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Can you ‘Torque’ the Talk and Walk the Walk?

Did you know that the way you fit a screw connection can impact on the safety of the fitting? David Evans looks at how you can make sure that your next screw connection is the right one.
When it comes to installation, safety is of paramount importance.

When we are talking about consumer units, what might seem like one of the simplest of tasks is also one of the most important – screw connections.

Did you know that how tight you make a connection can make a difference to the safety of the unit? As odd as that might sound, a connection that is either too rigid or too loose can be enough to create a hazard.

So how can a slight turn of your wrist cause such a problem?
If a connection is not tight enough, it can create hotspots and arcing.

If you over tighten the connection, you might find that you crush the conductor causing a hotspot and increasing the risk of it snapping.

These high-resistance connections can generate incredible amounts of heat where the termination can actually glow. This over-heating can potentially cause the consumer unit to reach a high enough temperature for the enclosure to ignite!
Fitting the screws correctly

Firstly, you will need the right tools. When the wiring regulations were amended in 2013, it stated that where guidance was given for the installation of electrical equipment, this guidance must be followed. In the case of the Hager range of consumer units, we provide torque settings for our devices and hence so a torque screwdriver is required to achieve this.

You will need to have an adjustable torque screwdriver with different settings to work with consumer units which could have a variety of screw connections and corresponding torque settings. Make sure this is a certified VDE tool which conforms to the regulations (EN60900:2012 if you want us to be precise).

Steve York, Residential Market Manager for Hager is at hand to offer his top tips on how to get the screw connection right first time…
“There are some things to remember when making a connection.

1. Strip the correct amount of insulation from the cable without damaging the conductor. A damaged conductor is much more likely to snap.

2. On smaller conductors where a single conductor is installed into a terminal the conductor should be doubled over. This gives more contact between the terminal and the conductor.

3. When the conductor is inserted into the terminal, care should be taken that the terminal is tightened onto the copper and not the insulation.

4. If the terminal is tightened partially onto the insulation, it can cause a high resistance connection.

5. Once the screw terminal is nipped up to hold the conductor in place, it should then be torqued up using a torque screwdriver to the manufacturers recommended settings which can be found on the instructions. These are worth checking as they may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.”

Find out the full list of torque settings for our products here

All of our consumer units now come with a torque setting sticker as standard, helping you along the way with your next installation.
Author: David Evans
Posted: 7th June 2016
Get in contact: info@hager.co.uk | Twitter