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Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34016
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 1:08 pm    Post subject: Electrics q  Reply with quote    

During decorating I’ve had the occasion to poke at some wires using one of them screwdrivers that lights up. It lights up on the red wire. It doesn’t light up on the black wire. It lights up on the earth wire.

Is this right? If not, what does it mean?

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41962
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That you've got obsolete wiring some of which contains electricity.

I'd give Arvo a yell, he knows about stuff like this.

Shan



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 8027
Location: South Wales
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Red live; Black neutral according to Mr S. Do you have an RCD? You have a problem if it's lighting up on Earth. (someone used the wrong wire perhaps). What colour is your 'earth (green/yellow)?

Buy a multimeter, you plonker.... that's my suggestion.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35279
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

ummm.

if the earth is testing with voltage something is rather wrong.

it may be local to that fitting or it might be system wide.

if it is old red and black it is probably it is probably knackered anyway.
it is miswired so there is a high chance of other faults on that circuit ( maybe on others of the same vintage as well )
mending one bit is ok only if the rest meets regs otherwise you open yourself to a world of pain re danger, invalid insurance, manslaughter charges etc etc .

i would probably call a spark as i and my basic selection of meters can spot most problems but i might not necessarily find all the problems.

what is coloured for earth is live in one fitting, i would be considering what else they did very carefully and think about possibly replacing any dodgy circuits they did. a mistake like that is basic ( if you need to use uncoded cable for a 2 or 3 way light system it is polite to label them as to what they are at the terminations and anything marked as earth should never have voltage at any time )

is there access for inspecting/rewiring that circuit?

what is the rest of it like ?

am i having a de ja vu episode?

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35279
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

ps

i am up on current regs after SD's house with a very skilled spark team and an examiner from junior sparks final real world project

of the last 4 non recent installations i have had a proper look at i condemned all of them, mended or had 3 mended of them and the fourth is not my responsibility.

mk one eyeball is often enough to indicate what the system is like and if it fails there meters are irrelevant until you get to wiring up the new system.

a current 17th edition regs can be had for a few quid, it is quite short if you stick to the domestic bits, it shows and tells how it should be.
deciding how far from ideal reality actually is and is it safe can be fairly obvious
if it looks ok it can still be worth having it all tested as some things are not obvious and are quite important .

when did the whole electrical system last pass a full test?
how old is it?
is it a single installation or one bit at a time ?
have you had any other issues with electrics?

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34016
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Long and short is that I suspect there’s a can of worms here. The item in question is a dangling wire that’s been there since we moved in. It has black, red and bare. It connects to a fused switch. It does nothing.

GrahamH



Joined: 23 May 2015
Posts: 431

PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Latest regs now 18th Edition.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35279
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nick wrote:
Long and short is that I suspect there’s a can of worms here. The item in question is a dangling wire that’s been there since we moved in. It has black, red and bare. It connects to a fused switch. It does nothing.


worms are far less bother than "does nothing" , dangling is not a phrase i like in relation to electrics either

start by sourcing a decent spark and get it all checked, although a proper job is costly and disruptive there are far worse potential alternatives.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15235
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dpack wrote:
start by sourcing a decent spark and get it all checked, although a proper job is costly and disruptive there are far worse potential alternatives.


Or just disconnect it and start again from scratch.
Is probably what a sparky would do.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35279
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 19 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hairyloon wrote:
dpack wrote:
start by sourcing a decent spark and get it all checked, although a proper job is costly and disruptive there are far worse potential alternatives.


