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Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

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raybarrow
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Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#234941

Postby raybarrow » July 8th, 2019, 4:51 pm

Hi Folks,

In the garage one of the dual sockets is a non-standard 13amp with the MK 'T' bar type earth pin. In it are the freezer and the tumble dryer. The tumble dryer has just died and rather start swapping the plug on a new dryer (warranty??) can I replace the non-standard socket with a standard 13amp socket and put a standard plug on the freezer. Makes life easier in the long term.

I can't see why not but although I can do the work easily enough, I am not a qualified electrician.

Cheers,
Ray.

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#234957

Postby Urbandreamer » July 8th, 2019, 5:58 pm

raybarrow wrote:Hi Folks,

In the garage one of the dual sockets is a non-standard 13amp with the MK 'T' bar type earth pin. In it are the freezer and the tumble dryer. The tumble dryer has just died and rather start swapping the plug on a new dryer (warranty??) can I replace the non-standard socket with a standard 13amp socket and put a standard plug on the freezer. Makes life easier in the long term.

I can't see why not but although I can do the work easily enough, I am not a qualified electrician.

Cheers,
Ray.


I would be dubious about doing this work myself and I'm normally quite confident changing sockets etc.

I had never come upon this type of plug-socket, so looked it up.
https://www.plugsocketmuseum.nl/British ... cleanEarth

It would seem that there were two possible reasons for fitting this type of socket. The first where it was desired to restrict or limit what could be plugged in. Clearly that is unlikely to be an issue from what you have said. The second relates to metal back boxes and earthing. Get that wrong and things could still work, but be very dangerous. The solution would be to replace the back box with a plastic one. Not a job that I would choose to do.

more
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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#234962

Postby more » July 8th, 2019, 6:11 pm

It would be easy to replace the socket. It is strictly not legal to do DIY electrics, but who is going to know. just buy the replacement and swop them over. The terminals are market live, neutral and earth. Turn the power off. Undoo the old one and with a torch look in to see the wires. There is some variation of the colour of wires, depending on age. so make sure you know which is which when reconnecting.

raybarrow
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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#234979

Postby raybarrow » July 8th, 2019, 6:39 pm

Hi Guys,

It is plastic socket. The house was completely rewired 12 years ago with 'modern' wiring/consumer unit/RCD for outside etc. I think it was done so that the freezer would not be disconnected accidentally. Other than the socket having a 'T' bar earth the wiring is normal.

I'll take the top off and have a look, but I don't expect any surprises.

Thanks,
Ray.

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#234983

Postby bungeejumper » July 8th, 2019, 6:48 pm

more wrote:It would be easy to replace the socket. It is strictly not legal to do DIY electrics, but who is going to know. just buy the replacement and swop them over. The terminals are market live, neutral and earth. Turn the power off. Undoo the old one and with a torch look in to see the wires. There is some variation of the colour of wires, depending on age. so make sure you know which is which when reconnecting.

I am not a sparky, but AFAIK there is no restriction on your replacing an existing wall socket with another one in the same location. It only gets interesting if you replace entire cabling systems, and usually not even then.

A bigger question would be whether the existing antique system is properly secured and safe? Is it connected to a circuit breaker consumer unit, or to an old-style fuse box? Is the earth functional? (A plug-in socket tester would tell you that.) Any idea when it was wired up? (Anything less than 40 years would be good.) Is there (good grief!) any rubber insulation around the existing 13 amp cable? I have seen such. :(

PS: How to stop anyone accidentally unplugging the freezer? Simple. Put a sticker on the plug that says, "FREEZER. DO NOT REMOVE". You have not been charged for this advice.

BJ

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#234997

Postby jfgw » July 8th, 2019, 7:46 pm

bungeejumper wrote:PS: How to stop anyone accidentally unplugging the freezer? Simple. Put a sticker on the plug that says, "FREEZER. DO NOT REMOVE". You have not been charged for this advice.

