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Swiss Wiring

Discussion in 'Electrics Outside of the UK' started by Graeme Vetterlein, 19 Nov 2020.

  1. Graeme Vetterlein

    Graeme Vetterlein

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    Just moved into a new rented flat in Zurich and as is common most of the light fittings have been removed (?!) [previous renter was British] I bought a contactless tester, to check out wiring. We've since had a local sparks check things and fit some new lights, but I was surprised by what I found:

    1: Cooker is controlled by 2 MCBs in the flats consumer unit (turns out it's 400v across 2 phases)
    2: There is NO off switch for flat as a whole. Flipping all the MCB + 1 MCBO still leaves the lights live
    3: With only one light fitting installed (left behind) ALL the (dangling out of the ceiling) wire-groups show as "live" (contactless only, so I guess 1 wire is live in each) regardless of the setting of the wall light switches.

    a: It looks like the light switches cut the Neutral feed, live (to lights) is permanent/unswitched?
    b: I suspect instead of just live and neutral (+earth) colours, the Swiss colour each live phase differently? So 3 live colours, 1 neutral + 1 earth colours.
    c: The kitchen power has RCD protection (via that single MCBO) but the bathroom is unprotected, with a 10A 230V supply.
    d: The sparks wired the new lights with the circuit live (as I said no way to switch) as he joined cables , lights in the flat came on.
     
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  3. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    You need a two-pole voltage tester; non-contact testers are unreliable.
     
  4. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    I don't know what they do in Switzerland but generally -

    Are you sure it is not just two circuits with Neutrals and 230V?

    There was no main switch here when I moved in.
    I would have thought a three phase board would have a main switch.

    Ok. Easily rectified.

    RCBO.
    Ok.

    Ok. I don't know why he would not have rectified it.
     
  5. Graeme Vetterlein

    Graeme Vetterlein

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    Seems , he felt that is was OK to switch the live or Neutral side , that is was an arbitrary choice which side was switched.

    But I'm not sure I've conveyed the full horror :

    1: He had rubber gloves on
    2: Used an SDS drill to put holes in concrete ceiling
    3: Grabbed hold of the bare wires, with gloved hands, inserted pairs of cables into something like a wago terminal block as he (re)joining what were presumably the 2 lives, a different ceiling light lit up. He then connect the new light ... pretty sure there is no RCD on this circuit
    4: He reached across and tested the new light by flipping the light switch (all while remaining on the ladder)

    Yep the Oven is 400V , wired across phases (I guess it allows a lower current in the cables, so happy with that , just need to be aware)

    Oh and I didn't mention. There are 2 power outlets in the bathroom, in the medicine cabinet , directly over the sink . They are 10A and NOT protected by an RCD .
    When I asked about the the "assistant" he started to explain about the zones (presumably studying for his exam) ...then I open the cabinet , showed the 40cm drop to the sink ...he smiled and stopped explaining.

    For background , this flat was major refurbished 5 years ago, included a complete rewire ... so not one of the old/dangerous flats ( :-0) :(
     
  6. mattylad

    mattylad

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    One of the new dangerous flats? :)
     
  7. Ragnar_AT

    Ragnar_AT

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    400 V cookers connected to two lives are a Swiss oddity, yes. Nothing wrong with that.

    Main switches aren‘t necesssarily required in most European countries, although there‘s often a main RCD. The thing that does worry me quite a bit is that according to your description, some circuits are not protected by MCBs or fuses, which is usually quite dangerous (except in countries where the whole supply is only 15 amps and that’s not the case in Switzerland).

    Bathroom zones only apply to showers and baths, as long as yours are at least 60 cm from the edge of the bath or shower tray (120 cm from the taps in case of an open shower) you‘re fine, except in Belgium and the British Isles.
     
  8. winston1

    winston1

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    Seems he knew more than you. There are no zones above a sink. Most zone diagrams on the web are wrong.
     
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  9. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

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    Most posts you make on the web are wrong.
     
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  11. winston1

    winston1

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    Not true
     
  12. JohnD

    JohnD

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    Winston's posts can be ignored, especially the wrong ones.
     
  13. winston1

    winston1

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    How dare you tell people to ignore my posts. You are not a mod. I do not post wrong information. Why do you lie?
     
  14. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

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    You’ve literally lied in this very post.
     
  15. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Winston has his opinions which only he believes are factually correct.
     
  16. winston1

    winston1

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    Only in your mind
     
  17. Rad1o

    Rad1o

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    Do the swiss have lots of deaths from electrocution? Is it that unsafe or just different?

    When we moved into our 4 bed house we had 4 very old fashioned blade fuses for the lot and a lot of the wiring was more cowboy than I could ever do it.
     
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