View Full Version : An electrical conundrum.

31st May 2014, 09:19
OK, I've got a problem with a bit of electrical equipment but I'm totally confused over what is happening and wonder if anyone out there has a clue.

The situation is we've got a cordless phone which has a base station and several satellite stations each of which consists of a cordless phone, a charger and a charging cradle to hold the phone. The phone in the lounge (which gets most use) was losing charge and not charging properly so I thought that it probably needed new batteries. However to check I swapped it with one of the other phones and, lo and behold, it charged up fine - but the phone now in the lounge lost charge (it said it was charging but didn't).

So, the phone is probably ok but the charger or cradle is duff. So I swapped the charger for a different one, still no charge, so probably the cradle. So swapped cradle as well and that didn't work either. So now each component had been swapped and still the lounge phone wouldn't charge (even though it said it was) and the others worked fine. So I swapped the charger to a different socket and it now seems to have charged up ok.

"That's obvious", I hear you cry, "you've got a duff socket". But the thing is that the socket I swapped the charger to is the nearest and it's nearest because it's the other half of the two gang socket it was originally plugged into (it's now in the RH socket; it was in the LH). So it's effectively the same, must have the same mains supply, LH seems all ok (even got a light working out of the original, no problem, everything fine). Can anyone think of a reason it's working one side, not the other (as I said, same mains supply and all).

(I haven't got any test equipment, and wouldn't really know how to use it - I'm more a theoretician than a practical tool user).

31st May 2014, 09:24
Could be 'erosion' of the contacts within the socket caused by sparking between the charger and the socket.

We had a socket that went that way - it seemed to have a blackened coating on the contacts.

tony draper
31st May 2014, 09:29
Could just be one of the terminals behind the socket needs tightening down,mebee pushing the plug in one side flexes it enough for it to go open,I would just change the socket they are cheap enough,a monkey could change a socket.
does the socket also have switches? :confused:

31st May 2014, 09:35
When was the last time you had an EICR done ? Might be time to get a decent electrician round.

west lakes
31st May 2014, 10:07
EICR wouldn't show this.

If it is fine in one side of a double socket and not working in the other, it shows that the springs on the u/s side have lost their spring.

It cn be quite common when stuff is plugged in for a long time as they are usuall onlt brass od copper.

I'd advice getting the whole socket changed as if a high load item were to be used on the duff side you would be risking overheating

31st May 2014, 10:13
if a high load item were to be used on the duff side you would be risking overheating
That was how we discovered our problem - the plug became very warm.

31st May 2014, 10:14
Concur with changing the double socket. A quality one is only a fiver and I think you can legally change it yourself (i.e. non-qualified electrician) - tho' if you are not sure what you are doing at least get someone in who does.

31st May 2014, 11:54
Thanks gentlemen, I shall change it shortly (within my capabilities - just). The bit about stuff being plugged in for a long time seems to be most likely - stuff like that I just 'plug and forget'.

31st May 2014, 11:54
Similar thing here.

I bought a new dual DECT setup (Gigaset) a few months ago. It all works fine but I've noticed the remote base charges the phone in about a couple of hours, whereas the base unit takes about 6-8 hours.

Must try to remember to swap the phones into different chargers one day and see what happens.

tony draper
31st May 2014, 12:06
It were a safer world when we used clockwork.:=:rolleyes:
"Ma!!me mobile phone's gone flat".
"Well remember to wind the buggah up next time"

31st May 2014, 12:13
It were a safer world when we used clockwork.
Indeed, Thorens used to sell a clockwork shaver.

It wasn't cheap but it didn't need batteries.

Thorens Riviera Clockwork razor (http://www.paperandplastics.co.uk/otherthings/itemrazorthorensclockwork.php)

31st May 2014, 13:18
EICR wouldn't show this.

Maybe, maybe not .... who knows... but we potentially (if the guesses of the other posters are remotely correct) have a scenario where he may have some very dodgy wiring lurking around the place which could do with a decent inspection !

What is also clear is he's admitted he knows nothing about electricity and is a "theoretician than a practical tool user" and yet now contemplating changing wall sockets etc because some random people on the internet are suggesting it ... a visit by a competent electrician may not go amiss in either case !

west lakes
31st May 2014, 13:53
I'm sure MadsDad knows who to contact if he needs advice or assistance

31st May 2014, 14:18
Another possible option is that the earth is loose. This will cause the mains voltage to 'float' at a level which may be insufficient to charge the phone.

31st May 2014, 14:19
Mixture, I asdmit to being a 'theoretician rather than a practical tool user' on the grounds that the rest of my family (Father, Mechanical Engineer, brother Electrical Engineer (and due here shortly), me Software Engineer) is better qualified than me.

I would claim to be capable of changing a wall socket because I have done so in the past (and light sockets; and installing lighting and socket 'spurs'). But pints have been exchanged and a fully qualified electrician is due to pay a visit. (And, oddly enough, not brother - the fact that he is a time-served electrician never springs to mind).

