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Charley

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Do you ever have a job that appears to be nice and easy but once you start it creates 10 more?

Some of you may remember me saying that the electrics in the workshop are a joke. No CU, just a SWA coming in from the office on a very long and quite dodgy radial circuit.

Luckily we've got a sparky in the family. The plan was - in a few months - to rip everything out, plasterboard and insulate the ceiling, fit a CU, wire up the sockets, new lights, etc. But then now I've got a new table saw on the way (did I mention that? :wink: =P~ ) and ideally it needs it's own circuit, I thought that for the time being we could just install a CU and re-wire the existing sockets and lights so everything is safe and up to part P..

I started to trace the existing wires from the JB. One of the wires from the JB goes to a socket & looked dodgy as the outside light switch looked like it was being powered by a spur from the socket. I opened it up to have a look at the wires and the wire from the switch was connected directly to the terminals in the back of the socket :-s I've never really noticed it before and at the time wasn't sure what the switch, switched. (with me so far? :whistle: ) As I had my mains tester screwdriver in my hand I went to check if the wires were live.... BANG.... a massive spark came out (like a welding spark/arc) :shock: [-o< :-k Luckily no harm to me although shocked to why it happened.

But I afraid my mains tester took a hit:

http://www.smoothingplane.com/pipper/02_small.jpg
click image to enlarge

(homer) hmmmmm Meeellltted

http://www.smoothingplane.com/pipper/01_small.jpg
click image to enlarge

Adam (moderator Adam) said it could of been dodgy wiring, a fault with the outside light or even the mains tester that caused the short.

So really the sooner I get it re-wired, the better [-o<

I went back into the workshop to finish tracing the wires and from the socket that just shorted there's another socket and switch, then two wires go down the wall into the floor & then into the inspection pit. I knew one was for a light and I assumed there must be a socket in there as well. I opened the inspection pit to make sure the where the wire went ....
Well I think I've found out why the socket shorted and melted my tester :idea: ........ DAMP #-o the bottom of the pit is filled with water :eek: :cry: about 10cm deep. The walls are wet through even at the top, the underneath of the wooden lids are soaking and judging by the marks on the wall the water has been about 5ft deep at one stage :shock:

http://www.smoothingplane.com/pipper/03_small.jpg
click image to enlarge

http://www.smoothingplane.com/pipper/04_small.jpg
click image to enlarge

So the good news is I've found out why the socket sparked on me - the bad news is I've got to hire a pump and then work out where the water is coming from... Might explain our high water bills :roll: :lol:

You never know it could be the next Peckham Spring \:D/
 

Shady

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Damn -don't stand in that while holding anything that beeps... :(
 

Gill

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Wear very big rubber wellington boots. Waders might be a good investment. So might a sub-aqua course.

Ever helpful,

Gill :D
 

DaveL

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Charley,

That looks an ideal place to practise your underwater basket weaving. :wink: :shock:

On a more serious note, you may well find that the water is leaking in due to a break in the damp proofing for the pit. That’s one of the reasons that getting planning permission to built one is quite hard. :evil:
 

Chris Knight

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Charley,

I am glad you are still with us! I hate that sort of never ending "paper chase" where one problem simply points to another. :x
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Charley

Glad that you're ok.

The sooner the better on the rewire front seems to be the order of the day.

Cheers
Neil
 

Alf

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Up the proverbial creek
Yikes, Charley, glad you're okay. Hmm, all a bit familiar; the old man went through similar games of hide and seek with the wiring here. Not a fun job. :(

Cheers, Alf
 

Keith Smith

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Charley glad you survived the experience, where would we be without you? :roll:

You'll probably find the inspection pit has no damp proofing, it's very difficult to do, so in the past no one bothered.

In a similar situation I dug a sump and lined it with a small plastic manhole. I fitted a pump with an automatic float switch so that it could be pumped out through a relatively small diameter pipe.

When it rains it's incredible the amount of water it shifts . I have the outlet as a length of 22mm copper pipe which discharges it into the garden pond.

Keith
 

Charley

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Thanks :) I think I was really lucky judging by what the spark did to the screwdriver 8-[

The socket and light in the pit are now disconnected but I'll think I'll send someone else down the pit first :lol:

So if it turns out that the pit hasn't got any damp proofing (wouldn't surprise me) I take it, it isn't an easy thing to fix?

We'll get someone around to look at it, once I've pumped the water out. If it isn't doing any harm, it won't be a major problem if we have to pump the water out every time it fills up again.
 
A

Anonymous

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You're obviously a survivor Charlie... maybe an extra lotto whilst your luck's holding? :p
 

RogerS

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Charley

Glad you survived the experience. I'm still puzzling how your neon screwdriver shorted ...reading your thread seems to suggest that it was due to the water in the pit but in my experience welded screwdriver bits happen when you short out to wires close to each other inside a terminal box or similar DAMHIKT :oops:

Re waterproofing your pit...I would suggest that you look up 'tanking' as your pit is really no different to a cellar and there is a wealth of stuff on the web about this.

Something as simple as Synthaprufe might suffice..it all depends on the pressure (osmotic?) of the water trying to get into your pit.
 

kityuser

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people really scare me sometimes :cry:

when I moved into my new pad the previous "chap" had wired his entire front from off of a spure from a double plug!

he also once had storage heaters (which had been removed), so the main high current supply to the upstairs cupboard was left live with just tape around the bear wires :?

and in the kitchen!!!!! man.........

the cooker spur powered some under cabinet lights, and the cooker was hard wired into the ring main (cooker was rated WELL OVER 13 amps, i.e. not the type you can just plug in).

its all sorted now, but I could`nt sleep until I checked the whole rest of the house, I don`t think the guy understood the concept of a RING main.

still alive (just)

steve
 

johnb

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I don't like screwdriver-type mains testers - too dangerous.

I much prefer my Fluke VoltAlert which doesn't require any metal contact and can also detect live wires in cable runs, etc. You just need to hold it near a live wire and the tip glows red.

Always check any tester on a known live circuit before using it as a tester on an unknown circuit.
 
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