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Old 12.02.2020, 11:28
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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:



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



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?
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Old 12.02.2020, 11:38
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

1. they are access points - 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
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Old 12.02.2020, 11:48
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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1. they are access points - 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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 11:55
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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1. they are access points - 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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 12:53
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 13:57
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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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 14:02
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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!
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Old 12.02.2020, 14:13
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 14:19
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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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 14:38
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 14:48
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 14:48
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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...

Last edited by venetian; 12.02.2020 at 15:02.
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Old 12.02.2020, 14:52
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 15:02
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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?
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Old 12.02.2020, 15:11
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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what's a FI switch?

Probably better known as a RCD : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device
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Old 12.02.2020, 15:14
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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Older properties don't need them, however I suspect after this refurb it will be required if additional wiring is done.
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Old 12.02.2020, 15:19
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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.
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Old 12.02.2020, 15:20
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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...
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Old 12.02.2020, 15:30
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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?)
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Old 12.02.2020, 15:35
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Re: Electrical wiring - routing in a concrete house built in the 70s

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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
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