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Member postings for Martin 100

Here is a list of all the postings Martin 100 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Safety of phone chargers
23/04/2019 12:38:35
Posted by Emgee on 23/04/2019 10:07:53:
Posted by Martin 100 on 23/04/2019 09:27:45:

Rewireable fuses are long since deprecated. Cartridge fuses or MCB's are the norm worldwide because they are good sound reliable and dependable engineering practice.

Martin, cartridge fuses are wire fuses, enclosed in sand and IMO preferable to mcb's for close protection, just not as convenient if they rupture but can be relied upon to provide consistent results, unlike mcb's after short circuit or fault current overloads.


Yes I agree as that is what I said, and you quoted smiley

In a home consumer unit context rewireable fuses hung on for a long while. Rewireable fuses may at some time been the norm in an industrial engineering context but it must be a very long time ago, some of our systems replaced around a decade ago had elements of the original designs dating from the early 1950's and updated many times since. It was clear from the panels, the drawings and the documentation that cartridge fuses were always used, and in some parts of the modern implementations they still are alongside MCB's that can provide perfectly adequate means of protection.

23/04/2019 09:27:45
Posted by Phil Whitley on 22/04/2019 17:51:12:

In the interests of electrical correctness, ther are one or two things in daves post I must take issue with, because we are all here to learn, everyday is a school day, and safety matters in electrical installations.

The point you make about the plug fuses being there to protect the wiring and not the appliance is partly semantic, and electrically incorrect! The fuse or MCB which protects the ring (or radial) is the coarse protection, the fuse in the plug is the fine or selective protection, and although no fuse will protect against electrocution, it is there to isolate the appliance in the event of a fault, thus stopping the risk of a localised fire at the appliance by isolating it from the ring. Take the instance where a double insulated vacuum develops a fault and begins to draw excessive current. There will be no tripping of the RCD, because the current in live and neutral are the same, and let us assume that the fuse in the Vacuums plug is 13A, with a fusing factor of about 1.2 for a cartridge fuse. When the current rises to 15.6 amps, the plug fuse will rupture, and disconnection will occur. Now let us look at the same situation from the point of view of the ring main, it only sees a current flow of 15.6 amps, but if additional load on the ring takes the total load on the ring to more than its protection (fuse or MCB) then the whole ring will be dissconnected, before the cables in the ring even get warm. there is no situation in an otherwise correctly wired installation where the ring will overload to the point of ignition. Also note in the above example a vac should be fused between 5 and 10 amps! I do know however, and have read in publications which should know better, that "the plug fuse is not there to protect the appliance" and semantically, it is not, it is there to prevent temperature rise in the appliance getting to ignition level, it is there for safety, but it does NOT protect the ring main from overload, that is what the fuse or MCB in the consumer unit does.

You could argue that the ring main is even more suited to todays low current applications, but please note that the immersion heater should NEVER be put on a ring main!

Now to my main point, as I mentioned above, fusing factor! I am now retired from the electrical industry, but I have installed many consumer units and distribution boards that use MCB and RCD protection, all done without going too deeply in to the technical side of MCBs. Indeed I have just completed the installation of the 3 phase and single phase distribution boards in my own workshop.In the older Wylex and similar rewirable fuse consumer units the fuse has a "fusing factor" which is given as a figure used to calculate at what current the fuse will actually rupture and isolate the circuit. For rewirable fuses, it was originally set at 1.5, IE a 10A fuse would blow at 15amps, and we did experiments in the college lab to prove this was the case. Since my original training, that figure has been increased to 1.8, and even 2 in some cases, won't go into it here as I am already long winded but looking at the actuall tripping currents for MCBs, which I had assumed would be much closer to the rated current and thus provide "better" protection I find to my surprise that the following applies.

Type B 3 to 5 times rated current.

Type C 5 to 10 times rated current

Type D 10 to 20 times rated current

Type K 8 to 12 times rated current

Type Z 2 to 3 times rated current

As you can see this means that a rewirable fuse is far safer than an MCB, in that it will isolate a circuit reliably at a lower current, and when you add to this the fact that an MCB DOES NOT FAIL SAFE, you can understand that the new (new new corrected reprint) book of latest regulationd now requires all consumer units to be metal clad and installed in such a manner that an internal fire cannot escape the enclosure. I am really glad to be out of an industry where good engineering has been thrown to the wind, and regulations, which used to be made by senior engineers, are made by wet nosed uni graduates and electrical equipment manufacturers. rant over!

