I recently had my old fuse box replaced with a Consumer Unit. The
electrician fitted a unit with two RCBs and separated the upstairs and
downstairs circuits. Unfortunately, when the power was put back on, the
lighting circuits kept tripping.
He stated that this was because of the way the hall/landing lights were
linked in my house and that although he could change that - it would be a
major job involving lifting carpets and floorboards. I didn't want all that
trouble (and expense!) and so agreed to having both upstairs and downstairs
lighting circuits on the same RCB. That solved the tripping problem but
means, of course, that any fault that trips that RCB will result in *all* my
lights going out.
Is it that big a job to sort out the wiring of the hall/landing switching?
Unhelpfully, i suspect the answer is "it depends".
According to the exact routing of your hall stairs and landing wiring, I
expect some neutrals have got linked which would have been no problem at
the time but now you have the infernal RCBs fitted, this is causing the
By careful disconnection of wires in the switches ( mark everything and
make notes!!) You should be able to deduce the way it has been wired and
work out where the neutral bridge has occurred. Quite what then to do
about it depends on where you can pick up a neutral of the right type.
Yes your sparks was correct in what he did otherwise at commercial rates
it would have cost you dear to rectify it. But reading your other posts
I guess you possible have time to do this yourself and if your 'Active
DIY' skills extend to electrickery then it should be do able.
A logical approach and reasoning skills ought to sort it out.
NB there are two distinct method of wiring two way switched lighting and
it would be worth looking up both (internet search is bound to find
them) before starting to map your installation.
If you have a 3 switch system it can be even more fun!
I came across this twice last week when I was swapping CUs.
Your problem is that the landing light is taking it 230V from the downstairs
lighting circuit and is taking is neutral from the upstairs lighting
circuit. It is called a borrowed neutral and can leave a circuit live that
you think you have isolated.
Strictly speaking the electrician should have put both circuits on the same
MCB as well as the same RCD.
You only solutions are.
1) Take a neutral from the downstairs lighting circuit (can be from a light
fitting or the CU) and run this to the landing light and remove the neutral
that the landing light uses at the moment.
2) Take a live from the upstairs circuit to the (almost certainly but it
would need to be checked) downstairs lightswitch. That will probably mean
chopping into walls.
If you have an airing cupboard you can use it to run a cable inside to the
loft then option 1 is the way to go. You could DIY it.
I'm a little confused here. I take it that 1) and 2) are 'options' and not
two steps that have to be undertaken together? Option 1) should be fairly
simple, whereas option 2), as you point out, would be a lot more
Unfortunately I don't have an airing cupboard - I recently removed it and
replaced it with a shower cubicle when we had a new combi installed! I do,
however, have an internal boxed-in main soil pipe and that may be an
alternative route for the neutral.
Sorry. Yes they are options. Do one or the other. Do not do both:-)
If you can drop down a boxed in soil pipe then do it. Any neutral from the
downstairs lighting will do. Use a juntion box if you have to. 1mm or 1.5mm
6181y blue cable is all you need.
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