What voltage in Florda, USA ?

Bud-- wrote:


Oh sorry. I guess that I tend to be overly cautious in case the filling of the hot dog really does contain dog..
But not sloth.
I have this theory that lumberjacks are much, much smarter than fighter pilots. You see, both were all male preserves and really wanted it to stay that way. Only the pilots never thought of fitting their engines with this little cord with a T handle on that had to be pulled to start the engine.. Ever seen an electric start petrol chainsaw? I rest my case..
Incidently, the model aircraft starter will also start (small) outboards. Just steal the tyre from a kid's toy (he will learn from it and grow up wanting to be a lumberjack) and put it over the starter pinion. Then just push it against the side of the engine flywheel. Works a treat and no embarrassing trying to get back on board after the starter rope you were pulling with both hands - breaks. BTDTGT(wet)TS..
--
Sue






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Bud-- wrote:

I used a dryer motor and spare fan belt on a mower that kept breaking the rope back in the '60s.
I had another that the magneto failed, so I put a four volt telco central office lead acid battery and ignition coil on, rather than spend money on a mower that the rusty deck was falling apart. I used the points to break the current in the primary I would charge the battery before mowing the grass, and it would run it down about half way. It was funny. people would tell me that it couldn't work, while standing next to the mower, with the engine running.
You know what they say about necessity and invention. ;-)
--
Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
prove it.
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     snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) writes:

Most UK shavers nowadays seem to be low voltage with integral rechargable batteries and wide ranging SMPSU for charging and direct running 100V-250V.

Why would you do that in the bathroom? Someone else would probably want to actually use the bath, shower, or toilet.

Toothbrushes are usually rechargable batteries, and sit on a charger plugged into the shaver outlet.

Shaver outlets are 240V. They are usually 120V too, since they contain an isolating transformer and it costs nothing to create a 120V tap.
If safety had anything much to do with mains voltage, the US would be safer than 240V countries, but as significantly more people per capita are killed by US mains wiring than UK mains wiring, it's clear this isn't the case.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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On 31 May 2007 21:39:47 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

My toothbrush is battery operated, and those are inductively charged while in the charging bay with no electrical (conductor wise) connection whatsoever.
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Do you have evidence that more people per capita are killed by US mains wiring? This is a country in which one or two people died in a bedroom fire caused by faulty wiring and within a few years, arc-fault interrupters are required now for all bedroom convenience outlets.
In the US, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has accurate year-by- year statistics on electrocutions with very specific details.
In fact, the most dangerous appliance in America is probably the portable window air conditioner, especially if it plugged into an ungrounded outlet or the ground/earth is somehow circumvented.
Years ago, people were killed by radios falling into bathtubs or hair dryers falling into the basin, but since the required usage of GFCI's, now, the fatalities from similar accidents is not so much. Even the hair dryers sold in the US are required to have GFI's in the cord (sometimes called immersion detectors, since technically, most hair dryers are not grounded).
But again, what happened in the history of the UK that caused the electrical code authorities to ban the use of standard 240V appliances outlets in the toilet?. In the early days were people frying themselves in the WC like there was no tomorrow?
Others here have pointed out that it seems to be a great inconvenience that encourages people to violate the spirit of the law. Would not a RCD work equally as well on a UK 240V bathroom circuit feeding an outlet? If not, how can you defend your claim that 240 is as safe as 120?
Beachcomber
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Beachcomber wrote: <snip>

<snip>
I can't think of any reason to have a standard 240v outlet in a toilet, a loo or a w.c. There may be reasons to have one in a bathroom.
There is possibly some US<>UK differences in English at work:
In the UK
"Going to the loo", means going to the bathroom specifically to use the w.c.
"Going to the bathroom", means going there to do something else, eg checking how much loo paper is left.
The word "toilet" is seldom used in polite society.
--
Sue

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Palindrome wrote:

So, all of your toilet sales people are rude? How appropriate! ;-)
--
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On Fri, 01 Jun 2007 19:01:55 GMT, "Michael A. Terrell"

