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Neutral Outside of europe

Discussion in 'Electrics Outside of the UK' started by RB2004, 25 Apr 2011.

  1. RB2004

    RB2004

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    Hi,

    thanks in advance for any help.

    Heres the situation, going to be sorting out some electrics in a house outside of the uk, standards in the country are pretty much non existant and currently its so bad you get a shock just touching the metal casing of appliances.. probably some kind of neutral to live short.

    Dont currently trust the provided neutral for the house from the electric company...the main neutral rod is only sunk a few inches into the ground..not even straight lol so thats how far down its sunk... and thats the central neutral for probably about half a dozen houses, the neutrals arent even bonded togeher with proper electrical cable its done with U clamps and twisted steel lifting type cable... and not even that is quite neutral... was enough to give a shock.

    So, plan is after the meter at the fuse board, rather than relying on the provided neutral which doesnt appear to be a very good neutral.. sink a rod into the ground deep enough to provide my own neutral, then at a reasonable distance away sink another rod into the ground for an earth (which currently is non existant)

    Any sugestions or advice on best how to go about setting up my own neutral and earth other than sinking rods deep enough into the ground to effectively provide a neutral/earth.

    Thanks
     
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  3. JohnD

    JohnD

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    No, probably not.

    Are you standing on a wooden floor, or a stone one when this happens? Are you touching any other metal or damp thing?

    Work out what sort of earth the property has, or should have according to regulations in that country; then work out what is wrong with it, then correct the fault.

    Are the appliances on 3-pin plugs, or two pins? Does the final circuit have an earth wire? Do you know what Main Bonding and Supplementary Bonding are?

    What country is it?

    That is almost certainly an earth rod and not a neutral. I don't think you understand how it works. Post some pics of the incoming service, company fuse, meter, consumer unit, earth rod, and all the cables around and between them.

    doesn't make sense. Like I said, I don't think you understand how it works.
     
  4. RB2004

    RB2004

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    hi,

    nope not an earth rod.. the country doesnt currently use earths... all 2 pin plugs

    amoured cable is impossible to source.. main incoming cable even is only 4-6mm not even fused.. remember going 1 place with a large disco and you could see all the lights dim where it was drawing so much... but in terms of protection all they do is shove cable through orange flexible pipe.. if your lucky, no outdoor IP rated electrical accessories.

    definitely a neutral lol, theres only 1 cable coming from the overhead wiring for the live.

    then you see it go into the meter 1 side, and next to it where the 2nd cable is (same side) thats done in twisted steel cable and connected to the other 6 electic meters or more.. and physically live, because you get a bit of a shock off the exposed cables leading to the single rod, which isnt even in the ground straight and loose so clearly not in that deep (in a hot country with dry soil). where theres some kind of short and the earth resistance is probably too high.

    then on the other side of the meter where it comes out, the live goes to the live on the fuse board, and the neutral goes to the neutral.

    so its definitely a neutral ground rod im looking at.

    no earthing regulations (due to non existant use of earth)
    no regulations... seriously lol none, this is a country where they dont even shove proper foundations on houses.

    in some places you see metres like this, lol although they are all outside exposed to elements... on the left hand board with the empty meter sockets.. cant see, but those have exposed live terminals behind there.. not so bad there about from the water ingress but ive seen it at street level where somebody could easily stick their fingers in... most houses dont even have fuse distribution boards, they just take a supply from the meter (no service fuse) and just daisy chain it from lighting to sockets in a radial, cables a lot of the time are no thicker than speaker cable.

    [​IMG]

    but even above you will notice only 1 wire going into the metre, with no sign of neutral.. because each house has its own neutral or if theres a board at ground level like that the neutral is provided at that board.

    hence why, due to the lack of any kind of regulations there, Im going to be installing an earth, bonding everything properly and doing something about the neutral to the house.

    no I wasnt touching anything else metal, or damp.. litterally just touch anything metal and you get a shock from some kind of current leakage, and seeming as they dont have earths only place it can come from is from some kind of short to live on the wiring or a high resistance on the neutral rod outside making it easier for the current to flow through somebody to earth rather than the proper means.

    this is their attitude to wiring and electrical safety,

    (in a city)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. RB2004

    RB2004

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    regarding my understanding,

    I dont claim to "fully" understand it as I dont work for a DNO

    but in the UK,

    PME, or TNC-S - supply comes into the local substation, as just a live, then there is a ground spike there, and possibly/usually multiple ground spikes between a premeses/house and the substation which provides the neutral and in the service head the earth and neutral are bonded together.

    but like I say I dont know how "exactly" they provide it and guess it depends and I could be completely wrong if so I dont claim to be correct.

