Technical FAQ's

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Whats the maximum number of sockets I can daisy chain?

It Depends! – What Standard is the installation going to comply with?
1. BS6396 – The number of sockets in each power unit and the fuse rating: The maximum number of sockets connected from a 13A plug is 6, where the socket fuse rating is 3.15A – So if the unit contains 6 sockets fused at 3.15A no more can be connected. In a typical office solution there may be 4 sockets in an under desk unit and 2 in the desk top 4+2 = 6. It could equally be 3 under + 3 desktop or 2 under + 4 desktop as long as maximum number does not exceed 6. Where 5A fuses are fitted the maximum is 4 per feed from the 13A plug.
2 . BS7671 – Where the sockets are connected by an underfloor track or hard wired usually via a Power Distribution Unit. In this case the number of connected sockets may be larger but this will depend on the equipment likely to be used on the workstations. The potential electrical load on the supply and the nature of the equipment in use will dictate the limits. This type of installation will need to comply with BS7671 also known as the IEE Wiring Regulations 17th Edition. Check with electrical facilities manager with responsibility for the site.

Why have my fuses blown?

Because the socket has been overloaded beyond the rated socket fuse current.

Fuse Failure in Power Modules

When BS6396 was published as a full British Standard in 1990 the allowable socket outlet configurations – up to 4 sockets fused at 5A and, up to 6 sockets fused at 3.15A – were introduced as a result of comments on the draft documents by the HSE. The purpose of the fuses is to restrict the use of the desk/workstation socket outlets to office equipment only with a maximum current of 5A.
Where socket configurations utilise a 3.15A rated fuse this clearly will be the maximum operating current for each socket. This should be taken into account when specifying desk electrical systems.

In most circumstances this allows the use of normal office desk top equipment. Equipment requiring an operating current in excess of these values should be connected directly to the building supply.

Therefore desk mounted sockets must not be used for heaters, kettles, coffee makers and cleaning equipment such as vacuum cleaners. Users of the desks and workstations should be made aware of these restrictions.

OE Electrics power modules are fitted with anti-surge ceramic HBC fuses as standard during manufacture. Replacement fuses should only be of the same type and rating as the OEM fitment. 3.15A fuses should only be uprated to 5A where no more than 4 sockets are connected from the building supply via the 13A plug as required by BS6396. Under no circumstances should the fuses be substituted with glass bodied fuse types.

The coloured fuse rating tags should be changed to indicate the correct fuse rating for the installation.

Failure of the fuses is not indicative of faults with the power modules but of overload from the connected equipment. This may be due to high initial current drawn by the equipment plugged into the sockets hence the original fitment of anti-surge type fuses.
Where fuse failure is occurring and 3.15A fuses are fitted consideration should be given to reduce the number of sockets to 4 per feed from the mains supply. This will then allow the use of 5A rated fuses. Where the number of sockets required at the desk is in excess of 4 with fuses rated at 5A then additional power modules feeding from a separate13A supply plug may be introduced.
In failing, the fuses have served the purpose intended – to prevent the use of high current equipment as set out by the British Standard, to protect the circuits and installation and to protect the staff using the desk.

Whats wrong with buying a trailing socket and using it in my office?

Because it will not conform to the relevant Standard for office furniture installations as it does not have individually fused sockets.
Electrical systems in office furniture must be undertaken in accordance with relevant Standards to ensure compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations; these are part of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Employers must be able to demonstrate that any electrical installations or equipment in use in the workplace comply with the Regulations. The simplest approach to show a credible compliance is to meet the requirements of relevant Standards which in the case of Electrical Systems in office furniture connected to the supply by means of a 13A plug is:-

BS 6396– Electrical Systems in Office Furniture and Office Screens.

BS6396 restricts the number of outlets for safety to a maximum of 6 outlets per mains supply feed from the 13A plug; each socket must be individually fused. Trailing sockets do not provide fuse protection for individual sockets and are therefore unsuitable for this application.

Also the use of trailing sockets also often encourages “daisy chaining” of the sockets by unqualified users leading to potentially dangerous situations.

