Is it possible to get a 16A fused spur, or components to make one up?
My new tumble dryer has arrived. It obviously has two heating elements (or
less likely, some complicated power electronics), as it can be configured
for 10A or 16A operation. It is currently plugged into a 13A socket switched
by a 20DP switch on a 32A radial, so must be run at 10A. Drying times would
be considerably reduced using the 16A option, which given the avalanche of
washing it deals with, would be very useful.
Diversity in the circuit is easily sufficient for the load at 16A. Has
anyone seen some sort of replacement for a 13A unswitched socket that would
enable me to connect it in? It needs to be protected at 16A via fuse or MCB,
I'm quite happy to hard wire the flex into it, or a nearby junction box. I
have neither the money, space or inclination to install a 1 way consumer
unit with a 16A MCB. Something that fits in a single electrical box and
doesn't jut out from the wall would be good.
It is providing the 16A protection that is the issue. I'm quite happy wiring
the flex into a 20A junction box rather than a plug/socket arrangement.
What is the lowest profile 16A fuse or MCB enclosure that is available? I
have plenty of wall space, but it can't jut out more than a couple of
centimetres, so I can't use a consumer unit. In fact, MCBs are so thick, I
doubt any enclosure could be made to fit. Presumably it isn't possible to
get BS1362 16A fuses? I don't want to run yet another circuit back to a
dedicated 16A circuit, especially as I have enough power available through
the current circuit.
How big is it? Most switchfuses are several times the size of what I'm
looking for. Totally unnecessarily large, it has to be said, given that it
is a glorified fuse holder.
P.S. Can I just use an mains inline fuse holder housed in a flush electrical
box? I see there are plenty of 16A HRC fuses around in numerous sizes rated
nominally at 400V. I would just need to find a suitably rated holder for a
C-20 or 831 size cartridge fuse.
A 16A breaker would be better. However, I only have 2cm thickness behind the
dryer to work with. I can't see any consumer unit fitting in there. I can
flush in small items, like wiring accessories.
The BS4343 industrial-style plug and socket is the solution which
springs first to my mind. Some jutting-from-wall is inevitable,
though you can reduce it with a right-angled plug (RS 491-591) and
a small-flange socket (RS 488-983), sinking the enclosure (RS 502-045
or non-flammable box of your own devising) maximally into the wall.
With this range of plugs and sockets there'd be no question of the
contacts being stressed by repeated pulling of the full load.
Neater alternatives, still rated for 16A (though some provide less
complete confidence in contact integrity for long-term use at these
high-for-domestic-appliances loads) include: the IEC "higher current"
style fittings (RS 295-8743 socket, 295-8771) (sometimes seen on
higher-power 19inch rack power distribution units); the ST18 connectors,
used on Aphel mains-distribution units (RS 235-565 plug, 213-4650 socket)
- these don't latch massively strongly - and even the HVAC-style
(heating-ventilation-and-aircon) connectors like the RS 155-9496
flat-to-the-wall socket with mating plug 103-0967. Oh, and there are
the Neutrik Powercon mains connectors: RS 246-8284 for the plug,
246-8313 for the socket; these latter rated at 20A (assuming a 2.5mmsq
flex, they say: not often seen on UK appliances, but a lot more widely
available than hen's teeth or rocking-horse droppings; cut lengths from
a trade counter, often disguised as 'Arctic' cable ;-).
That's the connector side of things - alternatives abound. Now, what
about overcurrent and short-circuit protection? What you'll have with
any of the above - or, indeed, hard-wiring direct into the 20A switch -
is a dedicated socket into which only your timble dryer can connect,
so there's no chance of an overload from multiple appliances sharing
the socket. Is the tumble-drier a load which can itself produce an
overload? I wouldn't have thought so: its motor is a small device not
responsible for most of the consumption, and if the drum gets stuck,
you'll presumably have a slipping belt and possibly internal overload
protection rather than a sustained current of say 40A (a figure chosen
to be high enough to make the appliance cable dangerously hot, but too
low to trip your 32A MCB). And with a short flex, it's unlikely (but
you could do the calcs to be sure!) that the earth loop impedance will
be too high to give you acceptable disconnection times. Without doing
the calculations it's not possible to be certain, but I'm far from
convinced that you need closer overcurrent protection for this
appliance-and-flex (especially if it is, or can readily and safely
be made, a 2.5mmsq flex).
