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#4284 - 09/15/01 05:50 PM Up is on... Or is it down?  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Some time back I mentioned that in Britain light switches are fitted so that down=on, up=off. The same holds true for wall mounted shut-off switches for ranges, heaters, etc.

When it comes to distribution panels, though, it seems as though we couldn't make up our minds over the years.

Pre-war, we generally had small 1- or 2-way fuseboxes with a side mounted handle. These were up=on, down=off,and often interlocked to the front cover.

After WWII the multi-way "consumer unit" was introduced, and the main switch moved to the front panel and took on the appearance of a normal (big!) toggle switch. These changed to down=on, up=off. I can only assume the change was on the argument that it made sense for it to work the same way as a light switch.

Since about the early 1980s circuit breakers have gradually become much more widespread in domestic panels in place of fuses, and these breakers are always up=on, down=off.

In the last 5 years or so, manufacturers have changed the main switches back to up=on, down=off, presumably on the grounds that as circuit-breakers are now common it makes sense to have everything on the panel working the same way up.

It's probably just as well that on all types the main switches have "ON" and "OFF" markings!


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#4285 - 09/15/01 06:51 PM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
bordew  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 142
Vienna,Ohio, USA
Quote
Originally posted by pauluk:
Some time back I mentioned that in Britain light switches are fitted so that down=on, up=off. The same holds true for wall mounted shut-off switches for ranges, heaters, etc.

When it comes to distribution panels, though, it seems as though we couldn't make up our minds over the years.

Pre-war, we generally had small 1- or 2-way fuseboxes with a side mounted handle. These were up=on, down=off,and often interlocked to the front cover.

After WWII the multi-way "consumer unit" was introduced, and the main switch moved to the front panel and took on the appearance of a normal (big!) toggle switch. These changed to down=on, up=off. I can only assume the change was on the argument that it made sense for it to work the same way as a light switch.

Since about the early 1980s circuit breakers have gradually become much more widespread in domestic panels in place of fuses, and these breakers are always up=on, down=off.

In the last 5 years or so, manufacturers have changed the main switches back to up=on, down=off, presumably on the grounds that as circuit-breakers are now common it makes sense to have everything on the panel working the same way up.

It's probably just as well that on all types the main switches have "ON" and "OFF" markings!



Well as far as the colonies go, up is on and dwon is off, if it is printed on the switch,and is a violation if the switch is reversed. You guys really seem to float around though.


#4286 - 09/15/01 08:14 PM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Yep.... I like the little ON and OFF legends on American light switches. Growing up in Britain, I got used to "our" way up of course, but as soon as I spent time in the States I realized that I prefer the American arrangement. It just seems more natural to me.

The backs of our light switches are often marked "TOP" so that they can be fitted the "right" way up, but there are no ON and OFF labels on the front. There's actually nothing in our IEE Regs. to say that up has to be off; it's just convention.

Some of the other types of wall switches (for ranges etc.) DO have ON and OFF markings. It's common for sockets (receptacle) to have an integral switch, and some of these are labeled.


#4287 - 09/16/01 12:00 AM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
Dallas  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
North Salem, IN 46165
Paul, can you post a picture of your circuit breakers? I just have this mental image of your circuit breaker looking like an appliance block switch we have over here.


#4288 - 09/16/01 12:12 AM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
mickky  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 43
toronto
Yup, to me , up is on. However, there has been some debate over whether the ground pin is up or down on a receptecle (I install them up.) I mention this, because some of our recep. brands are marked 'Top', placing the ground pin down !!! I'm so confused


#4289 - 09/16/01 05:38 AM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Dallas:

Sorry, I don't have a digital camera or a scanner, but Bill has a couple of catalogs I sent him recently. If we ask nicely, I'm sure he'll scan the appropriate images for you. How about it Bill?

I'm not quite sure what you mean by an "appliance block switch." Do you mean a wall mounted isolation switch for a major appliance?

Mickky:

I asked about the recept. orientation a while back and nearly started an
international incident!

Most of the outlets I saw in America had the ground at the bottom, which confirms what the others told me that this is the most common.

I have a box of Hubbell 5-15 singles here, and there's no TOP indication on them, but the ground will be at the top if fitted so that the "Hubbell" name on the front is the right way up. Same for a few of the 6-20 (250V) Hubbell recepts. I have here. I think they're a few years old.

Our sockets are a different type, but fitted with the ground at the top.


#4290 - 09/16/01 03:25 PM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
Dallas  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
North Salem, IN 46165
I haven't figured out how to post photos here yet (having too much fun reading and writing) but, what I'm calling an appliance block switch is along the lines of a tippette or curvette switch. If you took a tippette switch, and maybe an old Pushmatic CB, and put them together, thata would approximate what I'm thinking of.

Of course Bill could clear this up quickly with a picture or two [Linked Image]


#4291 - 09/16/01 04:24 PM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
Redsy  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
Bucks County PA
Article 380-7 requires vertical switches to be
UP = ON
DOWN = OFF
One reason is that gravity will tend to keep an open switch open.

[This message has been edited by Redsy (edited 09-16-2001).]


#4292 - 09/16/01 05:59 PM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
electure  Online Sleepy


Member
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,259
Fullerton, CA USA
Paul,
The up or down receptacle is another of Pandora's boxes. Questions with no answers.
(Virgil, do you still have the Down/Up picture?)


#4293 - 09/16/01 07:24 PM Re: Up is on... Or is it down?  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Quote
Originally posted by Dallas:
an appliance block switch is along the lines of a tippette or curvette switch. If you took a tippette switch, and maybe an old Pushmatic CB, and put them together, thata would approximate what I'm thinking of.


Er.... Tippette? Curvette? Pushmatic? These are used for power distribution on Mars right?

Seriously though, I've never heard of these names before, so I'm still in the dark.


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