English Forum Switzerland

English Forum Switzerland (https://www.englishforum.ch/forum.php)
-   Housing in general (https://www.englishforum.ch/housing-general/)
-   -   Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s (https://www.englishforum.ch/housing-general/296702-electrical-wiring-routing-concrete-house-built-70s.html)

Phil_MCR 12.02.2020 11:28

Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
I'm now exploring the electrical wiring system of my house. I found the main board which I guess is the starting point where the wires around the house are distributed:

https://i.imgur.com/uvn3jCJl.jpg

I also see coverings on the ceiling revealing a mess of wires underneath (also found similar on some walls:

https://i.imgur.com/vWsWaXGl.jpg

I had a few questions:

1. What are these access points in the ceiling/walls for which hide a mess of wires?

2. Is there anywhere I can get electrical plans of houses (not this specific one) so that I can develop an intuition of how the wires may be routed around

3. I presume due to code it isn't allowed to run data cabling through the same conduit as electrical cabling - what's the best way to run CAT6a around the house to link various rooms?

bigblue2 12.02.2020 11:38

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
1. they are access points :p - makes it easier to replace a wire if one gets burnt out / eaten / a new spur needed

2. no idea

3. When we where inspected they didn't care I has all manor of other cables in the trunking, all they cared about was all electrical cables where trunked and sockets had back boxes, but, the codes are different canton to canton

Mikers 12.02.2020 11:48

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bigblue2 (Post 3147399)
1. they are access points :p - makes it easier to replace a wire if one gets burnt out / eaten / a new spur needed

2. no idea

3. When we where inspected they didn't care I has all manor of other cables in the trunking, all they cared about was all electrical cables where trunked and sockets had back boxes, but, the codes are different canton to canton

to complete 2) - they either came with the house when you bought it or you have to work it out yourself (or via expensive electrician). Our house is a similar block of concrete with exactly pictures like that. Upstairs we have a load of old diagrams with many possible electrical configurations and over the years we have worked out more or less what does what.

Tom1234 12.02.2020 11:55

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bigblue2 (Post 3147399)
1. they are access points :p - makes it easier to replace a wire if one gets burnt out / eaten / a new spur needed

They're also the places where joints are made - for landing lights, for example, where there may be a few switches controlling the same set of lamps.

Spurs also come off these.

They often are used to avoid right-angles in trunking.

I know where most of my cabling goes too through trial and error.
I've also used a signal tracer (with the power off!) to solve a few conundrums.

Phil_MCR 12.02.2020 12:53

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikers (Post 3147407)
to complete 2) - they either came with the house when you bought it or you have to work it out yourself (or via expensive electrician). Our house is a similar block of concrete with exactly pictures like that. Upstairs we have a load of old diagrams with many possible electrical configurations and over the years we have worked out more or less what does what.

sadly, the i have plans for heating pipes etc. but nothing for the electrics. i was hoping to get a few plans for other houses to understand in general how it is laid out to aid in figuring it out for my specific house.

PitBull 12.02.2020 13:57

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Be aware also that Swiss electricians seem to have a general disdain for the wiring regs - don't expect any wire to necessarily be what it should be according to the sheath colour.

bigblue2 12.02.2020 14:02

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PitBull (Post 3147458)
Be aware also that Swiss electricians seem to have a general disdain for the wiring regs - don't expect any wire to necessarily be what it should be according to the sheath colour.

this, very much this!! considering they are supposed to be trained and follow the regs I've yet to see any wiring here that follows any kind of regs, even if you've taken the fuses / switches out assume everything is still live!

Tom1234 12.02.2020 14:13

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil_MCR (Post 3147428)
sadly, the i have plans for heating pipes etc. but nothing for the electrics. i was hoping to get a few plans for other houses to understand in general how it is laid out to aid in figuring it out for my specific house.

They are vague. For a new build, there will be a set of plans with sockets, lamp fixtures and so on marked.

There will be another showing very roughly the conduit runs - but more like joining the dots rather than actual physical locations of runs.

In my place (no plans), 1970s, the cables come up from the fuse box via a riser to a box in a cupboard with cables coming from these like a spiders web.
These smaller cables go to the wall and ceiling apertures you showed in one of your photos and from these apertures, out to one or more actual light fittings or sockets.

But, there are exceptions - some of my cable joins are completely hidden (I suspect there's at least one bodged connection in the ceiling) and a couple of circuits are definitely wired to a fuse that actually feed the sockets on the other side of the house so there's some bodged wiring there too.

