Choosing a Consumer Unit (Electrical)

What are the pros & cons of the various makes (apart from cost) of Consumer Unit?
eg the TLC catalog lists MK, Wylex and Contactum & there's others.
Is Contactum a TLC own-brand?
I'm looking for a (plastic cased) 12 to 15 way split load (80A RCD/100A plain) preferably with a moveable division, but would also consider separate RCD & plain units. Price matters but not nearly so much as quality - ie I don't want to have to replace it again (ever - if eternity exists).
many thanks for any advice/experience/views.
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On 8 Jan 2004 15:09:09 -0800, yorks_dales snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (the yorkshire dalesman) wrote:

No, they are generally available.

I've used MK consumer units (one in the house, one in the garage and one in each of two outbuildings. Each has main incoming switch, various MCBs, RCD or RCBOs all from MK as well.
I've also used their wiring accessories around the house, replacing the contract type that were originally fitted in the house.
Certainly MK is not the cheapest in the market , but I've always found them to be completely reliable, well thought out designs and good quality,.
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
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the yorkshire dalesman wrote:

I've recently fitted 2 of the Wylex 12 way spilt-load kits that Screwfix sell. They seem good quality and easy to fit. The kits were 70 quid but are now 75. In both cases they replaced Wylex cartridge fuse type units that were still going strong after 25+years.
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yorks_dales snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (the yorkshire dalesman) wrote: [...]

[...]
Just make sure you check the spec on the RCD - most devices bundled as part of a split board seem to be 63A. If you really need 80A then 63 isn't going to hack it.
Hwyl!
M.
--
Martin Angove: http://www.tridwr.demon.co.uk /
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Wylex do a split load cu with 80A RCD.
Dave
--
And you were born knowing all about ms windows....??


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No opinions as to makes, but if you want maximum flexibility for any changes that you might make in the future, then consider installing a plain CU and individual RCBOs or MCBs depending upon each individual circuit. This is not a particularly cheap option, but one big advantage is that a leakage fault in a circuit will take out only that circuit and not the entire RCD-protected rail.
This is the way that I will go when I get round to replacing our CU this year.
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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changes
I was also thinking of doing this but I want rewireable/cartridge fuses for the lighting circuits instead MCB/RCBO. Does anyone know of a CU with this option?
TIA
Andy R
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[..]

I have always used Hager. I've been fitting them since I was an apprentice. You can get all sorts of different CPD's - MCB's, RCBO's, HRC's and all types of each. Top quality, good price. You could even put all of your heating and lighting controllers in there too along with a built in emergency light but that may be a little excessive for what you want!
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"Andy R" wrote | I was also thinking of doing this but I want rewireable/cartridge | fuses for the lighting circuits instead MCB/RCBO. Does anyone | know of a CU with this option?
Why anyone would want rewireable fuses is beyond me[1] and remember that if you do use them the cables must be derated.
Owain
[1] If you have a problem with blown bulbs tripping MCB then get decent light fittings and not some electrolier that thinks it's still the 1930s
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if
Why anyone would want MCBs that trip every time a light bulb goes is beyond me. Trekking out to the garage in the dark to reset an MCB isn't my idea of fun. I've got young kids and if all the lights go out they come running down the stairs in the dark to find out what's happening. A real fault in the lighting circuit is extremely rare so it's extremely unlikely I'd ever have to replace the fuse.
The quality of the light fitting has little to do with the MCB tripping, there was an excellent explanation of why a bulb failing trips the MCB posted IIRC by Andrew Gabriel some time ago. A Google search should find it.
Rgds
Andy R
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wrote in message> > I was also thinking of doing this but I want rewireable/cartridge

