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'[EE:] Mains outside'
2007\01\22@034837 by

Hi Joe,

What about stepping down to 24VAC or 48v if you have such transformers
and stepping up to 230V outside.
Isn't there a voltage below which you can do what you like, maybe 48VDC.
Yours is a low current requirement IIRC.

Brian Harris

subject=Re:[EE:] Mains outside
source= http://www.piclist.com/piclist/2007/01/19/074006a.txt?

---

http://www.piclist.com/member/222.153.240.69
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com

> What about stepping down to 24VAC or 48v if you have such
> transformers
> and stepping up to 230V outside.
> Isn't there a voltage below which you can do what you like, maybe
> 48VDC.
> Yours is a low current requirement IIRC.

It's called "ELV" = Extra Low Voltage.
AFAIR often 50 VDC and 32 VAC but giggoloing for ELV should tell you.

I was thinking only yesterday of just the opposite :-) - using an HV
distribution system to reduce conductor sizes for power distribution
around residential sections. I suspect the regulatory requirements
would kill that idea. Shame though: power loss decreases approximately
proportionately to the step up ratio of the system, which is why EHT
transmission lines exist. Driving a 12v 100 Watt halogen at the far
end of your garden with a drop of say 2 volts max and a 50 metre run
requires about 0.25 ohm loop resistance. Dunno off the cuff what that
is in wire gauge but its not nice. (8 ohms mile = 200lb per mile in ye
olde telecom parlance). Or Area mm^2 = Length/60/resistance =
50/60/.125 = 6.5 mm^2. (0.125r as half loop)
That's "rather thick". Take that up to 230V feed and it's about
0.3mm^2. Take it to 1000V and it's about 0.08 mm^2.
Take .. bzzzzzt!!! ...

Russell

> What about stepping down to 24VAC or 48v if you have such
> transformers and stepping up to 230V outside

Yes, that would be an option to consider for safe transport of the
energy at least

On 1/22/07, Jinx <joecolquittclear.net.nz> wrote:
>
> > What about stepping down to 24VAC or 48v if you have such
> > transformers and stepping up to 230V outside
>
> Yes, that would be an option to consider for safe transport of the
> energy at least

Just isolating with an 1:1 transformer  will not be the same ?
Jinx wrote:

>> What about stepping down to 24VAC or 48v if you have such
>> transformers and stepping up to 230V outside
>
> Yes, that would be an option to consider for safe transport of the
> energy at least

I don't really see what's so much more dangerous outside than in the
bathroom. Other than for the cable, other isolators, outlets getting
and can be handled (conduits etc). Usually I'd say it's a less dangerous
environment than the bathroom.

Gerhard

Brian Harris wrote:
> Hi Joe,
>
> What about stepping down to 24VAC or 48v if you have such transformers
> and stepping up to 230V outside.
> Isn't there a voltage below which you can do what you like, maybe 48VDC.
> Yours is a low current requirement IIRC.
>
> Brian Harris
>
>
> subject=Re:[EE:] Mains outside
> source= http://www.piclist.com/piclist/2007/01/19/074006a.txt?
>
> ---
>
> http://www.piclist.com/member/222.153.240.69
> PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com
>
>
if you happen to have loads of copper handy perhaps old microwave
transformers? they run at ~3 volts as i recall, you could lick that and
not worry too much ;->

Not that i am saying you should do that mind. Only a terminally stupid
person would do such a thing. (tell me when the lawyers are looking away
so i can laugh again)

{Quote hidden}

In the UK at least, the only power outlets allowed in bathrooms are shaver sockets which have a small isolation transformer built into them.

Outside you are much more likely to be well grounded by standing on e.g. grass or soil, contact with non-isolated 240v in this case is more likely to cause terminal health problems.

Regards

Mike

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> > Yes, that would be an option to consider for safe transport of the
> > energy at least
>
> I don't really see what's so much more dangerous outside than
> in the bathroom. Other than for the cable, other isolators,
> outlets getting exposed to the weather and deteriorate, which
> Usually I'd say it's a less dangerous environment than the bathroom.
>
> Gerhard

You're not British, I assume.  :)

Tony

I have not followed this thread so please excuse me if I say something dumb.
But, if you step the voltage down to 48 volts you will step up the current
because VA in equals VA out. Hi current can sometimes be more of a hazard
than high voltage. (High current short means lots of HEAT!)  If you expect
to recover the VA of the main CB then you will need a big transformer.  Just
my curious intervention.  It has probably been mentioned already.

{Original Message removed}
If properly installed (and there is plenty of guidance in the form of
building codes) , the high voltage should not be an issue. If there
isn't a local code that applies, use most any current one you can put
your eyes on.Here in the USA, outdoor and outlets withing arm's reach of
a water faucet (kitchen, bathroom, and laundry, etc.) must be GFCI
(Ground fault circuit interupter) that monitors the outgoing and
incoming current, if there is an imbalance, the circuit is opened
quickly. They come both in the panel box breaker, wall box outlet, and
extension cord varieties for contractors (Required by OSHA (national
worked safety laws). These are better today, but I have one 120 volt 20
amp in 200' of underground plastic conduit, when lightning strikes
within a mile or so, the breaker opens.

As pointed out, lower voltage, more amperage >> bigger copper wire, more
expensive, harder to work with, etc.
KISS >> no transformers, if appropriate add a GFCI breaker.

Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>
>> {Original Message removed}
I think that wiring 'outside' is extremely dangerous. Even with low voltage it
is easy to build up lethal voltages between buildings (voltages which are
unrelated to the wiring proper). It is also very hard to protect against shorts
and fire and against induced external voltages (what happens when lightning
strikes nearby or if a power line falls on some part of your installation).

I think that this is a very large and complex issue.

If I'd have to do this I'd probably research the biggest 'safe' garden lighting
transformer available and see what can be connected to the 'far' end to step the
voltage back up if absolutely necessary (perhaps the next smaller size of garden
lighting transformer). I think that obtaining some 500 W over 50 - 100 meters
can be done using approved parts. The wire will be thick and expensive but since
it is buried a widely overrated aluminium conductor cable purchased surplus from
a power installation company could be used. That could be 3-phase (4-core)
extruded solid aluminium cable with 450mm^2 total conductor area (this is used
to wire buildings sometimes - this is what a backhoe would typically pull out
when the computers die).

I'd also use an isolation transformer at the far end and local grounding even
for low voltage if it is ever to be touched by humans (e.g. plugs or other
things that can be manipulated).

Peter

On Mon, 2007-01-22 at 12:34 +0000, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
> >I don't really see what's so much more dangerous outside than
> >in the bathroom. Other than for the cable, other isolators,
> >outlets getting exposed to the weather and deteriorate, which
> >Usually I'd say it's a less dangerous environment than the bathroom.
>
> In the UK at least, the only power outlets allowed in bathrooms are shaver sockets which have a small isolation transformer built into them.

Interesting, where would you plug in a hair dryer?

TTYL

You plug an extension cord near to your bathroom and put the socket down to
the floor just right into the middle of the water that spilled off from the
bath 2 minutes ago :-)

But seriously, they are afraid of somebody drying their hair while having a
bath or what is the reason for that?

Tamas

On 1/22/07, Herbert Graf <mailinglist3farcite.net> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -
Herbert,

On Mon, 22 Jan 2007 11:24:37 -0500, Herbert Graf wrote:

{Quote hidden}

In the bedroom!  My girlfriend (who is from New York) finds it annoying that she can't dry her hair in the bathroom, but it's the way we do it here.
When you think of it, having a heating element that is effectively exposed, with a live connection at one end, in a room that has one or more
open-topped containers of water, perhaps with a person in them, really is an accident waiting to happen!  :-)

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

{Quote hidden}

In the bedroom usualy.  There is a power socket next to my wifes "dressing table".