Jdr 12.02.2020 14:19

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Be aware that that white/grayish board on the inside of the boxcover might very well be pure asbestos......
That was used extensivly in 60, 70, maybe even 80-ies boxes. Also I do not seen any FI switches ?


Maybe time to upgrade.

brunobriner 12.02.2020 14:38

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil_MCR (Post 3147394)
3. I presume due to code it isn't allowed to run data cabling through the same conduit as electrical cabling - what's the best way to run CAT6a around the house to link various rooms?

AFAIK you can run a CAT6a cable in the same conduit of power cables. This is at least what a Swiss certified electrician told me when I had to run additional power cables in an existing conduit with a CAT6 cable.

Tom1234 12.02.2020 14:48

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by brunobriner (Post 3147478)
AFAIK you can run a CAT6a cable in the same conduit of power cables. This is at least what a Swiss certified electrician told me when I had to run additional power cables in an existing conduit with a CAT6 cable.

I thought the same - but I couldn't find a reference. I was pretty sure though that you couldn't use unsheathed mains cable but it had to be something like TT LNPE cable, which can also be used without trunking or conduit.

venetian 12.02.2020 14:48

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
It's a general and international principle that low-voltage wires should not run together with middle-voltage wires, so no CAT together with 230 V.

In Italy I know it's a national rule*, in Switzerland I can't comment, but I would double-check. It surprises me that an electrician is officially recommending that. Of course he's a professional and I am not, but good practices are borderless... just double-check :)

*EDIT: I actually checked and the two cables can run together, provided that the low-voltage cable is insulated for a voltage at least equal to the other cable. Not sure if CAT6 is automatically ok for this, one should check what is written on the side of the cable...

Tom1234 12.02.2020 14:52

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by venetian (Post 3147492)
It's a general and international principle that low-voltage wires should not run together with middle-voltage wires, so no CAT together with 230 V.

The word "together" needs a clearer definition.

Phil_MCR 12.02.2020 15:02

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdr (Post 3147469)
Be aware that that white/grayish board on the inside of the boxcover might very well be pure asbestos......
That was used extensivly in 60, 70, maybe even 80-ies boxes. Also I do not seen any FI switches ?


Maybe time to upgrade.

I hadn't checked, but I assume it is a sheet of asbestos.

what's a FI switch?

Jdr 12.02.2020 15:11

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil_MCR (Post 3147503)

what's a FI switch?


Probably better known as a RCD : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device

fatmanfilms 12.02.2020 15:14

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdr (Post 3147506)

Older properties don't need them, however I suspect after this refurb it will be required if additional wiring is done.

Guest 12.02.2020 15:19

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3147510)
Older properties don't need them, however I suspect after this refurb it will be required if additional wiring is done.

Legally required or not, it is advisable to have them. If ever needed they actually can make the difference between live and death. Especially since a normal 10A switch does not immediately Switch of at 10A but easily will provide 25A for a few seconds.

Jdr 12.02.2020 15:20

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3147510)
Older properties don't need them, however I suspect after this refurb it will be required if additional wiring is done.


Correct on both counts.

But : you really want them. The cheapest life insurance there is...

Phil_MCR 12.02.2020 15:30

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
I think they will be put in due to the kitchen renovation. I have this line in the works:

Einbau von 3 x FI/LS 13A ( Für GWM)

not sure what FI/LS stands for in German (or GWM for that matter - dishwasher?)

fatmanfilms 12.02.2020 15:35

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Legally required or not, it is advisable to have them. If ever needed they actually can make the difference between live and death. Especially since a normal 10A switch does not immediately Switch of at 10A but easily will provide 25A for a few seconds.
I survived without them in the UK for 32 years & Switzerland for a further 20 years, my mother is still alive at 90 & has never had one.

Working in the film business we often had 64 amp & 128 amp 3 phase, never had a RCB connected.

Plenty of people will cut the earth connection as they can be a pain in the arse tripping too often, I think that is more dangerous. Sound men on film sets always cut the earth on their extension leads because of hum

Guest 12.02.2020 15:38

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil_MCR (Post 3147517)
I think they will be put in due to the kitchen renovation. I have this line in the works:

Einbau von 3 x FI/LS 13A ( Für GWM)

not sure what FI/LS stands for in German (or GWM for that matter - dishwasher?)

