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Discuss Unknown MEM distribution board in the Electrical Talk - All Other Countries area at ElectriciansForums.net

Can anyway identify the board and MCBs from the pictures? This installation is in a house in Tanzania - the actual installation has a much bigger 3 phase version in another house which I am helping to fix. These old boards used to be imported from China until about 2010. They are no longer available as new installations use Havells or Tronic kit which are much better. My problem is that I can't find any even half-decent replacement MCBs for these old boards. The boards are found in both single and three phase versions but the MCBs are the same. The writing on the MCB in the picture says it is BS3871 type M3 10kA which is contradictory as M3 means 3kA not 10kA so I don't trust anything thats written on it. If someone can relate what I am looking at to old MEM kit I might be able to find some old better MCBs from somewhere. If these boards have never been used in UK then maybe they are copies of ones that used to be supplied by MEM for export elsewhere.

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Lucien Nunes

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Mentor
Arms
Esteemed
I don't think they were really sold in the UK, they were amongst the oddball rebadged MCB systems IIRC. You might find they are the same as, or interchangeable with, Mitsubishi or Simplex of the same era. Whether such a mix and match is permitted by your regs is another matter.

Type M3 sounds odd, type 3 10kA I could understand.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks Lucien

1. What is IIRC?

2. Your comments seem to indicate I may have difficulty finding decent spares for these boards. So I may just have to replace the 3P board with something more modern - its a real pain as it is recessed into the wall in the ground floor hallway so will require some construction work to fit nicely.

3. M3 is listed in the OSG for old BS3871 MCBs as being 3kA.

4. The Tanzanian wiring regs are rather vague simply stating that they follow the "NEC" regs, which I understand to be the American regs. In practice they seem to be following what look to me like 16th edition standards.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
I have now found what looks like the same MCBs listed in ebay as "GE/Simplex" so maybe there is a way of finding some spares.
 

mattg4321

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Arms
Esteemed
Anything goes over there from what I saw!

Fantastic place though, without doubt the best place I've ever visited. Friendly people, relatively unspoilt by tourists by modern standards and incredible scenery/wildlife.

Here's a picture of an installation I noticed at the main entrance to Arusha National Park. Right next to an information board! The twin and earth on the right of the picture disappeared off through the long grass to supply a toilet block!

file.jpeg

I did also see some nice examples of wiring in a tented camp I stayed in. A pretty good install, and all run from PV/battery storage.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
I got hold of a Simplex MCB to compare with the MemGuard MCB and I attach pictures of the two firstly the Simplex versionsimpleMcb.jpeg

and then the MemGuard version:

memGuardMcb.jpeg

They are very similar - the difference being the hook shown at the top RH corner of these photos is a different shape. The hook connects with a hook on the board to hold the MCB in. I shall try and fit the Simplex MCB to the MemGuard board the next time I am in Dar es Salaam to see whether the hooks are actually compatible.
 
That looks like copy of a ITE (now Siemens) QP breaker, pretty common in the US, although a 10A rating is not very common, but is a standard rating.
 
I worked in Tanzania for six years 2000-2006 (Williamson Diamond Mine) at that time they were working to British Standards. A lot of work especially on the mines are done to South African standards. I never came across American Standards.
 
I am only saying that the breaker looks like the ITE/Siemens design, would not be the first time that a breaker was repurposed for outside the North American market, there are some threads on other forums showing Federal Pacific Electric, FPE products being used in Europe, BTW, FPE is one of the two most reviled names in electrical in the US because of issues.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
That looks like copy of a ITE (now Siemens) QP breaker, pretty common in the US, although a 10A rating is not very common, but is a standard rating.
Thanks very much Norcal that looks like a much better match then the Simplex version. I shall have a look at ebay and see if I can find what I need...
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
Siemens QP breakers fit OK in the MEMguard board. They are available from American suppliers - the ones I got hold of were made in Mexico.

Thanks again Norcal for the tip.
 
The only problem is those single pole QP breakers are slash rated breakers, 120/240V, + most likely calibrated for 60 HZ, with the slash rating the maximum voltage to ground is the lower of the 2 ratings, 120 volts.
 

JD6400

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Mentor
Arms
Can anyway identify the board and MCBs from the pictures? This installation is in a house in Tanzania - the actual installation has a much bigger 3 phase version in another house which I am helping to fix. These old boards used to be imported from China until about 2010. They are no longer available as new installations use Havells or Tronic kit which are much better. My problem is that I can't find any even half-decent replacement MCBs for these old boards. The boards are found in both single and three phase versions but the MCBs are the same. The writing on the MCB in the picture says it is BS3871 type M3 10kA which is contradictory as M3 means 3kA not 10kA so I don't trust anything thats written on it. If someone can relate what I am looking at to old MEM kit I might be able to find some old better MCBs from somewhere. If these boards have never been used in UK then maybe they are copies of ones that used to be supplied by MEM for export elsewhere.