Indeed, wire fuses are safer than MCBs on light circuits (only). There are safety pros and cons for each option, but repeated loss of lights is the biggest risk, and wire fuses avoid that.
They are also more convenient, as wire fuses rarely blow. When they do, downtime is longer, but a 2 or 3 minute outage per 20 years is a lot better than monthly 1 minute darkouts.
Regards, NT
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I wouldn't say they were safer on any circuit, (I assume you're on about rewirable, not HRC), I certainly wouldn't recommend them in any situation. I have fitted many HRC fuses and have only had them blowing under fault conditions, very rarely because 1 bulb has blown. Rewirable are next to useless in any situation, damn near blinded me because of rewirable fuses, but thats another story!
SJW A.C.S. Ltd.
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"N. Thornton" wrote | Indeed, wire fuses are safer than MCBs on light circuits (only). | There are safety pros and cons for each option, but repeated | loss of lights is the biggest risk, and wire fuses avoid that.
Because they provide a lower standard of electrical protection.
Loss of lights is a risk which can be avoided by proper circuit arrangements (more than one lighting circuit per storey, if not per room) and the provision of ELUs at hazard spots (stairs and kitchen) together with proper selection of luminaires. Tripping MCBs on bulb failure is an excellent additional reason for avoiding mains voltage incandescent lighting.
| They are also more convenient, as wire fuses rarely blow. When | they do, downtime is longer,
As long as it takes to find some 4mm cable to rewire the fuse with.
Owain
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I don't think anyone's been seriously arguing for "semi-enclosed rewirable have-your-eye-out put-a-nail-in" fuses; but there's certainly a very legitimate place for cartridge fuses, which have usefully different time characteristics and current-breaking capacities to circuit breakers. For domestic lighting circuits as found in established UK wiring practice, I'd agree with Nick that there's a pragmatic safety gain to replace an MCB (esp. a 'B'-characteristic quick-trip one) with a physically compatible DIN-rail fuseholder fitted with an appropriate cartridge fuse. MEM, for one, sell these as a standard CU accessory.
Stefek
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Hi folks.
From Lurch:

Exactly how they should behave. MCBS OTOH misbehave routinely.

That isnt credible. They do exactly whats needed, and meet all the latest requirements.

I have a feeling you have a story to tell us :)
There are /un/enclosed wire fuses that I've seen in extremely old installs that are a risk, but where theyre covered up by the ceramic holder, as in any modern or even semi modern CU, fuse wire explosion is not a problem. I await your story, but meanwhile dont forget that one case of almost injury proves nothing, since MCBs are also known to cause injury through stair falls.
From: Owain ( snipped-for-privacy@stirlingcity.co.uk) "N. Thornton" wrote

Their trip characteristics are very different, but under fault conditions they do their job. They dont cause a problem there.
A trip device that does not cause numerous unwanted and sometimes dangerous trips is a better standard of protection.

arrangements
proper
excellent
It could, but this is all very unrealistic. You can specify that for some commercial installs or a few rich householders, but in the real world you just wont find that in most houses. Few will meet all that.

Thats their one downside, and is easily resolved by putting a fuse wire card on the CU. That is a far more workable and easier solution than your suggestion above.
From: snipped-for-privacy@hp.com ( snipped-for-privacy@hp.com)

different
breakers.
practice,
an
compatible
for one,

Indeed, it removes 99% of a very well known risk, one that injures and kills people.
Rewirable fuses remove that risk too, though they also have the potential for miswiring. Even there, one has to look at the relative risks. I dont know what the stats are, ie: in how many places rewirables are miswired, how many of those lead to fire or shock, and how many injuries and deaths result from those. I also dont know the stats for MCB-caused accidents and deaths, due to loss of lighting and subsequent falls down stairs, failures to get out of fires alive, welding of the MCB contacts, trip mechanism failure, deliberate miswiring as a result of nuisance trips, etc.
I would not rush to assume that MCBs are safer on lighting circuits until I actually knew the figures. From what little I know, I am fairly convinced that cart fuses are safer than MCBs on lighting, and I expect rewirable fuses may well be too.
Until we get the figures, it is impossible to actually know. Assuming that quicker fault disconnects and less overcurrent tolerance leads to greater safety is in truth an assumption rather than a fact.
Regards, NT
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On 14 Jan 2004 06:07:21 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk (N. Thornton) wrote:

Given the reliability of HRC's as mentioned at the top of this post there is no reason to use rewirable. Although they might comply with current regulations I still wouldn't use them on the grounds that they are far less liable to provide adequate protection and given the non-modular arrangement of rewirable CU's they will not tie into a new installation so MCB's and/or HRC's would be far more suitable.

Long story short, working on a cooker switch, someone else put fuse back in, (rewirable!), as I reached into the back of the cooker box the live and earth welded together, blinding flashes and minor burns, hospital treatment required. Even with L&E welded together on the end of a 6mm cable no more than 10m from the board the 30A rewirable fuse never blew.

Quite right, but in case of electrical faults, MCB's would offer better protection. As you say there are pro's and con's to each type of CPD. I have all MCB's in my own house bar the lighting covering the stairs which is protected by a HRC.

When you say wire fuses do you mean HRC or rewirable?

Not neccessarily, see above! I have been on jobs before with a rewirable board, with the wiring in a lethal state. Surprisingly, (not), not one fuse had blown. With MCB's and RCD's this dangerous installation would have had attention before because of MCB's tripping etc. With HRC's the faults probably wouldn't have shown up as quickly, but they would.

As I say, HRC's on lighting circuits.

Think you'll find there's more than one downside.

Yes, but they also dont really provide much protection under fault conditions.

SJW A.C.S. Ltd.
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