Apologies for the long quote but the whole context needs quoting and preserving.

'electrical correctness' is not a word I would use to describe significant parts of what is said above.

Holding the view that rewireable fuses are 'safer' is staggering, they are by nature always slower in operation, they are prone to abuse, unreliability and early failure

The 3 to 5 times rated current for a type B MCB, and similarly for the other types is for a fault clearance time of 0.1 seconds. At around 2 x their rated current they will trip in around 2 minutes

A BS1362 plug top cartridge fuse rated at 13A requires around 150A to clear a fault in 0.1 seconds

Rewireable fuses are long since deprecated. Cartridge fuses or MCB's are the norm worldwide because they are good sound reliable and dependable engineering practice.

Thread: Another workshop insulation question
08/10/2018 23:27:56

Ian, as mentioned above about third party certification, the electrical installation can be officially self certified by an electrician registered under any one of numerous official 'independent' bodies For instance NICEIC or NAPIT or Elecsa or Stroma (plus others too) The actual cost to the installer is so insignificant (about a fiver) it is totally lost in the labour and materials and rarely even becomes a chargeable item.

The conductor size proposed might appear 'over the top' but it might be proposed for extremely valid reasons. No one would deliberately use oversize cables as they are a pain to install.

One thing is clear, with a building where the construction of the structure is outside the remit of building control There is absolutely no need to pay ANYTHING to building control nor indeed for them to be involved at all. Plus I doubt there is now a building control department anywhere in the UK with any valid expertise on electrical installations.

You appear to prefer to circumvent the requirements for a fixed installation by using an extension cord. A 'new ' installation must legally meet the basic safety requirements, they are a couple of paragraphs specified in part P and are met by complying with BS7671 or by an equivalent IEC standard. That requirement is usually ensured (in the case of those not appropriately skilled) by employing someone competent and who can self certify, not by employing someone to install and then paying hundreds of pounds to building control (only for them to employ a subcontractor)

For those appropriately skilled and qualified that deem part P certification an insult we, as ever design, install and test our own installation to fully meet the requirements (and some of us would if necessary be prepared to argue our case in court)

Your extension cable is not and never will be a safe substitute for a properly designed and earthed outbuilding installation. It could, regardless of your specially installed outdoor sockets, kill you or someone else. That situation may arise as a result of issues occurring outside the boundaries of your property and totally within the remit of your distribution network operator, and while your installation within the house will, if properly installed remain safe at all times, your extension to the outbuilding and particularly exposed metalwork on any machinery will not.

As dirty harry, the well known electrician allegedly once said, do you feel lucky?

08/10/2018 12:52:50

Except anyone with any sense would plan their workshop size, location with respect to boundaries, location to the main property and the method of construction to ensure 'planning' and 'building regulations' did not apply. Then there would be absolutely no fee to pay for anything.

The an earth has to be exported along the SWA cable from the head end, it will almost always be the PME earth connected to the armouring to ensure suitable fault protection and fault clearance times for the cable. The cable merely has to be installed to prevent any damage. Burying is not always required, but if it is then burying has to provide some warning to anyone coming along, commencing a dig and encountering the conductor 'hidden' just below the surface. The cable depth of burying is only specified for the main incoming feed into a property and network operator feeds in the carriageway and pavement. Anything on your own property with a sub main or individual circuit is not prescriptive as to cable depth. There are recommendations but that is all they are.

In addition this 'exported' earth then has to be totally isolated at the outbuilding and a local earth provided unless you have means of adequately ensuring against rise of earth potential from a fault or lost neutral which is what the equipotential bonding is there for in the main property.

Cabling with a flexible extension cable can easily lead to a situation where a fault occurs and is not cleared in time, leading to a fire hazard and a shock hazard when metalwork within the outbuilding installation rises above the potential of the local earth. Just plonking an RCD in the installation at random locations may not be enough.

It might all be viewed as just 'part p' and denigrated in some / many eyes but in reality an outbuilding electrical installation requires a common sense properly engineered electrical installation that in the case of a new installation meets the requirements of BS7671 or if you want to be pedantic the equivalent IEC requirements.

