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Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick’s blog about his electrician course: July 2011

Nick Sims is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills and is one of our Bright Sparks bloggers. You can read all of Nick’s blogs on here or follow him on Twitter at

Here’s Nick’s latest blog:

Well it’s been a busy month again, the time just goes by. A month ago from today I asked my girlfriend to be my fiancée and she said yes, and we are both very happy together, engaged. We plan to have a long engagement as there is no rush to get married, it just makes our relationship stronger and that’s the way we both like it.

So now I’ve got workbook 3 from T4TS, and that’s great, except I should have really been doing, or have done my practical weeks 3 and 4. I phoned the centre and talked to Barry, he said to carry on with the workbook and phone the training centre to get dates for my weeks 3 and 4.

I now have the dates, which pleased to get as they run together, one week after the other. They did offer me a date in October to do week 3 but not sure when I could have got week 4’s date. My dates have now been confirmed as week 3, 5th of December and week 4 on the 12th of December. This gives me a nice bit of time to save up for the accommodation, and also to go over my previous TMA’s from the past year, to gen up and secure my knowledge in readiness for the practicals in December.

The venue for me will be Southampton which is great because there is a B&B that I stayed at last time that wasn’t far away, and the landlady was really nice and easy to talk to, and the fried breaky in the morning is second to none, apart from my partners fry up, of course!!

I’m also glad to have got these dates because when I did weeks 1 and 2 there was a guy there that had done all 32 modules, but hadn’t attended any practical weeks!! This was his unfortunate downfall, as most of the knowledge he had gained was lost because of the length of time, and not having attended at the right times, I don’t think it was his fault but then I don’t think he understood what was required as you progress through the course.

Till next time.



Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick talks Learning Lounge, TMA’s and poker in latest blog

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianIf you are a regular reader of Nick’s blog, you will know that he is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. You can read all of Nick’s previous blogs on Train4TradeSkills News, and follow him on Twitter at as well.


Well it’s been busy again, no rest for the wicked. I seem to flip from looking at a business plan, and what’s involved there, to a lot of studying.


I’m currently on the last module of my workbook which is TMA18, my last TMA result was another good one so I’m pleased with that, I think if I were to go back over the workbook as I did the TMA, I would probably get an even better result, but what I do is by memory, which I think proves how much I’ve read has sunk into my little head.


I’ve started a new kind of hobby in tracing my birth parents, I’m finding that very time consuming and spend many hours at the library using they’re ‘find my past’ site, which is free at the library but is around £80 a year to any other.


I’ve been speaking to the other student bloggers on Facebook and it is a good medium to try and get some hints and tips with the courses that we are doing. Cliff has got me hooked into Texas Hold’em poker which is very addictive, luckily it’s not real money otherwise I’d be broke! Well I did help him out of a glitch with scenarios so I guess that makes us even, LOL.


I’ve been logged into the learning lounge non stop, there is so much to learn, and it’s so easy to understand as they, Dave Austin and Tony Cable, demonstrate real life situations and explain in real plain English. I’ve managed to download a couple of the videos to my phone and they play amazingly well so I can look at that them anytime, which is really helpful.


Till next time.



Nick lets us know how his electrical training is going in latest blog

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianI seem to get busier and busier each week, and believe me when I say they pass rather quickly. I have completed my 17th TMA, and feel really good about it.

I have subscribed to the and have found a massive wealth of informational videos contained therein. The only problem I have at the moment is that the connection I have is a bit slow, so every 10-15 seconds the video stops and buffers up the next part of the video to watch, what I might do at some point is use my parents connection as they have broadband.

There are little quizzes too on some of the videos that you watch which is really good because I does test your knowledge as you go.

I went onto and bought a BS7671 DVD, this goes through all the sections of the Wiring Regs, and I found that to be extremely useful, of course they star Dave Austin and Tony Cable, and I find them very easy to understand.

