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One for Dave H.


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Years ago (too many to contemplate) I went to school with a lad who lived at the bottom of Langsett Avenue at Middlewood.

This was at the time when the gas-lamps were being replaced by low-pressure sodium lighting. A few weeks after the new lighting was installed my pals father received a huge electric bill.

He queried it and they swopped the meter but he found that it began to fly around again each evening. It soon became apparent that the next bill was going to be huge as well.

In a panic he switched the power off at the mains and they realised that not only was their house in darkness but the street lights had gone out as well. He switched back on the power and after a couple of minutes the street lamps came on again when they had cooled down enough to re-strike.

In triumph he contacted the YEB who told him it was impossible.

It turned out that they had fed the street lamps from an armoured cable buried on the edge of the pavement which fed power from his house to his large garage built further up the street.

It made front page news in the star.

HD

The YEB would think that it was not possible as his house, like all houses, is supplied with 240V single phase AC supply while the sodium vapour street lamps require a 410V 3 phase AC supply.

The key to this case is that power cable used went from his house to his garage.

Many light engineering tools, - drills and lathes, which could easily be used by an amateur working in his own garage which then acts as a small workshop, require a 410V 3 phase supply to get enough power to cut through metals quickly and efficiently. You can (at a cost) have a 3 phase supply installed for this sort of thing.

I suspect his house and street lights was possible because he had a 3 phase supply to his garage.

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Another funny electrical story told to me by friends of mine in Sheffield Steam Society.

Old fairground equipment works on 110V DC and the large dynamos on the front of steam showmans engines are used to provide this. They can also provide 240V AC for more modern equipment via an inverter.

My friends had gone to the Great Dorset Steam Fair to take charge of the Burrell showmans engine "His Lordship" on behalf of its owner, Graham Atkinson.

At the fair they were providing power for a fairground organ, also owned by Mr. Atkinson. This required a small amount of electrical power just to drive the pneumatics which provided pressurised air which the organ uses, - not a lot of power is required.

The bloke on the next stall asked them if they could provide him with a small amount of power to power a small childrens ride with a few lights on, - again not a lot of power so they obliged.

All was well until they came back from their tea break in the late afternoon and noticed that the engine was behaving very sluggishly and consuming more than its normal quota of coal but this was put down dirty coal and the fact that the boiler tubes, smokebox and ashpan hadn't been cleaned all day.

One of them noticed the Ammeter was reading high, and the Voltmeter a bit low but as they were powering 2 appliances (or so they thought) they thought no more of it.

Later that evening a carriage on a ghost train ride 5 stalls away derailed and short circuited its tracks.

Immediately the back load on the engine threw the belt off the flywheel as the dynamo tried to provide a massive current surge. With the belt off and the load gone the engine raced and our lads had to quickly pull the regulator back.

Simultaneously with this happening, it went quiet as 3 fairground organs stopped playing, it went darker as half the lights in the fairground went out, several rides ground to a halt and an inflatable bouncy castle opposite the engine slowly collapsed.

While they had been having their tea the unscrupulous showman with the "small childrens ride with a few lights" that they had agreed to help had provided free electricity from his junction box to all his mates on the fairground.

Our lads had been generating for half of the fair!! :o

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hilldweller

The YEB would think that it was not possible as his house, like all houses, is supplied with 240V single phase AC supply while the sodium vapour street lamps require a 410V 3 phase AC supply.

The key to this case is that power cable used went from his house to his garage.

Many light engineering tools, - drills and lathes, which could easily be used by an amateur working in his own garage which then acts as a small workshop, require a 410V 3 phase supply to get enough power to cut through metals quickly and efficiently. You can (at a cost) have a 3 phase supply installed for this sort of thing.

I suspect his house and street lights was possible because he had a 3 phase supply to his garage.

After a long career in electrical engineering I can tell you that only the very large metal halide discharge lamps such as those used for motorways or sports floodlighting require a 3 phase supply and these are connected across two phases to give a 400/415 volt effectively single phase suppy. The smaller street lighting is fed from 230/240 single phase and in estates built from the 60's onwards the normal 4 core (3 phase and neutral) distribution cable down the street had a fifth core for street lighting which was switched from the substation by time-switch (solar) or photocell.

