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This book is intended to act as a working manual for those engaged in the initial inspection or re-inspection of an electrical installation. It will also assist trainees studying for City and Guilds courses 2360-1, 2360-2, 2360-C, 2400, 2391, NVQ and BTEC. The advice given, and the methods suggested, are based on many years of practical experience and therefore will hopefully not be considered too theoretical for those engaged in the Electrical Contracting Industry. If this most important aspect of an electricians work is to be successfully completed, testing and inspection activities must be carefully prepared, executed and documented. The principles enclosed in this book will enable that goal to be achieved with the minimum of errors. References are made throughout to BS 7671, better known as the 16th. Edition of the IEE Regulations, and their associated guidance notes. Possession of these documents is essential for any test engineer hoping to perform a high quality service. It goes without saying that inspection and testing requires a suitable range of instruments that will be regularly checked for accuracy and, when necessary, regularly re-calibrated. (See appendix 3 for details of instrument requirements) If the reader is unfamiliar with current terminology, he should turn to section 25 where definitions of commonly used terms are given.

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SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION SECTION Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 1 2 3 4 5 Requirements for the initial testing of an electrical installation Inspection and testing of existing installations. Outline of instrument tests and the compilation of inspection check list. Determination of cable length and voltage drop. Tests of protective conductor continuity. Tests of main and supplementary equipotential bonds. Tests of Ring Circuit continuity. Tests of Insulation Resistance. Tests of Polarity. Tests of Earth electrode resistance and soil resisitivity. Tests of Line - Earth loop impedance. Tests of RCD effectiveness. Overcurrent provision survey. Organisation of a testing programme. Testing portable and transportable equipment. Measurement of earth leakage current. Operation of devices for isolation and switching. Testing of information technology equipment. Measurement of prospective short circuit current. Measurement of illumination. Testing of escape lighting. Discrimination between overcurrent protective devices. Urban distribution systems. Related principles. Definition of terms. Instrument requirements. Self-assessment exercise. Completion and inspection certificates

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It is not only a basic safety need, but also a requirement of B.S. 7671 and the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), that any electrical installation shall be verified as safe to operate before being energised.

The term "safe to operate" means the user of the electrical installation will be free from the risk of fire, shock, burns and the injury from mechanical movement produced by electrical machines such as electric motors. Safe to operate also means that the user of the installation should not require technical knowledge in order to stay clear of the casualty department of the nearest hospital. This verification procedure requires: I ii iii A validation of the installation design A visual inspection of the construction Instrument tests

A well-constructed installation will not necessarily function correctly or safely if cables, switchgear etc. have been incorrectly selected by the designer. Design assessment is not easily undertaken when the installation has been completed, the numerous facets of the installation requiring verification cannot be assessed by a simple visual inspection. The inspector will have to have an intimate knowledge of BS 7671, a good technical education and considerable experience. If, in the circumstances, an assessment of design viability is not a practical possibility, the designer of the installation - if known - will have to be requested to affirm that the installation design meets all regulation requirements. This affirmation will take the form of a signature in the appropriate section of the Electrical Installation certificate which will be of a type published in Guidance note 3 - BS 7671 - certifying that all regulations have been conformed with. The foregoing assumes the installation is new. If not the inspection and testing process will be a periodic one not requiring knowledge of the original designer. Incorrect selection of fuses, circuit breakers, and cables are a prime example of a design defect that is not obvious to the casual observer. To assess overcurrent device efficiency for example, it will be necessary to have knowledge of the short circuit fault levels, maximum current demand and any

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applicable correction factors that will modify the tabulated current rating of installed cables. Or, more simply, the temperature of the cable can be measured on full load. If the insulation is PVC, the maximum permitted temperature is 70 degrees Celsius. Any temperature below this indicates the cables are running at less than capacity. However the voltage drop could be excessive if the circuit lengths are long, perhaps necessitating the installation of a larger cable. Section 13 of this book will examine methods of assessing the provision of overcurrent protection. An inspection of an installation is far from a simple matter, particularly if the installation has been in service for some years. Well-designed installations tend to deteriorate with the passage of time, due to both the natural effects of ageing but more usually because of the unwelcome attention of "electricians" of uncertain skills. Physical defects cannot be detected by the application of instruments. Construction faults such as insecure fixings and inappropriate means of isolation can only be detected by visual inspection, which will have to be conducted in a systematic manner. Before commencing the inspection and test, you are strongly advised to prepare a schedule of work, which will not only organise the sequence of operations, but their detail. If the inspecting team arrive on site without any pre-planning, lots of time will be wasted and nervous energy expended. This measure is particularly important if the installation is already in service and installation schedules and diagrams of practical value are non-existent. It is also essential that an inspection ascertain that the installation is of sufficient capacity to supply the demand. Loads could have grown beyond the intention of the designer. Maximum current should be measured, and for both distribution and final circuits. Comparisons are then made with the current rating of the controlling overcurrent device and the connected cable. Maximum demand may be measured by the use of a recording clamp meter left in position for 24 hours. We live in a litigious society - dont take chances and overlook an overloaded installation - it could be expensive! If the installation is new, the inspecting engineer will be required to inspect the construction of the installation, ideally both during erection and on completion, to ensure that no hidden defects are left undetected. Electrical installation inspection and testing is a potentially hazardous exercise. Any person responsible for this work must be "competent" in the sense that this term is used in the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

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Inspection and testing is not a job for apprentices! It carries a heavy responsibility. Understand the job - act responsibly - act safely - get organised! Approved voltage testers should be available to ensure that any circuit assumed to be dead is in fact so. If the installation has to be attended to live, suitable precautions must be taken. These measures above all else require competence on the part of the test engineer. An electric shock at 400V is in quite a different league to one at 230V. Make sure that you don't have to learn the difference by experience. A competent person could be described as someone of relevant experience, technically qualified, mature, and trained to use all of the necessary instruments in a safe manner and, additionally, be able to accurately interpret the obtained test data. No inspection can be effectively carried out without the possession of current drawings of the installation and knowledge of the installation "characteristics". These characteristics will include: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (iv) The maximum current demand The prospective short circuit current at each distribution board The external P-E loop impedance at each distribution board The nature of the overcurrent device at each distribution board The means of earthing and equipotential bonding The presence of sensitive electronic devices.

All of the above will be examined in detail in later sections of this book. If drawings of an installation are not available, then possibly a substantial amount of exploratory work will be required. Tracing a myriad of outlets of differing kinds back to their parent circuit is a tedious and time-consuming business. However, an electronic cable tracer makes this work "comparatively" easy by the simple expedient of sending signals down the investigated cables. A receiver attached to the outlet under test will display the trace number on a LCD. Additionally, this instrument is extremely useful for conducting tests of polarity as explained later. No assumptions should be made that the installation has been logically designed and constructed. An essential for this exercise is a pad of adhesive labels for attaching to the various outlets, on which will be inscribed the circuit identification. In summary, the inspection and testing requirements can be quite simply stated thus: "The completed installation shall be inspected and tested to ensure that in all respects the requirements of BS 7671 have been conformed with". A tall order, but that's the objective.

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Regulation 712-3 lists salient points requiring particular attention, which include the following, * * * * * * * Connection of conductors; Identification of conductors; Current carrying capacity of conductors; Determination of voltage drop; Presence of fire barriers; Presence of devices for isolation and switching; Space factor of conduits and trunking.

See also appendix A of the BS 7671 Guidance Note 3 for further advice regarding visual inspections and subsequent assessment. There is a requirement for a periodic inspection of installations, the details of which are given in Section 744 o f BS 7671 and table 2.1.5 of GN 3. Some installations, which have a mandatory requirement for periodic inspections and tests, are listed below
ANNUALLY Cinemas Theatres Petrol filling stations Caravans and caravan sites Leisure complexes Places of public entertainment Restaurants and hotels Public houses Launderettes

All other installations have only recommended periods between inspections and tests. For all buildings where people work, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 regulation 4 (2) has a requirement for maintenance of the electrical installation, which will necessitate testing and inspection on a regular basis.

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The re-test of an installation introduces hazards not present in a dead installation and it is an important mandatory requirement that the inspector shall be deemed to be "competent" (EAWR reg. 16). The term indicates a familiarity with the type of work, technical literacy and maturity. Diagrams, charts etc. and any other relevant information will be required. In their absence - as previously mentioned - a degree of cautious exploratory work will be necessary. A visual inspection shall be carried out with the installation de-energised, as far as practicalities will allow - embracing as much of the installed equipment as possible and attention being paid to the following factors: Safety Wear Environment Damage Corrosion Age Suitability
Does the installation present a shock risk? To ensure safety, measures employed to ensure protection against overcurrent and earth leakage must be suitable for any given situation. Does the installation show any sign of wear or abrasion? Check portable tools and other equipment. The environment to which an electrical installation is subject may cause rapid deterioration in standards of safety. Environmental factors will include high and low temperatures, exposure to the elements etc. Damaged equipment is dangerous equipment. All facets of the installation must be regularly checked for signs of damage. Has the environment a corrosive atmosphere? Does the electrical installation come into contact with the elements? If so, is the choice of equipment suitable? As with most things, an electrical installation will deteriorate with age - particularly conductor insulation based on organic compounds> This deterioration cannot necessarily be checked by an insulation resistance test - a visual inspection is required. All electrical equipment shall be suitable for the use to which it is put. Unsuitable selection can cause a dangerous situation to arise.

It should be emphasised that the Electricity at Work Regulation 14 does not permit any live working unless it is absolutely essential for the installation to remain energised. The avoidance of inconvenience is not considered a reason for investigating an installation live. This regulation - for reasons of convenience - is commonly and lightly breached, but any accidents resulting that attract the attention of the Health and Safety Inspectorate could result in a prosecution. Some installations that are getting on in years defy logic and no assumptions should be made regarding any installed equipment. It is not unusual to discover that two fuses may control a particular point or unexpectedly have 400V at its terminals. Never assume that a circuit dead - particularly if the circuit is three phase. It's your life at stake, so use your voltage tester intelligently. Remember the voltage between two points of the same phase of a live circuit is zero! But the voltage with respect to earth will be 230V. The resistance of the human body is voltage dependant the higher the voltage the lower the resistance. A 400V shock is of a much higher magnitude than the increase in voltage would suggest.

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The facets of the installation that require a visual inspection are the same as for an initial inspection with particular emphasis being given to switching devices and identification and notices and correct polarity. It is recommended by GN3 that a random sample of 10% of all switches and isolators shall be selected for an inspection, which will assess their electrical and mechanical condition. Where any defects are revealed, all switching devices shall be inspected and tested unless the cause of a defect can be clearly identified and be confirmed as locally confined. The test will be one of continuity, verifying complete isolation has taken place when the isolator is opened. It goes without saying that before any circuit is assumed to be dead it must be effectively tested with an approved voltage tester. Examples of voltage testers are illustrated below. The tester shown in Fig.1 is also a continuity indicator, giving a beep when connected in a circuit of resistance up to 500 000 . This tester will indicate the approximate impressed voltage by the illumination of the appropriate LED. A self-test and battery test facility is also incorporated. Fig.1 Approved voltage testers

The tester above will respond to the electric field that surrounds all energised conductors and requires no direct contact with live parts. However it will only indicate the presence of a voltage and not its value, nor will it precisely point to the energised conductor. Despite its limitations this tester is a very good aid to safe working and does not require a potential difference to indicate a potential danger.

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It is important that the inspecting engineer realises that the condition of cable insulation cannot be determined solely by the application of an insulation resistance test. It is perfectly possible for the insulation to be totally absent; if the live parts are physically separated, an IR test will indicate a reading of infinite resistance. Insulation problems can result from ageing or overloading and it is absolutely essential that a thorough, systematic visual inspection be conducted. All parts of the installation shall be verified as being adequately provided by the necessary devices for isolation and, if required, emergency switching. It is not acceptable, for example, that a distribution board be isolated only by a fuse or circuit breaker. Isolating devices breaking either two or three poles depending upon the number of phases required, are needed. If the isolator is sited out of line of sight, it should be provided with a means of locking off. To maximise safety and convenience, notices or labels are required at the following points: * Where differing voltages exist, * Earthing and bonding conductors; * Where an RCD is fitted, * At socket outlets supplying equipment for use outdoors; * Caravan installations; * Where an installation is supplied from two differing sources, * Earth free locations. Additionally at each distribution board a schedule should be fixed to the inside of the lid indicating circuit destinations, number and type of points served and their location.

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Visual inspection. Shown below are photographs of defects discovered in the inspection process. Examine the photos carefully and determine the nature of the defects.


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Instrument tests are required to reveal the "hidden" characteristics of an installation and must be conducted in a sequence indicated in section 713 of BS. 7671, reproduced below.

Continuity of protective conductors Continuity of final ring circuit conductors Insulation resistance Site applied insulation Protection by separation of circuits Insulation of non conducting walls and floors Protection against direct contact by enclosures during erection Polarity Earth - fault loop impedance Earth electrode resistance Operation of residual current devices Only those tests in italics will be examined in the book. The other tests are of only marginal interest to the working electrician. Additionally it may be necessary to measure: Prospective short circuit current levels Levels of illumination Portable appliance safety Emergency lighting effectiveness Maximum current demand For a re-test of an installation the previous sequence of tests has now been deleted. The testing sequence is largely determined by opportunity and appropriateness. When conducting a visual inspection, it is absolutely vital that observations are recorded at the time, not at a later date. The fallibility of memory makes recollections unreliable. Prepare and use check lists, not a loose-leaf pad.

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No inspection and test of an installation can be conducted without plans. This need is not only one of common sense and safety but also a requirement of BS 7671 reg. 711-01-02 and 514-09-01. If none exist they will have to be determined by an explanatory survey. You are expected to determine the location and current rating of all major fuses or circuit breakers controlling sub distribution boards and the associated isolators. All of this information can be summarised in a single line distribution diagram, shown below, to be provided on the reverse side. Fig.3
All sub distribution boards are TP&N lower ground floor A ground floor - north ground floor - south first floor

all distribution circuit cables are pvc/swa/pvc/4c

160 A

100 A

100 A

63 A

main distribution board

300 A x 3 switch fuse



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SECTION 4 Determination of cable length and voltage drop

If the client or a professional body requires a declaration of cable length and voltage drop, the following procedure can be adopted in the absence of any useful data.

The maximum permitted voltage drop allowable by BS 7671 is 4%, of nominal voltage, from the origin of the installation to the furthest point of utilisation. (Section 525) At 400V, permitted voltage drop is 16V, at 230V, 9.2V If the installation is a simple one consisting of a single distribution board, the procedure to measure voltage drop will also be simple. For each circuit when isolated - the P and N conductors are joined and the resistance of the loop measured at the distribution board. (See Fig. 2) Circuit length = 29.4 x R x S metres Where R = loop resistance S = cable cross sectional area in mm.2 Example: the loop resistance of a lighting circuit, shorted out at the furthest point is found to be 0.7 If the c.s.a. of the cable is 1.0 mm.2, what is the . circuit length? Solution L = 29.4 x 0.7 x 1 = 20.6 metres. The voltage drop may then be determined by reference to appendix 4 of BS 7671. Example: if the above circuit is carrying a current when fully loaded of 5A, the voltage drop will be: Vd = Ib x L x mVd = 5 x 20.6 x 44 = 4.53 Volts 1 000 1 000 Assumed conductor temperature of 70 o. Voltage drop is within limits. The above calculation assumed a single-phase circuit, wired in single core cable enclosed in conduit. If the installation were a three-phase one, the procedure would be identical, using two of the phases instead of phase and neutral to determine the circuit length. It should be remembered that calculated three-phase voltage drops are line volt drops, meaning the voltage difference between phases or lines, at the mains and load ends of the circuit. A voltage drop along the length of a cable is called a phase volt drop. The difference between permitted single and three-phase voltage drops is by a factor of 3 (1.732). The allowance for voltage drop on a three-phase

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circuit is not more generous; its simply the same voltage measured from a different standpoint. An alternative means of determining voltage drop on a single-phase circuit is by the use of the formula: Vd = Ib x R x 1.29 Vd = 5 x 0.7 x 1.29 = 4.52 Volts

Where Ib is the load current and R the loop resistance. The correction factor of 1.29 is used to convert the resistance measured with the circuit dead at 20 deg. to that of the assumed cable operating temperature of 70o. For a three-phase circuit the formula becomes, Vd = Ib x R x 1.12 (Where Vd = Line volts) For example, if the circuit current and loop resistance were the same as in the previous example, the voltage drop on a three-phase circuit would be, Vd = 5 x 0.7 x 1.12 = 3.92 Volts (line) or 3.92 /1.732 = 2.26 Volts (phase). It should be noted that for a given current and length of run the phase voltage drop on a three-phase circuit is only half that for a single-phase circuit. The easiest way of measuring voltage drop is to take a voltage measurement at the origin of the installation and others taken at points located at extreme ends of circuits. The voltage drop is then determined by simply subtracting locally measured voltage from mains values. The installation should, of course, be fully loaded when measurements are taken. Mains voltage must be measured. Dont assume that its 230V or 400V: mains voltage continually fluctuates throughout the day. Mains and load voltages must be measured at the same time. If the installation is a large one, cable lengths will have to be determined in sections and the individual voltage drops added together to obtain the resultant voltage drop.

