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#110358 - 04/02/06 05:10 PM UK Service Intake Violations  
Admin  Offline

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,460
This picture got posted on a DIY forum, a guy had found it in his new house and wanted to know what it all was, what the general opinion on it was, I can see quite a few violations here, but I'll let others have a go before I list the ones I can see.

[Linked Image]

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#110359 - 04/03/06 01:55 AM Re: UK Service Intake Violations  
Trumpy  Offline

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,223
SI,New Zealand
I'm not sure what sort of an idiot installed this, but they were way off the mark.
The bends in the SWA (Steel-Wire-Armoured) This message has been edited by Trumpy (edicable tend to give the show away.
Call that an explosion in a few months time.
You can't kink cables like that and expect current to flow through them, without a build up of heat.
I take it that this work was not done all at the same time, the reason I say that is because any electrician worth thier salt would protect them wires between the meters with some sort of covering.
Finger-strip from Legrand, springs to mind.
If you've ever worked in an Industrial Panel, you've seen this stuff.
The Neutral on Device C seems rather light or does it just give a neutral from Device B?.
This makes me wonder what the rest of the house looks like. [Linked Image]

In my opinion, I don't think a lot of planning happened here.

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 04-03-2006).]

#110360 - 04/03/06 04:47 AM Re: UK Service Intake Violations  
Adam_151  Offline
New Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 9
Lincoln, England
bigger picture can be found at this link:

The cables are too tightly bent, but it most likely has been there for years, the explosion hasn't happened yet! lol!

The wires between the meters and stuff are owned by the PoCo as are the meters and are double insulated tails, its quite normal that they are not in any additional covering.

The neutral on device C (a timeswitch owned by the PoCo) is just a token neutral (just provides neutral to device C as you had said)*

*meters were sometimes wired in a similar way, until people discovered they could snip the token neutral and stop the meter turning

#110361 - 04/05/06 07:16 AM Re: UK Service Intake Violations  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
It's messy for sure, but not at all untypical for a service which has been changed around over the years.

I is the PoCo's service fuse/cut-out, and the cable snaking its way into the top is their property.

Meter A is a modern type, as is the main RCD (GFI equiv.)which it feeds at H. It's quite common to see a modern RCD added to an older system in this way. Boxes D and F coming off of this RCD are much older.

This looks as though it's in a garage, or some similar location, so I'd guess that F is probably just feeding sockets and/or lights within this building.

Meter B is feeding into timeswitch/contactor C. As Adam says, the neutral is just providing power for the timer & control circuit. The unit this feeds at E is one of the older voltage-operated ELCBs (Earth-Leakage Circuit Breakers), which relies on a solenoid coil to trip on sensing voltage on the building earth conductors relative to its reference ground rod. Note the two earth conductors running to it. Voltage ELCBs have been obsolete for over 30 years, but there are still a lot in service. The cabling from E to G has been there a while -- Note the plain green earths instead of green/yellow.

#110362 - 04/05/06 07:21 AM Re: UK Service Intake Violations  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Larger image copied to ECN server here .

#110363 - 04/05/06 10:49 AM Re: UK Service Intake Violations  
Adam_151  Offline
New Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 9
Lincoln, England
Ah, H is an RCD?, it just didn't look too much like one tbh...but if it is then thats one thing off my volation list [Linked Image]

The ELCB is still a violation because they arn't recognised anymore, and while a lot of them are still in use, sometimes with them being old they will have jammed up, also with parallel paths due to bonding, etc, they aren't always too effective

Oh and the BS951 pipe bonding clamps are a violation when used to ground the armour on SWA, they are liable to crush the cable, a proper SWA gland is the correct way to do it [Linked Image]

#110364 - 04/06/06 09:10 AM Re: UK Service Intake Violations  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
I can't make out the model from the photo, but there are a few RCDs which look like that. The operating handle is pivoted in the top corner, the "on" position as pictured and "off" has the handle rotate down by anything from 45 to 90 degrees. The black square at the lower right is almost certainly the test button. I can't think of anything else that unit could/would be.

The ELCB is still a violation because they arn't recognised anymore

They've not been recognized for new installs for 30+ years, that's true, but if the system complied with the current edition of IEE Regs. at the time it was installed, can we really call it a violation?

I agree entirely with your basic premise though. I've never liked the voltage-ELCB arrangement anyway. Given the way that the earthing/bonding has clearly been modified in more recent times, there may well be so many parallel paths around that the ELCB has been severely de-sensitized. It's a pity we can't see more detail of where all those earth cables run.

By the way, for non-Brits you can see the way that a basic installation with the voltage-operated ELCB was wired in diagram #4 here:

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