Ref: HSE Guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations HS(R)25

Is It a legal requirement for units to be switched?

No – within the UK and Ireland switches are a customer option. Both BS6396 and BS7671 do not require switched sockets for compliance.

For other country specific units please contact the technical team who should be able to advise.
What is the situation with sockets inset into desk tops?
BS6396:2008 states in Section 5.5.4 “Socket outlets shall be positioned so as to minimise the risk of electrical hazards from liquid spillage.”

This means that socket outlets should not be mounted inset or horizontally facing upward in desks. When testing to BS6396 is carried out, the standard UKAS approved test is that cup of liquid is spilled over the sockets or in the vicinity of them if they are in an cable basket or tray. The liquid should not be retained on or in the sockets. Clearly where the sockets are angled any liquid would run off.

This will equally apply to sockets installed on office furniture in compliance with BS7671.

What is a PDU?
Typically used to provide mains power distribution to a cluster of desks from a 32A underfloor track supply. They are fitted with MCB’s to provide circuit protection for the power feeds to the individual desks. The MCB’s prevent overload of the Wieland connectors and connecting cable to the units
Are my units broken as the fuses have blown?
Units are not faulty or broken if the fuses have blown. The fuses have failed due to overload and have performed the function as intended – see FAQ Why has my fuse blown.
What is BS6396?

BS 6396:2008 – Electrical systems in Office & Educational Furniture

BS6396:2008 provides simple rules for the installation of electrical systems in office furniture.

This standard applies to electrical power distribution systems that are connected to the fixed wiring of the building via a 13A fused plug.

The standard also stipulates how cables should be routed through the furniture.

All compliant office furniture should have facilities for suitable cable management and electrical power distribution systems. These facilities can be fitted during the manufacture of the furniture or at a later date as the furniture is being installed.
The electrical accessories used in office furniture must be manufactured to the relevant electrical standards as set out by BS6396:2008.

Supply connection: The supply cable must be fitted with a 13A fused plug.
The exposed length of the power supply cable between the 13A wall socket and desk will be no more than 2m.

Socket outlets:
To comply with the standard, all installed sockets must be individually fused.
A maximum of 6 sockets each individually fused at 3.15A may be connected from a 13A supply. Where only 4 sockets are

connected the fuse rating can be 5A.
Sockets installed in or on office furniture are intended to supply equipment whose rating does not exceed 5Amp. Most office equipment will run within the 5Amp maximum. This does not include appliances such as kettles, fan heaters or vacuum cleaners
The socket outlets installed in or on the office furniture must be easily accessible to minimise the risk of injury. They should positioned to be free from risk of hazards such as liquid spillage.

Earthing: The furniture can either be manufactured as earthed or unearthed.
Earthed furniture will have the provision for metal components to be connected to the supply earth via the installed sockets and supply cable.

Unearthed furniture will have an electrical system installed that meets the requirements for reinforced or double insulation.
Segregation of cables: Electrical cables must be segregated from all other cables. Segregation can be achieved by providing a minimum of 50mm separation between cables, a cable management system such as compartment trunking, or cable screening. If there are any gaps between the segregation these must be no more than 150mm.

Testing: In order to comply with BS6396 all office furniture electrical installations must be tested before use; this applies to reconfigured installations as well as new installations.

To ensure continued compliance and safety in the office environment periodic tests should be carried out on the furniture electrical installation by suitably trained personnel and the results documented.

For Further information please contact OE Electrics or refer to BS6396:2008 official documentation