Migrating from the topic slightly I find hair dryers a bit worrying.  My wife has long hair and I often see her pulling the hairdryer away after it's sucked some hair over the inlet.  It has a fairly fine gauze, but the thought of damp hair hitting something at mains potential inside is not pleasant.  I suppose if it happened regularly we would know about it.

Regards

Mike

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: piclist-bouncesmit.edu [piclist-bouncesmit.edu]
>On Behalf Of Tamas Rudnai
>Sent: 22 January 2007 16:59
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [EE:] Mains outside
>
>
>You plug an extension cord near to your bathroom and put the
>socket down to the floor just right into the middle of the
>water that spilled off from the bath 2 minutes ago :-)
>
>But seriously, they are afraid of somebody drying their hair
>while having a bath or what is the reason for that?

The reason is that you tend to get very wet having a wash/bath/shower, and stupid people operating switches or plugging in appliances with dripping wet hands are at high risk of getting a potentialy fatal shock.

I belive the wiring code in the UK also prohibits the standard non-sealed wall mounted light switches in bathrooms. We generaly have either a ceiling mounted switch with a cord to pull, or a normal wall mounted type which is located outside the bathroom.

Regards

Mike

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> I belive the wiring code in the UK also prohibits the standard non-sealed
> wall mounted light switches in bathrooms. We generaly have either a ceiling
> mounted switch with a cord to pull, or a normal wall mounted type which is
> located outside the bathroom.

:)

Here, I have a standard 110 outlet, three wire without GFI or other
protection, about 5' away from the tub, at the standard low level, and
another really cheesy two wire outlet made into the light fixture over the
sink.  The light switches are next to the door, and no different from any
other light switches in the house.

I've noticed some countries like SA have really interesting plug designs,
apparently with the thought of people who aren't inculturated to
electricity.
Herbert Graf wrote:

>>In the UK at least, the only power outlets allowed in bathrooms are shaver sockets which have a small isolation transformer built into them.
> Interesting, where would you plug in a hair dryer?

I usually plug it into wall sockets... in the bedroom, and usually
you'll have no mirror nearby... !

--
Ciao, Dario
On Mon, 2007-01-22 at 17:13 +0000, Howard Winter wrote:
> >
> > Interesting, where would you plug in a hair dryer?
>
> In the bedroom!  My girlfriend (who is from New York) finds it annoying that she can't dry her hair in the bathroom, but it's the way we do it here.

Wow, that sucks, especially the noise factor affecting other people. At
least in the bathroom you can close the door.

> When you think of it, having a heating element that is effectively exposed, with a live connection at one end, in a room that has one or more
> open-topped containers of water, perhaps with a person in them, really is an accident waiting to happen!  :-)

But, that's what GFCIs are for. They are VERY effective and pretty much
eliminate this issue.

I have a feeling that this "no real outlet in the bathroom" thing
doesn't really save many people because it just results in people
running extension cords, or putting "illegal" (and probably improperly
installed) outlets in the bathroom.

And what about other places with water? No more outlets in the kitchen
because of the water? What about outdoor outlets?

It certainly isn't code in all of Europe, in Austria an outlet in the
bathroom is normal fair. Of the ones I've seen, they don't have a GFCI
per circuit, but they do have a "whole house" GFCI that covers every
outlet inside and outside the house.

TTYL

Herbert Graf wrote:
> I have a feeling that this "no real outlet in the bathroom" thing
> doesn't really save many people because it just results in people
> running extension cords, or putting "illegal" (and probably improperly
> installed) outlets in the bathroom.

True. And you sure know that, to get rid of those nasty UK/Ireland
sockets :-) you just have to put a small piece of metal or plastic into
the vertical slit, having it open the other 2 plugs, and then drop in
the standard European Plug...

> And what about other places with water? No more outlets in the kitchen
> because of the water? What about outdoor outlets?

LOL, in fact

> It certainly isn't code in all of Europe, in Austria an outlet in the
> bathroom is normal fair. Of the ones I've seen, they don't have a GFCI
> per circuit, but they do have a "whole house" GFCI that covers every
> outlet inside and outside the house.

In Italy, recently (<15 years) there's the use to split Mains into 2-3
or more zones, each one with a Breaker. Say: bedroom, bathroom and
kitchen, else, and so on.

--
Ciao, Dario
--
On Mon, 2007-01-22 at 20:20 +0100, Dario Greggio wrote:
> > It certainly isn't code in all of Europe, in Austria an outlet in the
> > bathroom is normal fair. Of the ones I've seen, they don't have a GFCI
> > per circuit, but they do have a "whole house" GFCI that covers every
> > outlet inside and outside the house.
>
> In Italy, recently (<15 years) there's the use to split Mains into 2-3
> or more zones, each one with a Breaker. Say: bedroom, bathroom and
> kitchen, else, and so on.

Really? Funny how some parts of the world do things in the exact
opposite way!

In Austria, at least 30 years ago, the "whole house" GFCI was standard.

In north america there was nothing. Then North America started mandating
GFCIs in certain locations (the american's mandate it now in the
kitchen, outside outlets and bathrooms (perhaps more), Canadians follow
except for the kitchens). Now north american's are adding AFCI's to
bedroom circuits.

In the mean time, you guys are going from the whole house thing to
seperate GFCIs? :) And poor people in the UK have no real outlet in the
bathrooms! Crazy, crazy world. :)

This reminds me of that thread we had a while ago discussing how some
people would interpret a red button, while others would interpret it the
complete opposite way.

TTYL

> True. And you sure know that, to get rid of those nasty UK/Ireland
> sockets :-) you just have to put a small piece of metal or plastic into
> the vertical slit, having it open the other 2 plugs, and then drop in
> the standard European Plug...
I would strongly reccomend against this, we brits use relatively high current socket cuircuits as the norm. This is especially important in older buildings which may well have the socket cuircuits protected by a rewirable fuse (which is particularlly slow to blow) and no RCD protection.

peter green wrote:

>> True. And you sure know that, to get rid of those nasty UK/Ireland
>>  sockets :-) you just have to put a small piece of metal or plastic
>> into the vertical slit, having it open the other 2 plugs, and then
>> drop in the standard European Plug...
>
> I would strongly reccomend against this, we brits use relatively high
> current socket cuircuits as the norm. This is especially important in
> older buildings which may well have the socket cuircuits protected by
> a rewirable fuse (which is particularlly slow to blow) and no RCD
> protection

Of course I know! :-)
Just an emergency measure/trick when you get into the hotel at late
night, and don't have an adapter with you.

--
Ciao, Dario
Herbert Graf wrote:

> [...]  some
> people would interpret a red button, while others would interpret it the
> complete opposite way.

Oh, we Italians do many thing "the opposite way" unfortunately :-(
but... somehow we struggle to stay alive!

--
Ciao, Dario

> Just isolating with an 1:1 transformer  will not be the same ?

