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How to connect to outdoor armoured cable

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Hi. I want to run armoured cable from house to obs. shed, copying the commercial 'Armadillo' approach by terminating the armoured cable in a box on the outside house wall, then running a rubber cable from the box through the wall to an ordinary plug that will go into a RCD socket indoors. So a 'temporary' installation to sidestep Part P requirements.

What I'm not sure about is what sort of junction box I need for the house wall, and how to actually connect the 'indoor' cable to the end of the armoured cable: crimp connectors, connector block or what?. Also, can the rubber cable come through the wall straight into the back of the box, or does it have to come out through the wall then into the box from the side via a gland like the armoured cable?

Thanks for any advice.

Adrian

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Hi Adrian,

I am not 100% sure but believe you may have a legal issue if there should be a fire or damage related to an intallation by a non qualified electrician.

I am an electronics engineer but still employ someone to install cable outside.

Best regards

Chris

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You can do the laying of the cables yourself and get an electrician to do the testing and connection work. Or you can do all the work yourself if you are confident, but to comply with part P of the building regulations you will need the work checking and signing off by a competant person ie an NICEIC registerd electrician.

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Well done Darren,

That was what I meant to say in my rush to get a reply off!

Regards

Chris

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If it's on t'other end of a 13A fuse/plug socket does Part P apply? Isn't it just an extension cable?

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Hi Adrian.

I think the level of questions you are asking means that you should not undertake the cable termination yourself. find someone competent. Unfortunately many 'domestic' electricians are not. Take care with your choice. There are a lot of bodgit & scarper merchants around.

All this regulation & health & safety stuff really annoys me. I have over 30 years work in electronics behind me. Much in industrial controls, 415V machines, etc. Yet the mindless morons in grey suits think I can't put a couple of extra sockets in my house.

I don't want to frighten you too much, but....I have used two fully registered and qualified electricians in my house and regretted it. The first was recommended by the conservatory builder. He fitted a new consumer unit (fusebox) but failed to connect THREE earth wires. Fortunately I found these on MY inspection.

The second was recommended by the kitchen installer. He left a cable buried in plaster with a terminal block joint (dangerous & illegal) and left a socket unconnected. He had forgotten - but somehow included them in his test report!

Ask the guy questions as well as getting recommendations. Someone who does commercial & industrial work will generally be better, but more expensive.

Hope this helps but not frighten too much.

David.

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what i did was run a 30 mtr cable put it inside plastic pipe to my garage . house end it in a normal house plug socket . i have a cut off plug to the house end so it cant affect the house if it decides to blow, in the garage is a normal 4 pin socket, from there to my obsy and it works great

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Personally I'd always take the armoured cable through the wall and terminate in a suitably-rated junction box inside. That way there's nothing for the weather to get at. The hole through the wall should slope downwards from the inside to the outside, though I'd probably seal it with something waterproof as well and run the cable through a sleeve if I were feeling really paranoid. Not sure sleeving is required by the building regs for electricity cables off the top of my head -- I'd look it up if I were doing it.

James

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Hi Adrian,

If you have got power to your garage,and if it's not too far from your obsy why don't you just get a heavy duty extension cable and run that out when you want to observe.I'm sure it would be a lot less hassle ( and less expensive ) than laying an armoured cable.?

Cheers. John.

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Hi John. A long extension cable is just what I use too at the moment.

Now though, I really want to have power in the shed when I'm not observing too, e.g. for a dehumidifier, and for the soon-to-be-constructed adjacent summer house! So I think it's time to look for something a bit tidier.

Adrian

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When we moved in to our home in 2001 we had the electrics inspected as part of a separate survey. Other than suggestions on a re-wire withing 5 years, the inspector commented on the set up the previous owner had installed to a brick built shed at the top of the garden (40-50' away). The installation had (still has) armored 2.5mm cable laid along the fence at ground level terminating in a double ganged socket. From there a normal 4 way 1m extension cable is connected to one outlet in which a couple of lights and a freezer is connected. At the house end the cable comes through the wall, where the outer protection is then removed and the inner cable terminated on with a standard 13 amp plug which is plugged into a socket in the kitchen.

His comments were that everything was fine, but he would advise fitting an RCD in the kitchen to give protection, and if I was going to re-wire, feed the shed on its own circuit from the consumer unit. This was before they brought in part 16 (and later 17).

Now most people are confused over this regulation... the gray area is the term "competent person" - A qualified sparky told me that this means that if you have an understanding of electrics, know about using the right types of cable, and good building practice you can install the cables, sockets etc your self and do one of two things. 1) - have a qualified sparky check it out and connect it to the consumer unit and sign the installation off or 2) connect it yourself and then contact your local council inspector to sign it off.

The above only applies for a fixed installation. If you run your cable to the observatory, terminate one end with a socket and the other with a 13amp plug it's classed as an extension lead and not a fixed installation. The use of an RCD is always advisable.

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Malcolm's advise is spot on as I have just found out from a builder friend who has a few 'qualified' electricians working for him.

