Wiring in Powerstrips in the Kitchen

Discussion in 'Smart Home, Climate Control & Security Forum' started by lawrenso, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Hi,

    got a problem. we have had a kitchen refitted, all the units are fitted, tiles on the wall, had a spark in to do re-wiring that is now in the wall and behind the units and wall tiles - and now this is where the problem starts. The new wiring is for use on surface mounted powerstrips. However, the spark has wired in Twin and earth 2.5 dropped from the ringmain on a single spur through a 13 amp fused switch. Now he has gone and said that he can't wire in the strips after the mounting holes have all been drilled in the nice new tiles because the cable is not flexible enough. The instructions are below.

    http://www.eubiq.com/assets/pdf/installationmanual/SC.pdf

    Now, I think that as the strips are not on the ring main directly, a 1.5mm multistrand cable could be used but he (and his supervisor who hasn't even seen them or been near) says that 2.5 mm T&E has to be used as they it is toughened!!. luckily I ducted in even though the spark said to just scratch coat the cable in and the cable should pull through.

    A fast response would be appreciated before my wife loses one and has the tiles ripped off and sockets put back in more than likely at a cost of a few hundred pounds. Currently power in the kitchen is from a 4 way extension cable!!

    Cheers

    Lawrenso
     
  2. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Hi
    This looks very tricky.
    First did you get a part P compliance certificate.............if not it hasnt been done to regulations.
    If it has been left as you say it will not be able to comply as the job isnt finished.

    Secondly the instructions are a bit contradictory the photos show light duty flex being used..........the wording talks about 4mm-10mm cable.

    Third If the supply is via a fused spur you will not be running many appliance off this set up.Maybe a kettle and a mixer or it will overload.

    Personally I am often asked to install things that the customer has purchased
    and I often say no for one reason or another,with the greatest of respect these powerstrips in a kitchen would be one of them.

    Regards

    Steve
     
  3. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Hi Again

    I have had a look on the website for these things and although they are very stylish.........they look ok for things like table lights and hi fi.

    I would NOT consider them suitable for kitchen use. (UK)

    To my mind they are an expensive trailing lead.

    Steve
     
  4. neilball

    neilball
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    Assuming the electrican had seen the Eubiq kit before hand then I would have thought he would have extended the ring to the powerstrip module and connected the two 2.5mm cables into the powerstrip terminals. He would need to form a suitable void behind the Eubiq unit to give him some space to work with although it would still be fiddly as the T&E is not very flexible as he has stated. The alterntive was to use a small length of trunking as shown on the second page to give him the flexibility to terminate the cabling.

    By spurring off the ring via a switched/fused spur he has effectively de-rated the power supply to your kitchen sockets. Switch on a 3kW kettle and you have almost nothing left you could use at the same time.

    Did the electrician discuss fitting the spur unit and did you agree before he installed it?

    If you want the Eubiq units fitting properly you are going to have to modify the cabling which involves breaking off some tiles to run the cables before making good. If you can live with the lower electrical loading you know have then carefully opening up the wall around the existing cable may allow it to be terminated so your the electrician can fit the powerstrip.
     
  5. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Hi Neilball

    Looks like we pretty much agree.Particularly about the loading,which if is as stated really makes the whole thing a waste of time.

    However I think the starting point should be has a Part P cert been issued.

    I certainly wouldnt issue one against this but then I would never have dreamed of doing it like this in the first place.

    It reads like a BAD DIY job to me.

    We are of course accepting what we are reading as correct.

    Steve
     
  6. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Hi Guys - thanks for the responses

    as of yet - no part p has been issued - obviously due to the condition of the wiring at the moment.

    If we have to rip them off then we have to rip them off and put sockets back in. With getting two T&E's into them, forget it as he couldn't even get one in properly and would not be able to connect two up unless he didn't use the cable grip, and now we only have a single spur running down, and not in the right place for if we were to put sockets back in.

    The thing that has hacked me off about this is that I ordered one and showed it to the spark before he started the work, and he flagged no issues then - and at the last minute - well - it is past that time actually if we have to remove cabinets, tiles and plaster - he then creates the issue.

    Any further ideas??

