Author Topic: Power boxes in the Phils  (Read 3665 times)

Offline JoeLP

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Power boxes in the Phils
« on: May 17, 2014, 09:01:20 AM »
Tina and i are still in the "building process" of our home.  Sorta did the "build the bedroom and bathroom and move in and build the rest as we go system. 
We hired an electrician.  I saw some of his work, and he's Tina's cousin.  So happy with the work I saw, we picked him.  He comes in and starts doing the whole "put a breaker here, put a breaker there" set up and what I saw from his work were electrical boxes like we use in the US. 
So I ask him why no power box with breakers or even fuses.  He tells me his system is better because each room has it's own breaker next to the room.  All I'm thinking is each room has an ugly looking box with a big switch sitting on the wall.  I then go look at the local building supply and see the boxes are small and only handle about 6 lines/breakers each.
Now, my dad is a journeyman electrician.  So, I call him up and ask if we can just throw in a box from the US and run both 220/240 and 110/120 lines.  The extent of my work in electrical setup was running lines through walls fo rmy dad and hooking up light switches and outlets and lights.  That's it.  He tells me he doesn't have the foggiest clue.  He said the US has a set up for amp and volt flow in the areas he's work.  That is why he can pretty much go to any home depot or lowe's and just buy any box/breakers and set it up.  He said a lot has to do with the supply you get.
So now, I'm asking those on here, can I just go buy any box/have one sent and then plug in both 110/120 and 200/240 breakers like is done in the US?  I know that for the 110/120 there will need to be a ground wire run and that's cool.  We actually made sure the electrician ran ground already.  So we have a ground spike to hook onto. 
Basically, the whole house will have 220/240 wires, but in the kitchen I'd like to run a coule 110/120 lines and in the bedroom one also.  I brougnt some nice kitchenaid appliances from the US and a few electronics also.
So, in the US our boxes had pretty much all 110/120 breakers with a few 220/240 for the AC/furnice/etc..  I was hoping, as stated above to flip that for here in the Phils.  Is that realistic?
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Offline BingColin

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2014, 10:07:16 AM »
Just a suggestion. Why not just run the whole house on 220v and use transformers for the 110v equipment. Your 110v stuff will eventually expire and, most likely, be replaced with 220v versions. You are then left with redundant 110v wiring.

The Philippines uses the same outlets for 220v as the US 110v. There is a high risk that at some time someone, perhaps a maid, will plug your 110v stuff into the 220v and fry it. If you do go ahead with your 110v wiring you should use different style outlets and change the plugs on the equipment.  If you do use transformers it would be a good idea to tape/tie/fix the 110v plugs to them.

A related problem is bringing equipment from the UK. The voltage is OK but anything that has a timer synchronised to the mains frequency will run 20% fast because of the change from 50Hz to 60Hz.

I recommend that anyone bringing electrical equipment to the Philippines check carefully and maybe think twice about doing it.

Offline hitekcountry

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2014, 11:35:52 AM »
So I ask him why no power box with breakers or even fuses.  He tells me his system is better because each room has it's own breaker next to the room.

I don't understand this system of his that he claims is better. If it is non standard it may well be he doesn't know what he is doing. You can wire up a house and have it work or should I say it can appear to work fine but be a disaster waiting to happen.

there's a whole lot more than just hooking up wires to being an electrician.

With out seeing it I can't make a judgement  but what you describe raises questions/concerns. 

Offline BingColin

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 12:34:53 PM »
So I ask him why no power box with breakers or even fuses.  He tells me his system is better because each room has it's own breaker next to the room.

I don't understand this system of his that he claims is better. If it is non standard it may well be he doesn't know what he is doing. You can wire up a house and have it work or should I say it can appear to work fine but be a disaster waiting to happen.

there's a whole lot more than just hooking up wires to being an electrician.

With out seeing it I can't make a judgement  but what you describe raises questions/concerns.

I can't see that having the breakers distributed around the house instead of all in one place need be a problem, just different.

In the UK we have one or two loops of heavy duty cable around the house with suitable fuses in each equipment plug.

In our house here we have two breaker boxes, one on each floor.

Offline hitekcountry

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2014, 01:39:03 PM »
Like I said without seeing it I canít make a judgment

And youíre right you can distribute the breakers without a problem but you would need to feed with adequate current carrying conductors and fuse properly.

You say you have two breaker panels, well that is still quit a standard setup having a sub panel on each floor is not at all unusual and in the right instances makes a lot of sense. I've done that many times myself. Having one in every room doesnít make any sense.

If he has the engineering knowledge to configure a nonstandard system safely, then great. There are a lot of people that call themselves electricians that do not.

