The case of the dangerous mains flex

Member: Slidertogrid

During the time I ran my own business I encountered a few of those “awkward” ones….

We had a policy of checking mains plugs and leads on customers repairs for wrong fuses and unsafe Joins etc. Any that were found were put right free of charge and the customer informed when the repair was collected.

One set, a Thorn 9000 had one of the most unsafe mains leads I had ever seen. The original lead had been cut and extended with a length of white doorbell wire. There were two bits of chock block with bare wires poking out and from one of those there was another pair of wires going to a male two pin plug!

I removed the lot and fitted a new mains lead to the set of the same length as the bodged cable had been. In retrospect maybe I should have rang the customer first. When he came to collect the set he asked what the bag was on top, I explained it was his old lead and that I had fitted a new one as that one was very dangerous. He went berserk! ” What! I plug my table lamp into that! put it back!”. I politely refused trying to explain that I would probably be responsible if someone was injured or worse!

What happened next surprised me a bit. He pushed the set over onto it’s screen, wrapped the lead around his hand and wrenched the lead (complete with flex grip and on/off switch) from the set! He threw the new lead on the floor, shouted some more abuse, picked up his set and stormed out! Luckily he had paid the bill before he saw the carrier bag and lost the plot!

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4 months ago

The TVs that came into the workshop with bare wires were usually those that shared plugs with one or even two other appliances, the wires being crammed in.
Advising the customer would bring one of a set of responses:
There’s only one socket
I can’t afford to buy pugs willy nilly*
Mind your own business and make it work

*This remark was quite apt in some locations such as council estates and housing associations that used the D&S plugs (with a fuse as the live pin). They were really expensive. Apparently the sockets were practically given away to electrical installers, the aim being to make their profit on the plugs.

Reply to  Sundog
4 months ago

I heard some savvy users of non standard sockets used to make adaptors with a plug at one end and a more standard multiway at the other.

Reply to  Sundog
4 months ago

I had forgotten about the D&S plugs but I saw very few. I always checked the plug wiring and fuse before anything else, and confirmed the chassis was at neutral. Chassis being at neutral went out the window with the half mains voltage chassis technique, horrible idea, but we managed.

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