I have an isolating transformer that could be thrown into the mix

Would not an isolating transformer still be a risk? Thinking the learned
ages ago, when working on electric, keep one hand behind you so the
current won't go from one hand to the other via arms and the heart. The
isolation transformer will eliminate the ground problem, but the issue
of wire to wire with 120 volts or so still exists.
:)

Jinx wrote:
>
>
>> Just isolating with an 1:1 transformer  will not be the same ?
>>
>
> I have an isolating transformer that could be thrown into the mix
>
>
On 1/23/07, Carl Denk <cdenkalltel.net> wrote:
>
> Would not an isolating transformer still be a risk? Thinking the learned
> ages ago, when working on electric, keep one hand behind you so the
> current won't go from one hand to the other via arms and the heart. The
> isolation transformer will eliminate the ground problem, but the issue
> of wire to wire with 120 volts or so still exists.
> :)

Or 230 volts, depending where you are. In the long term, a ground fault
could develop and then you aren't isolated anymore, but you don't know
about it until someone gets zapped.
Herbert,

On Mon, 22 Jan 2007 13:59:29 -0500, Herbert Graf wrote:

> On Mon, 2007-01-22 at 17:13 +0000, Howard Winter wrote:
> > >
> > > Interesting, where would you plug in a hair dryer?
> >
> > In the bedroom!  My girlfriend (who is from New York) finds it annoying that she can't dry her hair in the bathroom, but it's the way we do it here.
>
> Wow, that sucks, especially the noise factor affecting other people. At
> least in the bathroom you can close the door.

Well our bedrooms have doors too!  :-)

> > When you think of it, having a heating element that is effectively exposed, with a live connection at one end, in a room that has one or more
> > open-topped containers of water, perhaps with a person in them, really is an accident waiting to happen!  :-)
>
> But, that's what GFCIs are for. They are VERY effective and pretty much
> eliminate this issue.

But it's an active device, which can fail - I have one which completely fails to trip when tested with its own test button, or with an external tester.
And how often do people use the test button?  And would they stop using the socket if it failed to trip?  Human nature rather tends not to accept an
inconvenience in a situation like this.

> I have a feeling that this "no real outlet in the bathroom" thing
> doesn't really save many people because it just results in people
> running extension cords, or putting "illegal" (and probably improperly
> installed) outlets in the bathroom.

Well no, they don't do this, they just use the bedroom, where there is often a mirror over a dressing-table, it's warm and dry.  What's so special about
drying your hair in the bathroom?  There's nowhere to sit, it's damp, any you're stopping anyone else from using the room.  What's wrong with using
the bedroom?

> And what about other places with water? No more outlets in the kitchen
> because of the water? What about outdoor outlets?

People don't often climb into the sink in a kitchen, and aren't standing there dripping wet...  but there are special rules about doing work on the
electrics in kitchens these days (brought about when someone was killed by touching a metal rack which had been mounted with a screw going
through a buried cable, at the same time as touching a dishwasher).  And outside sockets have a number of safeguards specified, although these are
reasonably recent, so a lot of them don't have these safeguards in place - a former colleague of mine was killed while working on a pond, when he
accidentally cut through a fountain-pump cable.

> It certainly isn't code in all of Europe, in Austria an outlet in the
> bathroom is normal fair. Of the ones I've seen, they don't have a GFCI
> per circuit, but they do have a "whole house" GFCI that covers every
> outlet inside and outside the house.

Oh, each country has its own rules (Scotland is different from England and Wales, for a start!).  Our rules aren't hard-and-fast - they tend to be of
the "best practice" variety.  The "Wiring Regulations" say what is considered to be the right way to do things, so by complying with them you are on
the safe side of things, but if you can show that what you have done is equally safe, you have complied with the law.  There isn't actually a ban on
using ordinary light switches in bathrooms, but electricians don't do it because if there was a problem and they don't want to be responsible for killing
someone, and then find every other electrician saying they wouldn't have done it that way!

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

In USA industrial plants the 3 phase busses have incadescent lamps tied
to the phases, a lit lamp indicates a ground fault. Sounds like the
isolation transformer might be more dangerous than without, in that
there is a unknown.

John La Rooy wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>> Interesting, where would you plug in a hair dryer?
>
>In the bedroom!  My girlfriend (who is from New York) finds
>it annoying that she can't dry her hair in the bathroom,
>but it's the way we do it here.

Well, you can have one in the bathroom, but it has to be permanently wired.

The one that amuses me is that Britain still uses pull cord light switches
in bathrooms. I assume that the reason is some safety inspector decided many
years ago that a wall mounted light switch was likely to get water into it
and electrocute someone if it wasn't IP rated. But NZ has had all mounted
light switches in bathrooms more years than I can remember, and they are
just the standard light switch. If anyone thinks an NZ bathroom doesn't
become a steamy wet room, they should try living in the sub tropical climate
of the northern provinces, and you'll get just as much condensation on the
walls as any British bathroom.

At the end of it, I think it is just a con by the switch manufacturers - I
think I have replaced my bathroom light switch on average every 3 years, as
the cord breaks.

>> In the bedroom!  My girlfriend (who is from New York) finds
>>it annoying that she can't dry her hair in the bathroom,
>>but it's the way we do it here.
>
>Wow, that sucks, especially the noise factor affecting other
>people. At least in the bathroom you can close the door.

Most of the rest of us would hope the bedroom door closes as well ...

>> And what about other places with water? No more outlets in the
>>kitchen because of the water? What about outdoor outlets?
>
>LOL, in fact

Exactly - our house has an outlet about 6" (150mm) from the kitchen sink.
The outlet block also has the main isolating switch for the electric oven.
Quite frankly there is more danger of water getting into this outlet than
getting into a light switch in the bathroom.

>In Italy, recently (<15 years) there's the use to split Mains
>into 2-3 or more zones, each one with a Breaker. Say: bedroom,
>bathroom and kitchen, else, and so on.

<VBG> I just cannot get used to the ring main system in the UK. having grown
up with star wiring in NZ, where the standard practice was to have adjacent
rooms on different lighting circuits, so if the fuse blew you at least had
some spill over light from an adjacent room to find your way to a torch.
Instead in the UK the whole house blacks out ....

> At the end of it, I think it is just a con by the switch manufacturers
> - I think I have replaced my bathroom light switch on average every
> 3 years, as the cord breaks

Deviating slightly, but still in the bathroom ; I recently had to replace
a broken shower nozzle. Only one part had broken, and I was able
to find a new replacement from the plumbers merchant. Same model
exactly. But the new one was 2mm too big to go in the hole of the
old fitting on the wall and the thread was slightly longer. \$26 it was,
bad enough for a bit of plastic, and if I wasn't so handy to make it fit,
it would have cost another \$180 to replace the wall fitting, which was
perfectly OK. I should be grateful probably saved \$150+ for the
plumber too, if I hadn't done it myself would have been looking at a
\$400 bill

Tony Smith wrote:

>> I don't really see what's so much more dangerous outside than
>> in the bathroom.
>
> You're not British, I assume.  :)

No, I'm not...  Did they export "that" to NZ? :)

Gerhard

> Quite frankly there is more danger of water getting into this
> outlet than getting into a light switch in the bathroom.
>
> >In Italy, recently (<15 years) there's the use to split
> Mains into 2-3
> >or more zones, each one with a Breaker. Say: bedroom, bathroom and
> >kitchen, else, and so on.
>
> <VBG> I just cannot get used to the ring main system in the
> UK. having grown up with star wiring in NZ, where the
> standard practice was to have adjacent rooms on different
> lighting circuits, so if the fuse blew you at least had some
> spill over light from an adjacent room to find your way to a torch.
> Instead in the UK the whole house blacks out ....

Australia has all lights (& the occasional fan) run off a single circuit.
Easy to spot, it's the 8 amp one.  One out, all out, comrades.  The rest of
the house gets split into a few zones.  Sheds and such usually get a
'common' circuit for both lights & power.

