Danger, Danger! High Voltage!

Here is a thread to talk about all things mains voltage (120 or 240V-AC depending) or higher (like, gigavolts and stuff).

To get us started, I have here a photograph that I took today of a loop socket that had been used in a kitchen to provide power to the oven hood extractor fan. The kitchen was installed in 1994 and apparently the owner (now ex-owner) had never cleaned anything apart from the counter tops… the oven and hobs (both gas) were filthy to the point that I literally have no idea how they hadn’t caught fire yet.

Speaking of fire… look at this. Just look at it. You can see where the fan plug was until today… where it had been for the last twenty one years

Damn. That looks like the way they did the wiring in my last house.

The “fun” things there with 30+ year old wiring:

  • Not all sockets had a working earth, or the earth only worked if the plug wasn’t flush
  • No light switches were earthed, including the ones with brass plates
  • In the living room, the centre light was disconnected and the wires connected to the wall lights. Said connections were made by twisting the wires together and putting non-electrical tape around them, then shoving them back into the brass ceiling rose
  • Wiring so old the insulation had flaked off in places
  • The garage light plus multiple sockets were spurred off of a socket in the kitchen, with an inside grade cable run along the outside of the house to make the connection

Getting the house rewired was an interesting experience too, with gas pipes being run where they pushed up against the floorboards. Scared the living daylights out of the electricians when they found that - having been using a circular saw to cut the boards…


My ex kept cutting the earth pin off all of our appliances. It was really annoying, and I kept wondering when it would start a fire.

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Why would you cut off the earth pin? That’s just dumb.

Because he hated looking for a three-pronged outlet.

My Gods that’s terrifying! I’m glad our sockets are designed not to accept a plug at all unless the Earth pin is present - even on appliances that don’t need earthing, the pin is there, usually made of plastic.

Then again I know that most of Europe and the USA went through a crazy phase of having two-pin plugs for everything. We stopped that in the 1940s :stuck_out_tongue:


Funny you should mention nefariously connected side lights, the wall lights in this particular property’s living room were connected in the most idiotic manner possible.

Down next to the skirting (base-) board there was a regular power socket, and next to that was an inline fused switch (which are a perfectly sensible way to connect a lighting circuit to a socket circuit in the rare cases in which there is no lighting circuit available - say in a garage - but not really for use as part of a building’s mains lighting system).

That inline fused switch then had a cable running just under the plaster diagonally up the wall to the first wall light, and then from that light the cable continued, half an inch under the plaster, at perfect picture-hanging height, to the second wall lamp.

Needless to say that room no longer has wall lamps.

Oh man, I’m trying to repair the central heating electrics because I was told the heating didn’t work. I unscrew the access hatch next to the boiler, and I found this.

Sorry for the strong language but Jesus mother-fupping Christ.

Those are severed cables. Wired in and live. All of them. I just… I can’t… WHO THE HELL DID THIS!?

Not that I care for rats-nest wiring, but it looks like those are all low voltage wires? Chopped off low-voltage is kinda of a “meh” for me.

Now, household line voltage… another issue altogether.

I have to take pictures now.

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[quote=“DocDubious, post:9, topic:1034, full:true”]Now, household line voltage… another issue altogether.

Oh yes, that’s all 30amp mains loop cable. Except the white round cable, that’s 15amp mains flex. You’re not supposed to mix cables of different ratings, for blatantly obvious reasons.

Edited to add:
Mains cables here are either red and black (pre-2006) or brown and blue (now) with green or green-and-yellow earth.

Except two-way (intermediate) switching which was red, yellow and blue, with green earth) or as it is now brown, grey and black.

Apparently these changes were made to help colourblind people. As a colourblind person, I can tell you that trying to discern between grey, grey and black in the dark because obviously the power is off is bloody evil.

The use of really strong language seems to be tolerated around here. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Indeed. That probably doesn’t even meet the criteria for “strong language” around here.

I’m still in my “new and polite” phase of joining the forum. :wink:


There’s medication for that.


Sorry, I just found this topic and have to add that Electric Six is probably my favourite band for all karaoke events. For the uninitiated, they are the authors of a very cool song with the title Danger! High Voltage!

Moderately Safe For Work.


I really enjoy these dude. They really seem to enjoy what they are doing.

And who can beat this album name? I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being The Master.

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“Hey boss? We’ll need to schedule another maintenance window.”

Some may say “close call”, but a sparky calls this “precision drilling”, eh @CaffeinatedNoms? :wink:

I woulda noped right the hell outta there.