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Should I replace the ELCB in the garage?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by Micmo, 15 Sep 2019.

  1. Micmo

    Micmo

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    Afternoon all,

    My garage currently has a 2 gang 13A socket and I'd like to add a second. I've scoped out the current setup, and it seems a bit iffy to me and wondered what any professionals think (before I get one to physically come out)...

    The supply to the garage (attached to the house) is spurred off the CUs 'downstairs sockets' ring. It's worth noting the garage strip lights are fed from the 'upstairs lights' as well. This initially sounds odd as I would have expected there to be a dedicated supply for the garage with its own CU.

    So, this supply entering the garage for the socket goes into an ancient looking ELCB. The ELCB is currently only using one of the three outputs (see attached pic), so I was planning on just using the 2nd for my extra socket.

    Reading online, Ive learnt the ELCB has to be replaced to meet today's regs, and Part P allows for certain things to be done without needing to notify/certify. It says you DO need to notify if installing new circuits ... But what about replacing the ELCB with an RCD?

    In an ideal world, I would update our main CU, add a separate circuit for the garage's power and lights, with its own CU which splits it all out. ££££££

    I was hoping this would be an easy job, but has me worried it's going to turn out to be a lot more hassle than it's worth.

    Thoughts?
    Mike,
     

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  2. flameport

    flameport

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    That is a current operated device, and does the same thing that a modern RCD does. It is not one of the voltage operated devices which have been obsolete for decades.

    Is there an RCD for the supply - in the main consumer unit?
     
  3. Micmo

    Micmo

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    Hi flameport
    Ah ok, I must have misread online. The main CU has a 32A circuit breaker (specifically a MEM 321QEB) which supplies all of the downstairs sockets and the garage. I don't see an RCD anywhere in the CU.
    Mike
     

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  4. ericmark

    ericmark

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    There is no problem using the existing ELCB-c which is just a different name for a RCD they are the same devices, that is assuming when tested it works OK.
     
  5. AndyPRK

    AndyPRK

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    some people will say you shouldn't have a spur from a spur.

    So you could replace that item with a modern 2 way cu with RCD and 20A MCB.

    leave the lights alone, That is fine
     
  6. Micmo

    Micmo

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    Ok thanks for the replies! I had read up on the spur of a spur rule, but assume that as the elcb had 3 outputs it would be ok.

    If I were to replace it with a new rcb+mcb... Is this notifiable work, and does a sparky have to do it?
     
  7. ericmark

    ericmark

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    The ELCB-c you have is a three phase version, however there is no problem using it on single phase. As to spur from spur if the spur is fused there is no problem, what is to be avoided is having 32A available from a 2.5 mm² cable, there is nothing in your post that point to that being the case.

    If there is no fuse and you replace the ELCB-c with a double pole RCBO of say 16 amp it would not in theory be correct as a fused spur should be fused to 13A but it would ensure you can only draw 16 amp so it would make it safe by just renewing one item. You can then add as many sockets as you like without there being a problem. The way I have done it in the past is to replace the first socket with a grid socket and fuse, and plate and blank so the 13 amp fuse is protecting all, then you can add as many sockets as you like.
     
  8. AndyPRK

    AndyPRK

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    The op said is it spured off the downstairs ring.
    And posts a cu photo showing 32A Mcb for downstairs ring.
    There maybe a 13A fuse. Their may not.

    Personally not a fan of 13A spurs when there is a nice place to fit a 20A Mcb in the garage
     
  9. flameport

    flameport

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    It doesn't have 3 outputs. There are 2 wires in for the supply, and 2 wires out for whatever is connected to it.

    Assuming it's working, replacing it with another RCD will achieve nothing.
    Far better to put that money towards a new consumer unit in the house, which has no RCD for any of the circuits.
    RCDs are required for virtually all circuits now, and RCDs have been required for socket outlets likely to be used for equipment outdoors since 1991.
     
  10. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I suggest you look again :)

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  11. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Sorry saw the L1, L2, L3, N did not see the blanks in L2 and L3.
     
  12. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    It's not just the 'clue' of the blanked L2 and L3 - if you look just above them at the label, you'll see a clear description of what it is :)

    upload_2019-9-15_22-20-25.png

    Kind Regards, John
     
  13. Micmo

    Micmo

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    Is this something a competent DIY'er can do, or will I need an electrician to certify it?
     
  14. ericmark

    ericmark

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    No electrician can certify some one else's work after the even, the person signing the certificate needs to be in control, so the apprentice may do the work, but the master is in control.

    The class competent has now been removed, it was a bit silly, a skilled person can look after the safety of himself, the competent person can look after the safety of himself and others. That was the difference between skilled and competent, so anyone who is competent be it a tradesman or DIY man has to be able to do the job safely, that's what competent means.

    As to if you can do it within the law depends on where you live, England, Wales and Scotland all have different rules, but unless you get it wrong, no one will worry about it anyway, even as an electrician, today I swapped a light switch, and I never filled in a minor works certificate, I should following the rules, but in my own house, no I did not bother.

    So in England to fit a consumer unit you should either be a scheme member or apply to council so a compliance or completion certificate should be raised to cover the work, for some unknown reason even though a FCU forms an new circuit in exactly the same way as a garage consumer unit, for the FCU you don't need the compliance certificate but for a CU you do. Personally I would still fit a CU and say nothing, but if following rules yes the work should be registered.

    When I came to move house I could not find the paperwork, so went to get a replacement, was told it would take 3 months, and cost upwards of £75 for the replacement, and they did not even know if the work had been registered or not, lucky found the paperwork, but it did point out how useless, if I had done unregistered work and said it had been registered it seems they could not prove I was wrong.

    Maybe if my work killed some one, then HSE or a Judge would force council to look, but unless some one is killed by your work, it seems no one in authority cares.
     
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