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Weird electrical happening

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    Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 4:48pm
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Apologies for the non fishing related subject but hoping some electrical oriented member (Smudge perhaps) may be able to shed some light on a rather mysterious event.
 
We have been in our present house for over 10 yrs now & over that time a wall switch has controlled three lights namely two in the lounge & one over the dining table.
 
This switch has always  as per normal ie up for off & down for on, but for some unknown reason has suddenly switched (no pun intended ) to the US system of up for on & down for off.
 
Anyone able to shed some light on the probable cause ... & no ... it is not wired on a two way switch system for a fourth light elsewhere.
 
The only change in the time we have lived here was having ducted heat pumps installed about 12 mths or more & the control box is 30cm above the errant switch ... hard to imagine that could be the cause as was only about a fortnight ago it decided to change to US configuration .... would not put it past their noble leader Donald Trumph no less ... after all, who doesn't like a good conspiracy !
  
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote SaltyC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 4:58pm
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Bazza, the only explanation would be another switch wired to the same lights that is now turned on. Most likely on the other side of the room.

I know that will be hard to believe after 10 years but I have seen it before.A switch near the front door that the owners thought switched on an outside light, so was always off, but was actually a second switch for the room lights.

I guess someone, with evil intent, may have actually removed and either rewired the switch backwards or even turned it upside down.

Are you being gaslighted?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Skoti Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 5:39pm
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I blame 5G and corona virus .
Also because this is a fishing forum I'm going to add the comms Angry

But SaltyC is probably on to it Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 6:09pm
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Hehe, I was a sparky in a previous life Bazza. I'm afraid i have to agree with SaltyC & Skoti. While I have seen many spooky electrical faults in my time - one was just yesterday and it took me a full 30 seconds to understand. Warning! FIGJAM story ahead! 

Once I had a fault in my house so I called Counties Power and told them about it. They sent a serviceman the next day. They called me back and told me that the fault I explained wasn't possible. I told the poor lady who called me back what the problem was and she agreed to put me on to the serviceman.

When I asked the guy to check the star point at the pole transformer he went quiet. He called me back a little later on and said that was the fault.

If I had a dollar for everyone who argued with me about a diagnosis I'd be at least $5 better off.

Sorry mate if i wasn't so busy (home reno's after 25 years of neglect) I'd offer to help but I'm 95 to 96% sure that there is a switch somewhere you don't know about.

Go on a switch hunt and operate every switch you find - including that one behind the curtains - and after each one try the switch you're worried about.

I have lost count (I only have 6 fingers on each hand) of the times that this sort of thing has happened where the home owner is absolutely convinced that they have checked everything.

Check your switches otherwise I'll be free to have a look in about 2 years
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Catchelot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 6:59pm
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As above... not physically possible for a single point of switches.

I have several in my house where certain rooms have two switches at both ends.

That will be the issue Baz, so lift a few curtains maybe look behind a wall unit for example and you will find a hidden switch.Clap

Maybe Lady/Madam Bazza hit the other switch and tamed your spark! LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Big -Dave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 7:31pm
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Originally posted by smudge smudge wrote:

Hehe, I was a sparky in a previous life Bazza. I'm afraid i have to agree with SaltyC & Skoti. While I have seen many spooky electrical faults in my time - one was just yesterday and it took me a full 30 seconds to understand. Warning! FIGJAM story ahead! 

Once I had a fault in my house so I called Counties Power and told them about it. They sent a serviceman the next day. They called me back and told me that the fault I explained wasn't possible. I told the poor lady who called me back what the problem was and she agreed to put me on to the serviceman.

When I asked the guy to check the star point at the pole transformer he went quiet. He called me back a little later on and said that was the fault.

If I had a dollar for everyone who argued with me about a diagnosis I'd be at least $5 better off.

Sorry mate if i wasn't so busy (home reno's after 25 years of neglect) I'd offer to help but I'm 95 to 96% sure that there is a switch somewhere you don't know about.

Go on a switch hunt and operate every switch you find - including that one behind the curtains - and after each one try the switch you're worried about.

I have lost count (I only have 6 fingers on each hand) of the times that this sort of thing has happened where the home owner is absolutely convinced that they have checked everything.

Check your switches otherwise I'll be free to have a look in about 2 years

LoL, I have that story to tell as well..a burnt neutral on the back of a transformer..

As far as bazzas fault, I agree that it will be another switch somewhere..
you can't fix an idiot with duct tape, but it does muffle them for a while...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote bazza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 8:37pm
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Originally posted by SaltyC SaltyC wrote:

Bazza, the only explanation would be another switch wired to the same lights that is now turned on. Most likely on the other side of the room.

I know that will be hard to believe after 10 years but I have seen it before.A switch near the front door that the owners thought switched on an outside light, so was always off, but was actually a second switch for the room lights.

I guess someone, with evil intent, may have actually removed and either rewired the switch backwards or even turned it upside down.

Are you being gaslighted?

Never had gaslight but can remember as a kid we were really poor, so on a cold night dad would put a candle in the center of a room & we would all huddle around it to get warm.