"It is only for a few minutes while I cut the grass..."

...(plugs in extension lead instead of freezer by mistake), "the freezer's back on now".

Various events later, the forlorn husband goes out and buys a non-standard socket and two plugs.

If there is a risk of someone unplugging the freezer to use the socket for something else, there need to be more sockets. This is better than a sticker.

Julian F. G. W.

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235004

Postby csearle » July 8th, 2019, 8:20 pm

more wrote:It would be easy to replace the socket. It is strictly not legal to do DIY electrics, but who is going to know.
DIY is allowed in the UK. If you are competent then you are allowed to do everything yourself, including changing out the consumer unit.

Some work requires notification to the local authority and any alterations to the fixed electrical installation require the installer to produce a certificate, but that can be done by the DIYer too. A mere exchange of a socket outlet requires no notification or certification.

Chris

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235092

Postby bungeejumper » July 9th, 2019, 8:54 am

jfgw wrote:"It is only for a few minutes while I cut the grass..."

...(plugs in extension lead instead of freezer by mistake), "the freezer's back on now".

True, very true. That was how my old dad set fire to the garage. He plugged in his soldering iron instead of the battery charger. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except that (a) the soldering iron was a great big powerful beastie that he'd bought from an ex-army surplus store, and (b) it was completely buried in a pile of cardboard and wood shavings on the workbench. ;)

It was fortunate indeed that I walked past the garage 15 minutes later and saw the smoke billowing out of the door. My dad kept his workbench a bit tidier after that. :lol:

BJ

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235125

Postby vrdiver » July 9th, 2019, 11:31 am

raybarrow wrote:one of the dual sockets is a non-standard 13amp with the MK 'T' bar type earth pin. In it are the freezer and the tumble dryer. The tumble dryer has just died and rather start swapping the plug on a new dryer (warranty??) can I replace the non-standard socket with a standard 13amp socket and put a standard plug on the freezer. Makes life easier in the long term.

I can't see why not but although I can do the work easily enough, I am not a qualified electrician.

Cheers,
Ray.

Rather than replace the socket, why not canibalise the old tumble dryer plug to make a short extension lead that ends in a standard socket (or sockets)? Then your new tumble dryer would just plug into the extension lead and the extention lead into the non-standard socket.

Basically, wsap the plug on something like https://www.kenable.co.uk/en/electrical ... 3bEALw_wcB

VRD

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235130

Postby pochisoldi » July 9th, 2019, 11:39 am

The unusual socket is probably fed from a non RCD protected source.
The idea is that the freezer is plugged into the unprotected outlet and you don't get a pile of defrosted food whenever the RCD trips.
Using a normal socket means that any kind of device could be plugged in and would not have RCD protection.
The modified pattern socket stops that from happening.

If this is the case, then you have a choice:

1) Replace the outlet with a switched fused connection unit.
This requires cutting the plug off the appliance

2) Fit the modified plug to the new appliance
This requires cutting the plug off the appliance

As far as a warranty is concerned, it applies to the appliance not to the plug.
If we go off at a tangent - if your freezer was to be connected to a remote socket hidden behind a unit (with a tidy isolating switch above the worktop), and the only thing between freezer and socket was a 15mm hole for a cable, what would the reasonable course of action be?
Drap the cable across the kitchen counter, or cut the plug off, thread the cable through the hole and wire a new plug on?

If you look at the instruction manual (or the self adhesive tag on the cord near the plug) it will have instructions telling you to cut off the plug and dispose of it, and then tells you the colour code for the cable to put a new plug on.

Unless your appliance fails due to the plug being replaced, they aren't going to reject a warranty claim because you took the reasonable action of removing a moulded plug.

BTW You should not plug any other appliance other than a fridge, freezer, or fridge/freezer into the modified socket.