The reason I quote two figures for the voltage is because the nominal voltage was changed to suit european standards but in practice nothing changed except the tolerances on supply voltage were fudged from 240 volts +/- 6% (254.4v to 225.6v) to 230 volts +10%/ -6% (253v to 216.2v) The intention is to eventually change to 230 volts +/- 10% as in europe but with a low end voltage down to 207 volts this would cause equipment manufacturers great problems. the change to +/-10% has been put off several times. Even today the tungsten light bulbs marked as 230 volts are actually made for 240 volts otherwise they would not reach the claimed 1000 hours life. Tungsten lamps are very sensitive to supply voltage, modern low energy fluorescents much less so.

HD

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After a long career in electrical engineering I can tell you that only the very large metal halide discharge lamps such as those used for motorways or sports floodlighting require a 3 phase supply and these are connected across two phases to give a 400/415 volt effectively single phase suppy. The smaller street lighting is fed from 230/240 single phase and in estates built from the 60's onwards the normal 4 core (3 phase and neutral) distribution cable down the street had a fifth core for street lighting which was switched from the substation by time-switch (solar) or photocell.

HD

Didn't know that.

When I was a kid the old green cast iron lamp posts with that crossbar about three quarters of the way up DID seem to have ordinary 100W domestic light light bulbs in.

But when the night time City turned sodium vapour yellow instead of tungsten fillament white in the 1960's I seem to remember them putting in a lot of new wiring at the same time and being told it was for "3 phase lighting"

Now down our street there is one lamp post that the vandals are always pulling a blanking plate off near the bottom revealing the wiring going up inside the post, - and that wiring looks pretty substantial for running just a lamp.

So it seems that the gag used by Peter Kay in Phoenix Nights where an unscrupulous electrician wires up his night club to a street lamp could well be true then lol

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hilldweller

Now down our street there is one lamp post that the vandals are always pulling a blanking plate off near the bottom revealing the wiring going up inside the post, - and that wiring looks pretty substantial for running just a lamp.

l

The supply cable to the lamp standard has to be of a certain minimum size, much more than the lamp itself will require, because it is connected directly to the big fat distribution cable which runs down the street. This cable is probably fused at 200/300 amperes in the sub-station. If a smaller cable was used to supply the light then it might catch fire before the sub-station fuse blew in the event of a fault. Of course where a separate street lighting core was used this wouldn't apply but the YEB would standardise on one size of cable for street furniture use.

HD

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Now down our street there is one lamp post that the vandals are always pulling a blanking plate off near the bottom revealing the wiring going up inside the post, - and that wiring looks pretty substantial for running just a lamp.

So it seems that the gag used by Peter Kay in Phoenix Nights where an unscrupulous electrician wires up his night club to a street lamp could well be true then lol

Hmm.... <_<

I wonder if I could wire our house up to that street light with the missing blanking plate :unsure:

Would save a hell of a lot on my electricity bill lol

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Hmm.... <_<

I wonder if I could wire our house up to that street light with the missing blanking plate :unsure:

Would save a hell of a lot on my electricity bill lol

Now to our next electrical problem.

Last year when I had a new shower fitted in the bathroom which was much more powerfull than the original it needed new wiring and a new consumer unit.

My 1930's house was fitted with its original fuses box,

A nice wooden box with no master off switch at all containing a constantly live, uninsulated copper buzz bar across which all the fuses to the house were strung.

It certainly wasn't up to modern electrical standards, in fact it was bloody dangerous, but I liked it because I tend to like old things that still work well.

Anyway, I decided that while the elctrician was at it he could have the job of fitting a main master off switch and replace my antique fuse box with a modern RCD consumer unit and test all the wiring in the house while he was at it. I thought I would use his IEE training for something useful.

To be fair, he did a fantastic job for a very reasonable price.

The problem is, since changing from fuses to RCD's every time the wife does any ironing, using any socket in the house, it is almost guaranteed to know out an RCD.

It never did this with fuses.

About 20 years ago I fitted an extra circuit out to the garage which, being technically "outdoor wiring" I protected with an RCD and over the years I have found this to be rather tempramental in operation, cutting out for example if a spider commits suicide in my garage by crawling inside a plug between the terminals.

