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Old 8th Jul 2017, 1:03 pm   #61
Pamphonica
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

My grandmother always went round plugging everything in at night before going to bed. She said that this prevented the electricity leaking out overnight. Now I know why my bill is so high. It's all those unused sockets we are encouraged to install nowadays.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 3:27 pm   #62
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

My understanding, too, was that early colour sets were rather prone to conflagration. I seem to remember there being a number of sets with the 'instant on tube' including early Hitachis?

Anyway for sure its not only old stuff. Vodafone sell a box they call suresignal. It has an SMPSU inside and it is prone to failure. Unfortunately the internal fuse doesn't seem to protect it so it makes quite a loud bang and takes out your 32A ring main. Plenty of soot inside when they go!
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 11:38 am   #63
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Arrow Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

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One could question the use of switched sockets? Why are they needed?
It is possible for someone to plug in an appliance with its on/off switch in the 'on' position. Without a switch on the socket - with the switch turned off - the appliance will unexpectedly power-up. Now if that appliance is something like a power saw or an electric drill with a bit fitted . . .

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Old 9th Jul 2017, 11:50 am   #64
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

Every power tool I have has a switch which is spring loaded to the OFF position. It's true that some can be locked in the ON position, but is it likely that someone would leave the lock ON and then switch off the tool by unplugging it or switching OFF at the mains socket?

If someone doesn't check that a power tool isn't switched OFF before plugging it in are they likely to check the switch on the socket?

Not forgetting of course that when the mains socket is switched ON the power tool will start in any case.

Fixed power tools like bandsaws generally have a no volt release starter to avoid them restarting after a power cut..
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 12:35 pm   #65
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

I think ensuring the switch is off before inserting the plug is the best option. Have you seen the contacts on unswitched sockets. Often badly burnt due to heavy loads being applied as the plug is inserted slowly. Causes burning and pitting which then leads on to overheating and eventually failure. I think it's only in recent years that continental sockets have had switches fitted and I've seen some real horrors when on holiday in France with seriously charred sockets and plugs.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 3:13 pm   #66
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

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Every power tool I have has a switch which is spring loaded to the OFF position.
More than 20 years ago I bought a cheap angle grinder from a tool fair, at a time when they (as far as I was aware) were expensive and uncommon. The switch broke, and I bridged it to keep it going.

I lent it to a work colleague with a stiff wire mop on it - we were very impressed by its rust-removing abilities. I warned him about the switch, but he plugged it in in his office 'just to see', was not ready for the torque, and it jumped out of his hand, ran across the floor, and ate his leatherette briefcase. Oops.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 4:31 pm   #67
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Arrow Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

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One could question the use of switched sockets? Why are they needed?
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Originally Posted by Skywave View Post
It is possible for someone to plug in an appliance with its on/off switch in the 'on' position. Without a switch on the socket - with the switch turned off - the appliance will unexpectedly power-up. Now if that appliance is something like a power saw or an electric drill with a bit fitted . . .
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Every power tool I have has a switch which is spring loaded to the OFF position. It's true that some can be locked in the ON position, but is it likely that someone would leave the lock ON and then switch off the tool by unplugging it or switching OFF at the mains socket?

If someone doesn't check that a power tool isn't switched OFF before plugging it in are they likely to check the switch on the socket?

Not forgetting of course that when the mains socket is switched ON the power tool will start in any case.

Fixed power tools like band-saws generally have a no volt release starter to avoid them restarting after a power cut.
O.K.: point taken.√ I did a bit of research on this. It seems that the inclusion of a switch was effectively a 'hang-over' from the days of d.c. mains supplies. (Justification for such a switch was the possible injury or damage arising from the resultant flash if a device was unplugged instead of switching it off at the device.) The decision to continue incorporating a switch when a.c. mains supplies were introduced in the U.K. was largely a matter of "This is what the public is used to and thus expects".
Nevertheless, it is a safety feature, even if it is somewhat redundant for the reasons you have listed.

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Old 9th Jul 2017, 4:41 pm   #68
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Arrow Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

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My grandmother always went round plugging everything in at night before going to bed. She said that this prevented the electricity leaking out overnight.
Well you can understand her 'logic': no-one want to wake up in the morning to find the floor ankle-deep in stray electrons!
But I bet she had gas lighting prior to the installation of electricity.

Myth #2: my grandmother would always lay a large cloth over her kitchen table (which was always laid out with cutlery) in the event of a thunderstorm. Apparently, that was to prevent any lightning from being attracted to it.

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Old 9th Jul 2017, 5:15 pm   #69
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

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OK.: point taken.√ I did a bit of research on this. It seems that the inclusion of a switch was effectively a 'hang-over' from the days of d.c. mains supplies. (Justification for such a switch was the possible injury or damage arising from the resultant flash if a device was unplugged instead of switching it off at the device.) The decision to continue incorporating a switch when a.c. mains supplies were introduced in the U.K. was largely a matter of "This is what the public is used to and thus expects".
Nevertheless, it is a safety feature, even if it is somewhat redundant for the reasons you have listed.

