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Old Junk (sort of) #170502 11/04/07 05:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,379
Trumpy Offline OP
Hi All,
Here are a few pictures of some of the stuff I've accumulated over the past few years, most of it is pretty much junk and will never be used again.
I've asked the local museum if they would like to have this stuff, they said yes, so I thought I'd take some pics of a few bits and pieces before I give it away.

Below is a 1500W immersion heater, this still works, although I have some reservations about the state of the cord and BC22d light fitting connector, it will make you a very expensive cup of tea:

[Linked Image]

An old 2-pin round and socket, these were pretty common here when NZ first got electricity:

[Linked Image]

The above plug and socket, dismantled:

[Linked Image]

I'm not entirely sure where these came from, AFAIK, this configuration was never used here in NZ:

[Linked Image]

Next up is a 2-pin T- configuration system, these are still used here for ELV (extra-low-voltage) installations, although they aren't made of porcelain these days:

[Linked Image]

This next socket is the first Down-Under attempt at a shuttered socket, how it works is, you push the plug in midway then twist it and push it in.
There was a brand of socket-outlet here recently that was selling this idea as a "new" safety feature:

[Linked Image]

Here's a rather elderly switch-board panel that I salvaged from a house way out in the sticks that I re-wired some years back, it was a mess and took a bit of work to restore, the meter wouldn't have been original and would have been added some years later:

[Linked Image]

Lastly, here is a 20A Westinghouse ammeter that came out of a power station:

[Linked Image]

Tools for Electricians:
Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: Trumpy] #170509 11/04/07 06:53 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,233
HotLine1 Offline
Thanks for sharing! Nice collectables!
I have to ask; what are the devices on the switchboard panel from the old house?

Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: Trumpy] #170510 11/04/07 06:54 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 165
Retired_Helper Offline
Mike: the "tamper-resistant" outlet in picture # 6 interests me. That strap could almost be a US one. Obviously I can't tell the measurements from a picture, but it looks like it very nicely provides for wallbox-mount screws (the oval holes) and a standard strap-mount wallplate (the round, presumably tapped, holes). With the wrap-behind yoke, that could almost be an American commercial grade item, apparently from before plaster ears (aka Mickey Mouse ears here) became popular.

Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: Retired_Helper] #170511 11/04/07 08:09 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 223
aussie240 Offline
Originally Posted by Retired_Helper
That strap could almost be a US one.

Indeed the dimensions are the same. The first generation of wallbox type fittings which appeared in Australasia post WW2 were based on US design. Even the screw pitch is the same, which means local BA, metric or Whitworth sizes don't fit. American wall sockets and switches do in fact fit our wallboxes or mounting blocks without any modification. For the last 40 odd years or so, the fittings have been one piece; ie. the wall plate is an integral part of the socket or switch and not two separate items as is still done in the US. The separate fittings and wallplates are still available for replacement purposes as shown here:
This is a double gang wallplate for switch and socket.
Light socket mounting dimensions are completely different.

Last edited by aussie240; 11/04/07 08:20 PM.
Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: aussie240] #170524 11/05/07 05:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
Some good old stuff there Mike. I like the wooden tie on the two tumbler switches!

I'm not entirely sure where these came from, AFAIK, this configuration was never used here in NZ:

That 4-prong outlet looks as though it will accept an NEMA 1-15 or 2-15 plug. I think we have some pics of a similar American outlet somewhere in the nostalgia area. Maybe this was another direct copy from U.S. practice?

Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: HotLine1] #170548 11/05/07 04:46 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,379
Trumpy Offline OP
Originally Posted by HotLine1
I have to ask; what are the devices on the switchboard panel from the old house?

Hi John,
Starting from the bottom left and working clock-wise:
  • As Paul mentioned, these are two tumbler switches used as a main switch, one would isolate the normal house supply and the other would isolate the hot water cylinder (which in them days would not have had any control on it apart from a thermostat).
  • These two round fuse-holders would have held a 10A fuse wire each and they would have supplied the socket-outlets in the house, bear in mind that under the Regulations of the day, two (2) sockets per fuse was all that was allowed.
  • The fuseholder on the top left would have protected the hot water cylinder, the fuse wire would have been rated at 15A.
    BTW, the holes in the fuse carriers are to keep the fuse wires cool.
  • The fuseholder to the right of that would have supplied an electric oven, more than likely a basic oven only arrangement or possibly a Thermo-store oven, if the house owners had been more affluent, again, this would have been fused at 15A.
  • The sole lighting fuse, if this blows, you'd better hope there's a candle in the house.
    It would be rated at 5A (although I have seen some places with the fuse rated at 2A).
    That little brass plate you see on the front of the fuse carrier is a little door you can open (while holding your candle) and see if the fuse wire is blown or not.
  • Finally, this plug and socket was the subject of much debate at work, I asked what it was for, as it was not connected to anything when the switch-board was removed, no-one could give me a definite answer, the plug has a link inside it between the pins, so I'm guessing (wildly)that this is some sort of an isolator (maybe to turn the door-bell off at night?).

Also on the back of the board is the Neutral/Earth busbar (there is only one bar, because back then the main neutral and the Earthing lead were connected to the same stud).
All the conduits in the house were also earthed to this bar.

Last edited by Trumpy; 11/05/07 04:48 PM. Reason: Formatting problem
Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: Trumpy] #170554 11/05/07 07:21 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,233
HotLine1 Offline
Thank you! Now it's clear as a bell.

That's one interesting find, and a nice restore job!

Stay safe

Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: HotLine1] #170671 11/08/07 03:29 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline
Isn't the NEMA 1-15 plug/socket config still used in Australia? I've seen examples from Clipsal, albeit the socket is not polarized (one hole being wider than the other).

What would they use our "110 plugs" in Australia for? Do they also have 110 volt systems there like in South Korea?

Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: SvenNYC] #170676 11/08/07 05:12 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 202
32VAC Offline
[Linked Image from]

The plugs are still sold as well as extension cord sockets, flushmount & surface mount sockets.

I used them for 24VAC equipment (guinea pig hutch heaters)

Re: Old Junk (sort of) [Re: SvenNYC] #170690 11/08/07 09:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 223
aussie240 Offline
US style non polarised 120V plugs are available in Australia. Although I would not recommend it, I have seen these fittings used for various Extra Low Voltage applications, such as for 32V lead lights, 12v equipment, speaker wiring etc. We have a proper plug for that; the Clipsal 438/32. The polarised 120V plug has not been manufactured here.
Until 3 flat pin plug (also of US design) was standardised upon in the 1930's, the US 2 pin and various English plugs were used, along with the ubiquitous bayonet plug, for domestic electrical connections. Our version of it is thus rated at 250V.
With the small amount of 120V equipment brought into Australia, the 2 pin plug has remained for use with stepdown transformers.
There is no electricity reticulation at 120V in Australia. It has been used with some larger domestic lighting plants in its DC form in the past but would have largely gone the way of 32V DC.

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