Iíll repeat againówithout seeing it I canít make a judgment, but does raise questions.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 02:17:25 PM by hitekcountry »

Offline JoeLP

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2014, 07:43:13 PM »
Colin, whether by luck, or otherwise, all the 110 items I brought have the ground prong on them.  So they wouldn't work with any of the 220v i have in the house.  So that saves that.  Even the electronics I brought use that 3rd prong.  So it will be more likely that they may try using a 220 appliance on one of the 110 outlets, than the other way around. 
That said, I do see the same kitchenaid appliances I bought even here in little catarman, let alone probably much easier to find in Manila.  So what yous said is also a good idea with the transformers.  Probably smart in fact for the electronics even if not using it for the 110.  Tina's family has lost 2 tvs to the surges the local power grid experiences.  Their last one a nice LED tv. 

hitecountry,
I am not 100% correct on the way i described it.  Basically, the way he runs it is a box at the wires coming into the house, but then for each circuit, he runs the wire from the box to an "inline" breaker with it's own recepticle box.  With a big switch.  I have a problem with these breakers.  Not anything I myself have ever experienced, the German near where I live had that style wiring done in his house when it was built.  He said water go into one line and sparks flew everywhere for about 4 minutes.  He was on the other side of house and thought it was his son playing a game.  Point being, the breaker never popped.  Maybe he had a bad breaker, I don't know.  But it does concern me having a 220 wire hit water, pop and shoot flame out of the outlet, and the breaker doesn't pop.  I much rather go with a 12-16 line electrical box.

Hope that clears it up.
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Offline BingColin

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2014, 09:02:33 PM »
Colin, whether by luck, or otherwise, all the 110 items I brought have the ground prong on them.  So they wouldn't work with any of the 220v i have in the house.  So that saves that.  Even the electronics I brought use that 3rd prong.  So it will be more likely that they may try using a 220 appliance on one of the 110 outlets, than the other way around. 
That said, I do see the same kitchenaid appliances I bought even here in little catarman, let alone probably much easier to find in Manila.  So what yous said is also a good idea with the transformers.  Probably smart in fact for the electronics even if not using it for the 110.  Tina's family has lost 2 tvs to the surges the local power grid experiences.  Their last one a nice LED tv. 

hitecountry,
I am not 100% correct on the way i described it.  Basically, the way he runs it is a box at the wires coming into the house, but then for each circuit, he runs the wire from the box to an "inline" breaker with it's own recepticle box.  With a big switch.  I have a problem with these breakers.  Not anything I myself have ever experienced, the German near where I live had that style wiring done in his house when it was built.  He said water go into one line and sparks flew everywhere for about 4 minutes.  He was on the other side of house and thought it was his son playing a game.  Point being, the breaker never popped.  Maybe he had a bad breaker, I don't know.  But it does concern me having a 220 wire hit water, pop and shoot flame out of the outlet, and the breaker doesn't pop.  I much rather go with a 12-16 line electrical box.

Hope that clears it up.

For any expensive electronic equipment I would recommend using the extension leads with built in surge suppressors. I use them on my computer and TV. I also bought a voltage regulator which was necessary at the rented place, but not now at our own house.

When we were renting we had a short in the mains wire leaving the house. A great firework display that entertained the neighbours, and that didn't trip the breaker.

Offline hitekcountry

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2014, 02:50:30 AM »
Your neighbor had a shorting condition with sparks flying everywhere that lasted several minutes without the system shutting itself down and you say that is basically the same configuration as your ďelectricianĒ is using on your house?

 What happened to your neighbor doesnít surprise me at all; actually itís one of the many things I would be concerned about.

The only solution to all this is to have a competent electrician look over what is being done.

The problem there is what Iíve mentioned before that there are a lot of people that call themselves electricians that are nothing more than installers of wire and equipment but with little or no engineering knowledge.

This is the reason for having an electrical code, it makes it possible for a person who has little or no knowledge of the technical issues involved to install a safe system as long as they follow the code.

One should not compare the electrical code with government regulations which are often based on pure nonsense. The electrical code (not created by any government) is a well thought out document based on solid scientific principles and the feedback of actual experiences over time.
Follow it.

Anyone that thinks theyíre smart enough to ignore and stray from following the electrical code falls into the category of not knowing what they donít know.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 03:02:13 AM by hitekcountry »

Offline hitekcountry

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 01:25:09 AM »

So now, I'm asking those on here, can I just go buy any box/have one sent and then plug in both 110/120 and 200/240 breakers like is done in the US?  I know that for the 110/120 there will need to be a ground wire run and that's cool.  We actually made sure the electrician ran ground already.  So we have a ground spike to hook onto. 
Basically, the whole house will have 220/240 wires, but in the kitchen I'd like to run a coule 110/120 lines and in the bedroom one also.  I brougnt some nice kitchenaid appliances from the US and a few electronics also.
So, in the US our boxes had pretty much all 110/120 breakers with a few 220/240 for the AC/furnice/etc..  I was hoping, as stated above to flip that for here in the Phils.  Is that realistic?

