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The Hager Guide to current thinking on the

regulations, protection and control of Klik lighting

Written by:
Paul Sayer
Technical Standards Manager for Hager

2 Conductor size

4 Fault current protection

6 Voltage drop & shock protection

8 Earth fault current protection

9 Selection & erection

10 Isolation
Conductor size Q How can you use a 16 A
circuit breaker when the LSC
plug and flexible cord are
rated at 6 A?
It is now standard practice supporting couplers for
To best answer this, we
to use luminaire supporting domestic, light industrial
need to split the question
couplers (LSC), such as and commercial use. It gives
into three parts. Firstly, how
Klik from Hager, when general requirements for the
is overcurrent defined?
designing and installing construction of LSC plugs and
Overcurrent is defined as
commercial lighting LSC outlets with particular
overload currents or fault
installations. Designers, reference to safety. LSCs must
inspecting engineers and comply with either BS 6972 or
electrical contractors often BS 7001.
Second, how do you define
misunderstand key areas of
specification for compliance Q Where exactly can LSCs
overload current? Overload
current is an overcurrent
with the BS 7671 wiring be used?
occuring in a circuit that is
regulations for LSCs. Referring to BS 6972, LSCs
electrically sound. An example
are for use in final circuits
Q What product standards rated at not more than 16 A,
might be a user plugging in
more appliances than the
do the Wiring Regulations where the supply voltage does
circuit is intended for, which
specify for LSCs? not exceed 250 V ac and the
may in turn cause an overload.
Regulation 511.1 says that electrical load connected to
equipment should “comply any one LSC plug does not
The designer needs to decide
with the relevant requirements exceed 6 A.
if a circuit is liable to carry
of the applicable British
overload current. It is clear
Standard or harmonised BS 6972 also specifies the
in figure 1 that the circuit
standard.” conductor cross sectional
cable with 2.5 mm2 conductor
area of the flexible cord for
requires overload protection.
Appendix 1 of the regulations LSC plugs which are not part
In this instance the user may
identifies BS 6972 as the of the luminaire as between
plug in additional luminaires
specification for general 0.5 mm2 to 1.00 mm2 (see
and create higher power
requirements for luminaire figure 1).
consumption than the circuit
is intended for.
Figure 1: An example of a specification of flexible
cord for LSC plugs Finally, can overload
protection be omitted? There
2.5 mm conductor
6 A "Klik"
are some conditions where
overload protection is not
necessary. Regulation 433.3.1
16 A
(ii) tells us that overload
type C
circuit protection is not necessary for
breaker a conductor, which, because
Flexible of the characteristics of the
cord with load, is not likely to carry
0.75 mm 2 overload current.
In figure 1 we can assume
Individual luminaire (load current = 3A)
that the LSCs and their 0.75
mm2 flexible cord supplying

the luminaires are protected Cg = rating factor for grouping; However, the flexible cord
against overload current by CI = rating factor for thermal must be capable of carrying
the characteristics of the load. insulation. the total steady current of the
lamp(s) and any associated
And so, answering the original Having calculated It, this value gear and also their harmonic
question, when overload can then be used to select the currents.
current protection is not appropriate cross sectional
required the nominal current area of flexible cord from The IEE Guidance note 1
of the protective device can the relevant table in Wiring states: “Where more exact
be greater than the current Regulations. information is not available,
carrying capacity of the the demand in volt-amperes is
flexible cord, as in figure 1. Q When calculating the load taken as the rated lamp watts
current are there any special multiplied by not less than 1.8.
Q So what if the luminaire is factors for discharge lamps? This multiplier is based upon
swapped with one that has a Discharge lamps take a higher the assumption that the circuit
higher load current than that than normal current during is corrected to a power factor
of the flexible cord rating? starting. This current may of not less than 0.85 lagging,
It is wrong and against the be up to several times the and takes into account control
Wiring Regulations’ guidance conductor current rating. gear losses and harmonic
to do this. Before making current.”
any addition or alteration to Generally the duration of this
an existing installation, you starting current is considered Q Does the type of
must check that the rating not long enough to cause lampholder used affect the
and condition of any existing unacceptable overheating of current rating of the circuit
equipment is adequate to the conductors. protection device?
carry the additional load. This Yes. Regulation 559.6.1.6
is a fundamental requirement The important characteristics specifies a maximum rating
for safety. of the starting current are the of the overcurrent protective
magnitude of the current and device to be 16A where the
Q How do I calculate the its duration. lighting circuits incorporate
conductor cross sectional B15, B22, E14, E27 or E40
area of the flexible cord? lampholders.
Appendix 4 of the Wiring
Regulations tells how to go
about this process.
Table 1 Overcurrent protection of lampholders
It ≥ Ib Type of lampholder Cap type Maximum rating of
––––––––– overcurrent protective device
Ca Cg CI protecting the circuit (A)

