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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 9:47 pm   #121
turretslug
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Default Re: Bodges

Talking of borrowed neutrals, when my parents moved into their current house some 40 years ago now, we were quite pleased to see that the integral garage had a no-messing 8ft fluorescent fitting- good, no struggling with gloomy half-light. However.... it didn't take long to spot the two spidery black insulated wires leading out of it across the ceiling, sort of 240 degrees apart. One went behind a 13A wall outlet, spliced into the doubled 7/0.029 neutral, the other went to a surface wall switch, then snaked into the front lobby into the ceiling rose, the strands casually wrapped round the exposed conductor at the rim of the loop-on Scruit. Goodness knows why they went for this diversity of live/neutral connection, but at least the live was sourced from a 5A fused place! No earth of course, as befitted the general bodginess of the installation.

Some years on, I got one of those slightly worried calls from my sister, who was now in her own house and typically keen to get on with personalising things. She had fitted a nice new kitchen ceiling light, but when she put the main switch back on, the light was on despite the wall switch being off. Then flicking the switch on, there was a 'bang' from the consumer unit and all was dark again. You've guessed it- pulling the mass of connections down from the ceiling behind the old light, she'd opted to connect all the reds together and all the blacks together.... Stands to reason, dunnit? At least that was straightforward to sort out and earned a hot meal and a couple of beers in return.

Working on location one time, we were preparing to wrap for the night, the night-watchman (a characteristically self-sufficient bunch) approached me- he'd connected his caravan up, but the lights fuse had blown, his fridge wasn't working and his VCR had produced a puff of smoke. Checking back, he was plugged into a smart, shiny new distribution panel that had a selection of various current rating red "4343" 3-phase outlets plus a single blue 16A single phase that he'd plugged into. Smelling a rat, I undid the panel screws and prised it away for a peek- yep, the 16A single phase outlet had a red wire going into the L terminal and a blue wire going into the N terminal. Poor lights, poor fridge, poor VCR. I never got an answer as to who had signed that panel off.
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Old 3rd Sep 2020, 10:28 pm   #122
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Neds= scallywags or yobs.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 3:05 pm   #123
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Yep, I had a few connect all reds and all blacks together when fitting a light that I had to fix. The worst bit is trying to find out which pair is to the switch.

The mention of the twin brown+E reminds me of a mistake I made because of a semi-bodge. Kitchen light, I replaced the switch. They had used twin red from the fitting down to the switch, though this was the only one in the house wired this way, the others were standard red/black with black being switched L (no sleeving in those days). There was also and oddity, in that was a third, single red wire in one side of the switch. I can't remember the exact detail, but I must have ended up swapping the twin reds, which meant that some of the other lights in the house now only worked when the kitchen light was on. Took me a while before I figured out what was going on.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 4:27 pm   #124
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Default Re: Bodges

One of our previous houses had a wiring bodge like that. The outside light would only work with the two way hall light in one configuration. I have to admit I never came across a handy round tuit.
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Old 4th Sep 2020, 7:43 pm   #125
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Daughter bought an ex council house, built in the 70's and not in too bad nick.
Slight leak on central heating return to fire/ boiler. Copper pipe run through wall and not sleeved, pipe corroded and was replaced.
Looking in loft at the PVC wiring, it was all run into a large BICC plastic box, open box and connections are all made with (loose) "screwits" that I thought had gone out in the late 40's. All ceiling roses were of the loop-in type, but all wiring was run back to said BICC box.
Original Wylex consumer unit swapped for a modern RCD/ MCB box. Downstairs lights constantly tripping. Tempoary feed of circuit through an isolating transformer to cure problem as it was getting late.
Next day found that wire to kitchen light had N&E reversed as N had been cut short.
Corrected and end of problems
Council workers/ electricians!!!

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Old 5th Sep 2020, 10:06 am   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_Dinning View Post
Looking in loft at the PVC wiring, it was all run into a large BICC plastic box

ED
That would be the then current practice of the "spider/octopus" wiring system (one big central JB for the various switches and feeds) for the lighting circuits. it can be still a very good system when done properly.
I have used a modern updated similar system fairly recently about 3 years ago (on office re-fits) as it was the best way of arranging some fairly complex switching schemes along with the EM lighting requirements, just not with screwits I hasten to add
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Old 5th Sep 2020, 2:47 pm   #127
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When I wired our extension 3 years ago, the supervising electrician advised that the lighting circuit had to be of daisy chain configuration rather than the spider I had proposed. He said that it simplifies fault finding and allows a continuity check to be made at the last fitting of the daisy chain. The benefit of this was demonstrated a few months later when the neigbour's wife asked me for help as the lighting circuit breaker kept tripping. I did investigate by removing a couple of ceiling roses to see if I could isolate the offending part of the circuit, but no joy: several branching cables at the ones I looked at. It took an electrician several hours to identify the fault as a short at one of the many kitchen downlighters.
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Old 5th Sep 2020, 7:12 pm   #128
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When I wired our extension 3 years ago, the supervising electrician advised that the lighting circuit had to be of daisy chain configuration rather than the spider I had proposed
Your Electrician is wrong here, it is whatever design best suits a given installation so long as it meets current regs.
In my experience different Electricians each have their own preferences, especially newer qualified ones, many of the younger newly qualified ones whom may have never seen some earlier techniques and therefore don't deviate from current "textbook" circuits, or would even know how to test/inspect anything different.
I personally use whichever design is most suitable for a given install, and yes, I did the more modern 'spider' design myself in the above post ,and I signed it off too.
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Old 5th Sep 2020, 7:41 pm   #129
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Hi R/B, at the time my daughter's house was built the loop in system had been operating for many years and in her house configuration it would have saved a lot of cable.
It takes a long time for council employees to catch up