I think that RCD's are extremely safe but to the point where they actually start to limit the usefulness of the circuit.

My wife thinks they are a pain in the backside as ironing is an onerous task anyway and having to constantly reset an RCD just makes it worse.

I am beginning to wish that I had left at least the odd socket or two on fuses.

What do you think hilldweller?

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Waterside Echo

The supply cable to the lamp standard has to be of a certain minimum size, much more than the lamp itself will require, because it is connected directly to the big fat distribution cable which runs down the street. This cable is probably fused at 200/300 amperes in the sub-station. If a smaller cable was used to supply the light then it might catch fire before the sub-station fuse blew in the event of a fault. Of course where a separate street lighting core was used this wouldn't apply but the YEB would standardise on one size of cable for street furniture use.

HD

Hi HD. All this talk of volts and amps reminded me of my childhood days. For some reason the Neepsend district where we lived had a lower voltage than the rest of Sheffield. it was not until I think the mid 1960s that we came into line with the rest of of the city. I remember every house being visited by the YEB, changing light bulbs and making adjustments to various electrical appliances, seem to remember mum having to have a new iron. W/E.

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Hi HD. All this talk of volts and amps reminded me of my childhood days. For some reason the Neepsend district where we lived had a lower voltage than the rest of Sheffield. it was not until I think the mid 1960s that we came into line with the rest of of the city. I remember every house being visited by the YEB, changing light bulbs and making adjustments to various electrical appliances, seem to remember mum having to have a new iron. W/E.

So what voltage were you on waterside echo?

There was a time when some areas had 120V but I don't know of any. Some appliances had a 240V /120V switch on the back but I always thought that this was for Continental / American power supplies, however I have been told that some parts of Britain did have the lower voltage at some time.

I seem to remember in the 1960's moving over from 2 and 3 pin round pin plugs and sockets to the now standard 3 pin square pin plugs and sockets and rewiring of houses from cables and flexes insulated by cotton fibres and perishable rubber to the now standard PVC but I don't remember any voltage changes at the same time.

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hilldweller

So what voltage were you on waterside echo?

There was a time when some areas had 120V but I don't know of any. Some appliances had a 240V /120V switch on the back but I always thought that this was for Continental / American power supplies, however I have been told that some parts of Britain did have the lower voltage at some time.

I seem to remember in the 1960's moving over from 2 and 3 pin round pin plugs and sockets to the now standard 3 pin square pin plugs and sockets and rewiring of houses from cables and flexes insulated by cotton fibres and perishable rubber to the now standard PVC but I don't remember any voltage changes at the same time.

Up to the 1960's most of the older parts of Sheffield were on 200 volts single phase, 350 volts 3 phase. The exceptions were the newer estates built since the war. At that time things like radio sets and TV's had voltage selectors for something like 200/210--220/230--240/250.

HD

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Up to the 1960's most of the older parts of Sheffield were on 200 volts single phase, 350 volts 3 phase. The exceptions were the newer estates built since the war. At that time things like radio sets and TV's had voltage selectors for something like 200/210--220/230--240/250.

HD

That sounds about right, 200V

I don't remember them selling light bulbs seperately rated at 200V and at 240V but I do remember (or perhaps it just seemed this way) that certain older houses looked rather dark and dull at night, as though the light bulbs weren't running at their full brightness.

...and if they were 240V bulbs running at only 200V then they wouldn't be would they!

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hilldweller

Now to our next electrical problem.

Last year when I had a new shower fitted in the bathroom which was much more powerfull than the original it needed new wiring and a new consumer unit.

My 1930's house was fitted with its original fuses box,

A nice wooden box with no master off switch at all containing a constantly live, uninsulated copper buzz bar across which all the fuses to the house were strung.

It certainly wasn't up to modern electrical standards, in fact it was bloody dangerous, but I liked it because I tend to like old things that still work well.

Anyway, I decided that while the elctrician was at it he could have the job of fitting a main master off switch and replace my antique fuse box with a modern RCD consumer unit and test all the wiring in the house while he was at it. I thought I would use his IEE training for something useful.

