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Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items For discussions about other vintage (over 25 years old) electrical and electromechanical household items. See the sticky thread for details.

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Old 24th May 2019, 8:02 am   #21
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

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Originally Posted by TonyDuell View Post
The odd thing about the Keynector (at least mine) is that the neon is connected between live (line, whatever) and _earth_. It doesn't pass enough current to trip an RCD, and I guess this warns against an L-N swap on the incoming mains.
I've just opened up my Keynector (discovering in the process that two of the four self-tapping screws have stripped the threads in the plastic body) and the neon is definitely connected between live and neutral.
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Old 24th May 2019, 8:46 am   #22
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I use mine regularly I prefer the old R/S one, the other is a key connector . Mick.
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Old 24th May 2019, 8:50 am   #23
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

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I still use my Keynector (so not strictly a Safebloc) for quick tests on mains transformers and the like. I was given it about 40 years ago 'not to be used' as the (thin) plastic baseplate had cracked, exposting the live terminals where you connect the incoming mains lead. I screwed it (using the official mounting holes) to an offcut of chipboard and it's been fine ever since.

One odd thing about the Keynector (at least mine) is that the neon is connected between live (line, whatever) and _earth_. It doesn't pass enough current to trip an RCD, and I guess this warns against an L-N swap on the incoming mains.
A few years ago I rescued one of these that had failed a PAT test because of the neon between L and E, which although it won't trip an RCD, will pass enough current to fail an Insulation test. I suppose it makes sense to wire the neon in this way, to give a warning of L -N reversal, as the "switch" is only single pole, and it is obviously essential that the live is disconnected when people are clipping wires in!
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Old 24th May 2019, 9:31 am   #24
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I have two Safeblocs which I use from time to time. Both are in excellent condition and my wiring, which I did from new, is holding up well.
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Old 24th May 2019, 9:49 am   #25
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

Back in the 70ís our workshop Safeblocs were vertically mounted on our workbenches so you had to lift the lid up to engage them. I think that was a safer method, but they were more prone to getting damaged mounted like that.
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Old 24th May 2019, 10:13 am   #26
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I still have one somewhere, used them in 1979--1986 at Granada. Very useful and I will use again if mine turns up.
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Old 24th May 2019, 10:18 am   #27
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I started with a Keynector but it was never completely satisfactory - the electrical contacts being on one side only made making a connection a bit hit and miss and the size of the unit meant that you had to strip a lot of the cable outer cable back to make a reliable connection. It was also a bit fragile, the bits of the main moulding between the keys broke off, as did the hinged catch at the back.

I have a Safebloc now, a really old ex-MOD one. It's a lot easier to use and always on the go. I dropped it the other day and broke the lid, but luckily it shattered cleanly and was easy to stick back together. I wouldn't want to be without one.
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Old 24th May 2019, 10:32 am   #28
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

Never seen a 3-phase one before! Some of Cliffs stuff is quite innovative.

BTW, Cliff is so called because their factory used to be on a cliff.

Interesting 'back story' to the original safebloc makers, Rendar Instruments, they were an offshoot of Wearite.

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Wright_and_Weaire
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Old 24th May 2019, 1:51 pm   #29
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I have one which I think I "liberated" from junk at work. It is a Rendar and lives in a cupboard which has other stuff in front of it, so not really easy to access, but it does get used occasionally. It is a piece of kit for which really the only substitute is to go through the faff of fitting a plug. Other items for which there really is no substitute include an oscilloscope, a lathe and a soldering-iron, but I suppose there are more that folks can think of.
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Old 24th May 2019, 2:36 pm   #30
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

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I also use one on an irregular basis. When I need it, it's the very thing for the job
That sums it up nicely for most of us I'd expect. Mine's currently gathering dust on the back of my bench. I also have a chopped off mains lead with or without a choc bloc on the end, for use when that's appropriate.
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Old 24th May 2019, 2:47 pm   #31
Martin Bush
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I have one and used it to accidentally burn out a faulty appliance not realising the bloc had a 13 amp fuse in... Long story.
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Old 24th May 2019, 2:56 pm   #32
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I have for a long time had a 3A fuse in mine - with a label on the outside reminding me of the fact.
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Old 24th May 2019, 3:38 pm   #33
Martin Bush
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

It was a learning experience for me... That said, I know it's useful and use it on properly working sets without plugs (easier to store with less risk of plugs scratching the case).
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Old 24th May 2019, 3:45 pm   #34
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

Mine's the old Rendar Safebloc, screwed to the bench. I've had it for decades and find it extremely useful.
I do have a Keynector somewhere, probably buried under the bench!

Years ago where I worked, we all had a 'death trap' on our benches - lead with a Clix 2-pin plug at one end and two croc clips on the other!
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Old 24th May 2019, 4:33 pm   #35
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

One place I once worked at years (decades) ago had the red cover type at every work bench and these were Isolated by a bench Isolator near the front door as a sort of 'last man out first man in' arrangement as were all of the bench sockets, not an uncommon arrangement back in the day.
Anyway some young wags would often place low voltage small electrolytic capacitors (say 16-25 volt 1uf to 100uF) in them across the L-N, after isolating the last man switch last thing at closing time, suffice to say whomever was first in and re-energised the benches first thing on the morning was greeted with a veritable 5th of November firework display
Whilst not H&S today it did cause much mirth at the time
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Old 24th May 2019, 4:50 pm   #36
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

In these days of moulded-on plugs and everything using detachable IEC-connector leads or wall-warts, I guess my Safebloc last got used in the previous millennium!

[I think I've moved house twice since I'd last have used it - meaning it probably got thrown in the skip along with loads of other "I really can't be bothered paying to have this junk moved" stuff].

I do remember another 'thing' in the same vein as the Safebloc/KeyNector though: it had a T-shaped 'handle' with a cylindrical stem, which was hollow and coarsely threaded. There were slots/grooves in the cylindrical bit, which led from the central part to three metallic segments on the outer barrel. In use you pushed the stripped cable-ends into the T, down the tubular bit, and then bent the bared ends round into the grooves at the far end, so the bare ends lay on the metallic segments.

Then you pushed it into a hole in the fixed part of the thing, and gave it a 180-degree turn which caused the coarse thread to engage and draw it further into the fixed-part in which there were spring contacts that matched the 3 metal segments.

When the T-part was fully at the bottom of the hole in the fixed part, it activated a switch and you were 'Live'!

I'm truly glad that such horrors are now things of memory.
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Old 24th May 2019, 4:50 pm   #37
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I have got a safe block on the wall but I very rarely use it a I have a supply of 2 pin 5 amp " clix" plugs and on the wall over my bench is a vintage china 5 amp 2 pin socket that Gerry Wells gave me many years ago and that is my "test" supply.
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Old 24th May 2019, 6:59 pm   #38
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I too have some 2-pin Clix plugs which I use for low power stuff (i.e. most stuff I might be working on) plugged into a box containing an isolation transformer + Variac + cut out + current and voltage meters.

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Old 24th May 2019, 10:12 pm   #39
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

Here is a quick pic of mine, had it for years and it's used most days in the workshop. When I'm working on an old telly or radio the plug is always the last job I do, not wanting to tempt fate (I know I'm strange..)

Have a switched MK plug top on mine, very handy.

John Joe.
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Old 25th May 2019, 12:25 am   #40
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Default Re: Who's still using their old Safebloc?

I still use mine.
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