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Measurement of circuit length



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purpose of these tests is to verify the continuity of all protective conductors and to obtain a measurement of the combined resistance of circuit phase and protective conductors at each point on every circuit. A shorting link at the distribution board between phase and earth will put these conductors in series, creating the circuit whose resistance is to be measured. This combination resistance is symbolised as R1 + R2. where R1 is the resistance of the phase conductor and R2 the resistance of the protective conductor. (See fig.6 P-E loop path.) The above data can usually be used to determine the phase - earth loop impedance for individual circuits, when the external P - E loop impedance (Ze) of the installation is known. Method As far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, remove all main and supplementary bonds before any continuity measurements are made. The reason for this measure is to minimise the lowering effect the equipotential bonds will have on the recorded resistance. They act as parallel paths to earth-fault current and hence reduce any measured resistance. It is required that earth-fault currents will be of sufficient magnitude due to the low impedance of the earthing construction, without reliance on the main and any installed supplementary bonding. Prior to the tests commencing, an insulation resistance test must be conducted to ensure that there are no short circuits between neutral and earth. A N-E short circuit will produce lower resistance readings than would otherwise apply, and of course a fault of this nature would not produce excess current when the circuit is energised, and hence go unnoticed. Having firstly ensured that the installation is dead, install temporary links between the phase bus bar(s) and the earth bar. (See Fig. 8) Isolate all circuits, except the circuit under test. Attending to all points of termination, measure the resistance between the phase conductor and earth, proving continuity. The resistance measured is that of R1 + R2. Record this value on an appropriate form - an example of which is included in this section. (See also section 24-25) A later test requires the live measurement of external P-E loop impedance (Ze). When this value is known for the distribution board under test, it will be possible to determine the values of phase - earth loop impedance for the individual final circuits.

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Short circuit currents will produce a rise in temperature, causing an increase in resistance, which must be determined before Z s is calculated1. See the explanatory notes attached to the worksheet and Section 11. If the installation has a distribution board to which are connected final circuits supplying both socket outlets and fixed equipment - such as lighting BS 7671 makes the following requirements: Regulation 413-02-13 - the resistance of the circuit protective conductor associated with the distribution board must not exceed the resistance indicated in table 41C, from the earth bar to the point where the main equipotential bonding is connected. Alternatively, the local earth bar must connect to the same extraneous conductive parts as the main equipotential bonds, For example, a distribution board supplies a number of sockets, lighting, circuits and power circuits. The largest installed fuse is rated at 100A fuse to BS 88 part 2. What is the maximum permitted resistance of the c.p.c.?
The relevant table does not extend to a 50A fuse, so the formula given in reg. 41302-13 will be used. R2 <= 50 Zs/Uo

Where R2 is the maximum permitted resistance, Zs the maximum permitted P-E loop impedance - reference table 41 D1 for fuses, tables 41B2 for circuit breakers - and Uo the voltage of the installation with respect to earth usually 230V. From table 41D1 maximum permitted P-E loop impedance for a 100A fuse is 0.44 ohms, therefore: R2 <= 50 x 0.44/240V therefore R2 <= 0.09 Ohms The symbol <= means less than or equal to. BS 7671 also allows any socket-outlet circuits connected in a mixed distribution board - and protected by fuses - to have an extended disconnection time of up to 5 seconds, if the above regulation is conformed with. This concession will permit higher P-E loop impedance values to exist for socket circuits than would otherwise be possible - reference being made to table 41D rather than 41B1 for circuits protected by fuses. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure that with a fault lasting up to 5 seconds, the distribution board earth bar will not rise above 50 V with respect to earth. The test is illustrated in Fig.3. Instrument tests should always be accompanied by a visual inspection to ensure the integrity of the earthing system. A low resistance does not necessarily indicate a substantial construction. A conductor small in cross sectional area but short in length will have a low resistance.

See Guidance Note 3 for multiplying factors used to determine short circuit resistance.

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Fig. 5 Measurement of R2

Extraneous conductive parts


Low Main equipotential bonds

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It should be realised that if the protective conductor is steel conduit or trunking, the creation of unintentional parallel earth paths will be both inevitable and unavoidable, every contact with earthed metalwork lowering conductor resistance. Therefore even if the conduit system were falling apart with rust, if it made multiple contacts to earth throughout its length it would produce a low continuity resistance. However, if the inspecting engineer is satisfied of the presence of a continuous and permanent protective conductor, these parallel paths will assist without danger the production of the desired earth fault current. BS 7671 allows the use of a Phase-Earth loop impedance tester where doubt exists regarding the substance of a protective conductor. This instrument generates a test current at 230V with all the attendant dangers this voltage may introduce and the author would advise the sparing use of such a method on safety grounds. All P-E loop impedance testers will have fitted warning neons labelled P-N and P-E. When lit they signal confirmation of correct polarity and earth continuity. Under no circumstances must a test be conducted if either of these lights is out. If the test circuit lacks continuity, the cable will be driven up to full mains voltage for the duration of the test - clearly a potentially dangerous situation. Where possible, a 50V 25A continuity tester should be used in preference to an ohmmeter, which produces only 200 milliamps of test current. This instrument will conduct a far more thorough test due to the high-test current. Additionally, the full current tester, having an AC output, will measure impedance and not resistance, essential when testing continuity of cables having a c.s.a in excess of 35 mm.2. Up to this cross sectional area, impedance and resistance coincide; beyond 35 mm.2 the impedance of the cable exceeds its resistance. The magnitude of a short circuit current is determined by impedance, not resistance. Unfortunately, a mains driven tester requires mains power, not always available at the myriad of places where tests are to be conducted. If the installation is being re-tested, care should be taken not to disconnect the protective conductors of any part of the installation that is energised. If a fault to earth were to occur whilst disconnected, the protective conductor which may be exposed to touch - would become live up to the point of break. For a new installation it may be convenient to use the recorded values of R1+R2 to determine the P-E loop impedance, the ambient air temperature should also be recorded at the same time. Resistance will vary with temperature change and an assessment of likely resistance under short circuit conditions will have to be made and used in any calculations. Further details will be given in section 11 which is concerned with P - E loop impedance measurement.

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Fig. 6

The phase - earth loop path (TN-C-S)

Fault current Power transformer

Fuse or circuit breaker





General mass of earth Total impedance of the phase-earth loop path is given by the formula, Zs = Ze + R1 + R2

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Fig. 5

Three phase TN-S service

Three phase TN-C-S service

Main equipotential bond


Earthing and supply systems

Pole mounted transformer supplying a TT system

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When a P-E fault occurs a circuit is created which is called the phase-earth loop path. The impedance of this circuit will have to be low enough to ensure that the resulting current will activate the fuse or circuit breaker within 0.4 seconds for a socket outlet circuit and 5 seconds for all others. This disconnection time may have to be reduced in circumstances of special risk. The components of this circuit are the resistance offered internal to the installation and the impedance encountered externally. Or expressed mathematically: Zs = Ze + R1 + R2 See section 11 for documentation and assessment methods

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Measurement of protective conductor continuity R1 + R2 Fig.8


All fuses in place or circuit breakers switched on



Temporary links to be removed before switching on

Connection between phase and earth

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If the installation is TP&N dont forget to physically disconnect the neutral after switching off. If a P-N reversal were to occur on any of the sockets it would not be immediately evident and time wasting would result

Equipotential bonding

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The purpose of equipotential bonding is to ensure that in the event of a P-E fault the resulting current flow to earth will not produce a potential difference between items of simultaneously accessible metalwork. Shocks received due to earth faults will not only produce a direct injury, but also cause an indirect injury such as that resulting from a fall. The magnitude of a p.d. will depend upon the fault current and the resistance of the path between the point of fault and the main earthing terminal. It should be noted that all other simultaneously accessible metalwork would also be connected to the main earthing terminal. It follows, therefore, that if the resistance between adjacent metalwork can be reduced to a very low level, fault voltages will be similarly reduced. This principle is followed when installing supplementary bonds - when they are required. If the fault voltage is Vf, the fault current, If and the resistance along the earth fault path, R then, , Vf = If x R. Equipotential bonds may be either supplementary or main. Main equipotential bonds are mandatory and have the additional function of maintaining the main earthing terminal at earth potential where the supply is by means of a TN-C-S (PME) service. If the incoming main neutral conductor of a TN-C-S service were to become disconnected without the main equipotential bonds in place, all exposed conductive parts would become live without the necessity of an earth fault, rather a disconcerting characteristic. More on TN-C-S systems later. Supplementary bonds are installed locally and are only necessary where the effects of an electric shock are likely to be much more serious. Supplementary bonding is usually for installations of a special nature that introduce an enhanced shock risk. These installations are mostly described in part 6 of BS 7671. Supplementary bonding will also be required if the maximum permitted P-E loop impedance is exceeded, the presumed logic being if an earth fault is extended beyond the normally limits, no voltage of a level likely to produce a shock will be produced for the fault duration. See regulations 413-02-15 413-02-28 471-08-01

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Method It will not be obvious by an instrument test that there is continuity between items of adjacent metalwork. The possibility will exist that the apparent continuity is maintained by a common connection to the general mass of earth. Therefore, a visual inspection for the presence of bonds and a note of their c.s.a. is necessary. (See Fig.9) If the only connection between items of exposed metalwork is that of the general mass of earth, earth fault current will produce a dangerous difference of potential for the duration of the fault. Maximum resistance for main or supplementary equipotential bonds is not indicated, the formula shown in regulation 413-24 is intended for supplementary bonds and may be generally used; this states: R max <= 50/Ia Where Ia is that current that will produce a disconnection of the circuit within 5 seconds. Values of Ia may be obtained from appendix 3 of BS 7671. For example, the current required to disconnect an 80A BS 88 fuse in 5 seconds will be 460A. It follows therefore that the maximum resistance permitted for equipotential bonding associated with any circuit under the control of this fuse will be given by: R <= 50/460 <= 0.11 (The symbol < = means less than or equal to) The assumption being that at least one of the items of metal work is an exposed conductive part. i.e. an enclosure for electrical equipment. Fault current producing a 5-second disconnection may be determined by reference to the appropriate table of disconnection currents given in appendix 3 of BS 7671. Using a suitable ohmmeter, the resistance between simultaneously accessible parts is measured. The resistance recorded must not exceed that indicated by the use of the above formula (see figure 9). The points at which tests are made will include those where no visible supplementary bonds exist in order to determine that the resistance is sufficiently low to obviate their need. BS 7671 will allow permanently fixed extraneous metalwork such as water pipes to form supplementary bonds. This concession means that it is not always necessary to bond water pipes to each other if a low resistance linkage already exists. See reg. 543-02-06.

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The use of the above regulation can considerably reduce the number of installed supplementary bonds - even in a bathroom and other areas of increased risk.

Break in the protective conductor will go unnoticed because of the parallel earth path.



Fault voltage developed under earth fault conditions. Fault voltage x - z = Ia x Rxy For example, if Ia = 500A Rxy = 0.3, Then, Vf = 500 x 0.3 = 150V

x Vf
extraneous conductive part exposed conductive part


Test for supplementary bonding

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Load current flowing in the neutral conductor of a TNC-S system will, at the N-E service terminal, separate into all available paths connected to the system earth.

Neutral current

Main earthing terminal

Extraneous metalwork Fig.10

This characteristic is illustrated in fig.10. Load current will flow through not only the main equipotential bonds, but also through protective conductors connecting switchgear to earth, assuming intentional or unintentional supplementary bonds are installed. When measuring these currents, care must be taken on interpretation. If the currents flowing in the protective conductor are large - in the order of 20A they are most likely to be neutral load current. These currents will fall to zero when all loads are switched off. If, on the other hand, the current flow continues after load disconnection, they will be caused by insulation breakdown. Neutral current will flow away from the service earth, fault current towards it. Unfortunately, a clamp-meter is unable to detect direction of current.

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Neutral-earth current produces no heat or arcs if a joint is disconnected and is therefore harmless.


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Two tests are required to verify the continuity of a ring circuit and are illustrated in figures 15 and 16.

Method If more than one ring circuit is connected to a distribution board, all circuits shall be disconnected before any testing commences - don't forget to label them first! Accessing 13A sockets directly with instrument leads is rather difficult; therefore, prior to conducting any tests, construct a 13A adapter plug. This accessory will consist of a standard 13A plug to which are connected three flexible leads terminating into shrouded 4 mm. plugs. See fig. 12A. Using the 13A adapter plug, connect the P and N plugs together and conduct continuity tests between the P and N conductors at the distribution board. The pair between which the lowest and highest resistance lies should be identified and marked (see figure 13). These ends represent the "start" and "finish" of the ring circuit. Secondly, the possibility will always exist that ring circuit conductors are inadvertently crossed connected to two differing fuses or circuit breakers. Without disconnection, a wiring fault of this nature will not necessarily be detected by an instrument test, If the installation consists of more that one ring circuit, it is absolutely essential that an insulation resistance test be conducted between these circuits in order to ensure no cross connections Test one The phase conductor of one leg of the ring is joined to the neutral conductor of the other; a continuity test is conducted between the un-joined ends and the resistance noted. If the cable used in the construction has an integral earth, it should substitute for the neutral and the test be repeated. It should be noted that the cross sectional area of a protective conductor in pvc/pvc cables is less than that of live conductors and consequently the resistance would be somewhat higher. Copper protective conductors enclosed in steel conduit or trunking must be formed into a ring. Measurements of ring circuit continuity where cpc's are enclose in metal conduit or trunking is rather tedious, requiring the disconnection of each socket from its box and the disconnection of the earth tails. The test procedure for test 1 is illustrated in fig.12B

Page 31 of 135

Alternatively each of the circuit conductors may be tested separately. Test two The un-joined phase and neutral conductors are connected as shown in figure 16. Using the 13A adapter, a resistance measurement is made between P, N and E at each socket outlet. The resistance measurements for a given pair of conductors should be the same in each case. If test one incorporated phase and neutral connected together, the resistance measured will be a quarter of that measured in test 1. If the loops were tested separately the resistance expected in test 2 will be half of that measured in test 1. Resistance values will vary with the physical size of the circuit. The following table gives some guidance regarding expected measurements. Any recorded values widely at variance with those below will possibly indicate loose terminations. Note, values shown indicate that test 1 tested the circuit conductors separately. It should also be noted that test 2 will not give consistent results when testing between P and E if the cable used is pvc/pvc.
Fig.12 B
Total cable length Test one*

30 m. 50 m. 60 m. 70 m. 80 m.

0.22 ohms 0.37 ohms 0.44 ohms 0.52 ohms 0.58 ohms

* Table 1 at 25 deg. For 1.5 2.5 mm. Test two* mm.2 multiply by 0.6. For 4.0 0.11 ohms 0.18 ohms NN mm.2 multiply by 1.6 0.22 ohms A 13A plug adapted for 0.26 ohms the attachment of an 0.29 ohms insulation/continuity

tester Fig.12B




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Page 33 of 135


Zeroing out lead resistance prior to taking measurements

Removal of ring circuit conductors at the distribution board

Test one

Conductors disconnected in preparation for the test Test conducted 0.04

Page 34 of 135


Note should be taken of the current rating of the overcurrent device and the cross sectional area of the connected cables that form the ring circuit. Test one may be conducted at the distribution board if more convenient than testing at a socket.

