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Thread: Earth Leakage Failure and LED light soft glow

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    Question Earth Leakage Failure and LED light soft glow

    Hi,

    This is my first post to the forum. I saw some interesting discussions on a similar topic on the forum, but am not sure it is exactly the same, but if there is a similar thread, please send me there.

    I have a Main db feeding to an outhouse db which feeds to a pool db (pool db has 7 day timer, but it is not on).

    Some electrical work was recently carried out on the house and pool (replaced lights, added external LED's and added surge protection to main db) and we are getting a strange EL trip:

    Generally on weekends (Fri to Mon), the EL will trip on the Main and Outhouse DB's between 6:30 and 7:00pm (as it is getting dark). Immediately I can reset the Main DB EL, but it will trip the house if I reset the outhouse DB. After about 1 hour I can reset the outhouse DB, but sometimes longer. Initially we thought this could be a faulty day night switch, but we have removed all day/night switches. There are no other timers that I know of (small holding, so there are always surprises). Also the fact that it happens around weekends and not every day doesn't make sense. After the trip, LED lights and fluorescent tubes connected to the outhouse db often glow softly, even though it is tripped. It makes no difference is the light switches are on or off. My electrician wondered if it was a N-E failure, but also seemed unsure and felt that the entire db should be rewired. I'm not that keen to do this as it was fine for the 5 years before this.

    I hope I am explaining this adequately. Does anyone have any thoughts?

    David

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Middleton View Post
    ....My electrician wondered if it was a N-E failure, but also seemed unsure and felt that the entire db should be rewired. I'm not that keen to do this as it was fine for the 5 years before this.......
    Electricians don't 'wonder' about neutral-earth failure or any kind of wiring fault for that matter, they test for it which removes any need for wondering. Only unskilled, clueless and incompetent contractors wonder and they shouldn't be selling their services as an electrician. Likewise with the suggestion of a complete rewire....TBH I'm speechless, things like that just make me want to weep for the industry and I'm not even going to ask if he issued a certificate of compliance for the work he's done. Has he done any actual testing either to prove the work he's done is safe or to find the cause of the fault(s)?

    Based on the 'complete rewire' statement alone, the first thing you need to do is get rid of your so called sparky and find one that's competent, qualified and licensed/registered. Yes, a decent sparky will probably have a higher hourly rate than a chancer but there's a big difference between price and value. Also don't hold it against him if he's reluctant to give you a firm quote rather than an estimate or hourly rate, I know I would be the same if I arrived at a job that another contractor has completed and there's faults they couldn't fix.

    Quote Originally Posted by Middleton View Post
    Some electrical work was recently carried out on the house and pool (replaced lights, added external LED's and added surge protection to main db) and we are getting a strange EL trip:
    I suspect you've just found the location of the problem. If you had a stable and fault-free installation to start with, then there was work carried out and a 'strange' earth leakage tripping fault now happens then it's pretty logical to suspect that the new additions and alterations are the cause.

    You've got the earth leakage in the main DB supplying the sub-DB and a second earth leakage in the sub-DB supplying some or all of the final circuits. This is already poor design and a recipe for problems because a fault on a sub-DB final circuit will trip both earth leakages. Obviously you're already aware of this, you've found this out the hard way with your main house getting plunged into darkness on a regular basis. The silver lining is that the earth leakage in the main house is confirming there's a fault when the earth leakage in the sub-DB trips so chances are that both your earth leakage breakers are working great and doing what they should be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Middleton View Post
    After the trip, LED lights and fluorescent tubes connected to the outhouse db often glow softly, even though it is tripped
    When I first read your post I was going to suggest you don't get distracted by the glowing lamps because it's a known issue where LED's can flicker when they're switched off under certain circumstances. I see when I reread it however that it's multiple LED lamps and fluorescent tubes as well, also you describe it as 'glowing' rather than flickering so I'm leaning towards there being a wiring fault that needs finding and fixing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Middleton View Post
    Generally on weekends (Fri to Mon), the EL will trip on the Main and Outhouse DB's between 6:30 and 7:00pm (as it is getting dark).
    I would suggest you don't let the times of the tripping become a distraction. I'm almost 100% certain that if the installation is properly tested it will identify several faults and when they're remidied the earth leakage tripping fault will vanish as mysteriously as it appeared in the first place.
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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Excellent response Andy, as we've come to expect from you. I totally agree.

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