PochiSoldi
(PS Making your own adaptor with the modified pattern plug on on end and a standard 13A socket on the other would be equally silly as replacing the socket)

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235131

Postby pochisoldi » July 9th, 2019, 11:40 am

vrdiver wrote:Rather than replace the socket, why not canibalise the old tumble dryer plug to make a short extension lead that ends in a standard socket (or sockets)? Then your new tumble dryer would just plug into the extension lead and the extention lead into the non-standard socket.

Basically, wsap the plug on something like https://www.kenable.co.uk/en/electrical ... 3bEALw_wcB

VRD


Not sensible - the modified socket is 99% certain not to be RCD protected, hence the use of a modified pattern socket to restrict what can be plugged into it.

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235138

Postby bungeejumper » July 9th, 2019, 11:49 am

pochisoldi wrote:Not sensible - the modified socket is 99% certain not to be RCD protected, hence the use of a modified pattern socket to restrict what can be plugged into it.

The OP has already said:
The house was completely rewired 12 years ago with 'modern' wiring/consumer unit/RCD for outside etc.

I'd be a bit surprised if this socket were to be "99% certain not to be RCD protected". But perhaps I've missed your point?

BJ

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235154

Postby pochisoldi » July 9th, 2019, 12:30 pm

bungeejumper wrote:
pochisoldi wrote:Not sensible - the modified socket is 99% certain not to be RCD protected, hence the use of a modified pattern socket to restrict what can be plugged into it.

The OP has already said:
The house was completely rewired 12 years ago with 'modern' wiring/consumer unit/RCD for outside etc.

I'd be a bit surprised if this socket were to be "99% certain not to be RCD protected". But perhaps I've missed your point?

BJ


It was installed there for a reason, and the most likely reason is the one I gave.
It wasn't installed "just to be awkward" or "for a laugh".
It means that outlet has some characteristic which is different from the other outlets, and there is a requirement to restrict the outlet's use.
We aren't talking about a school science lab with 110-0-110 supplies
We aren't taking about a telecoms or data centre facility with a "clean earth" and interruptible power supplies that you don't want the cleaner to plug their vacuum cleaner into.
This leaves the only option as being "this outlet isn't RCD protected", and given that the OP was talking about a freezer being on the circuit, my conclusion is that this is a non-RCD protected outlet for the freezer.

On reflection, the tumble dryer shouldn't be plugged into that outlet. It should be plugged into an existing "proper" 13A socket which is RCD protected (without using an extension lead).

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235238

Postby quelquod » July 9th, 2019, 3:49 pm

Well there IS another option which is that the rewire may have included a split rcd installation or this socket may be on its own individual rcbo and the owner wanted to protect the freezer but still have a relatively safe setup. Perhaps the sockets were chosen to prevent people inadvertently defeating the intent. Who knows? FWIW my own CU is split with most of the circuits dependent on an rcd but several (garage, man-shack, fridge and freezer) on individual rcbos to minimise nuisance tripping.

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Re: Replace non-standard 13 socket for standard one

#235376

Postby csearle » July 9th, 2019, 10:47 pm

quelquod wrote:Well there IS another option which is that the rewire may have included a split rcd installation or this socket may be on its own individual rcbo and the owner wanted to protect the freezer but still have a relatively safe setup. Perhaps the sockets were chosen to prevent people inadvertently defeating the intent. Who knows? FWIW my own CU is split with most of the circuits dependent on an rcd but several (garage, man-shack, fridge and freezer) on individual rcbos to minimise nuisance tripping.
Until recently it was allowed to fit a socket outlet with no 30mA RCD protection if it was labelled up for a specific use. This was removed in the 18th Edition (I think) so this exception is no longer acceptable. The "High-integrity" solution of using an RCBO as you describe is now the preferred option.

For quite a few years now I've only been fitting consumer units with RCBOs* because the split RCD solution is IMO rubbish and
is in contravention of the Wiring Regs in as much that protection shouldn't interfere with circuits unaffected by the fault.

Chris
* MCBs however for distribution circuits.


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