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Topic Title: Uncomfortable predicament.
Topic Summary: To sue or not to sue
Created On: 23 March 2013 03:21 PM
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 23 March 2013 03:21 PM
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esspeegee

Posts: 127
Joined: 06 January 2008

Big house customer. Her electrician is off sick and I'm called to replace two LED drivers damaged by water ingress. Each driver is in its own whiska box along with two SWA terminations and a stuff gland for the flex to the lights.
I decide, as I cant easily or aesthetically get the whiska boxes off the ground, to replace drivers and fill the boxes with gel. Always worked before.
So, I purchased from a well known electrical website two 1 litre packs of gel advertised and described as 'translucent, and re-enterable'. I chose the site because its a good one and the product because the
the price was competitive. (Price mattered because I needed two litres!)

The gel arrived well packaged, with description labels, but no instructions. Not having instructions surprised me, but didn't trouble me because I've used various gels lots of times and besides, the website page I bought it from included a full description and instructions - Mix for two mins, workable for 20 mins.
Did the job, tested and everything fine, but the gel didn't look like it was going to be translucent so I took some home to check the following day and discovered that it set like rock and was completely opaque.
Furious, I called the supplier and they apologized, refunded my £60 odd and confirmed it was their mistake.
At the moment everything is fine - lighting works fine, moisture problem beaten. Customer (big house, loads of potential work) is currently happy but ignorant.
However, because the gel set like rock, if an LED driver were to fail or if an additional leg needed adding or if additional testing were needed, I would have to cut the SWA, replace drivers, replace the boxes, do new SWA joints etc etc. It could cost me more to put right than I invoiced in the first place. A problem may or may not arise, but if it does... Worse, when the usual electrician returns, he will see what I've done and quite rightly be cross. In turn he may encourage the customer to have me back to remedy the situation. Or at least ensure I never work there again.
The shop was unsympathetic when I explained my predicament and asked for a £300 credit note to compensate me. I figured a credit note would have a real cost to them of about half the face value. They did however send a £20 gift voucher.
To sue or not to sue. That is the question.
Thanks for your thoughts
Simon
 23 March 2013 03:38 PM
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kj scott

Posts: 2144
Joined: 02 April 2006

Go back to the client explain the situation, offer to remedy FOC. If you want future business.
Don't waste your time chasing the supplier; it will cost you more in time and effort than you will get back.

-------------------------
http://www.niceic.biz
 23 March 2013 03:41 PM
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daveparry1

Posts: 6202
Joined: 04 July 2007

Don't bother Simon, you've done the job and presumably been paid, it's all working ok and the customers happy, what more could you want ? Move on and worry about it if it does ever come back to you, in which case just tell them that you used the correct stuff bought from a reputable supplier and that's as much as you can be expected to do. Don't go out of your way looking for trouble!

Dave.
 23 March 2013 05:00 PM
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dickllewellyn

Posts: 1150
Joined: 19 March 2010

I agree with Dave whole heatedly. What do you think people did before magic gel came along? The number of underground resin joints I've had to cut out is unbelievable. You just have to factor the cost in to the job. Did you supply the drivers? How long do your terms state that you guarantee items for? I would say that if and when the LED driver fails, the guarantee will have long since expired, and the job would be chargeable whatever you had to do.

As for the other electrician, who is to say he wouldn't have done the same?

Put it down to experience, and if you have to cross the bridge, wait until you get to it!

Top marks for having a conscience which ever way you decide to tackle the problem/non problem.

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Richard (Dick)

"Insert words of wisdom and/or witty pun here"
 23 March 2013 05:08 PM
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mikejumper

Posts: 1714
Joined: 14 December 2006

You could threaten to sue and see if it brings you anything, particularly if you have evidence that you were supplied the wrong stuff, but I wouldn't take it any further than that, it isn't worth the botheration.
 23 March 2013 05:24 PM
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peteTLM

Posts: 3152
Joined: 31 March 2005

Dont worry about the situation until it arises. it might never happen. Or the drivers might not be suitable for the amount of lights added.

Personally imho, id have concentrated on effective sealing to make sure the water didnt get in there as before, rather than fill the thing up with gloop.