Fail to comply either as a 'pro' or an amateur and it results in injury and you will almost certainly be prosecuted even if you have subsequently moved house.

But your biggest problem was wanting to build something that requires Planning and Building Regs. 15m^2 timber or or 30m^2 brick / block / stone should be enough for most 'home' workshops. If you live in a national park or other location protected from development then you have some sympathy.

Forgot to add you can get an electrical installation in a structure outside the remit of building regulations (separation / use etc)   'certified' by an appropriate person / organisation without any building regulations application being made.

Edited By Martin 100 on 08/10/2018 14:10:00

Thread: Aldi Charger - Confidence Dented
03/10/2018 17:27:39

+1 on the wonders of lead free solder. Give me lead and tin with a tiny sprinkling of silver and a non corrosive flux core any day. Almost 100% reliable joints almost 100% of the time.

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive has probably produced more landfill than any single act in recorded history. Thank goodness exemptions were made for medical and defence products (plus some others) otherwise we'd all be living in caves using leeches and making stone axes, all we have to account for is the telly and all other electronic items only lasting the guarantee period plus 'a bit'

There is an entire industry that takes brand new traceable lead free electronic components, strips off all the lead free solder, tins them with leaded solder and then repackages them on reels for series production of reliable kit. Can't sell any of it to Joe Public though, it's far too 'dangerous' the lead could kill and 'cause birth defects in the state of california'

I've heard a common failure mode with the c-tek intelligent charger clones sold by Lidl & Aldi is the one moving part, the push button switch, which could be down to moisture or flux ingress. Touch wood not had an issue with that here.

Thread: A Big Treat coming for Readers of MEW
03/10/2018 15:29:02
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 03/10/2018 11:34:06:

Cloud systems allow the software vendor to know what use people are making of the package so they can see when someone should be paying more or identify marketing opportunities.

Obviously different packages will suit different people, but I suspect you are exactly the sort of user Alibre are looking for!

Really the cloud should be nothing more than storage, but we all know it isn't. Somewhere, somehow we sign away rights so someone, usually the likes of Google can pillage our emails and search history and everything else we do online to force 'targetted' adverts upon us. Once upon a time google's doctrine was 'do no evil' they somehow forgot that a long time ago. Adblockers and no-scripting and even things like the TOR browser help somewhat.

With CAD & CAM they give us lots of 'cool' functionality sometimes 'for free' but that comes with a creeping intrusion into the very soul of a company or inventor. Even though I use F360 I really do not want Autodesk to know at all that I'm thinking of making product x with machine Y and months or years before product x is manufactured they know so much about product X they can cross reference me to public records or browsing history or whatever.

You'd hope with GDPR and the severe penalties it brings then things would be secure and free from prying eyes but I doubt it really is. Yet with ideas and designs in the cloud you should be secure from that sudden, sunday afternoon on the sofa laptop hard disk crash that wipes out months or years worth of work and takes down a fledgling company (or even a mature one with flaky IT infrastructure)

I've had Alibre trials in the past, never stuck with it because of the learning curve and lots of other things that need more of my attention that by the time it might have been useful the low cost of entry had simply evaporated and slinging 400 quid as opposed to the 99 quid it was a few months earlier was way beyond justifiable.

This extended trial might even persuade me to get a subscription to MEW

03/10/2018 10:37:45
Posted by Muzzer on 02/10/2018 18:53:47:

There was another factor that caused me to stop using my works Solidworks licence - the longer I used it, the more work would be at risk of loss unless I were eventually to buy a license myself, at vast initial (and eyewatering ongoing "maintenance" costs. This greedy behaviour on the part of Solidworks is of course the very opportunity that the Fusion team is capitalising on.

I downloaded the 2018 version of the 'free' Solidworks eDrawings Viewer a while ago as the previous version became incapable of handling newer file versions. To enable the download they require all your contact details regardless of if you are using the viewer commercially or at home (in hindsight 'fake' details with a disposable email address might have worked) . Since then the sales rep has contacted me several times by email wanting to run a demo 'at my premises' and now they are in contact yet again offering three years interest free credit on a Solidworks licence.

In contrast despite 'using' Fusion 360 for a long time there have so far been no attempts to get me to pay to upgrade.

