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(Power Question) 63a 3ph convert to 'within regs'?

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Requiem View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 April 2021 at 3:36pm
Hi guys,

Sorry its a power question rather than an audio question but hoping I can get the answer here regardless,

Been offered this 63a 3ph distro for a 'good' price but been told it doesn't meet regulations (obviously with those 13a houseplugs on - hence the good price).

Obviously I want it for festival and event work but power isn't my strong suit so my question is, 

Can it be converted to meet regulations for festival use or is it useful only for the bin.

Cheers

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote imageoven Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2021 at 6:36pm
I am in no way qualified to advise, but I know enough to know there are issues with that.

My first concern is that it doesn't look 'factory made', so is it wired correctly, with the correct gauge cable etc? Earth bonded, structurally sound, properly labeled. Are appropriate sized protection devices fitted to each output? Someone needs to confirm all this and that means someone who understands current regs properly getting a look at the insides.

The obvious issue with it, is the lack of RCD protection which should be present on any 'final circuit' .

The 13A sockets are definitely 'final circuits' so the MCBs protecting these could be replaced with RCBOs, you could potentially use the 16A or 32A outputs to feed downstream distros with RCDs fitted, so they don't need to be changed for that regulation (although if you were to use without down stream RCDs you would be in breach).

Regs do also require  all protective devices to be the same brand within one distro so you would need to match the brand already fitted, or do them all.

Changing them all to new RCBOs is probably a good idea if you don't really "know power" and would be necessary if you may want to hang lots of LED (or other high earth leakage kit) off it.

A good next step would be to price up a set of RCBOs and see if it still seems cheap. Swaping them over, inspecting the unit and running tests on it is a few hours work, so factor in a proper sparkies hourly rate too.
Keep pushing on, things are gonna get better.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Requiem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2021 at 6:57pm
Thanks for your input!


So want to look at the insides really to get an idea of the scale of the change needed.


Is there any issue with using those household plug sockets, I had it in my head that those would be an issue on a gig.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote imageoven Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2021 at 8:24pm
Not if properly protected, electrically and mechanically.

They obviously make it an 'indoors' only device but the rest of the construction is non 'waterproof' too.
Keep pushing on, things are gonna get better.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JonB67 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2021 at 10:39pm
It's not worth a lot given that it's effectively obsolete.  As above,  get it looked over by a qualified person to do the design on the upgrade to current regs.

  I suspect if it was economic to do so then it would have already been done though? Depends what youre offering for it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacethebase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 April 2021 at 8:27am
Switch out all the MCB’s for RCBO’s and just check the wiring. 

I’ve seen a lot worse distros out there!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote monkeypuzzle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 April 2021 at 8:33am
And while you’re at it switch them up to a higher rating than “B”, you never know when you’ll need to put an amp with a high inrush current on it or maybe even a non led strobe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote imageoven Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 April 2021 at 11:35am
Worth considering at this point what you actually need from a distro. The way that is built up with 19" panels for the outputs it would be easy to rejig it to your requirements.

Removing all the 13A socket, or changing to just 1x32A output and 2 x 16A outputs per phase, for example, would reduce the number of RCBOs you need to buy.
Keep pushing on, things are gonna get better.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rosssss224 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 April 2021 at 1:28pm
You can also get 13a sockets with built in rcd's that meet the 18th edition
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattStolton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 April 2021 at 12:52pm
By using it, you are "installing" it to latest version of BS7671, i.e. 18th Edition.

Any final circuit has to have RCD protection, as well as over current, so, to deal with cumulative earth leakage, RCBO for every outlet makes real sense. c. £30 each.

Without looking inside, no way of knowing if it is safe. Are their glands allowing cable out of metal distro? Is CSA big enough. Are the neons wired correctly as indicators, or do they come on in fault conditions too? Ferrules are always nice to see...

Careful with C curve. Yes, you probably should, but when you do your PFC, you must have enough "earth" to conduct at least 10x rating of a C curve breaker. So for a 16A C Curve MCB/RCBO, PFC must be greater than 160A to get disconnect in under 0.4s. With a B curve, you need more than x5 rating, i.e. PFC of 80A on a 16A B Curve.

Hit that snag when running a 16A/2.5mm SPN+E supply to a video camera in audience. Length of cable meant it only just was low enough resistance of earth loop to get over 160A PFC. Solution was to use B Curve, or upgrade to 4mm or 6mm due to voltage drop/resistance per M.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sonic the hedge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 April 2021 at 10:44pm
IMO it's worth no more than the cost of the parts that are re-useable.

So basically what you are getting is a rack and some CEE connectors. For someone who knows what they are doing it could be a bargain. RCBOs and wiring are not that expensive but it's the knowledge/labour that will bump up the cost. It needs to be checked, modified as required and tested by someone who is suitably competent.

I would suggest that if you have a good 18th edition sparks available for mates rates it might be worth a shot, but get a price for getting it up to spec before making an offer. Otherwise it's probably going to be more trouble than its worth. 


Edited by Sonic the hedge - 08 April 2021 at 11:16pm
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