    Cheers

    Lawrenso
     
  7. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Hi
    In some ways what he has done is correct in that he has limited the supply to a 13 amp max switched fused spur.This is a common way to supply under counter lighting in a kitchen (3 or 5 amp fuse).Not to supply(multiple) socket outlets though.

    If the main problem is getting the cable through you could use flex from the fused spur to the fitting as thats what a fused spur is for to some extent.

    The way this has been done you will be able to run very little (see previous posts) thats if you can get it connected at all.

    I see no alternative but to rip it out and start again.

    Part P regs for kitchens + bathrooms are very strict

    This is going to end up as a "I said---he said"arguement have you got the spec in writing?

    Steve
     
  8. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Hi Steve - no I haven't - I wish I had never seen these bleedin things now :mad:

    Eitherway - going with the boxed end approach will need a length of t&e cable running down the wall - or putting the original sockets back in will result in the same thing - about a third of the tiles off - 4 cupboards off the wall - scratch coat out in the old runs and then do it all again - boy - my wife is going to love me!!!

    Plus there is the cost of the eubiq stuff which has come in at £200 plus - so because the guy did not examine them right I am more than likely going to be out of pocket for about £500 - £600 all told :cry:

    As I said - I got one for him to look at - he OK'd it so I then got another two with various bits and pieces!

    Well gutted.

    Lawrenso
     
  9. neilball

    neilball
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    Is the problem in getting the cables in because there is little space inside/behind the powerstrip unit to bend the cable 90 degrees and make the connections? If so would making the cable entry from the side using mini trunking (Installation Type B on the PDF you linked to earlier)make it more feasible? Bearing in mind that the Eubiq unit is meant to allow cable connections of upto 10mm there must be some way of getting the cable in - if 2.5mm barely goes then 10mm would be impossible.

    Has the electrician used capping to cover the existing cables before plastering? If so might he be able to pull back the exisitng 2.5mm from the existing FSU and replace it with a 4mm down to the powerstrip connection point? The fused spur could at least be changed for a 45A switch and used for local isolation of the powerstips in future. I'm guessing that if this is the case then although you may need to take off a tile or two you would not have the major costs or mess of trying to go back to conventional sockets. 4mm cable would also give you back a decent power loading and may be easier to terminate than 2 T&E cables.

    I know that it can be difficult to terminate cables in tight spaces, just had some difficulties fitting a 45A switch on a 10mm cable feeding a heat pump at my new house - took a lot of easing of cables to get the switch to fit back onto the back box but with patience and effort it eventually worked out.
     
  10. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Hi Neil,

    thanks for that suggestion, I have another spark that specialises in installations coming round and will ask him about it. I have also found some flexible multi-strand 2.5mm squared cable that is rated to 25A, but it is how to limit the current flow down the cable/spur to protect from an overcurrent situation - the same would hold true for a 4mm/45amp as that could draw too much current for the 2.5mm ring main couldn't it?. As the tiles are already in place and the holes drilled, even if we went with a box at the side for side entry there is a chance that we will have to remove tiles because of the fixing holes being visible, but perhaps not as many

    Hopefully we will have a plan within the next few days - but please please keep the ideas coming

    Lawrenso
     
  11. SeanT

    SeanT
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    The "electrician" has limited the total supply to your kitchen sockets to 13 amps. My argument would be that this does not meet your requirements as the total load is likely to exceed this - therefore you want him back to do it properly, or you will sue him :)
     
  12. neilball

    neilball
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    The ring will be protected by a 32A MCB back at the consumer unit (assuming it is a modern install), the 45A switch has no protection, just switch contacts rated at 45A, think 1G cooker switch. Any switch/islator in the circuit needs to be of higher rating than the protective device. It would only be used if you choose to uprate the circuit to give you back the normal capacity of the ring - replacing the 13A switched spur installed by the electrician and running in the higher rated cable you are back upto 32A maximum load capacity of the full circuit.
     
  13. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Hi Lawrenso/Neil

    Neil you write as though you have installed these powerstrips?Have you?

    Just looking at the pics and reading the spec I would never install them without the fused spur protection.....they just arent man enough to go into the ring main or a 4mm spur,they look no better than a trailing lead.
    As I said before in actual fact I wouldnt install them at all.

