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#140453 03/12/04 07:47 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
Trumpy Offline OP
Over here, there are a number of people buying Heated towel rails and that's OK.
I have no problem with that in itself.
But when people expect that you will come to thier house and install a socket-outlet in thier Bathroom and not have to protect the circuit with an RCD, is what get's my goat.
Over here, you would have to have a Permanent connection on an appliance like this in a Damp area like this.
How would this be done in your country?
BTW, Shavers are excluded!. [Linked Image]

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
C-H Offline
You see these heated towel rails from time to time and the traditional way of connection is a permanent connection to a box with suitable IP rating, RCD optional. In zone 3 a socket outlet with RCD is acceptable.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Well, I'm sure you both know the British IEE stance on this by now. Yeah, all together now: "No sockets in the bathroom!" [Linked Image]

So towel rails have to be run from a dedicated outlet box, hardwired. A common technique is to just use a blank flex outlet plate in the bathroom and have the switch located outside in the hallway, although there's nothing to stop the switch being located inside the bathroom, if required.

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
Well, as C-H said, in zone 3 suitably IP rated sockets are perfectly ok, and that's how those towel rails are wired. Germany requires all bathroom circuits to be on a 30mA GFI, Austria requires _all_ circuits 32A or smaller to be on a 30mA GFI. In theory old installations would have to be upgraded when a new bathroom socket is installed, in paractice I think only a small number of electricians will work to code.
In the "good" old days only shaver outlets with an isolation transformer were allowed in bathrooms. Fixed appliances (like the pretty common 2000W infrared heater strips) were to be protected by a double-pole switch. This restriction led to pretty inventive ways as to connectinmg washing machines. In one case they hacked a 10cm hole in the wall and threaded the cord through it. On the other side they plugged the Schuko plug into an ungrounded socket.
Washing machines were also often hardwired to bypass this restriction. If I run across such an installation I usually put a Schuko socket instead of the blank plate. Much easier and less risk of DIYers fumbling around with the wiring.
In one case I saw an ingenious installation. All wiring ungrounded, 10A fused, probably overfused. Tenant wanted washing machine and dishwasher. Electrician #1 ran wire from the panel (Diazed) to dishwasher, mostly in conduit. Electrician #2 saw correctly 10A were definitely not enough for dishwasher and washing machine. So he put in a transfer switch alternating between the 2 appliances. Then he put a Perilex socket into the panel, but only one phase connected. In the bathroom he hardwired the washing machine to an at least 15m long piece of 3x2.5mm2 flex that led all through the bedroom and hallway to the panel where it terminated with a Perilex plug. I can only assume that guy installed the Perilex plug to keep the tenant from plugging the heavy appliance into some more convenient ungrounded socket.
You can believe me I had a real good laugh looking at that setup!

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
Trumpy Offline OP
No guys,
It just really struck me as strange that an Appliance like this that is normally permanently fixed to a wall and wired to a PC Unit, should have legs on it and also come with an attached plug!.
I reckon the people had the wrong idea of where this thing was permitted to be installed.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
Wouldn't it just be easier to use a wall socket with an incorporated RCD? That's what I've seen done here.

People just plug them into the (hopefully GFCI) socket used for the hair dryer, shaver, etc. In older non-retrofitted bathrooms, the sockets aren't RCD-protected.

By code, now a bathroom socket must be RCD equipped.

How come non-NEMA countries don't have RCD-equipped sockets? (This is the impression I get).

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 177
Here there would be no probblem with a socket in a bathroom as long that it is : A, In zone 3
B, Earthed
c, GFI protected 30mA

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
How come non-NEMA countries don't have RCD-equipped sockets? (This is the impression I get).
They do exist, but they're helluva expensive and I've never seen one for real.
Besides it'd be awfully tight to cram such an outlet into a standard box.
American boxes are extaordinarily huge and deep. Our standard boxes are just 65mm in diameter and 50mm deep, and the recessed Schuko receptacles take up most of it. You're barely able to squeeze a set of strip connectors behind it. So fitting a GFI into one of those would be near impossible I guess. Easier to fit a single-space surface mount enclosure with a full-house RCD next to the panel.
In Germany they have the problem with their "classic grounding" when it comes to upgrading with RCDs. I always have trouble to keep from using bad language when describing that system. It means that they just ran phase and neutral to each socket and put a jumper wire from neutral to ground. Some receptacles even had 2 ground terminals for that purpose. Areas that used this grounding method as opposed to TT systems (only local ground rod) had for more electrical deaths. In Western Germany this practice was outlawed in 1973, in Eastern Germany only after reuniting in 1990. However, the GDR already had mandatory bathroom RCDs in 1984, long before Western Germany.

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,250
djk Offline
RCD sockets are quite easily available in the UK/Ireland and do fit into a standard box... although it's a bit of a squeeze and they are often not quite as flush as a normal socket.

They're not as widespread as the US though as system-wide protection is usually used. You occasionally see them installed in garages etc..

Quite a lot of extension reels and garden equipment is arriving with plug-in RCDs pre-fitted too.

Paul might have more info ?

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
RCD outlets have become available in recent years, but as Ragnar points out they tend to be quite pricey here, so they're not that widely used.

[Linked Image from]

Contactum twin RCD socket

This one is supposed to fit a standard 25mm (1") deep box, but to be honest it's enough of a squeeze getting a regular twin socket and its cable into one. British wiring accessories don't leave very much room.

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 03-14-2004).]

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