WHAT IS THE LEGALLY CORRECT METHOD TO USE WHEN CONNECTING A SIMPLE GU10 230 V TAIL IN A CEILING VOID?
By Cecil Lancaster, Regional Director, Bosveld region
The advice that the ECA(SA) gives its members has to be in line with legislation and reasonability. At the ECA we regularly receive enquiries that could be described as ‘challenging’.
A wholesaler recently approached us with a contentious issue – the ongoing debate about how one should install GU10 230 V tails for recessed down lighters.
The wholesaler says they have come across electricians who say that a simple insulated 15 A connector block is sufficient in an open ceiling cavity and then again, there are other electricians who say that the connection needs to be in either a small junction box and/or a round PVC loop in a box with a lid.
The wholesaler asked the ECA(SA) to clarify: What is the legal method that must be used when connecting a simple GU10 230 V tail in a ceiling?
To clarify: Firstly, distinction must be drawn between new installations and the certification of existing installations.
New installations must be 100% compliant. Existing installations sometimes require some relaxation, as the work was previously done by others, the budget is tight, and the minimum requirement is the general safety principles of the code, and reasonable safety.
First prize, and non-negotiable for new installations, is to use the proper 230 V luminaire with an approved termination system from the outset.
Unfortunately, the practice to use or convert 12 V luminaires without lampholders, and then to add 230 V lampholders has taken root. This is not recommended as it is not approved or designed for that application, but is rather modified to ‘make a plan’.
The next best method to use when retrofitting 12 V luminaires to 230 V is to use the kit which provides a termination facility and fixing and earthing
We have come across a method being used by some electricians that is not acceptable – where only a 230 V lampholder with leads is used.
This method is definitely not recommended, and should only be considered if it is already part of an existing installation, and where replacement would not be practical.
Nevertheless, compliance of the termination to subclause 5.2.1 of SANS 10142-1 remains non-negotiable, and particular attention needs to be paid to clause 126.96.36.199.
5.2.1 Live parts
It shall not be possible to touch any live part within arm’s reach with the standard test finger (see SANS 60529)
a) during normal operation, or
b) when a cover is removed, unless the cover is removed with the use of a tool or a key.
Clause 6.3.7 Joints and terminations
188.8.131.52. Joints and terminations of cables, cores and conductors shall be made in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions or the appropriate part of SANS 10198. Flexible cables shall only be joined using termination boxes, cable couplers or manufacturers’ jointing kits. All joints shall be accessible, protected against strain, and protected in accordance with 5.2.1, except for joints made and sealed permanently and intended to be maintenance free.
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