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The purpose of this test is to ensure that all live and protective conductors are effectively separated from each other by means of high resistance insulation, hence ensuring safety by confining current to the intended path. Current flow directly to earth, to neutral, or to another phase, will produce shock and fire risks. A leakage current of 200 mA flowing to earth through a concentrated fault resistance of 1 000 will result in a power dissipation of 40 Watts. Enough power to start a fire, but not enough to blow a fuse or trip a mcb. Think of the temperature attained by a filament lamp of this power. Insulation resistance can be regarded as consisting of a myriad of individual parallel connected leakage paths. The larger the installation - in accordance with the rules of parallel circuit theory - the lower will be the insulation resistance. This principle applies to individual circuits and complete installations.
5 m 9m 10 m 100 m

Assume that the resistance values indicate the insulation resistance of individual circuits with respect to earth. The overall insulation resistance distribution board will be equal to of the

2.37 M , less than that of any individual circuit


BS 7671 requirements are to conduct an insulation resistance test of the complete installation. Sub division will only be permitted between distribution boards, not between circuits.

Prior to any test commencing, any electronic controls such as lamp dimmers should be disconnected. The search for their location should be a thorough one. The application of 500 V D.C. usually means permanent damage and replacement, which can remove much of your profit margin in less than a second. Make sure that those lamp dimmers and computers etc. are disconnected. If removal of electronic equipment is not a practical possibility it should be shorted out for the duration of the test. Beware of thinking that a P-E test will not cause damage. If a N-E short has occurred, a P-E test will have the same effect as a P-N test if equipment is left connected, i.e. the test voltage is applied across equipment terminals.

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Low insulation resistance can be caused by surface tracking between terminals. The conductive track will be caused by either condensation or carbon contamination.


Method Small single phase installations As previously stated, the installation must be tested as a whole: sub-division into individual circuits is not permitted unless fault finding. N - E test This test should be conducted first in order to ensure that test voltages are not inadvertently applied to sensitive equipment. Minimum IR. acceptable - 0.5 megohms with the qualifications stated overleaf P - N test All fuses must be inserted, all current-using equipment disconnected, and all lighting switches on. For a 230V installation a test instrument capable of an output of 500 V - 1 mA D.C. shall be applied and a minimum insulation resistance of 0.5 megohms shall be obtained. It should, however, be noted that insulation resistance values of less than 2 megohms would usually signal unacceptably low insulation resistance for one or more of the tested circuits, unless the installation is well above average size. If this is the case each circuit should be investigated to determine whether the low insulation resistance is concentrated in a particular circuit. It is strongly recommended that the minimum insulation resistance measured on any individual circuit shall be not less than 2.0 megohms. This requirement is automatically met if the overall resistance is 2 M or more.

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If equipment disconnection is not a practical proposition, the controlling switch may isolate equipment. But be sure to make an on-site assessment of the chances of a switch line -neutral fault existing. The insulation resistance tester shall be positioned - wherever practicable at the mains end of the distribution circuit or, alternatively, at the distribution board bus bars. P - E tests All fuses are inserted. Current-using apparatus may remain connected, assuming no N-E shorts exist. Controlling switches should be left on. The previously stated results and qualifications are applicable.

Fig.17 Three-phase and neutral installations

Test of insulation resistance between phase and cpc. Firstly, in the absence of a 4-pole isolator, the neutral shall be disconnected from the incoming supply in order that a test may be conducted between neutral and earth - neutral being at zero potential. The test shall include the distribution circuit (sub main), with the IR tester positioned at the main distribution board fuse/s.

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The following insulation resistance tests shall be conducted as an absolute minimum, Table 2 Connected together Insulation resistance tests to RYBN E RYB N RY B R Y The values and qualifications previously stated apply in each case. If the installation consists of a number of distribution circuits with connected distribution boards, each shall be tested separately.


Warning! The direst consequences imaginable can result if the main neutral is not reconnected into a three-phase distribution board before the supply is restored. Phase voltages will be destabilised resulting in an excessive voltage being applied to one phase causing damage and raising the possibility of fire.

Fig.19 Fig.20
Phases linked for insulation resistance testing

Although not a requirement of the BS 7671, it is advisable to conduct an insulation resistance test between circuits in order to ensure that no

Measuring insulation resistance

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interconnections of phase conductors or sharing of neutrals has taken place the consequences of which can be extremely serious, preventing individual circuit isolation. Precautions As previously pointed out, electronic equipment will usually be permanently damaged if subjected to the test voltage and should therefore be disconnected before any tests are conducted. Such devices will include dimmer switches, delay timers, power controllers and electronic starters for fluorescent fittings. Certain classes of semi conductors are likely to be affected by the electric field created by the test voltage, even if these components are not part of the test circuit. If such devices are installed, alternative methods of investigation should be considered (see Section 16). Electronic components cannot be guaranteed safe from voltages applied during an insulation resistance test, even when separated from the test voltage by an isolating transformer. The initial pulse of voltage will be reflected into the electronic equipment, with uncertain results. If any of the disconnected equipment has a conducting enclosure, which is required to be connected to protective conductors, an insulation resistance test shall be conducted between live conductors and earth. In the absence of any applicable British Standards, a minimum insulation resistance of 0.5 megohms shall be obtained. Periodic inspection The test methods and procedures required are identical to that for a new installation, with the additional precaution of ensuring that the installation is truly dead. Ensure that all means of isolation are identified and in good working order and no circuits are fed from two sources. Dont forget to use your voltage tester.

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Tests of Insulation resistance 1

Test of Insulation Resistance between live conductors and earth


All fuses in place or circuit breakers switched on

Insulation resistance tester


Temporary links to be removed before switching on


Connection between phase and earth. Note the test can be conducted at any point in the installation that is convenient

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Tests of insulation resistance 2. Test of Insulation Resistance between live conductors and neutral


All fuses in place or circuit breakers switched on

Insulation resistance tester


Temporary links to be removed before switching on


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Test of insulation resistance 3 Test of Insulation Resistance between phases


All fuses in place or circuit breakers switched on

Insulation resistance tester


Temporary link to be removed before switching on

Connection between phase and earth. Note the test can be conducted at any point in the installation that is convenient

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If bridging loads are connected is not possible to locate a fault by switching off circuit breakers. This principle is illustrated above. A N-E fault exists on circuit #1. All circuit breakers except that of circuit #5 is switched off; the fault is ostensibly located on this circuit, indicated as a P-E fault. To find the location of an insulation resistance fault all of the neutral conductors must be removed from the terminal block

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SECTION 9 TESTS OF POLARITY (Regulation 713-13) The purpose of polarity testing is to ensure that all single pole devices such as fuses, single pole switches, thermostats etc., are connected in the phase conductor only and the three phases are correctly identified throughout the Periodic testing Tests shall be made using the described method to verify that: (i) All single pole devices are connected in the phase conductor only. (ii) All multi-pole devices are connected to the identified live conductors, e.g. no phases are crossed. If it can be established that no alterations or additions have been made since the last test and inspection of the installation, the above tests need only include 10% of the any installed points excluding socket outlet circuits. All socket outlets must be tested for polarity. If any reverses of polarity are detected, all points on that particular circuit must be tested for correctness of polarity and the sample testing on the remaining circuits connected to the distribution board increased in frequency to 25%. Any further cases of reversed polarity found in the 25% sample will require a 100% test of the completed installation. A simple, cheap, but effective polarity-testing tool is illustrated in figure 30. Consisting of few components, it can easily be made in less than an hour. To use the device - having firstly ensured that the installation is dead - a 9V battery is attached to the phase (+ ve) and neutral (- ve) bars of the distribution board. All switches are closed. The p.d. will be distributed around the installation. Attending to the points to be tested, the red terminal is attached to the phase termination and the black terminal to the neutral. If polarity is correct, the green LED will be illuminated; if not, the red LED will be lit. It is important, when testing for correctness of polarity, that the neutral and earth connections are physically disconnected if a discrimination is to be made between these conductors. If the installation is single-phase, it is merely necessary to open the main isolator. However, if the installation is three-phase, controlled by a 3-pole isolator, the neutral is unswitched and will have to be unbolted from its terminal block. It is important to note that polarity cannot be verified live using a voltage detector of the type illustrated in Fig.26. If an N-E reversal has taken place it will go undetected on a live test, resulting in load current flowing to earth. The consequences of this will be the opening of an RCD or the continual flow of earth current, with all the attendant hazards this event will possibly produce.

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Polarity testers
Polarity testers of a type that rely on the measurement of voltage can falsely indicate correct polarity

N E P Fig.25
all lamps lit

polarity tester

Tests of polarity


neutral Polarity tester


9V battery

R light emitting diodes G R

A 1 00 0 1 0 00

Polarity tester

A proprietary polarity tester for use on live circuits. Testers of this type do not make a distinction between neutral and earth.

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f the supply system is TT, that is, a system without a mains distribution of protective conductors - an earth electrode will have to be installed locally.

No electrode can be in contact with the general mass of earth without an intervening resistive barrier. This resistance is called earth electrode resistance, which will be confined, to the immediate vicinity of the electrode. The structure of electrode resistance is a complicated one, modelling seriesconnected concentric resistive hemispheres, each shell decreasing in resistance with distance from the electrode. Possibly the simplest concept of earth electrode resistance is that of two conductors - one of which is earth - connected by a chain of resistors of steadily decreasing value. Starting at the low resistance end, investigations outwards would reveal increasing resistance which is incrementally reduced until the point is reached when no further significant increase is detectable (see Fig.31). Measurable increase in resistance only occurs close to the electrode, occupying a finite area, known as the earth electrode resistance area. In order to ensure that earth fault current is of sufficient magnitude to operate protective devices, earth electrode resistance must be measured and assessed. A simple earth electrode installation is unlikely to result in a resistance low enough to meet the earth loop impedance requirements of regulation 413-02-08. Therefore, the installation of a residual current device is essential. Method Using an instrument dedicated to the testing of earth electrodes, connect the circuit as shown in figure 28. It is important that the electrode under test (E) and the current electrode (C) are sufficiently spaced as to be outside each other's resistance areas. In general, the distance between E and C should be at least 10 times the depth of the electrode under test. For example if the electrode were 3 m long, the spacing would have to be at least 30 m.

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Connecting the instrument as shown, three readings would be taken: (i) with the potential spike midway between E and P; (ii) with the potential spike moved 10% of d closer to E; (iii) with the potential spike moved 10% of d closer to C; The average of the three readings is taken and the maximum deviation from the average is expressed as a percentage of the average. The estimated accuracy of this method is 1.2 x percentage deviation. Accuracy in this context means the possibility of + or - 5% error. It all sounds very complicated but the following example will show that the procedure is relatively simple. Example: test 1 60 test 2 56 test 3 62 Average = (60+56+62) = 59.33 3

Maximum deviation = 59.33 - 56 = 3.33 % deviation = (3.33/59.33) x 100 = 5.6% Accuracy = 1.2 x 5.6 = 6.74 % Accuracies exceeding 5% are not acceptable and possibly indicate that the C and E electrodes are too close. The regulation requirements concerning permitted resistance must be linked with those applicable to the installed RCD, i.e. Zs <= 50/I n (regulation 413-15) Where In (I delta n) represents that minimum current required to operate the RCD. But the BS code of practice on earthing, BS 7430 suggests that electrode resistance in excess of 200 is unlikely to be stable.

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An earth electrode and connected earthing conductor, installed in an access pit.


Periodic inspection If any doubt exists regarding the suitability of an installed earth electrode, it shall be tested using the method and assessment techniques described. The guidance notes and the BS 7671 suggest that earth electrode resistance may be measured with an earth loop impedance tester. Due to the likely external nature of the electrode and the 230 V test current, extreme caution will be necessary. If the electrode is open circuit or very high resistance with respect to earth, the electrode and its connecting cable will be driven up to mains voltage for the duration of the test. This method is likely to contravene the requirement of the Electricity at Work Regulations regarding live working. Tests of earth electrode resistance Fig.28
Earth electrode resistance tester

Current electrode

Electrode under test

Resistance area

It may not be possible to measure Electrode resistance in the way previously Potential electrode suggested due to inaccessibility of the soil. If this is the case a simplified measurement may be made.

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The potential terminal is not used; the current terminal is connected to a suitable reference electrode, such as a water pipe etc. The measurement made will be that of the combined electrode resistance. Because its impossible to divide up the measurement, the reading will have to be considered that of the electrode under test. The simplified measurement is therefore in error on the safe side.

Fig.29 Simplified measurement of earth electrode resistance

Earth electrode resistance tester


Electrode under test

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P-E loop tester Main equipotential bonds disconnected

Mains socket


Measurement of earth electrode resistance using a mains powered phase earth loop impedance tester

Electrode under test

Soil resistivity

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If an earth electrode is to be installed, it will be advantageous for the electrode to be sited in a location where the soil resistance is at a minimum. If the test engineer possesses a Null Balance tester - of the type illustrated soil resistivity may be measured.

The null balance earth tester







scale multiplier n x 100 n x 10 nx1

decade resistors

The null-balance earth tester This instrument will enable measurement of earth electrode resistance - soil resistivity and protective conductor continuity. To use, the scale multiplier is selected e.g. x 1, x 0.1 etc. The decade resistors are then adjusted until the centre zero galvanometer is balanced. The indicated resistance is that displayed by the decade resistors multiplied by the scale multiplier.

Measurement of soil resistivity

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Fig.32 The resistivity of the soil is calculated by the formula

Where R is the resistance measured:

= 2 Ra

a = the distance in centimetres between electrodes. = the soil resistivity in ohms-cm. The depth at which the electrodes are to be buried should be 1/20 of that of distance a. The resistivity is measured at depth a. For example, if the resistance measured was 100and the distance between electrodes 4m. then using the above formula, the soil resistivity will be, 251 327 / m. c

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SECTION 11 TESTS OF EARTH FAULT LOOP IMPEDANCE (Regulation 713-10) If the dangers of earth fault currents are to be minimised, fault duration must be carefully controlled by means of the circuit protective device, fuse, circuit breaker, or RCD. This control, however, will only be effective if the impedance of the earth fault circuit is sufficiently low to generate the required operating current. Earth fault currents are usually driven at 230V, which is, of course, a constant value. It follows therefore that variations in earth fault current are determined only by variations in P-E loop impedance. Ip = Uo/Zs Where Ip = prospective short circuit current Uo = nominal voltage to earth Zs = phase-earth-loop impedance

The maximum fault duration for a 230 V socket outlet circuit likely to supply hand held equipment is 0.4 seconds (Regulation 413 - 02 - 08). For maximum disconnection times for voltages other than 230 V, see table 41A. If the installation is a temporary supply for construction site use, the disconnection times are given in table 604A, and for agricultural and horticultural installations, table 605A is applicable. Tables 41B1, 41B2 and 41D indicate maximum operational values of P - E loop impedance permitted for a particular overcurrent device, connected load, and current rating. If these values are not exceeded, the fault current will be sufficient to produce the required disconnection time. It should be noted that values given in these tables represent operational conditions not the limits measured on a loop impedance tester. For tabulated limitations of measured values see GN 3 tables 2B to 2D. Complicated - but the flow chart included in this section will make assessment relatively simple. The maximum disconnection time for circuits containing only fixed equipment is 5 seconds (Regulation 413-9 [i]). As previously stated, if a distribution board has connected a mixture of fixed equipment and socket outlets, either: (i) The impedance of the protective conductor associated with the distribution circuit shall not exceed that indicated in Table 41C, or, (ii) Supplementary bonding shall be installed at the distribution board that must connect to the same extraneous metalwork that is connected to the main equipotential bonds. (See regulation 413-02-13) For example, if the largest fuse in such a distribution board were to be rated at 40A BS 88, it could be seen by reference to table 41C that the maximum

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permitted protective conductor resistance from the DB earth terminal to the main earthing terminal is not to exceed 0.29? To achieve a disconnection time exceeding 0.4 seconds, but not exceeding 5 seconds, loop impedance values for a particular fuse or circuit breaker of a stated current rating shall not exceed those indicated in tables 41B2 or 41D as applicable. Method The measurement of P-E loop impedance is essentially conducted on a live circuit but Regulation 13 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires that circuits shall be made dead before any work is carried out on or near an energised conductor unless it is unreasonable for it to be isolated. This regulation is absolute, which means it must be conformed with. Cost or inconvenience is not to be a paramount consideration. The implication for loop impedance testing is that it shall be organised is such a way as to minimise the time spent near live conductors. Therefore, it is to be strongly recommended for an initial verification that live testing is confined to the measurement of that part of P - E loop impedance up stream to the distribution board (Ze) only. For a periodic test it is usually not possible to follow the above procedure due to difficulties in disconnection of supply. As previously stated, cables having a cross sectional area not exceeding 35 mm.2 have negligible reactance and the previously measured R1 + R2 values will also indicate the internal impedance of the earth fault circuit; therefore: Zs = Ze + R1 + R2 where Zs is the total P-E loop impedance of the circuit. The above formula is an approximation of total impedance because it assumes that all of the components are in phase with each other. In reality, that is far from true. Phasor arithmetic decrees that 1 + 1 will only equal 2 if in phase; otherwise 1 + 1 will be equal to less than 2. Therefore an error exists in the formula, acting on the safe side. Cables larger than 35 mm.2 have an impedance in excess of their resistance and if the above formula is to be used, then ideally impedance Z1 + Z2 would be measured, requiring the application of an instrument that has an a.c 50Hz output. Prior to the measurement of Ze, the main equipotential bonds shall be removed and all downstream circuits isolated. This measure will obviate reliance on equipotential bonding for lowering Ze. If the installation is in use the main equipotential bonds must not be disconnected.

