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 Post subject: Neon screwdrivers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:19 pm 
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Years ago before Part P and all that, I was doing some work in a house for a customer and she touched a light switch and received a small shock, this was not the first time. I put it down to static as the switch was brass, but still wanted to check it out. I removed the switch from the wall and checked that it was earthed and supplementery earthed to the backbox etc, it was!

I obtained my volt meter from the car but it was broken :cry:

I then tested the L,N and earth with my neon, the earth was lighting up my neon screwdriver and so I went to the ceiling rose and tested i there, it also lit the neon. The switch was on a two way system and so I removed the other switch and tested that, the neon did not light up at this switch. On closer examination it looked as though the screw from the backbox was penetrating the twin core and earth so I removed this length of wire between the celiing rose and switch and replaced it, tested it again and it still lit up.

By this time I was not a happy chap and luckily a plumber turned up with a volt meter, the voltage did not even register on his meter. I have a feeling it was down to induction, but how come the neon doesn't light up on every earth wire that is tested?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:33 pm 
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Electricity takes the shortest route to earth (main earth at the fuseboard) which is why it never showed at the other switch.

The voltage was probably just a bit of leakage from a florescent or something from the same circuit. So I wouldn't worry about it.
And I have to question the plumber with the use of the multimeter. Did he measure between live and earth or what??. As he would need to measure between neutral and earth to get any sort of a reading at all.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:07 pm 
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Hi Markysparky

Thanks for the reply.

We ended up measuring between the live and neutral from the lighting circuit and the earth on the socket circuit as there was clearly something wrong with the earth that we did not understand as neither of us were sparks. Can't remember what the readings were but there was nothing between the earth on the lighting circuit and the earth on the socket circuit, yet the neon still lit up!

Had us puzzled at the time.

Thanks


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