Jump to content

UK light fittings


kath1968
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi, I've just bought a load of light fittings in the UK to take over to France. Am I going to have to send them all back? They all have 3 wires, whereas our lighting circuit in France appears to only have 2. What, if anything, can I do with the earth?

Any help/ advice much appreciated!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First employ a French electrician who understands French regulations. Secondly I think you will find that UK plugs are not acceptable to the French "norms" or indeed to French insurance adjusters should the worst happen. Also I believe that now all French electrical supplies should be earthed, not that they are. Good luck [:)]
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks both. Is it a big job getting an earth lead fitted? will it mean rewiring the whole house? Just trying to get a handle on whether to send these lights back and see what I can find in France instead, or whether it's worth keeping hold of them and trying to sort the electrics out. They're ceiling lights, btw, not ones that plug in. The plugs bit of the electrics seems to have been re-done recently as there are some defunct plug sockets and old wiring and some new which work. I doubt the lighting circuit has been touched though.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kath, firstly welcome to the forum.

We brought several light

fittings from England, as we couldn't find any locally that we liked. I

can't ask my OH what he did about the wires, as he's not here just now.

But they were fitted easily with connectors from Leroy Merlin - but he

is experienced with wiring. It seems to me it shouldn't be too costly and an electrician should have little problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Without wishing to alarm you, it would be wise to have the whole of the existing wiring checked out by someone who knows what they are doing before you replace things piece-meal.

When I bought the French house, the previous owner had installed new circuits, but none with earths. We later discovered that he had connected the new cable to some hidden ancient wiring that had almost turned to charcoal. This came to light (!) when the the circuit went dead - we traced the problem to the section of old wire that had been smouldering for some while behind architrave and beneath floor-boards. It was a house fire waiting to happen. We also found still live wiring had simply been chopped through and left with bare ends poked behind fittings.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone!

I think we'll get new wiring. The ceilings are open beams and the wiring has been chased along the beams and I think it's all in conduit down the walls to the fuse box, so it's not like we'll have to get the house replastered as well. Then presumably once it's been rewired with proper wiring we can have what we want.

I'm very grateful to everyone for the advice :)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum and sensible call !

You are far from the first to ask questions about using UK fittings in France and the retort has to be the same - why would you want to and don't !

It's not unheard of for people to completely DIY rewire their properties not only with UK fittings and cable but also to UK norms (and I use the term loosely) with the result that they not only severely compromise their insurance cover but also potentially make their property virtually unsellable in the future. For a start you will completely fail the diagnostics and then no French buyer is going to buy a property with 13a UK sockets anyway !

Is it really isn't worth it just to save a few Euros ?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't recall the OP mentioning 13A sockets, simply that there were new sockets installed. When we bought our house the electrics were all correct three wire in gains. However nobody bothered to connect the earth tails which were all dangling behind the fuse box! As all have said - get a french electricician. 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all. This has nothing to do with plugs. For the odd bits of UK kit we take over which need plugs atm, we just use an adapter, but most of our plugged-in stuff is French. It's the ceiling lights that seem to be the problem. And it's nothing to do with saving a few € on the cost of the lights, as I've spent £1500!

When we got the diagnostics they pointed out the old and new wiring which was still wired up to an ancient fusebox. EDF came out and replaced the fusebox and everything bar the old sockets seem to work. It would appear, tho, that the wiring for the lights is still the old stuff.

I'll get an electrician over next time we're out and they can have a poke around and make sure we're not going to burn down!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Kong"]I don't recall the OP mentioning 13A sockets, simply that there were new sockets installed. When we bought our house the electrics were all correct three wire in gains. However nobody bothered to connect the earth tails which were all dangling behind the fuse box! As all have said - get a french electrician. [/quote]

How strange is that - our house was exactly the same but we thought the earths were OK until the other half complained of getting a shock from some things. Investigation found the earth leads just pushed in behind the box to hide them - not connected to ground! You would think if they bothered to install all the earth leads they would actually ground them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The old stuff may well be serviceable but as others have said a earth was something of a rarity in France especially upstairs. Some how it was perceived that in order to need an earth it was only required downstairs because that is where the earth is and upstairs you are not anywhere near the earth are you. Thankfully with the passing of time and probably a few french people this oversight has been corrected in most places but the missing earth does still occur.