JoeLP
You didnít get an answer addressing that specific question. The answer is no. the voltages that you are wanting to get have absolutely nothing to do with the panel or the breakers. Everything is dependent on the transformer out on the power pole that supplies the electricity to your house. If that transformer is the usual 220v with one leg grounded then swapping panels and breakers is never going to give you a 110/220 system.
You would need an ďAmerican standardĒ transformer out on the power pole, one that has a three wire output, with what are normally referred to as two hot wires and a center tap neutral wire that is tied to ground and with that configuration feeding your ďAmerican standardĒ panel with 110 and 220 breakers you would then have a 110/220 system.
Everything is dependent on the transformer supplying your house.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 06:30:50 AM by hitekcountry »

Offline JoeLP

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 01:09:05 AM »
hitecountry,
thank you very much.  when I asked my electrician this, he just said "no".  When i asked why, he looked at me as if to seek if i was joking, then said "won't work".  And that's it. 
btw, I bumped into him.  Asked him why he didn't use a "power box" in my house like he did in the commercial places I seen that he did the wiring work at. he went into some "for commerce you need, not for house" and more mumble jumble. 
I sorta get the feeling that he doesn't like me or something.  sorta getting and odd feeling from him.  time to find a new electrician.  I tell Tina this and I find she has another cousin who is even considered a master eletrician and is head electrician for his barangay now, and was in that position for the city of Catarman under the previous mayor.  Will probably use him going forward.
But again, a huge thanks in explaining the transformer and it's importance.  It makes sense, I just never thought about it that far outside the home. 
In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

Offline graham

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2014, 09:57:36 AM »
JoeLP,

Smart move to let your electrician go. I used the Barangay Elect. here
and he installed a 3 wire grounded system for my house. Which I would recommend
you do. Also install an Earth Leakage Device (ELD)  Don't know what it is
called in the U.S. I have one and it saved our maid we used to have, from
getting electrocuted. She washed a wall down along with a power outlet,
while standing in our wet shower in bare feet!

Graham

Offline Lee2

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2014, 10:07:26 AM »
I think the this is what you are referring to that is used in the US
GFCI- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter  http://tinyurl.com/p4qna9y

What is a GFCI? A ground fault circuit interrupter is an electrical device installed to protect against severe electric shocks. GFCIís could also reduce electrocutions and minimize electrical burns and shock injuries. A GFCI integrates a ground fault protection in receptacles where electrical equipment is near water or might be in contact with water. Ground fault circuit interrupter also detects ground faults and interrupts the flow of electric current. A GFCI is not and might not be used to replace a fuse.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline JoeLP

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2014, 11:45:43 AM »
Do they have GFI outlets here in the Phils?  In Michigan builders code we had to have GFI outlets installed in every bathroom, and other areas near water(kitchen, utility room,etc) along with the breakers/fuses in the box. 

All I know so far I is I'm leery of the "breaker" system they use here, and I have yet to see a GFI outlet.  In fact, I think if i was to go to the local builders supply, they'd give me the "what the hell are you talking about" look if I asked for one.  Took me 3 minutes to explain I was looking for a phillips screwdriver bit.  They kept getting drill bits.  Then finally they realized what I was asking for and said they didn't have.
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Offline hitekcountry

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2014, 03:16:40 PM »
Donít use an American 110v GFCI outlet or device in the Philippines on a 220v circuit. I mentioned in a separate thread that I would have no problem with getting the 110v standard outlets from the US and using them in the Philippines on a 220v circuit but I didnít mean to include GFCI devices in that statement.

Offline hitekcountry

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Re: Power boxes in the Phils
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2014, 06:20:31 AM »
Do they have GFI outlets here in the Phils?  In Michigan builders code we had to have GFI outlets installed in every bathroom, and other areas near water(kitchen, utility room,etc) along with the breakers/fuses in the box. 

All I know so far I is I'm leery of the "breaker" system they use here, and I have yet to see a GFI outlet.  In fact, I think if i was to go to the local builders supply, they'd give me the "what the hell are you talking about" look if I asked for one.  Took me 3 minutes to explain I was looking for a phillips screwdriver bit.  They kept getting drill bits.  Then finally they realized what I was asking for and said they didn't have.

GFI (Ground Fault Interrupt) or GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt) are what they are commonly called in the US and Canada. Some other names are RCD, (Residual Current Device) which is what I believe it is called in the Philippines, ELD (Earth Leakage Device) and there are more names than that. Be aware that not all devices that fall under these names are created equal. There are different levels of sensitivity and some are designed for the protection of electrical equipment and not humans. Some of the devices that are designed for the protection of electrical equipment may provide little or even no protections to humans at all. Just make sure the device is for human protection.

Residual Current Device is the name I would consider the more technically accurate. Thatís just my preference.

In any case , RCD or GFI whatever, definitely use them theyíre life savers.