Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby suej » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:23 pm

One sort of RCD is something you plug into the socket and then plug your appliance into it, you can use them for things like hedge cutters or lawn mowers, then if you cut the cable it stops the electric and stops you from getting a shock. New electric boxes have switches rather fuses, some of them are set so sensitive that if your light bulb pops it trips the switch.
Hope that helps, till perhaps Steve gets back to us ;)
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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby Janet » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:37 pm

Cheers Sue, I used to use one of those with the lawnmower. The new fusebox I have now does have switches and if something blows you just flick the switch back up. Sounds like the electrics maybe already protected.
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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby Steve C » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:37 pm

Let's take this question of electrical safety a bit further.

The installation regulations for your domestic wiring are constantly changing, and always for the better. I'm a mechanical engineer so I don't know the key dates when the regs changed, maybe someone can fill in the dates for us.

My house was built in 1971 and has the old fashioned, changeable, fuse wire protection. This is very basic. The fuse will blow if you overload the circuits. Its basically designed so that the fixed house wiring can not be overloaded with the fire risk that that poses. Its also a designed to blow the fuse if you were to fit the wires in a plug the wrong way round - very dangerous!

The next stage was fitting your fuse board, more correctly termed the distribution board, with things called MCBs. This stands for minature circuit breaker, and does the exact same job as the old fashioned fuse, no more, no less. Its only advantage is that if the circuit is overloaded, it immediately switches the circuit off. It can be reset when the circuit is loaded within the safe limit for it. Many of you will have these in your distribution board. They are not designed to check the safety of the appliances that you plug into the domestic mains.

In an attempt to enhance safety, a device called an ELCB, or eath leakage circuit breaker was developed. As the name suggests, this was designed to detect any electrical current that was leaking into the earth wire. The earth wire should carry no current at all, its there only as a safety feature should things go very wrong. If the device detected any current in the earth wire, it switched off the faulty appliance almost immediately. This fault condition would NOT make the MCB in the fuseboard switch off.

The main fault with the ELCB was that it looked for current in the earth wire. Now you all know that many appliances do not have an earth wire, they just have a live and neutral. These could not be protected by an ELCB. The thermostat shown in Andy's pics could not be made safe to the user by one of these devices because there is no earth wire present to detect any current in.

The next, and current stage is the RCD which I described in an earlier post. If the appliance is electrically unsafe, it swithes of and can not be reset until the fault is rectified or the appliance is unplugged from the mains. The RCD does not need the earth wire to function, so users of a 2 wire appliances are protected.

In conclusion, I've tried to keep this simple for non-technical people. The main thing is to differentiate between a fuse or MCB which is designed to protect the house wiring from overload, and a device designed to protect the user from electrical shock. They are very different things, so because you have resettable devices in your fuseboard, DON'T assume that they are RCDs, they probably are not. Any electrician, and we must all know one, will tell you in seconds if you have RCD protection. If you don't, take my advice and buy some, they are life savers.

Steve C
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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby Janet » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:52 pm

Many thanks Steve, now I understand, better get a call into the electrician.
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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby suej » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:57 pm

Steve, if I plug a power bar into an RCD would it give me the same protection or do I need one for each device, ie with tanks, filter, lights, heater, etc
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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby Steve C » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:04 pm

suej wrote:Steve, if I plug a power bar into an RCD would it give me the same protection or do I need one for each device, ie with tanks, filter, lights, heater, etc


Hi Sue

I'm trying to keep the list member alive here and all I can see is that I'm heading to a court of law if things go wrong.

However, I take it that a power bar is a multiple bank of outlet sockets which plug into a single domestic socket.

If you plug your RCD (or RCCB - same thing) into a socket, then everything that you plug into the multiple sockets is protected by it. It will even monitor the condition of the power bar for faults.

HTH

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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby suej » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:07 pm

Thanks Steve, I have an RCD plugged into the socket on the wall, with a multi socket plugged into it, so I think I will be ok.
Thanks for the reminder, it is easy to overlook these things.
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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby blin69 » Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:53 pm

Steve C wrote:Let's take this question of electrical safety a bit further.

The installation regulations for your domestic wiring are constantly changing, and always for the better. I'm a mechanical engineer so I don't know the key dates when the regs changed, maybe someone can fill in the dates for us.

My house was built in 1971 and has the old fashioned, changeable, fuse wire protection. This is very basic. The fuse will blow if you overload the circuits. Its basically designed so that the fixed house wiring can not be overloaded with the fire risk that that poses. Its also a designed to blow the fuse if you were to fit the wires in a plug the wrong way round - very dangerous!

The next stage was fitting your fuse board, more correctly termed the distribution board, with things called MCBs. This stands for minature circuit breaker, and does the exact same job as the old fashioned fuse, no more, no less. Its only advantage is that if the circuit is overloaded, it immediately switches the circuit off. It can be reset when the circuit is loaded within the safe limit for it. Many of you will have these in your distribution board. They are not designed to check the safety of the appliances that you plug into the domestic mains.

In an attempt to enhance safety, a device called an ELCB, or eath leakage circuit breaker was developed. As the name suggests, this was designed to detect any electrical current that was leaking into the earth wire. The earth wire should carry no current at all, its there only as a safety feature should things go very wrong. If the device detected any current in the earth wire, it switched off the faulty appliance almost immediately. This fault condition would NOT make the MCB in the fuseboard switch off.

The main fault with the ELCB was that it looked for current in the earth wire. Now you all know that many appliances do not have an earth wire, they just have a live and neutral. These could not be protected by an ELCB. The thermostat shown in Andy's pics could not be made safe to the user by one of these devices because there is no earth wire present to detect any current in.

The next, and current stage is the RCD which I described in an earlier post. If the appliance is electrically unsafe, it swithes of and can not be reset until the fault is rectified or the appliance is unplugged from the mains. The RCD does not need the earth wire to function, so users of a 2 wire appliances are protected.

In conclusion, I've tried to keep this simple for non-technical people. The main thing is to differentiate between a fuse or MCB which is designed to protect the house wiring from overload, and a device designed to protect the user from electrical shock. They are very different things, so because you have resettable devices in your fuseboard, DON'T assume that they are RCDs, they probably are not. Any electrician, and we must all know one, will tell you in seconds if you have RCD protection. If you don't, take my advice and buy some, they are life savers.

Steve C


My other halfs an electrical engineer!
Belinda x
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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby Steve C » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:13 pm

blin69 wrote:My other halfs an electrical engineer!
Belinda x


Then surely he should be writing this, Belinda, or at least checking the accuracy of what I'm saying.

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Re: Urgent Product Safety Alert - Geko brand vivariums

Postby Steve C » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:22 pm

Here are a couple of pics to show you the difference in a distribution board and a RCD set up.

This is a distribution board with 4 circuit breakers. This only protects the fixed wiring in your house or outbuildings.

Image

This shows 2 RCDs mounted side by side. They always have a button to press to test them. When the button is pressed, providing that the unit is working safely, the device immediately switches off power to the circuits its protecting. AFAIK, they always say "Residual current ...................." The text 10 mA stands for 10 milli amps or 10 thousandths of an amp. This is the amount of stray current, a very tiny amount, that it takes to make the unit trip.

Image

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