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DIY jobs that you’ll try or not try?

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takno

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(with just a quick Google to double check which colour wire is which).
It's really very easy. Earth is, um, brown because that's the colour of earth, and the live is right and that must be the yellow and green because that's a lively colour. And that just leaves blue on the left, like the democrats... Hmm do you have a link to that video?

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To all would be forum electricians - This is a joke (hopefully)... :)
 
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eoff

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Of course in old houses it all makes sense: earth is green (or green/yellow), live is red and neutral is black. Only bureaucrats would change such a sensible system.
 

PeterC

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I learned to wire plugs (and change fuses, which unaccountably still seemed to blow in those days) when I was 8 or 9. I don't think I knew it was supposed to be dangerous until a few years later when I saw archive footage of Ken Barlow's first wife dying on Coronation Street from it
I can'[t remember when I last had to change a fuse. I bought some spares when I moved in here 25 years ago and have used 2 each of 3amp and 13 amp.

Another thing gone is fuse wire. My mains "fuse box" is fitted entirely with circuit breakers.
 

takno

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I can'[t remember when I last had to change a fuse. I bought some spares when I moved in here 25 years ago and have used 2 each of 3amp and 13 amp.

Another thing gone is fuse wire. My mains "fuse box" is fitted entirely with circuit breakers.
I think the fact that the fuse box has much-more-sensitive breakers fitted these days is probably why the fuses in the plugs don't go. I've have to go an reset a fuseboard breaker probably once a year, and I'm not aware of my parents ever having had to replace fuse wire
 

eoff

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Tell that to old colour-blind electricians. Oh wait, you can't because they kept getting electrocuted. :|
I wouldn't know what to tell them, judging by threads on IET forums people who work in that field can't agree if the move to harmonise colour schemes made things better or worse. Data cabling seems to be more of a concern.

That was back in the days where pretty much every adult knew how to fit a plug (at least in theory). Moulded plugs are a lot safer, but it does mean that most people now are too terrified to even attempt to fit one and would call an electrician.
I routinely swap cheap looking moulded plugs with MK Safetyplugs.
 
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Gloster

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One of my neighbours, who must be in his sixties, has on a number of occasions helped others by changing fuses or fuse wire in the main box for younger householders. Otherwise, some have called in electricians.

I have heard someone asking in a shop how you put a battery torch on charge.
 

dgl

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I think I know how to properly wire a plug, well I do portable appliance testing at work so I would hope I know how to do it ;)
I naturally have seen some horror stories over the years and but will correct mis-wired plugs (noting that it has been done) rather than failing them.

As for fuses/fusewire they do have a higher tolerance and will trip at a higher current for a given rating when compared to a modern breaker and as such you are not supposed to use 4mm² cable on 32A radials if it is fuse protected yet with a breaker it is acceptable. Noting that you should never run a fuse/breaker near it's rating for long periods as the heat build up can cause them to fail.
 
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swt_passenger

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I wouldn't know what to tell them, judging by threads on IET forums people who work in that field can't agree if the move to harmonise colour schemes made things better or worse. Data cabling seems to be more of a concern.


I routinely swap cheap looking moulded plugs with MK Safetyplugs.
I always thought that the harmonised colours chosen might have worked better as:
green/yellow = live = most dangerous gets the stripes
light blue = neutral = a fairly neutral colour
brown = earth = most people’s idea of the colour of earth...

Warning - please don’t use that hypothetical suggestion to wire your plugs...
 

dgl

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I suppose as most places had used green for earth changing completely what it's use was would lead to many devices with the earth wired to the live connections, not ideal, whereas the new colours are sort of similar enough that it should be easy enough to work out which wire goes where when if you haven't experience that wire colouring before. I do believe that the colour change for 3 phase supplies could result in confusion between the two standards and as such much care should be taken.
 

Cowley

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Gas, Electric or plumbing beyond most basic tasks are left to professionals. Demolitions I am your man ;)

I damaged the tendons in my arm doing demolition work before Christmas. I might have to get you in...
 

najaB

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I always thought that the harmonised colours chosen might have worked better as:
green/yellow = live = most dangerous gets the stripes
light blue = neutral = a fairly neutral colour
brown = earth = most people’s idea of the colour of earth
I was taught that brown/blue was chosen because that combination was best based on what red-green colour blind people already saw with red/black wires.

