Leave It To The Experts

We all love a bit of DIY from time to time and we all like the sense of fulfilment we get from completing a project, but some things just need to be left to those qualified to complete the tasks like electrics.

Faulty electrical components can result in a fire and possibly death. The daily interaction that many people have with their home’s electrical components is limited to flipping a switch or plugging in an appliance. However, behind every wall is a maze of electrical wires connected to breakers, boxes and ultimately the community’s main power grid. A while a basic knowledge of faulty electrical goods can come in handy at times it’s not sufficient to take on major re wiring tasks.

Whether the problem exists with the panel boxes and breakers, aluminium wiring or the old knob-and-tube wiring found in homes from the 1940s, electrical problems can create havoc in the home to prevent unwanted surprises and costs, always have a licensed home inspector or electrician carry out the tasks.

Many DIYers put to much trust into their own limited knowledge putting themselves at risk, a lot of people don’t even know what kind of wiring system they are dealing with.

The wiring inside many houses is also out of date, straining to supply our ever-growing collection of electricity-hungry appliances, lighting, and electronics that have become part and parcel of our modern day lives.

Today’s standard household wiring is a plastic-sheathed, insulated three-wire cable, universally known by the trade name Romex. But the vintage copper wiring in many older houses works just as well as the new stuff, as long as it’s in good condition. Here are some wiring systems you’ll find in older homes.

  • Knob and Tube -The earliest residential wiring system has a cloth-covered hot wire and a neutral wire, which run parallel about a foot apart.
  • Armoured Cable (Bx) – The successor to knob and tube. A flexible steel sheath covers hot and neutral wires, which are insulated with cloth-covered rubber. The sheath provides a ground, so grounded receptacles are easy to retrofit.
  • Two-Wire Plastic-Sheathed Cable – An early PVC-insulated (Romex) wire.
  • Aluminium Wiring – A type of wiring, used in the 1960s and 1970s as a cheap substitute for copper, that is no longer considered safe.

Some home insurance companies are not covering homes with known faulty electrical equipment issues, and this trend is expected to continue. Even though you might not be able to see it, faulty electrical wiring problems can cost you a fortune, or worse, your life. Make sure you hire professionals with the relevant qualifications such as the 17th edition wiring regulations.

Apprenticeships And 17th Edition

Many young people have fixed views on the requirements of various industries and are making decisions for themselves based on pre-conceived ideas that are often inaccurate or out of date. The focus on high exam scores with university as the goal can come at the expense of better information about important trades.

For new entrants into apprenticeships, their perceptions of what many trades are often far from reality. Technology has transformed industries and jobs beyond recognition. IT is now embedded in the electrical industry; electricians are as likely to work on the deal with IT equipment as wire in light fittings. With the automotive industry increasingly dominated by new technologies, a mechanic may never change an oil filter or spark plugs. Plumbing is no longer just blocked drains; it’s refrigeration repairs, solar hot water, rainwater tanks and other environmentally friendly new developments.

Only once successfully completing their apprenticeship will workers have insight into the nature of the work they are signing themselves up for working in their chosen industry. Helping all kids understand the changing world of work could significantly improve their experience obtaining a qualification and subsequently working in their chosen field.

Whilst on job experiences are vital in the electrical trade it’s vital not to over look the importance of training courses to keep both yourself and new apprentices up to date with all the latest regulations such as the latest 17th Edition wiring regulations, or Pat Testing courses.

Note: those who are already qualified electricians or a part qualified domestic electricians will not be required to attain the new 17th Edition qualification that has being designed but that  they will benefit from taking the new 17th edition course and  keeping all relevant qualifications up to date.


Take Your 17th Edition Exam Before April!!

Why it is so important to take your 17th edition by April 2013?

The rules governing who can register as a qualified supervisor are set to change on the 6th April 2013.

This deadline only applies if you are looking to register as a domestic installer. If you are working with domestic electrics you must register with a competent person’s scheme such as the NICEIC, ELECSA and so on. However the rules governing who can register as a qualified supervisor are set to change on the 6th April 2013.

