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Author Topic: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring  (Read 3150 times)

owenojo

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Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« on: May 04, 2014, 08:54:27 PM »

Hi there, am wondering if anyone can give me some advice regarding a friends quite frankly archaic internal wiring that is causing a lot of ADSL dropouts. I know a fair bit about BT wiring, and am wondering how to proceed with getting BT to bring this up to date (hopefully FOC).

-The Line comes in on a standard underground feed with the normal grey outdoor junction box, this is on the neighbours front wall - there are a few normal looking cables coming out of this, apart from the line in question which is one of the old black coloured "twin" cables that looks like speaker wire. This goes round the front of the house and in through the door frame, into an internal junction box that its larger and thicker than normal with a single screw in the centre - I looked this up and it appears to be a VERY old GPO type that housed fuses for lightening protection. This box is covered in about 20 layers of paint and is impossible to open so for all we know it still houses fuses.

- Old thin white internal cable seems to run from the front door down into the cellar, draped past the electric board, and then vanishes into the wall on its way to the rear of the house and cannot be traced from there. The kitchen which is on the back of the house apparently used to have a BT phone socket on the wall, but the room has been drastically refurbished and all the wiring has been buried. I would imagine there is a junction box somewhere under the flooring where the rest of the house wiring is starred out from.

- there is a modern, flush mount socket in the kitchen which seems wired up using cat5, installed by builders. , a socket in the hall which is the "master" its like a larger older surface mounted socket, with no logo on the front at all. It has ring capacitor etc and again wiring is old brittle type. Out in the back garden an older grey GPO cable appears to come out of the bathroom window (? cannot be traced inside at all ?) and up the back of the house to an upstairs window into a GPO oval shaped box again painted over to the point that itll never open. From there more modern cable runs into the wall, there is a flush mounted socket the otherside of the room, and the same type in the next room, both look installed by builders.

Looking at the router stats - we can achieve 11 meg on adsl2+, attenuation is about 35db - which is suprisingly great, but it drops sync constantly, as in upto 10 times a day. Going down to adsl2 gets 8mb, and still drops sync. DLM has taken the SNRM upto 12db it seems, and its still dropping out. I have removed the ring wire from the master, and checked all the connections i can get to. A quiet line test seems fine, there are no clicks or pops etc.

Do you think BT would update this free seeing as there is no NTE so no demarcation point - infact there is not a single socket or box with a BT marking in the entire place! Substandard external cable, and star wiring. Perhaps the fault is on the internal wiring but we cant disconnect it to test.

All that is  needed is a new feed from outside to the hall with a new NTE5. All the extensions could be dumped, they are not needed.

Sorry if this post is a tad long but i know details help!

Cheers

Owen :)

 
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 08:57:53 PM by owenojo »
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Black Sheep

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2014, 09:12:55 PM »

Hi. A well constructed post that provides a good mental image of the installation.

I would say you've basically answered your own question about BTOR 'normalising' (bringing up to current standards) the internal set up. Your quote ..... "Perhaps the fault is on the internal wiring but we cant disconnect it to test" ...... is the reason we do complete this work FOC.

I would insist on a Broadband SFI engineering visit for your friend, quoting slow speeds, frequent drop-outs, and the unavailability to demarcate the EU owned wiring. Don't lie about anything stat-related (Errors, loss of synch/PPP Session) as the ISP's can view this data.
Be prepared for the likelihood of the line to 'Test OK' when raising a fault, and the quoting of potential charges. This is normal practice.

In closing, I've probably removed more of the paint-ridden BT block covers than I care to remember. A flat head screwdriver, a Stanley Knife and light tapping of the screwdriver with a hammer usually sees a positive result.  :) 
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burakkucat

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2014, 10:07:39 PM »

A well constructed post that provides a good mental image of the installation.

And, if I might be permitted to say so, an installation that would be enjoyable to 'normalise'.  :)
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Black Sheep

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2014, 10:10:24 PM »

Absolutely correct B*Cat. Even more-so if the EU has an interest in the technology ?.  :)
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Tim69

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2014, 12:54:34 PM »

I love these wonder down memory lane threads. I would think that this was original an overhead line, almost certainly a shared service with a earth connected to the paint encrusted box (have a look for a non insulated wire on the outside fixed to the wall with lead-headed nails.
 
 I doubt the fuses are still there they were replaced with little bus bars years ago, but you never know.  Probably master sockets all over the place and the wire now buried in the kitchen wall now  buggered.   
 
 If you want to open the box at the front door then you need to remove the middle screw, it is brass so be careful not to damage the head (a fine hacksaw blade to clear the paint from the slot helps a lot) then tap very gently around the top and the crack should open up about 1/4 inch from the base.   
« Last Edit: May 05, 2014, 01:08:31 PM by Tim69 »
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owenojo

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2014, 03:31:17 PM »

Wow thanks for the replies everyone, will try and get onto provider and get Openreach out - glad to know this SHOULD be FOC.

I think the house has always been fed from underground which makes the setup even more strange - this is a street of Victorian terraced housing in North London and outside on the pavement are the iron "post office telegraphs" manholes every 3 or so houses. Surely all this is at least pre war! Could not see any trace of an earth, but yes the black twin cable is held up around front of house with those lead nails with little fold over cleats.

In my own street (not far away) indeed it looks like originally overhead, in fact the opposite end still is, and some neighbouring houses have remnants of brackets on the walls.

