Electrical installation advice.

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Khundon1975
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Electrical installation advice.

Post by Khundon1975 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:56 pm

A friend of our has purchased a house in Hua Hin that is around 15 years old and is unsure about the safety of the electrics.
The picture is his mains distribution box.
I’m no expert, but it seems to be lacking any Earthing wires or circuit breakers (safety cut outs) that I can see.
What advice would anyone give regarding this installation.
All plugs are 2 pin in the house.
Is it possible to fit a safety breaker into the mains cable before the mains switch, rather than rip it all out and starting again? Or does he need to rip it all out. Also, I see no Earthing cable, so don’t even know if he has an earth pole in the ground, to which the system can be earthed too.
I know very little about electrical installation, plus I’m in UK at present, so not able to take a closer look.
What would his best (cheapest) options be?

I suspect that everyone will say rip it out and put a new distribution box in that has an RCB or similar safety cutoff within the box.
All advice greatly appreciated.
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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Nereus » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:27 pm

Need to look at it to be sure. All the circuit breakers appear to be 32 amp rating, cannot see what the main switch is. No earthing wire visible, and all the neutrals appear to have a Thai type connection, rather than be terminated in the neutral bar. Some of the breakers have 3 circuits on them, but may be only lighting.

It is possible to fit a "safety" switch in place of the main, but the problem with that is it leads to nuisance tripping from circuits that may not be dangerous in themselves. Major job to add an earthing system now to appliance outlets.


There is a young Thai bloke in Hua Hin that may help him: "Boy", 083 713 8995, not sure how good his English is, but he has been recommended by the lady that rents my house.
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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by daddy » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:57 pm

The earthing wire seems to be the thick black cable in no. 3 of the upper bar. But only one circuit (blue) is connected with the ground. (May be a heater in bathroom or an aircon).
I agree with Nereus about the safety switch.
Apart from the lack of grounding, it seems to be a good Thai job.

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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Khundon1975 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:31 pm

Nereus wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:27 pm
Need to look at it to be sure. All the circuit breakers appear to be 32 amp rating, cannot see what the main switch is. No earthing wire visible, and all the neutrals appear to have a Thai type connection, rather than be terminated in the neutral bar. Some of the breakers have 3 circuits on them, but may be only lighting.

It is possible to fit a "safety" switch in place of the main, but the problem with that is it leads to nuisance tripping from circuits that may not be dangerous in themselves. Major job to add an earthing system now to appliance outlets.


There is a young Thai bloke in Hua Hin that may help him: "Boy", 083 713 8995, not sure how good his English is, but he has been recommended by the lady that rents my house.
Thanks Nereus for the comments.
I think he is worried about safety when using appliances etc.
The house is all plastic piping installed when house was built and there are 5 air con units.
As you say, installation of earthing wires to sockets etc would be a big and messy job.
Maybe fitting a RCB in line with the mains power supply would be the simple way to go.
Mains supply switch says it is 10Ka on switch.
Apart from that, do you feel the system is safe as it stands, or is it an accident waiting to happen?
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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Khundon1975 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:45 pm

daddy wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:57 pm
The earthing wire seems to be the thick black cable in no. 3 of the upper bar. But only one circuit (blue) is connected with the ground. (May be a heater in bathroom or an aircon).
I agree with Nereus about the safety switch.
Apart from the lack of grounding, it seems to be a good Thai job.
Thanks daddy for your help.
I believe the guy is simply worried about electric shocks from the system and want to reduce the risk.
I suspect that when it was built it was considered to be
up to Thai spec, but things have moved on and most electrical installations have added safety features such as RCB’s as standard.
He’s just worried that anyone getting a shock from this type of system may get injured, or at worst, killed.
😟
Last edited by Khundon1975 on Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Nereus » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:58 pm

