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  #11  
Old 2017-10-31 , 09:39
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Thanks guys.

Keith, no it's definitely 2 phase - an old house. No burning smell, nothing else wrong AFAICT, all fine today.

I'm experienced and careful enough to check for loose cabling if need be later, but I think the clue to it being an external problem is the dead phone lines which are independently supplied with power.
Will check with the neighbours when they get home, but not going to then be around to reply further.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Horn View Post
The normal household will have a single phase connection and should not be effected by this.
I think 3 phase in bigger houses has been very normal for a long time now guys? I'm certainly aware of many who have it.
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  #12  
Old 2017-10-31 , 09:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Horn View Post
The normal household will have a single phase connection and should not be effected by this.
What constitutes normal Jan?

We had a big modern house in Buccleuch that only had single phase; it was a pain as the 60A breaker at the meter box occasionally tripped in winter, with electric heaters and the geyser, plus oven and hob all running. So typically on a Saturday night with dinner guests expected.

We now have a modest-sized apartment which was built in 2003; it has 3-phase, which surprised me.

Smaller properties tend to have a single phase supply, though frankly, it depends on the builder. It costs more to install 3-phase so perhaps that's a consideration.

Conclusion, there is No hard and fast rule.

Cheers, K
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  #13  
Old 2017-10-31 , 09:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimist View Post
Thanks guys.

Keith, no it's definitely 2 phase - an old house. No burning smell, nothing else wrong AFAICT, all fine today.
Never seen 2-phase anywhere, Brian; so cannot advise further. Would be interested to see a detailed pic of the board.

Cheers, K.
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  #14  
Old 2017-10-31 , 10:02
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I believe the 2nd phase was added years later. Only the one phase is controlled via the smaller kitchen switchbox (where the kettle was).

I've worked on the main board in the garage many years ago, all was very neat and tight inside.
The modern metering device was only put in a few months ago, but I kept an eye on their work throughout.

I'll leave it there, thanks for any further contributions. Pity it would seem this can't be protected against


Garage electric board.jpg

Kitchen electric board.jpg
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  #15  
Old 2017-10-31 , 10:36
Geoff D Geoff D is offline
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Sorry to hear about your problem. I think that what happened is when that new meter was installed, the guys made a mistake with the way in which they routed the neutral wire.

This led to the "floating neutral" issue referred to by Jan.

I recently helped someone on a farm with 2-phases power feed from a common Single Wire, earth return main power feed from Eskom.

There the problem was that when the second feed was installed TWO separate cables were pulled in from the transformer each with its own Neutral going into a common DB board and then the two Neutrals were NOT interconnected, and the loads were not balanced. The feed went in to a 3-phase main breaker at the pole. If one feed overloaded, the breaker tripped knocking out all power.

Done by an Eskom certified electrician!

The power kept on tripping the one phase, at the pole. which meant Eskom had to be called out to restore power.

The solution was to split the home completely in to two separate DB boards and to balance the load between the two feeds, making sure that both feeds did not exceed the main CB at the pole on either.

Yes it was a mess! The certified electrician was so way out of his depth it was not funny.

I suggest you have no way out but to get someone to come and check everything for you. This was just a kettle. next time it could be a major fire.
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Last edited by Geoff D; 2017-10-31 at 10:41. .
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  #16  
Old 2017-10-31 , 10:45
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Thanks Geoff. I'm certainly going to have this properly checked.

But what do you guys make of the phone lines factor? Not then possible that this was someone trying to cut or work on mains supply cables somewhere?

EDIT: The phone lines are definitely powered on separate feeds - we don't have fibre optic, and when either or both phases have failed in the past it hasn't affected the phone lines.

There's also the past worry (I think discussed in the lounge) that repairs after stolen cables one time led to them being suspected of switching around the live and neutral feeds on one phase.

Last edited by Optimist; 2017-10-31 at 10:56. .
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  #17  
Old 2017-10-31 , 14:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimist View Post
I believe the 2nd phase was added years later..... The modern metering device was only put in a few months ago.......
So, I sort of understand now. The house originally had a single phase supply? Perhaps it did not cope with the load (like my Buccleuch House - mentioned in previous post) ? So a second single phase supply was subsequently added.

Thus it appears you now have 2 phases (of a 3 phase supply) coming in. (White and red from the picture, coming from the two breakers on the feed side of the meter. (The blue phase is not installed)

Though the cables from the meter into the main panel are both red; which I don't understand? There will be 380 Volts measured between these! The colours should follow the colour of the input phase.

That said I agree with both Geoff and Jan, this looks like an issue with the neutral. I don't think it has anything to do with attempted cable theft.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimist View Post
........But what do you guys make of the phone lines factor? ...... The phone lines are definitely powered on separate feeds........when either or both phases have failed in the past it hasn't affected the phone lines........
OK I'm assuming when you say phones, you mean standard telephone handsets, not cordless radio phones. Standard phones are powered at the exchange and will work anywhere, with no local power required.

If your phones have stopped working, it's something to do with the surge that took place when the failure occurred and the kettle melted. Either the phones or the phone wiring have been damaged.

Are you sure that it was not a flash-over in the kettle itself (element failure) that caused this whole debacle? - my money is there, coupled with an issue with the neutral and/or earth of the house wiring.

Can't add any more comments, Brian; except to get the integrity checked out. Hope this helps further

Cheers, K.
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Last edited by Sandtonman; 2017-10-31 at 14:50. .
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  #18  
Old 2017-10-31 , 15:00
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The thing is it need not necessary be a problem at the house DB Board someone could have been fiddling around with the wiring at the street distribution side. But to be on the safe side I would follow Keith's advice and have the house wiring checked out.
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  #19  
Old 2017-10-31 , 15:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Horn View Post
The thing is it need not necessary be a problem at the house DB Board someone could have been fiddling around with the wiring at the street distribution side........
Agreed Jan, but I'm strongly suspecting (as we discuss this further) that a random kettle failure has exploited a latent issue with house wiring. We can't really tell without verifying the integrity of the mains. Cheers K.

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Last edited by Sandtonman; 2017-10-31 at 15:07. .
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  #20  
Old 2017-10-31 , 16:23
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Unfortunate timing guys, I'm now away and won't check back in anytime soon.
Thanks so much for the efforts :-)

Agreed, the output wiring's colouring is a sad excuse, but was actually already like that on the older meters when we moved in.

The kettle was only a few months old.

We believe the problem started on the other phase, lights flickering and then the outage on it. Around its start is when the phone-ringing started (cordless on that phase and also normal instruments), and it continued after the outage for about a minute.

Telkom lines have equipment on them on route that are powered at site.


Whatever happened, all advice appreciated and being treated seriously, thanks again
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