Main Forums >> DIY, Electronics, Studio Design & Acoustics
        Print Thread

Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)
The Fold Studios



Joined: 21/08/08
Posts: 143
Loc: Forest Hill, South East London
PAT testing - Is it legally required
      #909468 - 20/04/11 09:55 AM
Question is in the title really. I am self-empployed and run a small recording studio. Am I in trouble if I don't have PAT testing on all my appliances?

--------------------
BLOG - http://www.thefoldstudios.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
chris...
active member


Joined: 12/03/03
Posts: 4613
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #909472 - 20/04/11 10:17 AM
http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/july.pdf


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Howdy Doody Time



Joined: 18/01/09
Posts: 450
Loc: Huai Yai, Chon Buri, Siam
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: chris...]
      #909515 - 20/04/11 02:23 PM

Excellent question, - Brilliant answer

--------------------
The only excuse we have for making music in the first place is to make it differently..vis-a-vis our own difference (Glenn Gould)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
chris...
active member


Joined: 12/03/03
Posts: 4613
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #909544 - 20/04/11 04:56 PM
Some insurance companies may mandate it. But that's a different question from "is it legally required".


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
dmills



Joined: 25/08/06
Posts: 2374
Loc: High Wycombe, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #909620 - 20/04/11 11:46 PM
The requirement under the electricity at work act (or is it PUWER, I can never remember) is that reasonable measures are taken to ensure that equipment used at work is electrically safe.

Now often the easiest way to do that is to PAT it once in a while (It does NOT automatically have to be annual, should be determined by risk assessment), but you are free to come up with an alternative approach.

I tend to view the PAT week as a good opportunity to check all the screws are tight, clean things check connectors for damage, all that boring stuff that otherwise never gets done.
If you do it right you will find 99+% of the problems before the gear goes anywhere near the test box, a good visual inspection will reveal the vast majority of problems.

Incidentally it is very much worth doing earth bond checks on NEW gear and checks for correct connection on new IEC leads, I have had both fail in scary ways.

Regards, Dan.

--------------------
Audiophiles use phono leads because they are unbalanced people!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
The Bunk



Joined: 29/12/07
Posts: 731
Loc: Surrey
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #909663 - 21/04/11 08:07 AM
With these kinds of issues it's very much about your approach to good housekeeping and, dare I say it, health and safety. Legally there's no recourse against you if you haven't PAT tested but if something happens - let's just say an electrical fire - at the studio, you could end up with all sorts of people coming in to inspect / investigate the cause of the fire etc. If they discover you haven't been PAT testing, that'll tell them you've got a slightly slack approach to H+S and they might crawl all over you. If you demonstrate that you do take these kinds of issues seriously it'll put you in a much better position.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1885
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Bunk]
      #909841 - 21/04/11 11:04 PM
Quote The Bunk:

With these kinds of issues it's very much about your approach to good housekeeping and, dare I say it, health and safety. Legally there's no recourse against you if you haven't PAT tested but if something happens - let's just say an electrical fire - at the studio, you could end up with all sorts of people coming in to inspect / investigate the cause of the fire etc. If they discover you haven't been PAT testing, that'll tell them you've got a slightly slack approach to H+S and they might crawl all over you. If you demonstrate that you do take these kinds of issues seriously it'll put you in a much better position.




"PAT Test" tends to mean a test compliant to the IEE Guide to in-Service Test & Inspection, complete with requirement for little green stickers. It is not enforceable unless referred to specifically in a contract. PAT test could mean other testing and inspection methods.

Dan answered fairly here, that is not a legal requirement, but if you engage in any business activity which uses any mains-powered electrical equipment, you should really have some kind of checking and maintenance policy to comply with health and safety, and it would be sensible to write down the results of any said check or fixes. You're most of the way to complying with the guide by this point though

HSE have repeatedly railled against the electrical contractors' industries encouragement of the "Need a sticker to be legal" assumption, insisting that it is over officious for (eg) many office and shop situations.

But as Dan says, it is an opportunity to find gremlins in your gear. I gave up fighting it all and bought a computerised tester -the database helps me keep track of tests and equipment locations, and as electrical testing is easy and almost automatic, I actually test many larger flex cables very regularly -some before each job for peace of mind.

It's not just a safety issue, but one of reliability also, and I really don't want my mains cables to let me down mid-event.

I tend also to use my PAT stickers just for identification (asset number), and my database for the pass and date info. That upsets council inspectors, but it is entirely legal and proper (I would bring test results lists/certs here).

Remember, the IEE Guide's methods are just one way of checking your electrical gear, and are not law in themselves. That said, they are good practice.

>

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
dmills



Joined: 25/08/06
Posts: 2374
Loc: High Wycombe, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: Nathan]
      #909850 - 22/04/11 12:35 AM
Quote Nathan:


I gave up fighting it all and bought a computerised tester -the database helps me keep track of tests and equipment locations, and as electrical testing is easy and almost automatic, I actually test many larger flex cables very regularly - some before each job for peace of mind.
>



Which to my mind sort of misses the point, it is NOT the test box that should be finding problems, it is the visual inspection!

