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In life, you learn that there are some things that you should not do. Generally, you learn these things after you have done them. This past weekend I have learnt one of the things not to do.

"Arrrrggggggggggggg" sums it up quite well. I have basically wasted this entire weekend replacing a socket in my Kitchen. Oh My God. I shall never do this again. Allow me to recount the story properly.

It all started with a light. I got a new light for the front room, to replace the fancy one in there that I don't like. In order to put up the new light, I needed to get some of those rawlplugs that expand when you put them through plasterboard, so I can put the light up and it wont fall off.

In order to do that, I needed to go to the shop. So on Saturday morning I went to Meadowhall retail park, bought some paint test pots and completely forgot to get the rawplugs. I also got some water for my friend, so on the way back home I went to her house first to drop the water off. It turned out that they needed to go to the DIY shop too, and that's when I remembered that I hadn't got the rawlplugs. So we decided to go and they cooked me some food which was good. By this time it was about midday. We went to the shop. We looked at paint and stuff and I walked round and bought

Two push-in MCBs that replace cartridge fuses.
A double-socket RCD device thing, to replace the existing socket. (This is the cause of my trouble)
Various other bits.

It comes to around 50 quid. We go home after some nice food and a coffee that my friend bought. It's probably around 2ish now so I get home quick to sort stuff out.

I notice when I get home, that the two plug in MCBs are totally the wrong rating. This annoys me. I decide that it's best to go back to the shop now rather than leave it, so I do. I swop one of the MCBs but the other is not in stock. I'm moderately annoyed. I go home.

It's now probably about 3 or 4. I decide that changing the socket must be a simple task, and turn off the power to accomplish this. Because I had already noticed when I was changing the lights that, if I leave the power on but remove the fuse, I get a shock if i complete the circuit, I leave the entire power system off whilst I attempt to change the socket. This is no problem because it is early afternoon and there is plenty of light, and the job will be finished in no time.. right?


I spent the rest of the night trying to stuff five wires into each connecting terminal on the socket. (It does not occur to me at this time that there shouldn't really *be* five wires into each hole, as this is running 3 spurs off one socket.) I got *incredibly* annoyed, not the least because it got dark and the torch would not stay where I wanted it, and if you've ever tried to cram five wires each into three different tiny little holes you will share my pain here.

In the end, I had to give up. I removed the incompleted socket, and wrapped all the wires together, turned the power back on and just left them sticking out of the wall. Danger Danger. Ho-hum.

So I woke up today knowing this still faced me. I decided to go back to the other B&Q to get some more bits and pieces, like earthing cable to extend the earth in there so it actually reaches the hole. I got to B&Q, I bought some things. It came to 110 pounds.

One of the things I purchased was an electic multimeter so I could check that the socket was actually off. I noticed with this that there is a 240v difference across live to earth when the power is ON but the fuse to the circuit is removed. There is no difference across live to earth with the power OFF. This concerns me slightly but I don't know if it is normal or not. Anyway, I continued to proceed with the entire power system turned off.

I eventually got the five wires crammed mostly into the holes. I turned stuff on. I waited a while, and I noticed that the socket was smelling, of that same kind of smell I used to notice with something else. I think it may have been my train set. Anyway, I disconnected it. I had already wasted most of today. To cut it short, I decided to replace the old socket, which has bigger holes so accommodated all five wires. I rang dad and spoke to him which was when it was starting to occur to me that five wires was wrong. After our little chat I tested the voltage continuity and found which was the ring main, then left the spurs (all three of them) unconnected so I could find out what they power.

They do the conservatory fan, one socket in the conservatory, and a socket upstairs. I permanently erased the two conservatory spur wires from the socket, to free up space. I have reconnected the RCD socket, which was an easy task with only three wires. I wish I had thought of removing two sets 26 hours ago. :|

It's now hanging off the wall so I can check if it continues to smell, though I have no idea if smelling is normal for that sort of socket. I need to get a man in to check the wiring.

Replacing a socket has cost me 160 pounds and the best part of my weekend. I have done no OU work that I needed to do and have spent the weekend being mostly annoyed. It may still cost me more because now I wont be totally happy until I have a man in to check it all out, and he could find anything wrong. arrgggh.

So that was great :/

I just did the National IQ test and was rated 109. I imagine this is probably low as I wasn't concentrating due to stress, though I don't know. I'm probably just thicker these days. :D


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2003 01:08 pm (UTC)
thats one helluva weekend... good think yuou survived it all :p
May. 4th, 2003 01:25 pm (UTC)
It was a close call at some points honey when I couldn't cook food because the ignition to the cooker needs the electic and I had no matches and I couldn't turn the power back on and I *really* needed food so I was getting more and more irratated in some big vicious circle.

But I survived just :D
May. 4th, 2003 01:26 pm (UTC)
*gasp* but you could have starved to death!!! *cries*
May. 4th, 2003 01:40 pm (UTC)
I know! nightmare!
May. 4th, 2003 01:09 pm (UTC)

erm. Unlucky.
I hope u have connected it right though.

Hmmm, u have done the IQ test? it is still on on my t.v.
May. 4th, 2003 01:12 pm (UTC)
U did the IQ test on the internet, ok
May. 4th, 2003 01:10 pm (UTC)
>>>Replacing a socket has cost me 160 pounds and the best part of my weekend.<<<

*dies* poor you and your wallet. *hugs*
May. 4th, 2003 01:23 pm (UTC)
Aaaaw hugs you. Hope you get it sorted & it dont cost much more.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )