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Discussion Starter #1
In the downstairs bathroom there is a rather old light socket. I've replaced lights before, but there is an additional two wires that powers a ventilation fan. I'm a little confused because black and red indicates live, and blue neutral, and yet there are two black wires going into one connector and the red and the blue in the other. I can wire it up in the same fashion, but wondered if anyone with more knowledge could tell me why this is?

Thanks in advance.



 

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Whatever is going on, I am pretty sure the use of colors is wrong. Just guessing here...
It looks like the incoming pair are passed on to the fan. Next, I'd wildly guess the black wires are phase and the red/blue are neutral (and someone ran out of blue when the time came to wire up the fan).

If it is a single pin base, the neutral should be connected to the outside of the socket and the phase to the center pin. But, you can easily test this with a volt meter, an electrical tester, or just a simple neon-lamp probe.
Once you know for sure which is high, you should be able to proceed safely.

Also, as you note, bayonet fixtures are pretty old, so this has probably been there for a while. So your plan to upgrade to a screw-in (Edison E27 I think) base is probably a good idea and would give you a much broader selection of bulbs.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the reply Berkinet, it crossed my mind that it's been badly done and the colours do not correspond. The light I want to install is an E27 (screw-in), it comes with just a live and neutral wire and electrical wire screw on caps, so hopefully I can add the additional wires to each one, and perhaps I can use some coloured electrical tape to correct what seems to be an error in colour coding assuming that is the case.
 

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Agree that respect for colour coding of wires is poor in France....it's more important to use up the little lengths of wire left. over. I traced a red wire in a loft once.....it entered a junction box and came out green and yellow, another box and it went to black. I ripped out everything and did it properly.

Make sure you disconnect from the mains....and check that everything works as it should when you change even ONE wire. A multi meter and neon screwdriver are helpful, if not rig up a bulb holder , with ampoule!, on a 2 metre length of twin cable for checking, and double checking.....electrical shocks can be a one time experience.


sparkingly bright this morning.....DejW
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I do take the safety aspect seriously, but it would also pain me to pay an electrician and the call out fees just to install a single new lightshade and socket with existing wiring. Rest assured I am cutting the electric, and testing thoroughly there is no current. I have use an AC detector and have a neon screwdriver but I will invest in a volt meter as I can't find my old one.

I'm assuming if I got the polarity wrong, it would still work, but would effectively be live even when the switch is off? If that's so, I believe it's something I could test for and quickly rectify if I do mess up.

What a nightmare for your colour coding, at least if you ever pass on the house in the future, the new occupants will be less bewildered!
 

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I do take the safety aspect seriously, but it would also pain me to pay an electrician and the call out fees just to install a single new lightshade and socket with existing wiring. Rest assured I am cutting the electric, and testing thoroughly there is no current. I have use an AC detector and have a neon screwdriver but I will invest in a volt meter as I can't find my old one.

I'm assuming if I got the polarity wrong, it would still work, but would effectively be live even when the switch is off? If that's so, I believe it's something I could test for and quickly rectify if I do mess up.

What a nightmare for your colour coding, at least if you ever pass on the house in the future, the new occupants will be less bewildered!
Perhaps this forum is not the best place to obtain advice on things that can burn your house down. You might want to look at this: https://www.travauxavenue.com/electricite-alarme-domotique/guide-travaux/petits-travaux-electricite/code-couleur-fils-electrique/
 

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Polarity is not quite as you seem to describe. For AC the polarity (positive/negative) direction changes at regular intervals (50Hz in Europe). You are talking about switching the Phase (hot) and Neutral (effectively ground) wires. So, exchanging the connections at the bulb will not affect the operation of the circuit. What it will do is make the lamp more dangerous since the outside shell (which can be easily touched) will now carry the Phase whenever the light is on. However, if the switch is wired wrong and it is the Neutral lead that is switched, then the Phase, and the shell of the bulb socket will be live all the time.

BTW, you can not determine Phase vs Neutral with a VOM by connecting to the phase and neutral leads. You must measure against a known ground or Neutral. However, the AC tester or neon probe will do the job.
 
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... perhaps I can use some coloured electrical tape to correct what seems to be an error in colour coding assuming that is the case.
Better yet, if you can, just pull a new wire or wires of the proper colors.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your explanation Berkinet, I appreciate getting them the wrong way around makes them more dangerous (risk of electrocution by touching the outside shell). The AC detector I have detects a current in a general area (one of those all purpose ones with stud and metal detector), so I may have to rely on the neon screwdriver.
 

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It's precisely because of things like this that I opted to have my apartment totally re-wired (rather than just addressing the issues in the diagnostic report, despite the significant expense. Fires caused by old wiring are far from rare in France. Of course, if it's a rental, that's not an option.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
When we first bought the house, we had an electrician over for a quote to do that, and he umm'd and ahh'd, left and we never heard back from them! At the moment I've had to buy a new car, and last year it was a new fosse, so expenses are tight. :) Hopefully one day.
 

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Hi if the house is wired in line with French regulations the power supply to the light iftting will be protected on both neutral and live, the main concern will the earth path in the event of a fault, if you use double insulated fittings problem will dissapear. The crossing of the wires although not correct and indicative of poor installation will not effect the fan and light fitting from working, in UK yes ans the live should be switched and protected on the live side only in the event of a fault.. hope this helps
 

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Very funny!!!! IF DONE TO FR REGS....yes I agree, but there's a lot of badly done work around...bricoler de dimanche it's called.

....oh,and welcome to our forum!

DejW



Hi if the house is wired in line with French regulations the power supply to the light iftting will be protected on both neutral and live, the main concern will the earth path in the event of a fault, if you use double insulated fittings problem will dissapear. The crossing of the wires although not correct and indicative of poor installation will not effect the fan and light fitting from working, in UK yes ans the live should be switched and protected on the live side only in the event of a fault.. hope this helps
 

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Very funny!!!! IF DONE TO FR REGS....yes I agree, but there's a lot of badly done work around...bricoler de dimanche it's called.

....oh,and welcome to our forum!

DejW
Not to mention that there were no regs pre 1970 (see Leforgeron's link above). Oh and not to mention all those British bricoleurs ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Tansy12. I opted to purchase a contactless tester in place of a neon screwdriver. When it arrives, hopefully it will let me determine the live from neutral, and I'll no doubt wire it up the same way. I suspect the electricity does not conform to regulations.
 

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...When it arrives...
What! You like in Paris and are not shopping for such kit in the basement of the BHV? If you have not yet been there, is is a MUST SEE for even the most timid bricoleur.

I suspect the electricity does not conform to regulations.
Correct. Electricity conforms to the laws of physics :eek:
 

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Thanks Tansy12. I opted to purchase a contactless tester in place of a neon screwdriver. When it arrives, hopefully it will let me determine the live from neutral, and I'll no doubt wire it up the same way. I suspect the electricity does not conform to regulations.
If you purchased the property you have the diagnostic report and know that the electrical system does not conform to current regulations. In any case, there were almost certainly no regulations when the wiring was installed so you can assume, rather than suspect, that it doesn't conform. The diagnostic reports are required for a reason and if you proceeded with the purchase regardless you should have budgeted accordingly. All I'm saying is that you really should now be putting money aside to fix it. If you have a fire you should expect that your insurer will not cover you for the damage.
 
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