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Old 19.08.2010, 19:53
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UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

Hello

After searching the forum unsuccessfully I could use some advice please

I have a device where I NEED the earth connection and so whilst in the UK I bought a electrical plug point tester. This tester has "idiot" lights on it indicating whether EARTH is present when used

When I use the tester here I have to use a UK to Swiss 'adapter', as such the resulting test shows no earth present

No logic tells me the whole point of an 'adapter' translate the original configuration for safe use

That said...does anyone have any experience with this please

Ultimately I need to know that the device I plug in is using EARTH - otherwise said device is useless

I don't believe this is the case and would appreciate some guidance

Phil
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Old 19.08.2010, 19:56
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

Are you sure the adaptor plug's Earth pin is wired in ?
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Old 19.08.2010, 20:03
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

I think the point of the adapter is to change the plug from a 3 point to a two point. Also the there is no earth wires in Swiss plugs only live and neutral. Someone will say if I am wrong but I think that is the way it goes. Hense why your not picking up a earth connection on your tester.
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Old 19.08.2010, 20:07
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

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I think the point of the adapter is to change the plug from a 3 point to a two point. Also the there is no earth wires in Swiss plugs only live and neutral. Someone will say if I am wrong but I think that is the way it goes. Hense why your not picking up a earth connection on your tester.
So what is the 3rd pin for , and what the heck have I just done to all my UK appliances ??

I am colour blind and spent hours staring at the plugs before plucking up courage. I am pretty sure I wired the bi-coloured wire into the Earth pin...
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Old 19.08.2010, 20:11
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

If the cable has 3 wires in it and you put a swiss plug on it the middle pin is for the earth, + and - go on the left and right pins, it doesn't matter which way round (AC). You will only need a screwdriver to do this, it is fairly simple.
PS; the wires in the cable will be colours like brown & blue, or red & black for the + and -, the earth is usually green/yellow striped.
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Old 19.08.2010, 20:13
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

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If the cable has 3 wires in it and you put a swiss plug on it the middle pin is for the earth, + and - go on the left and right pins, it doesn't matter which way round (AC). You will only need a screwdriver to do this, it is fairly simple.
Careful now...
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Old 19.08.2010, 20:25
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

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I think the point of the adapter is to change the plug from a 3 point to a two point. Also the there is no earth wires in Swiss plugs only live and neutral. Someone will say if I am wrong but I think that is the way it goes. Hense why your not picking up a earth connection on your tester.
You are wrong.

It would be illegal to have a 3 pin Swiss wall socket without an earth! Many light current devices have only 2 wires, they are double insulated for safety. If there is a metal casing, there must be a 3 wire connection with an earth, that is an international standard. Wiring up 2 pin plugs are not allowed in Switzerland anymore, you cannot buy them.

There is a good chance the adaptor is not passing the earth wire through. Do you have a UK extension lead? You could remove the wall plug and simply wire a 3 pin Swiss plug onto the extension lead, and them use your tester.

Do you know someone with a meter? Measure between live and earth, with 225 volts reading there is an earth present. Measure the adaptor for resistance between earth and earth, it is probably missing the connection. Take the adapter to a TV / Computer shop and ask them to check for continuity on all 3 pins.

It matters which pin! With the small standard Swiss plug open, and you holding the cable, the middle one is green/ yellow. The right pin is live with a brown wire and the left is neutral with a blue wire. This is a European standard.

http://www.leadsdirect.co.uk/technical/mainswiring.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets Swiss type J

Last edited by Ittigen; 19.08.2010 at 20:37.
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Old 19.08.2010, 20:35
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

Aw, thread title led me to suspect a philosophical discussion on the reality of being.

'It was during a run of the mill fuse change that I realized none of us actually existed. If Earth was not present, than how could I or anything around me be present?'
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Old 19.08.2010, 20:47
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

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If the cable has 3 wires in it and you put a swiss plug on it the middle pin is for the earth, + and - go on the left and right pins, it doesn't matter which way round (AC). You will only need a screwdriver to do this, it is fairly simple.
PS; the wires in the cable will be colours like brown & blue, or red & black for the + and -, the earth is usually green/yellow striped.
actually it does matter which way around, the device will still work properly but it's a safety issue.
the brown wire is live and goes into the pin marked L
the blue is neutral and goes into the pin marked N

the Neutral is the "way out" for the current and usually when you switch something off it cuts off the current at the Live so no current even reaches the device. If you put it the wrong way around you're risking electrocution because even though the device is switched off it is still Live. Won't cause any problems if it's still in good shape but if/when it becomes faulty and you touch it, then you could get electrocuted.

we were taught this phrase in school to remember which wire is which:
the lively brown bear danced on the green earth under the neutral blue sky

the plugs always have a N and L marked on them, they're colour coded and marked for a reason.
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Old 20.08.2010, 14:35
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

I don't know what adaptor you were using, but many (and I mean many) adaptors I have seen do not carry the earth.

In fact in domestic continental installations (albeit outside Switzerland, mostly Italy and eastern Europe) many appliances (that should be earthed) are either not connected using the correct adaptor or simply the installation just doesn't have earth.
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Old 18.10.2010, 09:49
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

Hmm...really guilty of thread abandonment here - Sorry.

Thanks for this informative post, as per your suggestion I installed a Swiss 3-pin on a UK extension lead and.... Oila!

3 lights on my Socket Tester

Thanks very much Ittgen...

P.S. Stifoan apparently I have proved does in fact exist - I think you can feel safe again ;-)

P.P.S. Goes to show just because you purchase a 3-pin adapter doesn't mean you get Earth OR that the internal wiring on said device is correct

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You are wrong.