Or just disconnect it and start again from scratch.
Is probably what a sparky would do.


that is what i would expect a good spark would suggest for the old/moody stuff but there may be some modern well installed circuits that would pass inspection and are safe to keep.

another thing to consider is if for any reason you wished to rent it out that usually requires an electrical test cert if only for the insurance, if you are staying put for ever it will need replacing sometime and now and once might make sense.

i might be a little adventurous in some ways but some of things i have found in domestic electrical installations are far too interesting to live with.
if it looks iffy on the surface the hidden stuff is likely to be far worse

basically i recon if it does not have a current test cert it probably needs a rewire applies to most properties.
start with the supply and install new properly makes sense.

having worked to that whenever possible it has proven very correct once the old stuff starts getting seen.

even if it was done well time takes it's payment from switches and plugs and cables, stuff like breakers or controllers are even more short lived.
is anything over 25 yrs old?
are the consumer units over 15 yrs old?
plugs n switches it depends on quality and usage but 20 to 25 is getting on a bit

that said i removed what was a functional, 2 core naked copper in wooden trunking lighting circuit from 1897 almost exactly a hundreds years later

it worked but i rather like an earth and preferably some sort of circuit breaker included with the power

a couple of weeks ago i went to london to have a look at some electrics, short version, i went , i saw , i said replace it , i wont turn it back on or even bother putting meters on it as it has multiple zoning, circuit "design", appalling condition and broken bits issues.

much like quite a few of my chums our house is one piece at a time, at least the new circuits are sound and replaced the most urgent problems.
that is fine if you are not doing it for other folk and you get it right.

i would never consider recommending anything apart from start again on an elderly, one piece at a time installation ( new and certified circuits are ok to keep )

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10702

PostPosted: Fri May 10, 19 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Husband rewired a house a few years ago that still had the DC wiring in it as well as the AC. Dated from when electricity was first available in the city; 1920s or 30s I think. If you found some 1897 wiring must have been about the first available, as even some of the London suburbs weren't on mains until the 1930s.

Agree sounds like a can of worms that needs opening and replacing.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35279
Location: yes
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 19 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

huddersfield was an early adopter of leccy, iirc the first power station was around 1889.

i have a lightbulb from 1899/92 from gt grandad who was involved in the installations

by the time the wood trunking stuff was installed leccy had been around for a while and most were using cotton and rubber insulation in wood trunking.

the domestic stuff and the industrial stuff were close together in the pennine silicon valley of the late victorian era.
transport also went electric very early with trolley busses on a hv dc overhead feed, better on hills and corners than horses or trams. they ran until the mid sixties and at least one of the underground 1100 vt feed cables was still live in 2007 when it was hit it with a digger bucket which was rather too exciting and a bit dangeroos.

poor folk lived in the dark or with gas if they were central but most middling sorts went from lamps n candles to leccy between 1890 and 1930 with a few isolated or eccentric folk off grid until the 1960's.

iirc the cousins at middup got electric in the 1960's about the same time they got a fergie and a milking machine to replace the horse who pulled and gt uncle wilby who hand milked and spoke what is best described as 9th century norse

anyway back to the plot , if your leccy does not have a current cert which you might need anyway there is a high probability that it is also less than safe and should be a priority to remedy.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10702

PostPosted: Sat May 11, 19 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That is very early Dpack. Grandparents new house in London suburbs built in 1930s didn't have electricity for a year, so grandfather installed gas lighting. Husband's grandparents in a not remote village near where we live didn't have mains electricity until 1960s so husband remembers the gas light very well.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 1924
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Sat May 11, 19 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

My aunt in Ecclesfield, nr. Sheffield, had gas lights till the 1960's before being converted to the 'lectric'. My father put lights and power points into a Cornish farmhouse upstairs, where we were holidaying in the mid 1950's, they gave us a holiday the next year. We were their first ever holiday makers. We were welcomed to do all the things that were happening on the farm then-wouldn't be allowed now. We kids collected eggs from round the place, like holes in the hay bale stack, in lofts too. He milked cows with 3 bucket machines in the long cowshed an 4 more by hand in another shed where us kids squirted him with water pistols and he us with milk! The Guernsey cows had horns then, so care when letting them out of their stalls. I had three wonderful holidays there in the house and several camping trips as I got older and could drive.

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