But ultimately I wouldn't trust any software that relies on 'the cloud' nor indeed any software that requires an activation process or a dongle and I'm not sure the 'free' use model for F360 will remain forever. While cloud storage may be useful in backup capability and flexibility in location of use it can also go very wrong with designs lost or leaked.

For most use cases just sell high quality properly debugged software to me on durable media, that I can copy myself, at a reasonable price, if necessary give me a key that will never ever expire regardless of any hardware upgrades I make, giving me software on a platform that will be around as long as I decide. If it's complicated enough to use then provide a support forum that is free to use and above all make your sales people simply go away until I decide I want to 'upgrade'.

Thread: How much do Colchester spares cost ?
02/10/2018 10:29:41

One thing I heard about car spares (at least those made by Ford) was the price was set, a batch was produced and as long as that stock lasted at the central warehouse the price stayed essentially the same, without an annual escalator. Once the part required manufacturing again, even on the self same tooling, a whole new price was established. Something, I can't recall exactly what, it may have been a gearbox synchro ring used on a Ford box fitted to a Caterham 7 went from about 3 quid to about 40 quid 'overnight' about 20 years ago. The original parts had been around in their hundreds if not thousands since the 1970's

Some low volume car manufacturers liquidate their excess spares stock 'at or around cost' or even a few percentage points above scrap value a few years down the line. But you can guarantee it's never all the bits you really need



Edited By Martin 100 on 02/10/2018 10:30:26

02/10/2018 09:59:41
Posted by not done it yet on 02/10/2018 08:53:01:

Stock holding likely increases (inflates) the company value, too. When it fails, due to nobody being able to afford to buy spares (or buys elsewhere) they wonder why a company with such high value has gone down the drain! A nut, unless a really special one, would need to be gold plated (OK, silver plated) to be worth nine quid.

Funny you mention silver plated nuts and quote that price. Bought some silver plated nuts just the other day. M10 x 1.25 stainless K nut silver plated, essential for mounting a turbocharger to exhaust manifold and then actually being able to remove it years later without trashing the exhaust manifold or the turbo (access even on the bench is VERY tight) - 100 off price £900+, rising to nearly £13 for low quantities.

I remember doing a 'refresh' on my early 60's Boxford possibly in the early 90's The prices were eye watering then but at least they were still available new off the shelf which isn't the case for a lot of things now.

Just how much did the various lathes mentioned above (and others) cost when new?

When anyone complains about the price of something today then this can be useful

Bank of England Inflation Calculator

Thread: Hut Consumer Unit & MCB Question
27/09/2018 15:42:25

Legally it's 13A total regardless of whether the socket is one way or two way. Three way sockets are also available but are sub fused at 13A in the faceplate.

The BS approval test on a double is 20A (with a 70/30 split) with a limit of 1 deg C rise

BS1363 sockets from reputable manufacturers will actually accommodate 3 x 2.5mm^2 or 3 x 4mm^2 or 2 x 6mm^2 conductors.

Petrolhead that cable isn't Steel Wire Armoured, this is SWA

We might possibly be into can of worms territory here...

For anyone seeking guidance here is a good place to start (although getting a bit dated now)

Electrical Installations - a supply to a detached outbuilding

27/09/2018 12:48:42

The MCB's , like fuses should always be rated to protect the cable. An appliance you plug into a '13A" socket will often as not have a flexible cable rated at lower than that, hence lower fusing in plugs such as 3A. Meanwhile in the rest of the world, with unfused plugs and radial circuits such devices are protected only by a 16A MCB and an RCD.

If you have a ring main run in 2.5mm^2 Twin and earth or singles in conduit then 32A might be appropriate. For a radial circuit (i.e. one cable from the consumer unit to each socket in turn without another cable returning to the consumer unit) again using '13A' sockets or BS4343 'industrial' sockets 16A would often be more appropriate. A 16A MCB might indeed operate before a 32A MCB and a B rated breaker before a C rated breaker before a D rated breaker, but they are not strictly interchangeable and the type and level of fault could mean they all operate together, regardless of rating and trip curve within a few hundred milliseconds and thus provide no effective discrimination