FI/LS in normal language means that the switch will turn of if there is a difference between the main and neutral meaning electric is leaking to somewhere else, could be you, could be a drop of water in your coffee machine causing this.

GWM = Geschirrwaschmaschine = Dishwasher.

You might want to ask what the costs would be to replace your whole cabinet for a modern one where everything has proper RCD protection, and 2 or 3 spare groups for future plans. Your current switches are reaching a certain age where replacement really doesn't harm anyway. And have a main switch for the whole cabinet in it also, those are very handsome when doing work on the cabinet and are not so costly.

Jdr 12.02.2020 15:40

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3147522)
I survived without them in the UK for 32 years & Switzerland for a further 20 years, my mother is still alive at 90 & has never had one.


And not that long ago, in CH, I believe in Biel, 2 kids died because the landlord was to cheap to invest 100 CHF in a RCD.......
Classic case of hairdryer-in-bathtub.....


You very seldom need them RCDs, but when you do, you really do.

fatmanfilms 12.02.2020 15:42

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdr (Post 3147529)
Classic case of hairdryer-in-bathtub.....

Darwinian theory in action, people used to be taught to treat electricity with respect.

ACHIEVEIT 12.02.2020 15:42

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bigblue2 (Post 3147399)
1. they are access points :p - makes it easier to replace a wire if one gets burnt out / eaten / a new spur needed

Without wanting to derail the thread - is it possible to install a power socket in place of the access point? The cables and the hole are already there - the question is, is there usually enough space to make room for the extra space required for the socket? Thanks

Guest 12.02.2020 15:45

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3147522)
I survived without them in the UK for 32 years & Switzerland for a further 20 years, my mother is still alive at 90 & has never had one.

Working in the film business we often had 64 amp & 128 amp 3 phase, never had a RCB connected.

Plenty of people will cut the earth connection as they can be a pain in the arse tripping too often, I think that is more dangerous. Sound men on film sets always cut the earth on their extension leads because of hum

RCD's don't need an earth connection to switch of when electricity is leaking through your body ;)

If they trip to often than people should start cleaning their equipement.

Guest 12.02.2020 15:46

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3147531)
Darwinian theory in action, people used to be taught to treat electricity with respect.

Nothing to do with respect if you touch your laundry-machine and can't let go anymore while your heart is rushing overtime waiting to collapse.

fatmanfilms 12.02.2020 15:50

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Nothing to do with respect if you touch your laundry-machine and can't let go anymore while your heart is rushing overtime waiting to collapse.
People should be taught to touch electrical appliance with the back of their fingers first, then if it's live your fingers will contract & break the connection. I was taught this on my first day working in the film business.

Tom1234 12.02.2020 15:53

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:


You might want to ask what the costs would be to replace your whole cabinet for a modern one where everything has proper RCD protection, and 2 or 3 spare groups for future plans. Your current switches are reaching a certain age where replacement really doesn't harm anyway. And have a main switch for the whole cabinet in it also, those are very handsome when doing work on the cabinet and are not so costly.
I'd like to know this too.

Half of our circuits have RCDs and half have just the old screw-in fuses.

Guess which of the two feeds the bathroom?

Phil_MCR 12.02.2020 16:03

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

FI/LS in normal language means that the switch will turn of if there is a difference between the main and neutral meaning electric is leaking to somewhere else, could be you, could be a drop of water in your coffee machine causing this.

GWM = Geschirrwaschmaschine = Dishwasher.

You might want to ask what the costs would be to replace your whole cabinet for a modern one where everything has proper RCD protection, and 2 or 3 spare groups for future plans. Your current switches are reaching a certain age where replacement really doesn't harm anyway. And have a main switch for the whole cabinet in it also, those are very handsome when doing work on the cabinet and are not so costly.
I guess FI/LS somehow refers to the RCD. I just wondered if anyone know what the letters stand for?

John_H 12.02.2020 16:04

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Nothing to do with respect if you touch your laundry-machine and can't let go anymore while your heart is rushing overtime waiting to collapse.
I was an electrician a long time ago. Back before health and safety was really a big thing. Lost count of the amount of shocks I got, thrown off my feet, whole body clenched, falling off ladders after touching live stuff. It kinda became routine and almost funny, attaching meggers to things, giving people shocks etc.

Until one day a guy died, he walked into a bare cable hanging from the ceiling, it wasn't even connected but according to the investigation, it had built up a huge static charge, MICC cable, couple hundred meters long.

