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Spring 2004


Commodoreís Bit
AGM & Prize Giving 2003
Annual Club Dinner 2003
AQSC Clothing
Kempton Fireworks 2003
Last Sail of 2003
New Consumer Unit
Open Weekend Notice
Out Comes ĎAquariusí
Quiz Social 2004
Replacing Things
Sail With the Vikings
Sailing Program 2004
Saint Comes Out
Start of Season Party Note
Valentineís Dinner, Lyn
Valentineís Dinner, Mike
Work Party

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A New Consumer Unit for AQSC.

Now I donít know my RCDís from my MCBís let alone my double pole isolators from my split loads. But I know a man who does! Which is just as well because I have no experience of changing a consumer unit? For the un-enlightened a consumer unit is the box that distributes electricity via fuses to all the circuits, ring mains and ultimately all electrically driven gizmos in, say, your home.

Some time ago it was decided that the clubhouse was long overdue for a modern consumer unit to be installed. Those of you who have been plunged into darkness at past annual dinners can testify to that. At times the system just gets overloaded. Of course such an undertaking assumes a fair knowledge of what the existing club wiring actually controls, and at AQSC thatís far from certain.

Nevertheless on the morning of 5 November Bodgett and Son moved into the clubhouse and set about stripping out the old electrics. Luckily the system had an upstream master switch which when turned off effectively isolated the consumer unit.

Each disconnected cable was carefully labeled as to its existing stated use. Eventually all the circuit breakers were removed and the box itself was removed. At this point the working area looked like an explosion in a cable factory.

Nigel Knowles (a.k.a Bodgett senior) now had to decide which circuits were to be protected by RCD. Eventually it was decided to put all 8 power circuits through the RCD, leaving the lighting circuit (protected by its own MCB) thus unaffected in event of a trip.

The appropriate blanking plugs were then removed from the new case, to enable the cables to be run in, and the case screwed to the wall. The MCBís and RCDís were then fixed to the mounting rail and the two bus bars installed. Now came the tricky bit. Each cable tail had to be connected, positive to the appropriate MCB or RCD, negative and earth to their respective connector blocks. Sounds easy doesnít it? The trouble was that the cables were stiff and bulky and there were a lot of them and to make matters worse the consumer unit casing was not overly generous in size. At this stage Bodgett and Son was joined by Richard Cannon (heís the Ď.comí bit of the team) and he and I set about converting the kitchen (galley) wiring into a proper ring main, the supply having already been run in under the clubhouse.

Eventually Nigel announced that his back ached but the consumer unit wiring was finished and we crossed our fingers and just about everything else as he turned the master switch on. The good news was that there was no blinding flash. The bad news was that four out of the seven RCDís popped either straight away or when a load was placed on the appropriate circuit.

There followed a lot a head scratching and technical Ďchit chatí like Oh bugger! And sod it! You know the sort of thing. Anyway Richard sat down in front of the unit and went into deep think mode. Iíve seen that look before; he tends to get it when heís staring into the guts of a computer. Finally he concluded that two of the negative straps were wired the wrong way around. Donít ask me how he figured that out. The whole thing looked like an explosion in a spaghetti factory. Anyway Nigel had a look and thought he might be right so he swapped them around and low and behold everything lit up like a Christmas tree.

A bit of clearing up and Ö job done! Not the most glamorous thing that Iíve ever reported on but in itís own way one of the most important. Aquarius now has a really good electrical distribution and protection system thanks to our friends at Bodgett and My sincere thanks to Nigel and Richard for all their work. I now feel a little more confident to go ahead and convert my own house consumer unit from old wire fuses to a MCB and RCD protected unit. So if sometime in the near future you see a plume of smoke over Stoneleigh youíll know it all went horribly wrong and that Iím on the phone to the old firm!

Mike (son of Bodgett) Baker