Anyone registering after this date will need to complete a new qualification designed specifically for domestic electricians. Which will be outlined at a later date.

Those who are already qualified electricians or a part qualified domestic electricians that will benefit the most by taking their 17th edition course and registering by the 5th April 2013. Meaning you will not be required to attain the new qualification that is being designed.

You can still register as a domestic electrician up until and including the 5th April 2013 under the current rules. The minimum requirement to register by this date will be that you have passed your 17th edition wiring regulations and as long as you have registered by this date you will be governed by the current regulations and will be guaranteed to be assessed by the NICEIC or similar scheme provider.




The Cost Of Training

When starting a new job you need to plan, estimating the cost of all resources needed, planning of materials, labor charges, duration of the job and possible worst case scenarios are all considered before quoting for the job.

Each section should be systematically itemised, costed and planned for. The same goes when it comes to our training. If you lucky enough to have an employer who covers all you 17th edition IEE regulation training then perhaps you have not considered this. The cost of books, courses, exams and possible retakes can all mount up leading to extra pressure to ensure a first time pass. Thats not even taking into consideration the time it takes to complete all of the 17th Edition study and exams which takes you away from paid work.

I panic at the thought of exams. I’m not the academic type.

So how did I make sure I passed first time? I know my stuff – I pretty certain of that, but in test / exam situations I just seem to go blank …. thats why for my the planning of my study was the key element that made me pass first time! I set out everything I needed to do (as I would for a job) and approached it as though it was a normal everyday job. Being so well prepared helped me to overcome my worries about the exam. The 17th edition exam was just another days work and I went into it knowing what I needed to do.




The Difference Between Industrial And Residential Wiring

Whether you’re doing residential or industrial wiring for electricity, you’ve got a complex task ahead of you. Needless to say, industrial wiring is essentially just a much more complex form of residential wiring. I will simply provide you with a very basic overview of what you need to understand with regard to residential wiring and industrial wiring.

It is down you to look up your local building and electrical codes for your home and/or office space. Also, check your local laws to see if you are even permitted to do your own amateur wiring before you proceed, as this is not always the case. Above all things, approach any wiring project with this knowledge at the forefront of your mind: “electricity is highly dangerous”. Put your safety ahead of all other concerns, if in any doubt then don’t continue. Having the right qualifications such as passing the 17th Edition exam are essential before undertaking any electrical work.

Basics of Doing Residential Wiring

Red wires and black wires are usually “hot”. This means that there is a current (amps) flowing from the circuit breaker to the electrical box or the appliance in question.

The white wires usually are “returns”. This means that they allow current (amps) to flow back to the circuit breaker after the electricity has passed through the load or appliance in question.

White wires should not be connected together with ground wires, with the exception being back at the circuit panel bus bar. If you fail to observe this rule, then every single time the load is energized (such as turning on an appliance), electricity will flow through the ground wire and the return wire simultaneously. This is very dangerous.

A ground wire is usually bare and attaches to an appliance’s frame. Under normal circumstances, current should not be passing through it. Only when there is a short circuit should electricity pass through the ground wire; this happens so that the circuit breaker will kill the flow of current to the site or appliance.

Basics of Doing Industrial Wiring

Smart industrial wiring is based on 3-phase electrical power. 3-phase electric allows less workload to be placed on each wire involved while at once allowing them to work together to give you maximum results. With 3-phase electric, the wires are smaller and the motor is smaller than a typical single-phase motor. These factors allow greater efficiency and longer lasting motors and wires.

There are four types of 3-phase electrical power:

  • Common 3 Wire
  • Common 4 Wire
  • 3 Wire with Grounded Hot Leg
  • Special 4 Wire

No matter which type of 3-phase electrical power you choose to use, you’ll need a voltage meter in order to determine the actual voltages that are available to you. The type does not determine this.

Industrial wiring typically runs through metal conduits, armoured cable, or a raceway. These enclosures are the safety ground–never the neutral wire.