Except where I'm living, of course.  For some reason, the lounge room light
is on the same circuit as the kitchen oven.  Interesting logic.  As a bonus,
the wiring for the lights is so old it's that 'pipe with wire and a bit of
insulation jammed down it' stuff, whatever it's called.  I've seen it
before, but never a 'live' one.  I guess this house skipped the 'rubber
stuff that disintegrates after a while' phase.

I recall being puzzled once by some light switches that had a light fitting
in it.  You could put a bulb in it and it would light up, along with the one
of the roof.  I put a dead ones in them to save me from sticking my fingers
into it when fumbling for the switch whilst half asleep.  I later found out
you were supposed to put a small 15w globe (like in a fridge) but painted
red in there.  This was your power on/off indicator.  I suppose these days
you'd paint it green.  I guess that was before neon indicators were
invented.

The bathroom has a powerpoint, conveniently located behind the toilet.  I'm
unsure of the logic behind this choice either, other than to encourage the
gentlemen of the house to aim a bit more carefully.

Tony

> >> I don't really see what's so much more dangerous outside
> than in the
> >> bathroom.
> >
> > You're not British, I assume.  :)
>
> No, I'm not...  Did they export "that" to NZ? :)
>
> Gerhard

I'm in Australia, but NZ rules are similar.  We can have as many powerpoints
as we like in the bathroom, and real light switches too.

The only limits are things like powerpoints need to be a certain distance
from the water or located where you can't spray water on it (like with a
hand-held nozzle).  Exhaust fans can't be directly above the shower and so
on.

So putting a socket in the shower tends to be frowned upon, but I have seen
a photo of it being done!

Tony

>-----Original Message-----
>From: piclist-bouncesmit.edu [piclist-bouncesmit.edu]
>On Behalf Of Tony Smith
>Sent: 23 January 2007 12:29
>To: 'Microcontroller discussion list - Public.'
>Subject: RE: [EE:] Mains outside
>
>
>Except where I'm living, of course.  For some reason, the
>lounge room light
>is on the same circuit as the kitchen oven.  Interesting
>logic.

Sounds like my house.  The fuesbox is so full of wires that the previous owner seems to have simply chosen the fuse with the least wires in it when adding circuits! So my basement sockets are on the same fuse as my upstairs ring main, but basement lights are wired into the ground floor lighting fuse.  At least the lights weren't wired into the cooker fuse I suppose...

>As a bonus,
>the wiring for the lights is so old it's that 'pipe with wire
>and a bit of
>insulation jammed down it' stuff, whatever it's called.  I've seen it
>before, but never a 'live' one.

That sounds like MIMS cable, mineral insulated metal sheathed.  Very expensive stuff which is used where a cable must be fire resistant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral-insulated_copper-clad_cable  Always amazes me that the conductors don't touch either each other or the sheath when you bend it, dosen't seem to have a lot of clearance and it's only crumbly white stuff holding it in place.

Regards

Mike

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>
> Sounds like my house.  The fuesbox is so full of wires that the previous
> owner seems to have simply chosen the fuse with the least wires in it when
> adding circuits! So my basement sockets are on the same fuse as my upstairs
> ring main, but basement lights are wired into the ground floor lighting
> fuse.  At least the lights weren't wired into the cooker fuse I suppose...

Do you have problems with light bulbs having short lives?

I finally understood the cause of that..
When you have a 220 feed to the house (here in the US)  It's a center-tapped
transformer.
So if the load isn't balanced more or less, then you end up having higher
voltage on one side than the other, and the side with the lighter load blows
bulbs faster.

What we have here, is I think six houses from one transformer, so it's not

{Quote hidden}

We don't use that system in the UK.  AFAIK a 415v 3 Phase supply (~240v to neutral) is distributed to residential areas, and the phases are shared between houses to balance the load.  Industrial buildings get all three phases of course.

Lamps in my house fail quickly because I seem to spend a lot of time going around the house turning them off, whilst my wife appears to have the opposite goal...

Regards

Mike

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{Quote hidden}

that stuff.  Instead of being supplied in one piece, you assembled it
on-site.  So you laid down the copper pipe, put the wire into the
insulation, and slid it in.  My father once pointed out you could save time
& money by leaving out bits of the insulation here & there, after all, the
inspectors could only inspect the ends...

You normally see it buried under newer stuff, sometimes 2 or 3 generations
(cloth coats, rubber coated, PVC etc).  Common in houses built around WW1,
not sure when it was superceded.  A bit like data centres, you can tell
their age by what type of wire is on the bottom.

Maybe Jinx has got some in his roof, he can bury that in his garden.  Or
sell the copper (6 months too late).

Tony

>Lamps in my house fail quickly because I seem to spend a lot
>of time going around the house turning them off, whilst my
>wife appears to have the opposite goal...

My wife selectively has that problem as well, while simultaneously berating
me for using electricity by leaving lights on ...

Good reason to go with high efficiency bulbs, they last longer ...

On Tue, 2007-01-23 at 23:29 +1100, Tony Smith wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I don't know about it being code, but in the 18year old house I have,
for all the rooms (AFAIK) the lighting circuit is separate from the
"outlet" circuit (for that room, the outlet circuit in one room may be
the same as the "lighting" circuit in an adjacent room). This is really
nice since if one breaker blows you still have a way to get light in
that room to figure out what's going on.

The only exception to this is the garage, it's on one circuit, and
GFCI'd to boot, so if anything causes the breaker or GFCI to trip, the
whole garage is plunged into darkness, and that GDO obviously doesn't
work anymore... :( TTYL

On Tue, 2007-01-23 at 09:31 +0000, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >> In the bedroom!  My girlfriend (who is from New York) finds
> >>it annoying that she can't dry her hair in the bathroom,
> >>but it's the way we do it here.
> >
> >Wow, that sucks, especially the noise factor affecting other
> >people. At least in the bathroom you can close the door.
>
> Most of the rest of us would hope the bedroom door closes as well ...

Yes, but if one person is already doing something in the bedroom (i.e.
someone called on the phone)...

I'm nitpicking, my point is I don't personally agree that removing a
"real" outlet from the bathroom REALLY improves safety (especially in
lieu of using a GFCI).

The lack of a "real" outlet is an inconvenience, and any time you
inconvenience people for what appears to be no good reason they WILL do
things to get around the inconvenience, usually in very dangerous ways.

It's like at the gas stations in my area, at one point they all removed
the little "latch" that allowed you to turn on the pump and walk away
(to clear windows). Someone thought that latch was unsafe (and in the
way they were right), so they all removed it.

People all of a sudden had to stand there holding the nozzle. What did
people do? They started using OTHER items to hold the pump level. Some
of the things people used where heavy and off centre, sometimes causing
the nozzles to fall out (if people didn't insert it enough), so you had
situations where gas started spraying everywhere. Certainly, MUCH safer
then if they had just left the latches...

My point is, when you want to make something "safer", you can't just
look at how to make it safer. You must also consider how people will
react, what stupid things they will do to "get around" your efforts to
make something safer. Often people will find the most clever and at the
same time dangerous way to bypass your attempt to make something safer,
resulting in a LESS safe environment then if you hadn't made any
changes.

TTYL

Alan,

On Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:25:25 -0000, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> >> Interesting, where would you plug in a hair dryer?
> >
> >In the bedroom!  My girlfriend (who is from New York) finds
> >it annoying that she can't dry her hair in the bathroom,
> >but it's the way we do it here.
>
> Well, you can have one in the bathroom, but it has to be permanently wired.