So where they were seeing dark and darker grey before, with the harmonised scheme they will see a clear difference.
 

swt_passenger

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I suppose as most places had used green for earth changing completely what it's use was would lead to many devices with the earth wired to the live connections, not ideal, whereas the new colours are sort of similar enough that it should be easy enough to work out which wire goes where when if you haven't experience that wire colouring before. I do believe that the colour change for 3 phase supplies could result in confusion between the two standards and as such much care should be taken.
I’m sure that’s why they did it that way for portable appliance leads, and a lot of stuff and plugs would have had existing earth terminals colour coded green As ever you have to cover the transition. Indeed the standard wording on instructions for recently bought appliances still reads as though you might want to connect a red/black/green coded plug...

Personally I thought it was a bit weird that they waited so long to introduce the same “new” colours for fixed wiring around the house. Fortunately my last electrical alterations in the kitchen still didn’t finish off my remaining “old” 2.5mm T&E...
 
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ABB125

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I'm happy to do most things DIY (my dad's influence there!), although I've never done any plumbing (yet). Large scale electrical work I'd probably get electricians in for the actual wiring up, but I'd be happy to physically install everything myself (in no small part because I then don't have to pay the electrician to do it for me!); smaller electrical work I'll do myself.
"Building"-type DIY I'm happy to do, although extra manpersonpower may be needed.

Would it surprise anyone if I said one of my main ambitions for the future is to self-build a house? :D
 

dgl

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I will attempt some electrical work if I can guarantee I can do it safely, even more so if it makes the installation safer.
To that point I installed the fused spur and associated wiring for my Grans stairlift (which I also fitted), updated the wiring in her garage ans shed, installed some outside lights, replaced a coupe of sockets (one had had a phone changer go bang in it), changed a light fitting and put in a buried SWA feed for her summerhouse.
 

ABB125

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I will attempt some electrical work if I can guarantee I can do it safely, even more so if it makes the installation safer.
To that point I installed the fused spur and associated wiring for my Grans stairlift (which I also fitted), updated the wiring in her garage ans shed, installed some outside lights, replaced a coupe of sockets (one had had a phone changer go bang in it), changed a light fitting and put in a buried SWA feed for her summerhouse.
Similarly I recently upgraded some wiring for my grandparents, including installing a junction box in place of some crimp connectors...
 

Darandio

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DIY was something I was scared stiff of doing for years, fuse or plug replacement was as far as I dared to go.

Then the kids got older and we had no prospect of being able to move house at the time and needed an extra bedroom. Although the house is quite compact the main bedroom actually stretched from one side of the house to the other so there was a window at each end, both ends also had a light and a radiator.

So about five years ago I put in an order to Wickes for studwork, plasterboard and two bi-fold pine doors. Went to Argos for a jigsaw and workbench and a few days later we had an extra bedroom of which i'm proud to say the doors haven't fallen off and the walls are still standing!
 

Puppetfinger

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Done an awful lot of DIY, including electric and plumbing. My general rule is never play with the main electric supply into the house and the RCB, and for gas never play with the gas pipes into the house or the gas elements of the boiler. The rest of it with common sense, research, correct tools and some confidence is fair game to me, but without any of the above its a no go for me.
 

ABB125

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Done an awful lot of DIY, including electric and plumbing. My general rule is never play with the main electric supply into the house and the RCB, and for gas never play with the gas pipes into the house or the gas elements of the boiler. The rest of it with common sense, research, correct tools and some confidence is fair game to me, but without any of the above its a no go for me.
Using the correct tool often makes the job so much easier; for example, if you've always done electrical work using a Stanley knife, when you discover the existence of mechanical wire strippers it's like Christmas come early! :D
 

DynamicSpirit

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Gas, Electric or plumbing beyond most basic tasks are left to professionals. Demolitions I am your man ;)

Demolitions? So you mean... find something that's electric and very powerful... wire it up, making sure to get confused by which one is the red/brown/whatever and which is the green, plug it in, and stand well back... :lol:
 

eoff

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I was taught that brown/blue was chosen because that combination was best based on what red-green colour blind people already saw with red/black wires.

