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Changing plugs


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Mark,

In essence, a plug is a plug.  If the UK one has all three pins connected, connect all three pins in the French one.  Use the ‘proper’ plug and not a reversible 2 pin which doesn’t have an earth (unless the UK one is also 2 pin).  Do remember however that if you look at a French socket with the earth pin at the top, the live pin is on the left-hand side and not the right as in the UK.  If you have any doubts get a qualified electrician to do the job.  With reference to the earthing problem, if it is your house that has the problem that is a different matter.  Get it sorted!  

Brian

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[quote user="Btuckey"]

 Do remember however that if you look at a French socket with the earth pin at the top, the live pin is on the left-hand side and not the right as in the UK. 

Brian

[/quote]

 

Sorry Brian that's just not true.  The live and neutral pins are totally interchangeable.  Modern French electrics break both live and neutral at the board (Disjuncture) in the venet of a problem and so it makes no difference which way round the plug is wired.

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If you then use a 3 pin 2 way adapter in your single socket you will probably find that the left hand (neutral) socket is connected directly top/bottom and the right hand is the same. Not a problem you say until you see that the earth pins are both in the middle, i.e. the top plug goes in upside down and the bottom one the right way up, earth at the top. Also if you buy a double flush mount socket that goes into a single 60mm mounting hole in the wall they are hard wired the same way. The other thing that scares me is that you can put a 2 pin socket in the wall and then plug a 3 pin plug into it because it is round and the only difference is that the 2 pin socket does not have an earth pin in it!!! We also had the situation of having a 3 pin socket with only 2 wires going to it!

P.S. Since moving over 2 years ago I have changed well over 30 plugs on kit we bought over[:-))].

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There is no required polarity for the wiring of plug sockets etc, yes modern tableaus have double pole disjoncteurs but the real differences are that French sockets are not switched and French appliances, sandwich toasters etc, do not have an on/off switch as compared to those destined for the UK market.

As an example if in the UK you were silly enough to try and work on the inside of an electrical appliance without unplugging it and just switching off using the switch on the appliance or the wall socket you would not get an electric shock on a properly polarised cicuit where the switch breaks the live circuit. In France you would have a 50 50 chance.

In fact caravanners (with a UK electrical system) when thay hook up at a French camp site have the same 50 50 chance of the reversed polarity and for this reason you can buy testers and polarity reversal hookup leads.

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[quote user="J.R."]

In fact caravanners (with a UK electrical system) when thay hook up at a French camp site have the same 50 50 chance of the reversed polarity and for this reason you can buy testers and polarity reversal hookup leads.

[/quote]

We had both the mains checker and the 'gender bender' cable with our caravan. You needed to know, half the time, if there was even an earth on the camp sites...

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[quote user="J.R."]

....As an example if in the UK you were silly enough to try and work on the inside of an electrical appliance without unplugging it and just switching off using the switch on the appliance or the wall socket you would not get an electric shock on a properly polarised cicuit where the switch breaks the live circuit. In France you would have a 50 50 chance......

[/quote]

In a proper English system in all likelihood as you shorted the neutral to the earthed casing it would trip the main ECLB (a difference in potential between the N & E wires).

In a proper French system in all likelihlood as you shorted either L or N to the earthed casing you would trip the ELCB.

where's the difference?

As someone who once spent most of a weekend tracing a N to E fault in a typical British 'common neutral' sytem, I say give me the French system every time !

p

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In a proper French system in all likelihlood as you shorted either L or N to the earthed casing you would trip the ELCB

If you are in the lucky position of having such a modern luxury! Aroung here porcelain and wire seem to be de rigeur.

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All I can say is check the polarity of your sockets in your older system.

You may well be in for a shock - in both senses of the word.

And yes I recognise that it is not ideal, or overly safe - but it is reality.

So unless you want to match each plug to a specific socket, my statement stands - even in an older system.

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>where's the difference?

>As someone who once spent most of a weekend tracing a N to E fault in a typical British 'common neutral' sytem, I say give me the French system every time !

 I have an intermittent fault that I've been looking for for a while.Could you explain why the French system should make it easier for me to trace the fault, if that's what you mean?

