Not really. I traced one end of duff wire further back...ripped up the
floorboards... until it was just about to go back down the wall to the
other end. I cut it, blocked it, and connected it back to the end of the
radial..and it worked. Tried the other end that was literally just going
down the wall to the other socket/radial and it failed. I didn't have
enough cable to try chopping an inch or so off as it wouldn't move in
the conduit that was buried in the wall, so I needed a different solution.
After mapping out the paths of the sockets/cables etc I realised that
the only way to fix the duff cable was to tear the wall apart...and that
just wasn't gonna happen - kitchen only decorated last year (and no I
didn't touch the electrics then!). So I looked at the other options and
realised that I had an option of routing the good end through a couple
of beams that cables went through anyway and down behind the
fridge/freezer to the socket that was just before the end of the second
radial. A few tiles removed and plaster walls chased and job done. Still
got a bit of tidying up to do but did all this and still got to watch
the football on Saturday afternoon.
The RCD tripping indicates an earth leakage fault - that is a fault between
L-E or N-E. (These days the correct terminology is to call both L and N
"live" conductors - they're known as Phase and Neutral. Doesn't help you
any, but it's a reminder that you can still get a shock from the N under
certain circumstances.) Now a continuity test between L and E, and also
between N and E, would show up a dead short, but a negative result (i.e. a
high or "infinite" resistance) does not prove there is no current leakage
path. You need an insulation tester that puts 500V across the
conductors. It's then that you'd see the problem: the damp or the faulty
insulation then shows up, but a simple resistance/continuity test
unfortunately will not show up such a fault.
You dried out the end of the cable with a hair drier? Any sign of
tracking/burned insulation on the end of the cable that got wet?
To sum up: if on that strip of cable now isolated, you get continuity
between L and E or between N and E you have a dead short (continuity between
N and L woulld have blown the fuse not the RCD). If your continuity
test shows an "infinite" resistance between N-E or L-E then you have a
breakdown of insulation (possibly caused by damp), and the 500V insulation
resistance test would soon confirm that.
Before you rip up floorboards be absolutely sure there's nothing else on
that isolated bit of cable - I'd call an electrician in to confirm things
before I'd take up the floorboards.
By the way, now you've split the ring into 2 radials - the ring cable size
(2.5 mm sq) could be inadequate for any heavy loads. By my reckoning, if
you have anything 'heavy' on the circuit e.g. kettle, washing machine...
you should be alright running ONLY ONE such item at a time. To play safe,
run the kettle off the cooker outlet socket if you can and try and avoid
using the washer till it's fixed. It's by no means ideal, and to be
honest, what you are doing puts you on the wrong side of the law so if you c
all an electrician in you might want to be a bit circumspect in how much you
tell him you've done.
Keep us informed.
You have an earth leakage fault. Here's the clue "the circuit breaker
which protects the power to the house trips". You're talking about the
RCD - residual current device. It detects leakages of current to earth and
protects you from potentially fatal faults.
Go around and disconnect/isolate every appliance on the faulty circuit -
fridge, freezer, kettle, cooker, burglar alarm, central heating.....
whatever is on that circuit, unplug/isolate. Don't miss anything!
Now try putting the fuse back. Hopefully, your RCD won't trip. If
that's the case, go round and reconnect, one by one, the appliances till you
find the faulty one and take suitable action. If, with every appliance
disconnected you still have an earth fault, call an electrician.
Just a quick question folks, if I have missed it in this thread I apologise
But having found water in the socket, is it not worth pondering where this
has come from. has it splashed from a sink for example or roof leak,
damp, condensation ?
If this problem is not resolved, chances are you will never rectify the
Good point, David. Here's the relevant bit in Ocean Tragic's post:
"I took this circuit apart and there was a little water in the socket
(its near the sink - it wasn't me that put this in, or splashed the
The assumption is that it's water from the sink, but you're right: it needs
to be followed through. And if it is water from the sink, the socket
should not be in a position where it could conceivably get wet. He says
the electrics are around 15 years old. That might be a rewiring on an
old house - on the other hand, it could be a relatively new house, in which
case you would think sockets would not have been placed so near to a
sink.... or maybe not.
But in any case, the source of the water must be investigated.
Thanks for that.
A friend of mine went to a similar problem when he looked into it further he
found that the lady in question had put a pot plant on a table in front of a
socket and then watered the plant. Just goes to show you that you cant
legislate for stupidity.
I'd forgotten that four days earlier the top of the mixer tap came off
when filling the kettle. Luckily I'd only asked the wife if she had any
ideas how this happened, and didn't accuse her. Phew!
I guess this is how the water got there, but am suprised that the
problem took four days to happen?
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