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Before attaching the P - E loop impedance tester to the installation it should be isolated. For safety reasons the instrument should not be directly applied to live parts if at all avoidable. After attachment, the supply should be energised and the test conducted. Measurement of Ze is a potentially dangerous business. The test is quite often conducted in a confined space, inadequately lit, with the additional hazard of 400V exposed to touch. Measurement of Ze must only be undertaken by confident and competent electricians. The loop impedance tester should be of a modern design - older instruments are usually of low safety standards. Instrument leads should have substantial insulation and should be protected by in line H.B.C. fuses. To take into account an increase in temperature and hence resistance under full load conditions, as a rough rule of thumb, the recorded values should not exceed 0.75 of the relevant value indicated in BS 7671 tables 41B and 41D, which are based on a conductor temperature of 70 deg. A more precise assessment may be made of conductor resistance (R1+R2) by consulting the table below, which sets out multiplying factors to correct for resistance increase due to the temperature rise occurring on full load current. Test ambient temperature Correction factor Table 3 (deg.C) 5 1.06 10 1.04 15 1.02 20 1.00 Measured resistance is multiplied by the above factor. The resulting value will then be multiplied by the factor given below. . Insulation type Correction factor Table 4 PVC 1.20 85 deg. rubber 1.53 1.42 90 deg. thermosetting plastic 1.60 1.48 * where the protective conductor is not part of a composite cable. The method advised to determine Zs, suggests that a substantial part of the external P-E loop impedance could be contributed by the impedance of the distribution circuit but the comparatively large cross sectional and surface area of this cable will ensure that the temperature and hence resistance rise

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will be of little consequence. Hence the correction factors should be applied to the measured value of R1 + R2 alone. Example: A test of p-e loop impedance is measured and found to be 0.35 at 10 deg. If R1 + R2 + 0.25what will be the amended resistance? Solution: Zs = Ze + (R1 + R2)1.2 x 1.04 Zs = 0.1 + 0.25 x 1.2 x 1.06 = 0.418 Except where the supply system is TT, the impedance of the public mains distribution system is negligible and contributes little to Z s in percentage terms. This reasoning applies particularly to built up areas of high demand density. In rural areas with overhead supplies the external loop impedance will be of a considerably higher proportion of Zs. It should also be noted that the P-E loop impedance of an installation would not necessarily be of a fixed value for the life of the installation. Changes in demand will be reflected by changes in the mains structure, which could result in the installation or removal of power transformers with a consequential change in loop impedance. Hence the importance of periodic testing. See section 23 for more information about the structure of the mains distribution system. For an installation fitted with an RCD, different considerations apply when assessing Zs values. Because the device is sensitive to very small earth leakage currents it will usually operate faster than any connected fuses or circuit breakers. If the earth leakage current is sufficiently high (usually in the range 30 - 500 mA), it will open the offending circuit in less than 20 milliseconds. This means that other overcurrent devices have no earth leakage role and therefore no reference need be made to tables 41B and 41D for circuits protected by an RCD. An evaluation of the phase earth loop impedance when an RCD is installed is determined by an application of the formula below: Zs <= 50/In where In is the residual operating current. Regulation 413-02-16. For example, if the residual operating current of an RCD is 30 mA the maximum P-E loop impedance permitted at any point in the installation will be given by, Zs < = 50/In therefore Zs < = 50/0.03 therefore Zs < = 1 666 an unlikely figure in the UK. , If the installation contains more than one distribution board and connected distribution circuit, each distribution board must be considered a separate

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installation having its own characteristics and must be tested separately using the procedure described above and illustrated in figure 41. (See regulation 541-01-02) The measurement of P-E loop impedance is an inexact science. The operational values of P-E loop impedance will be considerably lower than those calculated or measured, due to the parallel paths provided by the equipotential bonding - all of which will carry earth fault current. Temperature rises and hence multiplying factors under earth fault conditions assume a fully loaded cable prior to the earth fault occurring, operating at a temperature of 70o. While this condition is not impossible, it is unlikely. A consequence of this will almost certainly be loop impedance lower, and earth fault current larger than that predicted. Protective conductor current will be lower than that in the phase conductor due to parallel earth paths such as water pipes etc., producing a lower temperature rise. BS 7671 guidance notes also make an implied assumption that the faulty circuit has a protective conductor formed by a cable core. If a cable trunking or a conduit supplements the protective conductor, the large surface area and low resistance will ensure that no appreciable temperature rise on protective conductors takes place . Tests of external P-E loop impedance (Ze)
Warning! Dont try this at home.

Tests of Ze should be made as near to the service as possible. Main earthing terminal

400A TN-C-S service Live !!!

Fig.33 Fig.34

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Dont forget a professional organisation will produce professional reports. Take note of the example given later in this chapter - use it as a model for reports of your own design. And remember, a loop impedance test will usually trip an RCD. Phase - Earth loop impedance requirements of BS 7671 Set out below are some of the maximum permitted operational phase-earth loop impedance values and the corresponding currents at 230V required to disconnect a circuit with a phase-earth fault. These values of loop impedance are abstracted from tables 41B1, 41B2 and 41D and refer to circuits fully loaded (70 deg.) at an ambient air temperature of 20 deg. For example if a ring circuit is protected against overcurrent by a 32A fuse manufactured to BS 88, the maximum P-E loop impedance and minimum current would be 1.09and 211A respectively.

Table 5
BS 88 fuses Rating Zs (ohms) socket outlet circuits Zs (ohms) fixed equipment circuits Rating I2 sockets - Amps I2 fixed equipment - Amps 6 8.89 14.1 6 25.8 A 16.3A 10 5.33 7.74 10 43.1 A 29.7A 16 2.82 4.36 16 81.5 A 52.7A 20 1.85 3.04 20 124 A 75.6A 25 1.50 2.40 25 153 A 95.8A 32 1.09 1.92 32 211 A 119A 40 0.86 1.41 40 267 A 163A 50 0.63 1.09 50 365 A 211A

Circuit Breakers
Type 1 current rating Zs Ohms Current for instantaneous disconnection Type 2 Zs Ohms Current for instantaneous disconnection Type B Zs Ohms Current for instantaneous disconnection 6A 10 23A 10A 6 38.3A 16A 3.75 61.3A 25A 3 76.6A 32A 2.4 95.8A 40A 1.88 122A 50A 1.5 153A 63 0.95

5.71 40.3A 8.0 28.8A

3.43 67A 4.80 48A

2.14 107A 3.0 76.7A

1.37 168A 1.92 119A

1.07 215A 1.50 153A

0.86 267A 1.20 191A

0.69 333A 0.96 239A



Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher

Type 3 Zs Ohms Current for instantaneous disconnection Type D Zs Ohms Current for instantaneous disconnection

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4.00 57.5A 2.00 115A

2.40 96A 1.20 191A

1.50 153A 0.75 306A

0.96 240A 0.48 479A

0.75 306A 0.38 605A

0.60 383A 0.30 766A

0.48 479A 0.24 958A



Alternately, p-e loop impedance values may be obtained from GN3 and used without modification.

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The measurement of P-E loop impedance on a large installation.


earth/neutral phase earth/neutral


2000 200 20 loop test 2-60A 20-600A 0.2-20kA PSC test

0.56 P-E P-N N-P

2000 200 20 loop test

TEST press and release

TEST press and release

2-60A 20-600A

0.2-20kA PSC test



Protective conductor continuity can best be determined by subtracting Ze from Zsm

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Measuring p-e loop impedance at a floor socket


If the measured value of phase-earth loop impedance is too high when referred to tables GN3 2a to 2D, you may be in the unfortunate position of not only being responsible for reporting the situation to your client, but also being required to suggest a solution to the problem. If the circuit in question supplies socket outlets and fuses provide earth leakage protection, the disconnection time may be raised to five seconds if certain conditions are met. A five second disconnection will enable higher values of Zs to be tolerated. For example, the measured value of P-E loop impedance for a 30A ring circuit is found to be 1.6, the protecting device is a 30A rewirable fuse, maximum Zs is 1.2and the resistance of the circuit protective conductor from the furthest point to the main earthing terminal is 0.5. Reference to table 2D reveals that the maximum permitted value of Z s is 0.91 excessive. However regulation 413-02-12 allows an extension of the disconnection time to five seconds if the protective conductor resistance does not exceed that given in table 41C, which in this case will be 0.58, the criteria, has been met and therefore reference may be made to table 2Aii for the limiting value of Zs - which is 2.21 . It follows that a test result that is apparently outside acceptable limits becomes acceptable, looking at the problem from a different angle. The circuit would also meet regulation requirements if an RCD were to be fitted and/or additional supplementary bonding were to be installed. (See regulation 413-02-15).

Periodic inspection and testing

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It may not be possible for the installation to be made dead for testing purposes; therefore live testing will have to take place. Optional tests methods are illustrated.

A composite measurement of p-e loop impedance on a luminaire. For this test an extension lead may be necessary.


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n RCD will detect an imbalance in either the three line and neutral currents in a TP&N circuit or P - N current in a single phase circuit. An imbalance in this context means that the sum of the circuit current does no equal zero. This situation will be interpreted by the RCD as an earth fault, between either a neutral or a phase conductor and earth. These devices can achieve great sensitivity and can give a measure of protection against direct contact, although it should be emphasised that the protection referred to is against electrocution not electric shock. An RCD is not an overload-detecting device nor will it operate under short circuit conditions between live conductors. The fault current causing the RCD to trip is symbolised as: In (I delta n) Residual current devices can be categorised as either: (i) (ii) (iii) (Non-delayed) RCDs to BS 4293 (In <= 30 mA) (Delayed) RCDs to BS 4293 or BS EN 61008 (In > 30 mA ) (Non-delayed) RCDs to BS 4293 (In <= 30 mA ) (iv) (Non-delayed) RCDs to BE EN 61008 or (v) RCBOs to BS EN 61009

The testing of both will require the simulation of a fault for a controlled duration on both halves of the AC cycle.. Method Prior to the test, all loads shall be disconnected. Tests for non delayed RCDs (BS 4293) In > 30 mA Selecting a suitable socket outlet, the circuit is energised and an RCD tester is connected: No equipment shall be connected to the circuit under test. The test procedure is as follows, (i) (ii) Selecting In/2, and applying the test current for 2 seconds, the device should not trip. Selecting In and applying the test current, the device should trip in a time not exceeding 200 mS. if an RCBO - 300 mS. If In <= 30 mA the devices will supplement other means of protection against direct contact, 150 mA should be applied and the device should trip within 40 mS.

Tests for delay type RCDs

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BS 4293 When a test current equal to 100% of In is impressed on the device, it should trip within the range 50% t + 200 ms to 100% t + 200 ms. where t is the stated time delay in seconds. For example, if the RCD was declared to operate at 2 seconds with a residual operating current of 100 mA - with a test current of 100 mA it should trip within the range 2 x 0.5 + 0.2 = 1.2 seconds and 2 + 0.2 = 2.2 seconds. BS EN 61008 When a test current equal to 100% of In is impressed on the device, it should trip within the range 130 to 500 mS. Most RCD testers will provide means of injecting the test current on either the commencement of the positive or negative half cycle. Both options should be chosen and that producing the longest delay time logged. Additionally, the test button should be operated to verify the mechanical efficacy of the device. It should be noted that the earthing installation may be totally defective and the device will trip. The operation of the trip button merely displays the integrity of the mechanical and magnetic elements. It is perfectly possible for all earthing to be totally absent and operation of the test button will cause the circuit breaker to trip. Therefore, although a test of the circuit breaker is important, it is not a substitute for an instrument test. With the increasing intrusion of electronic controls into power equipment such as thyristors, d.c.or a.c. with a d.c. component may leak to earth in the event of a fault. The dangers of these currents are no less real than that produced by a.c. If the possibility of a d.c. fault exists on an installation the RCD should be tested for a d.c. response. Standard RCDs will either not trip, or trip only with a larger current than that rated. When purchasing an RCD tester, ensure that it has a d.c. test facility.

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Test of an RCD

RCD Control


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To solenoid Search coil

SECTION 13 OVERCURRENT SURVEY It is absolutely vital that the current flow in all parts of the installation - cables and equipment does not exceed design levels, if this is not the case, obvious hazards can result. Any survey of an electrical installation that has been in use some time should include a survey of current demand and efficacy of overcurrent protection. With the passage of time, demand may bear little relationship to that intended by the designer. Loads grow, and there is great temptation to accommodate those loads without a reinforcement of the system. Cables, fuses, circuit breakers, services etc. may all be dangerously overloaded Fig.41 to an extent that insulation damage is a distinct possibility. The nature of this survey is illustrated in the report form shown overleaf. Firstly, the tabulated current ratings of all overcurrent devices and the cross sectional areas of all connected cables are noted. Tabulated current ratings are those presented in table form in appendix 4 BS 7671 Choosing a time when all circuits are at maximum demand, current flow is measured - using a clamp meter - at each final and distribution circuit.

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Then the current ratings of the cables are compared with that of measured demand and the current ratings of the connected fuses or circuit breakers. The current rating of a cable must be not less than that of the protective device and must not be exceed by the maximum load current. When making an assessment of cable current ratings, determine if any correction factors apply. Correction factors modify tabulated rating and will exist for:

Cables are rated at an ambient temperature of 30 o. Any variation will cause a revision in current rating.

Tabulated current ratings are based on the use of HBC fuses or circuit breakers.

All current ratings are based on the assumption of single circuit grouping. For example, if more than one circuit is enclosed in conduit a correction will have to be made to the current ratings. This adjustment will have a reducing effect on the cables tabulated current rating.


if the cable is in contact with thermal insulation, on one or both sides a reducing correction factor is applied. All correction factors are to be found in BS 7671 and act as multipliers to the tabulated current ratings. For example, on inspection, a 4.0 mm.2 single core cable - insulated with pvc was found to be connected to a 25A BS 88 fuse. When measured, the ambient temperature was 40 deg., and the circuit was enclosed with two others in a conduit fixed to a surface that is not thermally insulating. Current flow was measured at 25A, would the situation be considered satisfactory? Consulting BS 7671 table 4D 1A, the tabulated current rating of the cable is 32A (single phase). From table 4C1, the correction factor for 40 deg. is 0.87 From table 4B1, the correction factor for three circuits is 0.7 The corrected current rating of the cable is, 32 x 0.87 x 0.7 = 19.5 Amps. The above example illustrates how an apparently correct arrangement of current flow, cable and associated overcurrent protection can be a hazardous mismatch.

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This reduced current rating is not imaginary - its real. If a load current exceeds 19.5A the cable will overheat. The prospective short circuit current at each point where fuses or circuit breaker are installed should be measured, the value recorded compared with the breaking capacity of the protecting device. It is not unusual to have a prospective short circuit level of perhaps 6 kA where rewirable fuses are installed. This situation could result in excessive arcing under short circuit conditions, prolonging the fault and raising the possibility of damage and injury. The form overleaf should be used when conducting an overcurrent survey. Study the example carefully and note the conclusions drawn.

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HBC fuses manufactured to BS 88

BS 3036 fuses (rewirable)

Note live parts exposed when a fuse is removed

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BS-EN 60898 Circuit breakers

Measurement of demand


A moulded case circuit breaker manufactured to BS EN 60497-2

Note: A simple way of determining if a cable is overloaded is to measure its temperature using a temperature probe. The maximum temperature permitted for pvc insulation is 70 deg. C. Beyond this point insulation will be damaged.

A laser guided temperature sensor


An essential document to prepare, if not provided, is a distribution board schedule. The schedule will indicate the current ratings of overcurrent devices, cross sectional areas of cables and the circuit destinations. SECTION 14

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n appreciable amount of time and nervous energy may be saved by systematically planning your testing programme. The basis of this planning will be to regard an installation overall as being constructed of smaller parallel and series interconnected installations.

