rcd trip switch

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evenstar | 22:51 Wed 30th Nov 2005 | Home & Garden
11 Answers
Earlier this evening my rcd trip switch tripped. We have no idea what caused this as no one was actually 'doing' anything. The things on were tv's,lamps, pc's, fridge, freezer and the washing machine. I know its hard to tell with the brief outline I have given, but does anyone else have any experience like this? It is a new electric switch board thing. I was told it was usually things like toasters and kettles that caused it to trip. I'd be interested to hear anyones opinion.


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Could be a light bulb on the way out. Ours trips sometimes and its usually a bulb.

It could be any number of things. These new RCD consumer boards are sensitive in order to protect against the slightest fault.

Washing machines are a common cause of them tripping when the heater element starts to age and break down. It causes current to start leaking away to earth.

I wouldn't think that a PC, lamp or a TV would cause an RCD to trip. A bulb blowing might.

Hope that helps.

We've had one for about 6months...nightmare. We too have PC's TV's music etc going, have never worked out why all of a sudden it all goes. First I thought it was when the dishwasher moved onto a busier part of the cycle, or the kids had plugged a hairdyrer in or something, sometimes no one has done anything different, so it could be a light bulb thing, then it was 4 times when I plugged the iron in one day, yet ironed for 3 hours without problem the next day. Sorry can empathise but not help. We think it's too sensitive.
Question Author
Thanks SO much everyone for your help. As I'm single with kids it can be worrying when things like this happen and everyone looks to me for an answer!! I have lived in this house for 10 years, and only last year had the new electric switch box put in. I had no trouble until then. I'm always over careful with electronic equipment too! Thanks again for all your responses.
Glad I'm not the only one Curiosity! I think you must be right, they are too sensitive, nice that its safe but extremely annoying!

If I overload my washing machine with very absorbant clothes like woolens it will trip the RCD when it hits the spin cycle as the motor tries to draw enough current to heave it all into the spin.

It's probably not an issue unless it starts doing it regularly.

Look on the bright side our parents would not have had RCDs and would have spent the next 15 minutes fumbling around under the stairs with fuse wire while we kids wailed that the TV wasn't working :c)

Hi all, if you understand how an RCD works you might have better idea what is causing the trip. The principle is simple - the current entering the house and the current leaving the house should always be exactly the same unless there is a fault and some current is leaking to earth. the RCD compares the in and out currents and trips if it is not almost the same.
The leakage difference allowed for somewhere that a person might touch is 30mA which is not much, but this is the limit that you might have as an electric shock and not be dead !
So an appliance which has no contact to earth cannot trip an RCD, I would be very suprised if a ceiling lamp did it, PC's have filters inside which have constant leakage of maybe 1-2mA and other electronics devices might also have the same basic leakage ''built in'', motors (fridge/freezer) also have a leakage pulse at the instant the motor starts, you can see that your whole house might easily have a substantial leakage current without any real faults, It only needs something to add a small amount extra and the RCD will trip.

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Question Author
Thanks again everyone, you've made me feel much happier and many thanks to qapmoc as I had no idea what the rcd trip switch was for, and thanks jake-the-peg my washing machine WAS going into the spin cycle when it happened and it probably WAS overloaded! Thanks again
my RVs tripped about 5hrs ago. Was only using tv, washer, sky and DVD player. It won't come back on.although I have lights. Please help
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Hi dizzyally
Sorry to hear you are having problems. My washing machine caused my rcd to trip and I had an engineer look at it and it was a faulty water heater. This solved the problem, but if i overload my machine I have had an occasional trip but it is ok when I switch it back on, so I am careful not to overload it now!. I think it is most likely to be your washing machine causing the trip as I have been told this is a common problem. Hope you get it sorted.

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