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UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146313 11/25/06 02:07 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline OP
On another forum I've spotted this guy looking to do some 'improvements' to a rental cottage with a solar, and hydro LV system in K&T - I was wondering if any of those across the pond might now of the legalities (Code or otherwise) of that.

Ref: Other Forum

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
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Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146314 11/26/06 09:55 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
I'm having trouble linking to the thread.

Which forum area/thread title is it?

Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146315 11/26/06 12:21 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
iwire Offline
Paul the thread was removed.

It was getting into a debate about the posters qualifications.

All the person really asked was where to buy knobs & tubes, he was given a link for that.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146316 11/26/06 04:40 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Alan Belson Offline
Bob, Paul, Mark.
I have never seen Knob and Tube used in the UK, and never even knew it existed till I joined ECN. The proposal was to use pv, invert to 230vac, then to 'wire up' a cottage, owned by a UK Charitable Trust, with public access [ ie. not his private dwelling ], with a silly olde-worlde, mock-tudor wire and K&T antiquified 'look' scheme; this by an amateur with no idea of the dangers involved, nor the risk to innocent parties. A person who was also unwilling to accept the advice, doubts and concerns of a certain highly-skilled San Francisco electrician. In this case those at risk are not he [ of whom I don't give a hoot; if he wants to kill himself, that's his right ], but young persons on educational courses.

I have taken the liberty of writing to Mr Simon Roberts at the Pilton Community College, Limecombe Trust, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 1RB, U.K. voicing my concerns.


As a ps.
Denise worked for a similar educational trust as the lab tech. They were beset by eccentic, [ to be kind], part-time unpaid volunteeers with similar er.. conceptual artistic ideas; usually harmless, like building a full-size Saxon house out of cow-dung and twigs or filling the woods with hundreds of luminous plastic butterflies on sticks. Quite funny sometimes, with me desperate not to collapse in fits of laughter and hurt their feelings! But hey, it's a free country!

Wood work but can't!
Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146317 11/27/06 08:12 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
This certainly poses some interesting points. I'm assuming that the "Olde Worlde" look he's striving to achieve is for a traditional British cottage, in which case K&T would be totally out of character anyway.

Bearing in mind that electricity in houses has only been around for a little over a century, if the object is to make the place resemble something from much earlier times, I would have thought a wiring scheme which is as inconspicuous as possible would be more the mark. That's certainly what a lot of people in the old places want -- And it isn't always easy with solid stone walls and beams which are covered only on the top (so that the underside of the second floor's floorboards are also the first floor's ceiling).

I'm going to play devil's advocate now though, and say that if the K&T wiring were to be installed properly, would it be a problem? In my opinion, it would certainly not be prohibited here in the legal sense.

In a residential building, whether owner-occupied or rental, compliance with BS7671 (IEE Wiring Regs.) is still not mandatory (at least not in England; it's a little different in Scotland).

The only legal requirement is the much talked-about Building Regs. Part P, which simply states in rather vague terms that the wiring much be installed in such a manner as to be safe, etc.

The American NEC still recognizes K&T as a accepted wiring method in certain circumstances (article 394). If a major electrical code such as the NEC still allows K&T to be used, then I think it would be hard to argue that the method is unsafe.

Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146318 11/28/06 09:47 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,486
Texas_Ranger Offline
In Germany K&T was outlawed in 1910!

Usually it looked like this:
[Linked Image from]
I know a few houses in Austria that still have original wiring like that live @230V.

I love the way that stuff looks!

Very old stuff (only seen that once or twice, still live) looked like this:
[Linked Image from]

Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146319 11/28/06 10:25 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,250
djk Offline
It sounds rather pointless and it would be totally historically inaccurate, as paul said, for a rural home.

VERY few homes in rural areas had electricity in the days of knob and tube. If you wanted authentic, you'd be looking more at 1930s-50s fittings.

I was in a french house built in the 1500s which used a panel of contactors and low voltage cables to avoid heavy wiring for switches on the walls. All they needed was 12V speaker cable type stuff which could be easily and safely grouted into the stone work.

Sockets were all done in colours that complemented the stonework and hidden as best as possible.

K+T would just look ridiculous in a british cottage.

Did the UK ever use K+T ? If so it would have been in older urban areas only i suspect...

Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146320 11/28/06 10:29 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,346
Trumpy Offline
I have K&T fittings here sent to me by ThinkGood ages ago.
Judging by the wire and the insulators, 230V is way out of the question.
No way are they within IEC touch voltage limits.
They don't even comply with basic insulation requirements (ie: Double Insulation).

{Just as a note, thanks a heap ThinkGood if you are watching mate!. [Linked Image]}

Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146321 11/28/06 07:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,486
Texas_Ranger Offline
Well, don't forget regulations were much less strict way back when such stuff might have been used.

Definitely, rural houses are far more likely to have 30s-50s wiring. We've got remnants of the original 1949 wiring in our place. The entire village didn't get electricity until 1949!

Re: UK K&T with LV hobby lighting... #146322 11/29/06 05:52 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
Did the UK ever use K+T ? If so it would have been in older urban areas only i suspect...
I've never heard of it being used here, at least not in general domestic wiring. I suppose something similar might have been employed in the very early days.

We did have a wiring method in the early part of the 20th century which consisted of a kind of wooden trim strip which had grooves along its length into which individual rubber/cloth covered conductors could be laid. A wooden cover then went over the the top of the whole lot so that it could be painted into the room's decor.

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