So where they were seeing dark and darker grey before, with the harmonised scheme they will see a clear difference.
Were you provided with any evidence to back up what you were taught?

The reason the UK changed was due to harmonisation in Europe, The relevant CENELEC standards HD 3 S2:1976 and HD 308 S1:1976 are quite old but the UK didn't force the change until it was required to update standards by 2006. I suspect that the colour choice was based on which colours were in use in most countries at the time.
More detailed information can be found in the following presentation...


I like DIY, would tackle some electrics, only basic plumbing and am happy with woodwork, assembly and fixing things.
I have more tools than needed for the level of ambition I have.
 
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najaB

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The reason the UK changed was due to harmonisation in Europe
True, and why were those colours used in continental Europe? It's commonly stated that those colours were chosen because of colour blind people.
 

DarloRich

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Demolitions? So you mean... find something that's electric and very powerful... wire it up, making sure to get confused by which one is the red/brown/whatever and which is the green, plug it in, and stand well back... :lol:
a sledge hammer doesn't need much technology to operate ;)
 

Lucan

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Of course in old houses it all makes sense: earth is green (or green/yellow), live is red and neutral is black. Only bureaucrats would change such a sensible system.
It is not that long ago that the colours for fixed wiring changed. The original change from red-black-green to brown-blue-green/yellow for flex was done for the benefit of the amateur colour blind who might wire domestic plugs. It was not considered necessary to change fixed wiring colours because that was generally done by professionals who tended not to become electricians if they were colour blind. Mind you, my father was an electrical technician who was red-green blind, just like I had a gas fitter who said he had no sense of smell.

Personally I thought it was a bit weird that they waited so long to introduce the same “new” colours for fixed wiring around the house.
I understood the difference was deliberate to distinguish cable designed for flex from cable designed to be fixed. They are subject to different standards. But the change to "harmonise" the colours was at about the same time as it became illegal for non-approved people to do certain work on fixed wiring, and that such work had to be formally recorded. So if work is found using the new colours that has not been recorded, someone (the house owner perhaps) can be prosecuted. Wiring with the old colours "gets away with it" as it is assumed to pre-date that law.

I always thought that the harmonised colours chosen might have worked better as:
green/yellow = live = most dangerous gets the stripes
Actually, the earth lead is the one that is most dangerous to get wrong, eg if you are wiring a plug. Think about it.

The reason the UK changed was due to harmonisation in Europe
And the European standard evolved having regard to the colour blindness issue, as was said.
 

Crossover

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I did, a bit back, replace a couple of internal door catches. My parents had been talking for ages about getting someone in to them. They were away one weekend so I decided to source the bits from Screwfix and make the change, with a bit of verbal help from a colleague. I wouldn’t say I’m all that handy, but I was quite chuffed to have managed it
 

PG

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Gas, Electric or plumbing beyond most basic tasks are left to professionals. Demolitions I am your man ;)
If you mix a couple of those together you're quite likely to have a very speedy demolition :lol:

I've always found taking things apart fascinating; it's the putting them back together where it gets err.. interesting :oops:
 

D365

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I always thought that the harmonised colours chosen might have worked better as:
green/yellow = live = most dangerous gets the stripes
light blue = neutral = a fairly neutral colour
brown = earth = most people’s idea of the colour of earth...

Warning - please don’t use that hypothetical suggestion to wire your plugs...
Brown is for the colour of your underwear after you’ve touched the live :D

In all seriousness:

”Brown is hot, blue is not, green and yellow earths the lot”
 

TheEdge

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Gas, Electric or plumbing beyond most basic tasks are left to professionals.

Thats my logic. If the worst that happens if it goes wrong I look stupid and something falls over then I'll give it a shot. If someone is going to get killed or injured or some serious damage can occur then I'm getting a man in...


...I might even get him to do the work.
 
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