DJ360

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Fingers crossed for you all.......

 

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It's MOT faliure day once again tomorrow....We have to put our cars through a ministry test to see if they are fit for the roads; so why is there no test to see if the roads are fit for cars to use?!

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Quick question for anyone with electrical knowledge.

 

Daughter is moving house and on pulling out an appliance she is taking with her, has uncovered an 'open'  power supply.  It's a single steel backing box with folded wires in it.  It has no socket, switch, or blanking plate over it.  I've only seen a picture so far and don't know if it is live till I get there to check.

 

Daughter says it was formerly a power socket for her dishwasher, but must have been messed with by someone when she had a kitchen re-fit a year or so back.  I suspect it was preventing something from being pushed back against the wall so the 'fitters' just removed it.

 

If it is live, the simplest answer is for me to fit a 13A socket.  That's entirely within my competence.

 

If it's not live, I'd be more inclined to fit a blanking plate, but I need to know the approved method of 'terminating' the wires first, in case anyone contrives to make them live again in future. I think the approved method is to put the wires into terminal blocks.

 

Key point.  The house is sold so has to be safe and seen to be.  Any doubts at all and I'll get her to call an electrician.

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Reckon I would agree with you DJ., use a tester to find out if live or not. Then run into a terminal block and put a blank plate over. (That's what I would, anyroad).

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I would fit a 13A socket if checks out as live with a mains tester. Obviously isolate the circuit before working on it.

If it’s not live, which is doubtful, then, as you suggest, fit terminal blocks and a cover plate. I don’t know what the regulations are these days with diy electrical work but I believe such simple jobs don’t require someone with a certificate of competency but if you go online it will put doubt in your mind! There will be earth leakage circuit breakers to protect the system so you should be perfectly safe. I’ve seen many instances of incompetent work carried out by registered electrical contractors. 

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I would fit a 13A socket if checks out as live with a mains tester

 

Under part P regulations you are allowed to replace like for like, but...

How do you know the neutral is connected, how do you know there is earth continuity? You cannot 'assume' the reason for missing faceplate or socket.  Nor has RCD protection been mentioned.

If you're testing with a multi-meter and there is a broken neutral it will read as dead, touch and you may well be!

The popular 'sticks' that light on detecting a live cable only prove a cable live. They do NOT prove a circuit is dead!

It is in all probability safe to do as you plan, BUT  as an electrical engineer I've seen a LOT of 'I tested it and looked OK to me'.

 

I should also point out protection, fuses, breakers etc. do not protect the system or appliances - only  the cables. 

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Reminds me of annual tests of feeder cables underground, having to do a continuity test of both conductors and earth, as well as an insulation test of all three phases between and to earth. Long job on a couple of miles of high voltage cable.

As I always stated, the most important conductor is the earth conductor, one can live if we lost a phase, but lose the ground and it's deadly.

Under M&Q Act, if a circuit tripped on earth leakage, we weren't allowed to close the breaker, a test with a megger was required to prove the circuit one way or another. Under NSW, CMR Act, we were allowed to close once and once only, if it held, we considered it was OK, trip again, then a full test of the circuit was required.

 

Over this side of the pond, domestic outlets can be one of two types, quick connect and screw connect. In my opinion, the quick connects should be banned by law. The conductors are held in place by a spring contact, as they age the spring loses tension. I'd hazard a guess 8/10 house fires are caused by those stupid outlets.

 

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Bear with me its a long time since I was in the trade over there.

My first question would be what kind of appliance was it behind?  Cooker?  Dryer?  Freezer?

 

Next question would be what size wire gauge is it?   I don't know the metric equivalents of 7.044,  7.029 etc.

 

In my day most cookers didn't have a box behind them.  Just a control on the wall and a short length of 7.044 cable behind them permanently wired in.

In Canada and the US there is a big plug in behind  stoves and dryers so the owner can safely disconnect them.  Wondering if the UK went the same way?

 

Apologies if the above is not helpful.  I'm just curious.

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If it's dead, test and verify, if dead blank it off

If it tests live with no faults you have 3 options 

1 fit a new socket

2 terminate into a connector block and tape it up and cover with a blank plate

3 through crimp each conductor and earth ( live neutral and earth ) and this doesn't need a blank cover and can be plastered over,

All the above conforms to bs 7671.

P.S. make sure to use a voltage tester pen.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, mr rob t said:

P.S. make sure to use a voltage tester pen.

 

I'm not a great fan of these, I said earlier they will not prove dead.