In France, they use it all the time. Even the upper class people. Although, "le WC" is probably more common, which is strange since "water closet" is an old English language term.
In America, if you ask someone where the toilet is, they might look at you funny and ask if you are ill. Most people ask for the "bathroom", the "washroom".
If you are travelling on the road near a gas (petrol) station, its usuall called the "restroom". In hotels and restuarants and many gas stations, its the "mens room" or the "womens room", sometimes the "ladies room", or sometimes it's simply "guys" or "gents" and "gals".
In schools, it's still "boys" and "girls" No confusion at all, unless you are in San Francisco, where the world traveler sometimes comes across the dreaded and sometimes confusing "unisex" bathroom.
Sometimes you meet an English person who asks for the lavatory.
In continental Europe, having the toilet in it's own little closet is fairly typical. The advantage being that someone can be using the toilet in relative privacy, while someone else is at the sink.
In the US, at least in most homes, everything is in one little (or big) room usually called the bathroom. That is, toilet, sink (washbasin) and bath and/or shower.
This setup does not always offer the greatest in privacy, especially when old girlfriend comes in to take a dump when I'm shaving. Sometimes I wish certain loved ones weren't quite comfortable with that degree of closeness.
Beachcomber
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     snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) writes:

I did a google search for some stats. The difficulty is finding comparable stats, but I gave up when I found just the US residential electrical deaths per capita exceed all electrical deaths per capita in the UK.

ISTR that deaths caused by electrical fires was a very large proportion, possibly those caused by electrocution (can't recall for sure now).

I don't know when this regulation came in, but it's well over 50 years ago, and probably more like 70 or more years ago.

It isn't generally violated at all, IME.

RCD's weren't around when this rule came in. There is a proposal to allow RCD protected outlets in bathrooms in the next edition of the wiring regs.

If 120V was safer, I would expect deaths in the US to be much lower, but this is not the case -- they are higher.
I have avoided speculating on the cause, on which I've seen no detailed research, but since you're drilling down, I'll say what I suspect it is. I think there are two factors
A large proportion of the deaths are due to electrical fires. 120V means you are drawing twice the current for the same load. A poor connection will be dissipating 4 times the power it would on a 240V system, which will lead to much faster deterioration and catastophic failure, in some cases causing a fire. This is a factor which makes 120V systems less safe than 240V systems.
The second point is the quality of electrical accessories. A walk around the electrical accessory section of Home Depot is a real shock to someone from the UK and many other EU countries. It's like going back to the type of electrical accessories we stopped using over 60 years ago. A few years ago, an accessory manufacturer commented how this has come about. There are two reasons. If they make a $1 US outlet, no one will buy it because there's 50c one further along the shelf -- purchasing is done almost entirely on price. In the UK, you'll find a selection of different quality outlets on the shelf with possibly a 10:1 price range between the extremes, and they'll all have sufficient sales to keep the products in the marketplace -- safety really sells across much of the EU and in the UK most people don't go for the cheapest low quality accessories. This also means there's a very healthy continuous research program between manufacturers competing to bring newer safety features to market and gain an edge on their competitors. Secondly, they can't bring innovative improvements onto the US marketplace as they do in EU, as there's simply no interest in taking up such changes to well established products.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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I would argue that this is a difficult statistic to compare on a purely per capita basis. Different cultures have different patterns of electrical usage. I can't claim extensive knowledge of the UK, but I have spent a considerable amount of time in continental Europe.
In Paris for example, there are many, many old buildings with old wiring. I didn't find a lot of portable air conditioners in use, I suspect there are many reasons for this, (expensive units, expensive utilities, hard to fit, non-standard size windows, a wiring infrastructure that does not support large current-consuming appliances, punitive rate penalties for excessive peak use).
In many parts of the US, (inland Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, etc.), air conditioning is considered to almost mandatory, an essential part of modern life during the summer months.
Because of mandatory GFCI's on certain circuits and other code improvements, over the years the death rate by electrocution has been going down, but there are still incidents every year.
In USA homes, these accidents are caused more often caused by amateur electricians and ignorant consumers as opposed to faulty equipment. A few years ago, there was one manufacturer that failed to test their circuit breakers properly and many homes burned to the ground because of it. That was the exception though.
I'm not sure what electrical accessories you found to be substandard at the Home Improvement Centers.