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Old 5th Sep 2020, 11:05 pm   #130
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I was given a Marconi TF144H/4S signal generator. As it came from a fellow radio amateur, and was described as ‘working’, I confidently plugged it in but found that it was apparently dead. The mains lead went in via a Plessey 3-pin military style angled connector, which on investigation had been wired with earth and L swapped over.

My consumer unit had no RCD protection then. However I never felt a tingle despite touching the (live) metalwork several times. Rubber soles on a dry carpet and not touching anything else saved my life. I no longer trust anyone or take anything for granted!
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Old 5th Sep 2020, 11:19 pm   #131
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Re #128, thanks for the info. However, as the guy advising on the wiring was the one who would be signing it off, I was obliged to follow his advice. It was no more effort either way, and didn't require any additional cable.
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Old 5th Sep 2020, 11:26 pm   #132
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Default Re: Bodges

Back in the 80's I had some dealings with a company that re-covered pool tables. The guy used a domestic iron to flatten the beize, with an extension lead to reach all parts of the table.

To stop other people 'borrowing' his extension lead, he put a trailing socket on the iron, and a 13A plug on each end of the extension.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 12:06 am   #133
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To stop other people 'borrowing' his extension lead, he put a trailing socket on the iron, and a 13A plug on each end of the extension.
That is really terrible, but I love it!
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 6:18 am   #134
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Post No.132/133-
At that point in history the safer version would have been a 15A round-pin trailing socket on the extension and 15A fused plug on the iron..

My Dad used his old stock of 2A,5A,15A plugs & sockets in his workshop- i think this was in order to use them up, rather than preventing Mum from borrowing his gear.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 7:37 am   #135
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Default Re: Bodges

Interesting to note the discussion on the octopus system. When my house was rewired (2019/2020), the electrician used the octopus system for downstairs, and loop at the rose for upstairs.

I didn't prompt him to do this (I deliberately didn't make any 'suggestions' at all, wanting him to do the job his way without being bothered by an armchair expert). I was surprised to see that he has also used 4x 16A radial socket circuits rather than 2 (maybe 3?) 32A rings.

My role was limited to stripping out the old installation, which was actually quite interesting. At one point there were three cooker circuits between the meter area and the kitchen; the rubber insulated 1955 one (chopped off at both ends in the 1970's but left in the cavity and able to just be lifted out), the 1970-odd PVC replacement, and the 2020 replacement to that! I ended up pulling out the two old ones to reduce confusion when anyone works on the building in the future.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 8:03 am   #136
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Default Re: Bodges

Whilst working for BT at a Remploy site the PABX power unit kept blowing along with a lot of SMP units that ran the modems . The fault turned out to be a earth bar missing in the sub station as a result the 3 phase power drifted up and down as power was drawn from each phase ( over 300v on mains )
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 8:24 am   #137
turretslug
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Was that the scallies pinching the copper? Some have had exceedingly close shaves doing this kind of thing. I've seen barrow-loads of SMPSUs with melted input MOVs as a result of missing neutral in temporary site situations- it was actually a good advert for these devices in quickly popping fuses and protecting everything else.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 9:19 am   #138
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Default Re: Bodges

Although there have been a lot of different bodges over the years, we should remember that it still leaves an infinite number of bodges yet to be invented. (infinity minus any finite number = infinity)

New bodges are happening every day, in great quantities. Physicists ought to be interested in the asymmetry. They are not created as bodge/unbodge pairs. Obviously to us here, they therefore contribute to the net increase in chaos.

Defining a bodge is difficult, but we all know one when we see one

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Old 6th Sep 2020, 9:57 am   #139
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The reason more modern versions of the spider/octopus wiring system is becoming more popular again and making a comeback is due to a lot of LED lighting now not physically accepting the amount of cabling at the fitting for the 3-plate system (loop in/out).
In the office refit I mentioned up thread, the lights were mainly 600X600 Led lighting tiles and their driver connections were really only safely capable of accepting a single feed wire, also in the mix was how the lighting was arranged in different blocks/areas in each office, there were also PIR occupancy sensors at various points as well as a last man switch in some of them, it was all part of the spec including energy saving measures.

The easiest way to connect all of this up was to use a large electrically central lighting JB complete with Din rail terminals for all of the commons and various switched feeds, we made a really neat job of it too.

Anyone who has tried to fit a modern B&Q light in place of an existing original fitting will know what I mean
Incidentally the Niceic were also encouraging us to loop the N at the switches on new re-wires for this same reason.
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Old 6th Sep 2020, 2:40 pm   #140
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Default Re: Bodges

I remember at Mikey 66's meetup last year someone mentioned an early stereo TV where one of the speakers stopped working. Rather than trace the fault someone decided to run a pair of wires from the working speaker to the faulty one.

It wasn't long before the owner found the balance control wasn't working properly!
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