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Thread: Earth leakage even with all appliances/plugs removed

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    Earth leakage even with all appliances/plugs removed

    Hi all.

    I suddenly developed an earth leakage in the middle of the day during a period without rain or wind or anything strange. It is isolated to one circuit breaker and is consistent.
    I had an electrician come and we looked high and low but could only find three plugs that weren't working. After disconnecting the plugs the earth leakage still tripped.

    The electrician believes the issue is with the actual wiring between the DB and the first plug, but I have two reasons to doubt him. Firstly, he recommended that we disconnect the earth of that circuit which would "fix" the problem, to which I of course said no and sent him on his way. Secondly both the live and earth are insulated as far as I can see and in PVC conduit, so from my rudimentary understanding both cables would have to be exposed and touching each other for the fault to lie with the cables. Unless there is a junction box somewhere in between but the distance from DB to plug is quite short and if there is it has to be "inside" the walls.

    Could you help with these questions:
    1. It is likely/possible for the issue to be with the cables running in the conduit, or do we need to keep searching for a different cause?
    2. If the EL only trips when the one circuit breaker is active, that means we can exclude all other circuits/appliances, correct?
    3. Can anyone recommend an electrician in Pretoria East? After reading through the post at https://www.theforumsa.co.za/forums/...CD%29-Tripping I realise that I'll need someone who knows his stuff.


    Thank you

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    Hi

    Earth Leakage faults test abilities all the time and there is always a new type fault that you come across and a plug hidden that you don't see.

    Generally if you turn a CB off and there is no tripping problem then it could be isolated to that set of plugs - At other times it may just be an accumulation of appliances on that circuit that when turned off stops the unit from tripping even though there is nothing wrong on that particular circuit.

    Disconnecting the earth is a definite no .

    Best way to find a electrician is referral or try phone the ECA offices n Pretoria - Telephone: (012) 342 3242/342 3358
    Fax: (012) 342 3455

    Email: infopta@ecasa.co.za

    Ask them to refer you to a electrician that does the type of work you are looking for - Alternatively use the Find a member listing on the website - http://member.ecasa.co.za/webcore/me...ctory_listings

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Finding an earth leakage fault that's 'consistent' and localised to one circuit should be relatively straight forward for a professional electrician with the right test equipment. It's far easier to find a consistent fault that an intermittent fault.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrightSide View Post
    ......Firstly, he recommended that we disconnect the earth of that circuit which would "fix" the problem
    If he suggested disconnecting the earth as a 'fix' then find a new electrician. Disconnecting the earth on any circuit and making it live is not legal and is likely to end with someone getting injured or killed.



    Quote Originally Posted by BrightSide View Post
    Could you help with these questions:
    1. It is likely/possible for the issue to be with the cables running in the conduit, or do we need to keep searching for a different cause? It's possible the fault could be somewhere along the length of the wiring run, it's easy to test the length of wiring with the right testers.
    2. If the EL only trips when the one circuit breaker is active, that means we can exclude all other circuits/appliances, correct? You can most likely rule out the other circuits and appliances but it's not 100% certain. Earth leakage breakers will only trip when there's a current flowing through them. If there's a fault on a circuit with no load on it (no current flowing through it) the earth leakage will only trip if there's current flowing in another circuit that doesn't have a fault. Again it's easy to test them with the right testers to be sure.
    3. Can anyone recommend an electrician in Pretoria East? After reading through the post at https://www.theforumsa.co.za/forums/...CD%29-Tripping I realise that I'll need someone who knows his stuff. Agreed, you're going to need a decent sparky. As GCE recommended try contacting the ECA.


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    Morning Brightside

    Get a registered person to disconnect the first socket and test and then move on to the next socket.

    It could be the socket it's self.

    I agree with Andy that this fault is quite straight forward to find.

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    Hi all.

    Appreciate the feedback. I'll contact the ECA today.

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    Hi all.

    Some feedback. The ECA recommended an electrician who I was very happy with. Turns out the problem was a combination of cables being joined with insulation tape in the pipes and the pipes being wet.

    This leads me to a few more questions:
    1) Is there any way to dry out the PVC pipes?
    2) These pipes run a very short distance from the DB board to a plug and don't go underground or into the ceiling. I can't imagine water getting in, so could it have been there since the house was built about 5 years ago?
    3) The electrician removed live, neutral and earth (with the assumption that if one was joined there is a good possibility that the others were as well). He then replaced them with surfix, which I assume is okay?

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Glad you got the problem fixed. If there was a tape joint inside the conduit I'd guess the water probably got into the conduit at the same time you started having tripping problems. The surfix cable he used is perfectly adequate for wet conditions, it's actually rated for external use without any additional protection.
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    Ironically the first guy (although gave bad advice in terms of removing the protection) was correct in his suspicion of the conductors between the first plug and the source.

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