Metal ceiling light with no earth

Joined
10 Nov 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Country
United Kingdom
Hi All,

My partner on a whim has purchased a new living room light, we currently have the dangly kind.

I’ve taken a quick look and it appears we may not have an earth wire so might not be able to switch the ceiling light now.

Before I call in a professional to help switch the lights I’m hoping someone here might be able to confirm my suspicions and that without earthing we won’t be able to use the light.

I’ve attached pictures of the current wiring and of the new light wiring and provided a link to the light below.

https://www.next.co.uk/g792024s9/537219

It looks like a couple of black wires, a blue one and a brown one?

I really do appreciate all of your help.
 

Attachments

  • 32BF2BD5-A5B3-4B80-BC69-81D5A8F47598.jpeg
    32BF2BD5-A5B3-4B80-BC69-81D5A8F47598.jpeg
    233.3 KB · Views: 141
  • 03DD7297-1F64-467D-A218-6B1D48A7CD1A.jpeg
    03DD7297-1F64-467D-A218-6B1D48A7CD1A.jpeg
    224.9 KB · Views: 133
  • 3FF6815A-225E-4D37-B631-2178AA651DFF.jpeg
    3FF6815A-225E-4D37-B631-2178AA651DFF.jpeg
    131.6 KB · Views: 117
  • B1064C4B-1E65-4BA8-A60D-57ACB0F9AA77.jpeg
    B1064C4B-1E65-4BA8-A60D-57ACB0F9AA77.jpeg
    130.7 KB · Views: 119
  • B9F36641-6644-4508-A1C9-AEC0566BE5A1.jpeg
    B9F36641-6644-4508-A1C9-AEC0566BE5A1.jpeg
    140.7 KB · Views: 126
Last edited by a moderator:
Sponsored Links
Switch off the power and unscrew that rose (leave connected and ease forward if there is enough slack), chances are you'll find the earths bent back on themseves into the ceiing along with the live loop (3 reds together in block)

When you do come to disconnect, mark (dealy with red sleeve or tape) the black that goes to the brown of the flex, you'll need to tel it apart later
 
Switch off the power and unscrew that rose (leave connected and ease forward if there is enough slack), chances are you'll find the earths bent back on themseves into the ceiing along with the live loop (3 reds together in block)

When you do come to disconnect, mark (dealy with red sleeve or tape) the black that goes to the brown of the flex, you'll need to tel it apart later

Thanks Adam, I’ll take a quick look tomorrow.

Hopefully you are right and I don’t have to break the news to the misses that she needs to buy a new light she took 2 years to settle on!

does the wiring look modern enough to have an earth? The rest of the house looked like it hadn’t been touch in over 30 years!

I know the extension part of the property has earth which is solid green colour as I could change those lights (done probably in the 70s at least seems that way)

note to self:
The black wire that goes to the brown is the live, and the blue wire is the neutral.
 
Make sure you write that last bit down. Don't try to just remember it because you will forget/get it mixed up.
 
Sponsored Links
The edition of the IEE wiring regs that required earths on lighting circuits apparently came in in 1966. However I don't think everyone actually followed the IEE regs in those days so it's possible an installation with no earths may have been installed slightly later.

There was a relatively narrow window in which plastic insulated fixed-wiring cables were made without an earth wire. So usually old rubber and lack of earths often (but not always) go together. Old rubber is it's own can of worms.

Sometimes it's possible to guess what material the insulation is made from from a picture, but I don't feel confident doing so from your picture.

Interestingly the rose itself looks fairly modern, I would guess some sort of fancy light fitting was fitted in the past and later removed.
 
Interestingly, I have a sample of rubber twin and earth.

Don't know its installation date, though.
 
There was a relatively narrow window in which plastic insulated fixed-wiring cables were made without an earth wire. So usually old rubber and lack of earths often (but not always) go together. Old rubber is it's own can of worms.

Sometimes it's possible to guess what material the insulation is made from from a picture, but I don't feel confident doing so from your picture.