Al.
Thanks Al.

I often find myself querying why things are done in a certain way and find that no one actually knows, although they are prepared to guess.

When you start doing something differently you often find that there's a good reason for doing it the way it's always been done.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 8:43 pm   #70
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

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Those plastic safety plugs must be one of the most useless things ever invented. Apart from being totally unnecessary with shuttered sockets, a child can pull it out and reinsert just the earth pin. They then grab a metal knitting needle, paper clip or W.H.Y and shove it in the holes. I've even seen them used in adult care homes!
And can damage the socket as the pins in a lot of cases are larger than the standard to make them 'fit' more securely.

Essentially by using them you are defeating the built in safety protection of BS1363 sockets.

a good website for this is

http://www.fatallyflawed.org.uk/

who are behind the campaign to get them outlawed, they are already now banned on NHS property.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 9:19 pm   #71
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

The section dealing with the then-new 13A ring main plug and sockets in the 1956 edition of Odhams "Radio Television and Electrical Repairs" , says

" Although sockets only are shown in Fig 32 [which shows a ring main with spurs], and also in the previous diagrams of socket circuits [ 2A, 5A and 15A installations], the same method of wiring applies to switch sockets. On alternating current supplies, no switch is necessary for any-sized sockets, but switches are sometimes used for convenience. The 13-amp sockets can be obtained fitted with switches if desired."

This seems to confirm that the use of switched sockets was only essential for DC mains supplies. Pre-war, I suppose that the most common use of mains electricity was via a BC adaptor plugged into a light socket. Certainly in the 1950's the only member of our family that had more than one wall socket in their house was an Aunt who lived in one of the post-war Prefabs, where every room had at least one 5A 3 pin socket.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 10:23 pm   #72
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

I have also had a wrecked kitchen due to a tumble dryer fire. My distribution board is in the kitchen so before I go to bed I simply flick the ring main circuit breakers off, one for upstairs and one for down. The freezer has its own independent socket so that is left on.

I am also constantly getting on at the three women I work with who insist on picking up their lap tops pulling out the power supply and walking off leaving the power unit switched on. they also do this with phone chargers. They tell me horror stories about washing machines or dryers they have switched on before leaving for work. When I say anything they just laugh and say that's nonsense they are automatic and are designed to be left unattended.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 11:02 pm   #73
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

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Certainly in the 1950's the only member of our family that had more than one wall socket in their house was an Aunt who lived in one of the post-war Prefabs, where every room had at least one 5A 3 pin socket.
That brings back memories. I spent the first 17 years of my life in a post-war pre-fab, council-owned. Two bedrooms: one 5-A socket each; 'lounge' (as it was called): two 5-A sockets; kitchen: two 5-A sockets (and a gas point to plug in the copper boiler) and the dist. board; bathroom (no socket; no space heater); W.C.: none; hall: none. I do recall 2-way plug-in adaptors (brown Bakelite) but there weren't any multi-way trailing extensions. Looking at the many commonly-found appliances in the home today, I can only suppose that all those years ago, electrical appliances must have been bordering on the 'luxury' category. How times have changed, which, in turn, makes me wonder about all the changes that are yet to come - many of which I do not expect to see - on account of my age. Ho-hum.

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Old 10th Jul 2017, 12:12 am   #74
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Probably just a hangover from simpler times. People didn't understand it, so took no chances. Don't forget to put the sheet over the screen, so no-one can see in!
...In these days of net connected smart TVs and computers with microphones and user-facing cameras ostensibly intended for use with applications like Skype, that can actually turn into a genuine threat.
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Old 10th Jul 2017, 12:22 am   #75
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

It wasn't until about 30 years ago that Sheffield Council started fitting more sockets in Council houses. Prior to that though tenants asked for more sockets the Council would say you had enough. When they did get around to fitting them, the electricians chopped out most of the joists to get the cables in. So if you have squeaky floorboards and live in either a current Council house or ex one you know why the boards groan and move up and down!
It doesn't surprise me why people pulled the plug. You didn't have a switch on the socket to do to turn it off. I always thought that either the switch could short on the TV or part of the mains was still present inside the box and wasn't controlled by the switch on the TV. Always the risk of a spark, causing a fire.
I still switch off at the mains socket any thing that shouldn't be on. I have a big Onkyo Surround amp. Even in standby it generates enough heat to warm the living room, so that gets switched off
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Old 10th Jul 2017, 1:20 am   #76
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

I find this topic interesting in the fact that most UK mains sockets still seem to be unswitched.