BS5042 or B15 SBC 6

BS EN 61184 B22 BC 16
It = the value of current Bayonet type
tabulated for the type of
cable and installation method BS EN 60238 E14 SES 6
concerned, for a single circuit Edison screw E27 ES 16
E40 GES 16
in an ambient temperature of
30°C: Note: Where overload protection is omitted, then a calculation must be
Ib = load current; made to ensure that the conductors concerned are large enough to carry
the fault currents without damage until the overcurrent device operates.
Ca = rating factor for ambient

Fault current protection as the rms value, due account
being taken of the current
limiting effect of the circuit
Overload protection is not If the conductor is not to be
required for the flexible cord damaged I2t must not exceed Note for very short duration
from the luminaire supporting k2S2; (less than 0.1 secs) and for
coupler plug to the luminaire. • t = the maximum fault current limiting devices, I2t
However, we need to current duration in seconds must be designated by the
ensure that the conductors (disconnection time); manufacturer’s data.
concerned are large enough
to carry any fault currents
• k = a factor taking account
of the resistivity, temperature Q How do I apply this
without damage until the coefficient and heat capacity formula?
overcurrent device operates. of the conductor material, The simplest way of assessing
and the initial and final the degree of thermal
This section describes how temperatures, derived from protection provided by an
to make the necessary BS 7671; overcurrent device is by
calculation. • S = the nominal cross using the manufacturer’s I2t
sectional area of the characteristics. Calculate k2S2
Q How would you define conductor in mm2; and
superimpose this value as a
fault current? • I = the value of fault current
A fault current is an an amperes, expressed for ac horizontal line on the graph
overcurrent caused by either
a short circuit (between live
conductors) or an earth fault Figure 1: Assessing protection using the manufacturer's data
(between a live conductor and I 2t(A2s)
an exposed conductive part or I 2t characteristic Hager 16 A
protective conductor). type C circuit breaker to
BS EN 60898 (MCB)

Q What do the Wiring Area above red

line indicates
Regulations specify to protect
conductor is not
the flexible cord against fault protected
If overload protection is not
required then a calculation
must be made. Regulation
434.5.2 provides an equation Area below red 85°C pvc flexible cord
line indicates with 0.75 mm 2
for calculating the maximum conductor is conductors
duration of the fault current, protected k2S2 = 1002 x 0.752 = 5625
but it is not immediately A 2s
apparent how to apply it. A
simple transposition, however,
gives us the equation. 120 1900

I2t ≤ k2S2 Minimum fault current for Maximum fault current for
thermal protection of thermal protection of
• where I2t is proportional to conductor. This value would conductor. This value
the thermal energy let through be derived at the furthest would be derived at the
the protective device; LSC i.e. at the remote end of LSC closest to the origin
• k2S2 indicates the thermal the circuit and flexible cord of the circuit
capacity of the conductor.

showing the protective
device’s I2t characteristics (see Figure 2: The maximum fault current usually lies between the
conductors at the LSC closest to the origin of the circuit
figure 1).
2.5 mm 2 conductor 6 A "Klik"
Provided that the fault levels
are within the minimum and Hager 16
maximum values specified in A type C
figure 1, the flexible cord will circuit
be protected against thermal breaker
damage and comply with the Flexible
cord with
Wiring Regulations. 0.75 mm 2

Where are the minimum
and maximum fault currents
likely to occur? Position of maximum fault current Position of minimum fault current
The minimum fault current will of 1900 A ie minimum impedance of 120 A ie maximum impedance
probably be determined by the
earth loop impedance at the
end of the flexible cord at the
no further calculations are
necessary for overload or Q Are there any other key
furthest LSC. The maximum fault current protection (See factors affecting the selection
fault current will probably be figure 3). of flexible cord?
between live conductors at The flexible cord length is
the LSC closest to the origin
of the circuit (see figure 2).
Q Is it possible to purchase influenced by voltage drop,
protection against electric
flexible cord with 1.0mm2
shock, the effects of fault
Q Are these calculations
conductors prewired to an
LSC plug? current and the selection and
always necessary? Yes, Klik, for example, offers erection of the wiring system.
Where an overcurrent this as standard.
protective device provides
overload protection and
has a breaking capacity not
less than the prospective Figure 3: An example of when further calculation is not required
fault current at its point of for overload or fault current protection of the flexible cord
installation, it can be assumed
2.5 mm 2 conductor 6 A “klik”
that the conductors on
the load side of the device
are protected against fault
Flexible cord
current. 1.0mm2 lz (current
Hager 10 A
current limiting carrying capacity)
This assumption applies when circuit breaker has been
the neutral and protective complying with calculated to be
BS EN 60898 greater than or
conductors are of equal equal to 10A.
cross sectional area to Breaking capacity of Line, neutral and
the line conductor and are the circuit breaker cpc are of equal
manufactured of the same is greater than cross-sectional
the prospective area and are of
material. Such an assumption
fault current the same
must be checked for at point of material.
conductors in parallel and for installation
non-current limiting types of
circuit breaker. In this instance

Voltage drop & shock protection
Electrical engineers frequently of the fixed equipment does A mistake often made is
debate how the length of not exceed 3% of the nominal to ignore the flexible cord
flexible cord between the voltage supply, where the length in the voltage drop
luminaire supporting coupler installation is supplied directly calculations. Details of this
(LSC) and the luminaire from a public low voltage calculation are available on
raises a number of design distribution system. request.
At present the nominal voltage Q How does the length of
The next two technical supply in the UK is 230 V + flexible cord influence the
sections within this booklet 10% - 6%. The maximum calculations for protection
will fully illustrate the technical voltage drop permitted is against electric shock?
information and the key therefore: 230 x 3/100 = 6.9 V The most common method
requirements necessary to (see figure 2). of protection against
determine the correct length electric shock is automatic
of this flexible cord (see figure The requirements for voltage disconnection of supply.
1). drop in the regulations
are concerned solely with If the protective device is to
Q Do any British Standards safety. The contractor should operate correctly you must
specify a maximum length for always consider other always consider the length
the flexible cord? effects of voltage drop on of flexible cord in these
No. the equipment; efficiency, for calculations.
Q What requirements
does the contractor need to Figure 1: The flexible cord length between the LSC and
consider for the maximum the luminaire
length of flexible cord?
There are four requirements 2.5 mm conductor 6 A "Klik"
which need to be taken into
• Voltage drop; 16 A
• Protection against electric type C
shock breaker
• Selection and erection of the
wiring system.
• Thermal constraints

Q What needs considering

for voltage drop?
The regulations are
satisfied for a supply given
in accordance with The
Electricity Safety, Quality and What are the design
considerations relating
Continuity Regulations 2002, to the length of
as amended if; the voltage flexible cord?
drop from the origin of the
installation to the terminals

Figure 2: An example showing the maximum permitted Q How does automatic
voltage drop in installation disconnection apply to the
LSC circuit?
2.5 mm conductor 6 A "Klik"
The contractor must verify
that the earth fault loop
impedance does not exceed
the maximum tabulated
values in BS 7671, or any
16 A values derived by applying the
type C
appropriate formula specified
breaker in BS 7671 for the overcurrent
protective device.