I am having a shower installed at my office and he explained that I can get my Brother who is installing the shower to put in the cable but get our qualified electrician to connect both ends.

Regards

Chris

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I've seen some of the work of so called electricians - not pretty!! :) My mother got her house rewired and instead of putting the cables in conduit in the plaster of the walls he put them on the surface. Looked a right mess. I made it good by channelling out the plaster, fitting the proper plastic conduit and replastering over the top. That was before redecorating. When I moved into a pre-war semi-detached bungalow some years ago I had an inspection by the building society who specified certain repairs to be done. I had to agree to get the work done so I could get a mortgage. Part of it was rewiring - it had the original pre-war rubber sheathed cabling and it was falling to bits. I did the rewiring myself and got it checked by a qualified electrician (can't remember if he was council or BS employed). I got the all clear and praise for a good job. I have also worked with a qualified electrician on house rewiring as well as doing my own electrics, so I do have some experience. If you're not either qualified or an experienced amateur I would not recommend doing this sort of work yourself. Get it wrong and you could end up dead (or cause the death of someone else).

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TO get power to my Obsy I just use a Caravan hookstyle Extension from the garage. a few mins to sort it and the network cable I hook up to the Obsy's hub.

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May I suggest that you take yourself down to a local large garden centre that has a tropical fish concession company on site. There you will find a box of parts specifically designed and assemble for taking power from indoors to the pond etc. Supplies up to about 2000 watts and comes with an ip65 multi outlet. The connection indoors is RCD into a convenient socket. ALL approved and meets Part p etc. However the kit is not cheap. Rcd + indoor cable + wall conector + Armoured cable (15, 30 or 45 metres) + multi outlet + 'safety items' about £200. It even comes with a long series drill for the hole through the wall.

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WOW! Not cheap indeed! My scope cost less than that. (Though admittedly I'm planning to upgrade later.)

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Part P is just one part of The Building Regulations and as stated looks after the electrical services within and external to domestic installations.

Ultimately any "Low Voltage" installation is required to comply to BS7671 2008 ( Up to 1000volts is classed as low voltage !).

If the external installation is to be of fixed type then you are required to comply with Part P & BS7671 2008 , this is not just a paperwork exercise but demonstrates that the installation is fit for purpose AND has been tested with a calibrated instrument to prove that it is operating as design including safe disconnection in the event of a fault. Just because something works does not mean its safe in the event of fault conditions.

If you are using an extension lead to power your equipment outside the home ALWAYS use an RCD,RCBO,RCCD or variant to comply with the aforementioned.(at the plug end ie house :) )

There are loads of Part P compliant scheme members to choose from if you go for a fixed installation , "Elecsa" , "NICEIC domestic installers" , "Napit "and possibly a few more. Always obtain a certificate from the installer/ tester and you wont go far wrong . Rob.

Edited by Multi-Coated

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Also when I was looking at getting electric to my shed a few years ago I was told that I not was able to extend the electric to the outakes because my house use a p.m.e earthing system and if I went ahead with it I would need to have a earth rod installed which you may know isnt just a case of sinking it in the ground,its putting it in the right place to.

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There are lots of 'academics' and 'grey suits' writing wiring regulations. There are lots of installers who think that they know how to interpret the regulations.

Unfortunately sometimes the academics and grey suits are not located in the real world of electricity in the home or workplace. There are also a significant number of installers who do not know how to correctly interpret the regulations or produce a sensible end product.

You need to find someone who is COMPETENT to do the work. Simply waving the 'membership' card for the 'approved body' is not, in my view, evidence of comptence.

I have seen far too many cases of stupidity from supposedly 'approved' persons to simply take their word for it.

If you are not confident to do thw work yourself, then find a competent person. Someone who quotes regulations by number/date etc is probably not competent. Someone who simply says it will cost ££xx and be done in a day has problably not thought about the technical side of the job.

Look for someone who says things like....

If I do it this way, and you get such a fault, then this will happen. However, if I do something different....

Find someone who looks at the installation on an individual basis. Someone who thinks about what you are trying to do. Someone who thinks about how the installation will handle misue or fault conditions.

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There are tabulated values clearly stated in the wiring regs , nothing vague or double meaning , clear installation requirements . Regulatory body / scheme members can at least demonstrate competence to gain membership . If you have work conducted not to these standards by a member you have comeback through the organisation and local Authority . No ifs buts or alternatives .

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Granted , you don't know if you are getting a time served electrician or 6 week electrical installer but you usually get what you pay for .Contact the scheme body and ask installers background and qualifications.

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Or you can do all the work yourself if you are confident, but to comply with part P of the building regulations you will need the work checking and signing off by a competant person ie an NICEIC registerd electrician.

This is incorrect - but is a common misconception.

You cannot get someone else to "sign off" your work in this manner - it's illegal to do so. It is only the local council's Building Control department (or their subcontractor) who inspects the work and issues a certificate.

It's all explained in the official approved document here <click>

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