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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by sideband » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:25 pm

OK. I ordered one of these and it arrived today. I said I would let you know the results.

First of all, I'll put on my safety compliance cap and state that this Chinese-made product DOES NOT MEET UK SAFETY STANDARDS. The most blindingly obvious one that jumped out at me as soon as I opened the box was the non-compliant mains plug. It has no safety markings and is a moulded plug WITHOUT A FUSE. It also has a part insulated earth pin...not allowed and not part of BS1363. Also the live and neutral pins are too close to the edge of the plug. I think it should be 15mm clearance...not sure without looking at the standard but it should be more than the 5mm on this plug. Very serious breeches of safety.

The IEC appliance connector has no safety markings, neither does the mains cord itself...both are requirements.

The power supply itself: Again it is non compliant with fake markings...it states TUV, GS, UL, CCC and CE. All of the markings are incorrect (wrong shape/size/font). It has a high voltage symbol....240 volts does not warrant the symbol, also the double insulated symbol is missing together with the 'indoor use only' symbol. Strangely enough, the low voltage output cable has safety markings, although they are American and Canadian.

Now having condemned the product even before connecting it up, does it work? The answer....yes and very well...apart from the poor DC power connector that is!

What concerns me most is that the average person buying this would not be aware of the non-compliances and would happily be using it. I haven't yet opened up the power supply to see if it's fitted with a fuse.....if it isn't and the plug also doesn't have a fuse, there is a major fire risk. Tomorrow I will investigate the power supply and check for constructional compliance and give it an insulation test. I can overcome the non-compliant mains lead simply by using a good one.

On the plus side, there is a useful SATA/IDE to USB connector and a SATA extension cable. The SATA/IDE connector means that I can also use an external DVD drive with the laptop if necessary.
Attachments
SAM_0347 (Small).JPG
No markings on IEC connector
SAM_0344 (Small).JPG
Part insulated earth pin...not allowed in BS1363
SAM_0342 (Small).JPG
No markings and NO FUSE! Clearances too small.
SAM_0340 (Small).JPG
Fake markings..wrong fonts and sizes

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety

Post by Jamie » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:52 pm

My UHF Modulator came with a Euro Plug and a free UK plug Adaptor. Un-fused too.. I have changed it for a BS 1363 Compliant plug!

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Michael Watterson » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:55 pm

A lot of these cheap PSUs don't have enough filtering either.

Amazing you even got some species of UK plug. But how can they get the dimensions so it actually fits in socket and get so much else about it wrong? It's not like the cost of one meeting the spec costs more?

I presume a double isolated PSU is allowed a fully insulated earth pin and the earth pin must be complete if it's actually used as an Earth pin?

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by CTV » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:05 pm

I recently bought a 625 modulator in preparation for when my two colour hybrids turn up. I was not happy with the two pin shaver type plug and the non fused adapter that came supplied with it. I did the same as you Mike, snipped the lead and fitted a 1A fused plug.

I mean just look at the state of the little 3 pin adapter!!!! little fingers can easily engage on the Live and Neutral 8)) shocking, quite literally.

mod.jpg

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Refugee » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:06 pm

I have two Samsung 17 inch screens that i got for free and neither of them had PSUs.
They are 14V. I changed the connector on a Maplin switchable one and it lasted just over a year before it went bang and got put into the junk box for spares. I replaced the other with one from Ebay. It came without a mains lead and was £9.
To replace the one that went bang i again bought one from Ebay for £8. It surprised me when i found that it was supplied with a mains lead with a plug that is identical to that one.
I have designated it for use on fused extension leads only.

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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Terrykc » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:21 pm

sideband wrote:... The most blindingly obvious one that jumped out at me as soon as I opened the box was the non-compliant mains plug. It has no safety markings and is a moulded plug WITHOUT A FUSE. It also has a part insulated earth pin...not allowed and not part of BS1363. Also the live and neutral pins are too close to the edge of the plug. I think it should be 15mm clearance ...

If you check out the picture in the link you provided, you can clearly see the sleeved earth pin, lack of fuse and insufficient clearance ...