Recently my girlfriend and I went to a car boot and I have picked up a few things. I bought a non-working drill for a quid…. found the fault to be the battery pack, and is now a working drill, yippee saved some money there. I also spotted a room stat and bought that for 50 pence along with a couple of sockets… bargain!!

I’ve introduced my mum to the world of Ebay, and now is hooked, and I have been buying stuff for her whilst we set-up her own account with Paypal, my mum collects ornamental musicians, of which she has accumulated hundreds of sets, and all are in a display cabinet/s.

Well that’s it for now, I’m going to do more revision, look briefly at setting up a business, which has a low priority now, and await my result for TMA17.

Till next time.



You can take a look at Nick’s website at  and follow him on Twitter at


Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick talks electrical assignments, new circuits and 3D modelling in latest blog

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianIf you are a regular reader of Nick’s blog, you will know that he is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. Nick blogs about what is going on with his course and here’s his latest blog:

If you are a fan of Nick’s blog, you can always follow him on Twitter at

Well I’ve been doing a fair bit of revising this week – which sometimes seems to carry on and on. I’ve got the result back from TMA15, not a bad one, but I still felt I could have done better. I got 80%, my lowest yet.

I got caught out on an ‘all of the above’ answer and a few misreading or misunderstandings on my part. This next section of the workbook seems quite lengthy before I submit another TMA.

In my spare time I’ve made a traffic light circuit on a breadboard with LED’s, it helped me occupy my mind and concentrate on something else, but I won’t be using it in any of my electrical circuit projects. I did it just for a bit fun really, I used couple of old IC’s and LED’s that I’ve had for years. I got the circuit diagram from a website that is listed in the workbook in module 16, from quickly flipping through some of the pages to see what’s next for this module.

I still haven’t heard from the Gas Engineers yet, but I’m having an annual boiler/gas check next Tuesday so I’ll ask again then when they arrive.

I’ve done some more 3D modelling and almost completed enough to start making up some circuits in 3DSMax. When I’ve done a circuit I’ll post a picture here so you can see the result of what I’ve done.

Till next time,


Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick talks studying, old boilers and practicing electrics in latest blog

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianNick Sims is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills and is one of our student bloggers.

You can follow Nick on Twitter at  and check out his website at

Here’s Nick’s latest blog:

Well I’ve been very busy, got through progress check 5 from section 2 part B.

I’ve been using a package called 3DSMax lately, taking the step further from practice boards to the computer. I’ve modelled some switches that later I’ll use to construct a circuit within the package, some pictures are enclosed, and they’ll be up on my website ( ) under the modelling tag in the photo gallery section.

I’m still revising hard and am enjoying it, obviously there’s a few quirks in the literature but you can get over them with a quick email to the tutor, or using common sense.

Nick's work on 3DSMax

There’s literally a few pages to go until the next TMA which is number 15. So I’m looking forward to getting there and getting results back from it, hopefully good ones.

I’ve completed my circuit layout for the central heating system which I’ve tailored to fit switches instead of the room stat, boiler stat and am going to use neon lights for a boiler indicator, i.e. whether the central heating is on or just hot water.

As I’ve not heard back from my Gas Engineer as to whether he can help me out with this yet. Actually I’ve just rung them, they said they’ll be in touch when they get any old boilers, then I can go up to their work place and rip one apart, yippeeee, get stuck into that I will.

Till next time.


Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick blogs about test rigs, his new website and electrical training

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianNick Sims is training to become an electrician and is one of our Train4TradeSkills student bloggers. Every week Nick tells us how he is finding his course and what he’s been up to.

Here’s Nick’s latest blog:

Well to start I’ve reviewed all the work I’ve done since November 2009. I looked back on what I’ve accomplished, it’s rather astounding the amount of work that’s been put in, to get this far.

From the very beginning I made little test rigs, then on to bigger ones and told others about it, who have seemed to follow suit, which is really great. You don’t have to pay out a lot for any equipment really; it’s just finding the time to complete projects.