Downrating an MCB from 32A to 16A does not enhance 'personal' protection, the Residual Current Device and the earthing does that. Segregating the lighting and power to equipment is a good thing but a fault on the equipment could still plunge you into darkness, with resultant injury from trip hazards. Hence why RCBO's (a combined MCB and RCD) on each circuit are preferable, further enhanced with the lighting split across two circuits. Of course if you have windows on your workshop and only work in daylight this is not really an issue

Yes you could let the feed stop before reversal but equipment shouldn't routinely trip protective devices regardless of what the user does so this discussion is IMHO far from being 'pointless' and a wrongly sized breaker can be a fire hazard, an incorrectly earthed installation in an outbuilding can be a shock hazard. Because it hasn't killed you in 30 years does not mean it won't kill you tomorrow

27/09/2018 11:16:39

The rating and type of the MCB's will, if the system has been properly designed , be correct to protect the cable (at the head end) and separately the installation at the hut end, with discrimination such that a 'local' fault stays just that.. To have MCB's identically sized is not ideal and may be totally incorrect, indicating that the installation was possibly just guesswork.

If you are only using one bit of machinery at a time the 32A MCB in the hut could be sensibly replaced by one rated at 16A but that won't necessarily stop the tripping problem.

A physical check of all connections (phase neutral and earth) from end to end plus checking earth integrity on the equipment is a good idea.

MCB's can be supplied or even go trip happy so a direct 1:1 replacement of all the existing protective devices might possibly 'fix' the problem.

Simply swapping the an MCB from a type B to a type C or even a type D without being fully aware of the implications of such a change is not a sensible idea. It might not provide enough discrimination which is what you are after and it could degrade the effective level of protection on the cable from the head end to the hut end.

But as ever, without having sight of the installation, the earthing arrangements and measurements of the fault level most of this advice is just 'guessing'

Thread: Boxford Model A backlash
23/09/2018 20:33:03

You are not looking in the right area. Look instead at the handwheel end of the cross slide screw. Unscrew the chromed slotted 'nut' (anticlockwise with something that doesn't damage the slot) Now undo the hex socket grubscrew that holds the handwheel to the cross slide screw. Now fit the handwheel to remove all slack, tighten the grub screw Refit the slotted nut.

As for spares, you are out of luck for that area of the lathe because that type of cross slide / dial was discontinued in the early 1960's

Thread: Another workshop insulation question
19/09/2018 13:31:12
Posted by Bazyle on 19/09/2018 09:32:17:

If it is attached to the house you should use 2 layers of plasterboard for fire regulations I think.

Humans sweat up to 6 pints per day. Your dehumidifier needs to handle that.

A full 11in cavity wall is equivalent to just 1 in of expanded polystyrene which is the highest insulator next to that space shuttle covering. Celotex etc is about 90% as good, rockwool about 75%, a single brick 4in wall does little more than stop the wind as it has to absorb a lot of heat before it even starts providing insulation.

No, the exact opposite

EPS 0.037W/mK

Rockwool 0.035W/mK

PIR 0.023W/mK

Lower is better

18/09/2018 21:17:54

Decide if you want to be able nip out for an hour or two 'whenever' and at any time of year, do some work in normal clothes rather than multiple layers of thermals and then come back inside when you choose, not when you freeze / melt.

Decide how much time/money/effort you want to spend on 'heating' No time/money/effort is often the best.

Do you prefer to be sweating all through a hot summer with a fan trying to cool the place down?

Do you prefer to be a gross polluter for the rest of the year with a woodburner affecting the health of everyone in the vicinity?

Some fit resistive heaters or incandescent lamps to every bit of machinery to stop them rusting when getting the insulation and ventilation right fixes the problem 'forever' with no ongoing energy usage. But some people always go for really cheap nasty 'fixes' rather than properly addressing the fundamental issues.

Proper insulation is expensive but needs buying and fitting just once. Do it right and occupancy heat, maybe topped up with that from a freezer can easily be enough to keep the place comfortable all year round.

If you can only afford 25mm of polystyrene on the walls then don't bother, wait until you can afford at least 75mm and preferably 100mm or more of PIR

While PIR is supposed to be 'safe' and class O, bare PIR on the roof is not a good idea if you have any intention of having a naked flame in the workshop. Trying to justify leaving it bare to enhance lighting is daft. Put some more lights in instead, preferably ones that direct the light downwards, they are really cheap.