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by sideband » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:35 pm

These unfused plugs are death-traps. They are illegal in UK. We know that they MIGHT be OK in a fused extension but the mains cable is also non-approved with absolutely no way of knowing its rating. Joe Bloggs in the street could buy one of these and assume it's safe and plug it in to a standard socket or unfused extension strip. If the power supply is also unfused and the cable is underrated....... :omg:



Rich.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety

Post by sideband » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:44 pm

Refugee wrote:i did recognise the plug from the photo on Ebay and just assumed that it would be another mains lead for use on fused extension leads only.


NO! Cut it off and throw it. You have no way of knowing how the leads are connected to the pins and no way of knowing the cable rating (unless yours is marked). I've seen moulded plugs melted due to poor construction.


Rich.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by hamid_1 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:31 pm

I've come across some of those as well. Not bought by me personally, but by other people.
The illegal mains leads often seem to come with USB hard drive enclosures. I spotted one at a friend's house. The 13amp plug was smaller than usual and didn't have a fuse, plus the earth pin was partially sleeved. I pointed out the danger to my friend and suggested cutting off the dangerous plug and replacing it with a proper safe one. When we cut the wire, it was so thin it was like hair. I then said the best thing is to throw it away and use a new mains lead. It's worrying. If a short circuit occurred, the lack of a fuse in the plug would mean 30 amps from the ring main would flow through the hair-thin wire. Surely it would catch fire and burn someone's house down. :-o
As for the power supplies, I've also come across one of these :
http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/acadapter.html

Someone asked me to repair a laptop charger that had failed. When I cracked it open, it looked exactly like the one in the above link, including the metal weights to make it feel heavier and less obviously fake! I was told it got hot enough to melt a mark on the carpet!

Unfortunately, although we could simply blame the Chinese for this stuff, it's partly the public's fault. Everyone wants stuff cheap.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Terrykc » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:57 am

hamid_1 wrote:... Unfortunately, although we could simply blame the Chinese for this stuff, it's partly the public's fault. Everyone wants stuff cheap.

But surely the regulations are there for that very purpose - to protect the public!

I have found 13A socket to EU (both Schuko and French/Belgian) plug adaptors in pound shops which are of a vastly superior quality to similar items sold elsewhere for up to ten times the price, so cheap does not necessarily mean poor quality.

It is quite possible for two Chinese manufacturers to sell similar products at similar prices - one meeting international standards and the other not. The manufacturer with the sub-standard product is not only ripping of the punter but is also gaining his country a bad name ...

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by sideband » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:44 am

Terrykc wrote:But surely the regulations are there for that very purpose - to protect the public!


That's precisely the point! The avarage punter will assume that as it's being sold, it must be safe. The fact that the unfused 13A plug fits a 13A socket will be good enough and it probably won't even register...'Oh that's a neat little plug. Why can't they all be like that'? :omg:


Rich.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Terrykc » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:11 am

Agreed - but that wasn't the point I was making. You said the public was to blame for these hazardous devices for wanting low prices. But, as I pointed out, it is usually possible to buy a safe version of the same product for a similar price from a different Chinese manufacturer.

I don't see how that places the blame for the manufacturer who breaks the rules on the buyer ...

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Refugee » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:50 am

The other problem is overpriced OEM parts making it worth while to make copies.
I almost tested the braking system to destruction on a Vauxhall van after it scraped through an MOT with advice the brakes were slightly off.
Reading the advice from the tester i did my own test and found that the steering shuddered violently once i knew what i was looking for.
The vehicle was still on the road and only with skill could be stopped in a strait line.
The main dealer parts only cost pennies more than the fakes and were fitted.
If you buy a car it is worth checking the main dealer prices for some of the safety related parts.
Failure to do this could land you at the wheel of a bunch of fake parts as the real ones could go onto it even at a good dealer.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Andrewausfa » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:01 pm

Rich,

Do you know who is meant to provide the assurance/compliance for goods sold, retailer or importer (if imported) ?