Just by going to your local Electricity board, or Gas board engineers (the one’s that visit your home to do the checks) you can ask for old or obsolete items quite easily, many are cooperative and hand gadgets and bits to you for free, so long as you tell them what it’s for, that’s how I started.

And some time ago, I mentioned going to B&Q, they usually have some sort of sale going on in the electrical department.

This also brings me onto what else I’ve been doing, I’ve updated my website with a new video of one of my first rigs that simulated a water valve turning on via a timer switch and a 240V fan, and an example of isolation on the board (240V stepper motor attached to a switch which operated an infra-red emitter led to an infra-red receiver) the only sounds you get are me switching things on and off, and no commentary so sorry about that)

I’ve also added a few more pictures, heating rig that myself and another completed in Southampton and some pictures of a light strip in my parents kitchen that I installed, which was originally a fluorescent tube, you’ll notice an existing mark in the ceiling as to where it was.

I’ve been in touch with my regular Heating Engineers to see if they’ve got any old thermostats and valves, so I’m just waiting for them to get back to me on that.

In other news, I received my TMA14 and scored 90% which I’m really pleased with, although one of the questions that I did get wrong should have put more thought into it, and the other wrong question was a silly mistake – this can be a little frustrating as I end up kicking myself because of it!!!

Nevertheless I’m still ploughing through the workbook and progress checks with great vigour, so I feel quite on top of it all right now.

Till next time.


You can have a look at Nick’s website at  and follow him on Twitter at

The Train4TradeSkills Weekend Catch-Up: 28 Feb-7 March

In case you missed what’s going on during the week, Train4TradeSkills introduces the Weekly Catch-Up, which will have all of the best stories from our blogs (and a few others) and the latest plumbing, electrician and gas industry news from the last week.

1) The Best of our Student Blogs:

MONDAY: Stephen’s back with his latest blog about his Train4TradeSkills Plumbing Course –

THURSDAY: Nick talks about how his electrical course is progressing –

2) Gary Neville goes “Eh-Oh!”

FRIDAY:Ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville to build “Teletubbies” home – a zero-carbon, flower shaped home near Bolton –

3) What recession? Construction Industry has a good February

WEDNESDAY: February kind to construction as Industry goes from strength to strength –

FRIDAY: Global construction market looking good as $97.7 trillion to be spent by 2020 –

4) The best bits from Train4TradeSkills Radio

TUESDAY: Anis Ahmed speaks to Train4TradeSkills Radio and Tom Jinks about his plumbing course –

THURSDAY: Train4TradeSkills speak to Mohammed Rashid about training to be a plumber

5)  It’s good/It’s bad – I’m confused – Constant bitching plagues Green Deal plans

WEDNESDAY: Government shirks out of dealing with Low Carbon Report and delays decision till May (CN Plus)

THURSDAY: Expert says Green Deal is “accident waiting to happen” (Construction News) –


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Follow us on Twitter

Listen to T4TS Radio

Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick talks about how his electrical course is progressing

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianNick Sims is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. Nick blogs about how he is finding his electrical course and all the practical experience he is undertaking.

In his last electrical blog, Nick was talking about the electrical experience he was getting and how he was preparing to submit a new TMA for his course. Here’s Nick’s latest Bright Sparks Blog:

Well there’s been some progress this week, I completed my 13th TMA, sent it off and got it back. It was a difficult one, I got 83%, mainly because there were a few questions that I guessed at, because I thought I knew. Still not a bad mark, considering I haven’t had my head down fully in the books.

I also received Section 2 Part B Workbook, and I immediately got my nose into it. I’ve done TMA14 and am awaiting the result for that. This time is shuffling round the Code of Practice and Guidance Note 3 books and EAWR 1989. So I’ve got new wind in my sails.

I’ve skipped through the rest of the Workbook to see what’s in store and it seems that there’s a load of progress checks before TMA15, there’s 4 TMA’s to do in this book, and it’s really thick!

As you may or may not notice, from time to time I update my website with new content, not regularly enough though, as I’ve still got more videos to put on it and more pictures from when I was at Southampton on my practical training.