The floor will also loose lots of heat, cold feet can be fixed with insulation in the structure too

Thread: Record No 1 vice pin sizes
19/08/2018 21:49:07

Size of the pin punch? a bit smaller than the small side of the taper pin, it also means you have something around the size of the pin to compare with so you don't accidentally hit the wrong end of the pin and possibly make an easy job something else.

Hitting something hard like a pin punch with something hard like a hammer will indeed work, but copper dulls the shock back up your arm, doesn't damage the striking end of the pin punch, means you don't really need eye protection and leaves the hammers with nice clean shiny faces for hitting nails accurately.

It's around 10 quid for a Thor copper & hide mallet, it gets used for tapping down work in the machine vice on the mill and tightening the vice handle, the latter always with the copper face The current one has had maybe a decade of use so that's something around 1/4 of a pence per day.

18/08/2018 13:39:25

The size of the pins? Measure the holes afterwards. Having dismantled one of mine recently to fit copper jaws (the screws, 1/4 BSW around 3/4 inch long were very stuck and needed spotting with an end mill, then left hand drilling on the mill with one requiring heat to remove)

The pin holding the nut into the main body at the rear of the vice is somewhere around 3/16", the one on the screw a bit smaller, possibly 5/32", but they could be metric, I never measured and simply refitted the ones I removed.

Besides the slight variation in taper (1:48 &1:50) metric pins are measured at one end, imperial ones at the other and at the moment I can't recall which is which.

Removal? parallel pin punch, hit with a copper & hide mallet, not much force needed at all,

The one on the screw will catch you out if you drive it through too much and jam up the screw and prevent if being turned, so partial drive through, rotate the screw 180 degrees and pull out the pin with a pair of pliers / mole grips etc is the better option.

Thread: Illegal CD copy
17/08/2018 23:01:08

It's not very complete either as the last issue was number 4593 and this collection apparently only has somewhere around 1600 mags.

There was, many, many years ago, long before this forum ever existed a collection of ME's from a public library in the US that were scanned and OCR'd. That collection was distributed person to person, for free or just the cost of the media if I recall correctly, on something like 20 CD's, so at 650MB it totalled around 13GB or around 3 DVD' s. It covered up to the 1980's with lots missing, no idea how many magazines were scanned.

The UK situation might be different but pre-1923 issues would be out of copyright in the US, with multiple authors per issue it's not 100% clear what is the status of the rest of it.

The legalities are indeed questionable, but the usefulness of having something essentially archived forever and readable without repeatedly thumbing through increasingly fragile bits of paper taking up lots of shelf space and with rusty staples are IMHO immense.

Thread: Dangerous Ultrasonic Cleaner Electrical Failure
27/07/2018 12:48:13

Yes something quite visible that could indeed prove fatal. One would that with the 3 pin inlet and the metal case it is properly earthed.

I've seen quite a few glass fuses vaporised, the tails and end caps of the solder in type often being the only evidence left.

I would hope most if not all would recognise that method of construction as a major issue but as shown many moons ago on here a simple mains USB power supply feeding a seemingly 'harmless' LED lamp 'at 5v' has the inherent potential to kill because some USB power supplies, usually offered into the market by backdoor suppliers are, by design, built with near zero separation and are thus totally incapable of meeting any safety standard recognised in the UK/ Europe/Australia/USA.

Thread: Increasing cost of entry into model engineering
27/07/2018 12:28:46

Without the likes of ARC or Axminster etc I would suspect few here would ever have a 'new' mill or lathe. Same with machine vices, rotary tables, dividing heads, tool grinders, quick change toolposts, angle plates or a myriad of other things. In the past they'd spend years (or even decades) machining a set of raw castings often following a series lasting dozens of issues in the magazines and then at the end maybe forget why they made them in the first place. Old machinery is also quite simply way too big for many home workshops, something compact is usually all many actually need. Something heavier and bigger with significantly more stiffness would always be better though.

Despite the immediate additional cost I'd sooner buy much (but not all) of what I need locally than trust a supplier thousands of miles away with a dubious or non existent return policy. But when you can buy the identical item to that sold by a UK supplier for 60% of the price, delivered within two or three weeks you wonder how sustainable in the long term the UK pricing model is.

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