Can you come to site and test the units?
Unfortunately OE Electrics does not have the resources to undertake site testing of installed units. Tests on site will need to be in accordance with the Standard to which the installation was created by suitably trained or qualified personnel. If necessary OE Electrics can arrange testing.
How do your products fix to the desk?
There are various methods of fixing for each unit – a member of the quotes team can talk you through the options or you can view them on the website
Can I download images from your website?
A full range of brochures & data sheets is available from our website. If you can’t find what you are looking for please contact sales
What colours do you do the units in?
Each unit has its own standard colour although some units can have different coloured plastic mouldings dependant on quantity. For example, the POCO is supplied as standard in silver/grey and the PolarICE is white. Please enquire if you would like units in custom colours.
What’s a tap off?
A tap-off is a cable that connects the under-floor track to a power outlet device above the floor such as a power distribution unit or a desk power module. Generally, the cable is protected by running it through a flexible conduit.
Do you test the sockets?
Yes, every power socket in every module is individually tested before leaving our factory. The same applies to data and A/V sockets
What’s a Wieland?
Wieland is a trade name for a type of power connector that has become the de facto standard in many countries for connecting mains power to devices. The type OE Electrics use as standard is GST.
What is the maximum length of VGA cable I can use?
The maximum length of a VGA cable depends on a number of factors including the quality of the cable and the device that is providing the signal. The further you go, the more signal degradation occurs & the worse the image becomes. OE Electrics supplies high quality VGA cables up to 5m in length. Thereafter we can supply additional high quality extensions allowing the introduction of boosters on site where degradation has occurred.
What is HDMI?
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It is a standard for transmitting digital video and audio data. OE Electrics can supply desktop modules with HDMI connectors, as well as DVI & VGA.
What is the minimum bending radius allowed on data cables?
The minimum bend radius varies between different categories of cable. Each manufacturer will specify different minimum radii for their own brand of cable, so check their data. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the diameter of the data cable by ten to calculate the minimum bend radius. For example, an 8mm diameter cable will have a minimum bend radius of 80mm. This may be more than is necessary for category 5e cable, but it is advisable to over estimate to maintain the highest possible transmission rate.
If we use your data modules, the network guarantee will be voided. Is this true?
Your network installer will have specified a certain category of data components and possibly a particular brand. If they have specified a particular brand then it may be necessary to use the same brand in our module. In the majority of cases this is possible, with only a few restrictions relating to module depth and cable entry. On request, and at additional cost we have provided a data cable test certificate to prove that our standard category 6 or 6A cable is capable of providing an equal transmission rate to that of the branded cable specified by a network installer or architect.
How long is the maximum cord length I can use on CAT6 cabling?
The maximum recommended total length for a run of Cat6 cable is 100m, which includes 90m of cable in the building and a patch cord of up to 10m. The cable supplied for connecting the OE Electrics’ units to the floorbox or wall is considered to be part of the fixed link and a patch cord is normally used to connect the OE Electrics’ unit to the computer at the desk.
Why shouldn’t I use universal sockets?
Universal sockets do not comply with any national electrical standard and therefore cannot be considered safe. The terminal apertures in the universal socket are unusually large because they have to accommodate such a wide variety of pin shape and positioning. The universal socket does not include a shutter.
Why can’t I connect 20A or 32A mains direct to your power units/Prism units?
These units are supplied via a Wieland connector rated at 16A. Therefore they should only be connected to the mains supply via a connection incorporating over-current protection of 16A or less – 13A plug or via PDU with 16A rated mcb or RCBO. Our standard power connector that we use for all modules are rated up to 16A. For higher currents we use larger connectors and these don’t fit in some of our units. Please contact us for further information
What can I fit inside that unit?
The majority of modular components will fit inside the majority of modules. Moulded plastic modules, such as Powerunit and Pulse, have greater restrictions due to their fixed length and limited choice of cable entry points. Modules based on a length of extruded aluminium have greater flexibility and can be tailored to your specific needs. All extruded modules have common configurations but they can be cut to specific lengths to contain a greater or lesser number of components.
Are the units in a set configuration?
Off-the-shelf units are available in set configurations but in the majority of cases a unit can be configured to suit your needs. Certain restrictions apply with each module – for example, unit length, unit depth and cable entry points. Please see modular components.
Do you do different sockets for different countries?
Yes, we have sockets for almost every country in the world.  See the modular components section of our website
How can I add power or data or VGA into Prism after initial installation?
This depends on various factors such as the length of the unit and also what it contains. However, if there is enough space in a unit, we can provide snap in fascias for site installation or the unit can be sent back to us for re-working.

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