View attachment 50839
Can anyway identify the board and MCBs from the pictures? This installation is in a house in Tanzania - the actual installation has a much bigger 3 phase version in another house which I am helping to fix. These old boards used to be imported from China until about 2010. They are no longer available as new installations use Havells or Tronic kit which are much better. My problem is that I can't find any even half-decent replacement MCBs for these old boards. The boards are found in both single and three phase versions but the MCBs are the same. The writing on the MCB in the picture says it is BS3871 type M3 10kA which is contradictory as M3 means 3kA not 10kA so I don't trust anything thats written on it. If someone can relate what I am looking at to old MEM kit I might be able to find some old better MCBs from somewhere. If these boards have never been used in UK then maybe they are copies of ones that used to be supplied by MEM for export elsewhere.

View attachment 50839
I may be w
Can anyway identify the board and MCBs from the pictures? This installation is in a house in Tanzania - the actual installation has a much bigger 3 phase version in another house which I am helping to fix. These old boards used to be imported from China until about 2010. They are no longer available as new installations use Havells or Tronic kit which are much better. My problem is that I can't find any even half-decent replacement MCBs for these old boards. The boards are found in both single and three phase versions but the MCBs are the same. The writing on the MCB in the picture says it is BS3871 type M3 10kA which is contradictory as M3 means 3kA not 10kA so I don't trust anything thats written on it. If someone can relate what I am looking at to old MEM kit I might be able to find some old better MCBs from somewhere. If these boards have never been used in UK then maybe they are copies of ones that used to be supplied by MEM for export elsewhere.

View attachment 50839
I may be wrong , but from memory I think we may have some single phase breaker's and a main switch back at the yard . I always try and keep some of the odd and old gear we remove / replace and this would have come from an old dairy farm I think.
The only problem is , I am back home now in Lincolnshire and my stores are in Buckinghamshire, and I can not get out as a member of the household looks like they have the virus since Tuesday.
If one of our lads calls in the yard en route to a breakdown I will get them to go through the boxes and send me a photo.
If by some miracle try are compatible , which sizes are you after ?
Post automatically merged:

If we do have something of use , you are welcome to it for free , bit you can pay the postage !😄
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
Norcal:

Yes the Siemens breaker has 60 Hz 120/240v AC written on it.

The original MEM version (which I suspect is a Chinese copy) has both 240/415v and 120/240v written on it - work that one out!

Do you know what problems might occur using the Siemens version at 50 Hz 230v?
Post automatically merged:

JD6400:

Thanks for the offer - I am currently in Tanzania so that may be bit tricky! If I manage to get back to UK (which is not at all certain at the moment) I'll get back in touch.
 
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Megawatt

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Arms
I am only saying that the breaker looks like the ITE/Siemens design, would not be the first time that a breaker was repurposed for outside the North American market, there are some threads on other forums showing Federal Pacific Electric, FPE products being used in Europe, BTW, FPE is one of the two most reviled names in electrical in the US because of issues.
You can’t even buy Federal Pacific breakers, they have been out of business for years
 

Megawatt

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Arms
But UBI sells UL classified replacements for FPE, Zinsco/Sylvania, & ITE Pushmatic.
NorCal you would fail inspection if you used an off brand breaker. In panels when you open it up the cover has a sticker on the inside which tells you what type and style breakers you are allowed to use
 
They are UL Classified to be used those panels, and while obsolete panels should be replaced, and with problematic makes like Zinsco/Sylvania, & FPE, that is more important, it is not always possible. Do your inspectors consider themselves the equivalent of UL?
 

Megawatt

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Arms
They are UL Classified to be used those panels, and while obsolete panels should be replaced, and with problematic makes like Zinsco/Sylvania, & FPE, that is more important, it is not always possible. Do your inspectors consider themselves the equivalent of UL?
No inspector considers them selfs the equivalent of UL. like I said before look at the sticker inside the panel door and it gives you choices of breakers that can be used and there interrupting ratings has to be the same plus torque requirements. Everything has to be UL listed plus the NFPA has their own version as well. You mentioned pushmatic breakers, in that case you would have to change that panel
 
No inspector considers them selfs the equivalent of UL. like I said before look at the sticker inside the panel door and it gives you choices of breakers that can be used and there interrupting ratings has to be the same plus torque requirements. Everything has to be UL listed plus the NFPA has their own version as well. You mentioned pushmatic breakers, in that case you would have to change that panel
UL has Classified certain breakers to be used in competitive panels, which makes them legal to use, the UBI breakers are for Zinsco, FPE, and Pushmatic panels, also Eaton has Classified breakers also, and Siemens, & Eaton, have UL Classified breakers for SQ D QO although I would not use those since QO is available from SQ D, the UBI breakers are the the only legal option, besides replacement. What do you do with panels that the brand name has changed but in reality still exists, like ITE, Cutler-Hammer, etc. ?
 

Megawatt

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Arms
UL has Classified certain breakers to be used in competitive panels, which makes them legal to use, the UBI breakers are for Zinsco, FPE, and Pushmatic panels, also Eaton has Classified breakers also, and Siemens, & Eaton, have UL Classified breakers for SQ D QO although I would not use those since QO is available from SQ D, the UBI breakers are the the only legal option, besides replacement. What do you do with panels that the brand name has changed but in reality still exists, like ITE, Cutler-Hammer, etc. ?
I go by the sticker in the cover, if I’m in doubt I call the inspector out to ask what my options are since he is the AHJ
 
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