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Old 14th Apr 2020, 9:59 pm   #21
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Quote:
Mk list a rectangular fused 15A 3 pin plug!
You can still get them, a lot of our stuff goes to south Africa and we fit said plugs. Not being a mass product they still have a quality about them, a joy to use. Oddly they use 20mm fuses.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 10:23 pm   #22
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Seeing the rotary on/off switch reminds me of the house I lived in as a student which had a similar immersion heater switch with two 'on' and two 'off' positions - off being the horizontal and on being the vertical.

It was a bit smarter than that though - if you set the switch to 'on' with the arrow on the control pointing up it powered a single low-powered immersion-element in the upper part of the tank. Set it to 'on' but with the arrow pointing down and it also powered a second rather more-powerful element fitted towards the bottom of the tank.

"On pointing up" gave enough hot-water for one person to have a quick shower by.

"On pointing down" made the slot-meter gobble cash like it was going out of fashion so only got used on Wednesdays and Saturdays in expectation of three of us returning from Rugby and wanting to shower one after another without any 'reheating' wait-time.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 10:48 pm   #23
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

My first house had an immersion heater with a top entry dual (copper clad) element, marked 'sink' and 'bath' which did the same thing. The hard water killed the 'bath' element with tedious regularity, and i reverted to an incoloy single element.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 11:10 pm   #24
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

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Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
It was a bit smarter than that though - if you set the switch to 'on' with the arrow on the control pointing up it powered a single low-powered immersion-element in the upper part of the tank. Set it to 'on' but with the arrow pointing down and it also powered a second rather more-powerful element fitted towards the bottom of the tank.
The Santon one in the catalogue is similar with a 4 position rotary switch. Up is off and the the other positions are low, med & high. Either for top element, bottom element or both together. I never knew they made a dual element- I'd always assumed the 'sink & bath' idea was for a top & bottom element.

Quote:
Mk list a rectangular fused 15A 3 pin plug!
Amazed they are still available! Does South Africa use our old 15A round pin standard then?

Cheers
Nick
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 8:38 am   #25
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

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Amazed they are still available! Does South Africa use our old 15A round pin standard then?
Yes they do, India too.
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 10:01 am   #26
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

India tends to use the 5A.
The short 3/4" (20mm) fuse is usual with BS546 system. Fused 15A plugs were always a rarity in GB. The idea was that a 5A rated appliance could have a 15A plug with a 5A fuse, saving the need to change the fuse on the board.
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 4:45 pm   #27
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

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Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
My first house had an immersion heater with a top entry dual (copper clad) element, marked 'sink' and 'bath' which did the same thing. The hard water killed the 'bath' element with tedious regularity, and i reverted to an incoloy single element.
Still have that setup here. About 80% of our water heating is by solar for a good portion of the year, with the relatively small (11kW) gas boiler generally just topping it off. So it only really gets used if a couple of people want showers in quick succession etc.
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Old 24th Apr 2020, 2:14 pm   #28
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

This was the immersion heater switch in my house. It was installed when the house was built (late 1940s) and was in regular use until 1980, when the house was rewired, and the immersion heater removed from the hot water cylinder in favour of gas central heating.

The electrician in 1980 must have just tossed this switch to the back of the airing cupboard, behind the HW cylinder, because it was only found in 2003 when the cylinder was completely removed (in favour of a new gas combi boiler downstairs)

The switch was mounted on a wooden board inside the cupboard (which is still there!) and, although the switch has earth terminals, they were definitely not used. It's obvious they've never even been unscrewed.

Interesting, too, are the double-screw terminals, to make sure the thick cable cores were securely connected.

It's beautifully made, and just feels like really solid top quality workmanship.
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Last edited by Lancs Lad; 24th Apr 2020 at 2:22 pm.
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Old 25th Apr 2020, 9:44 pm   #29
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

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Originally Posted by Lancs Lad View Post
I think 16 amp RCBOs are fitted to immersion heater radials these days.

I wonder what the unusual 20 amp fuse would have been used for in a domestic CU?
Maybe a fairly low-powered early electric shower?

When did the first electric showers (as we know them today) begin to appear in UK bathrooms, I wonder?
20 amp fuses were also used for high loading heaters in large or grand houses.
I recall a relative who had one, 2.25 kw of radiant heat and 2KW convector, plus some improbable number of lamps for the fuel effect.
3KW water heaters were common, but "fast recovery" 4.5Kw units existed, intended for a 20 amp circuit.
20 amp circuits were also installed for bedsits, via a coin meter and supplied an MEM "splitter unit" that gave a 5 amp lighting circuit and a 15 amp power circuit.
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Old 25th Apr 2020, 11:34 pm   #30
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

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Originally Posted by Lancs Lad View Post

The switch was mounted on a wooden board inside the cupboard (which is still there!) and, although the switch has earth terminals, they were definitely not used. It's obvious they've never even been unscrewed.

Interesting, too, are the double-screw terminals, to make sure the thick cable cores were securely connected.

It's beautifully made, and just feels like really solid top quality workmanship.
Hi Peter,
That's a nice switch- I've not come across many GEC domestic accessories. It always seemed rather a difficult way of doing things, having a surface switch or socket mounted to a back board. Individual wires had to be routed through holes and there was nowhere to leave any slack. A surface box to contain the wiring with the switch screwed to it seems a much better idea!

You can see there are no holes in the board for the earth wires. They were probably joined behind the board with a 'Screwit' or just twisted together! It was quite common to find junction boxes with all the earth wires twisted together underneath.

If you've not come across 'Screwits', they were common at the time for joining wires. They were like miniature ceramic thimbles with an internal tapering screw thread. Two or more wires were twisted together and then the Screwit screwed onto the joint to hold it together and provide insulation.