The earthing wire seems to be the thick black cable in no. 3 of the upper bar. But only one circuit (blue) is connected with the ground.
I think what you can see at the top of the box is supposed to be the earthing bar. The neutral bar is barely visible behind the main switch. They probably ran out of screw holes on the neutral and just connected the overflow to the earthing bar, then the black wire to join the 2 together.
Mains supply switch says it is 10Ka on switch.
10 Ka is the rated short circuit design rating, not the switch trip rating.
I don't think it is any worse or better than most Thai house installations, about what you would expect. Safety switches on water heaters is the main concern. There are a couple of different types, and one of them needs an earthing system to work. It may be possible to move the water heater(s) off the circuit breaker where it is and run it through a separate safety switch. It also may be an option to run an earthing conductor just for that circuit. He is obviously concerned enough to ask, so he should get "Boy" to come and have a look at it. I am not in Hua Hin or I would do it for you.
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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Khundon1975 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:07 pm

Thank Nereus I will advise him to get it checked out.
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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by hin » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:19 pm

I would be concerned about all the breakers being 32 Amp. Not necessarily for safety, as he probably doesn’t have a wood house, but that does not even protect the wire runs let alone whatever appliances and fixtures he has. It is almost same as having no circuit breakers at all. If a wire run gets cooked it can lead to a big job. Especially if the house, like many around here, does not have smooth conduit in the walls.

Ours was same and I changed them all to 10 and 16 Amp and largest two at 20 Amp for 2 water heaters and 20 Amp for the kitchen appliances. More than adequate, we have never tripped one. Most lighting circuits would probably be fine with 5 Amps

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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by hhinner » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:59 pm

Looks to me like 63 on the main breaker.

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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by malcolminthemiddle » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:07 pm

Most houses including new builds are wired to questionable Thai standards. Your friend needs a professional survey and report identifying areas of concern with costs to correct to European standards. Contact Anthony 0631127796.

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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by HHTel » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:40 pm

I'm sure some time ago that a regulation was brought in requiring that all new builds had to have 3 wire (earth) installation. I remember one project that failed inspection because it was a 2 wire set-up and they had to rewire the whole project before they got certification.
But this being Thailand, it's probably been forgotten/ignored.

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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Khundon1975 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:10 am

HHTel wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:40 pm
I'm sure some time ago that a regulation was brought in requiring that all new builds had to have 3 wire (earth) installation. I remember one project that failed inspection because it was a 2 wire set-up and they had to rewire the whole project before they got certification.
But this being Thailand, it's probably been forgotten/ignored.
I’m sure your right on the 3 wire setup HHTel however, I did say that this house was built around 15 years ago, so before that rule came in perhaps.
As for the 32amp breakers hin I will suggest that he changes some for lower rated ones, more suited for the power required. 👍
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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Felipesed1 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:48 am

I suggest you look at this site, http://www.crossy.co.uk/wiring/index.html.

It is written by an English electrician living here, and is very informative and clear.

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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Nereus » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:17 am

Felipesed1 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:48 am
I suggest you look at this site, http://www.crossy.co.uk/wiring/index.html.
It is written by an English electrician living here, and is very informative and clear.
Yes, it is a good site, but has not been updated recently from what I can see. His reference to ELCB's is well out of date. There are better devices available now, one of them(RCBO), serves as both over current breaker, and a fault to ground, such as if the current is going through you rather than the balanced circuit.

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Re: Electrical installation advice.

Post by Nereus » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:49 am

The problem in this country is not always just the equipment being used. The installers are obliged to use what is available in the market, and MOST of it is of good international quality. The days of bare knife main switches and screw in ceramic fuses are long gone.

Look at the photo of the consumer board that has been posted. It is equipped with all the required components, but they still find it necessary to use plastic tape that is most probably wrapped around a couple of wires twisted together.

There is what appears to be an earthing link terminal strip that has a couple of odd wires in it, but appears not to have any grounding conductor. All of the MCB's are the same 32 amp rating, where at least the lighting circuits should be much less. Cannot see it, but from my experience here they insist on mixing both power and lighting onto the one MCB circuit where both power and lighting circuits use different sized conductors, and should be on separate circuits.

Commercial and industrial installations appear to comply with better rules and practice, but domestic installations in a lot of cases are done by Somchai that is working between rice crops to help out at home. :cuss:
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