house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me

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I live in a house built about 20years ago, Yesterday i decided that the
BC light fitting had to be changed in the kitchen The existing light
output is dismal even with a daylight CF.

So i changed it for a 4' fluro. the wiring in this house uses a
standalone earth cable (2core red/black for power and single lead beside
it for ground) so i unscrewed the BC holder, screwed the 4' up and wired
it up with red (which had 2 leads) to brown, black to blue and
standalone black to ground, all was good, re-set the breaker and the
light came on even tho the switch was OFF. thought this was strange, so
pulled the tube out to shut light off over night, come this morning, i
sought out to investigate what was going on.. I removed the switch from
the wall, this is where i discovered, THEY USED BLACK AS THE ACTIVE
SWITCHED.... this is a single switch fitting.

what i had was active switched to the shell of the fitting, neutral to
its spot and the red pair on active.

Im surprised that the shell didnt arc out or do anything nasty, and that
  the house used BLACK as an active,... good thing we have fast acting
breakers, thats all i can say.....

Is it normal for black to be used with active power?

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


the other thing that amazes me is the fact that a 4' can work without an
earth, some were i read that balasted fittings needed an earth to
actually work in the first place.... guess they may have been wrong

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


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nothing needs an earth to work...
it's there for your protection.
it needs an earth to meet regulations.

Bye.
   Jasen

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


On Mon, 09 Jan 2006 06:27:28 -0000, Jasen Betts

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From memory, a light fixture needs no earth. Is a flouro batten any
different? There may be something to do with the hight of the fixture
too. I did once know all the SAA rules, but they are long gone. I
remember throwing away the book about 3 or 4 houses ago!

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me



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I think you will find an EARTH must be carried to every light fitting
whether or not it is metallic so that it is there if there is a change
later.
Someone who needs to know Australian Regs could confirm.
I am just an old radar tech who tries to stay aware of these things for
my own good.

Some flouros were temperamental if the frame was not earthed but that
was to do with striking the "arc" inside.
--
John G

Wot's Your Real Problem?



Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


thats what got me, cause i knew there SHOULD be one, and the single
black lead (not paired) resembled the other earth leads here.

the fitting is fitted with a solid state starter (blue units) that start
a tube in 2 seconds, it replaced a stock BC fitting that had a daylight
CF installed, the light quality is SO much better, well worth the
learning experience, which is, don't trust anyone else's work

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


amstereoAToptusnetDOTcomDOTa@u says...
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Guess next time you'll use a multimeter so you dont kill yourself or
whoever buys your house... Have never trusted black house wiring,
and since school days have *always* checked if any bad connections
on all 240v house wiring - i.e. I Never assume green wiring is
ground and black is neutral I *always* check it and have done for
20+ years, less than 1% it has been floating or wrong, that 1% can
kill. Had someone die in WA about 2 months for same reason...

The electronic starters I use start a tube in less than 0.5 secs,
and they can be made with a triac and a few passive parts, really
effective. If yours takes 2 secs think your tube is on way out...

--
Regards
Mike
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Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


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yep. that metal case may have something to do with it.
if the ballast failed with a short to the case it could be nasty.

Bye.
   Jasen

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


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I thought the convention was that power is run to the fitting, the neutral
and earth connected and the active run to the switch and back. If the power
is at the switch perhaps it wasn't a professional installation?







Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me



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That is what I mostly find, but 50% also use twin core with red as
active to the switch and black as the switched active back to the light
fitting. Shudder.

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


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That's actually what I meant - the run to the switch and back is twin-core,
often red and white - isn't this how it's meant to be done? Is there some
convention as to which wire is meant to carry the active to the switch?





Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


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If you look at the standard it'll say red and white for loops to switches.
red for active white for switched.

I think the red-back for switces thing comes from before that standard.

There's also blue used sometimes, I think blue is an "extra white"
(eg for a ceiling fan).




--

Bye.
   Jasen

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


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Here is an extract from AS/NZS3018:2001 - this is the standard for domestic
installations:
//
6.5 DISTINGUISHING COLOURS OF CABLES
The colours of cores of cables used for final subcircuits shall be as
follows:
(a) Active conductors ............................... red, white or blue.
(b) Neutral conductors ............................. black.
(c) Earthing conductors............................ green and yellow
combination.
Coloured identification at each termination may be used in accordance with
Clause 3.4.1.  Green/yellow, green or yellow colour insulated conductors
shall not be
sleeved to indicate live conductors.
//

This is from AS/NZS3000:

//
3.8 IDENTIFICATION
3.8.1 General
In general, insulated conductors shall be identified by the colours given in
Table 3.5 to indicate their intended function (such as active, neutral and
earth/equipotential bonding conductor).
Where a combination such as green/yellow is used, one colour shall cover
not less than 30% and not more than 70% of the surface, with the other
colour covering the remainder of the surface.

TABLE 3.5  COLOURS OF CABLE CORES
Identifying colours....Function............Recommended Alternative

Earth/bonding..........Green/yellow......Green (see Note)
Neutral.................... Black................Light blue
Active......................Red...................Any colour except
green/yellow,
.........................................................green, yellow,
black, light blue

NOTE: Where a required earthing conductor is not normally manufactured, a
suitable
insulated conductor may be used but shall be identified along its entire
length by a
green coloured sleeving.
//

In my experience I have found a lot of electricians do wire fan and/or light
switches
with plain "twin+earth" and use the black to carry the switched active back
to the
fitting and the green/yellow (earth) is not connected.  This is now illegal
and possibly
dangerous (to work on) and unfortunately still quite commonly occuring.

Sometimes there is a piece of red, white or blue coloured tape wrapped
around the
black wire near the terminations - once upon a time this might have been
acceptable
but the standards are now pretty clear on insulation colours.







Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


I note no-one so far has said words to the effect: don't meddle with wiring
unless you are a licenced electrician, not only for your sake but for future
residents.  But, one wonders, would a licenced electrcian necessarily have
found this one?


Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


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wiring
future
People did say that, just not as politely. And yes, a competent sparky
checks for jolts first, even after pulling the fuse.

Ken



Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me



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**Did you miss this post from me?
---
**You're an idiot and you live in QLD, right?

There's a reason why those people who don't know what they're doing use
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Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


so that you know, (incase you had a problem with picking up on it) I
mentioned what happened as a way of letting people know that problems do
exist and that they shouldnt take things at face value....

But i guess you missed that bit.

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me


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There's no such rule.

power is typically run to whichever is closer to the fusebox and a branch run
to the light or the switch.

highly possible that it wasn't professional though.

Bye.
   Jasen

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me



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That's the current convention, and it has been for quite some time.
However, I don't believe it was the convention 20 years ago.

Peter

Re: house wiring wrong colour codes nearly got me



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I don't really follow what happened. Is your entire house black on the
active? Or did they just use some black cable for a single switch?



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