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Grandad unplugged — 21 Comments

      • Why did you not have a proper lie in?  Saves electric and gas.  And why restrict your whiskey consumption?

      • I had to fit a new kitchen for the sister-in law last weekend(free gratis of fucking course)When I connected the new cooker switch,the input was the output and vice versa.I think the switch has political aspirations.

        • A carpenter once asked me "How can you work with something you can't see?"  I replied that you CAN see it when things go wrong, and showed him a spanner with a bit missing as a result of shorting a cars battery terminals…

  1. OK – Electrickery lesson coming up.

    Your new "fusebox" is actually a circuit breaker board, usually known as a "Consumer Unit" over here. It will be divided into sections – a master breaker (probably 80-100 amps), some individual trips which only protected for current overloads, and others which also have RCD protection. The first trips are normally only for circuits that you, the consumer, can't get easily get your grubby little mitts on, such as lights. This explains why you still had one of them on. The RCD (Residual Current Device) goes further and looks for any imbalance between the live and neutral wires (feed & return). This indicates an earth fault, since in a good circuit with effective insulation, the electrons can only flow round the intended path. If water gets in, or you chop through the strimmer lead and accidentally touch the wire ends, then some of it finds an alternative path back to the supply via the earth. The main trip which you couldn't get to reset will be an RCD (should have a little red "test" button on it), and until you completely remove the earth fault it won't hold in. As for the extension lead – chances are there was either some damp in part of it, or possibly even a scrap of fine wire from the flex laying where it shouldn't. Unplugging it must have dislodged this so it is no longer "leaking" to earth.

    • Wow!  Thanks for that.

      I have my suspicions about the cause [a possibly faulty timer switch] but it's dark now so it's not a good idea to play around with power sources as Herself gets a bit narked if I plunge her into darkness.  It's not the short extension lead because I plugged that in straight after fixing the whole setup and nothing happened.  In fact that very extension lead is powering my router/broadband aerial as I speak type.

      The only thing that is disconnected now is that timer switch, so I'll play around with it with plenty daylight to spare and when the shops are open!

      • It's possible that more than one low level fault could be present on that circuit, neither of which individually is enough to knock the RCD out. And the fault could also be on the neutral wire which is not isolated by the circuit breaker. If you can, establish exactly which sockets are on the same circuit and remove everything plugged in to it, for a closer inspection. Signs of damp or something loose inside are things to be suspicious of.

  2. I recently had trouble with our RCD trip dropping for no obvious reason , usually when it was dark.  So I read up a lot of stuff about the subject and finally bought myself an earth leakage clamp meter. What I found was that we did not have any faults, but we did have a slightly over-sensitive trip switch and also that nearly all appliances have a small, but measurable, earth leakage and these all add up.  Some of the worst offenders are electronic gizmos especially computers as they contain capacitors across the mains as filters and these are giving an earth leakage even when the kit is not on.  This means the trip switch is "on the edge" and voltage spikes from outside your property can flip it over.  I now keep the washing machine and all my computer stuff switched off at the sockets and this has cut my constant leakage by a third and, touch wood, we have not had a trip for months..  I hope this is of help.   And keep up the good work, you old curmudgeon.

    • Welcome Hugo, and thanks for that.  Everything [except the suspect timer switch] has been running full belt ever since without a hitch.  A fair point about the voltage spike though – there could have been one of them that tripped the system?  I really won't have a definitive answer until I try reinserting the suspect switch.

  3. After the cup of tea after putting everything to right, did you spend the afternoon checking each socket to establish the circuit for each so that when it happens again, you will thank yourself for making you life easier?

    • Good point – number each breaker, and its corresponding sockets / light switches with an indelible marker.

      • Herself will bitch about little numbers springing up all over the place but that is now on my jobs to do list.

    • Had to go out.  And when I came back it was time for my nap.  By the tie I woke, it was dark.  Heh!  Nice time for a drop of the hard stuff.

  4. Well at least. the light bulbs continue to go on in that scurrilous little head of yours, and yet even there, you have mentioned a circuit breaker in the past that has mysteriously cut off all fresh thoughts temporarily ?

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