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STUART RIBY: I GOT A CALL FROM A MATE TO SAY HIS MUM’S LIGHTS HAD STOPPED WORKING IN HER DRIVEWAY. ONE OF THE LIGHTS HAD WATER INSIDE AND THE OTHER WAS BURNT OUT. THE PLUG IS WHAT I’D DESCRIBE AS ‘ANOTHER LEVEL’ OF DANGEROUS!
So many poor-quality garden DIY installations look like this. Most of the time, the owners are just not aware of the problems, dangers, and in most cases, the low-cost fixes available.
Firstly, BS 1363 plug tops are only designed to take 1 x 2.5 mm2 flex or equivalent as a maximum. Even if the two flexes are 1.5 mm2, that’s still above the maximum the standard allows. On top of that, they haven’t been adequately secured, with Basic insulation partially gripped in the cable clamp.
The supply cables to the exterior lights are also not adequately secured, and in one case it looks like they’ve been moved to a different position for some reason. I’ll assume the IP socket-outlet keeps its IP rating with plugs inserted, as I can’t confirm this from the photo.
The termination of the conductors in the plug top is also poor, likely the cause of trying to fit conductors that are larger than the manufacturer’s design criteria which will follow the requirements of the appropriate British Standard. Usually, it’s difficult to code BS 1363 plug tops used in BS 7671 installations. In this case, as the exterior lights are fixed to a structure, they form part of a fixed installation and, therefore, fall under the requirements of BS 7671.
The shameful thing is that the LED flood is fairly new and looks to be a replacement for an existing failed unit. When the floodlight was replaced, the installation should have been upgraded. The fix is simple, using an IP-rated switched fused spur, and adequate cable supports.
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