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Sockets going live

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by Dooradley, 31 May 2016.

  1. Dooradley

    Dooradley

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    Out in my garage I have a consumer unit with two trip switches. The unit is fed from the main fuse-box in the house.

    Out of this unit, I have three double-sockets, an indoor light and outdoor light.

    My problem is; when I plug a tester into any of the sockets, it tells me there is no earth. When I plug anything into any of the sockets, the socket case becomes live. The earth wires inside the consumer unit also become live at this point.

    I've checked the wiring inside each socket and any junction boxes - each seems correct, and each metal back-box is earthed.

    Nothing trips at any point.

    Any suggestions what might be the problem, or what else I should be checking before calling an electrician?

    Thanks.

    Pic of the consumer unit: File_000.jpeg
     
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  3. SteveP86

    SteveP86

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    Are the earth wires perhaps wired to the neutral bar perhaps? It's difficult to see 8n that picture. I'm not an electrician so can't give expert advice. I'm sure I don't have to tell you not to touch anything metal when the power is on.

    How are you testing for the earth being live? Is it with one of those stupid probe things?
     
  4. SteveP86

    SteveP86

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    Also that consumer unit looks a mess. Not surprisingly going by how tiny the thing is!
     
  5. Dooradley

    Dooradley

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    I've got a plug in tester which has three lights to show live/neutral/earth connections, and one of those screwdrivers which you touch the top of which lights up to show a live connection.

    All the sockets and junction boxes earth wires are wired into the proper places. As far as I can see the consumer unit earths all go to the right place - but I'm not willing to take it apart to check further as I wouldn't know how to put it back together!

    Someone suggested that there might be a break in a wire somewhere, or a fault at the main fuse-box which feeds it - both jobs for an electrician. Just want to check everything I can before that.
     
  6. securespark

    securespark

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    I have had a reading from one of those plug-in testers that wasn't even shown in the instructions....go figure!

    And ditch the neon driver - death trap!

    Buy a multimeter instead.
     
  7. stillp

    stillp

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    Throw that away and buy a multimeter!
    My guess would be that your earth conductor is broken or disconnected somewhere between that garage CU and the house.
     
  8. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    The right hand cable does not have a CPC(earth wire) that I can see.

    Are any others the same?
     
  9. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Get an electrician to replace that ( so called ) "consumer unit"

    Does it even have separate bus bars for Earth and Neutral ?

    And does this red wire go into the top terminal of the RCD ?

    f&g cu.jpg

    If it does then that circuit is not protected, not by the RCD and not by either of the MCBs
     
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  11. securespark

    securespark

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    From what I can see, there look to be 3 neutrals in the bottom of the RCD.
     
  12. Dooradley

    Dooradley

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    A few updates - I think I might have a few problems contributing to all this!

    1. You're right - the earth from this (right-hand) cable was not connected at all. I've removed this whole section of cable for now so it is no longer connected at all (I'll replace later - just want to rule it out for now).
    2. The earth inside the consumer unit from one of the cables going to a socket was disconnected. I've reconnected it.
    3. The red cable Bernard labelled does not go into the top - it loops behind and goes in at the bottom. There are separate neutral terminals on the bottom of the unit. The only red cable going in at the top comes from the main power feed to the unit.
    4. The block in there doesn't seem right to me...it has what I *think* is a live cable from the outside light, and neutral from one of my sockets. So one of my sockets does not have a neutral connected into the consumer unit. Should this neutral be connected into the unit?


    A few closer up photos for you with labelled cables. File_000.jpeg File_001.jpeg
     
  13. winston1

    winston1

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    You don't need a CU in the garage anyway. Take the opportunity to get rid of it. Sockets can be wired directly to the MCB in house CU (20A), and lights via a switched FCU with a 5A fuse.
     
  14. Taylortwocities

    Taylortwocities

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    That is such an easy-sounding solution Winnie.

    Now, lets suppose that the garage is a distance from the house!
    With your brilliant solution he will have to run a new,separate feed all the way from the lighting circuit in the house to the garage.:rolleyes:
     
  15. deadshort

    deadshort

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    How so? He's installling a FCU in the garage to supply the lights?

    DS
     
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  16. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    If you do put garage lights and sockets on the same MCB in the house then you risk being left in the dark if the tool you are using trips the MCB in the house. To be plunged into sudden darkness in a work shop / garage can be extremely dangerous.
     
  17. winston1

    winston1

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    This is very true (after dark) and exactly the same applies if there is a power cut. If the garage is used after dark and this is a worry battery backed emergency lights should be installed wherever the MCB is.
     
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