For example, sub-distribution boards are connected in parallel with each other but in series with the main distribution panel. Or in other terms, current flow in each of the sub distribution boards will not affect the others, but will change the current demand of the main distribution board. This arrangement is shown in the schematic diagram below. Distribution boards B, C, and D are in parallel with each other and connected in series with distribution board A. Tests of external P-E loop impedance will take place at A, B, C and D At positions b,c and d the loop impedance will include that of the connected distribution circuit. But this is of no consequence: as far as the external circuit is concerned it, consists of resistance and reactance - the components of opposition have the same effect regardless of location and form. B C D

Therefore, it means that this installation will have four values of Ze. Measurements and evaluation will be made locally, for each distribution board. For example, if a particular circuit connected to distribution board B had a maximum R1 + R2 value of 0.7 and the external P-E loop impedance of the DB was 0.2 the uncorrected , impedance would be 0.9 Assuming a short circuit . temperature correction factor of 1.2, the corrected loop impedance will be, 0.7 x 1.2 + 0.2 = 1.04 This value would now be evaluated by reference to table 41B1, 41B2 or 41D, as appropriate. It should be noted that the Ze of the sub distribution board will be the Zs of the supplying distribution circuit. All other tests should be conducted on the basis of an individual distribution board forming an electrical installation, having unique internal and external characteristics.


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Adherence to this principle will mean that data sheets will have to be compiled on each of the individual distribution boards - dont try to compile a report on a large installation on a single sheet - practical experience has indicated that there really is no other way. As previously stated before an installation is tested and inspected a pre-planning stage should be completed. This pre-plan includes a survey of the installation component parts and will include a determination of the means of control and overcurrent protection. Additionally thought should be given to tools, instruments, access equipment, temporary lighting extension leads etc. If the contents of distribution boards are a mystery - before any meaningful inspection and testing can be conducted - distribution board schedules must be completed, an example of which has previously been presented. Shown Overleaf are suitable forms on which this pre-planning may be organised

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Preplan check list Have you arranged for permission to enter all of the relevant parts of the building? Don't forget the intake room may not be under the control of the client. Do you have permission to shut off supplies to those parts of the building under test? Don't forget about the possible need for computers and Fax machines be running continuously. Are all of the sub distribution board cupboards accessible, do they need individual keys to gain access? Ensure that as a minimum the following items are considered before arriving on site.

Access equipment Keys Tools IR tester P-E loop impedance tester RCD tester Polarity tester Voltage tester Torch Extension lead Temporary lighting Clamp meter Spare batteries Documentation Pad of paper Pens - pencils Calculator Adhesive labels Pair of radios Digital camera

Notes Steps - tower scaffolding Access will be required to all relevant part s of the building Pliers, screwdrivers- manual and electric, spanners etc. One for each team member One for each team member One for each team member One for each team member One for each team member One for each team member Needed for p-e loop testing For those dark areas needing inspection For measuring maximum demand For the insulation resistance tester AA size For the direct recording of measured values For rough work Particularly pencils needed for completion of NIC PIR forms in draft. For calculating P-E loop values etc. For attaching to points when the parent circuit has been identified. Can save an enormous amount of time when working in pairs distant from each other. For enhancing your presentation. Photographs of damage, malpractice and installed systems.

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SECTION 15 TESTING PORTABLE AND TRANSPORTABLE EQUIPMENT One of the most relevant and important tests is the PRELIMINARY VISUAL INSPECTION. In practice, approximately 80 % of all equipment defects are found at this important stage. Hazards such as loose cord grips, plugs incorrectly fitted, unsafe cable joints, incorrectly rated fuses etc. should all be discovered and correct at the physical inspection stage before electrical tests commence. The equipment to be tested will normally be constructed in one of the basic classes, designated Class 1, 2 or 3. equipment will be of the conventional insulated and mechanically protected construction. The enclosure will be earthed via a protective conductor contained within a threecore flexible cord.

equipment provides two levels of protective insulation. The first protective barrier is the functional or basic insulation, while the outer protective layer will comprise either an insulating internal lining to a conducting enclosure or form the enclosure itself.

equipment will operate at either ELV or a reduced voltage supply such as 110 V centre tapped earth.

Tests of protective conductors. This test must be performed at a voltage not exceeding 12 V, with a test current at least 1.5 times that of design current with a maximum of 25 A. The test current will be applied for 5 seconds. The resistance should not exceed 0.1 excluding any resistance provided by the plug. , If the appliance under test is of low current demand, BS 415 and BS 4533 permit a combined resistance of 0.5 . Tests of insulation resistance. BS 2754 requires a minimum insulation resistance of 2 megohms between live conductors and earth. A high voltage or " flash " test may also required. Test voltages will vary according to the equipment being tested, the most stringent being 2.1 kV BS 3456 (household appliances) allows a leakage current of 0.75 mA/kW with an overall maximum of 5 mA.

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Hand-held electric tools require a flash test of 1.5 kV with a maximum permitted leakage of 0.75 mA. Equipment connected to a BS 4343 plug and socket but not hand held may have a maximum leakage current of 10 mA. Testing class two equipment A flash test may be conducted at a voltage of 1 500 V across basic insulation and across the supplementary insulation 2 500 V. It will be acceptable if a single test of 3 000 V is applied between live conductors and the outer casing. When flash-testing care should be exercised where electronic components are incorporated within the equipment. Extension leads Extension leads should be regarded as equipment and treated in a similar fashion regarding testing for safety. For documentation purposes, each extension lead should have a unique serial number. It is recommended that the test periods shown below should be observed. Office machines and equipment Electronic test equipment Heavy portable or transportable items Powered hand tools Documentation It is a requirement that a duty holder will keep records of all tests conducted. On completion of the tests, a label should be attached to the tested equipment showing: (a) The date tested (b) The identity of the test person (c) The date that the equipment is due for retest. Annually Annually 6-monthly 3-monthly

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MEASUREMENT OF EARTH LEAKAGE CURRENT nevitably the insulation resistance of equipment is somewhat less than the fabled "infinity" and therefore it follows, current will leak between points of differing potential.

The effect of this unintended current is to produce both a shock and fire risk - the magnitude of which will increase with reducing values of insulation resistance. For example if insulation resistance were to fall to 1 000 between phase and earth, at 230V, the resulting leakage current would be 230 mA which would produce a power dissipation of 57 Watts. If this power were to be concentrated in a confined area and in contact with combustible material the resulting temperature rise may be sufficient to start a fire. The users of circuits that are protected against earth leakage current by an RCD, have substantial protection against the dangers of low insulation resistance - to earth at least - but if the problem exists between live conductors, fire hazards remain. If the overcurrent protection provided to a circuit is correctly selected in terms of its current and voltage ratings and has adequate breaking capacity, large fault current should not present a danger; the fault should be quickly cleared with the minimum of energy release into the circuit. It is of course self evident that fault current equal to, or less than, the current rating of the fuse of circuit breaker will not be detected and cleared by fuses or circuit breakers. With the requirement for maintenance stated in regulation 4(2) of the "Electricity at Work Regulations" it is incumbent on all Duty Holders 2 to regularly test, monitor and maintain the system in their charge. This responsibility will embrace the entire system that will include all connected portable appliances, which are particularly vulnerable to damage. Deterioration and misuse of portable equipment are much more likely to be the cause of an electric shock than any other part of the system. The BSI specifies maximum earth leakage current allowable for differing classes of portable appliance. As previously outlined, BS 3456 (household appliances) requires that earth leakage current must not exceed 0.75 mA/kW, with a maximum of 5 mA, while equipment connected to a BS 4343 plug and socket but not hand held may have a maximum earth leakage current of 10 mA. For most installations, the period between a test and inspection is not mandatory, BS 7671 stating a recommended interval only. This recommendation may be adequate or inadequate depending upon individual circumstances. In order to minimise costs - at least from the client's point of view - tests would only be undertaken when the need arises - neither too frequently nor infrequently. The testing and inspection of an installation is not always a straightforward matter; problems of access and isolation may make the task a costly affair.

A Duty Holder is defined as that person having the responsibility for the safe operation of the electrical installation within a building. He does not necessarily have any electrical installation knowledge.

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If the installation cannot be conveniently shut down for testing purposes, it would be advantageous if an indication could be given of deteriorating insulation resistance, without the need for isolation. This objective may be achieved by the use of ultra sensitive clamp meters . These instruments are capable of detecting very small earth leakage current, as low as 0.01 mA - a corresponding insulation resistance leakage to earth will be 23 megohms! By the simple expedient of measuring earth leakage current, an assessment may be made when to measure insulation resistance, hence minimising disruption. Earth leakage current will not be caused exclusively by low insulation resistance; intentional and unintentional capacitive links will produce the same effects. At mains frequency this phenomenon is of negligible significance, however, at the higher frequencies found in power supplies for information technology equipment and microwave apparatus etc., capacitive links can produce considerable earth leakage current. For example, if the capacitance between a live terminal and earth is 0.05mF the reactance at 50 Hz is 63,662 At 1 kHz the reactance falls to 3,183 With a nominal voltage of 230 V the . . earth leakage current will be 0.36 mA and 72.2 mA respectively; the larger current being of sufficient magnitude to cause problems, particularly if an RCD is providing protection against earth leakage currents. If the high frequency earth leakage current is to be detected it will be necessary for the measuring instrument to have a suitable frequency response. If this is not the case, the causes of RCD tripping will not revealed. High frequency current can result from discharge luminaires and other equipment. BS 7671 makes the following requirements for information technology and associated equipment complying with BS 7002. * Reg 607-02-03 Where earth leakage current exceeds 3.5 mA, that current must not exceed 25% of the residual operating current of any connected RCD. *Reg 607-05-01 where the system is TT (no provision of a service earth), the product of any earth leakage current in excess of 3.5 mA and twice the resistance of the installation electrodes must not exceed 50. *Reg 607-02-02 If the earth leakage current exceeds 3.5 mA but is not in excess of 10 mA, the equipment shall be permanently connected or supplied via a BS EN 60309-2 plug and socket. *Reg 607-02-03 If the earth leakage current exceeds 10 mA in normal use, the protective conductors shall be of high integrity, which can mean for example, the use of a metal conduit and an enclosed protective conductor connected in parallel. Where the equipment is connected via a plug and socket, the connecting flexible cord shall have a supplementary earth core having a minimum c.s.a. of 4.0 mm.2

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Insulation resistance testing at the required 500 V dc can be a chancy exercise if the installation or its attached equipment contains delicate electronic controls, particularly if CMOS/MOS devices are incorporated. Semi conductors of this class are highly sensitive to damage by electric fields. Damage will be possible even if I.R. tests are restricted to phase and neutral tests to earth. Leakage current measurement must be considered not only less costly in terms of shutdown time but also far less hazardous and hence less stressful for the test engineer. It should be emphasised that the foregoing applies to operational installations that are functioning with apparent safety. If the installation were one that is to be commissioned it would clearly be rather reckless to energise an untested system and then measure earth leakage current. The required clamp meters 3 have frequency selector switches; one setting will measure currents at 50 Hz while filtering out the high frequency components of leakage current. With the frequency selector switch set at "wide", currents of frequencies up to 1 kHz will be detected. This facility will enable the test engineer to discriminate between those currents due to resistance deterioration and those produced by filters and natural capacitance. They are also equipped with terminals enabling both dc and ac outputs for the purpose of attaching a chart recorder, multimeter or oscilloscope. Additionally these instruments have a data and peak hold facility which will be required if it is necessary to measure the starting current of motors or transformers etc. When used to determine current leakage, the application of the instrument is a simple matter of clamping within the jaws all live conductors, the current sum of which will be equal to zero in a circuit having no earth leakage current. Therefore any current that is measured will be that which is flowing to earth. This principle will apply to both single and three phase circuits. It should be remembered that a neutral conductor is a live conductor by definition and should also be embraced when taking measurements. It should be emphasised that a measurement of current flowing in the protective conductors will not present a totally true picture of earth leakage conditions. Earth fault current will return through a complex path, which will include all bonded extraneous and exposed conductive parts, reducing current in the protective conductors to perhaps a minor proportion of the whole. Difficulties will arise when testing portable appliances if the supply is via a three core flexible cord. Any earth leakage current will flow through the protective conductor and produce a situation of current "balance"; the instrument indicating zero. A simple test lead - illustrated in Fig.44 - could be constructed for test purposes, which would enable measurements to be easily and rapidly carried out. These instruments are not located at the budget end of the market, but the old adage that you get what you pay for applies to these high quality tools that will be an indispensable asset to the test engineer who will be able to assess insulation resistance without trepidation.


Obtainable from Robin Electronics

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Any difference in current between phase and neutral will indicate earth leakage, either from the phase or neutral conductors. Indicated above is an earth leakage current of 1A. If the circuit is TP&N the phasor sum of the line and neutral current should be zero, if not, a line or neutral to earth fault will exist Fig.48

Earth leakage current displayed. To measure earth leakage current accurately the instrument will have to a have a resolution of 0.01A


If the switching device has contacts that are not visible, to ensure correct operation, continuity tests should be conducted. The purpose of these tests is to ensure that all poles of the switch designed to be disconnected have been.

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A visual inspection shall be conducted to ensure that any locking devices are not interchangeable with any other on the installation. The switching mechanism of all circuit breakers and RCDs shall also be verified. BS 7671 identifies four differing switching needs; they are: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) isolation switching for mechanical maintenance functional switching emergency switching and stopping.

Isolators are off-load switching devices intended to isolate a complete or part of an installation for the purposes of electrical maintenance, alterations or additions. The device will have a means of locking off and will be double pole if the installation is single phase, three pole, if three phase and neutral and four pole if the installation is three phase and neutral, connected to a TT system of supply. Construction must conform with BS EN60947 Isolators must be connected at the origin of the installation. The operation of isolators should be restricted to skilled persons. Switches for mechanical maintenance are intended as a local means of isolation for a particular item of equipment. These switches are intended to be operated on, or off load by unskilled personnel. They should have the same quality of isolation as that required for isolators. Circuit breakers, plugs and sockets and push buttons operating on contactor coil circuits are also acceptable if additional precautions are taken to ensure positive indication of circuit isolation. These additional precautions will include ensuring that when a push button is used as a means of local isolation the coil circuit is de-energised and not energised. Emergency switching is intended to initiate a disconnection of the supply in a situation of danger. Such a device should be initiated with a single action requiring a manual reset to restore the supply. The isolation achieved will be the same as that for isolators. Any stop buttons used shall be coloured red and preferably of the latching type. Functional switching has the purpose of interrupting current as part of the normal continuous purpose of the circuit. Common examples of functional switching include lighting switches, push button control of motors etc. Fig.49

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Functional switch

Switch for mechanical maintenance

Isolator Emergency stop Contactor


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The following regulations apply to isolation and switching. Protective measures Isolation and switching general requirements Isolation Switching off for mechanical maintenance Emergency switching Functional switching 130-05 130-06 460 - 01 - 01 to 460 - 01 - 04 461 - 01 - 01 to 461 - 01 - 07 462 - 01 - 01 to 462 - 01 - 03 463 - 01 - 01 to 463 - 01 - 05 Application of measures 476 - 01 - 01 476 - 01 - 02 476 - 02 - 01 to 476 - 02 - 04 476 - 01 - 01 476 - 03 - 01 to 476 - 03 - 07

Table 7

Selection and Erection of Equipment 537 - 01 - 01

537 - 02 - 01 to 537 - 02 - 07 537 - 03 - 01 to 537 - 03 - 04 537 - 04 - 01 to 537 - 04 - 06 537 - 05 - 01 537 - 05 - 02

Another name for an isolating device is a disconnector. If capable of disconnecting on load the device is called a switch disconnector. Containing fuses it will be either a switch fuse disconnector or a fused switch disconnector. Fig.50

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Disconnectors are classified by duty. The table below shows codes used to indicate classification an their definition.

AC 20A AC 20B AC 21A AC 21B AC 22A AC 22B AC 23A AC 23B

AC disconnector infrequent operation AC disconnector frequent operation AC disconnector infrequent operation AC disconnector frequent operation AC disconnector infrequent operation AC disconnector frequent operation AC disconnector infrequent operation AC disconnector frequent operation

No load switching No load switching Designed for switching resistive loads Designed for switching resistive loads Designed for switching resistive and inductive loads. Min p.f. 0.65 Designed for switching resistive and inductive loads. Min p.f. 0.65 Designed for switching inductive loads. Min p.f. 0.35 Designed for switching inductive loads. Min p.f. 0.35 Table 8


Panel mounted switch fuse disconnectors

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AC 22A

Single-phase switch fuse disconnector


Fused switch disconnector

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continues from previous page

Has someone been appointed to monitor the permit to work procedure ? No

A monitoring system should be set up Yes Has the person issuing the permit ensuraed that all necessary equipment is dead


He should take action to ensure that this is done before the permit is issued.

and that all necessary safety precautions have been taken ?