It would be illegal to have a 3 pin Swiss wall socket without an earth! Many light current devices have only 2 wires, they are double insulated for safety. If there is a metal casing, there must be a 3 wire connection with an earth, that is an international standard. Wiring up 2 pin plugs are not allowed in Switzerland anymore, you cannot buy them.

There is a good chance the adaptor is not passing the earth wire through. Do you have a UK extension lead? You could remove the wall plug and simply wire a 3 pin Swiss plug onto the extension lead, and them use your tester.

Do you know someone with a meter? Measure between live and earth, with 225 volts reading there is an earth present. Measure the adaptor for resistance between earth and earth, it is probably missing the connection. Take the adapter to a TV / Computer shop and ask them to check for continuity on all 3 pins.

It matters which pin! With the small standard Swiss plug open, and you holding the cable, the middle one is green/ yellow. The right pin is live with a brown wire and the left is neutral with a blue wire. This is a European standard.

http://www.leadsdirect.co.uk/technical/mainswiring.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets Swiss type J

Last edited by philsquires; 18.10.2010 at 09:50. Reason: spelling
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Old 18.10.2010, 10:02
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

Just a though - most newer (less than 20 or 30 years old) Swiss electrical installations use circut breakers rather than fuses - could this be interferring with the earth reading?

Edit...just saw you reply...then ignore this!
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Old 18.10.2010, 10:34
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

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we were taught this phrase in school to remember which wire is which:
the lively brown bear danced on the green earth under the neutral blue sky

the plugs always have a N and L marked on them, they're colour coded and marked for a reason.
Sadly this goes out of the window with many Swiss home electrics. There is a tendancy to use additional colours for circuits where there are two switches or more on the same circuit (eg top & bottom of stairs). So the wiring inside wall sockets and switches may well have reds, blues, pinks and yellows too.

I asked our elctrician about this and he suggested that all Swiss electricians knew about this - implying us humans shouldn't fool around with their work...
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Old 18.10.2010, 11:04
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

In my previous house I was replacing a light. The earth was green and yellow, the live was yellow and the neutral was... yellow. The landlord is the local electrician - maybe he'd run out of blue.

I've seen grey as neutral as well.
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Old 20.10.2010, 10:52
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

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In my previous house I was replacing a light. The earth was green and yellow, the live was yellow and the neutral was... yellow. The landlord is the local electrician - maybe he'd run out of blue.

I've seen grey as neutral as well.
Yup Swiss wiring can be problematic when it comes to relying on the colour coding, so always worth sticking a circuit tester on JIC.
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Old 20.10.2010, 19:38
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

Hi all, sorry if I am changing the thread a bit but I cannot see any other questions on this topic and I am intrigued by my house electrics.
I bought a house that has 3 different sorts of plug sockets in most rooms:
- the normal one
- another that is larger and has 3 pins in a triangle shape
- one that is huge with 5 pins (the previous people left me a washing machine that has the biggest plug I have ever seen...!).

Before I go along the calling an electrician path, as I do not use the second plug type can I just change it for a normal socket or does anyone know if this is not the right voltage, dangerous, etc?

Thanks in advance,

Annabelle
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Old 20.10.2010, 20:13
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

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Hi all, sorry if I am changing the thread a bit but I cannot see any other questions on this topic and I am intrigued by my house electrics.
I bought a house that has 3 different sorts of plug sockets in most rooms:
- the normal one
- another that is larger and has 3 pins in a triangle shape
- one that is huge with 5 pins (the previous people left me a washing machine that has the biggest plug I have ever seen...!).

Before I go along the calling an electrician path, as I do not use the second plug type can I just change it for a normal socket or does anyone know if this is not the right voltage, dangerous, etc?

Thanks in advance,

Annabelle

I would be surprised but did the plug look anything like this?

uk-plug-point-tester-indicates-earth-not-present-three-phase.jpg


If so then definitely call an electrician as this would be a three phase plug.
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Old 20.10.2010, 21:52
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

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Hi all, sorry if I am changing the thread a bit but I cannot see any other questions on this topic and I am intrigued by my house electrics.
I bought a house that has 3 different sorts of plug sockets in most rooms:
- the normal one
- another that is larger and has 3 pins in a triangle shape
- one that is huge with 5 pins (the previous people left me a washing machine that has the biggest plug I have ever seen...!).

Before I go along the calling an electrician path, as I do not use the second plug type can I just change it for a normal socket or does anyone know if this is not the right voltage, dangerous, etc?

Thanks in advance, Annabelle
I am sorry, but you must employ an electrician if you change the house wiring, it is written into Swiss law. Electricians can be prosecuted for bad work, and you would also be in big trouble.
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Old 21.10.2010, 12:32
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

Hi thanks did not realise I was not allowed to touch the electrics - does that include changing light fittings?
I noticed the plugs have 500V written on them so will not be touching them anyway! However if anyone can tell me what they are for as I cannot find anything on the internet about old plugs and why I have three different plug sizes that would be great - photos attached.

Thanks, Annabelle
Attached Thumbnails
uk-plug-point-tester-indicates-earth-not-present-copy-dsc01006.jpg   uk-plug-point-tester-indicates-earth-not-present-dsc01008.jpg  
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Old 21.10.2010, 13:20
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Re: UK plug point tester indicates Earth is not present

You can do limited work to change existing light fittings, switches etc, what you cannot do is change wiring or anything to do with the circuit boards.
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