Unswitched neutral for timer switches

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Richard Russell

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Aug 12, 2007, 4:37:35 PM8/12/07
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I've fitted two timer switches (the sort that replace a switchplate)
and modified both of them in order to be able to feed compact
fluorescent lamps (precisely how I did that is another story!).
However, in the process I needed access to unswitched neutral in
addition to unswitched and switched live.

In the case of one switch (feeding an outdoor porch light) I was
fortunate, since the neutral was already routed through the wall box.
In the other case (a landing light) I had to 'borrow' a connection
from a switchplate on the other side of the partition wall,
fortunately almost immediately adjacent. I realise that's not ideal,
but it was expedient.

Anyway, that's water under the bridge and both lights work very well
under control of the timers. We are now contemplating moving house,
to a new build, and I'm wondering about asking the builders to provide
a feed of unswitched neutral to nominated light switches. I presume
that's still not standard? Assuming that to be the case is it a
reasonable request to make? What would be an appropriate choice of
cable(s) and colours for this application?

Richard.
http://www.rtrussell.co.uk/
To reply by email change 'news' to my forename.

Lurch

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Aug 12, 2007, 4:48:42 PM8/12/07
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On Sun, 12 Aug 2007 13:37:35 -0700, Richard Russell
<ne...@rtrussell.co.uk> mused:

>I've fitted two timer switches (the sort that replace a switchplate)
>and modified both of them in order to be able to feed compact
>fluorescent lamps (precisely how I did that is another story!).
>However, in the process I needed access to unswitched neutral in
>addition to unswitched and switched live.
>
>In the case of one switch (feeding an outdoor porch light) I was
>fortunate, since the neutral was already routed through the wall box.
>In the other case (a landing light) I had to 'borrow' a connection
>from a switchplate on the other side of the partition wall,
>fortunately almost immediately adjacent. I realise that's not ideal,
>but it was expedient.
>

Right, we'll skip over all that as I CBA

>Anyway, that's water under the bridge and both lights work very well
>under control of the timers. We are now contemplating moving house,
>to a new build, and I'm wondering about asking the builders to provide
>a feed of unswitched neutral to nominated light switches. I presume
>that's still not standard? Assuming that to be the case is it a
>reasonable request to make? What would be an appropriate choice of
>cable(s) and colours for this application?
>

Just get them to use a 3 core and earth to each switch instead of a
twin and earth. Use whatever colours you want to out of the 3 you
have, as long as you sleeve them accordingly.

You may be better off asking the sparks on site to stick the extra
cables in for a few quid rather than the housebuilder as it will be
somewhat cheaper. Worst thing is they say no and you request that the
housebuilder does it. We used to say no to everything everyone asked
us as until the deposit was paid everything went as the plans said.
YMMV.
--
Regards,
Stuart.

Andrew Gabriel

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Aug 12, 2007, 5:01:40 PM8/12/07
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In article <1186951055.0...@22g2000hsm.googlegroups.com>,

Richard Russell <ne...@rtrussell.co.uk> writes:
> Anyway, that's water under the bridge and both lights work very well
> under control of the timers. We are now contemplating moving house,
> to a new build, and I'm wondering about asking the builders to provide
> a feed of unswitched neutral to nominated light switches. I presume
> that's still not standard? Assuming that to be the case is it a
> reasonable request to make? What would be an appropriate choice of
> cable(s) and colours for this application?

As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period
(whilst I was redecorating the relevant areas, but also with a
view to putting in home automation), I ran triple and earth to
almost every point (switch or lamp). They are all run back to
a wiring centre (a gutted CU). This made it trivial to change
the way switching worked, replace a single with a double switch,
or if I'd needed to, feed a neutral to a switch. When I did put
in the HA about 6 years ago, it was a trivial excersise
interfacing it to the wiring centre.

--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]

Graham.

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Aug 12, 2007, 5:30:01 PM8/12/07
to

> As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period

Even Mao's China only looked forward 5 years at a time.

--

Graham.

%Profound_observation%


Grimly Curmudgeon

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Aug 12, 2007, 7:06:17 PM8/12/07
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We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the
drugs began to take hold. I remember "Graham." <m...@privacy.com> saying
something like:

>
>
>> As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period
>
>Even Mao's China only looked forward 5 years at a time.

Then made a Great Leap Backward.
--

Dave

meow...@care2.com

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Aug 12, 2007, 7:37:27 PM8/12/07
to

> Richard.http://www.rtrussell.co.uk/


> To reply by email change 'news' to my forename.

all you need specify is that the mains feed goes to the lightswitches
rather than the ceiling roses. No extra cables needed.

