My wife and I are moving to Egypt shortly with work, and have been told that the apartment we're moving to is old and therefore fitted with mains sockets that don't provide an earth connection! As it's an issue with the whole apartment block our landlord has said it's not possible to fix it.
I was wondering whether it would be possible to try making an ad-hoc earthing arrangement (for computers, etc.) for my own sanity. I was thinking of separating off the earth wire from a multi-way extension lead and connecting this via long cables to the water pipes.
Can anyone confirm whether this would work to earth any appliances then plugged into the multiway extension e.g. computers? I know it's far from ideal, but I figure it's better to set up an ad-hoc earth system rather than have none at all!
Unlike the UK Egypt does not have very conductive earth and often the earth system is impossible to use in the same way as the UK.
One must ask yourself what an earth is for. In the UK it will allow enough current to flow to blow a fuse i.e. 1000's of amps. If one can't get 1000's of amps to flow there is another system used extensively on the continent where the power in and power out is measured and if these vary by 30 ma it switches off the supply. These devices require less of an earth connection but still require one. They are called RCD's and are available as inline versions and may help. Computers come in two basic versions, the laptop which uses a Class II supply and any voltage spikes are damped out by the internal battery these don't require an earth. Then there is the desk top which may have filters in the supply to remove any incoming voltage spikes and rely on the earth to complete this process not connecting an earth is unlikely to cause the user danger but may result in the computer being damaged by voltage spikes. But any attempt to connect these earths to a central system could cause all sorts of voltages to appear on exposed metal work and could be very dangerous so only safe way is not to use any equipment with mains filters in it.
Do not use filters sockets and do use inline RCD's on all Class I equipment is about the only way you can afford some protection. Best is of course to use no Class I equipment. But this is Egypt not the UK and in my 3 years in Algeria I never got a shock and our earths were really non existent but it was dry at least in Hassi R'mel in the Sharia it was.
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