Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weatherproof 13A switched outlets

What you see below are two units of weatherproof 13A switched socket outlets.

Picture 1 – Weatherproof 13A switched socket outlets

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Weatherproof 13A outlets are very useful accessories to buildings and homes. With them large amount of spaces can be turned into good use.

The picture above shows one example of an existing installation that has turn corridor areas into very comfortable study areas where the students and the university staff can use laptop for many long hours in fresh outdoor air.

Nowadays a study table (some people call it reading tables) would definitely need 13A power outlets. Even when someone is not using the internet, often a laptop is felt to be necessary for reading due to vast amount of easily downloadable reading materials from the internet.

Most of the downloaded materials are usually not printed out to paper, but carried around in laptops for the time when a small opportunity for reading them becomes available.

Below is a zoomed out view of one of the study tables at one of the corridors at the ground floor level.

Picture 2 – Weatherproof outlet installation environment

If you look at the height of the ceiling slab, it is almost two volume in height. This is a tropical country with great many days of rains.

An electrical socket around the location of the table and chairs would definitely be exposed to sun and rain. More importantly, an unsuitable electrical outlet would definitely result in a high risk of electric shock hazards.

That is why a suitable electrical outlet fixture is necessary.

Picture 3 below shows a closer view of the outlet opening and cover. Here you can see the rubber gasket better. The gasket prevents ingress of water into the socket even when the laptop plug is in place.

Picture 3 – Closer view of the rubber gasket

Picture 4 – Rubber gasket with the socket cover at the closed position

Picture 4 above shows the view of the weatherproof socket from below when the outlet cover was in the closed position.

This was not exactly the same outlet as in the previous pictures. However it was exactly the same type and model.

The previous pictures were taken during daytime at the ground floor of the building.

During the night, however, it crossed my mind that maybe I should have taken a better shot of the rubber gasket from below the socket. I was then at another reading table at a fourth floor corridor of the same building.

I also took a shot of the conduit entry into the outlet fixture as shown in Picture 5 below.

Picture 5 – Conduit entry into the weatherproof socket

Observe that each outlet fixture is provided with two pre-made conduit openings at its topside. This is for convenience of looping the wiring to outlets at another location.

Of course, if this is not provided, a tee-off draw box can be installed at a point along the conduit.

Notice also in the previous picture (Picture 4) that another two pre-made openings are available at the bottom side of each unit.

This gives the alternative of have the conduit entry from below or the top of the outlet fixtures.


I attach below a few more pictures of weather-proof outdoor socket outlets for readers who need them.

This new extension on each of my existing posts will be a live section where I will keep adding new related pictures to old post.

This way I do not need to write new post just to add one or two pictures that are already related to an old post.

Picture 06 - Weather-proof 13A switched socket outlet and the conduit work at a building rooftop

The picture is from one of my old projects.

The location is on the roof top of an attached 5-storey podium block. This level is used as a secondary plant room where air-condition cooling tower and fire fighting water tanks are located.

A fire fighting main pump room is also nearby here.

Therefore, this outdoor area is a good location as a maintenance work area that may be required once the office complex is operational.

The conduit that you see along the parapet wall runs all around the roof top. IP66-rated outdoor power sockets and bulk-head lighting fixtures are installed at uniform intervals along the conduit run.

Picture 07 - Closer view of the 13A IP66 power socket

Picture 08 - The socket with the cover open

I took this shot to show you that this type of outdoor is not weather-proof during usage, unlike those at the university faculty in the main post above.

Picture 09 - The IP66 label

Beginners, please take note. This is how you know the the socket fitting is weather-proof.

You also need to make sure that the product is original. A risk of electric shock is an issue of life-and-death.

The product need to be reliable over many years in terms of the water-proofing quality.

Picture 10 - The weather-proof bulk-head light fixture

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

CCTV conduits color coding

I uploaded the following few pictures of conduit color coding of a CCTV (closed circuit surveillance cameras) system as a extension to an earlier post on electrical services color coding. You can click on one of the related links below to see the earlier post.
Picture 1 – CCTV conduits color code

RELATED ARTICLES:  Electrical Services Color Codes

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If you do not like labels, please forgive me. Obviously I have labeled most of things that are visible in the above picture.

