DIY Doctor

Scary Fuse Box

Postby ml09616 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:00 pm

Mate called me to have a look at his cooker which wasn't working.

The light was on (little light to indicate that the cooker is on), but no heat, and when the knob for the ring was turned higher (hotter), the little light went off.

Lets have a look at the fuse box (yep.... old ceramic fuses.... no consumer unit here!).

First off.... the fuse block panel was almost floating it was so loose, moved around in the hand when trying to pull a fuse.

The fuse for the cooker was intact, but terminal pins looked a bit iffy.

Put a meter on the terminals.... read 25 volts (230-40 volt supply). Tried the other fuses, most were fine, but another one was low.

Told him it was so bad that I wouldn't have a go at fixing it (I am qualifed electrician, but haven't worked at the trade for 30 years), and that he should get it replaced ASAP with a CU.

Felt a bit guilty after I went home..... I should have pulled the fuse box off and investigated a bit further.

What do you guys think?

cheers all
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Simply Build It

Postby sparx » Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:35 pm

Hi Mike,

good move methinks since if you get involved a fuse board change is notifiable works to LABC under part P of bldg regs.
Seems like lots of loose connections, which may have led to overheated insulation, so any attempt to disturb it will give more probs.

I wish It was easier to walk away from some jobs my self!!
regards Sparx
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Postby kbrownie » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:48 pm

It's a catch 22.
I think it's time your mate had their installation looked at for safety reason, it may not be just a case of new CU, how olds the wiring.
Those old ceramics used to have asbestos inside them!
Suggest a PIR, you could do that for him and your pal will have an idea to what extent the work is that needs doing.
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Postby ml09616 » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:07 pm

Update on the fuse box......

My mate couldn't get a sparkie for 2 weeks (lives in a sparsley populated area).

Anyway, I went back over and investigated a bit further. The ceramic block had been mounted on particle board (chipboard), and the meter box is at the side of the house, not directly exposed to the elements, but outside the house nevertheless. It has probably been like that for around 20 years, so the chipboard just gave way!

Pulled the block off, and of course, load side was corroded to buggery. Measured directly to the negative side (which I should have done in the first place, but didn't, considering the state of the thing), and got a normal 235 reading.
Cleaned it up, drilled out and put a little larger self tapper into the terminal.
Bobs your uncle.
Even though the ceramic block still floats around a bit, its a good, safe job, but told him to get it replaced nevertheless, and that I am not going to do any more work on it if it remains like that.

Anyway.... now his family can eat again

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