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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:29 pm 
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Hi folks. Probably an impossible question to get an answer to but my elderly parents are struggling with this and 3 electricians who've been out haven't done anything apart from take money off them. My dad has Parkinsons and needs a lot of care from my mother so this is last thing they need

Am not in mood for any trolls or forum-guardians making smart remarks so please only answer if you have something constructive to add.

Situation:

  • when fuse blows boiler and downstairs sockets don't work. upstairs sockets. all lights and cooker-switch work
  • you can't quickly check if fuse has blown as they are cartridge type so we've spent nearly £20 on replacements already
  • 1st one lasted a few hours, 2nd one a bit less, 3rd and 4th a few minutes
  • strangely more appliances were plugged in (tv, lamps, sky router etc) when fuses were lasting longer. only thing plugged in when last one blew was alarm thing to social services (thing that monitors if a pensioner has fallen or something)
  • today I removed all the faceplates from the sockets to check for loose wires. found none but one socket (washing machine) was full of slugs and gunge and earth plate was rusty. I cleaned it, dried it out and re-connected it
  • no improvement after cleaning the slug-filled box


So what's next? Electricians tearing up the house to re-wire it (as floated by one of the guys who came this morning) or can someone with the right diagnostic gear home-in on the problem without that.

Also. One of the electricians said it's an appliance that's causing it. Why doesn't the (lower-rated) fuse in the appliance plug (eg 13 amp) blow before the 30amp one?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:56 pm 
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foy9999 wrote:
Also. One of the electricians said it's an appliance that's causing it. Why doesn't the (lower-rated) fuse in the appliance plug (eg 13 amp) blow before the 30amp one?


Different type of fuse.

The cartridge fuses often used in power distribution / consumers unit fuse carriers are designed to "blow" quickly, where as a plugtop fuse isn't.

With that in mind, i would suggest you unplug one appliance for say 2 days and see what happens, then plug that back in and un plug something else.

I am not sticking up for any of the electricians in particular, but finding an intermittent fault such as this, can and often is a PITA, and unless the fault is there at the time, its doubtful they will find it in minutes, hence unplug things and see.

The other thing to do is to note what is on / being used at the time.

Also, don't bother with stuff that works after the fuse has gone as that is on another circuit (I believe you said its only the down stairs sockets that stop, so it must be something plugged in downstairs)

Also note what IS plugged in, and what is ON when the fuse blows.

As an aside its NOT the number of items plugged in that cause problems, its how much current the plugged in items are using. e.g. I could have 15 mobile phone chargers plugged in all over the place, but they would use less than just one electric fire.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:25 pm 
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Not many houses still use fuses, and it will depend on make of fuse box, but Wilex did a converter so you can replace the fuse with a MCB, so when it trips it is a simple turn it back on again.

I have just had a problem with garage, the guy fitting roof was hammering and power went off, I replaced fuse (13A) reset RCD and MCB and it went off again, got out multi-meter no fault shown, got insulation tester out and within spec. So took a guess and swapped supply cable and all OK.

Be it a mouse, rat, squirrel, rotting cable, cable with water in, finding the fault can be hard. Again dad's house I knew when fitting a RCD the wiring was faulty, it would regularly trip the RCD, but when rewiring no fault found.



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:30 pm 
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someone-else wrote:
foy9999 wrote:
Also. One of the electricians said it's an appliance that's causing it. Why doesn't the (lower-rated) fuse in the appliance plug (eg 13 amp) blow before the 30amp one?


Different type of fuse.

The cartridge fuses often used in power distribution / consumers unit fuse carriers are designed to "blow" quickly, where as a plugtop fuse isn't.


Maybe a different type of fuse but the cartridge fuse is NOT a quick blow fuse.

Plug top fuses are BS 1362 and the OP probably has BS88 or BS 1361 fuses in the fuse box.



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:33 pm 
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You have a LN or LE fault (ie a damaged cable). A sparks should be able to at least decide which you have and track down a rough area where the fault lies.



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:59 pm 
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OnlyMe wrote:
someone-else wrote:
foy9999 wrote:
Also. One of the electricians said it's an appliance that's causing it. Why doesn't the (lower-rated) fuse in the appliance plug (eg 13 amp) blow before the 30amp one?


