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  1. davhill
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    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    Here's a weird one that's suitable for losing my forum virginity...

    The villain of the piece is my stair head light, which went out one evening. No drama, no breaker tripping, just darkness. So, I whipped out the existing energy saver and changed it. Nothing. So, I tried another one, and an incandescent. Result, seven times the square root of foxtrot alpha.

    Next day, I returned with an LED neon thingy from GnomeBase.

    The light can be switched from both levels so I took out the top (single) switch to reveal...lots of red wire, and there were lives to detect in there.

    'Check the bulb holder' I thought. Here's where it gets strange. Both pins inside tested as live!

    The holder and ceiling rose were aged so I just changed it. No evident damage to the wires coming from the loft and no evidence of crosstalk between live and neutral. All changing the rise has done is make the tester light brighter.

    So I'm stumped. Nothing else has been fiddled with so something has failed all by its little self. The bottom line is therefore simple...er, Help,

    Cheers, David
     
  2. Vortigern
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    Vortigern Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    England
    Business Name:
    F.H. Electrical
    Any chance of a picture or two?
     
  3. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    i'd suspect a fault on the neutral. and chuck that neon driver in the bin if it's the type you have to put a finger on the end. then i'd advise getting an electrician in. with the relevant experience and test gear, should be sorted for the sake of a call-out charge. compare that with the cost of getting even a mild shock and falling down the stairs, breaking bones etc. :)
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  4. LankyWill
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    LankyWill Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Northants
    Possible faulty switch or either a loose connection somewhere, best get a spark in to sort it. I would advise throwing the neon screwdriver in the bin and stop sticking it in places you don't really understand. Not being an arse just hate for you to look a numpty in a pile at the bottom of the stairs.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. davhill
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    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    Thank you, gents.

    Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, scraped off the film. I once found the only quick way down the spiral staircase and have had many shocks.

    You can accept that advice has been taken 100% on board.

    Vortigern want pictures. Of what, I wonder?
     
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  6. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    your girlfriend/wife in her underwear of course. :mad:
     
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  7. anthonybragg
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    anthonybragg Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    NORTHAMPTON
    Business Name:
    CHARLTEC ELECTRICAL LTD
    What type of lamp holder is it ?as above if post some pictures it would be more helpful
     
  8. davhill
    Offline

    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    It's a bog standard pendant fitting...

    [​IMG]

    Here's where it gets weirder still...

    [​IMG]

    This is the dimmer switch in the bedroom, just off the stair head.
    The LED thingy is busy telling me that the securing screws are
    allegedly live. The same goes for the single switch at the top of the stairs.
    Given I opened that one yesterday without receiving a shock, the
    probe thing is clearly telling porkies. It'll be binned next.

    ELEX1.jpg

    ELEX2.jpg
     
  9. Rpa07
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    Rpa07 2000 posts - only 46379 behind Telectrix! Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Bristol
    Business Name:
    Ebenezer electrical
    Look what you've done now! There's a neon screwdriver in that 2nd photo - I NEED TO WASH!
    No offence @davhill@davhill - you didn't know!
     
  10. Des 56
    Offline

    Des 56 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Gliese 581C
    That screwdriver likely won't help finding your problem
    From your description it would appear you have lost the neutral return,have you changed any other lights recently?
    That decorative switch is metal,is your lighting earthed?
     
    • Creative Creative x 1
  11. davhill
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    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    It's actually an LED one, a whole quid from Gnomebase. It claims to do everything but make the the tea - it has batteries and everything. Perhaps I should've got the neon one instead - know where I am with one of those.
     
  12. anthonybragg
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    anthonybragg Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    NORTHAMPTON
    Business Name:
    CHARLTEC ELECTRICAL LTD
    I think that if you can't find anything obvious eg broken cable you need to call a electrician.
     
  13. Vortigern
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    Vortigern Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    England
    Business Name:
    F.H. Electrical
    Those neon screwdrivers can be very misleading as they can detect as low as 12v. It is entirely possible to get up to 15v on earth and maybe that is the case. You can only really tell the voltage with a proper v. measurement instrument. As has been advised, throw, you know how to throw don't you @davhill@davhill ? (paraphrasing Bogart film) Pictures, well maybe not- I was thinking of the wiring NOT i repeat NOT what @telectrix@telectrix suggested (wife is watching gotta say something, although...ah nvm). As stated by @telectrix@telectrix very likely a neutral problem, which translates as a wire has come adrift somewhere. Maybe you should get a spark to track it down. Always a chance when looking for loose connections of sparks and bangs if you don't approach it right.
     
  14. ackbarthestar
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    ackbarthestar Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    A Zoo near YOU
    don't you mean: 'your wife's girlfriend' ?
    Most likely a floating neutral voltage.......
     
  15. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    get up to speed. it's gender neutral voltage these days according to the politically inept brigade.
     
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  16. davhill
    Offline

    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    Floating neutral? Isn't that to do with the Swiss navy?

    Have disembowelled the LED thing so I now have a spare screwdriver...and some mercury cells!

    Here comes Plan B...

    1: Go to Scroofix.

    2: Get 1x double switch and 1x single one.

    3: Switch off consumer unit.

    4: Fit switches, wiring like for like, seeking any strays.

    5: Fire up and see.

    6: Rejoice in the knowledge that the bits with moving parts are new.

    7: Wait for sparky chum to arrive to do planned inspection for holiday accommodation safety.

    By the way, the dimmer switch is earthed.

    No other changes save for putting 12v LED GU10s in kitchen a while ago.

    Talk me down, tower...
     
  17. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix

    when it still don't work, bale out.
     
