Electrician's advice needed

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by technoholic, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. technoholic

    technoholic
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    4,147
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Hazlemere
    Ratings:
    +883
    Hi All

    I wonder if anyone can help me work out whats going on in my flat.

    Recently as I've been buying more audio equipment (thanks to this forum!) i've been more concerned about the power requirements for all the gear. I'm considering buying a power amp soon and in addition to all the audio gear that I have (AVRs, powered sub etc) I have a lot of IT equipment running. Now I know that in the grand scheme of things, a lot of these devices don't actually have a massive power requirement so up till now I think i've been ok.

    However there are a few issues in my (small) flat. I have limited power sockets. The flat is only about 10-11 years old but they certainly skimped in that area. Consequently, I have a lot of extension leads with multiple items running off each socket, sometimes up to 8. I am always careful to not exceed the rated total current and none of these devices are electric heaters or anything like that, so from what I understand, using multiple extension leads, while not ideal, is safe as long as i observe correct precautions. I just want to confirm that's ok. As a few examples, I have the following:

    1 6 way with:
    Mac mini, 2 x HP microservers, 1 small netgear switch, 1 BK gemini sub, 1 PC monitor

    1 8 way with:
    Plasma, AVR, Freeview, another netgear switch, HTPC (with 19v AC adapter), modem, Linux router PC (with 19v AC adapter), raspberry Pi

    1 6 way with:
    Telephone, Printer, lamp

    These are all off different wall sockets.


    Given that the above is ok as I suspect, my next concern is with the internal wiring and breakers in the CU. I assumed that there would be 1 or more circuits just dedicated to the power outlets around the flat. It didn't even cross my mind to check but I was looking at something else the other day and noticed none of the breakers were labeled up as being for the sockets. I have breakers for the cooker, electric immersion, 2 x lighting (6A each), 1 x storage heater boost supply (32A) and the RCD. Should I have one for the sockets and if not, presumably it's using one of the other circuits, but which one? I can't imagine it would be using one of the 6A light circuits, so I can only imagine is the 32A heater circuit. Does that seem right? I know I could just turn it off and see what happens but I don't want to do that if I can avoid it purely from the point of having everything needing to be set up again etc. I will do if necessary though.

    Any help or advice would be appreciated
    Thanks
     
  2. IronGiant

    IronGiant
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Messages:
    66,373
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    .
    Ratings:
    +46,561
    I think you should find out, and there's only one way of doing it...
     
  3. technoholic

    technoholic
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    4,147
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Hazlemere
    Ratings:
    +883
    Ok, i might have to do it, but what are the implications of it being on one of those circuits I mentioned? I mean it has to be on one of them as there are no other CUs or anything anywhere else.
     
  4. Peridot

    Peridot
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,995
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Newport, South Wales
    Ratings:
    +293
    Your use of the multi-way sockets is fine, I suspect most AVF users have similar arrangements. Personally, I always arrange the plugs so that the items with highest current draw are closest to the cable input end of the socket but that's not essential.

    Your storage heater boosters may well be fed off the main ring circuit so that's the most likely one for the sockets too. Not the way I'd do it, but if the builders skimped on things it's likely.
     
  5. Peridot

    Peridot
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,995
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Newport, South Wales
    Ratings:
    +293
    What's the rating of the immersion heater MCB?

    That's really the only other possible candidate.
     
  6. technoholic

    technoholic
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    4,147
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Hazlemere
    Ratings:
    +883
    The Immersion MCB is 16A, the Heater MCB is 32A

    so IF the storage heater boost is on the main ring circuit, presumably the internal cable will be up to the job of supplying current both for the heater and potentially things that could be plugged into the sockets (providing those devices dont exceed the rated current per socket)
     
  7. Peridot

    Peridot
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,995
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Newport, South Wales
    Ratings:
    +293
    16A is right for a dedicated immersion heater circuit, so it all points to one main ring circuit for the sockets and the storage heater boosters. The cable will be fine to support this and it's unlikely that your ever going to exceed the 32A limit on the circuit.
     
  8. technoholic

    technoholic
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    4,147
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Hazlemere
    Ratings:
    +883
    ok that's good to know. I will do a test just to be certain but it sounds right, its the only logical explanation.

    So my next question is related in a way. In my lounge, in addition to the storage heater, I have 1 Double Socket, and 2 single sockets. Would it be possible to convert the singles to doubles? And near the storage heater, which is one end of the lounge, there are no sockets at all. Would it be possible to take a feed off the cable supplying the storage boost to add a socket there? Obviously I would not do this myself, but before I get an electrician to work this out, I want to find out if its even doable.

    Thanks
     
  9. IronGiant

    IronGiant
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Messages:
    66,373
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    .
    Ratings:
    +46,561
  10. technoholic

    technoholic
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    4,147
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Hazlemere
    Ratings:
    +883
  11. Peridot

    Peridot
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,995
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Newport, South Wales
    Ratings:
    +293
    The Clipsal converters are excellent, I've used them a lot. They're also ideal in any situation where a full depth patress is difficult to fit as they can be fitted to a 16mm deep lighting patress.

    If you confirm that the storage heater boosters are on the main ring there should be no problem taking a spur off to an additional socket. How are the booster heaters wired at the moment - is to a fused connection unit? If the position of this allowed you could even replace it with one of the Clipsal convertors and fit a plug on the storage heater booster cable.
     
  12. technoholic

    technoholic
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    4,147
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Hazlemere
    Ratings:
    +883
    Ok its like this. Firstly the storage heater in question has been moved at a point in the past, to further along the wall. So where the all switches originally were for the heater, there is now a junction box covered with a blank faceplate for each supply for the heater (one for boost, one for nighttime feed). From each of those junction boxes, a new length of T+E cable has been run in the wall to where the switches have been relocated to, and then heat resistant flex comes out those and into the two inputs for the heater. With regards to the wall switches, the switch for the nighttime supply is just a switch, no fuse. The supply for the boost is a FCU. The new plugs would be required to be actually nearer the original switch locations, which is about 2-3 meters down the wall from where the heater is now located. If your idea is to replace the junction box that feeds the boost supply with a clipsal converter then that also would not work as that is too high up the wall. Could i take a feed (spur?) from that junction box to a new socket?
     
  13. Peridot

    Peridot
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,995
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Newport, South Wales
    Ratings:
    +293
    The slight complication is that the extended connection to the boost circuit at the new storage heater location is itself likely to be wired as a spur off the ring circuit, and you should only have one spur off from the location of the junction box.

    Still, it shouldn't be difficult to properly extend the completed ring circuit to the new socket you require, keeping the storage heater connection as a spur. Your best bet would be to get your electrician to have a quick look at it, but from what you describe it sounds fairly straightforward.
     
  14. leckytech

    leckytech
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,510
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Sunderland
    Ratings:
    +865
    ^this
     

Share This Page

Loading...