Nominal supply voltage is Manufacturers frequently

assumed to be 230 V therefore
provide data derived from this
the maximum voltage drop
permitted = 3% ie: 230 x 3/100 formula.
= 6.9 V
If the circuit is designed to
comply with BS 7671:2008
table 41.3 the maximum
earth fault loop impedance
for the 16 A type C circuit
(origin of breaker for 0.4 and 5 second
installation) disconnection time would be
1.44 Ω (see figure 3).

Figure 3: Verifying the maximum permitted earth fault

loop impedance

2.4 mm conductor 6 A "Klik"

16 A
type C

Maximum permitted
earth fault loop
impedance at LSC
outlet would be 1.17 Ω

Maximum permitted earth

fault loop impedance at
the furthest luminaire
would be 1.44 Ω

Earth fault current
In the previous section we
illustrated the requirements for Q If the overcurrent
complying with voltage drop protective device is not
and automatic disconnection. providing protection against
In this section we will examine overload current and I have a
the other two factors to be cpc that does not comply with
considered, namely that the table 54.7, what do I do?
circuit protective conductor You need to apply the formula
is large enough to carry the in regulation 543.1.3:
earth fault currents and the
selection and erection of a S = √(I2t) or I2t = k2S2
wiring system. –––––
Q Why do I need to protect
S = nominal cross sectional
against the effects of fault
current? area of the cpc in mm2;
Fault currents generate heat, I = fault current in amperes;
so you must ensure that the t= operating time of
circuit protective conductor disconnecting device in
(CPC) can carry the earth seconds;
fault currents without thermal k = factor taken from BS 7671.
damage until the overcurrent
device operates. Q Is there a quick and
simple method of applying I2t
Q How do I protect against = k2S2?
Yes. Use the manufacturer’s
the effects of fault current?
If the cross sectional area of I2t characteristics for the
the cpc has been worked out overcurrent protective
by applying table 54.7 of BS device. Calculate k2S2 and
7671, and the overcurrent superimpose this value as a
protective device is providing horizontal line on the graph
protection against overload showing the protective
currents and fault currents, device’s I2t characteristics.
no further checks are needed. This was illustrated earlier.
Table 54.7 details the
minimum crosssectional area Hager has already completed
of the protective conductor in these calculations. They are
relation to the crosssectional available upon request.
area of the associated line

Q What do the Wiring • presence of rain, steam or
accumulation of water;
cord during installation and
subsequent use (see figure 1).
Regulations specify for the • presence of corrosive,
selection and erection of the
wiring system?
chemical or polluting Q Is there a quick and
substances; simple method of supporting
Chapter 52 specifies the • mechanical stresses such as the flexible cord?
requirements for: through holes or sharp edges There are a number of
• types of wiring system; in metal work; supporting systems available.
• selection and erection in • fauna - rodents; One of the simplest is to use
relation to external influences; • flora - mould; a self adhesive cable clip.
• current-carrying capacity of • radiation - sunlight. Alternatively, clips are easily
the conductors; attached to a supporting
• cross-sectional area of
Q Are there any key structure using adhesive.
requirements with respect
Note: the latter two points to the increased use of
have been covered in previous suspended ceilings in
articles. commercial premises?

Q Are there any other British

You must take into account
the sharp edges forming the
Standards to consider? grid of such ceilings. Flexible
BS 7540 provides a guide cords with pvc or similar
to the proposed safe use of sheathing should not rest on
electric cables. This identifies the grid, but be supported
that cables should be selected clear of the framework to
so that they are suitable for avoid deviating from BS
any external influences that 7671 regulation 522.8.1, ie
may exist, for example: avoid damage to the sheath
• ambient temperature; and insulation of the flexible

Fig 1: Protecting the flexible cord from mechanical damage

Concrete floor slab

Sharp Flexible cord

edges suitably supported
clear of suspended
ceiling framework

Suspended ceiling

Isolation explosions initiated or caused
by electricity.