If, however, you're determined to add a 16A or 20A overcurrent
protection element, RS will be happy to sell you either a "simple"
fuseholder for 6x32mm fuses - fuseholder 236-5731 rated to 16A,
pack of 10 16A fuses to fit at 209-9298 or 209-9311 for Aunty Serge;
or a 1-2 module DIN rail enclosure and a 16A MCB (doesn't have to be
physically right next to your plug-n-socket, though you did say you
really don't fancy such a 1-way mini-CU solution); or even a CBE (a
Circuit Breaker For Equipment - different from an MCB in being
rated for much smaller short-circuit currents, but fine used in
conjunction with the MCB you already have on the ring circuit).
For example, there's a thermally-operated 15A CBE as stock number
405-9157, or a 20A cousin at 405-9179, under 6 quid + VAT, or in
pretty rocker-switch style - 286-0719, 16A, or 286-0753 if you
want an Illuminated one. These last are double-pole switching, so
could sensibly replace your existing 20A switch and provide
isolation for maintenance as well as overload protection.
Hope that gives you some useful ideas for your next visit to rswww.com ;-)
Well, despite your reasoned suggestion that overcurrent protection may be
met safely by a B32A MCB, the instructions state that protection for
overcurrent must be provided for 16A, and I suspect the wiring regulations
will expect you to follow specific manufacturer's instructions. I'll look
again, just in case 20A will be allowable, which allows a better choice of
protection if old "UK" style ratings are used.
This is the direction I appear to be moving in. The load is mostly
resistive, I'd imagine. Can't imagine the motor is particularly powerful.
It's not like it is 1600 spin, like its room mate. In fact, with 1600 spin
and the 16A upgrade, the washing machine should become the slowest link in
the chain when it comes to cycling through the washing. (Often have 3 or 4
loads to pass through in a day and have to sit around waiting for the dryer
to finish, particularly if quick wash is used).
Will investigate. Sounds intriguing.
The current switch is a pretty 3 gang grid switch above worktop level also
shared with dishwasher and washing machine. Definitely a "want to keep"
situation for aesthetic reasons. All 3 items are off a single 6mm T&E B32A
radial shared with nowt else. Should be plenty of diversity to be found to
keep the lot happy. After all, I've seen houses with a single 32A ring
running that lot, plus TV, microwave, kettle, etc.
I wouldn't be surprised if official 16A fused spurs start becoming more
available. There appears to be a lot more in the way of 16A appliances
coming out of Europe, where they are typically run on dedicated 16A radial
Hmmm. Both the suggested fuseholder and the CBEs are very deep and couldn't
be flush mounted in the space available. However, I have noticed item
360-7272, which should do the trick, though. Takes 10x38 fuses (where 16A is
readily available) is rated for 30A (most fuseholders seem to have a 6.3A or
10A rating) and is base mounted, so can be stuffed inside a prepared flush
However, are you allowed to have base mounted fuses that require the user
(even though it is myself) to unscrew the box lid and have access to the
live feed? (Presuming they aren't sufficiently clued up to throw the
"Christian McArdle" wrote
| Is it possible to get a 16A fused spur, or components to make one up?
| My new tumble dryer has arrived. ... plugged into a 13A socket switched
| by a 20DP switch on a 32A radial, so must be run at 10A. Drying times
| be considerably reduced using the 16A option,
| It needs to be protected at 16A via fuse or MCB,
AIUI normal practice would be to use a 16A BS4343 socket on a 20A radial. If
the tumble is happy to be fused at 20A and the circuit would still remain
adequate for the other loads, could you drop the circuit MCB to 20A?
especially if you were careful to switch off the dryer for the few minutes
whilst the washer was filling and heating the wash water.