I popped open the one in the hallway next to the living room and appears to be no earth cable connected to this one either. Thinking I might just have to suck it up and have a full rewire. I’ll dig around the cavity in the living room to see if I can find an earth but I’m not feeling optimistic!
 

Attachments

  • A95000F7-D7DB-4FF3-8157-E5863839DC03.jpeg
    A95000F7-D7DB-4FF3-8157-E5863839DC03.jpeg
    223.6 KB · Views: 122
I popped open the one in the hallway next to the living room
Again that fitting in the hall doesn't have any earth wires visible, nor does it have any permanent lives visible.

Also in both cases the pendant bases are transparent, I could be wrong but that is something I associate with relatively modern pendants.

This time though instead of individual wires coming into the fitting, the wiring coming into the fitting is 2 core flex. My guess is that there is a junction of some sort hidden above the fitting. Maybe even a second pendant base.

My best guess is that the original pendants were at some point replaced with fancy fittings. Then at some later point the fancy fittings were changed back to basic pendants (possibly because the owners wanted to take their fittings with them when they moved out). Unfortunately many fancy fittings do not make provision for UK style loop-in wiring, so it's quite common for people to stuff wiring up in the ceiling void when they can't fit it in the back of the fitting.

Thinking I might just have to suck it up and have a full rewire.
I'm thinking pictures from above (or from an endoscope camera) are needed before deciding on anything as drastic as a rewire.

Interestingly, I have a sample of rubber twin and earth.
Is it in a "lighting" size or a "power" size?

My current property (built in the 1950s) had the core of the socket circuits wired with what at least appeared to be a rubber twin and earth cable. The lights on the other hand were wired in a rubber twin cable with no earth.
 
The first pics show a classic loop-in at the light and as Adam wrote I'd expect to see the reds joined above the ceiling, having previously had a different style of light fitting.
The pic in the hall looks like a twin flex to me and again quite classic of a different light fitting and some sort of junction box withing the ceiling.
Can you have a look at & photograph the wiring at one or both switches to see if it's T&E there?

Twin without earth was available until quite recently, as recently as 1996 we were buying it in 1.5mm² to 4mm² sizes.
 
Twin without earth was available until quite recently, as recently as 1996 we were buying it in 1.5mm² to 4mm² sizes.

What were you using for cpc then?

Only situation I can think it would be useful is for two-way straps, or additional switches on multi-gangs that already had a twin & earth going to it ... but that only really covers 1.5mm²
 
What were you using for cpc then?

Only situation I can think it would be useful is for two-way straps, or additional switches on multi-gangs that already had a twin & earth going to it ... but that only really covers 1.5mm²
We were using it for loudspeakers. It was all 7X stranded
 
Even today of course you can still buy 2 core flex and 2 core speaker cable. Also 2 core battery cable.
 
Can you have a look at & photograph the wiring at one or both switches to see if it's T&E there?

Thanks Sunray, I’ve just taken a picture of behind the switch for the living room light which we are hoping to use a class 1 light fixture on. It’s not the greatest but hopefully clear enough! The hallway switch is the same set up as this one it appears.

I think it might be T&E wires, although I’m far from knowledgeable so will leave it to experts!

Think I’ll ask around to see if anyone has an endoscope camera for me to use to check the ceiling cavity before I go ripping up carpets/floorboards to look ceiling down.
 

Attachments

  • 132B6442-A5E6-41A0-838F-518EDE0A3ED0.jpeg
    132B6442-A5E6-41A0-838F-518EDE0A3ED0.jpeg
    190.3 KB · Views: 91
Last edited:
That's pvc twin & earth. Very old solid green sleeving, so early 70s probably. But doesn't mean the earth core is actually doing anything.

Switches might've been moved at some point and cable added to.

The insulation at the lights doesn't look red. One of them at the light looks like could be black sleeving which seems odd.
 

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.


Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

 
Sponsored Links
Back
Top