I've only ever seen those in hotels, the wall-mounted ones - never seen them for sale anywhere, either.

> The one that amuses me is that Britain still uses pull cord light switches
> in bathrooms. I assume that the reason is some safety inspector decided many
> years ago that a wall mounted light switch was likely to get water into it
> and electrocute someone if it wasn't IP rated.

Ah, you misunderstand the way we "do" wiring regulations!  First, until fairly recently there were no inspectors as such - the installing electrician
tests his installation and issues a certificate showing the results (a whole load of them, mostly resistance readings along and between the
conductors).  Secondly, there are no hard and fast rules - you have to ensure that things are done safely, such as an accessory (light switch for
example) must be suitable for the place it's located, and most sparkies take that to mean that in a bathroom a switch that isn't IP66 or better isn't
suitable.  In theory if it's more than 600mm from the nearest edge of the bath, it's OK according to the recommendations, but since they don't want to
make headlines by wandering off the beaten track, you almost always find pull-switches inside or ordinary switches outside the bathroom.

> But NZ has had all mounted
> light switches in bathrooms more years than I can remember, and they are
> just the standard light switch. If anyone thinks an NZ bathroom doesn't
> become a steamy wet room, they should try living in the sub tropical climate
> of the northern provinces, and you'll get just as much condensation on the
> walls as any British bathroom.

I'm sure you're right, but the inertia of the electrical trade here is huge!  :-)

> At the end of it, I think it is just a con by the switch manufacturers - I
> think I have replaced my bathroom light switch on average every 3 years, as
> the cord breaks.

Errr - every pullswitch I've ever seen has a replaceable cord... did you try unscrewing the little "bobble" near the switch, that the cord goes into?
Also, I can't remember ever breaking a cord myself - the one over my bed has been in daily use since before I moved in (24 years ago!).  Is there
someone in the house practicing their Tarzan technique?  :-)

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

On Tue, 2007-01-23 at 15:27 +0000, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >Lamps in my house fail quickly because I seem to spend a lot
> >of time going around the house turning them off, whilst my
> >wife appears to have the opposite goal...
>
> My wife selectively has that problem as well, while simultaneously berating
> me for using electricity by leaving lights on ...
>
> Good reason to go with high efficiency bulbs, they last longer ...

All the main lighting in my house has been switched over to CFLs, and
I'm very happy with the result.

I used to hate CFLs since their colour was way off compared to
incandescent, but these days the colours are so accurate that you can't
even tell whether a particular lamp is CFL or incandescent.

Aside from the long life, they use about 1/4 - 1/5 of the power, so my
electricity bills have shown a result as well.

Highly recommend them, especially for people in 240V countries since
your bulb filaments are thinner to begin with and more prone to blowing.

TTYL

Alan,

On Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:36:45 -0000, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

>...
> I just cannot get used to the ring main system in the UK. having grown
> up with star wiring in NZ, where the standard practice was to have adjacent
> rooms on different lighting circuits, so if the fuse blew you at least had
> some spill over light from an adjacent room to find your way to a torch.
> Instead in the UK the whole house blacks out ....

Not true!  Lighting is always on separate circuits from power (unless someone who doesn't know better got creative :-)  The "ring final", to give it its
proper name, is only used on power circuits feeding sockets.  Lighting is usually done on a "loop-in" system, which daisy-chains from each light fitting
to the next, but doesn't connect back at the end, and fixed appliances like immersion heaters, electric cookers and so on, are usually on dedicated
radial circuits.  Are you saying that in NZ there's a separate supply cable leading back to the distribution board from the lights in each room, and a
separate fuse for each?  That sounds terribly hard work (and expensive!).

Most houses here have separate circuits for upstairs and downstairs lights, but if the house is small enough (mine is) then there's just one lighting
circuit, protected by a 6A MCB.

So obviously all the lights on a circuit go down at once, bur the only thing which would take down *everything* in the house would be if there's a
house-wide RCD, or you blow the service fuse (the supplier's property, and you have to go seriously mad to blow that!).

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

Herbert Graf wrote:

> All the main lighting in my house has been switched over to CFLs, and
> I'm very happy with the result.
> [...]
> Highly recommend them, especially for people in 240V countries since
> your bulb filaments are thinner to begin with and more prone to blowing.

Sure I would like to use them, but they can't be dimmed (at least not
easily), which I really like and is IMO an important part of domotic... !
I'll probably move to Leds as soon as they can give enough light.

--
Ciao, Dario

{Quote hidden}

I have CFLs in every location without a dimmer.  However, I still don't like to see them left on unnecessarily and the problem is that turning them on and off frequently causes them to fail prematurely.

I also have a few rooms with dimmer switches which most CFL's don't like. Is there a viable alternative to filament lamps if you want to use phase controlled dimming?

Regards

Mike

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wow....one circuit feeding all the lights for a floor?

I built and wired my house, and have a 200A service, that feeds a 40 breaker panel and I have only 3 spares.  Stove,dryer (electric) are on seperate feeds.  Washing machine has to be on a 20A dedicated circuit as well.  I put my furnance on a seperate circuit.  Then split out for bedrooms, and others all on seperate circuits....and yes, thats alot of wire to home run back to the panel BUT then rooms are isolated.  Certain rooms do not need alot of power, like bedrooms.  My office is on its own.  So is my workroom.  Kitchen has three feeds...two for outlets, the other for dishwasher and disposal.  Outside lighting on its own.  Bathrooms GFI are daisychained, but each bathroom has its own GFI, just all on its own dedicated circuit.

Basically, when a builder does a house, and hires an electrician to wire it...they do it as cheap and easy as they can, in order to make a better profit. When you do it yourself, you can afford to make it just the way you want...nothing overloaded, circuits isolated, and never worry about how you wish it was done because you did it (blame yourself?).  Unlike internet, where you can always use wireless....cant do that with power.  And yes, I did run CAT5E to every room except the bathrooms.....(hmmm....emebedded controller for a toilet to monitor water useage, flushing...naaaaaaaa).  And in general, the material is cheap when you buy in bulk, its the labor that usually drives the price up.

Howard Winter <HDRWH2Org.demon.co.uk> wrote:
Alan,

On Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:36:45 -0000, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

>...
> I just cannot get used to the ring main system in the UK. having grown
> up with star wiring in NZ, where the standard practice was to have adjacent
> rooms on different lighting circuits, so if the fuse blew you at least had
> some spill over light from an adjacent room to find your way to a torch.
> Instead in the UK the whole house blacks out ....

Not true! Lighting is always on separate circuits from power (unless someone who doesn't know better got creative :-) The "ring final", to give it its
proper name, is only used on power circuits feeding sockets. Lighting is usually done on a "loop-in" system, which daisy-chains from each light fitting
to the next, but doesn't connect back at the end, and fixed appliances like immersion heaters, electric cookers and so on, are usually on dedicated
radial circuits. Are you saying that in NZ there's a separate supply cable leading back to the distribution board from the lights in each room, and a
separate fuse for each? That sounds terribly hard work (and expensive!).

Most houses here have separate circuits for upstairs and downstairs lights, but if the house is small enough (mine is) then there's just one lighting
circuit, protected by a 6A MCB.

So obviously all the lights on a circuit go down at once, bur the only thing which would take down *everything* in the house would be if there's a
house-wide RCD, or you blow the service fuse (the supplier's property, and you have to go seriously mad to blow that!).

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

wow....one circuit feeding all the lights for a floor?