Everything is always plugged in here and only the washing machine, toaster and kettle is turned off at the switch normally. If there is a thunderstorm around, then a lot more stuff gets turned off and actually unplugged.

Here in Oz (and NZ previously), I have to really press the memory as to whether we actually had any unswitched sockets in any residences in the last 55 years. We possibly did, but I can't recall them.

A bit of info on Oz electrical regs re plugs and sockets is here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AS/NZS_3112 and mention is made that unswitched sockets can be used for stationary appliances or luminaries providing it can not be easily accessed for other purposes.

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Old 10th Jul 2017, 2:47 am   #77
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

In the early days it was not uncommon for a power supply part to fail and cause a fire.
Also critters like mice & cockroaches would get in the sets and chew wires (As well as cats, dogs, parrots, and the like).
With today's sets, they are "on" all the time to respond to the remotes. Yes, you can save electricity by unplugging them too.

Here we had sets that also had the so called "instant on" feature, whee the power feeding the set was put through a diode, cutting the filament voltage in half, so the set had a much shorter warm up time. It was not uncommon for a service call problem that "The TV won't turn off", where this diode had shorted.
One other reason to unplug sets was power line surges, especially if one lived in an area where the mains voltage greatly fluctuated, or had lightening all the time.
in 50+ years of servicing, I only saw 2 sets where they had the antennas hit by lightening. However, the entire house had a direct hit from it, so unplugging would not have protected it, as nothing can protect from a direct strike.

OTOH, I did service a lot of TV sets that had power surges hit them, in addition lots of other consumer electronics also. Where I worked the PUD was famous for dropping HT lines on the house feeds. A good thunderstorm meant bonus money on the paycheck within 2-4 days from all the extra work. It was commonplace to sell these folks a surge protector after the fact. The ones we sold had a lifetime replacement warr. on them. And the company did back them totally too. Maybe only had to send back a half a dozen total in 10 years for replacement. AND the sets were not damaged either!
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Old 10th Jul 2017, 6:36 am   #78
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

Oh yes Bill, I well remember my aunt having a tea-towel draped over the screen, held in place by two ornaments on top of the set! And you always had to wait til the wee dot in the centre of the screen faded before you put the tea towel down. I'd forgotten about that til I read your post. When commercial TVs started the same lady firmly refused to allow anyone to change channel because it would "wear out the switch" so she stayed with BBC til she got hooked on "Coronation Stree"t after living with us for a month to recover from an operation! Actually those clunky turret tuners were very solid to turn and you could imagine the grating of all the contacts inside. Perhaps that's what worried her. Those were simpler days. John
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Old 10th Jul 2017, 6:53 am   #79
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Default Re: Why did folk always unplug the telly at night?

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One could question the use of switched sockets? Why are they needed?
I actually like the switched sockets, the plugs can be left in which makes it all look neater than leads and plugs lying on the floor, a quick look at them and you can see they're all switched off, and the idea of a 'mechanical switch' seems more reliable than whatever sort of switching some modern appliances may have, a reading light I have for example just need touching anywhere on it to switch on, I've had PIR exterior security lights switch on for no apparent reason in the middle of the day, so switched sockets seem safer to me.

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Old 10th Jul 2017, 7:41 am   #80
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Every power tool I have has a switch which is spring loaded to the OFF position. It's true that some can be locked in the ON position, but is it likely that someone would leave the lock ON and then switch off the tool by unplugging it or switching OFF at the mains socket?

If someone doesn't check that a power tool isn't switched OFF before plugging it in are they likely to check the switch on the socket?

Not forgetting of course that when the mains socket is switched ON the power tool will start in any case.

Fixed power tools like bandsaws generally have a no volt release starter to avoid them restarting after a power cut..
Two of the most dangerous power tools I have, have simple on/off switches which stay on if you left them so. A 900W 1/4 inch router and a beast of a 2100W 1/2 inch one. The big one is often used in a trend router table, with its switch relatively inaccessible and left on. The table has a pushbutton no-volt starter switch powering a socket for the machine.

It's terribly easy to forget when removing the router from the table that the switch is 'on', and also to leave whatever bit is fitted extended. Plugging it in hor some hand-held work can yield a bit of a surprise. Fortunately both have soft start speed controllers and the revs come up gently, rather than making a spinning power tool leap all over the place.

Using a switched socket simply delays the surprise a little.

Several circular saws by the same manufacturer all have automatic guards over their blades and you have to unlock their triggers by operating a sprung safety latch before you can run them up. But the routers are not so protected. You need your hands to hold them and move them. Operating interlocks and sprung switches seems to be too much.

My washing machine instructions say to leave power on it with the door shut because it is designed to run the pump if it senses water in the drum due to a leaking control valve. It also has a hose-withn-a hose feed hose with a shut off valve, so if the inner hose bursts, a valve at the feed tap end shuts off the water. AEG were obviously more concerned about floods rather than fires.

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