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Topic Title: Have I gone mad or did i just hear that right ? No plastic fuseboards.
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Created On: 01 October 2014 03:20 PM
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 01 October 2014 07:39 PM
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rocknroll

Posts: 9549
Joined: 03 October 2005

As you have decided to name the LFB, at a meeting some months ago the Chief Fire Officer quoted that 90% of the fires in and around the cut-out/consumer unit are as a result of overloading and tampering, tampering has increased by many 100's of percent and is increasing every day as people are becoming more brazen in abstracting electricity, whilst most agree that some equipment standards at the moment are suspect, there are much bigger problems that will not be addressed by just some knee-jerk reaction from the IET.

regrds

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"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
-------------------------
"Oh! The drama of it all."
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"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
-------------------------
 01 October 2014 08:06 PM
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OMS

Posts: 22428
Joined: 23 March 2004

Originally posted by: AJJewsbury

It seems a odd it's even being raised as a BS 7671 issue - surely the requirement for performance of an particular item of equipment should be dealt with by the equipment standard e.g. BS EN 60439 / BS EN 61439.

- Andy.


Seconded - JPEL need to use their influence to pressure the manufacturers into compliance with existing standards (recently revised I might add) - not put nonsense regs into UK only bits of BS 7671

Now then - how may switchgear manufacturers have representative seats on JPEL 64 and other IET committees ?

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 01 October 2014 08:13 PM
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sparkingchip

Posts: 10180
Joined: 18 January 2003

I agree with you that overload and tampering is a very plausible explanation.

I also agree that a knee jerk reaction that results in only steel consumer units being installed in domestic installations may not be appropriate.

It would be difficult not to name the LFB at some point in discussions as they apparently are the driving force behind the changes in regulations. It would be interesting to see if other fire brigades have matching data.

some years ago it was standard practice in some parts of Birmingham that the suppliers cut out was sealed within a earthed steel enclosure to deter would be electricity thieves, I have been told though that the policy has been for several years that these steel enclosures must be removed.

So the suppliers steel incomer enclosures come out as consumer units are replaced in steel, you know it makes sense!

Andy
 01 October 2014 08:15 PM
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stateit

Posts: 2682
Joined: 15 April 2005

Originally posted by: rocknroll

As you have decided to name the LFB, at a meeting some months ago the Chief Fire Officer quoted that 90% of the fires in and around the cut-out/consumer unit are as a result of overloading and tampering, tampering has increased by many 100's of percent and is increasing every day as people are becoming more brazen in abstracting electricity, whilst most agree that some equipment standards at the moment are suspect, there are much bigger problems that will not be addressed by just some knee-jerk reaction from the IET.



regrds


Many 100s of % increase doesn't mean a lot without a base figure to start with...

And 'overloading and tampering' doesn't exactly split the difference between overload and tamper.

And 'between cut-out and consumer unit' hasn't exactly been quantified either.

I guess tamper/abstraction will give more rise to fire risk as there will be less control by OPD.

Statistics, eh?

-------------------------
S George
http://www.sg-electrical.com
 01 October 2014 08:28 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 9695
Joined: 22 July 2004

Number of fires

2005/06 - 27
2006/07 - 28
2007/08 - 33
2008/09 - 21
2009/10 54
2010/11 - 73
2011/12 - 71
2012/13 - 220
2013/14 - 253


Surely that's also an effect of Part P at work improving the figures, by discouraging folk from replacing their aging CUs themselves ? no?

Joking aside, without knowing the age demographics of the offending CU, that could be all ancient wooden things with rubber wire on hot wire fuses hanging on cotton covered tails finally giving up, or it could all be ebay special offer 'best price my friend marked as 'gift', installed last week, as some are assuming, but we don't really know.
After all, the very last knockings of VIR insulation should be giving up the ghost any time about now.

In some ways anything that makes it harder to replace a CU, and keeps rotting junk in service is potentially very bad.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 01 October 2014 08:33 PM
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sparkingchip

Posts: 10180
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We all know about it:

MCB recall

As they were supplied in 2009 it could vaguely be another possibility on the list then.

Without a detailed break down of the data from the LFB no assumptions of any kind can be made.

Andy
 01 October 2014 08:47 PM
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impvan

Posts: 922
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That's quite an increase in the number of fires.

Does it match, I wonder, the increase in numbers of illicit cannabis farms?
 01 October 2014 09:01 PM
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peteTLM

Posts: 3715
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In the last 10 years ive changed maybe 3 melted consumer units in the process of thinking about starting a fire.

All of them were due to loose terminals, especially neutrals.

Probably 50pc of the meters i come across however have terminals tightened by a limp wristed mouse. Why on earth dont they tighten them up? Its usually only the small loadings encountered for the surface contact area available that have saved them.

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Lack of planning on your part doesn't make it an emergency on mine....

Every man has to know his limitations- Dirty Harry
 01 October 2014 09:01 PM
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sparkingchip

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You'd smell if something was up if they started burning along with the plastic enclosures!

