Dodgy Looking Wylex Type Fuse Box - Should I Replace?

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Hello,

The lights in my sister's tenant's flat won't come on. All the sockets and other appliances (cooker, shower etc.) are working fine. I presume a fuse needs to be replaced to sort out the problem with the lights. But, the fuse box is a very old and dodgy looking one. The cover is missing so there's no information about what kind it might be or any other technical information. It looks something like in these pictures, but if anything is even older and dodgier looking:

http://freespace.virgin.net/c.kennard/mixed2.jpg
(the one on the left)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:FuseBoxforWikipedia.jpg

I've got the following questions:

1. How do I check which fuse needs to be replaced? (There are different coloured spots on different fuses - some are red, others yellow, others white).

2. Can you still get these type of replacement fuses? (and if so where)?

3. How much (roughly) should it cost to have this unit replaced with a modern unit, assuming there are no other problems with the electrics?

4. Would I have to contact the electricity company to get this done, or can I get any qualified electrician to do it?

Any help would be much appreciated. Please give answers in plain English - I haven't got a clue about electrics! :eek: :eek:
 
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those are rewireable fuses, you pull them out (mains off) and see which one has blown (lots of black)

the colour spot is the fuse (wire) rating

you only need the fuse wire

cost = get several quotes

any electrician can change it


also you can get plug in mcbs as replacements (electrical wholesaler or on line at tlc
 
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If it is a brown one, it is probably more than 30 years old (I say that because i fitted my first Wylex in about 1976, and by that time they were cream, with bigger terminals). At that age the entire installation is due an inspection, and probably some upgrading or corrective work. if you have the fusebox replaced with a modern consumer unit by a proper electrician who is a member of a self-certification scheme (as you should), it will cost you some hundreds of pounds, because he will be obliged to test the circuits which are attached to it before issuing the documentation you need.

It is possible that there is a fault beyond the fuses.

However:
White spots are for 5Amp lighting; blue spots are for 15Amp (usually an immersion heater) and red spots are 30Amp (usually for sockets, might be a cooker or a low-power shower). Yellow is 20Amps, not often seen, might be a socket radial or a cooker. There ought to be labels above the fuses saying what they are for.

Rewirable fuses are frowned on, especially in a rented property; you never know when someone irritated by fuses blowing and not knowing how to fix the fault will replace them with a knitting needle or the wrong size of wire. When the house burns down, there will be disputes over whether this was done by the tenant, the landlady, or the landlady's brother. You can get cartridge fuseholders or miniature circuit breakers that fir into the old fusebox which cannot easily be abused in this way.
 
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marmurr1916 said:
Hello,
It looks something like in these pictures, but if anything is even older and dodgier looking:

http://freespace.virgin.net/c.kennard/mixed2.jpg
(the one on the left)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:FuseBoxforWikipedia.jpg
Wylex standard board with re-wireable fuses, incrediably common :)


I've got the following questions:

1. How do I check which fuse needs to be replaced? (There are different coloured spots on different fuses - some are red, others yellow, others white).

The colours indicate the rateing of the fuse

White = 5 amp (used for: lights)
Blue = 15 amp (used for: water heaters, and radial sockets)
Yellow = 20 amp (used for: socket radials, and possibly small submains)
Red = 30 amp (Socket rings, cookers, small showers, submains)
Green (not avail in re-wireable IIRC) = 45amp (used for: big cookers, showers and submains)


2. Can you still get these type of replacement fuses? (and if so where)?
Yes the carriers are still available, however you just need to replace the fusewire, any DIY store should be able to sell you a card of fusewire to re-wire the fuse with, ensure you use the right rateing

3. How much (roughly) should it cost to have this unit replaced with a modern unit, assuming there are no other problems with the electrics?

£250-£350 at a rough guess, but thats all it is, a rough guess


4. Would I have to contact the electricity company to get this done, or can I get any qualified electrician to do it?

Its yours, the electricity company had no involvement with it, other than your electrician may need to contact them to have them cut the power to the tails, however most electricians will cut the seals and remove the electricity companie's fuse themselves (its a little naughty, but its widespread and no one really cares that much)
 
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Wow. That was quick! Thank's for the help gentlemen. I'll try to find out which fuse has blown and get the fuse wire replaced - that should do until Monday.

I'll definitely get the existing fuses replaced with the plug-in MCBs.

Thanks again for the quick and (almost) jargon-free help. At least now I know what Wylex-type and MCB mean!
 
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JohnD said:
You can get cartridge fuseholders <snip> fit into the old fusebox which cannot easily be abused in this way.

catering_foil3.jpg

____________________________________
lynda, moderator.

Please note this post is meant as a joke. This should never be done. :!:
 
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If you buy new MCBs they will probabaly cost you about £7 each. You have to replace the coloured plastic shields behind it at the same time as they are deliberately a different size. You do not have to open the CU to change them; you DO have to turn off the main switch and check that it is deas; and use an insulated screwdriver as it is not impossible for the fixing screws to touch the busbar if you are clumsy or unlucky. Change them one at a time so there is no possibility of accidentally putting a 6A where a 32A ought to be.

Since there were, IIRC, 20 million (!) of those Wylex standard boards installed in the UK over the last 50 years, and they are mostly being replaced by now, there are a lot of used Wylex MCBs on the second-hand market, usually in sets, usually going for a couple of pounds each, usually on Fleabay.

As your sister's costs are tax-deductible I don't suppose this will worry her.
 
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I can see no main earth conductor.

The old board is connected to the supply poorly - live from the top of the main incommer, doubled up - bad pratice. The neutral goes directly the supply henly. as the tails go different directions, and the CU is metal, there is a high risk of eddy-current forming and overheating the live tail.




*edit* don't think those pics are of your board....
 
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Hi Lectrician,

No the pics aren't of my board - found one on Wikipedia, the other somewhere else on this site.
 
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breezer said:
any electrician can change it

Any electrician may be able to change it, but you will (as the flat is in Aberdeen - Scotland) need a building warrant from the council.
You will also need it certified by a competent person, the defenition of a competent person is detailed in the guidelines below, in Scotland it is wise to use a member of SELECT or someone enrolled with the NICIEC
see:
http://www.sbsa.gov.uk/pdfs/Electrical Guidance for Verifiers 29Mar06.pdf

You need a warrant for certian works in flats, a consumer unit change requires such a warrant.
Write (or email) your local council; make sure you get a reply in writing, to cover yourself if the information is wrong.

http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/acci/web/files/BuildingControl/building_warrant.pdf

There is an edited version of the top docuent on my website, see
http://www.baldelectrician.com/buildingstds/warrant.pdf

there is no reference to non domestic buildings on my document- I tend to avoid non-domestic works.
 
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