I would claim that there is a logic problem here.
IF the appliance is working properly (no shorts, no fires), if you require a certain wattage level to run, say a vacuum cleaner then, yes, the current on a 120V circuit would be higher than a 240V circuit.
But, as those of you who are electrical engineers know... when there is a fault (of a given low resistance), the current is proportional to the voltage and the power that is consumed will vary with the SQUARE of the increased current (due to the higher 240 voltage). I would guess that this is the reason that the UK codes don't like to put full power 240V outlets in bathrooms.
Thus, (on circuits with no GFI or RCD) a short or near short of a 240 V circuit is going to produce a bigger fireworks display, greater fault current, and potentially a greater chance of starting a fire than the same fault at 120V.
Beachcomber
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Beachcomber wrote:

I think that you are each looking at a different kind of fault being the most significant.
If the fault is a bad connection, the resistance is in series with the supply and the higher current demanded by 110v units will result in much higher heat dissipation at the bad connection. This won't be sensed by normal protection devices and thus a fire can result.
If the fault is to ground, then the resistance is across the supply and the much higher currents to ground will result in much higher heat dissipation. However, this will result in increased current and unequal line/neutral currents. So this will be sensed by protection devices - almost invariably before a fire results.The UK arrangement of fuses in plugs means that this type of fault will be far more likely to clear quickly than a circuit fuse which may have a much higher rating.
Power outlets *are* allowed in UK bathrooms. These are wired outlets, isolated low power outlets with special plugs and standard sockets - where they are far enough away from the wet area. A 7kW, or more, electric shower is common. So, the regulations aren't about not allowing high power electrical equipment in bathrooms - they are about very tightly controlling any portable electric equipment in bathrooms.
--
Sue






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     snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) writes:

Not needed. Old buildings have a giant thermal mass which takes weeks to heat up. They are naturally cool when you go in them. It takes a real weather anomoly to get these heated up.

Different temperature and humidity.

In UK (and much of the EU), most home wiring is DIY except for the initial install. A lot of design effort has gone in to making our accessories safe even in the hands of the inexperienced (which also makes them safer in the hands of professionals).

Socket outlets, switches, lampholders, wirenuts, etc, none of which would have been permitted anywhere near the UK market in my lifetime.

You lost me. You start by talking about low resistance faults (which are a fire hazard) and go on to infer something about our bathroom regs (which relate to electrocution hazard). These are unrelated. If you are talking of series low resistance faults, the current is still limited by the appliance/load.

Our regs actually _require_ that there's a high fault current in the event of a short. It makes the protective device trip off much faster, reducing the total energy let-though, and hence reduces the energy available to start a fire or cause other damage. At typical breaker current ratings used in residential premises, and their speed of operation, the "fireworks display" you refer to is very difficult to generate even deliberately -- usually you get a pop, and you might see a flash if you were looking at the fault site at the right moment. Our breakers have been capable of interrupting fault currents within half a mains cycle for many years now. I'm told that many of the current ones can actually extinguish the arc without waiting for the next zero crossing point anymore, so the fault current clearing time of these can be substantially less than half a mains cycle. That just doesn't give you any "fireworks display".
--
Andrew Gabriel
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Well maybe not conveniently available. But having lived there for a couple of summers when the August heat bakes the city so that the entire concrete infrastructure releases heat long into to the night, I would have paid dearly for an air conditioner, (or even a fan) in my modest 4th floor walkup flat.
Naturally cool was far and few between.

