It is advisable to get a professional, registered electrician for first inspection in case DIY electrical work should not be attempted.
Electrical work that might be possible to the competent and capable DIY individual includes: replacing a damaged cable or socket boxes, sockets, switches and ceiling rose plus adding light fittings and switches to existing circuits.
Electricity flows along a wire (Live) to the appliance from a power source and back again along another wire (Neutral). This flow is able when a switch has been introduced closed. A broken connection is when the switch is open.
Live: Red or brown
Neutral: Black or blue.
Earth: Green & yellow.
Cables and flexes are protected by cables from overheating due to short circuits and overload. Never use too many plugs or adaptors on a socket! A weak link in a circuit causes ‘earthing out’ and increasing power through the cables. Eventually the thinner fuse wire will melt and power will be switched off. See if you can get a modern ‘circuit breaker’ which switches off power upon detecting a power-increase and can be reset from pressing a button.
Single core cables are found in industrial applications to run in conduits.
Two Core (Twin) and Earth have twisted solid conductors for larger cables. The earth is not insulated, but the live and neutral is.
Three Core and Earth has 3 conductors of red, blue and yellow plus earth, used where 2-way lighting is required.
Connecting cables to sockets and switches
Strip the wires ready and loosen the connection terminal’s screw. Ensure optimum contact by twisting exposed ends together with pliers and insert the conductor into the post type terminal’s hole. Make sure there are no exposed wires and that connection was made to the correct terminal. Fasten screw again and see that the wire is firm and secure.
Stripping a cable
Using a sharp knife, cut through the outside of the cable without touching the conductor’s insulation. Peel back the sheath and trim. Prepare these cable conductors by separating them first and trimming the insulation slightly, insulating the earth wire with sleeving and sliding it into the conductor.
Removing and connecting pendant lights
Switch off the power at the consumer unit, remove the fuse for that circuit and unscrew the ceiling rose’s cover. Unscrew the outermost terminals of the live and neutral wires and remove the conductors. Remove only the earth of the flex if it has an earth conductor.
Switch the consumer unit’s power off and remove fuse for the circuit. Unscrew the ceiling rose cover. Identify cables, starting with the light switch cover. The black conductor, tagged with red, will be attached to the live flex terminal and have a brown of the flex (going to the light itself) and a red conductor will be attached to the live terminal. Label the cables. Other cables will include green and yellow sleeved earth connections. NOTE if you are unable to identify cabling or has no earth conductor, call a professional! Connect a new pendant by feeding the new flex through the rose-cover, strip and prepare the conductors. Insert and secure the brown conductor into the live terminal, the blue conductor into the neutral flex terminal and the green & yellow conductor in the earth terminal next to the other earths. Double check connections and replace the ceiling rose-cover.
Keep in mind
Keep water from all things electric. Don’t wash near ‘live’ power, don’t use a plug, socket or appliance which my still be damp. Electrical points in bathrooms and kitchens can prove fatal. Make sure the bathroom only has specially designed socket outlets, such as hotels installs for razors and hairdryers. Outlets in kitchens should be impossible to touch when near the sink.
Keep your extension cables un-coiled, your cables and flexes un-kinked and non-frayed and read all instructions.
Always switch off the appliance at the socket and unplug first before inspection, follow manufacturers/expert advice for fuses. IMPORTANT: Safety comes first and it is always advised to seek professional help.
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