Isolation enables electrically

skilled persons to carry out
Q Why is the isolation and Q Is there a difference work on, or adjacent to, parts
switching off of luminaires between isolation and which would otherwise be live,
important? switching off for mechanical eg replacing a faulty ballast or
Facilities should be designed maintenance? ignitor in a luminaire.
into every electrical installation Yes.
so that it can be maintained in Q What design
a safe condition. The electrical Q What is isolation? considerations are necessary
design engineer is duty bound Isolation is defined in BS 7671 for isolation?
under the Electricity at Work as a function intended to cut Consider the purpose of the
Regulations 1989 to ensure off, for safety reasons, the installation and the client’s
that this is the case. supply from all, or a discrete requirements for maintenance
section of, the installation and repair?
The advent of computer by separating it from every
controlled luminaires source of electrical energy. It should enable simple and
and other automatic safe electrical maintenance
lighting control systems Q Why do you need and repair with minimum
have introduced further isolation? inconvenience and disruption
complications to the safety It prevents death or personal to other parts of the electrical
issues of isolation and injury from electric shock, installation. You must also
switching. electric burn, fires of electrical take suitable precautions to
origin, electric arcing or prevent equipment from being

Figure 1: The lsc provides a means of on-load isolation 4 Klik lsc or

while also minimising the disruption to other parts of 5 Conduit box with dome plate
the installation enabling direct connection to the
luminaires via flexible conduit or
6 Ceiling rose with flexible cord
2 Circuit

3 standard light
1 Switch
switch or
integral to
control (remote
from luminaire)

Distribution board Luminaires

inadvertently or unintentionally
energised. Q What are the design Q Which device best
considerations for complies with BS 7671 for
Q What are the key switching off for mechanical
the on-load isolation and
switching off for mechanical
requirements for devices used
for onload isolation? You must know what the maintenance of a luminaire?
You must consider several installation is being used An LSC provides a means
factors. There must be for, including your client’s of on-load isolation while
sufficient isolating distance requirements for mechanical also minimizing disruption to
between contacts and their maintenance. The system other parts of the electrical
position must be clearly and should allow maintenance to installation
reliably indicated. be safe and with minimum (see figure 1).
disruption to other parts of
Also the on-load device must the installation. You must The advantages of using an
be suitable for the prescribed also ensure that there LSC for on-load isolation and
load characteristics. Note the are precautions in place mechanical maintenance of
standard for LSCs, BS 6972, preventing equipment luminaires are:
specifies the requirements from being inadvertently • Minimum inconvenience and
for load making and breaking reactivated. disruption to the installation;
• A large isolating distance
with an inductive load and
with tungsten filament lamps. Q What are the between contacts;
Finally the device must be requirements for the devices • The position of the contacts
manually operated and it can used in switching off for is clearly and reliably
not be a semiconductor. mechanical indicated;
maintenance? • It is suitable for on-load
Q What do you classify as The device must clearly
indicate its off or open
• It has manual operation; you
lamp replacement?
Mechanical maintenance, position and be suitable can take precautions against
which Part 2 of BS 7671 for the prescribed load inadvertent or unintentional
defines as: “the replacement, characteristics. operation;
refurbishment or cleaning of • It enables bench level
lamps and non-electrical parts maintenance of luminaires.
of equipment, plant and

Q What is the objective of

switching off for mechanical
It enables non-skilled people
to carry out maintenance on
electrical equipment without
risk of burns or injury from
mechanical movement.

Switching off for mechanical

maintenance is not isolation of
live parts.

Hager Ltd.
Hortonwood 50

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