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Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 153
I'm suppposed to supply an installation which judges fish activity. In this case the installation has to run in Ireland for two years. Got the following questions:

1. Usually we use 3phase 400V supply to run the pumps. Overall consumption is but 3kW continuously. Is this common, difficult or rather impossible in a rather rural context near Limerick. TT or TN typically?

2. For remote access to data of the installation we'd generally use an ISDN (digital) line with 3 MSN. Is this common, uncommon, extremely expensive or whatever in the above mentioned context. Is an adsl-connection with dyndns more easily available?

Thanks for answers before Pentecost.


Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
I expect Dave (djk) might be along to answer these questions in a while, but on the TT vs. TN issue, as I understand it all services in the Republic of Ireland are TN-C-S.

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
This all seams foreign to me.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
Hi Wolfgang:

Regarding the electrical supply, 3-phase 400V as per normal continental European specs is the norm. (It was 380V). The only thing I would say is that you would need to contact the site owner and ESB Networks (They operate the power distribution infrastructure) regarding what's available in the area. Depending on how remote the area is, 3 phase may not be available. In that case you'd be looking at a 230V single phase supply although it should be well capable of powering the pump. 3 phase power is not as common in Ireland as it would be in continental Europe.

You should supply the equipment in such a way that it can be connected via an appropriate IS/EN60309 plug. ( )

TN is preferred, but TT is used in some areas. Again, you'd need to consult with ESB Networks as to what is appropriate. Either way you will not be involved with bonding from earth to neutral as this is entirely controlled by the PoCo.

There are, as in most European countries, some unusual national wiring rules e.g. any socket outlet up to 32amps must be RCD protected at 30mA. There are also requirements for main fuses on each panel etc. Realistically, you should use a local contractor who is aware of the regs and able to issue a completion certificate etc. As yet, EU harmonisation is not at the level where an electrical contractor from one country can work in another without any issues.

Basic rate ISDN isn't a major issue, just contact eircom ( It's not that much more expensive than a normal PSTN telephone line. However, if you're in a remote location you would want to allow for lead time to get an ISDN connection installed and possibly line work done to run a physical cable out to your location. (Again, contact the site owner etc) Euro-ISDN standards apply and connection is via an RJ45 jack.

DSL connections are relatively easily available, but again if you're in a remote location the distance from the nearest exchange will become an issue and may make connection impossible.

Finally, there is widespread wireless internet access in rural Ireland using permanently installed fixed antenna microwave (Wimax) type technology. This is generally extremely reliable and provides speeds similar to those provided by DSL.

The installation requires a small antenna, roughly the size of a dinner plate. This connects to a router similar to a cable modem that provides an ethernet connection to any connected devices. It would be possible to get a fixed IP etc etc

Overall, this is a good solution and can be installed pretty much anywhere.

There are several suppliers in the Limerick area, including Digiweb ( )

Check for a full listing of services that are available in the area.
(Government website that provides market-neutral information)

You need to find out the EXACT name of the area you're hoping to locate in. i.e. the Townland name / nearest village. Otherwise it can be difficult for the ISPs to figure out if they can provide service. With the wireless providers, a national grid reference code (geocode) or GPS coordinates can even be useful!

ESB networks information is available at :

They can be called by dialling :

1 850 372 757 (Within Ireland only)


00 353 21 494 7260 from abroad.

Last edited by djk; 05/08/08 01:37 PM.
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 153
@ sparkyinak: it seams not only, it probably is as foreign to you as Romex or high legs to me.

@ djk: Thanks a lot for the detailed info.
The 3 phase issue is just that these pumps have to be refurbished yearly so we prefer to have them all of the same type. But it looks a bit like I will have to buy a second line, as in France 3 phase is even more difficult to get.

The ISDN is actually theoretically available everywhere, but last year in Portugal.....and it was extremely expensive.

I will see the place next week, I'm prepared now.

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
There's really no way of telling whether 3-phase power is available without a site survey and knowing what's near by.

If you telephone ESB Networks they'll possibly be able to give you advice fairly quickly even before you visit.

Here's the pricing:
(from eircom


ISDN BRA Monthly Rental €32.51
Connection Fee €202.47
Upgrade from PSTN Monthly Rental €32.51
Connection Fee €99.16

Normal PSTN Voice Line:
n-situ connection - FREE*
Pre-cabled connection - FREE**
Standard connection -€107.43(ex VAT)***

Monthly line rental is € 20.65 (ex VAT)

* where all line work is completely in place and there has been previous service at the address. Offer is available until 29th July 2008 only.
**where all line work is completely in place but there has not been any previous service at the address. Offer is available until 29th July 2008 only.
***where no line work is in place and there has been no previous service at the address.