Is the employee familiar with the system and the equipment to be worked on ?


The employer cannot give the authority to issue permits to work

Has the employer given written authorisation for employee Has the person issuing the permit ensured that its contents have been to issue permits to work on the equipment ? understood by the person receiving it ?



A permit to work shoul not be issued Yes

Has the person issuing the permit ensured that its content has been understood by the person receiving it ?
Is the equipment made dead ?



Issue permit

Has the person, authorised to issue permits, worked out in detail has whatoriginalshouldschedule to ensure that the equipment is clearly the steps work be taken been changed ? identified and safe to work on ?



Is the person in charge of the work aware that he is responsible for his


own safety and that of his team ?

No Inform him of this fact

Yes Has the person in charge of the work been instructed to

retain the permit (a) for reference (b) so the equipment cannot be inadvertantly re-energised ?

Does the information in the permit contain sufficient detail to ensure Yes safe working ?


continued on next page

continued on next page

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On completion of the work, has the person in charge signed the permit to indicate that: the workers have been withdrawn and instructed not to return; temporary earth conductors, tools and other equipment have been removed form the work area ?


He must be instructed to do so


Has the permit to work been returned to the person who issued it for cancellation before the equipment is re-energised ?


The equipment must not be re-energised until the permit has been returned for cancellation.


Remove the warning notices and re-energise the equipment

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Information technology equipment such as personal computers has a tendency to leak current to earth as an operational characteristic.

These currents are the result of intentional and unintentional capacitive links with earth. Although the insulation resistance may be very high this will have no effect on capacitive leakage, which cannot be detected by insulation resistance testing. The mains input to a computer will contain transient voltages at varying frequencies, which will corrupt data if allowed to enter the circuitry. Filters will usually be installed in the form of capacitors that will remove these high frequency currents by earth discharge. A capacitor will have high impedance to low frequency supplies but as the frequency raises the impedance of a capacitor falls and hence provides a leakage path for high frequency current only. As stated previously, the impedance of a 1 mF capacitor at 50 Hz is 3 183 ohms and at 50 kHz, 3.18 ohms. If these leakage currents are excessive they may trip an RCD and the cause could be ambiguous to the investigating electrician, as insulation resistance values may be high. A measurement of current by a standard clamp meter could possibly reveal no leakage current due to a restricted response to high frequencies. B.S. 7671 makes the following requirement regarding permitted earth leakage current. Regulation: 607-02-03 Where more than one item of equipment leaks more than 3.5 mA to earth, the total earth leakage current shall trip any protecting RCD Regulation 607-02-07 requires that where the total earth leakage current exceeds 10 mA the protective conductor will be duplicated or be of a minimum c.s.a. of 10 mm. 2 or be protected by an earth monitoring device. The previously described clamp meters may measure such a current.

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As with all instruments operated by electromagnetic induction, all live conductors (P - N) will have to be embraced and the residual current may then be measured. If the connecting flexible cord is a 3 core then an adapter will have to be constructed which will enable the exclusion of the protective conductor. three core flex adapted for current measurement. Fig.56


Regulation 607-02-03 n >= 3.5 mA Where more than one computer is connected to a circuit the total earth leakage current is not to exceed 25% of I n

Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher Regulation 607-02-07

If a single item of equipment has an earth leakage current in excess of 10mA, one or more of the following arrangements must be made.

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A single protective conductor shall have a minimum c.s.a. of 10mm.2

Where protective conductors are duplicated they shall have a minimum c.s.a. of 4.0mm.2

A duplicate protective conductor within a multicore cable. Total cross sectional area is to be not less than 10mm.2

A single protective conductor within steel trunking or conduit. Minimum c.s.a. 4.0 mm.2

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connection by means of a BS 4343 plug and socket connection by means of an isolator


Regulation 607-02-04 I Earth leakage current exceeding 3.5mA but not exceeding 10 mA

BS 4343


Regulation 607 - 02 - 05 Earth leakage current exceeding 10 mA

E BS 4343 plug E


4 core flex Two protective conductors required - the supplementary earth must be supplied via a separate contact and have a c.s.a. of 4.0 mm.2 or greater.

Regulation 607 - 02 - 06 where the total earth leakage current exceeds 10mA the circuits shall be wire in a ring with no spurs

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Regulation 607 - 02 - 06 where the total earth leakage current exceeds 10mA the circuits shall be wire in a ring with no spurs


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It has long been the requirement of wiring regulations that the prospective short circuit current should not exceed the safe disconnecting capability of the controlling fuse or circuit breaker. The definition of prospective short circuit current is, "That current which will flow between solidly bolted conductors of differing potential. In the case of a three phase and neutral installation, the conductors in question will be all three phases." Obviously, the prospective short circuit current of an installation cannot be determined by the above method; measurements will be taken using a dedicated prospective short circuit current tester. This instrument, when connected to the installation, will circulate a significant test current that will cause a small mains voltage drop. This fall in voltage and the current that produced it will be integrated by the instrument, which will then calculate the mains impedance and the potential resulting short circuit current. Prospective short circuit current testers are usually designed to be attached to only two points on the installation and therefore cannot be directly used to determine current resulting from a symmetrical three phase fault. Theoretically it can be shown that a symmetrical three-phase fault will produce approximately twice the current produced by a single-phase fault; if a single-phase measurement of PSCC is made, the recorded value should be doubled. When using an instrument that connects to two lines (400V) the correction factor is x 1.15 In reality, joint and cable resistance and resistance changes produced by the inevitable temperature rise that results from current flow considerably attenuate short circuit current. The actual three-phase fault level will be somewhat lower than that calculated, however any error would be on the safe side. When assessing the suitability of an overcurrent device, having determined the apparent fault level, caution should be exercised. Upstream devices such as HBC fuses, miniature and moulded case circuit breakers may be "current limiting". This term means that the device will "cut off" before the prospective current is reached. For example, the prospective short circuit current at the bus bars of a distribution board may be assessed at 25 kA, but the upstream overcurrent device may be designed to limit the current to 9 kA hence allowing the installation of cheaper downstream circuit breakers or fuses. It will have to be ascertained of course by the designer that discrimination has been achieved for all fault levels up to 9kA, beyond which it will be lost. Short circuit breaking capacity of differing overcurrent devices are indicated in the tables overleaf.

Fig. 63

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A symmetrical threephase fault

It should be noted that if a prospective fault level of 20kA were to be measured at the origin of an installation, a fault only one metre from that point, connected by a copper cable of 10 mm.2, would attenuate the current to 17.4 kA.

Short circuit breaking capacities for differing protective devices.

Types of device Fuses to BS 1361 type 1 Breaking capacity (kA) 16.5

Table 9

Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher

Fuses to BS 1361 type 2 Fuses to BS 88 Fuses to 1362

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33.0 80 6.0

Fuses to BS 3036 according to category of duty marked on the fuse link, as follows.

S1 S2 S4

1.0 2.0 4.0 for current ratings from 30A up to and including 100A 1.0 1.5 2.0 3.0 4.0 6.0 9.0 Miniature circuit breakers to BS 3871 and BS EN 60898

M1 M1.5 M2 M3 M4 M6 M9

Circuit breakers to BS 4752 - As per marked breaking capacity.

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SECTION 20 ILLUMINATION: HOW MUCH LIGHT? Recommended levels of illuminance - measured in Lux - are specified by CIBSE in their 1984 Lighting Code for a variety of occupations. These values are necessary in order that the task in hand may be completed without undue visual strain. Illuminance is measured on the "working plane", usually taken to be 80 cm. from floor level. The Electricity at Work Regulations also makes an unspecified requirement for "adequate lighting levels" around switchgear. In this case a minimum of 150 Lux would be required, casting no deep shadow. Generally - the Health and Safety at Work Act requires at all times levels of illuminance commensurate with the work task. Illuminance is measured with a Lux meter; measurements should be taken after dark in order to record minimum illuminance without assistance from intruding daylight. Reproduced below from the CIBSE 1984 interior lighting code, are values of standard service illuminance for a variety of activities/interiors
Illuminance 50 Lux 100 Lux Activities Interiors rarely visited, without perception of detail Interiors visited occasionally with visual tasks confined to movement and casual seeing calling for only limited perception of detail Interiors visited occasionally with visual tasks requiring some perception of detail or involving some risk to people, plant or product Continuously occupied interiors, visual tasks not requiring any perception to detail Continuously occupied interiors, visual tasks moderately easy, i.e. large details or high contrast Visual tasks moderately difficult. Colour judgement required Locations Tunnels - cable voids etc. Corridors, stores. changing room, bulk

150 Lux

Loading bays, medical stores, switch rooms

200 Lux 300 Lux 500 Lux

Monitoring automatic processes in manufacture, casting concrete, turbine halls. Packing goods General offices

Table 10

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Illuminance levels on the working plane obey an inverse square law, which means if a luminaire is sited 2.5m above a surface and produces an illuminance of 200L, lowered to 2m the resulting illuminance will be, 200x 2.52 / 22 = 312.5L Fig.64

Insufficient levels of illuminance can be a safety hazard!

After dark this workshop will be under illuminated, producing a health and safety risk.

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SECTION 21 TESTING ESCAPE LIGHTING Needless to say, the correct and prompt functioning of an escape lighting system is of the essence. Functional tests must be efficiently and regularly conducted. All public buildings have a mandatory requirement for escape lighting, the requirement being enforced by the Health and Safety Inspectorate. The local inspector will normally require a written guarantee that the installation conforms to the standards required for the installation. All self-contained luminaires and internally illuminated signs must be tested for a brief period each month. A simulated mains failure, lasting at least one hour shall be applied and efficient battery back up shall be confirmed. These tests shall be applied at least twice a year. The charging system shall also be checked for efficiency. Every three years the system must be operated to its full duration (normally three hours) at least once every three years and shall conform to reg. 313 - 02 - 01. And chapter 3 These requirements call for a sensible wiring system that conforms with BS 7671 and section 528 in particular. Additionally a logbook should be maintained to record test and inspection details. Luminaires are available with test switches fitted in the supply leads, which may be simple keyoperated. There are also systems that will respond to infrared of ultrasonic signals from a handheld remote controller. Emergency luminaires will be classified as, Non-maintained Maintained The lamp not light when the permanent lighting is on The lamp will have the duel role of providing normal background lighting as well as that for escape purposes The luminaire will have two lamps, one for general purposes, the other to provided escape lighting. Table 11


BS 5266 provides full details of escape lighting requirements.

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Visual inspection of an installation will essentially include an assessment of the provision for overcurrent protection. The term overcurrent being defined as current flow resulting from either an overload or a short circuit.

B.S. 7671 requires that where protective devices are connected in series, the device nearest the fault shall open first4. In other words the minor device shall operated before the major device. This principle is illustrated in the diagram below.

Minor circuit breaker


Major circuit breaker

A designed loss of discrimination is allowed under certain circumstances. See reg. 434-03-01

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This objective is easily achieved when designing for overload. If device A has a higher current rating than that of B then discrimination will be realised. (A major to minor ratio of current ratings of not less than 2:1 should exist.) However, when considering short circuit currents the picture may be different, particularly if devices A and B are of a different operating characteristics or principle. For example, if A has a rating of 63 A and B a rating of 40A and the prospective short circuit current is 5 000 A, this current will simultaneously flow through both devices and will obviously be of sufficient level to operate both A or B, but which will open first? The answer to this question is of importance to the operator of the installation. Clearly it will be most inconvenient if the major device were to open and isolate a large area of the building. Correct design and assessment of overcurrent protection can only be undertaken if the principles are fully understood; these principles will now be examined in detail. Firstly it must be realised that current alone will not cause a device to operate. In order to produce the necessary effects to open the circuit, current must flow for a period of time. This time delay will ideally be extended for overloads - which are often transient in nature - and be minimal for short circuits. The rewirable fuse has no special provision for discriminating between short circuits and overloads, and simply operates faster with increasing current, the precise characteristics depending upon the environmental conditions of installation, such as ambient temperature and ventilation. HBC fuses in contrast are devices manufactured with great precision, with both overload and short circuit characteristics being predictable with a high degree of accuracy. These fuses will be manufactured with a variety of attributes, tailored to suit that of the load. For example, they may be designed to tolerate overloads for a considerable time - relatively speaking - as would be necessary for fuses protecting motors. Duel element HBC fuse
Tinned copper end caps Indicating bead Resistance wire


Silver plug Copper fuse element

The excess of current over the current rating required to blow a fuse is called the fusing factor. For example 10A fuse having a fusing factor of 1.5 will require a minimum fusing current of 15A to open.

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It follows that the lower the fusing factor, the closer the degree of protection against small sustained overcurrent. From the characteristics of differing class of HBC fuse to BS 88, shown in the table below, a 30A fuse-link class P will have at the worst a minimum fusing current of 37.5A, whereas for a class R fuse link of this rating will have at the worst a minimum fusing current of 75A or at the best 52.5A.

Class of fuse

Minimum currant


Maximum non fusing current

Table 12

P Q1 Q2 R gG

1.0 1.25 1.5 1.75 1.6

1.25 1.5 1.75 2.5 1.25

BS 7671 recommends that fuse links protecting pvc-insulated cables should have a fusing factor not exceeding 1.5, i.e. classes P and Q1. It should, however, be realised that fuses of a high fusing factor are not necessarily undesirable. Discharge and filament lighting circuits, for example, require, on starting, a transient overload, lasting only a very brief time. If the fusing factor of the fuse were too small the circuit would be unnecessarily isolated. When assessing the suitability of downstream devices, any upstream device having the ability to reduce short circuit current should be taken into consideration. For example, on conducting a prospective short circuit current test, it may be found that the prospective fault current is 16 kA and the local miniature circuit breakers are rated at only 9 kA. BS 7671 allows upstream devices to act as short circuit protection and if the cut off value of any major upstream HBC fuse did not exceed 9 kA, the installation could be deemed to be adequately protected. (See reg. 432-03-01) The actual value of the cut off current would depend upon the prospective short circuit current (Ia). If this current is too small the fuse will not disconnect the circuit at a reduced current. For cut off to occur a vertical projection from Ip should cross the curve associated with the circuit in question and not intersect the datum line. Shown below are the "cut off" characteristics of a range of HBC fuses. The axes of the graph are prospective short circuit current against cut off current. An examination of this graph will show that if the prospective short circuit current of a circuit protected by a 200 A fuse were 20 kA, this current would not be realised, but cut off at approximately 16 kA peak. datum line
cut off current (kA)

Fig. 67

16 kA


20 kA

Prospective short circuit current

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Knowledge of this circuit characteristic will enable the installation downstream of M16 mcb's even if a prospective short circuit current test indicated a fault current of 20 kA. If, on the other hand, the prospective short circuit current at the distribution board was found to be 5 kA the fuse would not cut off and that current would be allowed into the system. It would still mean of course that the M16 circuit breaker would be suitable. When a short circuit current flows, that current will be of a common value throughout the circuit. The resistance of the various components of the circuit will vary and hence the power dissipated. Another common factor will be the fault duration. Therefore it can be stated that

I t
Will be of the same value in all parts of the circuit. Where I is the fault current and t the fault duration. This unit is called the specific or admitted energy of the circuit that will be released under fault conditions. Manufacturers of overcurrent protective devices will design the short circuit characteristic in terms of specific energy and not current. I t characteristics of HBC fuses and circuit breakers are published by manufacturers and will be used by designers to determine the short circuit relationship between fuses or circuit breakers connected in series. An example for BS 88 HBC fuses is shown overleaf. When an HBC fuse operates under short circuit conditions, the fault duration will be divided into two zones, i) The pre-arcing stages ii) the arcing stage. In each case the specific energy required will be known with a high degree of precision. For short circuit discrimination to take place between HBC fuses, the total operating energy of the minor device must not exceed the pre-arcing energy of the major device.

Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher

S e ifice e y pc n rg 10 00 0 0 0

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1 00 0 0 0

1 00 0 0

10 0 0

10 0 1 0

1A 6

2A 5

3A 2

4A 0

6A 3

10 0A

F s ra gina p u e tin ms

A p x a le th u he e yc a c ris so as le tio o B 8 H Cfu e . D c in tio p ro im te t ro g n rg h ra te tic f e c n f S 8 B s s is rim a n w o c r u d r s o c u c n itio sif th to l d c n e tio e e yo th m o fu ed e ill c u n e h rt irc it o d n e ta is o n c n n rg f e in r s o s n t e c e th p -a in e e yo th m jo fu e o x e d e re rc g n rg f e a r s

A in e e y rc g n rg

P a in e e y re rc g n rg

F r e a p it c nb s efro th a o e c a c ris o x m le a e e m e b v h ra te tic a1 Afu ec n o b c n e te ins rie w a fu eh v g 6 s ant e onc d e s ith s a in ac rre t ra gs a r th n4 Aif s o c u d c in tio istob e s re u n tin m lle a 0 h rt irc it is rim a n e nu d

When fuses are connected in series with circuit breakers, more complicated considerations are required in order to achieve short circuit discrimination. A circuit breaker will usually have magnetic detection of short circuit currents, the created magnetic field being used to activate a mechanical circuit breaking mechanism. The speed of disconnection will depend upon the energy stored in the springs and the inertia of the parts. In other words, circuit-breaking duration is not solely a function of electro-magnetic effects. These characteristics will mean that at, and beyond, a certain fault level the speed of disconnection will be constant. At this point the disconnection is said to be "instantaneous". For most miniature circuit breakers, instantaneous means 0.01 seconds, or half a cycle. No fault level regardless of magnitude will cause a reduction in this disconnection time. It follows, therefore, that the short circuit characteristics of a particular circuit breaker - unlike an HBC fuse - cannot be simply expressed in terms of a given value of specific energy. The current producing cut off will have such a wide variation, from a minimum, for a particular circuit breaker, to its maximum breaking capacity. Manufacturers will, however, produce specific energy characteristics based on a particular prospective short circuit current and disconnection time. In this case half cycle or10 mS. An example of such data is shown overleaf

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An examination of the graph will indicate that with a prospective short circuit current of 10 kA, an mcb of types B or C will let through a total energy of 50 000 I2t. The smallest cable size able to resist the thermal effects of the short circuit current is given by, S >= (I2 t)/k. For example if a circuit is protected against short circuit by a 16A mcb, 2.5 mm.2 cable will be needed if the prospective short circuit current is 10kA but if the PSCC is only 1 kA, 2.5 mm.2 will suffice. Up to a point a circuit breaker will have an inverse time characteristic similar to that of a fuse. In this area, thermal or magnetic-hydraulic devices will be utilised to detect overloads. But a distinct changeover point is reached for a particular circuit breaker in terms of fault current, where the magnitude is such that instantaneous disconnection takes place. This point is indicated by the curve going horizontal. When the major device is an HBC fuse and the minor device a miniature circuit breaker, care must be exercised in selection if short circuit discrimination is to be achieved. A study of the curves shown in fig.34 will indicate that for all fault levels up to "x", which is approximately 60 times the current rating of the miniature circuit breaker, discrimination will be achieved. The mcb will trip before the fuse blows. At point "x" the two curves cross and for values of prospective short circuit current beyond this point discrimination will be lost.

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0.01 secs

instantaneous disconnection current limit of inverse time characteristic

Any short circuit current in excess of that reached at point X will cause a loss of discrimination. The major device (fuse) will blow before the minor device (m.c.b) operates. All short circuit currents up to X will result in correct device operation

The temperature reached by a cable under short circuit conditions not exceeding five seconds, is given approximately by the formula, T = It/200S For example, if the energy let through by a 63A mcb were to be 70,000 A2S and the connected cable 16 mm.2; the resulting temperature rise would be 21 deg.

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Time-current characteristic curves for BS EN 60898 type B cb's Fig.71

The characteristics above would be used to determine if miniature circuit breakers will discriminate under overload but not short circuit conditions.

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SECTION 23 URBAN DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS It is of practical value to a testing engineer, to have some knowledge of urban public distribution systems. Internal values of P-E loop impedance depend, in part, on the impedance of the low voltage mains. The density of demand in any city, particularly London is extremely high, requiring a correspondingly high transformer capacity with associated switchgear and cables similarly up rated. High capacity leads to high fault levels. The present system of urban distribution was developed in the late 1950s to meet an escalation of demand and a consumer requirement for a system that was rarely interrupted. Local distribution is by means of high voltage connections to power transformers that will produce the low voltages required for utilisation. Firstly examining the high voltage distribution system. The nominal voltage is 11 000 V; these high voltage cables are connected at large distribution centres known as bulk supply points via split bus bars and run in the form of an open ring through ring main units. A ring main unit consists of two disconnectors, one incoming and one outgoing, and a tee connected oil or SF6 circuit breaker supplying the power transformer. Additional facilities for connecting the high voltage cable cores to earth for safety reasons are also provided for use during maintenance periods. A safety measure that is very necessary before any work involving these cables can commence. A simple schematic diagram of a ring main unit is shown below. Fig. 72 Each of the high voltage distribution cables is protected against overcurrent. Both overload and short circuit, protection being provided by circuit breakers sited at the bulksupply point bus bars.



The open point of a high voltage ring is located at one of the ring high voltage ring main unit main unit disconnectors. If a fault were to occur on a high voltage feeder, only the affected section would be isolated. This loss of supply would of course mean that all connected transformers would be left isolated, but this situation is quickly remedied by the simple expedient of isolating the faulty cable at the ring main units and closing relevant disconnectors to provide alternative supply routes

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Assuming disconnectors A and D are normally closed with B and C normally open. If a fault were to occur on feeder Y, it would be detected by the protecting circuit breaker and isolated. Disconnectors B and D and the bus bar coupler would now be closed, leaving transformers T3 and T4 supplied via feeder X that would have sufficient capacity to meet Increased demand. Hence the fault may be repaired with consumer off supply for only a brief period. The low voltage network (400/230V) is a system arranged in the form of independent blocks, each of approximately 10 MVA. Supplying these blocks will be a string of transformers connected in a way previously described.

66 kV bus bars

66 kV T1 11 kV T2


11 kV bus bars

ring main units b c d



The system consists of distribution cables arranged in the form of a solid grid low voltage network with 500A HBC fuses providing overcurrent protection. This arrangement of cables is connected together by means of junction or network boxes.
400/230V 400/230V

Network boxes also enable distribution cable isolation, and the insertion of lower rated fuses at cable ends when extension or repair work is in progression. Work on a distribution cable is usually carried out live; the placement of fuses will reduce the energy flow into a fault if a cable jointer had the misfortune to create a short circuit A simplified network box is shown below. Usually a network box will accommodate four distribution cables. Each cable is connected solidly to the system by means of withdrawable links. To minimise the possibility of accident when an engineer has to attend to these connections, each of the three phases is shielded from the others by means of paxoline shrouds.

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The diagram below shows one cable fused in preparation for work to be carried out by a cable jointer. The network box is enclosed with a cast steel box set into pavement corners. Access is via a concrete and steel slab that is fitted flush. The mains system is usually PME and at this point an additional connection will be made between neutral and earth. Fig.74

fuse fuse fuse


Bus bars

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500 A HBC fuse



from transformer Outgoing distribution cable


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T2 intertrip 415/240V


open points at network boxes

The diagram above illustrates, in a simple way, the low voltage distribution system. Individual consumers will be connected to the system by means of service cables. Usually discrete transformers will supply a given area and will be separated from adjacent areas by means of removable links from within the network boxes. Appendix 1

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Related principles THE SERIES CIRCUIT If resistors are connected end on end as shown below, they are connected in SERIES.

R1 V1 I

R2 V2

R3 V3


U Where the equivalent resistance of the circuit is given by, Re = R1 + R2 + R3 + ...... Rn A potential difference will appear across each of the circuit resistors, the sum of which will be equal to the applied voltage. U = V1 + V2 + V3 + ...... Vn Current flow in a series circuit will be the same in all parts of the circuit and will be given by, I = U/Re Loads are not usually connected in series, but the component parts of those loads may be and will consequently obey the principles outlined above. Series circuits are met in practice when a single load is connected to a circuit. The resistance of the connecting cables are in series with that load producing a voltage drop. For example if a load of 30A is supplied by means of a two core cable, each core having a resistance of 0.09 the voltage drop will be equal to, Vd = I x R therefore Vd = 30 x 2 x 0.09 = 5.4 Volts If the applied voltage were 230V the load voltage would be,

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230 - 5.4 = 224.6V

THE PARALLEL CIRCUIT If loads are connected to a common source of voltage, they are said to be connected in PARALLEL. The parallel mode is the normal means of connecting equipment to the supply. R1


R2 It


CURRENT: the current flow in each branch of the circuit is independent of all others and will be given by the formula, I = U/R Total current is the sum of the individual branch currents. It = I1 + I2 + ........ In VOLTAGE: the voltage appearing across each of the circuit resistors will be identical and will be equal to the applied voltage. RESISTANCE: the resistance of the whole circuit will always be less than that of any of the branch resistances and is given by the formula,

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Re = U/It Insulation resistance leakage paths act as parallel connected resistors. For example if four circuits having insulation resistances to earth of 4M, 5 M, 12 M. and 20 M the resultant , installation insulation resistance will be - using the above relationship - 1.58 M Equivalent resistance can also be calculated by adding reciprocals and inverting the total. For example if three circuits have insulation resistances of 12, 32 and 46 Megohms resistance respectively, the equivalent resistance is given by, 1/Re = 1/12 + 1/32 = 1/46. Changing each of the vulgar fractions into decimal fractions, 1/Re = 0.0833 + 0.031 + 0.021 = 0.1353, therefore Re = 1/0.1353 = 7.39M IMPEDANCE: the opposition to current flow in an alternating current circuit is called impedance and will result from the combined effects of reactance and resistance. Circuit reactance will usually be caused by the fluctuating magnetic effects produced by alternating current. The impedance of cables larger than 35mm .2 will exceed conductor resistance. When using BS 7671 to calculate voltage drop, cable impedance and not resistance should be used.


Any circuit containing a coil - particularly if iron cored - will have significant reactance. One effect of reactance is to cause the circuit current to lag behind the circuit voltage. The higher the reactance of a circuit, the greater will be the angle of lag.

Current flow in an a.c. circuit is given by the formula, I = U/Z where Z is the circuit impedance, measured in ohms.

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The diagram on the preceding page is called a Phasor diagram which indicates how elements of opposition in an ac circuit must be added. R Vr Z Fig.81 Vz

U R + Z1 Fig.82 Zt I=U/Zt

For example, the circuit above has resistance in series with a component that has both resistance and reactance (impedance) Z. Current flow in this circuit is determined by the circuit voltage and the circuit resultant impedance Zt. Circuit impedance can be "calculated" by drawing to scale a Phasor diagram and noting the value of Zt - shown as a red line. Please note that the resultant impedance is less than the arithmetic sum of the component parts. To do this in reality however is rather difficult as the angles of lag and will not be known. But for the practical electrician all of this is of literally academic interest. What must be realised is that when an ohmmeter is connected to a circuit resistance is measured - not impedance.

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ENERGY: is liberated when current flows, usually in the form of heat. The unit of energy is the JOULE, which is a small quantity of energy - it requires about 240 000 J to boil an egg.. The commercial unit of energy is the KILOWATT HOUR, being equal to the energy liberated when 1 kW of power is employed for one hour. 1 kWh = 3 600 000 Joules POWER: is a measurement of the energy, in Joules, liberated per second. For example a 1 kW appliance releases 1 000 J of energy each second. POWER FACTOR: of a circuit expresses the degree of current displacement from the applied voltage caused by the circuit reactance. It can be thought of as that fraction of current that will produce power in the circuit. A power factor will vary from 1 to 0. The LOWER the power factor the greater the degree of displacement, Current will usually lag the voltage. The practical effects of a low power factor are; (i) The requirement for a larger current to produce a given Power than would otherwise be necessary. (ii) A greater difficulty in arc breaking under short circuit conditions. If a battery-powered ohmmeter is connected to a circuit, RESISTANCE will be measured. If the testing voltage is alternating, IMPEDANCE will be measured.

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Glossary of terms
ACB (Air insulated circuit breaker) Balanced load Breaking capacity BS 3036 BS 3871 BS 7671 BS 88 BS EN 60947-3 BS EN 60947-2 BS EN 60898 Capacitance Circuit breaker Consumer unit Crest factor Current rating cable Current transformer Danger Dielectric strength Direct contact Disconnector Distribution board Distribution circuit Diversity Diversity DOL starter Duty holder Earth Earth continuity Earth leakage current Earth-loop impedance EAW regulations 1989 Equipment Equipotential bonding Exposed conductive parts External influence A large capacity circuit breaker usually used as the principle means of control. Occurs when the demand made on each phase of the supply is identical The magnitude of short circuit current that can safely be interrupted by a fuse or circuit breaker. A manufacturing standard for rewirable fuses. Manufacturing standard miniature circuit breakers. A code of practice that all electrical installations are required to meet. A manufacturing standard for high breaking capacity fuses. A manufacturing standard for disconnectors. A manufacturing standard for moulded case circuit breakers. A manufacturing standard for miniature circuit breakers. An effect resulting from two insulated conductors in close proximity. Allows current to flow to earth. The current term used to describe a miniature circuit breaker A single phase distribution board containing an integral isolating switch Peak/rms for a normal circuit will equal 1.421. Harmonic distortion will tend to increase this figure. The maximum load current that a cable can continuously carry. A transformer designed to sample current at a reduced value usually for measuring purposes A term used in the Electricity at Work Regulations to indicate the possibility of injury The ability of an insulating material to contain an impressed voltage, measured in volts/mm. An electric shock resulting from contact with exposed live parts A device for isolating whole, or part, of an electrical installation An assembly containing a number of fuses or miniature circuit breakers. A circuit that supplies a distribution board A term used to indicate that percentage of the installed load which is connected to the supply at any one time Diversity of use means that the maximum demand is always lower than the installed load, due to individual preferences. A device for starting an electric motor. All employees engaged in any manner whatsoever with an electrical installation are designated as have a duty to uphold the EAW regulations 1989 A connection to the general mass of earth. A protective conductor that is continuous throughout its length. Current flow directly to earth, caused by low insulation resistance or the natural capacitance of the wiring system. The opposition to the flow of current to earth in the event of insulation breakdown. Measured in Ohms - symbol Z Statutory regulations applying to all electrical systems in all work places An accessory, current or non current using, attached to the installation A method of preventing electric shock in the event of an earth fault by connecting all exposed extraneous and exposed metalwork together by means of protective conductors. Metalwork that encloses electrical conductors Any factor that will affect the design or performance of an electrical

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Extra low voltage Extraneous conductive parts Fault current FCU Final circuit GN 3 Harmonics In Indirect contact Insulation Insulation resistance IP Isolator kVA kW Line current Live conductors Low voltage Maximum demand MCACB MCB MCCB MI - MIC Motor starter Neutral Overcurrent protection Panel board Phase Phase current Phase-earth loop path POWE Power factor

system 0 to 50 V ac Any conductive surface that is connected to earth, but not part of the electrical system That current flowing under short circuit conditions Fused connection unit. A device for supplying fixed loads of up to 13A. A circuit that supplies current using equipment directly Guidance notes for inspection and testing An introduction into the supply waveform of higher frequencies, caused by certain loads A symbol used to indicate the smallest current that will trip an RCD An electric shock resulting from contact with earthed metalwork while under fault conditions A material that will not conduct electric current The resistance of insulation between two conductors - measured in megohms. Ingress protection BS-EN 60529 standard for enclosures. Codes indicate the level of protection against solid bodies and moisture, the higher the number the greater the degree of protection. A device that will disconnect a circuit from the supply. The apparent power demand - larger than the actual power demand due to current being displaced from the supply voltage. The unit - KiloVoltAmps The power demand of an installation measured in Kilowatts That current that flows along connecting cables Any conductor that carries load current Above 50V but not exceeding 1 000V ac The maximum power or current demand of an installation averaged over 30 min. Moulded case air circuit breaker - for controlling larger loads than that controlled by a mccb. Miniature circuit breaker. A device providing the same function as a fuse. Moulded case circuit breaker for controlling larger loads than that controlled by an mcb. Mineral insulated cable Devices that will enable push button staring of a motor and prevent automatic start up. A mains supply conductor that is connected by the supplier to earth. Any device that will limit circuit current under fault or overload conditions A distribution board with installed moulded case circuit breakers A mains supply conductor that is energised to 230V with respect to earth That current that flows through connected equipment for all equipment other than motors, the same as line current. The circuit that is created by a short circuit between a phase conductor and earth Provision of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 A mathematical expression that indicates the degree of displacement of current with respect to supply voltage. Power factors will vary from 0 to 1. A lagging power factor will cause a larger current than necessary to flow in an installation. A process that will bring the current into line with the supply voltage, and hence reduce maximum demand The maximum short circuit current that will flow under the worse possible fault conditions. A conductor that connects exposed metalwork to the general mass of earth. The current term used to describe earth leakage current. A composite cable consisting of either two or three live cores accompanied by a protective conductor.