But Christian's a Continental at heart and *likes* radials, dammit ;-)
Reducing the circuit MCB to 20A doesn't give him the 16A protection
his drier manufacturer asserts is necessary, and to which he'd like to
keep notwithstanding my perfectly-reasoned overload arguments ;-)
To me it's looking more and more like mounting the 16A 6x32mm fuseholder
(or the slightly pricier but easier-to-reset CBE) into a small box
securely mounted to the back of the drier, having cut the existing appliance
cable at a suitable point. This seems to meet the aesthetic requirements
(keep existing switch, minumum wall projection) and the
letter-of-the-manufacturer's-instructions ones with minimal expenditure
(and no opening of the drier's cabinet, to avoid warranty issues).
Hadn't thought of that. That way the excessive depth doesn't matter as you
could mount sideways. Of course, the flex isn't protected by the fuse, then.
However, I'm sure there is space for a surface mounted box on the skirting
level, which would not be interfered with by the machine, which is
integrated and so has a gap at the bottom. That way the flex can be cut
right at the plug end and mounted into a junction box.
Super. And the flex *is* protected by the fuse, whereever it's physically
located - an overload from the appliance will blow the fuse whether
that fuse is physically close to the appliance housing, or back at the
point where the flex leaves the pretty 20A switch. That's what "circuit"
means, right? ;-) While short-circuit protection on the length of flex
is provided by the 32A MCB back in the CU. This is the same principle
which allows all the Euro-style equipment with on-board fuseholders
(in some cases) or without (in the case of table lamps etc.) to be
safely used in non-fused Schuko outlets, with flexes of only 0.75
or 1mmsq: the MCB provides short-circuit protection, while the equipment
fuse (may be a built-in thermally-resettable one), or the Nature Of
The Load (as in a table-lamp) provides overcurrent protection.
Glad we seem to have found a solution, anyway. Oh, as to your question
about safe working on non-touch-proof fuseholders: given you have a DP
switch ahead of the proposed fuseholder, in the same room as the fuseholder,
I'm pretty sure you're in good shape (though I s'pose a warning label
or marking on or inside the junction-box or sideways-mounted-box
wouldn't hurt). And as a final aside... by the working of those twin
evil-doers Sod and Murphy, the particular fuseholder you found in the
RS range is sold in standard-multiples of 5 - so that's nigh on 20 quid,
plus the VAT, if you're wedded to that particular model. Many of the other
fuse-holders they sell, though, are sold in singles. Just one more
thing we have to watch out for when selecting from the glorious
cornucopia that is the RS product range for personal use, rather than work
(where we incant "oh, the spares'll go into the Useful Items bin" ;-)
Absolutely not. The circuit is absolutely intended for the purpose of
running the dishwasher, tumble dryer and washing machine simultaneously.
Although the ratings of the appliances might add up to more than 32A, it
isn't by much if at all and thermostat duty cycle should sort it out. 20A
would not cut it, however.
It begs the question where does this 10A and 16A bit come from? Presumably
it is a Euro-market model which have either 10A 'kettle' type connectors or
16A Schuko (or whatever type it is.) Better to look at the power rating -
which should (I think) be quoted by law. 16A would be around 4KW and I
personally would be surprised if it really is as high as that.
Because it is stated in the handbook or on the unit it does not mean per se
that it is fact!
According to the instructions, you can physically change the rating from 10A
to 16A. I presumed that this was because European sockets are 16A, whilst
the reduced rating allowed it to be sold in other markets where 16A
connections are not available. The UK version is set to 10A with a 3 pin
plug. The French model will have a euro plug and be set to 16A. You can
replace the plug and change the setting, according to the manual. I suspect
the setting enables or disables an additional heating element.
The manual gives drying times based on the selected rating. IIRC, one of the
example loads goes from 120 minutes on 10A down to 85 minutes on 16A.
There's a low temperature button too!
I suspect the low temperature programmes will be less affected by the
change. Also, increasing the heater output might enable a greater air flow
to be used, maintaining the same internal temperature, but removing more
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