Tom1234 12.02.2020 16:16

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil_MCR (Post 3147547)
I guess FI/LS somehow refers to the RCD. I just wondered if anyone know what the letters stand for?

FI: Fehlerstromschutzschalter

(This is your RCD).

LS: Leitungsschutzschalter

(This is your circuit breaker)

So, on this context, LS is basically your electronic over-current fuse and a device with FI/LS also is a residual current device.

Phil_MCR 12.02.2020 16:23

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 3147554)
FI: Fehlerstromschutzschalter

Thanks. Now someone explain to me how you get FI from Fehlerstromschutzschalter???

Guest 12.02.2020 16:41

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by John_H (Post 3147549)
I was an electrician a long time ago. Back before health and safety was really a big thing. Lost count of the amount of shocks I got, thrown off my feet, whole body clenched, falling off ladders after touching live stuff. It kinda became routine and almost funny, attaching meggers to things, giving people shocks etc.

Until one day a guy died, he walked into a bare cable hanging from the ceiling, it wasn't even connected but according to the investigation, it had built up a huge static charge, MICC cable, couple hundred meters long.

Electrician since mid 80's and same here. Till I in the 90's got stuck for some seconds between 2 different 25A phases. According to people on the same floor I screamed like a pig that got killed, lost control of my Blatter so wet my pants and it took some hours before my heart was back to normal rhythm. Just was lucky the main flow did not pass my heart else it be the end of it. After that I got deep respect, and only once more got a big bang on my hands due to a guy from another technical company who simply removed my warning signs and put the fuse back in while I was working on it. Chased him through half the factory but got to beat him up, after which he complained..., his boss gave him another punch and instantly fired him.

I've had it with "just touch it and you'll know.."

Guest 12.02.2020 16:44

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil_MCR (Post 3147558)
Thanks. Now someone explain to me how you get FI from Fehlerstromschutzschalter???

The truth is that some of us work with terms of which we after half a decade still have no clue how they ever thought of it...

Best I can come up with is FehlerEinrichting, and since FE already was taking by earthing they just took the next letter and came up with FI to avoid confusion.

Tom1234 12.02.2020 16:47

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil_MCR (Post 3147558)
Thanks. Now someone explain to me how you get FI from Fehlerstromschutzschalter???

I had to google this but the I is the symbol for current (same as English).
So loosely translated FI is current error.

bigblue2 12.02.2020 16:53

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fatmanfilms (Post 3147539)
People should be taught to touch electrical appliance with the back of their fingers first, then if it's live your fingers will contract & break the connection. I was taught this on my first day working in the film business.

what about things like washing machines etc that suddenly develop faults? <cough> whirlpool <cough> should you touch everything with the back of your hand? how about pipes and radiators too? You can never have enough electrical safety, people are pretty blasé about electricity now a days, and thats fine, until the one time its not ;)

Tom1234 12.02.2020 16:59

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
The worse you can do is touch live with one hand and earth with the other.

Even when working on non-live house circuits , I try and keep one hand away.

fatmanfilms 12.02.2020 17:13

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bigblue2 (Post 3147578)
what about things like washing machines etc that suddenly develop faults? <cough> whirlpool <cough> should you touch everything with the back of your hand? how about pipes and radiators too? You can never have enough electrical safety, people are pretty blasé about electricity now a days, and thats fine, until the one time its not ;)

In addition to some fault that would make the case live, the earth needs to be broken. Pipes should be earthed, if not likely you will get a tingle in the bath when you touch a tap, this was common in Hotels in France in the 70's unless you have modern plastic piping

brunobriner 12.02.2020 21:38

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ACHIEVEIT (Post 3147532)
Without wanting to derail the thread - is it possible to install a power socket in place of the access point? The cables and the hole are already there - the question is, is there usually enough space to make room for the extra space required for the socket? Thanks

In my apartment these "access points" are bigger than a normal 86x86 so in my case I cannot put a socket, a switch, etc. instead of the cover, therefore I recommend you to remove the cover and check it for yourself if they are the same size as a normal one to start with.

st2lemans 12.02.2020 21:44

Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PitBull (Post 3147458)
Be aware also that Swiss electricians seem to have a general disdain for the wiring regs - don't expect any wire to necessarily be what it should be according to the sheath colour.

Yes, last year we had the electrical inspection, and several sockets were wired backwards, etc. (never touched since the building was built).

I fixed most myself, so cut the electricians estimate in half.

Tom


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 23:12.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0