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Posted by MPlb-182376 - Created: 14 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by TonyP-191937 - 13 years ago

I remember that in Belgium there was no neutral feed to the house.  There was simply a three phase supply at about 130V and the voltage between any two phases was about 220V. 

This article  page 18 seems to say that it is the same in France, and when I find my voltmeter back I'll poke it in some sockets to see.

It doesnt matter much because there are double pole breakers.  Also modern appliances are double insulated so there is little chance of the chassis becoming live.

The UK system meant that if your toaster was plugged in but switched off, you could happily poke your fork in it to disengage the burnt toast.  You could also stick your finger in empty light sockets provided the wall socket was switched off.  In France you have pull the plug out first.

So I still think the problem is static.  Static electricity will light a neon circuit tester.

Microwave ovens usually have an earthed cord so if that gives a shock then there is a problem with the earth circuit.


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Posted by Andy G-190935 - 13 years ago

I'm very interested to read all of this because I have a similar problem. As someone said earlier. most video recorders dvds etc don't have earth connections anymore so the problem is not there. I get a small electric shock from all my metal cased, non-earthed appliences at home (they were all bought here). Like Paul, if I touch the metal case of my DVD player, my microwave, video, or the input socket to the tv etc with an electrical srewdriver, it lights up indicating the presence of greater than 100v a.c. 

My supply measured between live and neutral is always 230v, but I always put my shocks down to the fact that the neutral wire in the house is often at around 150v a.c. with respect to earth. If the appliance is earthed, like my computer, it's ok, but if it's not, like my dvd, then it's a problem.

I don't think it's really dangerous, but I never touch my appliances without something on my feet or I get a really painful belt sometimes. I think the problem is quite normal here and I had the same thing in my last house. My current house has been recently re-wired properly. The problem seems to come from the supply.


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Posted by danonimes-184717 - 14 years ago

you could try this, it got rid of the "live" problem for me. Open up your video/satellite box, change the twin-core cable to a three core, run the earth wire to the chassis (screw/solder it). Attach a 3 pin, earthed plug (French style) to the other end of the cable and plug it into an earthed socket. No need to do this on all the equipment, once it's all connected together you only need one earth.If you're still getting a tingle, try pouring a couple of buckets of water over the ground surrounding the earthing rod.

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Posted by tkw - 14 years ago

The coax for the cable tv always seems to be at a different potential from the electrical system (and not just here in france.)

I've tried the 180degree trick with the sockets but have never had any success with this. To make matters worse pretty much every piece of electronics in the house is connected together by some cable or other...computer, monitor, stereo1, hifi system, vcr, dvd, tv1 and 2, satellite and they are on different breakers too. Talk about ground loops....I suppose I could go around and chassis ground each piece of equipment to a central point and then connect that to an earth ground. Gimme a break...I'm just going to hope for the best.

good luck with yours

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Posted by TonyP-191937 - 14 years ago

Joking aside, I am surprised UK tellies and VCRs work in France.  The UK not only uses PAL, but a UK version that isnt compatible with the rest of Europe, like the plugs.

Thats why I suspect that these charged systems are used for satellite only.  If the system is not earthed anywhere, the dish will collect static electricity from the atmosphere, and the charge will flow down the coax, into the boxes, and then through the SCART cable to the telly.

Thats why the neon circuit tester glows when you touch the antenna socket.


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Posted by MikeP-180526 - 14 years ago

Within my memory, France used 110 v DC. I remember this from a miserable school exchange to a French family who had a castle in Normandy, from which I made a dramatic Colditz Castle style escape after they'd locked me in my room for refusing to eat a meal containing raw eggs, long before anyone, even John Major, had heard of Edwina Currie, and horse meat. 

Electric clocks could be made to run backwards,  which may explain many thinks about France now,  vacuum cleaners could be made to blow instead of suck,  and if you got an electric shock,  you certainly knew about it!



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Posted by Paul_A-184148 - 14 years ago

Thanks for the advice, all of you.  It makes sense now.  That perhaps explains, I guess, why the reference number for TVs in the UK are never the same as those on the continent. 

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Posted by TonyP-191937 - 14 years ago

yjme is right. 

The problem is, in the UK the electricity flows up the left wire, round the innards, past the screen and then down the right wire,

In Europe, it flows up the right wire, past the screen, round the innards and then down the left wire.

That was all ordained by Napoleon, when he founded the EDF and declared that every French person had the right to a facture.  That was in 1802, fifty years after Benjamin Franklin discovered static electricity by erecting a satellite dish in a thunder storm

So of course, if you touch the screen on a UK telly in Europe, you get an electric shock, because the electricity hasnt had time to lose its power flowing around the innards.



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Posted by yjme-181229 - 14 years ago

Um, had you thought about buying a French TV and recorder? :0)

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Posted by Paul_A-184148 - 14 years ago

Blimey, everything is complicated in France, from the administration to household electricity.  If I put a circuit tester screwdriver against the arial input socket on the TV the light in the screwdriver lights up.  So I guess there is a problem, and the electricity is earthing through the coax, does that make sense?  This problem seems to coincide with a regular loss of volume, and when I move the coax cable, the volume comes back.  MPlb - maybe you have the same problem as me + some kind of static problem???