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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 21st Nov 2018, 6:34 pm   #41
broadgage
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

I would be astonished if the supply was DC. DC mains "went out with the war" for new installations, and existing systems were largely extinct by 30 or 40 years ago.

If the house is to be let, then I see no alternative to a complete re-wire in full compliance with latest standards.
The regulations ARE in effect applied retrospectively for rental properties and are usually interpreted as requiring compliance with the latest rules including.
RCD/RCBO protection to all power socket circuits.
RCD/RCBO protection to lighting and other circuits if wired in shallow buried, non armoured cables.
Mains powered smoke detectors.

Replacing non earthed metal light switches with plastic might be acceptable for ones own use, but not for a rental.
Measured leakage of 10ma from a single switch is potentially dangerous and cause for serious concern. It represents the dissipation of well over 2 watts, easily enough to start a fire if concentrated at one point and long continued.

I would go so far as to recommend that the installation be isolated pending renewal.
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 6:43 pm   #42
McMurdo
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

Mandatory routine electrical inspections for private rented property were announced by the government last July, but even so, any electrical fault causing harm that could've been prevented by such an inspection would be covered by the due diligence for landlords clause which (I'm no expert) is part of...I think..the building regs.
Maybe get a lawyer to run over that one before it goes off topic!!
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Old 21st Nov 2018, 6:54 pm   #43
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

They only launched a consultation regarding routine inspections. It isn't law yet.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/n...rivate-tenants

Note that they're proposing yet another competent person’s scheme for those carrying out the inspections.

Beware of misinformation put out by testing companies trying to drum up business.
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Old 13th Dec 2018, 4:03 pm   #44
ekcopyephilips
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

Hi All

Did this ever get resolved? Im just interested to know what was causing the issue in the first place.

Cheers

Mike
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Old 14th Dec 2018, 2:49 pm   #45
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

I know neon screwdrivers are deprecated, but earlier today I used one to swiftly track down a failed incandescent bulb in a ring of series-wired festive lights.

Quick tip: use a "binary chop" technique. First, work out which side of the ring is connected to 'live' - easy way is to take out a bulb at the start and finish of the loop and probe with your neon.
Put the bulb back in the socket that's closest to live, then take out the bulb exactly half-way round the ring and probe with the neon-screwdriver again. If the neon lights, the failure is between the mid-point bulb and the neutral-connected one. If the neon doesn't light the fault is between the live-connected bulb and the mid-point bulb.

You then repeat by probing a bulb 1/4-way round the ring.... and so on.
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Old 14th Dec 2018, 4:27 pm   #46
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

Non-contact indicators such as the Voltstick are deprecated too, but they are even better for finding the dud lamp. Always make the live end the lamp nearest the plug. Then just pass the detector along the string or point at each lamp until it goes out. There can hardly be a quicker or safer method.
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Old 14th Dec 2018, 6:00 pm   #47
dave walsh
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

I don't know if we will get an answer to Mike's question but the whole thread [in my very unqualified view] seems to confirm that all the regulation in the world is of no value if people are under pressure to move on to the next job /lack knowledge and integrity or simply don't care

Today's reports about the stalled tower block fire enquiry seem to confirm this. You can introduce more rules but attitude is more important when it gets ultra complex. Think sub prime mortgages or Child Protection. My daughter was at University during the Olympics building "boom" period in 2012 and living in Plaistow E London. Lots of things looked shaky. I wasn't surprised to see an article in the Observer subsequently about cowboy electrics and buildings illegally tapped into the supply, often even that of somewhere else altogether. This made Meter Readings a nightmare but that was the least of it by all accounts!

Dave W


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Old 14th Dec 2018, 9:35 pm   #48
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

Here's a possible explanation for the symptoms listed.

NB this assumes

a) 10mA flows to (genuine) earth from face-plate

b) source of current is the "earth" wire to said plate.

The earth wiring to these switches has become disconnected from true earth somewhere, but the earth wires are running in close coupling with live 240V conductors over many meters of cable. Thus there is capacitive coupling into the floating earth.

However, to get close to 10mA you'd need circa 150nF, which is way too high??, unless there is a rogue device sat on the same circuit with Class Y caps hung on the mains input?

John
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Old 16th Dec 2018, 3:54 pm   #49
dave walsh
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

Is the deprecation of neon testers and similar [p45+6] simply a difference of opinion between proper professionals then It seems a recent development to me and one of those things that you don't know is a problem until someone suggests it might be I remember when they were relatively hard to get hold of and I've never heard of any negative [excuse pun] aspect in use.

