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Domestic electrical advice

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Domestic electrical advice

Old 20th Apr 2021, 12:46
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: 5Y
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Domestic electrical advice

I need to buy a bunch of (UK spec) basic domestic electrical stuff; sockets, light fittings, switches etc. Any thoughts on good quality makes? Iíve seen so many low quality fittings that pull out of the wall because thereís no proper fastening to the back box, or switches failing because a bit of brass falls out of place. There seem to be a lot of online sources with good variety and reasonable cost, but I canít physically handle the bits before ordering. So any advice on a manufacturer/source to seek out or avoid?

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Old 20th Apr 2021, 13:11
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I've just wired my house with (almost) exclusively MK fittings, the Logic range. The sparky insisted in using a Crabtree pull cord switch for the 10kW shower heater, it's a bit bulky but the wires would never have gone in the MK equivalent. I've used MK for many years, no problems, but the sparky used only Crabtree himself - he was happy enough to fit the MK, though.

Most of the bits came from Toolstation or TLC, though if you are purchasing from abroad you may be constrained as to who will supply, or how much extra shipping will be. I have also had good service from electricaldirect and, for some items, CPC.


Oh yes, the house I just moved out of had all MK stuff fitted when I rewired it in 1990, still going strong.

Last edited by UniFoxOs; 20th Apr 2021 at 13:59.
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 13:28
  #3 (permalink)  
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Still living in a house that we bought new in 1988. MK sockets, switches etc fitted throughout, and no problems so far, some 33 years later.

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Old 20th Apr 2021, 13:36
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Gnome de PPRuNe
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Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
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I installed MK sockets, switches and other bits throughout 25 years ago which have been fine - bought one or two other brands since, didn't seem to have the same feel and quality to them.
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 14:10
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JetBlast member 2005.
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I haven't lived there for over thirty years, but if you'd asked me thirty years ago, I'd have said MK

How that for an unhelpful response?

OMG - I just did the calculation. 38 years now!
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 14:29
  #6 (permalink)  
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Have you tried https://www.screwfix.com/ I get my bits and bobs from them.
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 14:51
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Discussion around MK, quality and the issue of fakes - Vintage Radio forum.

It might be best to ask a friendly sparks for advice on retailers with stringent quality control measures.
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 16:03
  #8 (permalink)  
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MK are made in Malaysia now.
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 16:12
  #9 (permalink)  
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MK or Crabtree if they still make them
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 16:50
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 1999
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Another vote for MK, but buy direct from MK or from a reputable source, e.g. Screwfix or RS components, rather than an online auction site, since you have no idea where the auction stuff comes from or if it is the genuine article.

Don't try to save money on safety critical stuff. Cheap electrical gear is not worth the risk,

There used to be a company called Ashley and their stuff was well designed and well made, but I don't know if they still exist.
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 17:01
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Another vote for MK from me. Just installed some new bits and found the quality to be fine.
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 17:26
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Join Date: Nov 1999
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Have you tried https://www.screwfix.com/ I get my bits and bobs from them.
They have a range of MK stuff..

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Old 20th Apr 2021, 20:59
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Berkshire, UK
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After redecorating several rooms in our house we thought that the light switches all looked a bit faded and jaded so I bought enough new ones to replace all of them. I bought MK from Wickes. When I tried to fit them I found that screws in the terminals were so tight in the threads that they could not be tightened up to grip the conductors. The heads of two screws cracked in half along the screw driver slot before the wire was actually gripped. After trying a few I returned the whole lot to Wickes for a refund. Then I didn't know what to do. If I bought more they might be just as bad and if you can't trust MK............ I still have to get new ones.

Perhaps they were counterfeit, but I don't know how to tell, especially after taking them back.


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Old 20th Apr 2021, 21:02
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ps the MK switches I took back didn't have the positive switch action that our current ones have, they just felt cheap. Another thing pointing to counterfeit parts, perhaps?

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Old 20th Apr 2021, 22:13
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Got two Honeywell thermostats from Screwfix, both failed v early, same failure mode, old Honeywell stat had lasted 30 odd years.
Fitted a Drayton, AOK for some 2 years now.
Honeywell batch problem or fake, who knows?
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 22:44
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I have had trouble with MK RCD (Residual Current Devices) tripping with RF around. MK did not want to know. Regrettably, I don't have friend in approved test houses any more who could run informal tests for me...

