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#136626 - 04/16/03 10:50 AM spanish wiring
v82go Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 3
Loc: uk
just bought a older villa in spain and the wiring is at best a little dodgey. I have no problem in the uk having wired and rewired several houses. any body out there now how it was done should be done now or any sites that can help

Ray

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#136627 - 04/16/03 12:11 PM Re: spanish wiring
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
In general the following can be said about carrying out electrical work in other countries:

1.) Check if you are required to have a license for the work. Nearly all countries do. The UK is a rare exception, about to change. Please note that licenses are national, even within the EU. A license is thus valid only in the country which it is issued for.

2.) The information you will find is invariably in the local language (in this case Spanish)

3.) That something is different doesn't mean it is wrong. Many people have fallen into this trap, myself included. Wiring can look mighty strange, but still be safe and in accordance with the local regs.

4.) Don't wire it to your home country's (in this case British) standards - use the local (in this case Spanish) standards.

5.) The wiring in Mideterranean countries is often joked about, with some justification, but keep in mind that the wiring you see is often old. These days, requirements are very similar all over Europe and the wiring should have a similar level of safety in all countries.

6.) Doesn't 4.) and 5.) contradict each other? No, there are still important differences. The chance that something is the same in different countries is inversly proportional to how visible it is. Sockets are never the same, whereas cable temperature ratings are always the same.

Among the difference between Spain and Britain can be noted: Colour coding of the wires and the use of radials as opposed to the British ring main. From what I hear, conduit is still commonly used in Spain, whereas it is rare in the UK.

I've seen some information on the net and a Spanish D-I-Y group on the usenet. I'll post the links when I manage to find them.

(I've been in contact with one Brit who wired his house in Spain. I can send you his e-mail, if you wish.)

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 04-16-2003).]

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#136628 - 04/16/03 12:41 PM Re: spanish wiring
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
On a more "hands on" note:

In an old continental house I would expect the following: Sockets without earthing,
1.0mm2 wires in conduit or on wall. 10A fuses. Small (20 to 40A) single phase supply.

(This thread reminds me of my only experience with Spanish electricians: We had rented a flat outside Barcelona for a week. When you turned on the cooker, not only this flat but also the five flats next to it lost power. The cooker was repaired by an electrican in notime, but I still wonder how the flats were wired.)

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#136629 - 04/16/03 02:40 PM Re: spanish wiring
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Hi Ray, and welcome to ECN:

I've seen some truly horrendous wiring in Spain, but it's usually down to bodged DIY or couldn't-care-less "professional" work rather than any shortcomings in the wiring arrangements used there.

As our Swedish friend has mentioned, the ring circuit is a peculiarly British system for domestic use which you won't find used in Continental Europe. We've had many discussions in here in the past on the pros and cons of the ring, but suffice it to say that the radial circuits used throughout the rest of thr world are perfectly acceptable so long as the correct size cables, fuses, etc. are used.

Fixed wiring colors in Spain should now follow the common European standard: Line = brown or black; neutral = blue; earth = green/yellow (i.e. the same as flexible cords in the U.K.). Most of Europe adopted the new colors somewhere in the early 1970s, but when Spain changed and what they used previously, I don't know.

One word of caution: Many parts of Europe use 3-phase supplies in residential services, which means that you have 380 volts floating around!

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#136630 - 04/16/03 02:53 PM Re: spanish wiring
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
 Quote:
When you turned on the cooker, not only this flat but also the five flats next to it lost power. The cooker was repaired by an electrican in notime, but I still wonder how the flats were wired


Just a guess, but if these were using TT earthing, maybe somebody decided to economize by using a single RCD to protect all five flats. A really common problem with ageing range elements is leakage to ground.

