faulty socket


Postby toptiger » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:34 pm

wierd occurence has happened recently. on turning on the lights in living room, one side went bang (small bang, not a bulb popping) and the dimmer (double 2 way) needed replacing.

At the same time, one of the double sockets in the kitchen and the fridge socket dont work (appliance fine have checked elsewhere).

Firstly, i didnt think the lights were on the same ring, and secondly i didnt think sockets could just stop working (i think the others on the same ring do work, which doesnt sound right). surely a socket is just wires going to an end point, which have been checked and are still attached!

very confused....
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Postby ericmark » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:06 am

What should be and what is are too completely different things. Of course we don't know what is we only know what should be.
1) Using fused connection units (FCU) one can supply lights from a final ring circuit or final radial but lighting has a max of 16A and normally because ceiling roses are rated at 5/6A the supply is 6A or lower.
2) Because a final ring is two feeds in parallel it is important that the installation is tested from time to time. Called an Electrical Installation Condition Report these should be done every 10 years or on change of occupant on domestic premises.
3) It is common to find 2 or 5 amp sockets on lighting circuits designed to have standard lamps plugged into them. It is of course easy for anyone to swap these for 13A sockets which could explain what has happened.
4) With RCD protection it is a good idea to have lighting in all rooms from two sources so if one RCD trips there is supply to lights from the other one. As a result it is becoming more common to find lights powered from socket supply through the FCU.
5) The RCD use means we have often two devices which can trip and where it is the RCD normally lights and sockets in one room are not supplied from same RCD but having lights trip in one room and sockets in the other would point to a RCD opening.
6) Every bulb should have built in a fuse so that if on blowing you get ionisation the bulb fuse will blow not the main fuse. However with trips often the trip goes before the bulb fuse and also cheap bulbs I got caught out with some form Ikea the built in fuse is missing.
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Postby toptiger » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:02 am

Hi Eric,

thanks for the detailed reply, the socket (twin plus fridge, seperate) started working yesterday but today they dont, with all other electrics (i assume on same ring also working). therefore faulty connection in side the socket? would this also stop the fridge point from working?

strange how it comes and goes (never done that before!)

i thought on ring mains there is a circuit going back to the consumer unit, but am i wrong? the socket is a spur so that might be allowing the others to work.
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Postby jimmy_one_ball » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:29 pm

It is very possible that the two incidents are seperate and co-incidental. My instinct would be to safely isolate the supply to the socket outlet circuit and just remove the face plates to look for something obvious such as a loose wire. Any signs of overheating must be treated seriously, of course, and the circuit tested properly.
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Postby ericmark » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:32 pm

I would agree with "jimmy_one_ball" it needs investigating. However what we of course don't know is if you have the skill a) to do it safely and b) to do a good enough job to work out what the fault really is.

I think there are times when one has to forget the cost and put your and your families safety first. Although you may get it to work. As to working safely is another question. And I think time you called in some one with the test gear and skills required.
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