    What has not been asked is

    1)What exactly do you want to run off this?

    2)Is there any other supply in the kitchen that is seperate?

    ie a washing machine or dishwasher with its own supply.

    I still think the only answer is to reinstate the ring main or its just a mess.

    And sorry to bang on about PartP but at the end of the day SOMEONE has to issue a cert and put their name to it.

    Steve
     
  14. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Hi Steve,

    that was my thoughts on the 45 amp switch - I think 4mm would not be flexible enough, although it would allow higher power draw down the spur. The 2.5mm would do the job but it would be limiting the draw down it to 25A - the 45A switch would mean that up to 32amp (MCB limited) could be drawn down the cable which is above the rating for the cable.

    is this assumption correct??

    Cheers

    Lawrenso
     
  15. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Hi Again

    In my view the 45 Amp switch has no merit whatsoever.

    I just do not understand these powerstrips.

    The instructions mention 4mm to 10mm!!!!!!!!!!! cable

    In the photos it is clear that it would be impossible to use this size.It shows what appears to be a bit of 1.5mm flex being used.

    thats why I asked Neil if he had actually fitted them.

    You should not run a bigger cable off a smaller one.

    4mm is rarely used,when it is its BASICALLY for a radial circuit ie straight from the fuseboard to supply one dedicated outlet ie Large Glass Washer (pub etc).

    In this instance i would use 6mm anyway as i dont carry 4mm,but I am getting off the point.

    If you use the 2.5mm flex or anything smaller WITHOUT the fused spur the cable actually becomes a long thin fuse which will get hot if you try and pull too much .

    As you have found flex has a lower rating than cable even if the CSA is the same.

    My points are all general and I am sure that some may disagree.

    Steve
     
  16. Sonic67

    Sonic67
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    I did my kitchen circuit years ago. I wired a cable for the cooker and a ring main for all the sockets and undercupboard appliances.

    Undercupboard fittings had a fused spur above flex outlet beneath.

    For the cupboard lighting I used an unswitched spur at 5 amps then going to lighting cable and passing through light switches.

    From there to lights above and below the cupboards. Now you can have the kitchen ceiling lights on, the upper cupboard lights or the lower or any combination.
     
  17. neilball

    neilball
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    Hi Steve

    I looked at using Powerstrips in my office recently, decided in the end to go with more conventional multi-compartment trunking to allow easy installation/reconfiguration of the low voltage & network cabling along with conventional electrical accessories for data etc. I thought the Eubiq system was a reasonably made and practical for power distribution although expensive. The cable entry from the back seems almost impossible to use without having a large void to allow plenty of cable "slack" to work with, something that is not really going to happen with 4mm or larger cable and certainly not with plastered walls unless a track in the wall is made behind the powerstrip rather than just having the cable poking out of the wall. If the electrician has nimble fingers and can work with minimum cable tails then it might just be possible to do, but I still think side entry would be the only practical option in a case like this.

    I know the PDF shows a much smaller cable than would be used, presumably to avoid it all looking so tightly squeezed in on their documentation! It is also clear that the cable is poking through a hollow wall thereby allowing any excess to be pushed back through easily, not going to be the case here!

    The only reason I am suggesting fitting a 45A switch is that there is at present a FSU with 13A fuse being used as a spur point of the existing ring. This is a mistake that we both agree on as the low maximum current limits the practical use of kitchen sockets. Assuming that there is a back box there then I was suggesting that the existing single 2.5mm T&E cable be pulled out and replaced with 4mm (or 6mm) and the 45A switch used as a convenient form of cable termination as it will simply replace an existing accessory and as a spur would still be able to carry the same load as the 2.5mm ring. It would be better in my view to extend the ring down to the powerstrip and connect the 2 cables there. There is still the problem of getting the cable terminated into the Powerstrip, this means either making more room to work with behind the unit although from what I have seen of the hardware it would not be feasible make cable entry from the back of the unit. I do think it would be feasible to make cable entry through the side but this means having some trunking for the cable drop and moving the Powerstrip over slightly to make room for the trunking.

    I think that it should be possible to modify what is there without needing to resort to ripping off all of the tiles and wall cabinets although it will be much harder and frustrating than getting it right first time.
     