31st May 2014, 14:26
When was the last time you had an ECG done ? It might reveal why you are messing around with old phones instead of donning your shell suit, climbing in your Honda Civic, and racing down to Argos to buy a new set of coms gear. Pick up some KFC on the way home and a pint of Coke.

Sorted !

Seriously I have had same problem. One charged, one did'na, did not seem to be a problem with the phone OR the base. Solution was new batteries all round.

OK, so now a laugh at my expense. As we have free internet phone lines I went out to the nearest Chinese Emporium and bought a proper phone to plug in a new socket 'n line I installed. Phone has ten memories. Brilliant ! Only thing is, memories delete every time I unplug my CAT5 line back to the router or reset the router. Ah-so ! (No it doesn't have a back up AA).

31st May 2014, 14:59
Ofso, phones are 18 months/2 years old. Not Argos admittedly but Currys is only a couple of doors away so close enough.

After yesterday don't want ECG. Got enough air in my brain anyway (I know they pump you full of air to get the test equipment round the corners). Oh, blast - I was thinking of an EEG.

cockney steve
31st May 2014, 19:34
Just to upset the apple-cart a bit, the charger will most likely have a computer-chip that regulates and monitors the charge on the battery and the charging voltage....perhaps, for some reason , this has gone haywire and unplugging it has reset the "brain"
before needlessly changing stuff, why not refit it to the "offending" socket and see if, in fact, it merely wanted a reset.?
strange stuff, this modern electrickery.

31st May 2014, 22:30
......strange stuff, this modern electrickery.And don't remove a blown light bulb from a ceiling socket until you have the new one ready to put in its place - if you leave the socket empty, all the lecky stuff will leak out over the floor.

( advice given by Thurbers' Aunt - whoever he / she was circa. 1900 )

My only difficulty when replacing sockets, switches, etc is when I'm faced with those on two-way circuits, i.e. top of stairs and bottom of stairs activating the same light. Can never work out which is the master, and which the slave, wires. ( To coin a phrase ) Usually manage to sort it out after I've blown the master fuse a few times, tho'.

Raging Bulls have no contest when it comes to rates electricians charge around here.

1st Jun 2014, 05:44
if you leave the socket empty, all the lecky stuff will leak out over the floor.

This doesn't apply to those upward-pointing sockets in wall lamps, table lamps etc. Electrons are extremely light in weight but don't drift upwards.

1st Jun 2014, 07:40
This doesn't apply to those upward-pointing sockets in wall lamps, table lamps etc. Electrons are extremely light in weight but don't drift upwards.

Not A Lot Of People Know That ! ( apologies to Michael Caine )

1st Jun 2014, 13:35
I'm faced with those on two-way circuits, i.e. top of stairs and bottom of stairs activating the same light. Can never work out which is the master, and which the slave, wires.Never fear, these days, everything is available on the Interweb :ok:

Two Way Light Switch Wiring (http://www.electronics-project-design.com/LightSwitchWiring.html)

1st Jun 2014, 14:51
Fine ! Until you get four floors and four switches.:sad:

Ancient Observer
1st Jun 2014, 15:00
The soppy buggers who wired up our house, (built in 1979) installed a 12 gang switch set, half of which have dimmers, and three of the switches are 2 way.

I've asked two local leccies for help to update it all. Both ran away.

Fernin loonies.

Back to the OP - Change the plugs.

1st Jun 2014, 15:58
Fine ! Until you get four floors and four switches.:sad:Wiki is your friend.

But this is an American sourced article and can confuse Englishmen and other Britons. :=


cockney steve
2nd Jun 2014, 22:16
As far as I'm aware, standard UK arrangements allow for, standard one -way switching, 2-way switching, achieved by having 2, single-pole changeover switches, which are strapped together with 3 conductorsand the line feed goes to one common and comes out on one of the switched terminals(usually a twin, dropped from the ceiling-fitting)
The same setup can bemade to switch at 3 positions, via an intermediate-switch. I have only fitted one in 50 years! cannot remember how it was configured, but seem to rememberthat it involved breaking into the straps connecting the two ends of the switching circuit.
(possibly a double-pole changeover (DPDT), but it was a standard MK switch)
I fitted a switch at the foot of the stairs, one at the top, next to a bedroom door, the other switch was at the end of a long, dark landing which ran back parallel with the stairs and had the other two bedroom doors at the far end. Two landing-bulbs and a pendant over the stairs were controlled by this arrangement, so any bedroom occupant could easily acess a switch to light the communal areas.
Bit of an overkill but I did it simply because i could. :8

2nd Jun 2014, 23:50
If there's a dimmer, then it's tricky.
Otherwise, double-changeover light switches are available: you can have as many as you like on any light, and switch it from as many places as you like. I have that on the hall light here: switch from downstairs, top of the stairs, or far end of the upstairs hall.