DIY Doctor

Socket testing result and front plate issues

Postby pachmarhi » Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:38 am

A number of the sockets in the flat are temperamental; i.e. the connection is inconsistent when you put a plug in and power can fail to the appliance. It has also caused an issue for correct functioning of the powerline ethernet adapters I have.

I had an electrician in a while ago to check them and expected he would replace them all. In then end he checked a few sockets, said he had found the one faulty one and only replaced that. But the issue still persists. Not convinced I had the right electrician, but there you go. So I thought I would try to do some initial testing myself.

I have since acquired one of the plug in socket testers and this appears to have identified quite a few sockets with a poor connection - i.e. if you wiggle the tester slightly it restarts the testing sequence. At the same time it appears to be highlighting other issues. Are these things I need to be concerned about?

The tester is a Kewtech Loopcheck 107.
Wiring = 3 green lights + continuous tone (wiring correct)
Loop test = amber (1.8 to 92 ohms)
RCD check: pressing and holding the RCD check button does not trigger switch off at the consumer unit. Looking at the consumer unit there doesn't actually appear to be an RCD (see photo).

I know some of the socket front plates need replacing, but might I have more of a problem?
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Postby stoneyboy » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:17 pm

Hi pachmahri
It would be advisable to have your consumer unit replaced with all that entails. I recommend individual RCBO's on every circuit so you don't loose everything if there is a problem on one circuit.
It's going to hurt financially.
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Postby Mr White » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:28 pm

pachmarhi, you are correct, your consumers unit does not have an RCD.

From what you have said I would suggest one or more of your sockets has a loose wire.

Ideally you should have an Electrical Inspection Condition Report carried out, but like wise you could change all the sockets yourself first. If you decide to do that, turn the electricity of first
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Postby ericmark » Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:48 am

A hager RCBO is around £23 and a whole metal consumer unit with 10 RCBO and a isolator can be got for £138 so the way forward is likely a new consumer unit, with just two RCD's even cheaper. The cost is getting some one to fit it.

As to the faults, I will guess some one who has lived in the house has at some time used non BS1363 equipment in the sockets, and this has damaged the sockets, most likely is the socket protector that should have been banned as fatefully flawed as a web site of same name has shown. Only cure is all sockets which had socket protectors in need changing as often the pins were not correct size and have weakened the springs which insure good contact or coated the contract area with plastic, I have put many in the bin, not found one marked BS1363 and unless marked BS1363 they should not be put in a 13 amp socket.

The powerline adaptor is another example of some thing that should have been banned, they cause a lot of RF interference and to ensure that the RCD still works with the mixed frequencies they inject into the system you need type F RCD's, you simply can't buy type F RCBO's which is a RCD and MCB combined, in the main we use type AC, although there has been a move to type A, for solar panels you often need type B and for electric car chargers type F, type AC is basic then A, then F then B in how good they are, but a type F will not normally come in a consumer unit and would mean some thing like an extra £80 to be able to safely use powerline adaptors, best place for them is the recycling.

I don't know why they produce test plugs like the one you have I seems to remember the pass mark for a ring final started at 1.5 ohm and has slowly reduced, 1.44, the 1.37 so the units are really only any good for testing radials which used 25 amp or less MCB's they do not really help with a ring final with a 32 amp MCB, but with RCD protection if the socket is 1.7 ohm or lower it is unlikely to be a problem.

As with all domestic there is a compromise between cost and protection, if you have used socket protectors then buying a box of replacement sockets and replacing old is clearly easy enough, but the consumer unit needs more thought. You could get a twin RCD consumer unit and fit type F RCD's but personally I prefer the RCBO route as if a RCD trips you can lose a freezer full of food, so the less which is on each RCD the less likely it is you will lose a freezer full of food, so my house has 14 RCBO's.

Technically I don't think Part P required notification to fit a RCBO instead of a MCB, so law wise I think your allowed to DIY the change, but I would not class it as a DIY job, and swapping the whole consumer unit is notifiable so no real option but use a scheme member electrician, theory you can inform the LABC and DIY but their fees are often more than you would pay an electrician, so in practice it is get a scheme member electrician.

If you get a scheme member electrician you can talk with him to select which compromise, non of the options are perfect, and I was caught out, saw type B on the box for the RCBO's so thought great that covers all, but turned out they were curve B type AC, did not realise until after fitted.
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