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#136631 - 04/17/03 10:34 AM Re: spanish wiring
v82go Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 3
Loc: uk
Thanks for the input so far. our house was built in the late 70s at a guess. there is a dedicated feed to cooker. what seems to be 1 earth type skt in each room and to rest of skts are only 2 pin and yes its all run in flexable conduit with singles. most but not all of the light switches have a fuse along side the switch to step down to what seems to be any thing from 2 to 5 amps. any more help would be greatly appreciated
Ray

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#136632 - 04/18/03 10:13 AM Re: spanish wiring
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Please note: All of the below are only qualified guesses, as I am not familiar with the Spanish electric system.

> any more help would be greatly appreciated

I'm not sure of the purpose of your questions. Do you intend to rewire the house or just want to make sure that the wiring is safe? I don't think we can help you with the former and only maybe with the latter.

> our house was built in the late 70s at a guess.

That is not very old, in my humble opinion. The wiring should be just as good (or bad) as it was when new. (Plastic cables age very slowly)

> there is a dedicated feed to cooker.

Is the cooker gas or electric? If electric, I'd expect it to be 25A single phase.

> what seems to be 1 earth type skt in each room and to rest of skts are only 2 pin and

Two round pins with side earth? (Commonly called "Schuko" sockets)

> yes its all run in flexable conduit with singles.

Good, because if the wiring is in conduit, you can add an earth wire to the existing wiring.

Although possible, I doubt there are different circuits for the sockets with and without earth. There is a fair chance they have just pulled to earth to one socket per room, and continued neutral and live to the other sockets. This makes it even easier to earth the remaining sockets.

You should be able to replace the singles with doubles if you want to. "Semi-flush" double sockets fit into single boxes.

>most but not all of the light switches have a fuse along side the
>switch to step down to what seems to be any thing from 2 to 5 amps.

Just about every country has it own "special feature", so that people can point to it and say "Look, the wiring in other countries just isn't safe, 'cos they don't have this feature"

This sounds like it could be the Spanish one...

Just curious: Does the consumer unit house fuses or MCB's? Does it have an RCD?

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#136633 - 04/18/03 11:06 AM Re: spanish wiring
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
The Spanish wiring regulations Reglamento Electrotécnico para Baja Tensión can be found as PDF files at the following address:
http://www.fiecov.es/fiecov/contenido.asp?p=58

If you want something more lightweight;
here is a site about Spanish wiring that has examples of circuit layout and the usual explanations, like two (three) way switching.
http://www.publysoft.net/~watios/

If this all sounds too theoretical, you can look at what one of the leading Spanish manufacturers has to offer at:
http://www.simon-sa.es/

Most of the gear looks like the one found here in Sweden, but there is also some odd stuff, like 25A Schukos and 3 phase Schukos.

And just for the real geeks: a brief history of the Spanish wiring regs. Need I say it's in Spanish?
www.mcyt.es/asp/ministerio_informa/discursos/RBT/presentacion%20Reg.pdf

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 04-18-2003).]

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 04-18-2003).]

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#136634 - 04/19/03 12:59 AM Re: spanish wiring
v82go Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 3
Loc: uk
the consumer unitin the house has 4 MCB's
from what i can remember { back in the UK at the moment) a 30 amp for cooker a 20amp + 2 16 amps and an RCD

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#136635 - 04/19/03 04:50 AM Re: spanish wiring
Texas_Ranger Offline
Member

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2343
Loc: Vienna, Austria
These sites are definitely helpful, even if you don't understand spanish too well.
The suggested wiring seems a bit heavy though, 20A, 4 mm2 or 15A, 2.5 mm2 seems quite heavy for standard circuits.
4 MCbs seems a bit few for an entire villa, but it reminds me of the standard panel here in Austria. 2 circuits (6A each) wasn't all that uncommon for appartments of 100m2, nowadays this is usually upgraded to 2 or 3 13A circuits.
The suggested circuit layout with junction boxes above each receptacle/switch seems nice, it's the way installations used to be done here as well, makes for a very logic installation. I don't like wires strung across or run inside ceilings or wires daisy-chained from one receptacle to the next like in the US. This way it's easier to guess where the wires run, and an average trained homeowner will run less risk of drilling or nailing into cables.
Obviously the Spanish use wirenuts or boxes with terminal strips.

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