Different type of fuse.

The cartridge fuses often used in power distribution / consumers unit fuse carriers are designed to "blow" quickly, where as a plugtop fuse isn't.


Maybe a different type of fuse but the cartridge fuse is NOT a quick blow fuse.

Plug top fuses are BS 1362 and the OP probably has BS88 or BS 1361 fuses in the fuse box.


Good to get a 2nd opinion as I can't agree or disagree any points made as I'm not an electrician. Still finding it hard to understand why the bigger fuse would blow before the smaller one.

Anyway to address your comment more directly...

I've just looked at the fuses I brought home in my pocket yesterday. Original is marked MEM 30LC 30A BS1361 and the ones I put in (from B&Q) are LAWSON LD 30A BS1361 240V so you're spot-on with that :salute:


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:07 pm 
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Bit of an update (text from my brother)....

Says electrician has been and thinks he's fixed it: "changed the socket and stripped some of the wire off the washing machine socket"

Am not sure if that means two sockets were involved (washing machine and another) but am thinking now the slug-filled box was mb the problem after all.

I took it apart, cleaned & dried it and scraped the corrosion off the earth bridge thing. Like a thin metal strap that connects the two contacts the top pins of the plugs go into. I didn't think to do anything to the 3 wires leading to it other than clean all the gunk off them. Sounds like the electrician went in a little deeper


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:20 pm 
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foy9999 wrote:
OnlyMe wrote:
someone-else wrote:
foy9999 wrote:
Also. One of the electricians said it's an appliance that's causing it. Why doesn't the (lower-rated) fuse in the appliance plug (eg 13 amp) blow before the 30amp one?


Different type of fuse.

The cartridge fuses often used in power distribution / consumers unit fuse carriers are designed to "blow" quickly, where as a plugtop fuse isn't.


Maybe a different type of fuse but the cartridge fuse is NOT a quick blow fuse.

Plug top fuses are BS 1362 and the OP probably has BS88 or BS 1361 fuses in the fuse box.


Good to get a 2nd opinion as I can't agree or disagree any points made as I'm not an electrician. Still finding it hard to understand why the bigger fuse would blow before the smaller one.

Anyway to address your comment more directly...

I've just looked at the fuses I brought home in my pocket yesterday. Original is marked MEM 30LC 30A BS1361 and the ones I put in (from B&Q) are LAWSON LD 30A BS1361 240V so you're spot-on with that :salute:



A 30A BS1361 fuse takes about 125A to trip in about 5 seconds.

A 13A plug top (BS1362) fuse trips in about 0.4 sec at 100A and 5 seconds at 60A.



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:39 pm 
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foy9999 wrote:
Bit of an update (text from my brother)....

Says electrician has been and thinks he's fixed it: "changed the socket and stripped some of the wire off the washing machine socket"

Am not sure if that means two sockets were involved (washing machine and another) but am thinking now the slug-filled box was mb the problem after all.

I took it apart, cleaned & dried it and scraped the corrosion off the earth bridge thing. Like a thin metal strap that connects the two contacts the top pins of the plugs go into. I didn't think to do anything to the 3 wires leading to it other than clean all the gunk off them. Sounds like the electrician went in a little deeper


Hopefully that is job done.



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:42 pm 
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OnlyMe wrote:

A 30A BS1361 fuse takes about 125A to trip in about 5 seconds.

A 13A plug top (BS1362) fuse trips in about 0.4 sec at 100A and 5 seconds at 60A.


Now that makes sense to me but am still confused as to why the appliance fuses didn't blow before the cartridge. Don't suppose it matters as long as it's fixed.

I was thinking if the fault lay in the socket/wiring the fuse could (theoretically) blow with no appliances attached to the circuit. But then do you not need something connected to draw current round the circuit?

Thing is the boiler (well the wiring to it) is on the same circuit as the sockets and I think that's hard-wired (ie no plug or switch) so mb even with all the appliances (lamps/router/tv) unplugged it was drawing current.

Forgive my ramblings, but I like to understand these things :scratch:


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