  18. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Hi Neil/Lawrenso


    I thought we were basically reading off the same page here and we are.

    If its not MK , Wylex, MEM or something similar I am a bit cautious.

    To sum all this up I think it has to come out and the ring reinstated.

    In fact it is common practice to leave the existing ring main (mains) intact and run a seperate ring for the kitchen only.

    This is how new builds are usually done.

    This is the last time I am going to say it but unlike Neils office SOMEONE has to issue a part p cert on this as its domestic,I wouldnt.

    Sonic sounds fine what you have done unlike this one.

    Steve
     
  19. SeanT

    SeanT
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    If the fitting is rated for 32 amps, then extending the ring wouldn't be a problem, and neither would the part p cert by a spark doing it or inspecting body during the work, regardless of whether the new fitting is made by MK, Wylex, MEM or "Bob down the road" whose products are also tested and certified???
     
  20. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Thanks for all the replies guys:smashin: These have been really usefull and will give me something to discuss with the spark, I will also have a try with a couple of lengths of 2.5mm and side entry. Perhaps I will have a go at making a little box that can then be fitted to hide cable - perhaps about 2" long from the hole with the eubiq butting on and bringing the ring back down, but I concur, I think there needs to be void behind the tiles, even if it is just a single back box to be able to push some cable back into and also to give slack for removing them. If not, I have another option

    http://astra247.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=3320&osCsid=372b1938b061980aa17908c18d72f9aa

    Anybody have experience of these?

    If I don't use the Eubiq's in the kitchen, I might use them for my home cinema setup and for my office - If not anybody want to buy them?? got all the accessories including a energy efficient light with PIR. Perhaps I should of got the recessed versions and had them installed properly into the plaster for tiling round. Hindsight is brilliant except it only works in hindsight (think about it)!!. On another footing though these are not really "fit for purpose" - well not for the rear mounting anyway

    Cheers

    Lawrenso
     
  21. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Sean
    Now with the greatest of respect.

    Any sparks worth his salt knows quality makes and doesnt like using things from "Bob down the road" Wickes, Wilkinsons Panda, or various other suppliers I could mention.

    I dont care less what a fitting is thoretically rated at or approved,if it doesnt come up to my expectations I dont fit it.If its not good enough for me its not good enough for my customers.

    A Lada car is ok to use on the road.......I wouldnt buy one or drive one thanks.

    If I had been the Sparks in this case Lawrenso would never have ended up with this problem.

    If you read the thread PROPERLY you will see that it is going to be impossible to extend the ring in this case for various reasons unless Lawrenso uses 2.5 Flex.WHICH WILL NOT GET A (Valid) PARTP CERT I CAN ASSURE YOU.

    I merely mentioned in passing that I prefer to use MK etc NOT that cheaper stuff cannot be used.(or Ladas)

    The fitting in question is very stylish and I would use it myself for HI FI etc protected in some way by a fused supply,(which is what Lawrenso may do apparently).

    I am going to assume 2 things one you are not an electrician and two you didnt read the post properly.

    I hope I have explained myself clearly.

    Steve

    Lawrenso
    Yes I have fitted those .I used Cucina they do modular units so you can runthe whole length of cbinets and a and include downlights and a switch.
    Might be the answer!!!!!!!
     
  22. neilball

    neilball
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    Steve, you need to ignore the impression given by the installation instructions; the terminals are capable of taking upto a 10mm cable but you have to make sure you can physically route the conductors into the terminals when you fit them. The unit uses internal bus bars and can safely carry 40A. The probelm is not with the Eubiq kit but the lack of planning by the installing electrician to allow enough room to connect it properly. That and the fact that he made it a spur off the existing ring rather than extending the ring to the Eubiq unit. Getting 2 x 2.5mm cables into the terminals is not difficult at all, trying to do it when the cable has been plastered/tiled into the wall is what makes it all so impossible in this case.

    Whatever Lowrenso chooses to do to remedy the problem it still needs the ring extending and the 13A spur removing otherwise it is all a bit of a fudge. No need to use flex for this, dropping a second T&E in alongside the 1st will do the job fine.
     
