I shall be taking my old PC to the Netherlands, to use in the MIL's
house when we're there on holiday. It's got a standard UK PSU with earth
connection. Trouble is, sockets in NL don't have earth connections,
except in places like the kitchen and garage. I'll be using the PC in an
I don't want to rewire the room, so do I (a) just plug it in as it is
(different plug, of course) and have no earth connection, or (b) go to
the local components shop and fit a local PSU?
I asked this question in a PC ng and got replies like "Does 'earth' mean
'ground'?" and 'Fit an adapter' and such, falling into the chocolate
teapot range of usefulness. Not a single answer relating to the question
Here's hoping for some sense here!
On Sat, 17 Sep 2005 16:39:48 GMT,it is alleged that Peter Twydell
PCs MUST be earthed, a 'local' psu is likely to be identical to the
"UK' model (if it's CE marked, it's legal to use anywhere in europe).
Even in the great (previously) Unearthed States of America, PCs have
three prong plugs, (causing much consternation when confronted with
old 2 prong outlets, but that's OT).
The fact of the matter is they WILL work with no earth but will become
hazardous to your health and sanity. Not only do they become unstable,
but the filters will cause leakage to the unearthed case. This tends
to float the case at around 100-125 volts to ground(earth) causing you
to go 'hmm what's this vibration feeling here...owwww'.
Guess what happened to me a few months ago (broken earth pin on the
A temporary expedient would be to do the 'adapter' thing, with a
flying lead for the earth and clamp it to the earthed pipework
All modern outlets in .nl should be earthed. I would seriously suggest
that 'rewiring the bedroom' might actually be a very healthy idea.
We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very
average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something
I concur with the above.
The lack of an earth can cause instability due to the lack of filtering
and it can cause the PC to generate more radio interference. The
'tingle' you feel might also be quite substantial were you to also be
in contact with earthed metalwork at the time.
It would certainly help to use some form of RCD adaptor, just to give
you a bit of protection.
Perhaps fit an RCD plug to the PC, then make an adaptor consisting of
a trailing 13A socket connected to a NL-type (Schuko?) plug.
Holland often doesn't provide earthed outlets in earth-free
areas of the home. You can't get an electric shock from the
PC because there is no earthed metalwork nearby for the
current to pass through you. Contrary to what you might
imagine from some of the responses, the dutch are not rapidly
dying of electrocution as a result. This is a scheme which
is recognised in our wiring regs, but not permitted in the UK
except in special circumstances which I can't remember (and
I don't have the regs on me to look it up).
You'll find dutch PC's have exactly the same PSU's as UK PC's.
You just plug it in. There shouldn't be any earthed metalwork
in the room, but you might like to just cast your eye around
and keep the PC away from any that you notice.
Well, this is really an international wiring query rather than
anything specifically relating to PC's.
On 17 Sep 2005 18:15:24 GMT, email@example.com (Andrew
Er........ Tell you what, just to prove that theory do me a favour, go
and stick your fingers on a live phase cable in the back of a socket,
but don't touch anything metallic. Does it hurt, are you dead?
If you're not a valid path to earth, it won't hurt a bit. Same reason
birds don't die when they land on the bare wires. An electric shock is
caused by your body being an easier path than the wires the electricity
would normally pass though. A body in isolation provides no such path.
(Same reason an isolating transformer works).
Well, wrong again. The reason birds don't die after landing on power
lines is that they are not touching the erth, therefore not forming a
path to earth, which is correct. What isn't vorrect is the fact that
you will not get a shock by not touching metal. You provide a path to
earth by being stood on earth, or on a floor in a house, or in loads
of places really.
If you're saying that every single outlet in a NL home is provided by
power from its own individual isolating transformer then theoretically
this works as you say above. It doesn't work if there is more than one
fault on seperate circuits as it's not the earth potential, it's the
relative potential across 2 fault paths that does the electrocuting.
It's just that because of the way we have UK earths set up it's
generally the earth that has the highest differential potential from
the live conductors.
Still misleading and potentially dangerous information no matter what
variation of made up we go on.
413-04 "Protection by non-conducting location".
It's not permitted in the UK except in special situations,
but some other countries do use it. I don't know what the
dutch regs say, but the IEE regs forbid the use of earthed
socket outlets in such locations.
I recently started disconnecting part of an unused circuit to old external
lighting. After I had removed parts, and touched the live conductor, I
realised I'd reset the MCB feeding the circuit. I never felt a thing when I
touched the live conductor. I was wearing rubber soled shoes, and was up a
stepladder with plastic feet. I'm glad I hadn't touched the adjacent garage
door (which I had never got round to earthing with edn 15 regs). Up the
ladder was (at the time) an earth free environment. I'm not going to try it
I've done it with a lightswitch, accidentally.
Felt only very slight tingling -- probably only a milliamp
flowing as it was barely on the edge of being perceptable.
I've done it deliberately when changing a CU with live tails
(not something I would ever suggest anyone try, but along the
lines of "do as I say, and not as I do", something I've done
a few times). When I believe I have got myself well isolated,
I check it by brushing the _back_ of my hand against a live
conductor to make sure there's no current path through me.
The danger in handling live tails is not so much directly
from electrocution as it is from flash burns if you should
happen to accidentally short out the meter tails. The
resulting arc could generate the best part of a megawatt of
heat a few inches in front of your face, with the resultant
molten and vapourised metals blasted outwards from it too.
Such a short circuit could be triggered by a reflex reaction
to an electric shock, so being pre-prepared not to get an
electric shock is just as important as well protecting
yourself from possible flash burns (exposed skin covered,
at least eye and preferably full face protection).
Thanks for all the suggestions.
I think what I'll do is replace the existing socket with an earthed one
and run an earth wire. This might be clamped to the iron radiator in the
room or possibly go to the earthed socket by the CH boiler the other
side of the wall. The wall is probably soft anyway, so making a small
hole won't be a problem.
When I mentioned rewiring the room, I was thinking in terms of running a
wire through the conduit, which might be tricky as I've no idea of the
route. It will be possible to use narrow trunking on the surface,
The PC probably has a Class 1 power supply and the earth provides back
up in the (unlikely) event that the "basic" (as defined in EN60950)
insulation in the PSU should fail.
Earth leakage due to EMC filtering Y-caps and the like will be quite
low - maximum permitted under EN60950 is 3.5mA - well below the trip
level of an RCD.
No piece of home/office equipment should be relying on the earth
connection to make it safe under normal operating conditions.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.