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134 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 182443 15-Oct-2015 22:19
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I'm planning a house build and considering deploying some smart features myself.

What is the minimum power level for requiring electrical regulations?

One example would be sensor driven LED night lights, mainly for hallways/stairs and outside decking but also considering having some mood lighting in specific places. These would be very low power LEDs that would be running power via cables directly to a low voltage controller.

They wouldn't be replacing the house lights, but would be used at night just to get me from room to room without switching lights on or watching TV without having ceiling lights on.

Even if it's not an issue, how about getting scrutiny from building inspection?
They may see it as unapproved electrical work (lights not in plans) and get grief over it.

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5668 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1407665 16-Oct-2015 10:24
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t wouldn't surprise me if regulations get changed.
While electrocution risk is low from extra low voltage, fire risk would probably be quite high if it became common for people to DIY wire up "off grid" homes with 12v systems with enough capacity for lighting etc.  - especially if attitudes were slack due to the low shock hazard. 

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1407840 16-Oct-2015 13:06
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Anyone know if the DC limit is with reference to ground or line to line? A mate who is planning a solar PV connected to a hot water cylinder setup. Has asked if he can have a center tap that is connected to ground in his series string of panels. As a way of being able to run the element at more than 120V while still keeping within the ELV limits.


515 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1408094 17-Oct-2015 00:07
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I cant imagine a centre tap will change the legal cut off limit. The rules are all about safety of life and property.
Having a centre tap doesn't stop there being a total potential of a certain amount.

But, I am not a lawyer, registered electrician or a qualified hairdresser so what do I know?

429 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1408159 17-Oct-2015 10:58
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from memory it was 32Vac or 48VDC. running a 12v lighting system is fine...youll just need to get your sparky to hook up the 230/12v power supply possibly depending on how much load youll have.
  Be aware though that there are still regs regarding running 12V with 230V systems in that you have to keep them seperate. NO running 12v wires in the same nog holes as 230 stuff for instance and there are seperation distances to follow.
120VDC definitly needs to comply with the regs

oh and if your going to have a 12v system in the house then look at upgrading your smoke alarms to powered ones. arrowhead ones are available at most elec wholesalers.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1408246 17-Oct-2015 14:30
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Refer to ECP 51 for the work that you can do.

Normally you would run a 230V feed from a light switch to the sensor then the switched feed out to the led driver then to the leds you can do it all yourself but will need to get it inspected by an electrical inspector. Discuss with your electrician he may include it with his work if he keeps an eye on you.
The council normally only check the smoke detectors are installed as per the plan.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1408316 17-Oct-2015 17:48
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Just check with your insurance company first. We went through this with the LumenCache platform and every insurance company we contacted stated that as long as the "system" is installed by a qualified installer, the SELV system will be covered. Get it in writing if you do it youself and keep under the 48vdc from your insurance company so that it "will be covered" if the unthinkable happens.

"Setting the Standard in Quality and Commitment"

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1408329 17-Oct-2015 18:29
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Extra low voltage doesn't require installation by an electrician, the problem will be finding an electrician who will sign off on the gear your connecting as it's part of the installation

Solar installs although extra low voltage are classed as hazardous (due to high DC currents) and require an inspection

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1408485 18-Oct-2015 06:19
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Get an SDoC (supplier declaration of conformity) for everything running at more than SELF (I believe it is around 60V).  In NZ t is a legal requirement that any supplier that supplies anything connecting to mains (even a power cable) must have the manufacturer's DoC, and must provide an SDoC on request.  That way the electrician can't say anything about the gear, and the supplier takes responsibility for the equipment compliance.  But few suppliers know about the legal requirement.

Do the installation according to the wiring rules, for example (from memory) 2" separation to mains wiring (of conduit), and (I think) can't mix mains and extra low voltage on the same face plate.

But this is only my understanding of the rules, don't take me to court over it.

For solar, the council wants to ensure the roof can handle the extra weight.  And that the electrical wiring complies to a standard.  There are lots of interesting council rules, like you can mount a TV aerial to a building that has a building consent, but not to a fence post (or free standing or shed) unless you get a consent.

You can never have enough Volvos!

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1408487 18-Oct-2015 06:43
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The reality is most electricians will not certify any work done by a home owner no matter how good (or bad) the work is as they are risking their lively hood, those that will certify are generally dodgy and you should be steering clear of anyway.

Go find yourself an electrician, talk to people you know to see who they use and their experiences.

If you choose to do your own work, find out what you can legally do.

Remember there is a reason why electrical work is regulated, it kills, it may not be an electric shock you get killed by, it may be a house fire because cables weren't load rated correctly.

I am an electrician

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1408733 18-Oct-2015 18:20
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Since the OP is planning a new build, there will be an electrician for the project.  Work with him, I cannot see any concern if the electrician wires up the mains side of it and the OP wires up the SELF side of it.  As long as the gear that connects to mains come with a DoC (or SDoC).

You can never have enough Volvos!

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