Study Smarter Not Harder

You’ve probably heard this phrase on many occasions. A worn out cliche, that we ought to study smarter and not harder. But what does this exactly mean? In this post I will attempt to answer that question from what I learned whilst studying for my 17th edition exam.

1 Effectiveness

You could say that the phrase study smarter is similar to the phrase study efficiently. The more effective you are in studying, more get’s done and less time is wasted. Before you can go about changing this and becoming a more efficient student you need to be aware of your current effectiveness. This has to be measured before we can improve it, the reason is fairly obvious. IF you do not know where you stand, how will you know how far you’ve went?

A simple of doing this would be to measure a typical study week. You could measure how much things you’ve got down, how many problems you’ve solved or how many pages you’ve read and then combine those and similar figures into averages. Then do this every week. The result will be a chart or a graph that shows you how effective you are and whether or not you’ve improved over time or not.

2 Find what works best – then do just that!

Economists have a term they’ve dubbed ROI or Return of Investment to measure how much value an investment yields compared to invested capital. You need to have a similar mindset towards your studies. What particular method of studying has harnessed the greatest results in your case when you compare it to the energy you’ve put in? For instance, if you were to read about a subject or discuss a subject for 1 hour, which one would yield the most results? You need to measure these things now, otherwise you might be wasting time that could have been spent doing other things.

Last Minute Study Doesn’t Work

This is true especially if you force your mind to absorb all the things that you need to review for your tomorrow’s exam. Why? Because a person typically forgets as much as 80% of what he or she learned within 24 hours and according to a research, memory retention is enhanced by sleep. And now it is clear why all experts are encouraging students to relax and sleep early the night before their exam instead of having one final round of night-review.

Aside from depriving yourself of adequate sleep when you study just a day or a night prior to your exam, you are also wasting your time as there is no guarantee that you can retain what you squeezed into your mind.  You are doing no good for your body and your mind when you force your mind to absorb the whole book or the entire course content in just one sitting.

So stick to the good-old formula of studying: establish a regular study habit. Studying is not only easier and shorter (2-3 hours daily) but also let you master and retain all the necessary information on a particular subject.

How To Concentrate Whilst Studying

Study time is an essential factor in helping you to prepare for exams. It requires you to concentrate and focus your mind, however this is a lot easier said than done at times. I often find myself easily distracted and struggle to remain focused. Concentration is very important because without this you cannot absorb what you are reading. But in reality many of us while trying to concentrate are occupied with some other thoughts. It could be the latest movie, a football match or even your personal life. Sometimes problems could also interfere with our concentration.

To free yourself from distractions, it is a must for you to acquire a skill of discipline and self-control. Remember it is you who has the power to make things or to make it not happen. When its time to study, you must take charge of the things around you or in the place where you study. This means you should have a study table/area, enough lightning and a peaceful environment. If you manage to have this in your place, it could help you focus on your study.

Another important point you should consider to ensure concentration on your study time is to think first of what you need to learn and accomplish. Make an outline then give yourself a break to recharge your energy.

How The Changes Made To BS7671 17th Edition Amendment Effect Us

The IET publishes the wiring regulations (BS7671), the 17th edition had its first amendment finalised in July 2011 and the amendment came into force in January 2012.

What are the main amendments to BS7671?

There are a number of individuals responsible for writing the electrical regulations to ensure they are integrated fairly taking a wide range of opinions into account. Ultimately the regulations are in place to protect and enhance the safety of our customers, and as professional electricians and electrical engineers, we should be looking to update our knowledge to make sure we stay at the top of our game.

The main amendments to the original BS7671 2008 17th edition wiring regulations document are:

  • New section 444 – Measures against electromagnetic disturbances
  • New section 534 – Devices for protection against over voltage. Selection of surge protection devices (SPD)
  • New section 710 – Medical locations
  • New section 729 – Operating or maintenance gangways
  • Appendix 6 – New model forms for certification and reporting – this covers the new Electrical Installation condition Report (EICR) which supersedes the Periodic Inspection Report (PIR)
  • The amendments also cover minor works changes which relate to exceptions regarding RCD protection