All these items are perfectly safe if used and installed properly.
All are generally UL listed as a part of recognized wiring methods. Few in the US have died from wirenuts (perhaps, however, some from the lack of wirenuts). There is also a convenience factor. (Before wire nuts, a standard electricians tool was a big fat soldering iron, solder, and that thick rubber electrical tape, along with "friction" tape - one type was not enough!).
A modern advanced civilization wants electricity everywhere, installed by capable installers with easy-to-learn skills and inexpensive, but safe equipment universally available.
Occasionally I will take a look on the Internet to see what electrical equipment is available for UK consumers. The number one thing I notice is fewer choices in the range of plugs, sockets, cords, and power strips. Because of the increased spacing required by the 240V equipment, this stuff seems inconveniently big and awkward. In the US, it would be weird to have wall-mounted power outlets with switches on them. Our outlets are always on. Pull chain lampholders, common for the first half of the 20th century, are now very rare.
Electric safety in the bathroom is a universal concern. But I have never, ever heard of a call in the USA to ban full power bathroom electrical convenience outlets ( or use the isolation transformers like they do in the UK). The subject simply never comes up. There is no pressing safety problem in this area that hasn't already been solved with existing techniques.
Why would you think this is? Could Americans be overlooking a path to increased electrical safety that seems to work so well for our friends in the UK?
Paradoxically, electric showers are rare in the USA, but I think that is due to the culture and economic factors between the two countries. Most American homes have a big gas or electrically heated resevoir of hot water in the garage or basement, in contrast to the different facilities available in Europe. Contrary to what some believe, this resevoir (hot water heater) does not waste huge amounts of energy.

Circuit breakers are almost universal in the US & Canada too. Most of the expert testing services would say that they are safer than fuses and have burned down fewer houses over the course of 100 years or so.
We don't have the cord fuses though. Once again, there does not seem to be a pressing need from them. Most, if not all of the multiple outlet strips are required to have small, local circuit breakers which serve the same purpose as you describe.
Finally, I would ask, if you had the choice of being shocked to ground/earth by one of two circuits, which would your prefer:
1. A UK 240V 50Hz lamp circuit, protected by a whole-house RCD set for 30 ma.
2. A North American 120V 60 Hz lamp circuit, protected by a local-circuit GFI set for 5 ma.
All in all, if I had a choice in the matter, I'd still pick #2 and not just because I live in the USA. :)
Beachcomber
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Beachcomber wrote: <snip>

Things may have changed:
One of my favourite kitchen appliances is a 110v electric waffle maker that I picked up in the USA. Unearthed metal case, 2 wire single insulated flex with a coiled wire heater element that could easily come in contact with the case if it failed. One thing I liked was the "power on" indicator - actually just a window through which the glowing element could be seen.
AS I said, things may have changed...
--
Sue


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Sue, it is appliances like that have driven the US reqiuirement for 5ma GFCI protection on all counter receptacles in the kitchen since 1975
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On Sat, 02 Jun 2007 20:31:24 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) wrote:

In 2008 the US (all AHJs that accept the NEC) will be requiring AFCI protection with 30ma or less GFCI protection on all 15 and 20a 120v circuits
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Is that correct? I thought that the arc fault requirment was just for bedroom outlets and while specific rooms (bathroom, garage, outdoors, kitchen appliances, etc. required GFCI's, they would not be required on refrigerator circuits, sump pumps, etc. Have there been changes?
Beachcomber
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On Sun, 03 Jun 2007 06:23:05 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) wrote:

This change has made it through the comment phase and will be in the 2008 code as soon as the TCC signs off on the exact language. BTW refridgerators and sump pumps have never specifically been exempt from GFCI protection. The loopholes that allowed it are quickly closing.
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On Sun, 03 Jun 2007 06:23:05 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.none (Beachcomber) wrote:

Outlets accessible from the Kitchen counter, not the major appliance outlets.
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On Sun, 03 Jun 2007 12:34:27 -0700, JackShephard

In 2008 the code will require all 15 or 20a 120v circuits to be AFCI. That is basically everything in a home but the water heater, stove and central air.
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