Andrew

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by GlowingAnode » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:26 pm

The importer must take responsibility for what he's bringing into the country.
He's the one who's releasing dangerous products onto the market.
That's plain wrong on so many levels, there's no excuse for this.
He's getting the benefit for so doing and is in a position to pay for independent inspection / varification, the retailer cannot be expected to do this.
Rob.
ps. thanks Rich for an excellent article, and bringing this to our attention.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by sideband » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:15 pm

Well that's interesting! I just checked on PayPal for the sellers email address and it says 'Payment To 黎 卓文.'

however the listing states London. Is it likely that it came direct from China via a London agent? It only took two days so most likely came from London through an agent. Does that mean the importer is also the retailer?


Rich

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Jamie » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:19 pm

Li Zhuo Wen.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by sideband » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:26 pm

So a Chinaman in London selling his dodgy wares. :(

Rich

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Andrewausfa » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:24 pm

sideband wrote:Well that's interesting! I just checked on PayPal for the sellers email address and it says 'Payment To 黎 卓文.'

however the listing states London. Is it likely that it came direct from China via a London agent? It only took two days so most likely came from London through an agent. Does that mean the importer is also the retailer?


Rich


In which case he can in theory be 'done' both as importing agent and retailer.

Andrew

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Refugee » Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:35 pm

These are useful if only with the mains lead and PSU dumped.
I will later today or tomorrow be testing the mains lead in two ways.

First with a PAT tester with each conductor in series with the earth clip. The PAT tester requires a lamp limiter or other appliance to be present in order to stop it showing that an appliance is absent (not a problem). I will test the earth and then re-test with the conductor in series to establish the dissipation of the cable under fault condition in order to establish if it can be used safely on a fused extension cable or not.

Second i also have an 8 amp Variac and a 25 volt 20 amp mains transformer and could test it to destruction. This set up could push 40 amps on a 50% duty cycle without issue and we will be able to see if it actually is fire retardant.

The cable is marked "3 x 0.5mm so the rating looks like 2.5 amps or so.

DSCF5517.JPG

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Refugee » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:38 pm

I have now tested the mains lead and found it to be rated at 2 amps maximum.
I made up a test socket with the leads linked and connected it to the PAT tester.
The test socket measures 0.01 ohms.
The three terminals on the lead read in the region of 1 ohm and 1.3 ohms on a DMM 200 ohm range.
The cable got quite warm during testing but was fine on the insulation test.
I found a Tesco 100W lamp bulb that read 5 meg while checking the PAT tester :!:

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DSCF5534.JPG

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DSCF5523.JPG

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Michael Watterson » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:53 pm

Does it catch fire or MCB trip on a 20A "fused" circuit with a realistic equipment fault?

Inquiring minds would like to know how well the plastic burns (minimum current needed) and what toxic smoke it gives off?

:geek:

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Refugee » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:53 pm

I only tested it on the earth resistance range on the PAT tester and the cable got warm while testing the three cores. I have estimated the currant to be about 5 amps from looking at the technical data on the PAT tester.
I did get the big transformer out but decided that a test to destruction would have to be done outside.
Going by how hot it got i would say that the PAT tester would be able to kill it anyway.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by sideband » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:48 pm

Refugee wrote:The cable is marked "3 x 0.5mm so the rating looks like 2.5 amps or so.


You're lucky.... nothing marked on mine at all. To be honest though, the markings mean nothing without actually testing it...the rest of it is fake so likely any markings on the cable are also fake.

I've used mine with an approved mains cable. The original is hanging up in the lab at work and has been the subject of much discussion.....!


Rich.

 
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Re: Electricals purchased via the internet. Safety.

Post by Refugee » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:32 pm

The thing is that looking at the spec of the PAT tester it can provide 6 volts open circuit and the lead read 1 ohm or more.
I would be prepared to say that it took 5 amps and no more.
The cable would have been sinking 30W during testing.
The cable is marked 10 amps 8)) so it would be sinking 200W as there would now be two 1 ohm cores in series with the load 8))
I think 2.5 amps is a bit much for it to be quite honest.
I think i had better cut the plug off and have a look at the conductors.
Camera time again.

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