It shouldn't be too problematic to pull an earth wire through the gains and connect them up but is the building earthed and is it within the correct tolerance? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Théière  has suggested, earth wiring is only as good as the earth point to which it is connected. Indeed, having lots of earth wires can make things more dangerous if they are not properly grounded themselves. Clamping to the domestic pipes does not provide an adequate earth!

For most houses in France - especially rural properties - after the wires have been run back to the earth terminal in the consumer unit, there should be an adequate earth cable connected from that unit to an earth rod buried in the ground. Not just any old rod or any old bit of burying, either. Establishing the effectiveness of the earth is quite scientific - and beyond me - as it is affected by such things as soil type and moisture content; it should best be tested by someone with the proper equipment - and knowledge.

Cross-bonding of metal items seems to be another earth matter that is frequently overlooked in French properties. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cross bonding to the water pipes is a bit innefective in a lot of properties because the cold water pipe coming in is normally plastic.

The big earth spikes are inexpensive but don't work very well when the are positioned in dry environments. An electrician told me the best way to do it is to bury 1m-2m length of copper pipe in a ditch, horizontally, then bind to that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="sid"]Sometimes 2 or 3 earth spikes are required. A competent electrician will test the earth using a sort of potentiometer/restistence measuring thing (technical term!).[/quote]

I believe the correct word is "thingy"     urbandictionary.com

Also used by women 'to describes anything under the bonnet of a car.'

Quote:

A technical term.
Guy #1: Insert the thingy into the slot.

Guy #2: ...Is that a... Technical term?

Guy #1: Why, yes. Yes it is.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="andyh4"]

HSD

Cross bonding of pipework is NOT repeat not an earthing mechanism.  It is to ensure that the electrical potential is the same on both the hot and cold pipes - which is not the same as saying they are earthed

[/quote]

ah ok. I always thought it was for earthing purposes. My bad.

However...that raises another question, why would you want the electrical potential the same, for what reason? It's been 40years since my 'o' level physics. I'm interested, that's all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Electrical bonding is the practice of intentionally electrically

connecting all exposed metallic non-current carrying items in a room or

building as protection from electric shock.

If a failure of electrical insulation occurs, all bonded metal objects

in the room will have substantially the same electrical potential, so

that an occupant of the room cannot touch two objects with significantly

different potentials. Even if the connection to a distant earth ground

is lost, the occupant will be protected from dangerous potential differences" WIKI LINK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HSD

 

What Jay said.

 

Or to give a practical example, if your electrical insulation breaks down and a live cable comes into contact with say the hot water pipe, then the hot water pipe becomes charged to 230V, and if it is not earthed (as you say lots of feed pipes are plastic so there is no guarantee that the pipe will earth efficiently), turning on the hot and cold taps simultaneously could lead to a potentially lethal flow of electricity through one hand, up the arm, past the heart,down the other arm and through the other hand to the cold tap.

 

Bonding the two pipes together electrically means that if the hot pipe is charged to 230V, so is the cold pipe.  If neither pipe earths effectively then even if you touch both taps they are at the same electrical potential so there is no force to push any electricity through the body.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a follow on from the OP we are redecorating upstairs and I've noticed all the light fittings are UK ceiling roses ! I'd like to replace then as the bulb/shade holders seem slightly smaller than French shades size but I cannot find a replacement anywhere, apart from as part of a shade/light fitting set. I just want to replace the rose. Any ideas anyone ? I've tried most of the local brico sheds. What is the French term ? Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The French standard is to use a "douille DCL"  (no idea what the DCL stands for!); this circular fitting mounts onto a recessed ceiling box. It has a socket which can be used to fix a temporary bayonet lampholder (this is how the electricians leave a new build) and you can then fit your own suspended light fitting using the same plug. This complies with the requirement for the wiring gaine to terminate inside a connection box.

Example with picture here:   http://tinyurl.com/apzketj

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...