However... see
http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php?title=Rewiring_Tips


NT

Richard Russell

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Aug 13, 2007, 4:03:50 AM8/13/07
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On 12 Aug, 22:01, and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:
> As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period
> (whilst I was redecorating the relevant areas, but also with a
> view to putting in home automation), I ran triple and earth to
> almost every point (switch or lamp).

Interesting that you should mention Home Automation. I presume that
in these days of wireless connectivity there's no longer any need to
festoon the house with CAT5 cabling! However, given the one-off
opportunity to install extra wiring before the Second Fix, is there
anything you would specify to future-proof the property?

meow...@care2.com

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Aug 13, 2007, 4:33:50 AM8/13/07
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> Richard.http://www.rtrussell.co.uk/


> To reply by email change 'news' to my forename.

multiple cat5es are cheap and can be used for all sorts of apps, not
just pc networks.


NT

Richard Russell

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Aug 13, 2007, 5:24:52 AM8/13/07
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On 13 Aug, 09:33, meow2...@care2.com wrote:
> multiple cat5es are cheap and can be used for all sorts of apps, not
> just pc networks.

True enough, but they're a compromise for many applications (such as
video and audio) and I'd rather lay something more appropriate if I
really thought it was needed. I'll be specifying extra TV coax (UHF/
satellite) cables anyway - I'm sure you wouldn't suggest using CAT5
for that!

Richard.

Message has been deleted

Andrew Gabriel

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Aug 13, 2007, 6:43:38 AM8/13/07
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In article <1186992230....@r34g2000hsd.googlegroups.com>,

Richard Russell <ne...@rtrussell.co.uk> writes:
> On 12 Aug, 22:01, and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:
>> As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period
>> (whilst I was redecorating the relevant areas, but also with a
>> view to putting in home automation), I ran triple and earth to
>> almost every point (switch or lamp).
>
> Interesting that you should mention Home Automation. I presume that
> in these days of wireless connectivity there's no longer any need to
> festoon the house with CAT5 cabling! However, given the one-off
> opportunity to install extra wiring before the Second Fix, is there
> anything you would specify to future-proof the property?

I'm not a great fan of wireless. HA mainly uses alarm accessories,
and they are intended for use with stranded alarm cable, not solid
core. Some people do use Cat 5 or even phone cable. Use 6 or 8 core
alarm cable, which gives some scope for expansion utilising spare
cores.

You could easily cable in both Cat5e and alarm/HA wiring before
second fix. I would certainly do so -- I've never regretting
flooding the house with Cat5e when all the carpets/floors were
up. The only time I use wireless is whilst setting up a system
for someone else.

Lurch

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Aug 13, 2007, 6:47:25 AM8/13/07
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On Sun, 12 Aug 2007 16:37:27 -0700, meow...@care2.com mused:

Worst way of doing it, but then I expect nothing less from you.
--
Regards,
Stuart.

Lurch

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Aug 13, 2007, 6:52:03 AM8/13/07
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On Mon, 13 Aug 2007 01:03:50 -0700, Richard Russell
<ne...@rtrussell.co.uk> mused:

>On 12 Aug, 22:01, and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:


>> As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period
>> (whilst I was redecorating the relevant areas, but also with a
>> view to putting in home automation), I ran triple and earth to
>> almost every point (switch or lamp).
>
>Interesting that you should mention Home Automation. I presume that
>in these days of wireless connectivity there's no longer any need to
>festoon the house with CAT5 cabling!

There isn't a need as such, but if I had an empty shell and I were
going to fit full or partial home automation I would definitely be
using some sort f hardwiring for the interconnections and controls.

>However, given the one-off
>opportunity to install extra wiring before the Second Fix, is there
>anything you would specify to future-proof the property?
>

That's a term I hate to see used, 'future-proof'. It's impossible to
future proof a property, you can install loads of extras, more than
you can possibly envisage using, but you won't future proof it, not
for more than a few years at a time.

Depends on what you want to do really, you could ask for 2 CT100's, 4
cat6, 2 CW1308's, and plenty of tubes and draw wires in every corner
of every room, cat6 to various ceiling locations for speakers, audio
controls at every doorway etc.... Budget is the only real limit.
--
Regards,
Stuart.