I built and wired my house, and have a 200A service, that feeds a 40 breaker panel and I have only 3 spares.  Stove,dryer (electric) are on seperate feeds.  Washing machine has to be on a 20A dedicated circuit as well.  I put my furnance on a seperate circuit.  Then split out for bedrooms, and others all on seperate circuits....and yes, thats alot of wire to home run back to the panel BUT then rooms are isolated.  Certain rooms do not need alot of power, like bedrooms.  My office is on its own.  So is my workroom.  Kitchen has three feeds...two for outlets, the other for dishwasher and disposal.  Outside lighting on its own.  Bathrooms GFI are daisychained, but each bathroom has its own GFI, just all on its own dedicated circuit.

Basically, when a builder does a house, and hires an electrician to wire it...they do it as cheap and easy as they can, in order to make a better profit. When you do it yourself, you can afford to make it just the way you want...nothing overloaded, circuits isolated, and never worry about how you wish it was done because you did it (blame yourself?).  Unlike internet, where you can always use wireless....cant do that with power.  And yes, I did run CAT5E to every room except the bathrooms.....(hmmm....emebedded controller for a toilet to monitor water useage, flushing...naaaaaaaa).  And in general, the material is cheap when you buy in bulk, its the labor that usually drives the price up.

Howard Winter <HDRWH2Org.demon.co.uk> wrote:
Alan,

On Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:36:45 -0000, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

>...
> I just cannot get used to the ring main system in the UK. having grown
> up with star wiring in NZ, where the standard practice was to have adjacent
> rooms on different lighting circuits, so if the fuse blew you at least had
> some spill over light from an adjacent room to find your way to a torch.
> Instead in the UK the whole house blacks out ....

Not true! Lighting is always on separate circuits from power (unless someone who doesn't know better got creative :-) The "ring final", to give it its
proper name, is only used on power circuits feeding sockets. Lighting is usually done on a "loop-in" system, which daisy-chains from each light fitting
to the next, but doesn't connect back at the end, and fixed appliances like immersion heaters, electric cookers and so on, are usually on dedicated
radial circuits. Are you saying that in NZ there's a separate supply cable leading back to the distribution board from the lights in each room, and a
separate fuse for each? That sounds terribly hard work (and expensive!).

Most houses here have separate circuits for upstairs and downstairs lights, but if the house is small enough (mine is) then there's just one lighting
circuit, protected by a 6A MCB.

So obviously all the lights on a circuit go down at once, bur the only thing which would take down *everything* in the house would be if there's a
house-wide RCD, or you blow the service fuse (the supplier's property, and you have to go seriously mad to blow that!).

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

>I'm nitpicking, my point is I don't personally agree that removing a
>"real" outlet from the bathroom REALLY improves safety (especially in
>lieu of using a GFCI).

Sure.

>The lack of a "real" outlet is an inconvenience, and any time you
>inconvenience people for what appears to be no good reason they WILL do
>things to get around the inconvenience, usually in very dangerous ways.

I suspect the prohibition stems from the days of exposed electric radiator
elements, and the temptation to have one on in the bathroom while having a
bath. The risk of splashing water over it and creating a real hazard would
be very high.

up elements, the danger is probably close to non-existent, until the kids
take an extension lead in there and try to electrocute siblings, as seen on
the horror (and not so horror) movies.

>Errr - every pullswitch I've ever seen has a replaceable cord...
>did you try unscrewing the little "bobble" near the switch, that
>the cord goes into?  Also, I can't remember ever breaking a cord
>myself - the one over my bed has been in daily use since before
>I moved in (24 years ago!).  Is there someone in the house
>practicing their Tarzan technique?  :-)

The ones we have use a one piece cord that goes inside the switch onto a
spring loaded barrel, that ratchets around a doofa that pushes the contacts
closed. As the cord comes off the barrel it rubs on the outer shell, and
eventually abrades the cord through. That is where it has always broken, and
it is near impossible to dismantle the switch (that part is easy), rethread
the cord, and re-assemble the switch parts so it all works again.

At 24+ years old, I think you will find that your one works on a different
method than the modern plastic ones.

>Not true!  Lighting is always on separate circuits from power
Oh, sure. I didn't mean the lighting was on the same fuse as the power
outlets.

>The "ring final", to give it its proper name, is only used
>on power circuits feeding sockets.

Agreed.

>Lighting is usually done on a "loop-in" system,
>which daisy-chains from each light fitting

Yeah, but all the lights are on one fuse in the house, so if one bulb goes
errant, it takes out the whole house lighting. I'm used to having at least
two, and often three lighting fuses in one house.

>wow....one circuit feeding all the lights for a floor?

Not just a floor, most UK houses are two floors, and all the lights are on
one fuse or circuit breaker, so you can guarantee you will be upstairs when
the lights blow, and you need to get downstairs to the fusebox ....

On Tue, 2007-01-23 at 17:50 +0100, Dario Greggio wrote:
> Herbert Graf wrote:
>
> > All the main lighting in my house has been switched over to CFLs, and
> > I'm very happy with the result.
> > [...]
> > Highly recommend them, especially for people in 240V countries since
> > your bulb filaments are thinner to begin with and more prone to blowing.
>
> Sure I would like to use them, but they can't be dimmed (at least not
> easily), which I really like and is IMO an important part of domotic... !
> I'll probably move to Leds as soon as they can give enough light.

Actually they are available in dimmable form, usually more expensive,
and they won't dim as far as an incandescent.

Personally I've never been much into dimming lights, I simply choose a
wattage appropriate for the task at hand. But then, I'm not a fan of
much light anyways, so I rarely have many lights on to begin with. At
night when I'm awake there are usually two lights on, my bed lamp, and a
lamp in the living room.

TTYL

On 22 January 2007 16:25, Herbert Graf [SMTP:mailinglist3farcite.net]
wrote:
> > In the UK at least, the only power outlets allowed in bathrooms are
shaver sockets which have a small isolation transformer built into them.
>
> Interesting, where would you plug in a hair dryer?
>
In Britain one would do this in ones dressing room...

On Tue, 2007-01-23 at 17:24 +0000, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
> >All the main lighting in my house has been switched over to
> >CFLs, and I'm very happy with the result.
> >
>
> I have CFLs in every location without a dimmer.  However, I still don't like to see them left on unnecessarily and the problem is that turning them on and off frequently causes them to fail prematurely.

Perhaps the older ones had that problem? I turn mine off and on alot in
the course of a day and they are still going strong, not a single one
has failed (granted it hasn't been more then say a year and a half, but
I know that if they were incandescent I would have had to replace
several of them by now).

> I also have a few rooms with dimmer switches which most CFL's don't like. Is there a viable alternative to filament lamps if you want to use phase controlled dimming?

Yup, CFLs. There are "dimmable" CFLs available, they don't "dim" as far
as incandescents but they should be enough for most uses. They are more
expensive then "normal" CFLs however. TTYL

Herbert Graf wrote:
>>Sure I would like to use them, but they can't be dimmed (at least not
>>easily), which I really like and is IMO an important part of domotic... !
>>I'll probably move to Leds as soon as they can give enough light.
>
> Actually they are available in dimmable form, usually more expensive,
> and they won't dim as far as an incandescent.
>
> Personally I've never been much into dimming lights, I simply choose a
> wattage appropriate for the task at hand. But then, I'm not a fan of
> much light anyways, so I rarely have many lights on to begin with. At
> night when I'm awake there are usually two lights on, my bed lamp, and a
> lamp in the living room.

