A cautionary tale...
A couple of regular posters to uk.d-i-y occasionally warn against
soldering wire tails where said tail is to enter a screw terminal. The
usual reason given is "solder creep" and eventual development of a poor
I have a washing machine plugged into a home-made extension lead. This
lead has been in use for many years and is constructed using good
quality materials (Duraplug 4-way strip, 2.5mm2 PVC cable etc.) I
soldered the wire tails before fitting the plug; this was before I'd
seen any of the warnings on uk.d-i-y.
The washing machine is plugged into this lead (no other appliances
because of the load) as a temporary solution while I wait for my
bathroom to be refurbished.
For some time I'd noticed an occasional faint "hot bakelite" smell but
had not been able to trace it to a specific device. I've just had the
kitchen refurbished, and had GU10 halogen spots fitted in the ceiling as
part of that work. I assumed that one of those was failing, or that the
smell was the lamp housing simply getting hot.
Today the smell was particularly strong and I traced it to the plug of
the extension lead feeding the washing machine. The plug and first two
inches of cable were hot, but the washing machine plug was cool, as was
the 4-way block itself.
Opening the plug and checking showed that all three screws had worked
loose, and that the live connection had begun to burn up. Photos at:
you don't want to browse the album, this shows the burnt connection:
I cut the plug off, disposed of it and replaced it with a MK Safetyplug,
where the wire tails wrap around the terminals instead of being held by
- posted 12 years ago