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Old 20th Apr 2021, 23:17
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When I trained as an electrician in the 1970s the company I worked for used Crabtree products. MK stuff was equally good but much bulkier at the time meaning e.g. a double socket mounted on a 1" metal box was a tight fit for the cables. When their Logic range came out this issue was addressed. We moved to using Ashley fittings which were good quality and cheaper than Crabtree. Crabtree were slower than other companies in ditching the ivory clour and moving to white. i still find MK uncompetitively expensive.

I am very surprised at rans6andrew's experience because I still find MK products to be of good quality. In recent years I have used all sorts of makes for the occasional job and never come across any make supplied by a reputable wholesaler to be of such poor quality as to give cause for concern, although the cheaper makes are not so well designed or as smart in my experience.
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Old 20th Apr 2021, 23:26
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The house I often ramble on about was a concept house built by my pal c 1960. It was a mix of over-spec and appalling build quality. Most of the bad was however because of an extension he commissioned when his second child was born. 33 years later it was taking shape and form. Then I sold it.

A serious chunk of the garage wall was covered in big brown or wood plastic switch/fuse boxes. The power for the heavy steel doors was all in conduit with a huge relay box with a 3" lever on it. You'll be getting the picture. The induction coil for the cold-cathode actuation was buried in the 11" think concrete drive. It had been swapped after the wrong coil had been buried. In the 70's I bought back a beeper from Texas which was still working when I sold the house.

One day I was looking through the RS catalogue and happened across the Starbreaker system by Crabtree. I read with excitement about the RCCB unit. I was unaware of such a device but immediately realised how brilliant it was. I still think it's one of the best inventions in the world. I ordered the biggest one with one RCCB. This covered the house but I got a separate one for the kitchen I'd built as that was a tad over-endowed with outlets.

Slowly getting to the point.

I got cross with the experts who said don't put the lighting through the RCCB. What, you can't get killed with 240v at 6 amps? Yea, right. With piles of rubber on the front drive, and a white wall with almost nowt on it, I settled down at my electronics workbench which was in the now abandoned upstairs nursery. It's an odd thing, but I can't ever remember not checking to see if an iron is warming up. I switched it on and put my hand on it. The house went black as pitch. I'd resolved to make a backup system, but it was on the roundtuit list. Now I was entering the pitch black garage. I reached up and pressed the little lever on the RCCB and it felt wrong. Kind of horrible inside. I tried several times but I was SOL. I ran a light from the kitchen and removed the very expensive* device. It had knife connectors into the board which served to accept partly flattened single core wires. Next day I called Crabtree.

They were very concerned and rushed a new RCCB to me. It was clearly redesigned. For some reason they didn't ask for the old one so I took it to pieces. A sight to behold.

A circuit rotated a 6-ish mm steel shaft which had two bits sculpted out of it. Two powerful springs pulled levers through the gaps should the shaft rotate. All in all, it was very much like a gun mechanism. Bits of rubber grommet were jamming up the works. Crabtree said that they always failed safe - just wouldn't reset.

So, one of the best names in the world with a part in a critical place. I'll take their word about failsafeness.

I've still got some of the old Clix outlets. In the years it took me to grow up and go to the more modern house, not one failed.

* I've just been looking at prices of Crabtree breakers. [email protected]@dy Nora! I don't know how anyone builds anything these days. A local supplier told me that 'All the chaps are using these now.' He showed me an unmarked 13a that seemed to have the right look and feel. Imported, no doubt, but I bought a lot with no problems. Just recommendations.

Screwfix questioned my qualifications when I wanted to buy a distribution box 5 years ago. I gave the name of a day-release school in Clacton. I'd gone to it for a few weeks in 1955. He was quite happy.
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Old 21st Apr 2021, 08:41
  #19 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: 5Y
Posts: 534
Thanks all. MK are familiar to me as good old-fashioned and reliable, but now I hear that they may be rubbish or may still be good! I might try giving screwfix a call and ask for their comments on MK's quality. I can order from any of the UK retailers and have it sent to a contact in London who will ship it out to me.

Dumb question - I don't see a back-box for an MK socket like this that is designed to be set into a plastered wall to give a flush finish. All I see is surface mount back boxes. What am I missing?

(In case anyone is worried, the work will be done by a qualified electrician! My job is to buy the bits and specify the layout)
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Old 21st Apr 2021, 09:06
  #20 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
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Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 57
Posts: 8,341
Back boxes: https://www.screwfix.com/c/electrica...xes/cat7230011

D-B, if I replace my 25 year old switches and sockets I would certainly use MK. But I've recently been removing most of them while decorating and have given them a good clean - they are all still in excellent condition. I know one in the kitchen is chipped, so when I redo the kitchen I probably will replace the lot - I stupidly tiled round them rather than under, what was I thinking!
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