just been shown on Talking Pictures.
Some nice old fuseboards, modern 3 pin plugs, and a gentleman gets electrocuted in the bath while his wife does the ironing.
Kind of reminds me of the Iron my granny bought from Arding and Hobbs, it
had a bayonet plug like the end of a light bulb and the instructions showed
it plugged into the overhead light in a kitchen. Do not remember the make
now, but can you imagine the uproar if one tried this today?
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I can remember my grandma having an iron with a bayonet fitting. She had an
"extension bayonet" fitting with a male end that plugged into the existing
pendant light fitting, and then straight-through female end for the light
bulb and another female end at 45 degrees for the iron.
shows what I mean. until I saw the illustration, I'd forgotten that it
included a switch for *one* of the outlets (just the light bulb, with the
iron being unswitched). Looks as if it's made of genuine Bakelite, as well
Yes even in the 1970s you could by fairy lights all wired in series across
the mains, usually 20 bulbs with one fusible bulb which had bayonet
connector on one end.
Highly lethal, no double insulated wires and the sockets were just in hard
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I wonder how many deaths (or injuries such as falling off ladders etc due to
muscle convulsions caused by shock) would be needed to lift it out of the
"hardly any" category.
I have had a mains shock in this situation where someone had cut and
rejoined one of the series wires using a terminal block. I made the
elementary, infantile mistake of thinking "there's only 12 V across each of
these bulbs, so it's safe", forgetting that as soon as you break the circuit
and replace the resistance of one bulb with the much higher resistance of
the human body, almost all the voltage drop is across the body and only a
small amount (proportional to lamp resistances relative to the body's) is
across the lamps. Ouch! Thanks goodness for the RCD tripping...
Certainly a lot more deaths than say one a year and there werent even that
Same with little kids sticking their fingers into normal light
bulb sockets with the light turned on or sticking metal into
the older unshuttered power points with them turned on
or plugging leads that had been cut off appliances into
a power point and grabbing the bare wire ends.
I managed it myself, twice now. The first time when building the house,
the pointing of the block work in the dark after a long day block laying. I
PAR38 flood lights on extension cords just lying on the wooden planks I had
on 44 gallon oil drums that I used instead of scaffolding. The PAR38 bulbs
didn’t like the vibration from walking on the planks much when running
turned on so the bulb life wasn’t brilliant. When one of them went out
with me left in the dark, I ran my hand along the cord to get to the bulb to
replace it and ended up with bare wires in my hand. Turned out that the
cord had pulled right out of the bulb holder instead of a failed bulb.
Decades later I used to power the wifi repeater half way down my
back neighbours back yard from my place using long extension
cord that lay on the ground across my back gate. One of the high
school kids that used to hang around the back gate smoking
so the school wouldn’t see them there had cut that cord in spite
because I used to fuck them off for smoking there.
My back neighbour had reported that the wifi repeater had
stopped again so I went out to see why and was talking to
him when I saw the cut cord and absent minded touched
the cut end of the cord while showing him that and got a
shock from that.
Don't have any RCDs here because the house was built in the very
early 70s by me. Didn’t get even a visible burn.
I think I would always get a whole-supply RCD fitted if the house didn't
have one. Even better is a separate RCD for each circuit so a failed light
fitting doesn't trip all the 3-pin plugs as well.
I don't think any of the shocks that I have had (various 240V mains, and one
of about 400 V from a transformer that powered a valve amplifier in a tape
recorder) gave me burns, just "dead" arms/fingers for a while afterwards.
All except one were without RCD protection.
The most recent one (a few weeks ago) was with RCD, and though it gave me a
bit of a jolt, there was no lasting effect. Just as well considering I think
it was arm to arm (across the heart) and my heart may be less tolerant after
I had a heart attack eight years ago. The circumstances were about as stupid
as you can imagine - I'm ashamed to say that I made the elementary mistake
of seeing that the light bulbs were off and thinking that that meant the
wall switch was off - forgetting that the bulbs are all Philips Hue which
are left permanently powered but the LEDs can be turned off. I'd been so
good about turning off both wall switch and lighting circuit MCB, apart from
that one time when I needed to make yet another change to the wiring between
one ceiling spotlight and another, and couldn't be arsed to go downstairs to
the circuit breaker and thought I'd rely on the wall switch.
