Because of the modular nature of European wiring accessories, installation is slightly different to fitting the encapsulated (moulded) switches and sockets common in the UK. We’ve provided installation instructions for the product types and projects an installer is most likely to encounter.
The main difference between most European switches and the ones you might be used to in Britain, is that they are designed to be modular, meaning that they are put together from several separate components. You can read more about the differences between standard UK units and European wiring accessories here.
In a few simple steps these components are assembled into one piece, requiring no other tools than the one you would expect to have for standard switch installations – a small flat-blade screwdriver! (OK, for some products you might need a Philips-type screwdriver instead, but you probably have one of those at the ready too.)
Here we will go through the simple assembly step-by-step. Please remember that different products and manufacturers differ in their design slightly, but this general guide should prepare you for the basics.
And please also remember that any electrical installation work should only be done by a trained and qualified electrician or otherwise competent person.
Part 1: Electrical Insert
The main part of the switch, which gets fitted first. Wire the connectors at the back of the unit to the existing electrical installation and then screw the unit into the back box with flat-head device screws (to enable the frame to sit flush on top of the unit).
The connectors are variably push-fit or screw, depending on the manufacturer’s design and the product. Check the particular instructions for the product you are fitting – some are quite different to the usual screw-fit terminals on moulded switches.
Part 2: Frame
In modular switches, the frame that provides the decorative cover over the insert is usually not permanently fixed to the unit. The frame is commonly held in place by a clip-in holding clamp or bracket (see part 3), which is pushed into the insert, securing the frame.
Part 3: Cover (rocker), including holding clamp or bracket
Rocker switch covers come with the brackets we mentioned before but are not attached to them. You can push the rocker and bracket onto the insert in one go, but we recommend clicking in the bracket first.
The last step of fitting the switch is simply pushing the cover onto the provided slots in the insert.
Assembling our 1-gang and 2-gang wall sockets follows the same principle: after the insert has been wired, tested and screwed into the box, we place the frame over the insert and push the cover into the insert.
Different manufacturers have different fixings, but they are very similar and usually feature clamps or lugs that slot tightly into openings in the insert. The last step is to pop the little switch covers onto the small isolating switches between the sockets (unless the unit is unswitched of course).