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Topic Title: Good Morning & A lighting control question
Topic Summary: Introduction
Created On: 07 November 2017 11:37 AM
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 07 November 2017 11:37 AM
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I am an enthusiastic DIYer and software developer.

I have some questions regarding what is considered notifiable work in the area of data networks that interface with power infrastructure, particularly around DALI, philips dynanet and ethernet networks. More particularly, what a proffesional electrician would be happy for their client to do before they get involved.

Edited: 07 November 2017 at 01:11 PM by schlafsack
 07 November 2017 12:21 PM
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The official guidance for what's notifiable in England can be found here: (Wales is still using an earlier version which has a similar but somewhat longer list). However it seems that most of that was written with mains voltage circuits in mind (other than SELV lighting which used to be notifiable in some circumstances - but due to the fire rather than shock hazard).

If in doubt your local building control will be able to offer advise, but I'd be surprised if they were at all interested in the likes of ethernet wiring even if technically it does appear to be a new separate circuit.

- Andy.
 07 November 2017 12:59 PM
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Thanks for the reply, here is a bit more information on what I'd like to do.

I'm a geek that likes playing around with and programming low level control control protocols. I'm well aware that this is overkill for a moderate domestic house but it's what I love and I'm doing it to learn.

I'd like to put in a Philips Dynalite system into my house, starting with a single room only. The system comprises of a DALI controller ballast and an ethernet gateway. These will live in a control gear cabinet in a utility room. I think I'm safe in assuming that the power to the cabinet and the lighting circuit from the ballast to the lights is notifiable and I'll be getting a professional to install that. My question is what of the remaining work can I realistically I do myself and, more importantly what would a professional feel happy working with.

I'm comfortable doing the following:

- ELV wiring inside the cabinet to provide 24v DC current to some of the components.
- Ethernet cabling to the components.
- DALI data network (If I use seperate cabling and not 5 core to the lights)

I'm also happy to do the following but I think these may be considered notifiable

- The Dynalite network (RS485 + 12v over cat5), this includes a chased run of cat 5 to a keypad in the room.
- The 240v wiring inside the cabinet

So, would I be OK to install that in a cabinet and would, in your opinion,a professional be happy to carry out the notifiable work based on what I'd installed?

(all of the networks/circuits are opto-isolated within the components)

Edited: 07 November 2017 at 01:07 PM by schlafsack
 07 November 2017 01:43 PM
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guten Tag !

Are you putting new MCBs into empty ways in the consumer unit, or in some other way putting in a completely new final circuit ? Are you wiring within zone 1 (600mm ) of bath or shower ? Are you changing the CU ? If you are in England, those are the only questions that determine notification or not.

If I can say this without offence, this sounds similar to the the situation of the enthusiastic amateur, either of the Ham Radio kind, or the Audiophile kind, or perhaps the computer enthusiast, where there is lots of wire, but most of it is not really anything to do with BS7671, and in any case it is in a state of permanent flux and never finished, so utterly un-inspectable.

In which case there is a further question that really ought to be there, but is not - which is "when you move out do you intend to pack it all away and take it to the new place ?" Because if you are it needs to be easily reversible.

It is probably possible to do everything you need in a way that involves only minor changes to the mains wiring, and then easily reversed (perhaps leaving spare oval conduit in the walls and a spare jbox or two in the loft with a switched live bypass link.)
I don't think you need to bother as much if you can manage to power your ballast box /rack and so forth from a fused spur on a socket circuit, or even had it plug in like an appliance, it also makes it far safer for you when you do want to make the inevitable change, or indeed to patch power back on to the lights without it if it dies at an unfortunate moment.

As to if a local sparks will happily work along side it, probably some will, others won't, not because of notification issues, rather because it is something new and strange. In that sense the sort of folk that also do theatre lights and sound systems may be a better bet than a more old style traditional electrician.

However, far more important is to make sure that you know what you are doing, and how the house wiring you are either altering or having altered on your behalf, is supposed to work. Make sure you know how to test for earth continuity, and insulation integrity. Maybe invest in some 2nd hand test kit.
Understand the importance of cables of the right rating, cable grouping, proper cable grips and even silly things like why we need clear points of isolation and labelling - it may not be you - I make sure my wife and kids all know how to turn my things off - it may be that working with things that go wrong sharpens the senses, but the more complex it gets the more complex the failure modes that must be thought through.

regards Mike
 07 November 2017 01:59 PM
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. I think I'm safe in assuming that the power to the cabinet and the lighting circuit from the ballast to the lights is notifiable

It depends on the details - e.g. whether you're extending/modifying an existing circuit or creating a new one or whether it's in a special location (bathroom zones, sauna, swimming pool, (and in Wales, kitchen) but in general you should be able to do most of what you mention without having to resort to notification. The list of things needing notification is really quite short.

As to what your electrician will expect/allow - that depends very much on the individual - an 'old school'; individual might have the fear of God put into him by the very mention of things like Ethernet and DALI - others might be more willing to learn. I think most domestic sparks might be a bit outside of their comfort zone with your proposed system, although some of those more used to large (and expensive) commercial systems might be more familiar with it.

- Andy.
 07 November 2017 02:10 PM
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Thanks very much for your reply and don't worry about offence, none taken and if there was it would just make me learn quicker.

I will not touch the CU myself (although I like DIY, I don't touch leccy, gas or water and leave that to the professionals) and will pay for that work to be done.

The room currently does not have a lighting circuit, or rather it does have an old lead sheath cable that's long been disconnected, so I suspect I need a new final circuit from the CU via the cabinet. Nowhere near a bath, shower or kitchen.

I have a tendency to overdo things when it comes to the quality of the implementation as I have the time and take great satisfaction with the result. Think this:

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rather than this:

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Even though our current plans are to remain in the house, as you say I'd like the option to easily remove the cabinet. Not so I can take it with us, but to make the house easier to sell. I don't want to have to explain to a buyer why they have to connect the lights to their router. However, apart from the keypad, it should be as easy as swapping things out for a junction box.

Perhaps that's the way forward. Get the professional to install the new circuit and lights, with the correct cable and protection, but with a junction box at the point where I want to install the control gear.

Time to talk to some local chaps.

Edited: 07 November 2017 at 02:35 PM by schlafsack

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