To be fair, he did a fantastic job for a very reasonable price.

The problem is, since changing from fuses to RCD's every time the wife does any ironing, using any socket in the house, it is almost guaranteed to know out an RCD.

It never did this with fuses.

About 20 years ago I fitted an extra circuit out to the garage which, being technically "outdoor wiring" I protected with an RCD and over the years I have found this to be rather tempramental in operation, cutting out for example if a spider commits suicide in my garage by crawling inside a plug between the terminals.

I think that RCD's are extremely safe but to the point where they actually start to limit the usefulness of the circuit.

My wife thinks they are a pain in the backside as ironing is an onerous task anyway and having to constantly reset an RCD just makes it worse.

I am beginning to wish that I had left at least the odd socket or two on fuses.

What do you think hilldweller?

RCD's work by continually comparing the instantaneous current flowing in the live conductor with the current in the neutral conductor. Any difference must be flowing back via earth. The ones fitted in consumer units are rated at 30 mA (0.03 Amps) leakage and usually trip at around 20 mA. If your wife's iron is tripping it all the time then the iron is faulty and potentially dangerous. Perhaps she's splashing water into the innerds when filling it ? I've had RCD's in every house for the last 20 years and the only time one tripped was when the outside light filled with water. A possibilty is a partial short from neutral to earth behind a socket somewhere, the small voltage due to volt-drop on the neutral is sufficient to cause an intermittent trip. I should replace your garage fittings with polycarbonate outside fittings, the sealing ensures that damp and wee beasties are kept out. RCD's are now required on all circuit wiring except where the wiring is buried 50 mm deep everywhere (almost impossible to achieve), according to the latest regs.

Hope this helps and buy her a new iron pronto.

HD

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RichardB

Now to our next electrical problem.

Last year when I had a new shower fitted in the bathroom which was much more powerfull than the original it needed new wiring and a new consumer unit.

My 1930's house was fitted with its original fuses box,

A nice wooden box with no master off switch at all containing a constantly live, uninsulated copper buzz bar across which all the fuses to the house were strung.

It certainly wasn't up to modern electrical standards, in fact it was bloody dangerous, but I liked it because I tend to like old things that still work well.

Anyway, I decided that while the elctrician was at it he could have the job of fitting a main master off switch and replace my antique fuse box with a modern RCD consumer unit and test all the wiring in the house while he was at it. I thought I would use his IEE training for something useful.

To be fair, he did a fantastic job for a very reasonable price.

The problem is, since changing from fuses to RCD's every time the wife does any ironing, using any socket in the house, it is almost guaranteed to know out an RCD.

It never did this with fuses.

About 20 years ago I fitted an extra circuit out to the garage which, being technically "outdoor wiring" I protected with an RCD and over the years I have found this to be rather tempramental in operation, cutting out for example if a spider commits suicide in my garage by crawling inside a plug between the terminals.

I think that RCD's are extremely safe but to the point where they actually start to limit the usefulness of the circuit.

My wife thinks they are a pain in the backside as ironing is an onerous task anyway and having to constantly reset an RCD just makes it worse.

I am beginning to wish that I had left at least the odd socket or two on fuses.

What do you think hilldweller?

Now to our next problem, the wife.

She's 1930's and fitted with her original fuse box, a nice wooden box with no master off switch at all containing a constantly live, uninsulated copper buzz bar ! :o

She certainly wasn't up to modern standards, but I like her because I tend to like old things that still work well-ish.

Anyway, I decided that while the chap was at it he could have the job of fitting a new main master off switch and replace my antique wife with a modern unit and test all the wiring, I thought I would use his training for something useful.

To be fair, he did a fantastic job for a very reasonable price; apart from the shoes :(

The problem is, since changing every time the wife does any ironing, using any socket in the house, it is almost guaranteed to knock her out. I have found her to be rather tempramental in operation and actually of limited usefulness.

My wife is a pain in the backside anyway and constantly needs resetting he he

What do you think hilldweller?

--------------------------

Not to be taken over-seriously he he

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hilldweller

Now to our next problem, the wife.

