit scale, a 4 degree difference is nothing to go change your clothes for.

03-30-2008, 07:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by nap a 4 degree difference is nothing to go change your clothes for.

yea, I used to keep the same clothes on between -36c and -40c
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 03-30-2008, 07:35 PM #14 Electrical Contractor     Join Date: Jun 2004 Location: Newnan GA Posts: 6,978 Rewards Points: 552 Remember when they quit selling quart softdrinks and starting liter drink. You can go into the same store, buy a 10oz, 20oz, 1 liter or 2 liter drink. Whe I was in the army, every distance was in meters. I never had a problem knowing how many kilcks it took to make a mile. Reading a map by 10's was easier also. __________________ "The problem isn't that Hillary Clinton lies. We all know she lies. The problem is that her supporters don't seem to care"
03-30-2008, 07:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by nap of course the original idiom is "in for a penny, in for a pound" but you misunderstand the reference. A penny, of course is an amount of money but a pound is not in reference to a measure of weight but in reference to the British monetary unit of money signified by the symbol £.
Of course you are right, but it is still funny.

InPhase277

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