Re the dodgy wiring title, the disastrous fire at a Northern Zoo I know well is being attributed to an electrical cause already. I thought I was perhaps a bit over the top in post 47 but there have been a whole series of "renovations"/ new builds being burnt out this year and previously; eg Glasgow School Of Art [Twice ...cause of second one unknown so far] the magnificent Grade 2 listed building in Northern Ireland, a large Country House that had just been restored and one or two more I can't remember. I'm sure this must be a big increase overall. I was only half joking some time ago when I said the best way to preserve historic buildings might be to [largely] leave them alone.

I know the House of Commons is patrolled very regularly, at huge cost, because of a high electrical fire risk. Lets hope we don't spend billions on it only to have them manage what Guys Fawkes couldn't.

Dave
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Old 16th Dec 2018, 5:22 pm   #50
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

One memorable comment against the Neon Screwdriver was based on the scenario of it being left in the trouser pocket when going thro' the washing machine, then not being thoroughly dry when next used.. you get the picture. My thinking on that was 'always empty your pockets then' No equipment is safe if it is abused in this way, after all.

I sit on the fence on this one, but I never underestimate the Neon's power to deceive in certain circumstances.

Regards fire, it's ironic to think that a rat sharpening its teeth could one day achieve what Fawkes didn't.

Dave
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Old 16th Dec 2018, 8:31 pm   #51
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

There was a great alternative available for Parliament Dave ie the former Television Centre. As the only purpose built construction of it's type in the world, I would have liked to have seen it become an International Television History Museum.

Failing that though and realising that the Commons Chamber is really not that big, I worked out that the existing set up could be replicated as is [or in the round- few people carry swords these days-just knives]. This would have been in the Atrium created by roofing over the central circular area. Any cabling would have channelling already in place and the terrorist rats could be easily deterred. The original "Palace" at Westminster then turns into a high quality tourist trap, renovated steadily with great care, especially the electrics! Of course they went with the White City luxury flats option to fund top management salaries and the "not so new now" East Enders set in the end.

Dave W
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Old 16th Dec 2018, 8:40 pm   #52
Leon Crampin
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

An interesting point was made above concerning the destruction of important buildings (and of course risk to life) caused by electrical fires. Without wishing to start a needless debate on the merits of new consumer units and fuse boxes, I have observed that many new units, when populated with the required MCBs and RCDs will not carry their full rated current without - in my view - an unacceptable temperature rise.

So, I'm keeping my '60s MEM unit with ceramic rewirable fuses and chunky busbars. 80A no problem.

I visited a National Trust property recently burned down as a result of an electrical fire (Clandon House). Chatting to a knowledgeable guide, I asked what the NT were doing to avoid further incidents.

Routine scans of all gear at full electrical load with an infra red camera was the reply. I thought this to be an excellent idea, which would also probably find a loose connection. I think this approach is far more useful than the proceduralised tick-box approach currently used in electrical testing.

There is no substitute for the application of understanding and intelligence.

Leon.
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Old 16th Dec 2018, 9:59 pm   #53
pmmunro
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

The 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations will be coming into force from January 2019.

Regulation 421.1.7 recommends the use of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs), placed at the origin of the circuit in, amongst other locations, "locations with endangering of irreplaceable goods" (sic), which would include historic buildings.

RCDs are also required for all domestic socket outlets and lighting circuits. No more dangerous live picture hooks hopefully.

AFDDs are, it would seem, widely used in the USA but UK/European manufacturers appear only just to be catching up with this recommendation. At least at present, AFDDs take up extra space making them somewhat difficult to accommodate in standard size consumer units or distribution boards.

None of the above is compulsorily retrospective except for a change of tenancy in Scotland, but insuarnce companies might well insist on upgrades in other circumstances.

An argument against neon screwdrivers is that the user's safety depends on the integrity of the series resistor within the handle. If the resistor is a type which could fail other than in open circuit mode, there is some validity in this.

I don't think anyone is arguing that an electrical system can be adequately verified without an insulation/continuity tester, an earth loop impedance meter, a RCD tester, if applicable, and thorough visual inspection.

PMM
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Old 16th Dec 2018, 10:22 pm   #54
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Default Re: Neon tester vs dodgy wiring

Quote:
I visited a National Trust property recently burned down as a result of an electrical fire (Clandon House).
Been there too, a very interesting visit and I am glad they have kept it open in it's ruined state ('spose it is all more money for them).
One little spark in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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