You sound like you have some knowledge so reluctantly I say do not give ambiguous instructions to someone clearly not trained.

You have not proved dead, you cannot say to an untrained person 'test and verify'. You have no idea if the cable is damaged somewhere so will your test include an insulation test, continuity test or a polarity check? You have no idea of the instruments or tools he has available. Quoting the regs tells him nothing...

 

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2 hours ago, loppylugs said:

Bear with me its a long time since I was in the trade over there.

My first question would be what kind of appliance was it behind?  Cooker?  Dryer?  Freezer?

 

 My understanding is no one knows loppy. It may be a circuit that was never completed and doesn't connect in the consumer unit or it may be some clown disconnected an appliance and just left it. 

To me giving advice to someone you don't know about something you haven't seen and has the potential to kill is foolish in the extreme.

Standing in a coroners court and saying 'that's not what I meant' is not a lot of good.

 

To answer your question mate:-

 

Imperial Cable Size Metric Cable Equivalent
1/.044 1.0 mm²
3/.029 1.5 mm²
3/.036 ?
7/.029 2.5 mm²
7/.036 4.0 mm²
7/.044 6.0 mm²
7/.052 10.0 mm²
7/.064 16.0 mm²
19/.044 ?
19/.052 25.0 mm²
19/.064 35.0 mm²

 

For lighting and mains the majority of wiring is in twin and earth solid core, 6mm and above is usually multi- strand T&E (I can't remember if 4mm is multi or not, havn't specced it in years)

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Well in the end it was a bit of a non event.

 

The 'socket' is behind a narrow wine refrigerator fitted between cupboards.  Daughter was intending to take wine fridge when moving as purchaser wasn't interested in paying a fair price for it.

 

So.. when I got there bearing a  used, but functioning and good quality ( MK ) socket, tape, terminal blocks etc.. and tools.. it became obvious that there was insufficient space for me to get both hands into the space to work on anything.  I did manage to get a neon type tester in, but there was no visible bare conductor on live or neutral and I could get no 'reading'.  The earth was accessible but sleeved and showed no reading. The socket was formerly used to supply a dishwasher.  Immediately above was a fused switch unit with four switches.  All checked out as supplying their labelled appliances, including one which supplies a dishwasher in a new position.

I strongly suspect that the short wiring 'drop' to the open socket has been removed/disconnected from the fused switched outlet.

 

Also, it was obvious that removing the wine fridge could only be accomplished by removing its moulded mains plug, which was left no way out from where it was situated.. plugged into yet another socket, fitted inside a cupboard.

 

So.. the conclusion was.. put everything back and leave 'as is'.  I.E. as left by kitchen fitters.  Since I had the misfortune to use the same kitchen fitter, I know him to have the mechanical aptitude of a slug. It will be he who fitted the wine fridge and trapped the plug.   His plumbing skills are abysmal and I could do far better, even though I'm not a plumber.  However, the electrics were done by the same chap who did the electrics in my kitchen and I'm confident that his work is up to standard and safe.. so, we work on the assumption that if he left it like that.. it is safe.  If anyone else decides to take out the wine fridge and start playing with wires.. that is their problem and they are only playing with what was left by the fitters.

 

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Sounds like you got it sorted, Col.  good  Probably best let sleeping dogs lie and all that.

 

Thanks for the info, Brew.  Metric was just coming in when I left the UK 70/71.

I had to quickly get used to American Wire Gauge,  AWG.

# 14  Good to 15 amps used for most lighting and recepticles

# 12 Up to 20 amps .  Mostly separate circuits for dishwashers

 

Code allows only up to 80% loading on any circuit

# 10       30 amps  Clothes dryers mostly

# 8          40 amps stoves / cookers

 

The above is for copper conductors.  You had to go up a size for equivalent aluminum.  Not used much in branch circuits anymore.  Too many problems.

 

We often used # 3 .   Three seperate conductors in conduit for 100 amp services.  These were all 120/240 volt three wire.  120 for lighting and plugs.  240 for stoves dryers.  Funny things happened if the neutral ever failed.   I've never really liked it.  Prefer the UK straight two wire 240v.

So now you have enough info to wire a Canadian house.  US code has a few different rules but is very similar.

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What always worries me is US style mains plugs.  Two thin wobbly pins and no earth. . similarly poor plugs in continental Europe too... but with round rather than flat pins  Although it can be a PITA, it seems to me that the UK style is very well thought through.

A 'gate' opened first by the earth pin, before the live and neutral can even enter the socket.. and a fuse as an integral part of the plug.