I always liked the double screw arrangement especially on main switches and cooker switches. It gave much greater security for larger cables.

I trust you will refit the switch back onto the board just for show?

All the best
Nick
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 12:37 am   #31
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Our 1938-built house still had its original wiring when we moved here in 1981. 2-core cables for both the 15A and 2A circuits, with 3 pin 2A sockets run from the lighting circuit as per contemporary practice, and seperate bare twisted copper earth wires for the 3 pin 15A and 3 pin 2A sockets. Incidentally, the original TRS cables (Pirelli), now more than 80 years old, are still in excellent condition, unlike some I have seen from this era where the rubber has hardened and completely crumbled away. None are actually in use, most of the old cables ended up in a tea chest in the loft when I rewired, and they are still there.
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 9:56 am   #32
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

You must have read my mind, Nick! That's exactly what I am thinking of doing.

But not before I've had the board off the wall, just to have a quick look at what wiring arrangement might be lurking behind.

Will take photos if there's anything interesting/unusual - and then, of course, when everything is back in situ.
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Last edited by Lancs Lad; 26th Apr 2020 at 10:04 am.
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Old 27th Apr 2020, 10:47 am   #33
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Here's what I found behind the wall mounting-board.

Absolutely no earth conductor to be seen - not even snipped back into the main body of the cable.

And look at the length of those screws! If they'd been just a tiny bit longer, they would definitely have come through the other side if the wall. And no new-fangled plastic rawlplugs either - just slivers of wood inserted into the holes in the plaster.

Finally, the switch back in its rightful place - about seventy years after it was originally installed.
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Old 27th Apr 2020, 11:43 pm   #34
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Hi Peter,
I assume that is rubber covered twin cable with no earth wire incorporated in it? I can't remember ever coming across rubber power cable with no earth- lighting cable yes.

Earthing did seem to be somewhat random in those days. As Emeritus said above, there may have been separate earth wires run directly to the body of the immersion heater or to the tank itself. I've certainly found plenty of bare earth wire trailing around under floorboards of old houses.

No plastic then of course, so wooden Rawlplug was the thing to use. The holes were made with a 'Rawlplug tool', a small cold chisel type thing that was repeatedly hit with a hammer & twisted until the hole was the correct depth.
Probably fairly quick in Victorian soft red bricks & lime mortar, but '30's houses had much harder brick and often very strong cement mortar!

The Brown Brother's catalogue has a selection of Rawlplug tools and metal boxes of assorted wooden plugs. Also rolls of bare earth wire.

Glad the switch is back on display!

All the best
Nick
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Old 28th Apr 2020, 10:02 am   #35
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Nick.I think Rawlplugs were Jute and we knew the tool as a jumper, with a small ejector hole along its length to eject a broken or worn out bits, I might still have one. You mention hard bricks, we did a job and the main walls were those Blue engineering bricks, they were very hard.
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Old 28th Apr 2020, 5:13 pm   #36
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

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Hi Peter,
I assume that is rubber covered twin cable with no earth wire incorporated in it? I can't remember ever coming across rubber power cable with no earth.
I pulled a lot of it out in my prievous 1936 house. It was actually in good nick and I repurposed some of it as speaker cables.
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Old 28th Apr 2020, 5:16 pm   #37
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100 man View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancs Lad View Post

The switch was mounted on a wooden board inside the cupboard (which is still there!) and, although the switch has earth terminals, they were definitely not used. It's obvious they've never even been unscrewed.

Interesting, too, are the double-screw terminals, to make sure the thick cable cores were securely connected.

It's beautifully made, and just feels like really solid top quality workmanship.
Hi Peter,
That's a nice switch- I've not come across many GEC domestic accessories. It always seemed rather a difficult way of doing things, having a surface switch or socket mounted to a back board. Individual wires had to be routed through holes and there was nowhere to leave any slack. A surface box to contain the wiring with the switch screwed to it seems a much better idea!

You can see there are no holes in the board for the earth wires. They were probably joined behind the board with a 'Screwit' or just twisted together! It was quite common to find junction boxes with all the earth wires twisted together underneath.

If you've not come across 'Screwits', they were common at the time for joining wires. They were like miniature ceramic thimbles with an internal tapering screw thread. Two or more wires were twisted together and then the Screwit screwed onto the joint to hold it together and provide insulation.

I always liked the double screw arrangement especially on main switches and cooker switches. It gave much greater security for larger cables.

I trust you will refit the switch back onto the board just for show?

All the best
Nick
Are the Screwits devices similar to our Wirenuts? The original ones were ceramic with a copper plated tapered spring insert.
We still use a whole lot of them, available in many sizes. In Canada they're referred to as Marettes , same thing.
In trade school, they were still teaching dip soldering using soldering paste and non-flux core solder. It was a better connection, but too labor intensive.
Dave USradcoll1, still living in the past.
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Old 28th Apr 2020, 5:23 pm   #38
winston_1
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Quote:

Amazed they are still available! Does South Africa use our old 15A round pin standard then?

Cheers
Nick
Yes, but from 2014 they have introduced a new international system, the only country to have done so. * From 2018 all new builds must have them.

*Brazil modified the new standard and used it but that means it is no longer an international standard.

http://www.plugsocketmuseum.nl/SouthAfrica1.html

http://www.plugsocketmuseum.nl/IEC60906-1.html
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Old 28th Apr 2020, 5:37 pm   #39
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

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Are the Screwits devices similar to our Wirenuts?
Yes they are, my granddad had a few that where plain ceramic without an internal coating, I enjoyed playing with them as a kid in the 60's/70's. I still think they are a good connector with or without conductive lining.
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