The Natural Philosopher

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Aug 13, 2007, 7:38:16 AM8/13/07
to
meow...@care2.com wrote:
> On 13 Aug, 09:03, Richard Russell <n...@rtrussell.co.uk> wrote:
>> On 12 Aug, 22:01, and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:
>
>>> As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period
>>> (whilst I was redecorating the relevant areas, but also with a
>>> view to putting in home automation), I ran triple and earth to
>>> almost every point (switch or lamp).
>> Interesting that you should mention Home Automation. I presume that
>> in these days of wireless connectivity there's no longer any need to
>> festoon the house with CAT5 cabling!

Depends on how much you value the integrity of your network.

Like thigs happening when yusue te miucrowave, or a thuinderstom goes on
neraby...


>> However, given the one-off
>> opportunity to install extra wiring before the Second Fix, is there
>> anything you would specify to future-proof the property?
>>
>> Richard.http://www.rtrussell.co.uk/
>> To reply by email change 'news' to my forename.
>
> multiple cat5es are cheap and can be used for all sorts of apps, not
> just pc networks.
>

CVae 5 is usable as alarm wiring, phone wiring, USB type wiring IIRC,
and just about usable for audio: There are ways to even run TV type
signals over it I believe.
>
> NT
>

Piers Finlayson

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Aug 13, 2007, 8:57:11 AM8/13/07
to

"Richard Russell" <ne...@rtrussell.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1186992230....@r34g2000hsd.googlegroups.com...

> On 12 Aug, 22:01, and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:
>> As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period
>> (whilst I was redecorating the relevant areas, but also with a
>> view to putting in home automation), I ran triple and earth to
>> almost every point (switch or lamp).
>
> Interesting that you should mention Home Automation. I presume that
> in these days of wireless connectivity there's no longer any need to
> festoon the house with CAT5 cabling! However, given the one-off
> opportunity to install extra wiring before the Second Fix, is there
> anything you would specify to future-proof the property?
>

IME wireless is not a complete substitute for wired ethernet. I use
wireless at home for surfing and email - and that's it.

I run all my real-time applications (VoIP, streaming music and streaming
video) over wired as they are too susceptible to individual packets being
slightly delayed - which can happen due to many sources of interference on
wireless.


Richard Russell

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Aug 13, 2007, 9:18:23 AM8/13/07
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On 13 Aug, 11:06, Huge <H...@nowhere.much.invalid> wrote:
> I don't see why not. We transmit video over Cat5 with appropriate baluns, over a
> much larger building than a domestic dwelling.

Good luck to you. However I worked for the BBC for over 32 years and
doing that is anathema to me.

> Personally, though, I'd floodwire with Cat5....

As you can guess by my above comment, I'm too old to be bothered with
such things. We've happily lived in our current house (also bought
new, also with some customised wiring) for 13 years without once
missing any of those features!

Richard.

meow...@care2.com

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Aug 13, 2007, 9:20:52 AM8/13/07
to
On 13 Aug, 10:24, Richard Russell <n...@rtrussell.co.uk> wrote:
> On 13 Aug, 09:33, meow2...@care2.com wrote:

> > multiple cat5es are cheap and can be used for all sorts of apps, not
> > just pc networks.

> True enough, but they're a compromise for many applications (such as
> video and audio) and I'd rather lay something more appropriate if I
> really thought it was needed. I'll be specifying extra TV coax (UHF/
> satellite) cables anyway - I'm sure you wouldn't suggest using CAT5
> for that!
>

> Richard.http://www.rtrussell.co.uk/


> To reply by email change 'news' to my forename.

No one cable will do everything. Cat5e is very cheap and does most
things. People dont usually install multiple cable types, so 5e is a
good all rounder with very low cost. It wont carry satellite or much
power at LV, nor is it rated for higher V apps.

5e is not a compromise for audio, this is an enduring myth. It is not
necessary to use a screened cable to get good clean signal, that is
only _one_ method of doing so. Driving the cable with a < 1 ohm
amplifier (eg almost any small 8 ohm audio amp) wipes out interference
very effectively, even on cables of much worse quality than 5e.

And yes, 8 ohm amps almost always have Zout of < 1 ohm.


NT

meow...@care2.com

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Aug 13, 2007, 9:23:51 AM8/13/07
to

5e doesnt make great speaker cable, but distribbing audio at low level
and amplifying at point of use is my preference. If you must use it as
speaker cable, there are 4 ways of doing so - and probably more.


NT

meow...@care2.com

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Aug 13, 2007, 9:27:05 AM8/13/07
to
On 13 Aug, 11:47, Lurch <myrealn...@sjwelectrical.co.uk> wrote:
> On Sun, 12 Aug 2007 16:37:27 -0700, meow2...@care2.com mused:

Does precisely what the OP requested without wasting his money. You
seem to like criticising such things.