On really cold nights he would sometimes even light it ! 
Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn't fit any of your containers.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote SaltyC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 8:49pm
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Come on, Bazza, Gaslight, the movie, right out of your era, 1944,Ingrid Bergmann, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotton............
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 9:03pm
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Yep agree. Have a similar system in  a house and that is pretty well the only explanation. A 2 way switching system somewhere - that you are just about to discover Bazza. Your property value has just gone up - all the mod cons. Forget the candles.
I could tell you the time we had a bad neutral in to the house - and bluffed a bunch of sparkys. Another day.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 9:07pm
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Hehe the old bad neutral trick. Certainly has caught a few out. Go on that switch hunt Bazza
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote pjc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2020 at 11:17pm
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Turn switch upside down :bazza"
She said you're deaf.No I have selective hearing.And thats when it started.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Goobernator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2020 at 9:42am
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Or turn every other switch upside down so they match, except the one you can't find, that one can stay what ever position you don't find it in
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote wayno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2020 at 10:11am
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Unscrew the errant switch from the wall and check the wires connected to it, if there is only 2 red wires connected to 2 of the 3 terminals, then you have a 1,000,000-1 weird fault in the switch. Go buy a lotto ticket!

Most likely you will find all 3 terminals will have a red (or black) wire in them which will confirm 2-way switching. (some older houses were wired with the red/black/green - or bare wire - all used for 2-way switch wiring, sometimes sleeved or taped red, sometimes not), which generated work for us sparkies when the homeowner decides to replace fittings and forgets to take a photo of the connections before disconnecting the wires 

edit. more recent wiring for 2-way will most likely be in a 3-core red/yellow/blue coloured wires.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2020 at 6:48pm
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As a sparky I can endorse what Wayno says Bazza. I will take you at your word that you haven't changed anything which means you really do need to go on a switch hunt. there is a remote possibility however that one of the switches has stuck contacts if indeed there are two switches. chances are though that there is another switch somewhere that you don't know its function

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Big -Dave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2020 at 8:15pm
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Just like the toilet seat, sometimes it's up, sometimes it's down...get used to it...
you can't fix an idiot with duct tape, but it does muffle them for a while...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote bazza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2020 at 7:19pm
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As you guys advised I went on a hidden swtch that we did not know existed & "whadda u no" hidden behind one of the French doors between the lounge & living room lurked a two way switch that did not appear to have any purpose other than to upset the configuration of the useful one ... simply flicked it ... viola ... everything back to the way it should be.   

Am beginning to think there is an electrician out there that has a warped  SOH because :- as in most houses ours has a hall cupboard that invariably gets crammed full of things like bubble wrap, material offcuts, ribbons, string etc all stuff that might come in handy one day but if ever a need presents itself then its existence is forgotten so more is purchased & any excess not used is relegated to the shelves in the said cupboard .... come on, admit it you also have one of those !

A couple of years back was fossicking thru our personal treasure trove of jetsam looking for something or other. Cannot recall if I found it but in the process discovered a hidden away switch presuming if activated it would shine some light but when it didn't, concluded the bulb must be blown so decided would search later on for the phantom light. Thought no more about it as became preoccupied with the fact the temperature of our hot water was dropping until after 3 or 4 days was running stone cold.

Commonsense prevailed for once & rather than deciding to DIY called in a plumber/electrician repairman. As the cylinder is in the ceiling the poor guy had to work in the semi dark, heat & the affects of bats insulation. He obviously knew what he was doing as in short order showed us some suspect wiring that could well cause a fire.

After fixing that he became increasingly puzzled as to why no power was getting to the element & tried replacing this & that to no avail so he also went on a hidden switch hunt asking where all the switches were & at some stage I must have recalled the cupboard switch ... viola ... a flick of the switch & everything working again.
Can anyone here give a valid reason for putting a water heater control switch remotely hidden away in a obscure cupboard ?????

Then there was the time when building our first house had marked on the plan layout where we wanted switches & power points located with the exception of the main bedroom power points which I said did not really matter as probably would only be used for vacuuming & suchlike.

Where did he decide to install it ( reckon he must have been chuckling ) as he screwed it in place about 30cm above the floor & dead center between the two bed reading lights ... go figure !
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Catchelot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2020 at 7:31pm
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Glad your detective work found the hidden switch Baz, oh and I don't have a cupboard full of crap, mine is tidied away in labelled boxes in said cupboard.LOL

Glad you learnt about the hot water switch although a weird place to have it....Confused

Alas, I have the odd electrical issues as my house has 132 light bulbs. The previous precious owner worked at Lighting Plus... and I have been slowly reverting it all over to LED. Cheaper to run and they last a lot longer. Eg Kitchen was 8 X 100W spots, now 8 X 7W LEDS. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Big -Dave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2020 at 9:12pm
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Once upon a time, I bet that hot water cylinder was in that cupboard.
As an electrician, when someone wants to move a door, cut a hole in a wall, etc, sorting out the cluster [email protected]#k of wiring can be very difficult, if not near impossible to sort..and leaving a switch behind a curtain is sometimes an expedient option..
you can't fix an idiot with duct tape, but it does muffle them for a while...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2020 at 9:22pm
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i have 'fixed' plenty of no hot water faults simply by turning a switch on Bazza. Another classic is when an electric range gets switched on to auto. Only half the stuff works.
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