Who's rewired their house for this hobby?

tony duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Sun Nov 23 15:20:13 CST 2014

> > What is the typical German wiring ? A 16A breaker for each outlet?

> Typical is probably 10A. Same in Sweden, and Switzerland (which
> admittedly is outside the EU).
> You might have several outlets on the same 10A breaker. However, all the
> wiring can take the full 10A, so there is no possibility of actually
> draw more than the breaker allows, and no way to have more than 10A
> flowing through the wires.

OK. But equally if you have multiple outlets on a circuit (presumably often in
the same room), you can't draw more than 10A total. Some of my classic 
computers would not like that!

> But if your lamp is only designed for 1A, then yes, the house wiring can
> still deliver 10A to it. How on earth the lamp would be able to draw
> more than 1A though, would be a mystery.

To be fair, most pvercurrent faults on small appliances result in an almost dead
short across the mains. And a 10A or 16A breaker will then trip long before a 1A
cable catches fire. 

> The thing described, where a 16A outlet would actually be backed by a
> 32A breaker would definitely be highly illegal in the countries I know
> of. But that is pretty much limited to Scandinavia, Germany and Switzerland.

At one time the UK regulations specifically allowed 3 off 5A (round pin, BS546)  
socket outlets on a single circuit protected by a 15A rewireable fuse. These plugs
were unfused. There was also (and in accordance with the regulations) an adaptor
to plug a 2A rated plug into a 15A outlet, again no fuses other than the 15A circuit
fuse (radial circuit).

Mind you the old wiring regulations, at least in the UK, make horrifying reading. At 
one time it was required to put a fuse in both the live and neutral wires (and if the
latter failed the whole circuit was live). Now of course you put a fuse in the live only.
A protective device may break both wires, it may monitor the current in both wires, but
what it must not do is break the neutral and not the live. So the interlocked breakers as 
found on, say, a PDP11/34 are fine, but separate breakers or fuses most certainly are not.

I believe at one time in the UK, electricity for lighting was more expensive per kWh than that 
supplied for 'power' (which mean heating, cooking, etc). As a result, appliances below a 
certain power had to be connected to the lighting circuit, which often didn't have an earth wire.


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