Of course I’ve got to fit all my study around playing Unreal Tournament 2004 and Half Life, as I enjoy playing as it helps having a break of everyday things.

I’ve still yet to get some bits for my central heating system that I’m going to do, but I am thinking of using some switches instead of a thermostat to turn things on and off, I’ll see what happens there I might go to a scrap yard to see what bits I can find. Again watch this space.

Till next time.


Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick’s back with his latest electrical blog

Train4TradeSkills Nick ElectricianNick Sims is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills. Nick blogs about how he is finding his electrical course and all the practical experience he is undertaking.

In his last electrical blog, Nick was talking about the electrical experience he was getting working on his parents’ house. Here’s Nick’s latest Bright Sparks Blog:

Hello again, I have been a bit busy lately so sorry for the delay in the blog update.

I’ve been reading up on the 2391 Inspections and Testing book. I acquired this through The IET library, it’s a bit early to read at the moment but I wanted to know what is ahead.

I’ve nearly finished module 13, I’ve completed all the progress checks successfully, 11 of them. There’s a 60 question TMA to do, and I’m a just few questions away from completing that also. It’s reasonably difficult as I am finding that I’m sifting through the BS7671 manual, bit by bit.

It’s a little frustrating, as you really need to use the question to find the title, to find the section to get to the answer. This was similar to when I did my week 2 practical training; we had a 60 question paper to complete and that was all about BS7671 and Inspection and Testing, with a couple of calculations to do thrown in.

I’ve enclosed a few pictures of when I did my week one training, which involved creating lighting circuits, one-way, two-way, down lighter and intermediate.

Nick getting electrical trainingIn the next couple of weeks or so, I’m going to make another rig, this time I’m making the central heating system. I’ve got some old parts, like the valve and PCB that I think work, and I need a new room thermostat, so I’ll replace my old one with the new, so watch his space as hopefully as I progress with it.

Till next time.


You can read all of Nick’s posts on the Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks Blog, and you can follow Nick on Twitter at

Train4TradeSkills Bright Sparks: Nick blogs about all the practical experience he is getting for his T4TS Course

Nick Sims is training to become an electrician with Train4TradeSkills and blogs for us about what he is getting up to with his course. In his fifth blog, Nick talks about all the practical experience he is getting:

After completing the sockets in the kitchen at my mum and dads I’ve had been given another task to do, as they were very happy with the result.

The garage needed a new bayonet light socket, so I said I’d do the wiring for it as well. The old wiring was black and red and the switch in there was a plastic 1970’s one.

So during the week I set-up the wiring and the routing until I could get the switch mounted securely to the concrete wall. The mains was fed from a small metal DB box, which had two re-wireable fuses in it. I wasn’t that confident in doing this job when I first saw it, I must admit.

Anyway I left it for a couple of days as my parents were going away for the weekend, we made arrangements for me to finish it off the following week.

I went to my parents on the Wednesday after coming back from Newport, where I bought an Ethos voltage/continuity tester, which cost £48, as I was using my multimeter before.

I stripped back all the cable ends off and installed the circuit in the garage with success. But a plonker that I can be sometimes I asked my parents for a light bulb, but they had already inserted one! My excuse is that the bayonet part of the circuit I had already done so concentrated on the rest! Honest! All worked, as it should, so I’m really pleased.

I found this really valuable as it’s put me into different situations, like the garage, I worked on it when it was getting dark, fortunately I own a strap on head lamp, so that gave me a taster as to what it might be like working in attics or under the stairs.

The kitchen where it was a little awkward to get to the points, and my knees took a little bit of a pounding, but that’s ok. It’s great fun, seriously, and I really enjoy doing the work, even though it was for free!

I’ve enclosed some photos of the jobs I did, one of the rigs I’ve done at home – two way lighting circuit with intermediate switch.

I’ll enclose some from the training centre in Southampton when I’m back there.

That’s it till next time.

For more stories from Nick go to our Bright Sparks Blog and you can follow him on Twitter.