Andy
 01 October 2014 09:04 PM
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peteTLM

Posts: 3715
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As for the metalclad/ TT install, didnt they do years ago some sort of further internal cable enclosure to afford triple insulation to the tails before the RCD?
Never seen one in the flesh, and never seen one in a catalogue either. Id be tempted to sleeve the tails in kopex or similar internally to afford the same.

-------------------------
----------------------------------------
Lack of planning on your part doesn't make it an emergency on mine....

Every man has to know his limitations- Dirty Harry
 01 October 2014 09:25 PM
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sparkingchip

Posts: 10180
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Anyway I now have a different matter of concern to you folks!

Looking at the Electrical Safety First appliance recall list I saw our microwave on the list!!!!!!!!!!

It is now unplugged and standing on the floor ready for a refund or replacement.

Andy
 01 October 2014 09:34 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 9695
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We could ask about eliminating screws altogether of course, preferring instead constant spring pressure, regardless of vibration or thermal cycling, and professionally some of us have done so even on bigger stuff.

This would be about right for a consumer unit, I think.

Now those would speed up meter tail replacement.
Also, perhaps rather scarily, something similar is available as a PCB variant, with very big solder pins.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 01 October 2014 09:38 PM
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paulskyrme

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mapj1,
I was using such beats 10+ years ago on industrial machinery, and, working for the OEM, we had a global failure database, and guess what, connection failure did not rank highly!
 01 October 2014 09:58 PM
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mapj1

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I've both seen them and specced various things from the same family on a mobile genset among other kit, as being far less likely to shed screws and fall apart when things rattle about a lot, and actually I've always been impressed.

I suspect it is that German engineering thoroughness to do perfectly well what everyone else said was dangerous (read 'innovative') and should not be attempted.

I'm always amused when the news shows pictures of really hairy equipment, like medical particle colliders or enormous rotating machines, and the wiring parts in the back of the photo are clearly identifiable as being of a well known Teutonic design. If you're lucky you may get to spot an 'Achtung!' label as well - odd how its not very often British, or any other nation, like French or Italian for that matter, though to be fair they do turn up on large broadcast station kit from time to time.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 01 October 2014 11:08 PM
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sparkingchip

Posts: 10180
Joined: 18 January 2003

Regards the figures:

Number of fires

2005/06 - 27
2006/07 - 28
2007/08 - 33
2008/09 - 21
2009/10 54
2010/11 - 73
2011/12 - 71
2012/13 - 220
2013/14 - 253

We also need to take into account the size of the English capital city and bear in mind it has a population far in excess of that of Scotland, hence there are rather a lot of consumer units installed within the LFB area.

Andy
 01 October 2014 11:41 PM
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DOUGIE1000

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there is a few too many consumer unit manufactures that as should be selling with free fire extinguisher with every board

-------------------------
Dougie
Power Plus Electrical.co.uk

My mission is to live as long as possible......so far so good!
 01 October 2014 11:49 PM
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Phillron

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Originally posted by: DOUGIE1000

there is a few too many consumer unit manufactures that as should be selling with free fire extinguisher with every board


What!
Some have already made huge effort in the safety stakes by including a free spirit level mounted in the unit lol
 02 October 2014 12:29 AM
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DOUGIE1000

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Originally posted by: Phillron

Originally posted by: DOUGIE1000



there is a few too many consumer unit manufactures that as should be selling with free fire extinguisher with every board


What!

Some have already made huge effort in the safety stakes by including a free spirit level mounted in the unit lol



and have you tried the spirit level? talk about quality, think the bubble is printed on. Next you will telling me the new Hager boards have more space than the old Hager ones that used to have about 150mm between top of mcb and neutral busbar.

-------------------------
Dougie
Power Plus Electrical.co.uk

My mission is to live as long as possible......so far so good!
 02 October 2014 07:29 AM
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paulskyrme

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I don't fully follow the train of thought going into this regulation.

The new product standard for "consumer units", BS EN 61439-3 "Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies Part 3: Distribution boards intended to be operated by ordinary persons (DBO)".

There in is a requirement for limiting the flammability and ensuring the structural integrity and stability of the device at elevated temperatures.

Now as this is the product standard for such devices, then, surely the devices must meet the product standard, or else otherwise be tested and proven suitable by equivalent means in order to comply with the Low Voltage Directive, thus carry the CE mark, etc. and thus be legal for sale in the UK.

Ahh, just read the National Foreword for 61439. 60439 is not withdrawn until 22/03/15, the flammability etc. requirements in 60439 are lower than 61439.
Rarely read things like the Foreword, normally just the technical bits! ;(

It looks like JPEL64 are pushing the requirements of 61439 before they come into play, however, they are delaying the appplication of that particular regulation?
 02 October 2014 08:15 AM
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Bhilly

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The new Reg 421.1.200 (so UK only) will require consumer units and similar switchgear in domestic premises to be made of non-combustible material or be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure made of same.For the avoidance of doubt, non-combustible in this sense means metal. 960 degree plastic is termed "not readily combustible" and was originally included as an option in the draft reg. but was kicked to touch on the basis of evidence provided by BRE and Electrium. The manufacturers have been given additional time to sort themselves out so this won't be mandatory till 1st Jan 2016. It won't stop fires, as Charlie Pugsley from LFB is now publicly proclaiming.
Statistics

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