No chance of getting the old protector box open really, below is a poor photo of it but seriously, heavy layers of white enamel. No its not pink, just had to boost contrast.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: May 05, 2014, 03:36:36 PM by owenojo »
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burakkucat

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2014, 04:26:04 PM »

I love these wonder down memory lane threads. I would think that this was original an overhead line, almost certainly a shared service with a earth connected to the paint encrusted box (have a look for a non insulated wire on the outside fixed to the wall with lead-headed nails.
 
 I doubt the fuses are still there they were replaced with little bus bars years ago, but you never know.

The other components that would have been originally present with the fuses (and my still be present) are two shellac coated carbon blocks with connections to the two wires and earth. (They were an early form of over-voltage protection.) I remember when such a block-terminal was removed from my installation in 1966 . . . it most definitely had the earth connection (as part of the over-voltage protection circuit) but was never a shared-service line. The E- & D-sides were underground. It was only the final drop to the premises that was aerial. That final drop was two cadmium/copper uninsulated wires, separated vertically and held on porcelain insulators. Those uninsulated drop-wires were replaced with a grey "figure of eight" drop-cable at the same time as the antique block-terminal was removed.  :)
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Tim69

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2014, 07:31:47 PM »

I love these wonder down memory lane threads. I would think that this was original an overhead line, almost certainly a shared service with a earth connected to the paint encrusted box (have a look for a non insulated wire on the outside fixed to the wall with lead-headed nails.
 
 I doubt the fuses are still there they were replaced with little bus bars years ago, but you never know.

The other components that would have been originally present with the fuses (and my still be present) are two shellac coated carbon blocks with connections to the two wires and earth. (They were an early form of over-voltage protection.) I remember when such a block-terminal was removed from my installation in 1966 . . . it most definitely had the earth connection (as part of the over-voltage protection circuit) but was never a shared-service line. The E- & D-sides were underground. It was only the final drop to the premises that was aerial. That final drop was two cadmium/copper uninsulated wires, separated vertically and held on porcelain insulators. Those uninsulated drop-wires were replaced with a grey "figure of eight" drop-cable at the same time as the antique block-terminal was removed.  :)

 
  Wow must have been a doctors home at some time as they were just about the only people who had an exclusive line!! ;D  Overvolt protection was a serious business when telephone instruments had metal dials and baseplates
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Tim69

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2014, 07:51:02 PM »

Wow thanks for the replies everyone, will try and get onto provider and get Openreach out - glad to know this SHOULD be FOC.

I think the house has always been fed from underground which makes the setup even more strange - this is a street of Victorian terraced housing in North London and outside on the pavement are the iron "post office telegraphs" manholes every 3 or so houses. Surely all this is at least pre war! Could not see any trace of an earth, but yes the black twin cable is held up around front of house with those lead nails with little fold over cleats.

In my own street (not far away) indeed it looks like originally overhead, in fact the opposite end still is, and some neighbouring houses have remnants of brackets on the walls.

No chance of getting the old protector box open really, below is a poor photo of it but seriously, heavy layers of white enamel. No its not pink, just had to boost contrast.

Cheers!

 
 Do have a go at the box, I'd love to see if the fuses are still there. All this takes me back years :)
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Bodge99

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2014, 11:30:46 PM »

Hello,

I'm ex-BT, I was an apprentice..

3 years on Strowger/crossbar exchange maintenance.
7 years residential installer/lineman.
2 years PW installer.
Left (took redundancy) to do a maths degree..

Anyway, unless the rules have changed (I haven't looked, so I'm not sure)... If there is not a NTE5 fitted then BT are responsible for all wiring, both external and internal.
They used to charge for a conversion (i.e. fitting a NTE5a/b), then the customer could "legally" fit their own extensions. All wiring after the NTE5 would then be the customers responsibility.

I used to have the "authority" to fit a NTE5 in premises for no charge "if it was to the advantage of BT to do so".

If the rules haven't changed, it might be worth "trying it on" with any visiting BT engineer...

You could try something like this:

"If you fit a NTE5 for free, then the work required for internal rewiring 'disappears', you get a cup of tea/coffee and a bacon sandwich".

You can then sort out the internal wiring mess at your leisure.

As the misses says "shy bairns get nowt".

Does anyone know what the current regulations are regarding this??

Bodge99.
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owenojo

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2016, 01:29:22 AM »

My apologies for reopening my 2 year old thread! This all got fully modernised by Openreach as the ADSL dropouts had become unbearable...., the engineer removed/bypassed all the old wiring.

The house was fed from the underground cable/ grey distribution point outside via a (1960's?) black "drop wire" round to the front porch area where it had been literally spliced/bodged/electrical taped out of sight onto...the original lead and cloth sheathed cable which fed into the large old junction box above the front door. It was under so much paint that is was only after it was ripped out that you could see its age.

Im amazed that this bodge by presumably the post office 50 or so years ago remained working that long especially as it outside. The engineer was I think rather surprised with what he had found! In the photo the cable that curves round into the bottom of the box is the lead covered cable.

I have a further question If anyone could possible help - with the old 4 wire internal cable, with blue and yellow as the line wires, which was usually used as the bell wire? Brown, or Green? The original internal wire coming into the house from the junction box has only three wires in it, blue orange and green - with the line on blue and green.

Cheers!

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licquorice

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Re: Advice on ancient/baffling wiring
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2016, 08:46:35 AM »

It depends how far back in time you are going. Until modern phones, the phones were wired in parallel but the bells were wired in series thus using all 4 wires. See diagram here http://www.samhallas.co.uk/repository/n_diagrams/4000/N4502.pdf  If a 3 wire circuit on more modern phones, it would be normal to use blue and orange as line with green as the bell wire.
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