Thanks for your reply. Do you know of a PIC-based project to DIM neon
tube-CFLs ? I never searched for it actually... I'd need it be remotely
controlled via 485 or Zigbee :-)

In my system, light automatically dim at sunset.
And, they can also be dimmed at the PC keyboard or mouse, and via
internet... (you know how much fun this it.. and useless !)

--
Ciao, Dario
Herbert Graf wrote:
> On Tue, 2007-01-23 at 17:24 +0000, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>>> All the main lighting in my house has been switched over to CFLs,
>>> and I'm very happy with the result.
>>>
>> I have CFLs in every location without a dimmer.  However, I still
>> don't like to see them left on unnecessarily and the problem is
>> that turning them on and off frequently causes them to fail
>> prematurely.
>
> Perhaps the older ones had that problem? I turn mine off and on alot
> in the course of a day and they are still going strong, not a single
> one has failed (granted it hasn't been more then say a year and a
> half, but I know that if they were incandescent I would have had to
> replace several of them by now).
>

How long a CFL survives frequent switching depends on the quality of the
lamp and its electronics. For a long life the tube itself must have a
certain quality level and the filaments must be preheated before the
lamp is ignited. If the electronic just tries to ignite the lamp while
the filaments are still cold, this greatly increases wear.
We had some cheap compact fluorescents failing early - filament broken.
I guess due to insufficient preheating.

Right at the moment I am experimenting with the ballast controller
IR21592 for a dimmable ballast. When it is done it will be integrated in
my room lightning (and there are PICs in it!). These controllers are
usually used in quality ballast electronics for any type of fluorescent.
In these controllers there is very much attention paid to details as how
to ensure that a lamp does not ignite during preheating and so on.

Regards,
Florian
On Tue, 2007-01-23 at 21:01 +0100, Florian Voelzke wrote:
> How long a CFL survives frequent switching depends on the quality of the
> lamp and its electronics. For a long life the tube itself must have a
> certain quality level and the filaments must be preheated before the
> lamp is ignited. If the electronic just tries to ignite the lamp while
> the filaments are still cold, this greatly increases wear.
> We had some cheap compact fluorescents failing early - filament broken.
> I guess due to insufficient preheating.

I find a very good indicator on lamp quality is "turn on" time. The
better brands turn on "instantly", basically as fast as you can hit the
switch the lamp will light. It may not be at 100% brightness, but it
will light. Cheaper lamps often have a VERY annoying delay before they
light, crucial if the light is say on the stairs to the basement where
even a half second delay is enough to trip.

TTYL

Dario Greggio wrote:
> Thanks for your reply. Do you know of a PIC-based project to DIM neon
> tube-CFLs ? I never searched for it actually... I'd need it be remotely
> controlled via 485 or Zigbee :-)

Only partly relevant, but I have a PIC-based incandescent light dimmer
controlled by a PC over ZigBee - so, all of what you're describing
except the CFL part (!).  It's pretty basic, but a bit of info is at
<http://6sys.no-ip.info/tjweber/gallery/dimbot> and
--
Timothy J. Weber
http://timothyweber.org
>>it annoying that she can't dry her hair in the bathroom,
>>but it's the way we do it here.

>Wow, that sucks

Blows ?

> I'm nitpicking, my point is I don't personally agree that removing a
> "real" outlet from the bathroom REALLY improves safety (especially
> in lieu of using a GFCI)

> The lack of a "real" outlet is an inconvenience, and any time you
> inconvenience people for what appears to be no good reason they
> WILL do things to get around the inconvenience, usually in very
> dangerous ways

Our bathroom doesn't have an outlet at all and is very cold in the
winter (go figure). Occassionally I'll run a lead from another room
to warm it up with a bar heater, but the heater is never on when I'm
wet and naked. Being a small room I always make sure the heater
is well away from hanging towels etc. Running an extension lead is
an inconvenience and I'm sure if outlets were more common in NZ
bathrooms there'd be fires/electrocutions

Cold in the winter - in Auckland???

RP :-)

On 24/01/07, Jinx <joecolquittclear.net.nz> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -
Timothy Weber wrote:
> Only partly relevant, but I have a PIC-based incandescent light dimmer
> controlled by a PC over ZigBee - so, all of what you're describing
> except the CFL part (!).  It's pretty basic, but a bit of info is at
> <http://6sys.no-ip.info/tjweber/gallery/dimbot> and

Hi Timothy, yes, I've got it too :-))
except the CFL too.
So, the first of us who succeeds in dimming those lamps, please informs !
(I succeeded, to some extent in driving halogen lamps powered by classic
transformers... yet, inductive loads are a bit harder to cope with)

(this is my home automations system i.e. my home)

--
Ciao, Dario
--
Dario Greggio wrote:
> Hi Timothy, yes, I've got it too :-))

Ah!

> except the CFL too.
> So, the first of us who succeeds in dimming those lamps, please informs !

I don't think I'll be the first - I'm only using it to dim 25W
incandescents for maybe an hour a day, so I'm not too concerned about
efficiency there.  I have a lot of CFLs around the house, but I only
ever want them at 0% or 300% on.  :)

> (this is my home automations system i.e. my home)

Wow!  Looks quite extensive!  Is it all homebrewed?
--
Timothy J. Weber
http://timothyweber.org
Timothy Weber wrote:
>>except the CFL too.
>>So, the first of us who succeeds in dimming those lamps, please informs !
>
> I don't think I'll be the first - I'm only using it to dim 25W
> incandescents for maybe an hour a day, so I'm not too concerned about
> efficiency there.  I have a lot of CFLs around the house, but I only
> ever want them at 0% or 300% on.  :)

As I said, I'd like to use Leds, maybe RGB (already worked with them, in
a couple of apps). Only waiting for lumens to raise and price to fall :-)

>
>>(this is my home automations system i.e. my home)
>
> Wow!  Looks quite extensive!  Is it all homebrewed?

Yep. Those RS485 modules all around, driving Lamps, window closures,
thermometers, hygrometer, power measurement, iButton for house access,
LCD panels, IR receiver, a FMradio on serial port, mp3, webcam, and so
on (voice synthesis/answering machine at doorbell is one of the nicest :-).
I wrote the software in C++ for Windows. Web server is home made too. A
kind of experimenting/work in progress laboratory, started in 1996 (but

--
Ciao, Dario
Dario Greggio wrote:
> As I said, I'd like to use Leds, maybe RGB (already worked with them, in
> a couple of apps). Only waiting for lumens to raise and price to fall :-)

Yup, that's my feeling too.

{Quote hidden}

Woo hoo!  Very impressive!  That's gotta be a lot of hours over ten years.
--
Timothy J. Weber
http://timothyweber.org

On Jan 23, 2007, at 6:24 PM, Dario Greggio wrote:

> Timothy Weber wrote:
>>> except the CFL too.
>>> So, the first of us who succeeds in dimming those lamps, please
>>> informs !
>>
>> I don't think I'll be the first - I'm only using it to dim 25W
>> incandescents for maybe an hour a day, so I'm not too concerned about
>> efficiency there.  I have a lot of CFLs around the house, but I only
>> ever want them at 0% or 300% on.  :)
>
> As I said, I'd like to use Leds, maybe RGB (already worked with
> them, in
> a couple of apps). Only waiting for lumens to raise and price to
> fall :-)

Have you done anything with Philips LumiLEDs?  http://lumileds.com

They are the best I've seen so far.

-n.

On Jan 22, 2007, at 9:48 AM, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>
> people operating switches or plugging in appliances with dripping
>  wet hands are at high risk of getting a potentialy fatal shock.

