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Posted By Topic: Light sockets

COYS1
Oct 25 2019 19:11

Sorry this may have already been covered, but is a surface socket installed solely for the purpose of supplying a light considered to be a socket outlet or a lighting point under the regs?
   

AlecK
Oct 25 2019 20:19

what says it can't be both?
   

DougP
Oct 25 2019 22:01

Can you explain the reason for your question?
   

COYS1
Oct 26 2019 08:20

DougP

2.6.3.4

Went to a house where a couple of lights had been clearly added within the last couple of years, connected to surface sockets added to an existing lighting cicuit. Initially i questioned whether the previous sparky (or perhaps not a sparky depending on who did it) should have RCD protected the sub-circuit. I then questioned my thinking that it maybe considered a lighting point, therefore exempt. Is anyone really likely to plug in a tv and watch a movie in their roof space? Im not sure why they didn't previously just hardwire in the lights.
   

AlecK
Oct 26 2019 09:35

The applicable rule is 2.6.3.4, covering additions to existing circuit WRT RCD protection.
That rule is a bit of a mess, due to the way it has developed over the years. Mostly in how the Exceptions have developed; starting out as Exceptions to all of 2.6.3 but more recently being treated as if applying only to 2.6.3.4. The 2018 edition's restructuring of the entire clause makes it clearer; but we have to comply with 2007+A1+A2.

As my first response suggested, these sockets are both lighting points and socket outlets. As such, they have to comply with requirements for both.

As socket outlets, the main clause says they require RCD protection.
As lighting points, Exception 2 says they don't need RCD if added to existing circuit that supplies nothing but lighting points, and that doesn't already have RCD protection.
Because they are lighting points as well as being socket outlets, the Exception arguably switches off the RCD requirement. Or, equally arguably, not. Basically as the rule developed, seems no-one thought about what would happen for cases like this.

Under 2018; this word-juggling isn't needed because the rule has been simplified. No reference to adding lighting points. Just the basic rule that sockets added must have RCD, and the Exception switching off that requirement for any case where an RCD wouldn't be required for a new subcircuit. And there are NO Exceptions that would allow such sockets to not have RCD if they were part of a new final subcircuit in Residential. Which gives us a strong indication of which argument is accepted by the rule-writers.

That Exception for extending lighting circuits was removed simply because it wasn't doing anything useful; it just caused confusion.
As indicated above, it stated out as part of a list of Exceptions to entire 2.6.3; and the intended effect was to switch off 2.6.3.1, so that you needed RCD protection for a new lighting subcircuit; but not for an extension. Which should have been obvious, because an extension is not an entire final subcircuit - but I suppose when all this was new it was put there to provide some clarity on that point. However because all these original Exceptions were placed at the end, after all 4 subclauses, some people started reading them - incorrectly - as applying to just the adds-&-alts subclause.

So the answer is that these sockets should have been protected by an RCD; but the installers could reasonably have believed that RCD wasn't needed.