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tracing a ring main break

Postby sadjonvee » Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:31 pm

My plug socket ring main recently failed. I got in a professional, who was able to isolate the break to between two sockets, and has "terminated" each leg, to give me power back in 90% of the house.

Now I need to complete the fix, and I'm really worried about tearing up the house to find out where the break is (one socket in the bedroom, the other in my kitchen....). So I'm interested in finding our if I can trace the cable route to find out where it goes, and where it "breaks".

My thought is: if I turn off the circuit, then apply some kind of charge from one socket to the "broken" side, I could trace how far and where the cable goes.... is this possible or am I being hopelessly optimistic? Otherwise I guess I have to face floorboards up, plastering damaged and so-on.

If anyone has any advice how to trace the cables, and what tools I would need, I'd be really grateful. When the break is found, I'd get in a pro again to actually fix the problem - just want to save time and expense first!


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Simply Build It

Postby sparx » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:51 pm

Hi Dave, We use a signal injector by Martindale, it plugs into one skt and puts a beep tone around the circuit so if one 'leg' of ring only connected at con. unit you can easily trace cable to break, then double check by connecting just other leg and should end up at same point. Kits not cheap but time = money so lots of leckies I know use these. They are sold as 'fuse tracers' as if you want to find which fuse/mcb feeds a particular point without risk of killing wrong circuit just connect to outlet and run other piece of test set along front of con. unit to find strongest signal, great in offices ect. as you don't want to turn off wrong circuit [computor ops get a bit up-tight if you get it wrong!!!]
see if your leckie has one, he may not of thought of using it for this purpose,, also do some detective work, did someone fit a shelf in kitchen, coat hook in hall??? nail loose floorboard recently?
good luck-hours of fun to be had.
in worst case if spare 'way' in board convert to 2X 20A radials, regards SPARX
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Postby sadjonvee » Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:37 pm

Thanks Sparx, that's just what I was looking for! I'll check before I get any more pro's in that they can bring one of these - or I'll just check out the cost and get one myself.

Been troubled why this happened to be honest - it was working when I walked out, and had broken when I got back an hour later! No work done on the house in around a year! Also, began with switch tripping as soon as I tried to reset it - then worked for around a minute before tripping, then three minutes, then nine - and after that time, back to instant tripping every time! Strange eh? Anyway, thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.

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