  23. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Hi Guys,

    the only thing that worries me about doing a side fitting is if the strain relief grip does not hold the cables well and the item relies on a mounting plate on the wall that it clips onto - and this seems to rely on friction to hold it in place in the horizontal allignment then we are looking at the possibility of the cables becoming exposed. Mind you - as I said - tonight I am going to get two bits of T&E and fit them and see how secure they are.

    Thanks for all the help and advice - but please keep any thoughts you have coming - they are all much appreciated.

    Turns out the spark is only used to doing "house bashing". I have the greatest respect for people that turn round and say they can't do something as this shows a great strength of character that they know their limitations. What riles me is when somebody says they can do it - you go ahead and then lo and behold they can't and you are the one up the proverbial without a paddle. Funny, I have not heard from the spark this week! Mind you he has had a good chunk of his money :( - that was my wife feeling sorry for him.

    I am self employed, but will never lie or bend the truth to get a contract as it will only come and bite you at some time or other and possibly ruin your good name. I might say sorry - I can't do that at the moment but I am willing to learn.

    Cheers

    Lawrenso
     
  24. Steve1951

    Steve1951
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    Neil
    This sort of misunderstanding can easily happen on posts.

    I fully accept what you say about the terminal capacity as I havent seen the thing (great instructions!)

    Of course I understand about the 2 x 2.5 cables to extend the ring.

    The menntion of flex came from Lorenzo as it aws the only way he could see to do it without removing tiles etc (it wasnt my idea).

    I was a little upset when Sean plainly either didnt read or didnt understand what I was trying to say.

    You can do a rewire with bits from Wickes etc and you will get a partp cert no problem.

    But it wouldnt be me or any other of my guys or any sparks I know doing it



    I agree with everything you have said.


    Steve

    Lawrenso

    My guess is your second sparks didnt want to get involved with someone elses cock up and was making his excuses.

    Steve
     
  25. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Steve - I was on about the original spark - not the one coming to look. The new one want's me to have a look at setting up some IT for him - bit of I scratch yours.....

    However, I will not be doing anything or letting anything be done that could be construed as Dodgy under that fabulous bit of legislation - Part P

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  26. neilball

    neilball
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    Not a problem Steve :) Just wanting to make sure Lawrenso was clear on his options. And you are dead right about the Eubiq instructions, not very helpful in terms of UK installations, I guess that the UK is still unusual in sticking with ring mains rather than going for radials like most of europe and further afield.
     
  27. SeanT

    SeanT
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    Ditto, with the exception of my needing to get it signed off by someone else, we both agree on the incompetence of the first sparks wiring (although it will pass any tests, it's not suitable for purpose as it's not adequate for the likely current draw, and a 13 amp fuse isn't designed to protect against consistent unplanned overcurrent in a badly designed installation) and that extending the ring main is the only proper way to do this (messing about with large spurs off a ring main notwithstanding)

    I wouldn't advocate burying flex in a wall, and didn't.

    I'm not an electrician. I am an engineer. I am not stupid either :hiya:

    I read the post properly, the first electrician should have done what he was asked, the op has a very good claim under the sale of goods and services acts (I am a litigious sod)

    S.
     
  28. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Hi,

    as an update - the spark came round and this is what we are going to do.

    Remove about 5 Whole tiles (they are 45*25 ish) and a couple of small tiles, remove the wall cabinets, re-instate the ring main using crimped connectors to two areas, but leave a 3rd set of sockets as a spare, and are going to use the aurora as in my previous link, the 3rd socket also having a 13amp matching fused spare switch from the matching range.

    Why didn't I go with these in the first place:(

    He is also going to examine some other cabling that he has done which means taking out the intergrated fridge (it is a 6 footer!!) and a 500mm larder unit:mad:

    hopefully we will be sorted in a fortnight!!!!

    Cheers guys for all your advice
     
  29. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    Hi all,

    just a quick up date on this - I have had a spark round today sorting out the cabling (at long last) - logged onto the forums and I have had a PM from Eubiq themselves asking me to contact them!!! - bloody too late now:mad: but will see what they say

    At lease they are a company that searches etc..... and follows up

    Cheers

    Lawrenso
     

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