Power factor correction Prospective fault current Protective conductor Protective conductor current Pvc/pvc

Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher

Pvc/swa PVC/XLPE R1 + R2 RCD Ring circuit Root-mean-square SELV Service Short circuit Three phase TN system TN-C-S TN-S TP&N Transformer Trunking TT system VIR Wiring system Zs - Ze

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An abbreviation for armoured cable insulated with pvc A high temperature high current armoured cable The resistance of the internal wiring impeding earth fault current. Residual current device. A circuit breaker that will disconnect a circuit from the supply when an earth fault exists or when an electric shock is received A circuit of 13A sockets where the live conductors for a ring, returning to the fuse or mcb RMS values represent the true power producing factor in an ac circuit = 70.1% of the peak value Separated extra low voltage a system not exceed 50V. Other qualifications apply An incoming supply of electrical power - provided by the area electricity company A circuit formed by insulation breakdown, causing live conductors of differing potential to directly contact, resulting in a large current flow. A supply system utilising three energised conductors universally applied to all large installations. An electrical system that connects to earth by means of a connection to the incoming service cable A supply system that uses the neutral as a protective conductor on the mains A supply system that provides a protective conductor thought the sheath of the distribution cable Three phase and neutral a form of supply given to large consumers. 400V are available. A device for changing ac voltages An enclosure for single core cables An electrical system that connects to earth by means of an earth electrode installed on the consumers premises. A vulcanised rubber cable liable to perish. This cable will be at least fifty years old. Consists of installed cable, control equipment, overcurrent protection and fitted accessories. Symbols used to indicate opposition to earth fault current measured in ohms

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Appendix 2

Earthing and bonding terms

Exposed conductive parts (equipment enclosures)

Circuit protective conductors Supplementary equipotential bond

Distribution board

Extraneous conductive parts, gas and water pipes etc.

Main earthing terminal

Main equipotential bond

Earthing system (TN-C-S) Earthing conductor

Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher Appendix 3 Instrument needs

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Before embarking on a career of electrical installation testing an assessment of instrument requirements needs to be made. It also goes without saying that the user of an instrument needs to be able to correctly read the display whether it be digital or analogue - and to correctly interpret results. Overleaf are diagrams that illustrate the way digital instrument display data. Their display will be expressed in terms of whole and half digit. A half digit can only be a 1 situated on the left hand side of the data display. For installation testing purposes a 3.5 digit display will be required. The maximum reading possible with a 3.5 digit display will be 1 999 or 199.9 or 19.99 etc. The digital instruments shown below have a 3.5 digit display - the first digit can only be one if four digits are to be displayed. Any reading not commencing with 1 will display only three digits. All instruments used in electrical installation testing for measuring resistance or impedance shall have a resolution of 0.01 which means that a clear , distinction may be made between 0.01 and 0.02 or any other two values separated by 0.01 .
Reading = 2.234 Display = 2.34 Reading = 1.234 Display = 1.234

digital display

digital display

analogue display




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2000 200 20 loop test 2-60A 20-600A 0.2-20kA PSC test

TEST press and release



The instrument above will conduct both P-E tests and measure prospective short circuit current. Don't forget, you will need to double the reading when measuring PSCC if the installation is TP&N. Before pressing the test button always check that the p-n and p-e neons are on and the n-p neon is off. The illumination of the n-p neon indicates a reversed polarity A typical RCD tester. More sophisticated models enable dc tests. Fig.86

TRIP TIME ms trip rated mA 1/2 In no trip 30 10 5 100



fast trip 150 mA 300 500 TEST


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battery check live


1 000V









1.34 A
on off

Clamp type ammeter

Any insulation resistance tester purchased should be capable of producing 1 mA for insulation resistance tests and 200 mA for continuity tests. The clamp ammeter shown will record values of current as low as 0.01 A 10mA. This instrument can also incorporate facilities for measuring voltage and resistance. For general use the jaws of the instrument should be as large as possible and the resolution should be 0.01A

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off V 20mA 10A





unfused 500V max fused

Fig. 83 Fig. 90

1/1/96 230v MAINS


function buttons

110v serial interface


The instrument shown on the left is a portable appliance tester, capable of testing a range of 230V and 110V portable appliances; both class 1 and class 2. Data obtained from tests may be stored in the instruments memory and at a later date down loaded into a computer

for storage and presentation.

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The accuracy of digital instruments will be expressed in terms of +/- a percentage of the reading, +/- a given number of digits. Typically the specification for a cheap instrument will be +/- (1.5% rdg + 5 digits). This means that for a reading of 6.36, the true value will be within the range 6.36 x 0.985 + 5 digits to 6.36 x 1.015 + 5 digits. Therefore the range of display possibilities will be, 6.26 + 5 digits = 6. 31 to 6.45 + 5 digits = 6.50, a difference of 0.19 or 2.9% of the instrument display. Additionally the accuracy of a reading is not constant over a range. For example if the display were to be 0.26, the true value will lie within a variation of +/- (0.26 x 0.015 + 0.05) = +/- 0.0539 therefore the true reading will lie within the range, R = 0.3139 (0.31) to R = 0.2061 (0.2)5 a variation of 0.11 or 42% The greater the value of the display digits- relative to maximum display - the greater the accuracy of the reading! The accuracy of analogue instruments is usually expressed in terms of a percentage of scale length. For example if the accuracy of an instrument is stated to be +/- 3%, on a 0-2 scale the true reading can vary by +/- 0.06 For example if a continuity test is to be conducted and a reading of 1.2 obtained, the true reading could lie within the range 1.2 - 0.06 to 1.2 + 0.06 or, 1.14 to 1.26. A variation of 0.12 or 10% of the true value. For the same instrument and range, if the reading were to be 0.4 the true value could lie between 0.4 - 0.06 to 0.4 + 0. 06 or 0.34 to 0.46. A variation of 0.12 or 30% of the true value. To maximise accuracy when measuring low values, always select the smallest range! The above advice is particularly important when measuring insulation resistance, which is usually measured on a scale of 0 - 100 Mor more. If a true measurement of 10 Mwere to be taken, its indicated value could vary +/- by 3M, from 7 Mto 13 M assuming an accuracy of 3% of scale length. It should be emphasised that the above comment does not mean that your instruments will be giving inaccurate readings, but indicates the manufacturers will only guarantee accuracy within the stated limits.

Digital instruments will not usually display more than two places of decimal

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If the true reading is located at b, it could be indicated at either a or c


Reading - 1 accuracy poor

Reading - 1 accuracy good


Interpolation If the pointer on an analogue scale were to be positioned between two marked points on the scale, the reading will have to be estimated based on the percentage deflection. For example shown above is a scale having divisions equal to 0.2. The pointer lies mid way between 0.6 and 0.8; therefore the reading will be 0.7. This process of estimating pointer position is called interpolation.

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Answer all of the following questions on the sheet provided. 1. The required instrument tests for an initial test are, a b c d e f g h protective conductor continuity phase-earth loop impedance ring circuit continuity polarity earth electrode resistance insulation resistance prospective fault current RCD effectiveness

The order in which these tests are to be conducted is, (a) a-c-d-e-f-g-b-h (b) c-a-d-e-h-g-f-c (c) a-c-f-d-e-g-b-h (d) c-a-h-e-d-f-b-g

****** 2. When conducting a test of protective conductor continuity the resistance measure is symbolised as, (a) Ra + Rb (b) Zs (c) R1 + R2 ****** 3. If a protective conductor continuity test were to be conducted where the insulating material is PVC and enclosed, if referenced to tables 41B or 41D, the recorded resistance would have to be corrected for short circuit temperature by, (a) multiplying by 1.2 (c) dividing by 1.38 (b) dividing by 0.38 (d) multiplying by 1.38 ****** (d) Ze

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4.What is represented by the symbol Ze ? (a) p-e loop impedance (c) protective conductor continuity (b) external p-e loop impedance (d) protective conductor resistance ****** 5. On conducting test 1 on a ring circuit 0.8 ohms are measured. What will be the resistance recorded for test 2 if the circuit is correctly wired ? Assume test 1 was conducted on individual loops of the ring. (a) 0.4 ohms (c) 0.08 ohms (b) 0.2 ohms (d) 1.6 ohms ****** 6. Insulation resistance measured individually on four circuits was, 1.0 M- 10 M- 100 Mand 200 M Which of the following statements is . true ? (a) the insulation meets the requirements of BS 7671 (c) the overall insulation resistance is greater than 1 M (b) the overall insulation resistance is less than 1 M (d) the insulation resistance overall is 311 M

****** (7) What is the minimum required test voltage for insulation resistance for a 400/230V installation ? (a) 500 V dc (c) 400 V dc (b) 500 V ac (d) 230 V dc ****** (8) What are the requirements of BS 7671 regarding insulation resistance ? (a) minimum overall insulation resistance is to be no less than 2M (c) all circuit are to be tested individually and in each case to be not less than 2M (b) 0.5Mminimum insulation resistance overall, 2Mfor individual circuits (d) no individual circuit to be less than 1M

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(9) Which of the following statements is untrue regarding correct polarity? (a) a p-n reversal will result in earth fault current bypassing the circuit fuse (c) a live polarity test could not make a distinction between n and e (b) a test of polarity can only be properly conducted with certainty when the installation is dead (d) a p-e reversal will always cause a short circuit

****** (10) The resistance of an earth electrode is found to be 300 Controlling the . installation is a 300 mA RCD. Will the electrode resistance enable the RCD to function correctly? Which of the following statements is correct? (a) Yes, the maximum permitted electrode resistance is 166 (c) No, the resistance is excessive, under earth fault conditions only 240 mA would flow. (b) Yes, the maximum permitted resistance is 300 (d) No, the maximum permitted resistance is 16.6

****** (11) The purpose of an earth-fault loop impedance test is, (a) to measure the resistance of all installation protective conductors (c) to ensure that in the event of a phase-earth fault, sufficient current will flow to operate the main overcurrent device (b) to determine the earth- fault loop impedance at each point of termination of wiring. (d) to ensure that earth fault current is not of a magnitude that will damage any circuit or protective conductor

****** (12) A ring circuit is protected against overcurrent by a 32A HBC fuse manufactured to BS 88. When the maximum P-E loop impedance is measured for the circuit how will this measurement be assessed ? (a) by reference to table 41A1 (c) by reference to table 41B2 (b) by reference to table 41B1 (d) by reference to table 41D ******* (13) If the above circuit were controlling lighting, which would be the table of reference if overcurrent protection is by mcb ? ****** (14) If the measured P-E loop impedance is found to be excessive, which of the following suggestions is most appropriate ?

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(a) the current rating of the fuse or circuit breaker should be reduced (c) a differing type of mcb should be used

(b) an RCD should be fitted (d)additional main equipotential bonds should be connected ******

(15) When measuring the characteristics of a BS EN 61008 RCD for satisfactory operation, the disconnection time is not to exceed ------------- mS at the rated --------------- operating current. The missing words are? (a) 200, residual (c) 40, residual (b) 30, maximum (d) 30, continuous ****** (16) If an RCD is to provide protection against direct contact, the test parameters are ________ mA and __________ mS. The missing values are (a) 30,30 (c) 40, <150 (b) 150, <40 (d) 30, 40 ****** (17) If an installation is to tested for prospective short circuit current using a single phase tester, the correction factor for a symmetrical three phase fault would be, (a) x 1 (c) x 3 (b) x 2 (d) x 4 ******

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(18) A single-phase prospective short circuit current is measure on a TP&N installation and is found to be 25kA. Overcurrent protection is provided by type B m10 mcb's. The situation could be summarised, (a) Overcurrent protection is satisfactory (c) Overcurrent protection should be provided by BS 1362 fuses (b) Overcurrent protection should be provided by type 3 mcb's (d) Overcurrent protection should be provided by BS 88 fuses ****** (19) You are commissioned to provide an overcurrent survey part of which involves a determination of maximum demand for both the installation as a whole and for individual circuits. Maximum demand vales may be obtained by, (a) Comparing the current rating of the cable with that of the connected fuse (c) By making an assessment of the connected load (b) By taking measurements with a clamp meter, after dark but during the working day (d) By clamping all circuit conductors (P-N-E) together with a clamp ammeter and taking measurements at a time when the maximum load is expected to be connected

****** (20) As part of an earthing survey you have discovered that a current of 10A is flowing in the main equipotential bond. Which of the following comments will be most appropriate on your report? The system is TN-C-S. (a) A characteristic of a TN-C-S system is the discharge to earth of a proportion of neutral current, which is totally harmless. (b) An insulation resistance fault clearly exists - only a very small proportion of load current will flow in a protective conductor attached to TN-C-S system. (c) A fault exists in the earthing (d) The current results from neutral system. If properly installed no current load current and should be eliminated will flow through the equipotential by balancing the single phase loads bonds. A very high fire risk exists and over three phases remedial action must be taken immediately.

Fig. 92 Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher

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On completion of an inspection documentation must be completed. Shown above is the first page of six of a periodic inspection report, published by the NICEIC

Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher List of figures Fig.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

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Approved voltage testers Typical defects to be found on an old installation Line diagrams showing the organisation of an installation Measurement of circuit length Measurement of earth continuity (R2) The phase earth loop path Earthing and supply systems Measurement of earth continuity (R1+ R2) Equipotential bonding principles and resistance measurement Neutral/earth current in a TN-C-S system A main earthing terminal Tests of ring circuit continuity Instrument and preparation for a ring circuit test Identification of cables size and circuit breaker rating for a ring circuit. The parallel circuit nature of insulation resistance Causes of low insulation resistance Conducting an insulation resistance test Preparing a 3 phase installation for an IR test 1 Conducting an IR test 1 Preparing a 3 phase installation for an IR test 2 Conducting an IR test - all live conductors with respect to earth Conducting an IR test - all phase conductors with respect to neutral Conducting an IR test - phase conductors with respect to each other Problems in identifying the location of circuits having low insulation resistance The construction of a polarity tester The application of a polarity tester An earth electrode An earth electrode resistance test 1 An earth electrode resistance test 2 Measurement of earth electrode resistance using a phase-earth loop impedance tester. A Null Balance tester Measurement of soil resistivity A 400A TN-C-S service Measurement of phase-earth loop impedance 1 Measurement of phase-earth loop impedance 2 Determination of R1+R2 by loop[ impedance measurement Measurement of p-e loop impedance at a floor socket Measurement of p-e loop impedance at a luminaire Testing an RCD Single phase RCDs The construction of an RCD HBC and rewirable fuses Circuit breakers Measuring earth leakage current 1 Temperature measurement Construction of a large installation Principles of earth leakage current measurement Measuring earth leakage current 2

8 10 12 15 18 20 21 23 27 28 29 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 38 38 40 41 42 43 45 45 48 48 49 50 51 52 57 58 60 60 61 62 65 65 66 69 70 70 70 71 79 79

Inspection and Testing. A.W.Croucher

49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92

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Switching types Switch disconnectors Cubical switchgear Classification of disconnectors Fused switch disconnectors Permit to work IT equipment Flexible cord adapted for measurement of earth leakage current IT equipment earth leakage considerations IT equipment - protective conductor requirements IT equipment regulation requirements IT equipment regulation requirements A BS 4343 socket IT equipment regulation requirements A symmetrical three phase fault Workshop illumination Principle of overcurrent protection Cross sectional view of a rewirable fuse Cut off characteristics Admitted energy characteristics Circuit breaker characteristics Cut off characteristics for HBC fuses Time-current characteristics for type B circuit breakers High voltage ring main schematic High voltage distribution system Link box Low voltage distribution board Urban low voltage distribution system The series circuit The parallel circuit Coil reactance Z,X and R phasor relationship Resistance and impedance in series Phasor diagram for above Earthing and bonding terms Instrument displays A phase earth loop impedance tester An RCD tester An insulation resistance tester A clamp ammeter A multimeter A PAT tester Reading analogue instruments A PIR report form

81 82 83 84 84 85 88 89 90 90 91 91 91 92 93 97 99 100 101 103 105 106 107 108 109 111 112 113 114 115 115 116 116 121 122 123 123 124 124 125 125 127 133