Without these labels I think many readers who are just beginning to learn the electrical services inside building might get confused or unsure what is what.

In fact, without the labels, the picture may even be interpreted sideways.

As you can see from the labels, the white PVC box is the CCTV modulator box. The video signal from a CCTV camera needs to be converted into a different frequency so it can be transmitted via the signal cable to the monitoring TV.

For readers new to CCTV systems, that is why the system is called CCTV. It stands for Closed Circuit TV.

In the old days, there was the normal TV. Anyone at home can tune in to the transmitted frequency of a TV channel and see the video pictures that were being transmitted inside the broadcast frequency.

The video pictures from a surveillance or security camera can also be viewed on the same TV.

However, this video could only be viewed by television sets that were directly connected to the security video cabling system.

So it was called CLOSED CIRCUIT television. It was a surveillance video viewed on a television set. Most systems did not even have the sound back then. So it was like a silent video.

The normal TV could then be called OPEN CIRCUIT television. That was what I thought back then.

Nowadays the technology has changed so much.

In fact the surveillance do not even need the cabling. You can just visit an ordinary electronics store and buy a few surveillance cameras that do not even need the cables. The surveillance video signals are broadcast to the air. Then one can just tune in to the broadcast frequency to see the video.

I know what some of you are thinking. That way neighbors next door can also view the surveillance video, right?


So it should not be called CLOSED CIRCUIT TV anymore. However, a name is a name. There no right or wrong about it. This surveillance video system is still called CCTV even now.

Now, back to the picture. The CCTV system here is still being installed. The modulator box is still empty. There is nothing in it.

Notice the round hole opening at the bottom of the box. That is for the cabling to the surveillance unit which was not yet installed.

A surveillance camera unit can be quite expensive. It can also be easily dismantled from the mounting and removed. That means the security of the item cannot be easily controlled during construction.

That is why this is one of the items that are usually installed at the very last stage of the construction period, just before handover of the building to the owner by the building main contractor.

Now, the CCTV conduit works. Notice there are two sets of conduit work to the modulator box.

One is painted orange and the other just bare conduits without paint. The orange conduits are the conduits of 240 volt wiring to the CCTV modulator.

The one without paint is meant to contain the signal cable from the modulator to the monitoring TV. In large buildings like one where these were taken from, the monitoring TV for the surveillance cameras are usually located at the security control room.

Many buildings not only have one TV for this purpose at the control room, but maybe one TV for four cameras. That way all the locations monitored by the cameras could viewed by the security personnel simultaneously.

Picture 2 – Color code of the CCTV conduit work

This is a closer view of the color code for the CCTV system. If you look at the list of the electrical services color codes in the earlier post, the required colors were ORANGE/YELLOW/ORANGE.

Well, the outside bands of the color coding are actually orange even though you may feel they are more like red. Either my cheap camera is playing tricks on me or I need to open the camera operation manual to correct the setting.

The following picture may show the colors a bit better because the sprinkler pipes are always painted RED. Well, maybe not always but most of the time. Sometimes, the fire department allow the piping for fire services to be using colors of the surrounding area to satisfy the architectural or aesthetic needs. In those circumstances, the pipes are usually required to have red color bands.

Picture 3 – CCTV versus fire sprinkler color codes

The extra picture below is just more information on the modulator box.

Picture 4 – CCTV Video cabling and 240-volt 3-pin switched socket outlet

Here I just wanted to show you the video cabling installation and the electrical socket inside the modulator box.

The video signal modulator is an electronic system. So it requires electronic levels of voltages. It usually comes with its own voltage adapter. Therefore it is also quite a common practice to use a general purpose 13-ampere 2v0-volt socket for the purpose.

There are people who object to the use of switched sockets like this for security cameras. They say someone might just easily turn off the switch to avoid being recorded and then turn it back on when they have finished their “illegal” activities.

The event may never be noticed by the security people or the building management.

It a power wiring direct to the modulator unit is used, the intruders and their accomplice may need to cut the wiring to accomplish the same. This method may eventually be noticed and an investigation be initiated.

So there is a certain additional degree of deterrence there by using direct wiring instead of the socket outlet.

Personally this is one of the places where I really do not like socket outlets.

However, when you build buildings for someone, your preference and opinions do not count sometimes. At least by those who count.

That is life.

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