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Topic Title: Worst diy jobs
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Created On: 04 January 2013 08:32 PM
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 04 January 2013 08:32 PM
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aligarjon

Posts: 2740
Joined: 09 September 2005

Following on from another post i was wondering what the funniest/strangest most dangerous things you guys have found on an installation over the years.

I remember finding a home made junction box in a roof space once. it was 2 tea plates taped together with a pile of chocolate blocks inside.




Gary

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Specialised Subject. The Bleedin Obvious. John Cleese
 04 January 2013 09:06 PM
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Dave69

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Originally posted by: aligarjon




I remember finding a home made junction box in a roof space once. it was 2 tea plates taped together with a pile of chocolate blocks inside.




Gary




at least they made the effort to try and cover it and I guess its easier for us who come after rather that rapping a roll of tape around it and it would keep the chocolate nice and fresh

I was installing a fire alarm in a pub that had rooms used for B&B and the landlord asked if I could have a quick look to see why the sockets in one room didn't work, They were spured off a twin socket in another room using some 0.75 3 core flex but obviously the DIYer didn't have enough flex so this was joined under the carpet in a choc block and extended with more flex, In this case the choc block was the week link and rather blackened and the Neutral had pulled/fallen out. As all I had was 30 A choc blocks which I thought were a waste to use and a little big to join 0.75 flex I rewired it using surface trunking and some real cable (2.5 T&E) and I even used my 30A chco blocks to break into the ring in the original socket. The landlord was over the moon when he saw the heavy duty cable I had used and happily passed over 3 crisp £20 notes for my trouble
 04 January 2013 10:36 PM
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slittle

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Possibly the worst was a 3 phase generator connected up at a football club to run the floodlights (by "someone who knew about electrics")

The machine had a lump of 25mm 4 core leaving it with old colours and the lighting panel had a 25mm 4 core entering in new colours - need I say anymore. (blue - blue & black - black)

The timer relays used to sequence the contactors took the brunt of it and because the contactors never came in, the control gear in the fittings survived.

I was on crutches at the time after doing my hip which was good as I was driven there and after a couple in the bar brought by the club chairman, I was driven home again

Stu
 04 January 2013 11:05 PM
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AdrianWint

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A few interesting ones spring to mind..... all of which I found in my own house a few days after moving in......

Two Wylex fuseboards ..... a 10way N series MCB board & an older 4 way 'domino' board. The domino board was fed from the busbar in the other board using a length of 4mm singles - straight off the busbar, no MCB.

Downstairs ring main - left the MCB board on a B32 & returned to the domino board on a B40 !!!!

Kitchen ring main - wasnt a ring. Ring deliberately broken in the back of a twin socket & the ends tapped up!

Shower light - 60W R80 type spot lamp in an eyeball type semi recessed fitting. ES lamp holder with the phase on the screw thread ...... and the pull switch in the neutral ....... and all reachable while having a shower!

Lights over an rustic brick fireplace - orginal filament lamp was fine.... previous owner had added an additional lamp ........ by taking the phase connection from the original lampholder & returning the neutral to the nearest socket! (even though a neutral was, obviously, present in the original lampholder!)

Intruder alarm system - fused connection unit fed by a length of 0.5mm three flex piggybacked off a 15A rewireable fuse in the domino board - this. This was a 'professional' install by a local alarm company & had a signed minor works certificate!

All of these coupled with other classics like extractor fans which didnt actual vent anywhere other than into a void!

Adrian
 05 January 2013 12:53 AM
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stateit

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I've just returned from a couple of weeks in India.

Give us the weekend and I'll have a website up showing wiring that will make you wonder why you're quibbling over whether something should be a C2 or a C3.

Prince Philip, gawd bless 'im and all that sail in him, was right when he said "This looks like it was put in by an Indian."

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S George
http://www.sg-electrical.com
 05 January 2013 09:02 AM
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sparkiemike

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Just before Christmas got a call from a lady who said her lights kept tripping intermittently and it had been going for some time now but was getting worse and she wanted it fixed. As I was busy I said I could only get there on a Sat which really suited her because "My husband will be there and he knows a lot about electrics!"

Got there and found out it was the front end RCD tripping on a TT system. Further investigation revealed a faulty table lamp plugged into a 5AMP socket, I removed the table lamp but I was still getting a short on N-E.

After a while found a the problem in the switch for the loft light that had been installed by the husband - no sleeves on the cpc and about 30mm of exposed copper on the N conductor. See Pic

Picture on flickr
 05 January 2013 09:57 AM
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potential

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Originally posted by: AdrianWint

Two Wylex fuseboards ..... a 10way N series MCB board & an older 4 way 'domino' board. The domino board was fed from the busbar in the other board using a length of 4mm singles - straight off the busbar, no MCB.