    [​IMG]

    not just me though saying about poor neutrals.

    just took this quote off another website,

    "The quality of grounding of the neutral wire is uncertain. If you’ve spent any time there, you’ve probably been repeatedly shocked by your computer, refrigerator and so forth. The metal parts of these either have no ground and when you touch them with bare feet on a tile, you become the ground."

    "At the bottom of each electrical pole is a ground rod which is connected to the transformer and to the line serving your house. These provide a ground to your system, but it’s important to have your own separate ground to ensure that your neutral wire is not carrying current."

    "The system is a GROUNDED system because the neutral wire is/SHOULD be connected to a ground rod at the pole where the transformer is and a ground rod and/or cold water pipe at each house."


    So, my plan was, ditch the existing ground rod provided at the premesis
    shove my own ground rod in for the neutral which I know to be neutral, and if there is a neutral connection back to the main supply connect up to that.. but eigther way the incoming supply will actually be neutral even if I have to drive an earth rod 12ft into the ground or more.

    then put in a separate earth rod for the earth, then I can shove in armoured cable which I will be importing, and an RCD and I will know it is at least "safer" than the usual standards observed in the country.
     
  6. JohnD

    JohnD

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    when you've got those photos I asked for of your own installation, please come back.

    An earth rod does not give a reliable neutral as it will always have a substantial and varying resistance, hence the voltage in your installation will be reduced. If you try to use an earth rod as a neutral you will also get a proportion of mains voltage in the ground around that earth rod, which is liable to be dangerous, especially to anything with four legs and no rubber-soled shoes.

    BTW if you are not touching or standing on a conductive surface, you can touch a live appliance and will not get a shock. However if there is no earth connection at the appliance plug, the appliance casing cannot be live unless there is an internal fault in the appliance.

    I notice you will not say which country this is.
     
  7. RB2004

    RB2004

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    I cant give photos because im not in the country at the moment, wont be for about 6 weeks.

    its the philippines.
     
  8. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    Is touching things to see if you get a shock part of your fault-diagnosis technique, or the way you try and work out how things are designed?

    So they don't use an earth or a neutral?

    Magic.


    Not true. Seriously, not true at all. There is a Philippine Electrical Code, and whatever you think about how widely followed it is, you must, must, MUST get a copy, learn what it says and work to it.

    No other course of action is remotely acceptable.

    As is installing an earth rod and hoping for the best because you don't have test equipment.


    You get a shock when current passes through you.

    If you touch something live you have to touch something else at a different potential to it for current to flow.


    That's not a "neutral rod".


    I don't think that's necessary.


    No.

    Can't you see the star point in the diagram you posted?


    But you think you should go around banging rods into the ground to provide the neutral for an installation?


    That's talking about the quality of the earthing of the neutral conductor, not about the quality of the neutral conductor.


    What complete idiot wrote that? It's describing a scenario with two things wrong.

    1) A fault on an appliance which has made an exposed-conductive-part live.

    2) Too high a fault loop impedance for the protective device to operate and clear the fault.

    (2) on its own won't cause you to get a shock off a healthy appliance. "repeatedly shocked by your computer, refrigerator and so forth"?? The lack of a good earth is why you get a shock rather than a protective device operating, but at the root is a dodgy appliance, and the answer is to replace it, not say "Oh well that's because the earth connection here is dodgy"!


    Not a neutral, please note.


    If your neutral wire is carrying no current then nothing is going to work.


    Straightforward description of the PME way of making TN-C-S safe.

    And you think that means that the supply to that house in the Philippines has no neutral?


    This is what your plan should be:

    Get someone who knows what they are doing.
     
  9. RB2004

    RB2004

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    Ban all sheds

    saying get somebody who knows what they are doing isnt a sensible reply in a country like that, or follow their code.

    if you have ever been to the country or have family or lived there you will know why you cant apply a view like that there.

    in regards to "get somebody who knows"

    there are no real recognised electrical qualifications like here, or building control etc.