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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
 23 March 2013 06:11 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 7459
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Am I the only one who thinks there is no such thing as a waterproof joint/enclosure?

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 23 March 2013 06:32 PM
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daveparry1

Posts: 6202
Joined: 04 July 2007

As an experiment I once put a small Wiska box ( the one without threaded holes) in a bowl of water, weighted down so that it wouldn't float, whithin an hour I took it out to check it and it was half full with water! It was brand new and had never had any of the entry membranes pierced, I know this was a severe test and they're meant to be weather-proof not water-proof but interesting all the same,

Dave.
 23 March 2013 06:43 PM
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stateit

Posts: 2185
Joined: 15 April 2005

What about heat dissipation for the driver?

Or am I off the mark about this?

-------------------------
S George
http://www.sg-electrical.com
 23 March 2013 07:09 PM
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esspeegee

Posts: 127
Joined: 06 January 2008

I also wondered if the hard gel would dissipate the heat less effectively than the jelly gel, but all seems fine for now. The drivers only have two or three 1.5w LEDs on them.
The only way to ensure reasonable protection against water ingress is to set the box on its side and at least 15cm off the ground. Even then you get some moisture in them. In this case the previous installer had them not only on the ground, but the tops were flush with the soil. The joints all looked well done, but as Daves experiment proved, they aint really waterproof. I had no choice but to fill them with gel.
OK, I hear the feed back people. I'll get back in my pram. Seems unfair that its me going to be out of pocket if the customer wants a couple more LEDs added next week but I've paid for training in the past, and looks like I should treat this as paid for training.

Thanks
Simon
 23 March 2013 07:11 PM
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mikejumper

Posts: 1714
Joined: 14 December 2006

Originally posted by: John Peckham
Am I the only one who thinks there is no such thing as a waterproof joint/enclosure?

Well I hope the cross channel ferries have got them.
 23 March 2013 08:25 PM
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DR2366

Posts: 705
Joined: 09 April 2006

Drill a hole in it to let any water that gets in run out!
 23 March 2013 09:53 PM
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impvan

Posts: 766
Joined: 07 September 2005

no such thing as a waterproof joint/enclosure?


I had the dubious pleasure of sorting the wiring for a pub's garden power & lighting today, in the wind and sleet. Sh!te design with patio heaters, pond, lighting & casual sockets all on one 32A mcb, but I digress.....
... All the joints I opened were the luminous orange 'Pratley' ones. And every last one was dry.


I too would be more concerned about potting the drivers in compound.
 23 March 2013 11:38 PM
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Fm

Posts: 668
Joined: 24 August 2011

Get a box from spelsberg.
Use the correct glands, ip washers etc. no problem
 24 March 2013 06:30 AM
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ebee

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Originally posted by: John Peckham

Am I the only one who thinks there is no such thing as a waterproof joint/enclosure?


Absolutely not John

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Regards,
Ebee (M I S P N)

Knotted cables cause Lumpy Lektrik
 24 March 2013 07:41 AM
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dbullard

Posts: 1166
Joined: 02 March 2006

Originally posted by: ebee

Originally posted by: John Peckham



Am I the only one who thinks there is no such thing as a waterproof joint/enclosure?




Absolutely not John


I have varying degrees of success with "IP" joints etc so far the best ones I have come across have to be the Wiska ones made in cornwall, But I don't install any IP box completely level but have them so they have a slight run off.

Re the Gel issue, I wouldn't have installed the drivers in Gel as they can / do get warm and if in Gel how can they dissipate the internaly generated heat ???.

Regards

D

-------------------------
..... Dont pee in my pocket and tell me its raining ......


www.quest-electrical-sw.co.uk
 24 March 2013 08:23 AM
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ebee

Posts: 5698
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When I see components encased in gel etc I always think that this is an attempt to prevent component failure.

Component failure often occurs as a flash, bang & a puff of smoke.

Therefore if you stop smoke escaping then this sequence is halted therefore preventing failure.



-------------------------
Regards,
Ebee (M I S P N)

Knotted cables cause Lumpy Lektrik
 24 March 2013 08:36 AM
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mossep

Posts: 344
Joined: 05 December 2010

A good pratley box would have done the job, no need for gel and easily serviceable at a later date.

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www.mossep.com
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