*Wow*, did this thread need the comment "Hey, Eddie; a little bullshitting music, please..." :-)
Fun stories, guys.
I have two of my own, one much teenier, and one much larger, though I wasn't involved in the latter.
When I was in my 20s, MUMBLE years ago, I was a bit of a photography nut -- which was much cheaper, cause I was driving delivery for a lab, and got my film processing free and my prints at cost.
Somewhere along the way, I acquired a shoulder-bag flash; one with a 5-turn flash tube in a 6 inch reflector on a bracket, and 2 225V batteries in it. (Try to find those nowadays, I dare you. :-)
At one point, I decided, hey! wouldn't it be cool to have a "Charged" light on the thing? So I got an NE-2 with leads, and whipped out my voltmeter to find out what full charge voltage was, and dutifully calculated the required size of series resistor, and set about modifying the puppy.
About halfway through, I somehow managed to get the leads of the neon bulb directly across the output buss of the capacitor pack, without the resistor.
8 of them.
About 250uF apiece at 500VDC, IIRC.
You know how load a bang an NE-2 makes when you dump that many joules into it?
My roommates all came running; I couldn't hear anything at all for at least 2 hours; not even ringing, initially; it was about a foot from my face. Luckily, all the glass went different directions; we pried one rather large chunk out of the drywall.
Pretty sure I abandoned the project that point; yes, I'm a wimp.
The other one I got second hand. In the early 90s sometime, St Petersburg FL spent about 12 hours one day with all it's police cruisers fanned out across the city. So people would have a place to go to report fires.
Cause the main CO wasn't even giving out *battery* for that long, much less dialtone.
You see; how it happened was this way:
Apparently, as I got the story, some newbie who was working at the SPBGFLXA89H CO -- that's a GTD5EAX and a pair of 5ESS remotes, which take up 2/3 of a floor; most of the rest of the 7 story building is empty now, or CLEC colo space -- went into the battery room. And didn't know that there's a *reason* you only use vinyl dipped tools in the battery room.
I've personally seen that battery room on a tour, it's rated for, I think they told me, -52VDC nominal at about 8000A *continuous*.
He managed to get a heavy-duty 12" long wrench, a crescent, I think, *across the main bussbars*. You thought *my* pop was loud? He couldn't hear for *days*. Seems the wrench continued to exist *just* long enough before flashing into plasma to open some Really Large Fuse for which they did not have a local replacement, figuring that their Defense was in sufficient Depth, and it took them that long to clear it up. I'll assume he got fired for it, once he could hear them again. I was told they never found *any* of the wrench; just the dents on the busses.
I may have a few of the details wrong (and would adore corrections), but that was how I got it from the guy who gave me the tour...