ISDN/PSTN charges are the same, they're all treated as if they were voice calls.

Full list of eircom products : is available at the following ridiculously long URL :

DSL services are available from a whole range of companies, typically there's no connection fee once the PSTN line is already there.

Speeds range from 1 to 15mbit/s depending on the package and the ISP. In general eircom's own ISP rates are pretty expensive. Its worth shopping around.

Last edited by djk; 05/08/08 06:04 PM.
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Great information, Dave!
Thanks a lot.

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
One more bit of info:

Provides you with a map of Ireland and which broadband services are available in any given location.

Also, the companies and products are accurate, but some of the speeds quoted seem slightly out of date. There's been a recent rush towards higher speed products since UPC (NTL/Chorus) Cable and Smart Telecom started pushing services in the 10 to 20mbit/s range.

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 153
Well the job is done!

1. It turned out that the owner of the site is E*B itself!
Yes, 3 phases (TN) were available. As all my 5 circuits in the panel I supplied are protected by 30mA type A RCDs, I asked for a 25A fused 5x4mm² connection (length 25m to subpanel) with either no or a selective RCD in front.

The guy who connected me to the subpanel nevertheless showed up with NYCY 4 x 6 (thought so far this was a German made national type) with four yellow wires numbered 1 through 4 (not usual in German NYCY, earth here is the 6 mm² shield). He then connected me to a 40A/30mA standard RCD (to me this is a severe mistake). Didn't install any fuses. So I asked him for the fuse size of the incoming mains. It then turned out that in an old wooden shed there was a meter and behind that a 63A diazed fused 3-phase-disconnector from which 3 or 4 different locations wired with a maximum of 6mm² are supplied.
Comment of the professional(E*B!) sparky: "It's wired the old way"

One thing looks pretty sure to me . The above given scenario wil remain untouched until I will disconnect it in 2010.

It is better to finish now the chapter about regs in pratice in Western Ireland.

2. ISDN is of course available, but uncommon, installation requires time whereas a POTS connection was a question of 2 days (I suppose the client has some advantages to standard customers). Internet in the minimal form (100 - 200kB upload per day) is available at a "pay as you go" tariff. I didn't even have to register, same as in Germany. Just the price is the double. Compared to food prices this is still acceptable.

3. I replaced the second phone line by a gsm-modem to avoid problems when sending SMS (continental English for text messages) to the guys that would take care of the stuff.
To receive a CSD(data)-card was once more very simple, so that I can access the built-in plc via the gsm-modem without problems.

Nobody ever asked for certificates, test protocols or anything like that. Nobody inspected it. And I doubt that there many RCD-testers out there, the professional just had a multimeter(!) for voltage checks.

And nobody worried that we didn't have 110V equipment to drill the holes into the concrete (unknown in continental Europe).

But it's done, the weather was fine after a lot of rain, and "c'est le provisoire qui dure".

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
Sounds to me like someone's flouting all the rules and regs and hoping that the installation will never be checked as it's some in-house job. The core colours you described are not acceptable in current Irish regulations and shouldn't have been installed. In fact, the cable shouldn't even be stocked or sold.

The RCD and fusing arrangement sounds a little odd though.

Was this guy an ESB employee, or a subcontractor?

ISDN is indeed available, but eircom have a tendency to have ridiculous lead times to do anything. If you want an ISDN line installed all they have to do is provide an NTU and swap a line card, it can take them a couple of weeks to do it though! If the ESB had ordered ISDN initially, it could have been provisioned from day one though.

DSL may have worked, it would simply depend on your distance from the local switch but again, provisioning time can be up to 2 weeks depending on how busy the local engineers are.

eircom's cut back on local staff in a huge way and it has resulted in a situation where a small crew might have to cover a very wide rural area and it's vastly degraded services and increased lead times on installations. It's a very short-sighted policy. That being said, there's not a lot that can be done about it as they're a private company. They just have to comply with the bare minimum requirements in terms of connection time.

They've also effectively stopped offering ISDN as an access product to new customers unless there's some specific need or lack of DSL support on the line. The assumption being that internet access / network access an be done using DSL technologies and PABX connections are now largely carrier-grade VoIP based rather than ISDN channels.

ISDN was never as widely used in Ireland as it was in Germany or some of the Scandinavian countries. It was certainly never promoted as a solution for voice access other than in a business environment. Even though we had very wide availability, Telecom (and eircom) had always priced it at ridiculous levels so no one bothered using it.

Last edited by djk; 09/26/08 05:57 AM.
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