 

There was a bit of an issue years ago.. when the EU decided that 4mm 'banana' pugs as used for loudspeaker connections.. needed to be banned, because some clown had plugged a passive speaker into the mains and was surprised when it blew up.  This because the EU mains pins are also 4mm.  After a while.. it all seemed to go away.. and I have to say that it is no reason to support Brexit!! ;)

 

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1 hour ago, DJ360 said:

Well in the end it was a bit of a non event.

 

 

Alls well that ends well...

 

20 minutes ago, loppylugs said:

So now you have enough info to wire a Canadian house.  US code has a few different rules but is very similar.

 

My days of crawling round pulling cable are long gone,  Loppy         long gone

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I know what you mean, Col.  I didn't like them when I first got here.  They can get surprisingly warm when you plug in a heavy load like a kettle or heater.  In general use though they seem quite durable and I only had to replace very few in 25 years in the trade in Canada.

I liked the British 13 amp sockets.  They always seemed well built.  Main strike against them for me was that they are not fool proof and the 13 amp fuse  tended to be left in for light loads like table lamps, radios etc.  Thus defeating the object.  All electrical items here tend to come with the plug already moulded on.  You can buy beefier ones from the hardware store if you really want to.

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13 minutes ago, Brew said:

 

 

My days of crawling round pulling cable are long gone,  Loppy         long gone

 

Same here, Brew.  The thought of time in an attic when its 95 outside would do me in.  I'm definitely not going in crawl spaces in Georgia.  You could meet a snake.  My wire pulling days are over.

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18 minutes ago, loppylugs said:

I know what you mean, Col.  I didn't like them when I first got here.  They can get surprisingly warm when you plug in a heavy load like a kettle or heater.  In general use though they seem quite durable and I only had to replace very few in 25 years in the trade in Canada.

I liked the British 13 amp sockets.  They always seemed well built.  Main strike against them for me was that they are not fool proof and the 13 amp fuse  tended to be left in for light loads like table lamps, radios etc.  Thus defeating the object.  All electrical items here tend to come with the plug already moulded on.  You can buy beefier ones from the hardware store if you really want to.

 

Fair point Dave,

I do try to put in appropriate fuses rather than just having the Brown 13A in all plugs.

 

For my Hi-Fi stuff, I use good quality MK sockets and MK or Crabtree plugs. I also keep the pins very clean.  I have no idea if this makes any real improvement.. but it does no harm.

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There is a question in the PAT (Portable Appliance Test) exam about the size of fuses to fit to plugs. The answer is either 5 or 13 amp depending on the size of the cable.  Fuses protect cables not appliances as I was forever telling apprentices.

 

There seems to be variations on NEMA plugs, and  similar differences with  the European SHUKO, at least we have one size fits all.

There was a move some years ago to unify the design for Europe, but it had to be a design that was totally original  - never got of the ground.

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I'm amazed Nice airport was closed due to flooding. I was there 5 weeks ago on the way to Cap Ferrat & the area boasted of 300 days a year of glorious sunshine. Guess I just caught the last few days.

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I live only a few kilometres from Nice and I can tell you that it most certainly won't boast 300 days of sunshine this year. I've lived here for over 30 years and this is, by far, the worst weather I've ever known. NonnaB (who lives not too far away) is having even worse weather than here.

 

I live quite high in the mountains so it's unlikely I will get seriously flooded (heaven help the coastal conurbations if I do!) but I can tell you that there is an awful lot of water flowing in the rivers.

Where I live (I posted this a few weeks ago):

Quote

The only low level place I've lived is the flat I had next door to the Grosvenor on Mansfield Road. I was there at the time of the 'big storm' in about 1972 see https://nottstalgia.com/forums/topic/17313-the-grosvenor-pub/?tab=comments#comment-591022

 

 

Otherwise my home has been quite elevated and, at present, I live a good way up a mountain gorge (on the first picture of the link, my villa is just visible towards the top, right.

http://freeriders2.over-blog.com/article-30273517.html ) Note: the link is to a French bikers blog and it's in French but don't let that put you off. It offers a good illustration of life in le BsL.

 

The weather is not too bad today. Certainly warmer than it has been over the last week but not a lot of sun showing through.

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12" to 18" of snow forecast this week in parts of the mid west, that's a lot of snow from one snow storm!!

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Some people have all the luck Ayup !

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Thankfully it won't be us, too far south for snow that heavy, but there will be many people it affects, think of all the truckers trying to earn a crust and trying to get home for our Thanksgiving holiday to see their families, stuck at a truck stop for a few days.

 

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