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Old 13th October 2019, 10:17   #1 (permalink)
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Electricity

Probably not the right place - but I need help!

The light fitting on my landing kept blowing either the bulb or the bulb and the fuse. Oh, sorry this is in the UK.

After taking the lamp holder apart, I discovered that the pins the light bulb makes contact with were all wobbly. So I decided to replace the lamp holder.

Ever wish you had never started? Anyway, the cord from the ceiling rose passes through a tube with a grub screw on the side. The cord then passes through the top part of the light fitting (metal) and ends up in the lamp holder. No way could I unscrew the top of the holder from the bit that has the connections to the pins. I tried WD40, rubber gripper thingys and two pairs of Stilsons. In the end, mainly due to the awkward situation of the light, I unscrewed the ceiling rose, disconnected all the wires (after drawing a picture) and took down the whole assembly. Should be easy now? No.

Even with it right in front of me, I couldn't get it apart. I decided that the only way (as I was replacing it anyway) was to break it off. I took it into the garage and put it in a vice. A few tightening turns and the plastic cracked.

Now the dilemma. The wires coming from the rose to the fitting has three wires - i.e. it is earthed. Although not in the actual holder itself. It had a separate threaded brass tube on the end of which is a nut with the earth terminal. This was all contained within the bit I had to crack off. In the rose, no problem. However, the lamp holder I have purchased does not have an earth connector, and the top part of the holder will not fit over the brass tube and nut. So - what do I do with the earth wire?

I sort of think that this fitting was earthed because the actual light fitting is metal, although no part of the metal thing itself is in contact with the wiring. Other than the grub screw in the tube, and this had not pierced the outer casing of the cord.

Can I use the lamp holder I have purchased, or must I search out a holder with an earth terminal?

This whole thing in the rose contains more wires than usual as it is two-way switched, that is on from downstairs and off when you get upstairs.

Would this work if I left the earth wire coming out of the top of the new plastic holder, connected to the earth terminal on the side of the nut, which would be above the top of the plastic holder? Leaving the other two wires to connect to the pins in the fitting. This sounds so complicated. I can see this dratted thing, you cannot. This idea is very Heath Robinson, but will not be seen because of the shape of the whole fitting. When the light bulb is connected to the end, the whole lot drops down into the open top of a glass shade fixed into the bottom of the fitting. So long as the earth wire is connected, and it would be to the original earth terminal although not now contained within the plastic top, whilst not aesthetically beautiful, would it matter? Now that sounds even more complicated!

Obviously, I am trying to make the best of a bad job here. I know I could call an electrician who, I am sure would recommend a whole new light fitting. I don't want to do this, as the fitting in the hall downstairs matches. Also, what seems like a simple job would therefore get quite expensive.

I know - what price do you put on electrical safety? But there must be an answer to this.

Any Sparks who could advise please?

Maisie
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Old 13th October 2019, 10:35   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Electricity

I am still NICEIC registered and you say -

I know - what price do you put on electrical safety? But there must be an answer to this.

Any Sparks who could advise please?

My advice is get an electrician to sort it for you, simply because of the fact you need to ask the question Maisie, Electricity kills and if not done correctly can cause fires.

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Old 13th October 2019, 11:17   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Electricity

Well - I think I might have sorted this.

I decided to try putting the earth connection inside the plastic holder with the other connections. Previously, I didn't even try this and assumed there was no room in the plastic top to accommodate this. Therefore they are altogether. My "logic" is that it is now the same as it would have been if the new holder had had a provision for the earth wire. The difference is that although it is separate, it is still within the same area with the other two wires. Each of the two other wires are separately sleeved with protective plastic. The top of the holder - after a bit of BF and BI, screwed on. The grub screw above the fitting also screwed back into place.

Will it work? Don't know. I shall replace the fuse in the box and give it a try.

Yay!! We are back in business. I even washed the glass shade!

I can now disconnect the hugely powerful inspection lamp which has been cooking me throughout!

Okay - I have done it all wrong. Don't mess with electricity. However, I have always dealt with electrics, running new power lines to new socket outlets, adding to the ring main, adding spurs, and even electrifying our loft at two ends! Many years ago a plumber we had here replumbing to get rid of the existing lead piping, told me that plumbing and electricity are very similar. Make sure you have isolated what you are dealing with and double check at each stage. We still have a very old fuse box with removeable fuses that have to be rewired. This was installed when we had the house rewired just after moving in, in 1978. Still works - not broken. Do not fix it!

I can hear Sparks everywhere groaning.

Maisie
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Old 13th October 2019, 11:30   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Electricity

Quote:
Don't mess with electricity. However, I have always dealt with electrics
Although Yalimart is correct in principle I also do much of my own electrics, being over cautious I always do any work through a couple of DIY forums I use for confirmation that what I intend doing is correct, usually have photographs of the job in hand and listen to their advice.

I think where what one is doing is to replace something then usually that is straightforward, as for rewiring or anything to do with the main fusebox I leave that to the experts.
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Old 13th October 2019, 11:33   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Electricity

Yes. Mark was surprised that we still have the replaceable fusebox. Being a great believer in not fixing anything that is not broken, I prefer to leave well alone!

Where possible, I too look into advice from "outside". But in this case, whilst Google did turn up some answers, they were not specifically what I was looking for. Also, they were very old. A bit like me now!

Maisie
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Old 13th October 2019, 12:57   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Electricity

If you didnt connect the earth cable to the existing metal fitting and simply parked it inside the plastic part then yes you have done it wrong, I would doubt the fitting is double insulated, in essence if there is no earth to the metal fitting then that fitting could now be live, there may well be another earth connection to the metal at the ceiling rose end, probably tricky but try not to hold the radiator whilst at the same time touching the light fitting, instant death can occur.

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Old 13th October 2019, 17:19   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Electricity

I left the threaded tube with the nut on the end, on the cable, where it was before. The nut has the earth connection. I attached the earth to this connection - again where it was before. The top piece of the holder which I had to crack to get it off was recessed to accept this nut. There is an earth at the ceiling end. This goes into the connector where there are already two earths from within the wiring. Like I said, it is a two-way switched light, so there are more wires in the rose than you would normally expect.

Mind you, at least they were colour coded. Our chandeliers in Turkey had two grey wires in them and the ceiling wires were also both grey.

Maisie
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