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#133358 - 07/22/02 02:30 PM Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
This is a new panel which has been fitted to an older installation. I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I took off the cover!

Look at the top terminals of the circuit breakers. No wires!



Hmm, curious. Wonder where all those hots from the branch circuits go then......

Ah, here they are:


Yes, somebody put all of them on to the busbar side of the breakers!


Here's a closer look at the breakers used in this panel:



The bottom terminal is dual-purpose: It can be clamped onto a busbar or wired separately.

Somebody must have spent a fair bit of time manipulating all those wires into place behind that busbar into the wire terminal.





[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-22-2002).]

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#133359 - 07/22/02 02:52 PM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
one would think it obvious, or at least obvious to a tradesman as to load placement...

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#133360 - 07/22/02 03:20 PM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
George Corron Offline
Member

Registered: 05/16/01
Posts: 728
Loc: Lorton, Va USA
Paul,
If you've ever read the history of the ground wire and how we progressed from ungrounded to grounded, the same rule applies: It would only be important in the event of a problem, therefore, proper trade practices installed by competent tradesmen mean those breakers are unnecessary.
We don't count mice, heat, age, deteriation, etc.. You see, we didn't tell you, but in THIS country we have none of those problems.

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#133361 - 07/22/02 05:30 PM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
CTwireman Offline
Member

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 839
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Thousands of miles (kilometers?) away, yet so many similarities.

Paul-

Do the different handle colors on the breakers have any significance (ie different amperage)?

It doesnt appear that this consumer unit (I love calling it that! ) has much room for wiring, or "wire bending space" as we would say over here. I guess that doesn't matter, since your wires are all stranded, correct?
_________________________
Peter

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#133362 - 07/22/02 05:32 PM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
CTwireman Offline
Member

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 839
Loc: Connecticut, USA
BTW, what are the dimensions of these panels? (In Imperial units, of course!)
_________________________
Peter

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#133363 - 07/23/02 01:30 PM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
Roger Offline
Member

Registered: 05/18/02
Posts: 1779
Loc: N.C.
Paul, you are right, this person had to be dedicated to fish all those conductors in.

Do you think they were leaving the top screws for future use.

Roger

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#133364 - 07/23/02 04:16 PM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Hey George,
Which part of Utopia are you living in? Can we all join you?!

Went back today to fix the problems and couldn't resist taking another snap as I stripped the panel for rewiring:


Aren't all those red wires neatly looped through the holes?!

By the way, the original reason for the callout was a faulty main GFI which would not reset.

Peter,
Yes, on this particular range of C/Bs the handles are color-coded to the current rating: White=6A, gray=10A, blue=16A, yellow=20A, red=32A, orange=40A.

These colors are based on those used on cartridge fuses and rewireable fuse carriers for many years: White=5A, blue=15A, yellow=20A, red=30A. (Note how 5, 15, and 30 have changed to 6, 16, and 32A to line up with common European standards.)

A main GFI can be substituted for the main switch on this panel (in fact this is what I did rather than just replace the separate GFI -- It requires a different busbar assembly though, hence my having to strip the panel right back).

The "consumer unit" above is about 9.5 by 8.5 inches, and as you can see from the busbar it has room for up to 7 branch circuits.

There isn't a lot of room to work in many of these panels. This is one of my major criticisms of many British devices, certainly compared to their much more spacious American equivalents.

Most of our older cable was stranded, but the newer metric sizes are solid in the smaller sizes (and harder to work). I'll post a separate thread on this when I get time.

P.S. Re a thread in the general area about what order breakers are installed, many people here fit the highest rated C/B(s) next to the main and then go in descending order. As you can see from the handle colors, this is not such an installation. (Not that in this case it made much difference, of course!)


[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-23-2002).]

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#133365 - 07/23/02 05:57 PM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
Bjarney Offline
Moderator

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
A very interesting find, pauluk. Offhand, I can't imagine a case where one breaker terminal with the seeming relative difficulty of accommodating cable AND bus wouldn’t be a dead giveaway to even an executive junior assistant home-repair-store trainee expert.

The breaker poles do make spiffy "terminal blocks."


 


[This message has been edited by Bjarney (edited 07-23-2002).]

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#133366 - 07/23/02 07:33 PM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
George Corron Offline
Member

Registered: 05/16/01
Posts: 728
Loc: Lorton, Va USA
I have inspected trailers brought to jobsite with (I think) Bryant breakers which are also color coded, I guess same principle, they should make them match the new color coded romex red wire/red breaker THAT would take the guess work out for DIY'ers.

Paul, come on in theres plenty of room.

It's simply there is not,
a more congenial spot,
for happy ever aftering than..........


[This message has been edited by George Corron (edited 07-23-2002).]

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#133367 - 07/24/02 08:44 AM Re: Who needs circuit breakers anyway?!
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Just so long as nobody decides that the color of the handle should be matched by the color of the wire connected to the C/B!

That could really make for some interesting wiring, and after seeing this I'm not sure there wouldn't be somebody who'd try it!

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