She's 1930's and fitted with her original fuse box, a nice wooden box with no master off switch at all containing a constantly live, uninsulated copper buzz bar ! :o

She certainly wasn't up to modern standards, but I like her because I tend to like old things that still work well-ish.

Anyway, I decided that while the chap was at it he could have the job of fitting a new main master off switch and replace my antique wife with a modern unit and test all the wiring, I thought I would use his training for something useful.

To be fair, he did a fantastic job for a very reasonable price; apart from the shoes :(

The problem is, since changing every time the wife does any ironing, using any socket in the house, it is almost guaranteed to knock her out. I have found her to be rather tempramental in operation and actually of limited usefulness.

My wife is a pain in the backside anyway and constantly needs resetting he he

What do you think hilldweller?

--------------------------

Not to be taken over-seriously he he

I think that you don't let your wife read your postings, that's what I think !!!!!

HD

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hilldweller

That sounds about right, 200V

I don't remember them selling light bulbs seperately rated at 200V and at 240V but I do remember (or perhaps it just seemed this way) that certain older houses looked rather dark and dull at night, as though the light bulbs weren't running at their full brightness.

...and if they were 240V bulbs running at only 200V then they wouldn't be would they!

When you went in Woolworths or any of the larger stores they always asked what voltage you required, the corner shops would sell whatever was in use in the district.

Woolworths always tested the bulbs as you bought them in a little box with different lamp-bases on it.

A 240 volt bulb would be as dim as a toc-H lamp on 200volts

HD

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hilldweller

Now to our next problem, the wife.

She's 1930's and fitted with her original fuse box, a nice wooden box with no master off switch at all containing a constantly live, uninsulated copper buzz bar ! :o

She certainly wasn't up to modern standards, but I like her because I tend to like old things that still work well-ish.

Anyway, I decided that while the chap was at it he could have the job of fitting a new main master off switch and replace my antique wife with a modern unit and test all the wiring, I thought I would use his training for something useful.

To be fair, he did a fantastic job for a very reasonable price; apart from the shoes :(

The problem is, since changing every time the wife does any ironing, using any socket in the house, it is almost guaranteed to knock her out. I have found her to be rather tempramental in operation and actually of limited usefulness.

My wife is a pain in the backside anyway and constantly needs resetting he he

What do you think hilldweller?

--------------------------

Not to be taken over-seriously he he

I think that according to the regulations which are also a British Standard, you should have your wife subject to a regular Inspection and Testing regime with Certification and Reporting.

I'll let you tell her !!

HD

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RichardB

I think that you don't let your wife read your postings, that's what I think !!!!!

HD

I read it to her, before posting it; that was just before "The Attack" and the last thing I remember before the Ambulance ... :rolleyes:

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RCD's work by continually comparing the instantaneous current flowing in the live conductor with the current in the neutral conductor. Any difference must be flowing back via earth. The ones fitted in consumer units are rated at 30 mA (0.03 Amps) leakage and usually trip at around 20 mA. If your wife's iron is tripping it all the time then the iron is faulty and potentially dangerous. Perhaps she's splashing water into the innerds when filling it ? I've had RCD's in every house for the last 20 years and the only time one tripped was when the outside light filled with water. A possibilty is a partial short from neutral to earth behind a socket somewhere, the small voltage due to volt-drop on the neutral is sufficient to cause an intermittent trip. I should replace your garage fittings with polycarbonate outside fittings, the sealing ensures that damp and wee beasties are kept out. RCD's are now required on all circuit wiring except where the wiring is buried 50 mm deep everywhere (almost impossible to achieve), according to the latest regs.

Hope this helps and buy her a new iron pronto.

HD

This one is pretty new and she says its the best iron she has ever had.

I'm not so sure it is the iron. I thijnk it is to do with the RCD's

My daughter who lives with her husband in Cambridgeshire moved house last year just before her first child was born.

They moved from an older house, with fuses, in St. Ives to a more modern property at Lytton, with RCD's

As soon as they moved she started having the same problem as us when she did the ironing, and with a young son now I suppose she has a lot of ironing to do.

Replacing her iron with a new one seems to have made little difference. :(

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Now to our next problem, the wife.

