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#137519 - 07/12/03 06:37 PM Store Distr Board
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Here's a picture of one of the Distribution boards, in our Workshop store at work:



This is an older type metal board, with a phenolic front panel.
It is fed with 3 Phase 400V and Neutral.
Note the missing fuse carriers in the row next to the black HRC fuses, this does not comply with the Regs, as ALL of the top terminals you see there are live.
The 3 fuse bases at the right-hand end of the row, each have 400V between them, and when I recently tried to change them to Safe-Bases, I was told that I should go and do something else more productive.
Also, note the lack of labelling on this board!.
What are your thoughts on this board?.

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 07-12-2003).]
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#137520 - 07/13/03 12:55 AM Re: Store Distr Board
Belgian Offline
Member

Registered: 10/10/02
Posts: 177
Loc: antwerp
I would definitely change the whole board. I would never change parts of it. We have very similar boards in old installations.

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#137521 - 07/13/03 03:51 AM Re: Store Distr Board
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
This is quite a familiar sight, or at least it used to be! It looks like a typical "home assembled" panel such as might be found in a workshop in Britain years ago.

The porcelain fuse carriers look the same, or very similar, to those common used here.

The sixth fuse position from the left (third white one) looks very much like a Wylex brand push-button MCB, which were commonly used as replacements here 20 or so years ago. It might be a different fitting though, as those MCBs had a different connection to the holders we can see here.

The round white light switch bottom left looks exactly like a type used here in the 1950s/60s. I have half a dozen of the same style but in brown.

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#137522 - 07/13/03 06:19 AM Re: Store Distr Board
David UK Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 134
Loc: Inverness, Scotland
This board looks similar to older Australian types I saw when working there.
I have never seen a site assembled board like this in the UK, they are usually factory built assemblies. However most of the components are familiar to British sparkies, the porcelain fuses look like the type found on old MEM fuseboards (pre60's). As Paul mentioned the plug in MCB with the yellow button (20A?) is exactly like our older Wylex breakers for upgrading fuses to MCB's, apart from the different pin arrangement. I've got loads of these in the shed.

Any idea how old this board is Mike, and are the porcelain fuses rewirable type?

BTW, I dont like the look of the unshielded
live terminals, I would be inclined to fit an unloaded fuse carrier to these.

You know the old saying:
"The cobblers kids are always the worst shod."
I think the same applies to sparkies own workshops.

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#137523 - 07/14/03 05:41 PM Re: Store Distr Board
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
David,
Hmmm,
Judging by that old Reyrolle socket, to the right of the main switch, I'd say that this board was probably Built around about 1965 or a wee bit later.
Yes, the fuses are rewireable and the factory that made them is in my old home town.
The reason why there is no blank holders in the bases, is because you can't get these sorts of fuses anymore, they've been outlawed for some time, all though they are still around, it's just a matter of finding ones that fit(they are all different sizes).
You want to see the inside of that board,
it's got more joints than a UB-40 gig, it's a real mess in there.

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 07-15-2003).]
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#137524 - 07/15/03 03:16 AM Re: Store Distr Board
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
David, missed your comment above.
 Quote:
You know the old saying:
"The cobblers kids are always the worst shod."
I think the same applies to sparkies own workshops.

It goes further than that too!.
I was at a new house one day, removing the Temporary supply and the Drill that belonged to the sparky, was in a shocking state of repair.
The flex on it had more tape than flex on it
and the case was held together with Duct tape and the plug was broken beyond belief.
The Inspector that I was with at the time (he was installing the new metering), cut the cord off it, just before he left and took it with him!, I've never seen anyone so ANGRY in my life, the sparky blamed it all on me, but I told him who done it and also told him that the Inspector was coming back, to THOROUGHLY inspect his work, when he was finished!.
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#137525 - 07/15/03 04:19 AM Re: Store Distr Board
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
David,
I don't know if you still come across many in your neck of the woods, but MEM switchgear seems to have been very popular in this area in the 1950s/1960s era. There are still many MEM panels in use in my neighborhood with the old gray fuse carriers.

Some of the later installations even had the BS1361 cartridge fuses instead of rewireable. If I strip out one of these old panels I keep such holders for use as spares.

 Quote:
The Inspector that I was with at the time (he was installing the new metering), cut the cord off it, just before he left and took it with him!, I've never seen anyone so ANGRY in my life

An understandable reaction and commendable on the grounds of safety, but if the guy was very angry he could have had the inspector charged with criminal damage and theft!

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#137526 - 07/16/03 04:53 PM Re: Store Distr Board
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Paul,
Just a small question.
When did the UK start using the now common Consumer unit in houses?.
I was asked this by a guy that originally came from England and I had to admit, I didn't really know!.
BTW, what did you guys use before these units, in domestic installations?.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#137527 - 07/17/03 04:18 AM Re: Store Distr Board
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
They appeared pretty much in the late 1940s/early 1950s. Keep in mind that that's also the time that the ring-circuit started to be used in place of many individual radial circuits, so the units installed in smaller homes back then often had only four circuits, typically: Cooker (30A), ring (30A), water heater (15A), lights (5A).

Prior to the consumer unit, homes often had an array of 1 and 2-way "fuseboxes" where circuits had been added at various times as electrical needs increased. The early types were typically metal-clad with a side-operating handle. Later 1930s/1940s units were typically porcelain bases with bakelite covers.

Many of these installations survived in use until quite recently, and I've come across a few old places here which would make our American friends cringe in thought of the NEC "rule of six."


[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-17-2003).]

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#137528 - 07/17/03 12:01 PM Re: Store Distr Board
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Paul,
Thanks for that!.
That system of 1 and 2 way boxes sounds like a bit of a nightmare to fault-find and perform repairs on.
Were these units daisy-chained or were they fed radially?.
BTW,I had to work on that board, in the above pic, yesterday, I found that the Reyrolle socket isn't even fused, it is fed by the Main switch, it relies on the 40A Breaker in the Main Board, to operate, if there is a fault with anything that is plugged into it!.

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 07-17-2003).]
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