Adrian


Wylex produced a "fusebox" in the 60s that could be extended using a connection directly off the internal bus bar.
They made a 4-way extension fusebox that did not have a main switch within it specifically for the purpose.
 05 January 2013 11:42 AM
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alancapon

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Not really "diy electrics", more diy roof repairs. An old property with a leaking roof had a tin bath placed under the drip in the downstairs hallway. Over time, the rain also soaked the wall that had the meter board & CU mounted on it, but all seemed fine . . . until one day the meter board, complete with meter & cutout fell off the wall and into the (now full) tin bath. The resultant steam / smoke from a "many kVA" electrode water heater (courtesy of the supply equipment) was impressive. After being called by the Fire & Rescue service, we ended up isolating the street so we could sort out the mess. At the time of the call, we were already in the road investigating reports of flickering lights!

Regards,

Alan.
 06 January 2013 10:18 AM
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tomgunn

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Originally posted by: Dave69

Originally posted by: aligarjon



The landlord was over the moon when he saw the heavy duty cable I had used and happily passed over 3 crisp £20 notes for my trouble


Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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Tom .... ( The TERMINATOR ).

handyTRADESMAN ... haha

Castle Builders

Why did Nick Clegg cross the road? Because he said he wouldn't!

I can resist anything..... except temptation! ( Karl Gunn ).
 06 January 2013 10:32 AM
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tomgunn

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Some 20 years ago I was upgrading and installing new MICC's in pubs all around the south of 'that' London - started a new pub in Leatherhead, Surrey. Popped into the pubs kitchen and asked if there was a spare plug that I could use. Sure, pull out the clock plug and you can use that one - behind the freezer - great! So I pulled the freezer out enough to reach down to feel where the plug for the wall clock was - WALLOP!!!!!!!! I put my hand across a plug top that didnt have a top fitted to it!! I said this plugs tops missing - ah! We know - sorry about that!!

Some years ago I did a lot of work for this client around the corner from me - we sorta fell out and he got his Indian friend to alter some wiring - Tony wasnt happy and called me in - went off to work and left me there - I couldnt open the left hand side of the door covering the CCU - felt inside - I could feel a Henley block there - had to get the bloody door open - managed to open it to find? The Henley blocks cover was left on the floor so no cover to a Henley block that I had been fumbling with in the dark!

Heres a funny one. Many moons ago I had a mate living in Sutton with his girlfriend - they asked me to look at some wiring in the next doors flat - went in and noticed immediately the kitchen work top - these people wanted an extra socket on the work top - and what they had done was to fix a DSO onto a surfaced pattress - they got a length of round .75mm flex, hahahaha, and connected two plug tops, one to each end, hahahaha, and so plugged the one end into another, hahahaha, working DSO and, haha, plugged the other end into the unconnected DSO thereby - making it live! Howsaboutthat!

Tom

-------------------------
Tom .... ( The TERMINATOR ).

handyTRADESMAN ... haha

Castle Builders

Why did Nick Clegg cross the road? Because he said he wouldn't!

I can resist anything..... except temptation! ( Karl Gunn ).
 06 January 2013 04:44 PM
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AdrianWint

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Originally posted by: tomgunn.....and what they had done was to fix a DSO onto a surfaced pattress - they got a length of round .75mm flex, hahahaha, and connected two plug tops, one to each end, hahahaha, and so plugged the one end into another, hahahaha, working DSO and, haha, plugged the other end into the unconnected DSO thereby - making it live! Howsaboutthat!
Tom


I know of one exhibition stand company that did something similar.... had a flighcase full of 4 way socket blocks ..... I thought they where going to make up the leads on site ....then I spotted another flight case full of leads ...13A plug to 13Aplug of various lengths!

Their modus operandi was to plug the first lead into a 13A socket on the wall .... then connect the other end into one socket on the first 4 way, use another lead to link another socket on that fourway to the next stand containing another 4way and onwards .... until they got to the far end where they plugged the last end into another wall socket!!!!!!!