She's 1930's and fitted with her original fuse box, a nice wooden box with no master off switch at all containing a constantly live, uninsulated copper buzz bar ! :o

She certainly wasn't up to modern standards, but I like her because I tend to like old things that still work well-ish.

Anyway, I decided that while the chap was at it he could have the job of fitting a new main master off switch and replace my antique wife with a modern unit and test all the wiring, I thought I would use his training for something useful.

To be fair, he did a fantastic job for a very reasonable price; apart from the shoes :(

The problem is, since changing every time the wife does any ironing, using any socket in the house, it is almost guaranteed to knock her out. I have found her to be rather tempramental in operation and actually of limited usefulness.

My wife is a pain in the backside anyway and constantly needs resetting he he

What do you think hilldweller?

--------------------------

Not to be taken over-seriously he he

he hehe hehe helol

I can replace my faulty iron for a few quid, now replacing a faulty wife, - that's expensive ;-)

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I think that according to the regulations which are also a British Standard, you should have your wife subject to a regular Inspection and Testing regime with Certification and Reporting.

I'll let you tell her !!

HD

Hey Richard, is her name Pat?

All our electrical appliances at work have to be PAT tested lol

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  • 3 weeks later...

RCD's work by continually comparing the instantaneous current flowing in the live conductor with the current in the neutral conductor. Any difference must be flowing back via earth. The ones fitted in consumer units are rated at 30 mA (0.03 Amps) leakage and usually trip at around 20 mA. If your wife's iron is tripping it all the time then the iron is faulty and potentially dangerous. Perhaps she's splashing water into the innerds when filling it ? I've had RCD's in every house for the last 20 years and the only time one tripped was when the outside light filled with water. A possibilty is a partial short from neutral to earth behind a socket somewhere, the small voltage due to volt-drop on the neutral is sufficient to cause an intermittent trip. I should replace your garage fittings with polycarbonate outside fittings, the sealing ensures that damp and wee beasties are kept out. RCD's are now required on all circuit wiring except where the wiring is buried 50 mm deep everywhere (almost impossible to achieve), according to the latest regs.

Hope this helps and buy her a new iron pronto.

HD

New replacement iron bought and given a trial run on a load of washing

So far, no problems and no tripped out RCD's so it seems to have cured the problem.

However, she did say that here old iron didn't always trip the RCD's and sometimes she would "get away with it", while at other times (usually) it would trip them just once or twice and at other times they would just keep tripping out annoyingly.

How would you advertise an iron?

On the side of the box where it bullet points the features we came across one iron which said, -

"It gets creases out of clothes" :blink:

Talk about stating the obvious lol

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Stuart0742

New replacement iron bought and given a trial run on a load of washing

So far, no problems and no tripped out RCD's so it seems to have cured the problem.

However, she did say that here old iron didn't always trip the RCD's and sometimes she would "get away with it", while at other times (usually) it would trip them just once or twice and at other times they would just keep tripping out annoyingly.

How would you advertise an iron?

On the side of the box where it bullet points the features we came across one iron which said, -

"It gets creases out of clothes" :blink:

Talk about stating the obvious lol

My wife has got an Iron that puts "tramlines" into trousers, though it did not say so on the box

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My wife has got an Iron that puts "tramlines" into trousers, though it did not say so on the box

Sounds like someone else is in need of a new iron lol

That's the trouble with irons, they jusy aren't made to last a reasonable length of time any more. :angry:

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Stuart0742

Sounds like someone else is in need of a new iron lol

That's the trouble with irons, they jusy aren't made to last a reasonable length of time any more. :angry:

She's got a new iron, I bought her one for her **th birthday in February lol

She just can't iron trousers lol

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RichardB

This one is pretty new and she says its the best iron she has ever had.

I'm not so sure it is the iron. I thijnk it is to do with the RCD's

My daughter who lives with her husband in Cambridgeshire moved house last year just before her first child was born.

They moved from an older house, with fuses, in St. Ives to a more modern property at Lytton, with RCD's

As soon as they moved she started having the same problem as us when she did the ironing, and with a young son now I suppose she has a lot of ironing to do.

Replacing her iron with a new one seems to have made little difference. :(

I'm seriously considering keeping the old iron and getting a new wife ... ;-)

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