It's interesting how different countries solve the same problem.
In the US, bathrooms (new construction, etc) are required to have
GFI protection on any outlets.  (Of course the US is 110V vs 220V)

Given the RELATIVELY low incidence of people electrocuting themselves
in the bathroom (far lower death rate than auto accidents, for instance,
even though presumably EVERYONE uses the bathroom), I think that "high
risk" label is a bit overstated, though.

BillW

{Quote hidden}

I suspect most people with a reasonable level of intelligence simply don't operate light switches and plug in appliances whilst dripping wet, but there will always be some that don't understand the risk.  I also think that relying on a GFI to make a dangerous situation safer is never going to be as good as removing the dangerous situation in the first place.  I guess that the idea of no power outlets in the bathroom seems inconvienient if you are used to having them but it's just accepted over here.  The only time I have ever needed a power outlet in the bathroom is when doing some work that requires power tools, and an extension lead is perfectly acceptable in this rare situations.

Also remember that the UK has more than double the mains voltage that the USA has, which must increase the risk somewhat.

Mike

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Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>
> I suspect most people with a reasonable level of intelligence simply
> don't operate light switches and plug in appliances whilst dripping
> wet,

No, you can't trust people :-)

> Also remember that the UK has more than double the mains voltage that
> the USA has, which must increase the risk somewhat.

Yeah, but I guess it can kill all the same!

--
Ciao, Dario
Herbert,

On Tue, 23 Jan 2007 11:27:27 -0500, Herbert Graf wrote:

{Quote hidden}

And what about when someone else wants to use the bathroom?  I think you're grabbing at straws to find a good reason to do things the way you
are used to...

> I'm nitpicking, my point is I don't personally agree that removing a
> "real" outlet from the bathroom REALLY improves safety (especially in
> lieu of using a GFCI).

Well firstly they were never "removed" - we've never had them so nobody thinks it's unusual or a problem.  As for the safety aspect, I think it's
glaringly obvious:  Doing something that is inherently safer (removing the electricity from the place) must be better/more reliable than using an active
device to make something safe, when the device can fail and thus leave a dangerous situation that would only be discovered by a potentially
disasterous event.  It's a bit like saying that car brakes don't need to be reliable because there are seat belts and airbags in case they fail!  And it's
not 100% certain that a GFCI/RCD will trip fast enough and at a low enough current to prevent a fatality - the 30mA/30mS rating that seems to be the
standard is right on the edge of the "safe" region of a general electric shock, and above what's safe for a trans-cardiac shock - I for one wouldn't
want to test it to find out!  :-)

> The lack of a "real" outlet is an inconvenience, and any time you
> inconvenience people for what appears to be no good reason they WILL do
> things to get around the inconvenience, usually in very dangerous ways.

But nobody* in the UK sees it as an inconvenience!  Most houses have only one bathroom, and a lot of those have the toilet in there too, so the
problem is a queue to use the room, so spending time in there that can be spent elsewhere is the problem we face.

* IMHO, as I haven't asked them all :-)

{Quote hidden}

Again, we've never had these latches - they have never been allowed so nobody misses them - we just stand there while the tank fills, and it's not a
problem, and is inherently safer than leaving the pump running unattended.

> My point is, when you want to make something "safer", you can't just
> look at how to make it safer. You must also consider how people will
> react, what stupid things they will do to "get around" your efforts to
> make something safer. Often people will find the most clever and at the
> same time dangerous way to bypass your attempt to make something safer,
> resulting in a LESS safe environment then if you hadn't made any
> changes.

While I agree that people are inventive and versatile (which may be why we're top species on this planet) you can't judge other places just by your
own experience.  The UK isn't just like America with no guns and a funny accent (we have *dozens* of funny accents :-) and things are done
differently, and people are used to that.  Personally I find a lot of the way electricity is done in the US surprising, such as a design of plug that can
just fall out of the socket due to the weight of the cable or wall-wart, and in doing so can expose the live pins when it's half-inserted... and the
availability of an adaptor that allows a 3-pin plug to plug into a 2-pin socket, and unless you take extraordinary measures (undoing a retaining screw
to connect the earth) you have created a potentially fatal situation of a metal-cased device which isn't earthed - but the safety emphasis there
seems to be much more on preventing fires than preventing electric shock, so it's not for me to say it's wrong, it's just the way you do things.

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

Alan,

On Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:34:28 -0800 (PST), alan smith wrote:

> wow....one circuit feeding all the lights for a floor?

In my house it's all the lights on both floors!

>   I built and wired my house, and have a 200A service, that feeds a 40 breaker panel and I have only 3 spares.  Stove,dryer (electric) are on
seperate feeds.  Washing machine has to be on a 20A dedicated circuit as well.  I put my furnance on a seperate circuit.  Then split out for bedrooms,
and others all on seperate circuits....and yes, thats alot of wire to home run back to the panel BUT then rooms are isolated.  Certain rooms do not
need alot of power, like bedrooms.  My office is on its own.  So is my workroom.  Kitchen has three feeds...two for outlets, the other for dishwasher
and disposal.  Outside lighting on its own.  Bathrooms GFI are daisychained, but each bathroom has its own GFI, just all on its own dedicated circuit.

Good grief, I've never even seen a 40-breaker panel in a factory, let alone a house!  :-)  I have a small 3-bedroom house and when I moved in it had 4
fuses - 5A for lights, 2 x 30A for sockets upstairs and down, 1 x 16A for the immersion heater.  Not unusual for a house built in 1937... I have since
replaced it with a 12-place Consumer Unit with Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs) and split up the circuits somewhat - the fridge/freezer on its own
circuit so it doesn't get taken out by something else causing a trip (bound to happen at the start of a period when I'm away from home, per Murphy), I
have split the lighting and provided a shed supply.  But I still have a few spare ways in the box!

>   Basically, when a builder does a house, and hires an electrician to wire it...they do it as cheap and easy as they can, in order to make a better
profit. When you do it yourself, you can afford to make it just the way you want...nothing overloaded, circuits isolated, and never worry about how
you wish it was done because you did it (blame yourself?).  Unlike internet, where you can always use wireless....cant do that with power.  And yes, I
did run CAT5E to every room except the bathrooms.....(hmmm....emebedded controller for a toilet to monitor water useage, flushing...naaaaaaaa).  And
in general, the material is cheap when you buy in bulk, its the labor that usually drives the price up.

I agree completely, and they tend to have preconceived ideas of requirements, even if *you* know what you want.  I know my sister had virtually a
stand-up fight with the electrician who was rewiring her kitchen, because she wanted about three times as many sockets as he thought she should
need!

If I built my own house (always a plan, but sadly unlikely to happen now) I would design the circuits for the best arrangement I could, including
having some circuits UPS-protected, and with provision for solar and perhaps wind-power (I'm dead jealous of James' solar roof! :-) and maybe some
low-voltage DC circuits, but making radical changes to an existing house is very hard work - most of the cable drops to switches in my house are in
well-buried narrow conduit with loose single wires - the conduits are too narrow to take modern twin-&-earth cable, and in some cases they are run
in the middle of a brick wall!  Chasing new cable runs would be a major undertaking, with redecorating needed in most rooms afterwards.

Cheers,

Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

> > Also remember that the UK has more than double the mains voltage that
> > the USA has, which must increase the risk somewhat.
>
> Yeah, but I guess it can kill all the same!

www.smh.com.au/news/unusual-tales/bid-to-electrocute-moles-fatally-ba
ckfires/2007/01/12/1168105164696.html

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