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Domestic Unable to separate wires on ring circuit

Discuss Unable to separate wires on ring circuit in the DIY Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

Andy Gardner

EF Member
Hi folks, I'm in the process of adding some more sockets into my "Socket" ring circuit. My plan was to open up the existing socket, cut 1 twin and earth higher up and add a socket there, leave the other twin and earth where it is then do a small ring of 4 sockets, starting at the existing socket and ending at the new socket higher up.
My problem is that having opened up the existing socket, it's actually not twin and earth, it's just the separate cores installed in some metal conduit which goes up into the ceiling! (i.e. 2 live, 2 neutral and 2 earth all in the one metal conduit/pipe)
So, I have 2 questions:
1. Does anyone have any idea how to work out which cables belong to which set?
2. Is it likely to actually cause a problem if I end up having a live from one side and neutral from the other?

Here is a photo of what I mean:
electrical-conduit.jpeg
 

Andy Gardner

EF Member
Yes, That is the "new socket higher up" I was referring to. The cable goes through that socket down to the existing socket at the moment.
 

westward10

In echoed steps I walk across an empty dream.
Staff member
Moderator
You have some issues here. I assume you have cut that tube away from the old socket back box and hence there may be a possibility it is no longer earthed. Those wires you now have exposed in the wall require suitable enclosure in conduit you cannot leave them as they are.
 

Andy Gardner

EF Member
The original socket didn't actually have any earthing point on it, I would assume that the conduit is already earthed.
Anyway, this setup is only temporary, the idea is that half of the wires will end up in this socket and the other half will continue to run through it down to the existing socket (which is actually a new backbox too). My problem is that I don't know how to split the lives, neutrals and earths.
 

westward10

In echoed steps I walk across an empty dream.
Staff member
Moderator
The conduit may well still be earthed or it was earthed by connection to the existing back box. Temporary or not those wires require suitable enclosure. It will be inappropriate to give you advice on how to connect the new socket while you have those wires exposed.
 

Pete999

Forum Mentor
You have some issues here. I assume you have cut that tube away from the old socket back box and hence there may be a possibility it is no longer earthed. Those wires you now have exposed in the wall require suitable enclosure in conduit you cannot leave them as they are.
Andy you need to get an Electrician involved in this project before you do someone a mischief.
 

Dustydazzler

Regular EF Member
This is a very simple job if you know what you are doing...

those cables look awfully tight and also you can't just leave singles in the wall like this , you need a coupler or something to protect the cables
 

SparkyAndGeorge

Electrician's Arms
What they mean is possibly the conduit was the earth. It is now not continuous. You need a bush and coupler between the conduit and the backbox. Best advice, get a local sparky in to do this work.
 

telectrix

Scouser and Proud of It
Respected Member
as previous posts. this method of installation is beyond the scope of DIY and/or short course "domestic imbeciles installers". you need an old school sparks to do the job safe.
 

Dustydazzler

Regular EF Member
The other thing to look at is what the conduit is attached to (if anything) up in the ceiling void.
I have worked in older houses that were rewired in the say 1970s/80s and the conduit has all but been butchered leaving just short lengths down for the drops.
If the conduit going up/down is just flapping in the wind you could potentially replace with pvc tube
 

Andy Gardner

EF Member
Yes, I understand that the conduit may have been the earth. there were no connections from the existing cables the original socket. I sent this photo because this is where I got to and got stuck. I'm not using the sockets like this, the room isn't even in use.
The circuit is indeed a ring.
I was going to simply separate the cables so that one set goes into this socket (which would then be earthed) and the other set goes into the existing socket below (which would also be earthed).
I have metal trunking to go over all exposed cables, to avoid them being drilled into, but I haven't fitted it yet in this area due to it not being finished.
 

westward10

In echoed steps I walk across an empty dream.
Staff member
Moderator
How do you intend to reconnect the conduit to your new back box. The wires from the bottom of the new box need containing in conduit not trunking.
 

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