I see references to ELCBs. Aren't they the old devices that detected a current passing through the earth wire to ground? Modern RCCBs detect an inbalance between neutral and live to trip the circuit breaker.

Steve

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[quote user="Sc"]

>where's the difference?

>As someone who once spent most of a weekend tracing a N to E fault in a typical British 'common neutral' sytem, I say give me the French system every time !

 I have an intermittent fault that I've been looking for for a while.Could you explain why the French system should make it easier for me to trace the fault, if that's what you mean?

I see references to ELCBs. Aren't they the old devices that detected a current passing through the earth wire to ground? Modern RCCBs detect an inbalance between neutral and live to trip the circuit breaker.

Steve

[/quote]

My fault; I was using ELCB as a sort of generic term. Yes Residual Current Circuit Breakers are what we regard as the gold standard these days in terms of protection; that's what I meant and what I should have said.

Why is the French system easier ? Simply because the French mini circuit breakers isolate both the phase and the neutral. Making it easy to isolate (in both senses of the word) the circuit with the fault.  In the UK system where the circuit breaker cuts the phase only, and where all the returning neutral cables are commoned together, the only way to locate a neutral-earth fault is to painstakingly disconnect each of the neutrals from the bus bar to find the offending circuit,  then unwire the socket in the middle of the ring (if it is a power rather than a lighting circuit at fault) to find which half has the problem.  All very tedious.

 

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Sorry I havn't been on line to answer your question Gynpaul but I think others have.

My house (actually an old Hotel) has only two rewirable fuses, lead conduits containing cloth and shellac insulated cables oh and lots of porcelain and some very brittle fibrous pre-plastic, ah yes just remembered the name - Tufnol. Each of the old bedrooms has a removable cartridge fuse surface muonted outside, presumably for if "clients" had stayed beyond their allocated time - it used to be a brothel!

Some work had been done to include an earthing system but most of the conduits don't carry an earth conductor.

I also have some twisted twin cable insulated as above and fixed to the stairwell wall with metal staples (with a little "u" of insulating materials).

The place had been derelict for many years when I bought it, I requested a reconnection by EDF and thought that they would condemn the wiring and put in a temporary builders supply but no, 1/2 hours work replacing lead seals and a bill for about 15 euros and I was live - literally!

I fooled myself initially when I saw the 30 calibration on the main disjoncteur into thinking it must have been the worlds oldest R.C.B.!

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[quote user="J.R."]

Sorry I havn't been on line to answer your question Gynpaul but I think others have.

My house (actually an old Hotel) has only two rewirable fuses, lead conduits containing cloth and shellac insulated cables oh and lots of porcelain and some very brittle fibrous pre-plastic, ah yes just remembered the name - Tufnol. Each of the old bedrooms has a removable cartridge fuse surface muonted outside, presumably for if "clients" had stayed beyond their allocated time - it used to be a brothel!

Some work had been done to include an earthing system but most of the conduits don't carry an earth conductor.

I also have some twisted twin cable insulated as above and fixed to the stairwell wall with metal staples (with a little "u" of insulating materials).

The place had been derelict for many years when I bought it, I requested a reconnection by EDF and thought that they would condemn the wiring and put in a temporary builders supply but no, 1/2 hours work replacing lead seals and a bill for about 15 euros and I was live - literally!

I fooled myself initially when I saw the 30 calibration on the main disjoncteur into thinking it must have been the worlds oldest R.C.B.!

[/quote]

That's the sort of description which makes me instinctively move to the middle of the room with my arms by my sides!

At least with the condition of all that, you know there is no point in attempting to upgrade what's there: you know you have to

haul the lot out and start from scratch.

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It has served me well for the last year but I now switch off the disjoncteur rather than removing a fuse when doing any work on it as there is a backfeed somewhere or perhaps someones attempt to create a ring main!

I have (for the first time) a group of friends staying tonight, I will warn them to be carefull and not touch anything metal or electrical, if their expressions show "yeah-yeah etc" then I will show them some of the more special examples, that should get the message through!

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