NT

Tim Southerwood

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Aug 13, 2007, 1:59:34 PM8/13/07
to
Richard Russell coughed up some electrons that declared:

> Interesting that you should mention Home Automation. I presume that
> in these days of wireless connectivity there's no longer any need to
> festoon the house with CAT5 cabling!

When wireless does 1gig/sec...

Anyway, if you are going to bother at all, install Cat6a. That will manage
upto 10gig :)

And stick it in conduit so you can pull and replace in 15 years with the
latest in terabit networking to go with your 100GHz 32 core system where
windows still takes 5 seconds to open an application.

But at least clippy will be holographically rendered in exquisite detail.


Cheers

Tim

Message has been deleted

Derek Geldard

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Aug 13, 2007, 4:27:59 PM8/13/07
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On 13 Aug 2007 19:52:48 GMT, Huge <Hu...@nowhere.much.invalid> wrote:

>On 2007-08-13, Richard Russell <ne...@rtrussell.co.uk> wrote:
>> On 13 Aug, 11:06, Huge <H...@nowhere.much.invalid> wrote:
>>> I don't see why not. We transmit video over Cat5 with appropriate baluns, over a
>>> much larger building than a domestic dwelling.
>>
>> Good luck to you. However I worked for the BBC for over 32 years and
>> doing that is anathema to me.
>

>Well, it's hardly broadcast quality, but the dealers don't seem to mind.
>

If you get baseband PAL colour out of the far end it can't be too bad.

Were those little sub-matchbox sized devices that MISCO used to sell
just baluns then? I always assumed they were active.

<snip>
>
>The arse of doing it has largely put me off. I've run some phone and speaker
>cables round the outside of the house, but I'd only do it "properly" if it was a
>new build or major refurb and I could pay someone to do it.

Such wiring would be a site more useful than some of the part pee
stuff such as the need to have an extractor fan in a bog controlled
from a triple pole isolator, and IIAC every utility room having to
have an extractor fan (ditto) in it, even if it only houses the boiler
+ washing machine + dryer

DG.

Phil B

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Aug 21, 2007, 1:56:58 PM8/21/07
to

"Richard Russell" <ne...@rtrussell.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1186992230....@r34g2000hsd.googlegroups.com...
I did hear of one house purchaser who went in at weekend to fix oval
trunking vertically to the walls and into ceiling/loft voids before the
plasterers came in.
His cunning plan was to locate them with a compass after lowering a magnet
on string so he could install extra points or services.
I never did hear whether it worked!!
Phil


b33...@gmail.com

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Aug 22, 2007, 8:58:33 AM8/22/07
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On 13 Aug, 12:38, The Natural Philosopher <a...@b.c> wrote:

> meow2...@care2.com wrote:
> > On 13 Aug, 09:03, Richard Russell <n...@rtrussell.co.uk> wrote:
> >> On 12 Aug, 22:01, and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:
>
> >>> As I gradually rewired lighting circuit over a 20 year period
> >>> (whilst I was redecorating the relevant areas, but also with a
> >>> view to putting in home automation), I ran triple and earth to
> >>> almost every point (switch or lamp).
> >> Interesting that you should mention Home Automation. I presume that
> >> in these days of wireless connectivity there's no longer any need to
> >> festoon the house with CAT5 cabling!
> Depends on how much you value the integrity of your network.
> Like thigs happening when yusue te miucrowave, or a thuinderstom goes on
> neraby...

Cat5 still very useful for networking. Much more reliable, secure,
higher speed. If nothing else it will let you put your phone base
station where you want it and a wireless access point where it will
give the best coverage. As more an more people switch on wireless
networks they're likely to get increasingly unreliable.

> CVae 5 is usable as alarm wiring, phone wiring, USB type wiring IIRC,
> and just about usable for audio: There are ways to even run TV type
> signals over it I believe.

www.kat5.tv if it's still running and Keene sell some devices now as
well.

All of this is pretty academic though - in a few years time both your
music and video is likely to be IP anyway. Look at devices like Slim
Devices Squeezebox and AppleTV.

I ran a pair of cat5's (or more) to each room in the current house
when we moved in. If i was speccing a new build i'd probably take a
pair to every mains power socket - the cable is cheap enough. i'd
also look into some forms of ducting - in the living room i've floor
hatches that link the tv point to the other side of the room where the
audio kit sits to let me pull more cables in future (my initial run
left out an IR repeater and i'll need HDMI in future)

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