    the people who build the houses are the people who wire them up, wires are more often than not undersized to a seriously dangerous level even just to save money.. because a lot of people even in the city live below the poverty line even.. so they tend to have an "it will do" attitude.. rather than, is it safe? does this meet our own regulations? and any money the country gets which should be spent on developing a "code" gets into the wrong hands and more often than not somebodys back pocket... if you have money the police can be bribed as can the local equivalent of a mayor with under the table cash and yes that goes on... and ive seen it happen twice.. 1st time somebody was shot, murdered, but the judge was bribed and the killers got away with it... they then went on to kill 2 more people and still walked... 2nd was a drainage issue, somebody blocked a drain because they wouldnt be granted right of way... police came along and said they wasnt guilty of any kind of damage... because the police was accepting back handers.

    as I said above, most houses dont even have proper foundations.. been to several houses where they will specifically even tell you "do not flush tissue paper down the toilet, bin it and we wil burn it" even if it is contaminated with human waste.. because you chuck it down the toilet and the fall on the underground waste pipe is not at a correct fall so tissue paper (which would normally absorb water and break up, just sits there instead)... you ask for a local electrician and you get some person from down the road who knows how to connect wires together but doesnt consider safety aspects.

    so even if there is a code it is not enforced... and I have looked at some of their code and because the country is still a developing country most of it is not to a modern standard.. some is how we would of done stuff in the uk 70 years ago.

    which ok, you might label me as, but at least im asking, at least in this country I own a test meter, and at least I own a copy of the electrical code for reference... and I dont actually undertake something unless I know its done correctly and safety.. so even if im saying stupid things or incorrect things now thats no reflection on me actually going out doing it until i know its the safe and right way.

    So regardless of what their code says, im choosing to use a code that I know far exceeds local code, and is safe.

    [​IMG]

    above image, that wiring was done by government workers.. now, if there is a code and they are following it and thats the result... can you honestly say knowing better you would be following that code? and can you say that mess is honestly not an accident waiting to happen?

    last month a whole town burnt down because of the electrics being overloaded, and on the land I own around the back theres another house where at night in the rainy season you can see the cables sparking where they are shorting out on the metal roof (they run accross the top).. probably from degraded insulation.

    and your telling me I should be following that same method of practice and code? despite knowing a better way of doing things like using armoured cable and correct routing of cables etc.

    they dont even have waterproof accessories, they shove ordinary indoor bayonet fittings outdoors in the middle of the rainy season... and their code doesnt say otherwise because you can go to hotels, public atractions like zoo's, or resorts and see the same thing everywhere.
     
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  11. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    Really?

    Are you telling me that the airport, for example, was wired by the same people who created the messes you've shown?


    Really? http://pdfhere.com/philippine-electrical-code-pdf/


    Really? http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno6541.htm


    They already have a code. http://www.google.co.uk/search?sour...HP_en__426GB426&q=philippines+electrical+code


    Fine - it's a lawless, uncivilised, barbaric, primitive cesspit of a country which no person in his right mind would ever visit.

    The question is are you going to go native, or are you going to try and maintain the standards of a civilised, conscientious and professional person?


    That's a stupid argument for not following it. Above you claimed certain knowledge that the law on murder is not enforced, so are you going to get a gun and start killing people, justifying yourself by saying "so even if there is a law it is not enforced"?


    There is, and I very much doubt they were.


    You also said earlier that they don't have armoured cable. I wonder why their code refers to it so many times, then?


    4.6.1.8 Receptacles in Damp or Wet Locations.
    (a) Damp Locations. A receptacle installed outdoors in a location
    protected from the weather or in other damp locations shall have an
    enclosure for the receptacle that is weatherproof when the receptacle is
    covered (attachment plug cap not inserted and receptacle covers
    closed).
    An installation suitable for wet locations shall also be considered
    suitable for damp locations.
    A receptacle shall be considered to be in a location protected from
    the weather where located under roofed open porches, canopies,
    marquees, and the like, and will not be subjected to a beating rain or
    water runoff.
    (b) Wet Locations.
    (1) 15- and 20-Ampere Receptacles in a Wet Location. 15- and 20-
    ampere, 125- and 250-volt receptacles installed in a wet location shall
    have an enclosure that is weatherproof whether or not the attachment
    plug cap is inserted.
    (2) Other Receptacles. All other receptacles installed in a wet
    location shall comply with (b)(2)a or (b)(2)b.
    a. A receptacle installed in a wet location, where the product
    intended to be plugged into it is not attended while in use, shall have an
    enclosure that is weatherproof with the attachment plug cap inserted or removed.
    b. A receptacle installed in a wet location where the product
    intended to be plugged into it will be attended while in use (e.g.,
    portable tools) shall have an enclosure that is weatherproof when the
    attachment plug is removed.
     
  12. RB2004

    RB2004

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    I@ have no idea why their code refers to it, but from visiting the country I can tell you that you can visit a dozen or more places and nobody stocks the stuff even the big DIY chains they have there.

    nor the waterproof accessories

    and if you visit the country and go around you will find that nobody is using it.. all they seem to do is bury orange flexible conduit in the ground then shove cable through it.

    as for public buildings like airports, it might not be on show but the same mess exists

    go to for example an SM mall, they are everywhere in the country, then when walking accross the walkways look at the roof and the cables running accross it and thats 1 place where it shows.

    and even in the airports you can see the lack of waterproof accessories even though the code you have quoted states it.

    no, I dont intend on going native, I intend on using a code that far exceeds their own code.

    your not really even in a position to be arguing about this.
    you can quote all you like but unless you have visited the country and see it first hand reading what "should" and seeing what "is" are 2 different things.

    unlike here, where the code is enforced a lot more, out there the government doesnt really do a lot and regardless of whether its right or wrong.. it means nobody is following the code, out there.. you want a house built you build it, if it breaks the code and kills you its your fault.

    as for it being a cesspit of a country as you put it.. its not exactly civilised by modern standards but its has lots of great and beautifull places and the people there are a lot more friendly than they are here and theres lots of british, american and austrailian tourists who go there every year.
    my gripe is with the way they build things and the lack of electrical safety, code says it should be safe according to code but the truth is its simply not.

    but I dont have a problem with the country itself.
     
  13. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    What's wrong with actually following their code?


    I don't have to visit to realise that "should" and "what is" are two different things.

    Nor do I have to visit to know that should is should is should.


    That's not because the code is defective, it's because people don't follow it.

    Just like you aren't going to.
     
  14. Gavin77

    Gavin77

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    Is it possible that the 'shocks' he is getting is due to the appliances being imported from EU/US countries, where EMC compliance is required and may well have filter caps between live & earth, and neutral & earth?
     
  15. Morrisman

    Morrisman

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    I just found this post, and it's very amusing to read. The country does have codes and regulations, but it is such a basket-case of a country they are very rarely followed, even if you want to.

    Inspections are done, and enforced by law, but can be 'sorted out' for a few quid if necessary if you can't be bothered to comply.

    You can find the correct materials, but you'll have to trudge around a dozen stores to get it, or go to another town, or import it....

    The basic motto of the Filipino appears to be 'second best is good enough' and I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but the country has existed in poverty for so long that they have learned to 'make do' so well they seem to prefer it to doing things the right way, even when materials and funds are available.

    And it is so easy to fall into the local ways.

    I planned to run a full English three pin plug system in our new build house, but a surprising amount of UK appliances and power tools don't actually have an earth wire in. :confused:

    The basic electrical system has symmetrical twin pole plugs, totally reversible, and I know not what their system is but there is rarely an earth wire anywhere, or 'ground' as they call it.

    EG. We plugged a new computer into the mains, and I promptly got a shock off the casing, and I measured 110 volts between the metal casing and a ground. The 'ground' I used was the steel security bars on the house, that are sunk into the concrete.

    Power supply to our new house is by three wires, two of which are power, one is the earth wire. It supposedly goes to earth somewhere back along the system, but we are advised by our electrician, and the builder, to make our own earth pole and connect it to that too.

    Along these two wires we can get both 220 and 110. I assume it is three phase, haven't looked into it properly, I'm a mechanic, not a sparky. :oops:

    In our current rental house we have 220 and 110 split outlets in all the sockets, and inside are three black wires. I forget exactly how they are connected, but they work, and give the right voltage.

    I've lived in the Philippines for 13 of the last 18 years, and things are definitly infinity better than they were when I first visited in '93, but they still have a really lackadaisical apathy towards doing things correctly.

    It is easy to criticise and/or condemn from a distance, but you have no idea what it is really like until you spend some time there.

    My most common complaint: why can't they just do it properly??? :LOL:
     
  16. Morrisman

    Morrisman

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    A lot of these wires are telephone wires. Every new subscriber gets a new phone wire, all the way from the main box, and they don't bother removing old wires after you've left the house......

    [​IMG]
     
  17. RedHerring2

    RedHerring2

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    Isn't this how the USA used to be, two live wires, one neutral. The neutral was off the central point of the transformer, thus giving 110v between the neutral and any live wire, but 220v between the two live wires.
    Thus, the neutral is not earthed, as it is in the UK and other countries.

    Perhaps a left-over fom the US's influence in The Phillipines?

    I'm only guessing here! :eek:
     
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