I don’t bother because I have seen those
events be no more than a minor nuisance.
There is very little chance of getting across
the mains and neutral or mains to earth
with a low enough resistance to be a
problem even tho I spend the entire spring
summer and winter inside the house with
bare feet on a bare concrete floor.
That tripping on an appliance fault is likely
to be much more of a damned nuisance.
I do have one of those portable RCDs with
an extension cord plug and a set of sockets
on the box and so have just electric chainsaws
but never bother to use it for that. The chainsaws
do have plastic bodys where you hold them when
I don’t even use it with the hand held circular saw
either and the oldest one that I used to build the
house has a metal body entirely, no plastic at all.
My house is 2 phase with the lights and socket circuits
spread between the two phases so a single phase failure
with the street mains doesn’t see everything go off, so
one RCD per phase wouldn’t see that happen.
I've never see that dead arm/finger result. I did get one sort
of hole in the hand somewhere, forget what produced that.
Not clear if that risk does increase, spose it might given that yours did
All my lights have always been on mains sockets. Mostly with non
switched sockets at the socket itself in the ceiling accessed thru
4'x1' drop in sections in the ceiling which can take a full double
fluoro fitting. Most of them only have a stop in multi section
piece of what we call fibro, rigid wall sheet that at one time
used to have asbestos in them but now doesn’t.
Had any regrets with the Hues ? I havent and mine is almost all
Hue now. Not cheap but work brilliantly. I don’t have any physical
switches at all, just movement sensors and use a voice command
to tell the system to turn all the lights off when in bed. With all
of iphones, google home minis and an echo box able to control
everything and some stuff done on time of day/ sunrise and sunset.
Love it except for the price. Don’t think that I have ever paid full
price for any of it, buy the amazon discounts and get 10% off
that as well at Bunnings with their price match if you are quick
enough so they havent noticed the latest amazon discount offer yet.
Hue bulbs are certainly very good. The only problem we had with one bulb was
a mechanical one and nothing to do with the technology: one of the little
lugs that stick out from the bayonet fitting (UK uses bayonet not Edison
screw) on one bulb has come off, so the bulb doesn't lock into the fitting
on one side. I've never had it happen with any other bulb, so maybe it's a
slightly weak point on Hue bulbs - or maybe the larger size/weight of the
bulbs makes them more vulnerable if a table lamp gets knocked over (we
suspect it may have happened while some friends were staying).
It's great to be able to turn lights on or off by switch, movement sensor or
Alexa voice control, and to be able to dim them or time them to come on in
Philips *urgently* need to lift that 50-odd bulbs per hub restriction. Our
new house has *lots* of GU10 ceiling spotlights, fitted by the previous
owners, and in any room on a given light switch, all those need to be
changed to Hue. We are very close to the limit, and there are still two
rooms that are not yet Hue. As far as I know, the restriction is per hub,
but you can't control more than one hub from the same user account on the
app and on Alexa, so getting an extra hub isn't the solution.
It's a shame also that Hue bulbs have a minimum brightness and can't be
dimmed further (as night lights) without turning them right off.
But they are a great idea. Now Philips need to bring the price down
dramatically. Like you, we only buy them when Amazon have them on special
Which bit is incorrect: the 50+ bulb per hub limit or the one hub per Hue
app account? Keeping up with all the restrictions is not easy, and it's
possible that some of the restrictions may have been lifted/modified since
we last checked.
Not that unusual back in the day, few people had and wall outlets. You
could even buy BC double adaptors, so you could plug the iron in and
have the bulb lit. Many of the homes with socket outlets, probably only
had a single 5amp two pin in the whole house. I remember my dad running
an electric fire, radio, Christmas tree and later a TV via a multi way
adaptor from a 5amp two pin. If the fuse blew, rewire with an even
bigger wire :-)
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