Adrian
 06 January 2013 05:22 PM
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Dave69

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that takes me back to my younger days. some 35 years ago when i used to run discos. I'd just bought a new set of decks with built in mixer etc and a built in sound to light controller and a couple of new light boxes to go with the system as all are other lights were just 3 channel. on the front of the decks were 4 13A sockets, one for each chanel of the controller, the interconnecting lead bewteen the light boxes was fine, mulitcore cable with 8 pin connectors but the leads back from the first light box were pre wired flex's, 4 of them each with a 13A plug top. I thought nothing of it, set the gear up for the first time in a nice big sports hall, had the sound going nice and quick and then moved onto the lights. plugged the first plug into the first socket, second to the second and then as I went to plug the third one i fumbled around and the live pin of the plug touched a fixing screw on the socket, a nice pop and flash and off went every thing. it turned out as the controller only switched the neutral all the lives were just shorted out in the light box thus back feeding each pre wired flex so every live pin on the plug tops was indeed live. I did call the company who supplied them and told me if I had read the intructions I would of noticed it said ALL connections should be made before turning it on
 06 January 2013 05:40 PM
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impvan

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Went to a flat to do some inspection after they had a water leak. It was a cheapo conversion done in an HMO, seaside town. The walls so thin I could hear the music clearly coming through the walls from the flat next door....

As I knocked off the CU main switch the music from next door stopped... funny that.
Power back on after checking the lighting - music back!
Living room radial off for inspection, next door's music off...

In the back of a socket on the living room wall, find the back of the drylining box hacked out and a pair of wires disappearing off into the partition, which i clamped at 16A.

The tenant said it was always warm in the flat next door, and wondered how they could afford to run all those oil-filled radiators.

Whipped out the MK socket with its angled screwheads and fitted an old Legrand one with vertical screws to prevent any attempted reconnection!
 06 January 2013 06:43 PM
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jcm256

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Doing statutory electrical inspection came across a portable generator in an office with a plug top on the end of the generator output cable. They said oh that is for frequent power outrages we just plug it into a socket. Cut off the plug -top with junior hacksaw saying that if I find this generator connected like that again, it will be reported to local authority, (which I had the authority to do so). I could have given an urgent defect notice but sometimes, soft heart takes over. Mind you I did not let sand blown up around a ground mounted HV/LV transformer at the same place go.
There were really some bad installations in that area.
 06 January 2013 06:58 PM
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tomgunn

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I am house hunting at the mo as I have sold mine and need to find another and so I went all the way to Hastings about 3 weeks ago to view a detached house. Outside I was looking around and just laughed when I saw what this owners Polish tenant had done. There was a 5amp JB on the outside wall running down to an ordinary light switch on the same wall, hahaha, I said to him... 'I have never seen that before!' No cover on either - just stuck on the main outside wall! Hahaha!

Tom

-------------------------
Tom .... ( The TERMINATOR ).

handyTRADESMAN ... haha

Castle Builders

Why did Nick Clegg cross the road? Because he said he wouldn't!

I can resist anything..... except temptation! ( Karl Gunn ).
 06 January 2013 07:28 PM
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jcm256

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Gosh Tom what Country are you living in.
Regards
jcm
 06 January 2013 08:08 PM
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AdrianWint

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Originally posted by: Dave69.....mulitcore cable with 8 pin connectors but the leads back from the first light box were pre wired flex's, 4 of them each with a 13A plug top. I thought nothing of it, set the gear up for the first time in a nice big sports hall, had the sound going nice and quick and then moved onto the lights. plugged the first plug into the first socket, second to the second and then as I went to plug the third one i fumbled around and the live pin of the plug touched a fixing screw on the socket, a nice pop and flash and off went every thing......


Done a very similar thing ..... a 15A plug to 8 way bulgin converter used to run a 'disco' bar of Par56's from a theatrical dimmer. Fortunatley this had been spun around so that it was common neutral instead of common live..... but even so it still popped the RCD when neutral pin of the plug dropped & touched the frame of the flightcase..... did it again twice before the penny dropped!

Adrian
 06 January 2013 08:44 PM
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JZN

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Butchers shop up town. Called in to re-fix a loose socket box as they plugged things into it daily in the kitchen and it was ow hanging off the wall. Usual electrician on hols. Also asked if i could take a look at the cold display unit as a few customers had said they got a tingle off it when browsing! Unplugged it immediately. 1.0mm T+E instead of flex into the plug top. Took the plug lid off to find the CPC not conected. "our unual electrician did that as it was tripping the RCD all the while".

OK, not DIY but not exactly "professional" either!

John
 06 January 2013 10:26 PM
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leckie

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Bit like toms earlier post. Seen a flat with a bit of 1.5 flex going into a mcb and neutral block of a consumer unit. The main switch was turned off. The other end of the flex was plugged into a communal socket on the staircase of the flats. Free electricity!
 06 January 2013 10:43 PM
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microy

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Joined: 25 October 2005

A Bargain Booze shop with roller shutters. The shutters were wired in twin 0.5 flex from a 13Amp plug top. The flex, looped over the roller, was chafed and shorting on the metal frame. The owner wondered why his customers were getting shocks whenever they touched the door handle.

Mike
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