  18. davhill
    Offline

    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    Will do, Skipper.

    It's actually two 2-gang switches so plan B will cost about £6...plus the skin grafts.
     
  19. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    and the new underpants. :(
     
  20. davhill
    Offline

    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    You underestimate a man of my calibre...
    That's .177
     
  21. anthonybragg
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    anthonybragg Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    NORTHAMPTON
    Business Name:
    CHARLTEC ELECTRICAL LTD
    Why you may be completely wasting your money on something that is not broke the problem needs to be found first.
     
  22. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    my Air Arms TX200 .22 with laser sight trumps your miserable .177 :rolleyes:
     
  23. davhill
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    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    I'll see your TX200 with the .22 LR Anschutz Supermatch I shoot at the club and I'll raise you the BSA Martini International MK II on which I have a deposit, (FAC-dependent).
     
  24. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    well if we're getting serious, my WW1 lee enfield .303 beats any .22. :)
     
  25. D00DY_T00DY
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    D00DY_T00DY Gorilla Whisperer Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    UK
    [​IMG]
     
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  26. Rpa07
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    Rpa07 2000 posts - only 46379 behind Telectrix! Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Bristol
    Business Name:
    Ebenezer electrical
    Well done Doody, I didn't know how far that was going and with that many 'trumps' I tend to exit the room!
     
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  27. Rpa07
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    Rpa07 2000 posts - only 46379 behind Telectrix! Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Bristol
    Business Name:
    Ebenezer electrical
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  28. hightower
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    hightower Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Durham
    I just got a new shotgun at the weekend - my gun safe is now full, so I guess I'd better get another for when my FAC comes through
     
  29. davhill
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    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    'Well if we're getting serious, my WW1 lee enfield .303 beats any .22.

    One of my archery club compadres has a short magazine Lee Enfield and a Dublin Castle Brown Bess musket. Bessie's flintlock still sparks but both this and the SMLE are decativated - not sure wallpieces count.

    A fellow rifle club member has a Sharps rifle that was made in 1872 (from the serial number). It takes 45 cal cartridges(he rolls his own), 125 grains of black powder = 1,000 yards' range - it's a downspout with a trigger.

    Back on topic, I got two switches so I can play tomorrow. Watch this space. I don't feel it's £6-odd wasted - the original switches are pushing 3 decades old.
     
  30. davhill
    Offline

    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    OK folks, it's update time.

    Some of you can go into smug mode now. I changed the upstairs switch (actually a 2 gang) and little has changed. A neon shows power at one pin in the bulbholder but the bulb remains unlit. Here's the original switch...
    [​IMG]

    As far as I can tell by feel, the bundle of earth-coloured insulting tape contains a chochblock. There appear to be two cables going into the switchbox.

    Here's another weirdness.
    [​IMG]

    This is my brand new, shiny 2-gang switch but that common connector (bot right)
    is screwed in as far as possible. Screwing it up tight takes only 1.5 turns from fully unscrewed and there's no way it'll grip a wire core. The second switch is exactly the same and the L1 and L2 connectors work fine. It's an MK item and the two will be going back.

    In practice, I had to poke the red wire (bent to suit) into the connector hole. Result as above.

    Meanwhile, I've called Charles the Sparky and asked him to arrive equipped.

    It's all rather odd and it isn't rocket surgery, is it?

    SWITCH1.jpg

    SWITCH2.jpg
     
  31. anthonybragg
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    anthonybragg Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    NORTHAMPTON
    Business Name:
    CHARLTEC ELECTRICAL LTD
    The existing switch is a 1 gang 1 way switch however the new switch is a 2 gang 2 way which if I correct of your post is a incorrect switch. Unless and forgive me if I've mist something posted here but you are changing this switch is this the cause of the light not working ?
     
  32. davhill
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    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    Thank you Anthony,

    You're quite right and the erroneous bit is my doing. I bought two 2-gang switches, not realising the upstairs one is 1-gang.

    I'm changing the switch because the stair head light stopped working. It wasn't the bulb and an LRD probe showed both lampholder pins had current, as did the earth.
    A neon now shows that on pin in the lampholder has power but there's still no light (I tried two bulbs).
     
  33. SparkyChick
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    SparkyChick Making a banana smoothy for my fave gorilla Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    @davhill@davhill

    I believe most MK accessories come with the screws undone ready to just be tightened up.

    They are manufactured in a manner so the screws don't shake out during transport, but this has the effect that quite substantial force can be required to tighten them past their original as shipped positions. So you may need to give them (technical term coming up) a bit of welly!
     
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  34. davhill
    Offline

    davhill EF Member

    Location:
    Kendal
    Good advice, Sparkychick! I found a really well fitting screwdriver and ran the screws fully in and out with it. It took quie a bit of thrutch (Derbyshire word) to achieve this.
    It would appear there's some sort of threadlock compound on the threads.
     
  35. Rpa07
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    Rpa07 2000 posts - only 46379 behind Telectrix! Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Bristol
    Business Name:
    Ebenezer electrical
    It all appears that it may be rocket science after all!
     
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  36. SparkyChick
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    SparkyChick Making a banana smoothy for my fave gorilla Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    I am familiar with the term thrutch although I wasn't aware that it's from Derbyshire (I'm from Leicestershire originally). I was introduced to the word listening to Blaster Bates :)

    And glad I could assist.
     
  37. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    bloody'ell. i've still got a couple of blaster's LPs.
     
  38. SparkyChick
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    SparkyChick Making a banana smoothy for my fave gorilla Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    Blaster is a legend. I wish they'd re-release all his LPs, not strictly PC but a bloody good laugh :)
     
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