The test box will for the most part only find things that are already broken, where a good visual (inspect the whole cable for nicks and other damage, open up the plugs and make sure the screws are tight and the fuse is appropriate), will often find loose screws, heat discolouration, damaged fuse holders....

I have I think twice out of several thousand tests had the box tell me something was broke that I had not spotted (a marginal earth bond value and a brand new IEC lead with a L/N reverse), I tend to find loose screws in about 5% of cables that have not been threadlocked in any given year.

A loose screw in a 125A TP neutral is NOT happymaking!

The computerised tester is good for making pretty stickers that keep the thicker end of the 'elf & safety crowd happy, but I would actually rather people really LOOKED at what they were about to plug in.

Regards, Dan.

--------------------
Audiophiles use phono leads because they are unbalanced people!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Daniel Davis



Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 873
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #909954 - 22/04/11 03:50 PM
In my experience working in offices, PAT testing is usually carried out by someone with an automatic machine, but without the exam grades to be a cleaner. No actual physical or electrical examination takes place, and equipment is not tested under load conditions which kinda means that the sticker isn't worth a thing (except perhaps to an insurer).

Why not get an amp tech to look at your valve amps once in a while -- they might actually know what they are doing, although I can't guarantee they'll give you a sticker.

--------------------
Daniel Davis
Edinburgh Recording Studio Windmill Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
dmills



Joined: 25/08/06
Posts: 2374
Loc: High Wycombe, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: Daniel Davis]
      #909985 - 22/04/11 05:03 PM
Quote Daniel Davis:

In my experience working in offices, PAT testing is usually carried out by someone with an automatic machine, but without the exam grades to be a cleaner. No actual physical or electrical examination takes place, and equipment is not tested under load conditions which kinda means that the sticker isn't worth a thing.




A load test is not required as the kit does not have to work, it just has to be safe.
Agree that many of the people doing it are clowns, but without the visual how can the test be said to comply with the ACOP?

That said offices are such low risk environments anyway that the test is mostly pointless in that environment, the folks working in actually dangerous environments tend to do it in house so they know it is right.

We will gloss over the case I heard of where the test reports claimed that everything in a large building was class II (Someone did NOT get paid)!

Regards, Dan.

--------------------
Audiophiles use phono leads because they are unbalanced people!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Daniel Davis



Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 873
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: dmills]
      #909996 - 22/04/11 05:46 PM
Quote dmills:


A load test is not required as the kit does not have to work, it just has to be safe.




Without a load test you'd have no idea whether some equipment was safe, press a switch and a relay connects your guitar to a potentially lethal voltage - its happened on many a PAT tested valve amp.

--------------------
Daniel Davis
Edinburgh Recording Studio Windmill Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
dmills



Joined: 25/08/06
Posts: 2374
Loc: High Wycombe, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #910004 - 22/04/11 06:10 PM
Nope, press the switch and live shorts to ground taking the fuse or (ideally) RCD out (As long as the ground is present which the earth loop measurement will have established).

Only if the earth is lifted is there a practical risk there and the PAT will find that. Normal practise for the insulation test is that both live and neutral are tied together inside the tester and a high voltage applied between them and ground, thus even a fault downstream of a (single pole) switch will be found.

Note that NO problem on the secondary side of the iron can be found by a PAT tester as it is not looking there.

Regards, Dan.

--------------------
Audiophiles use phono leads because they are unbalanced people!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21710
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #910080 - 23/04/11 09:22 AM
Quote The Fold Studios:

I am self-empployed and run a small recording studio. Am I in trouble if I don't have PAT testing on all my appliances?




Just to reinforce the point, technically no, but you you'd be foolish not to have formal PAT or some similar alternative plan in place.

If anyone gets hurt of if you have a claim on your insurance one of the first things you'll be asked for is evidence of an appropriate and competent system to check and maintain your equipment.

As has been said, the major and most important part of the PAT is the visual inspection which you can easily do yourself. Provided you keep good records of what equipment was tested and when, that should suffice.

Personally, I'd recommend that you take a PAT course at your local college. It only takes a few weeks, it really isn't rocket science, and it doesn't cost that much to do. That way you'll be qualified to test your own gear, and you can also test that of all your mates to earn a few sheckles in the process....

hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
zenguitarModerator
active member


Joined: 05/12/02
Posts: 8747
Loc: Devon
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #910128 - 23/04/11 03:06 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

Personally, I'd recommend that you take a PAT course at your local college. It only takes a few weeks, it really isn't rocket science, and it doesn't cost that much to do. That way you'll be qualified to test your own gear, and you can also test that of all your mates to earn a few sheckles in the process....

hugh




I was thinking the same thing recently Hugh. A friend of mine works as a handyman in a local Care Home and they are putting him through the course because it worked out cheaper than getting an electrician in. We did the sums, and at the going rate he could easily make £40 an hour just doing PAT tests.

One course, one machine, a stock of labels, a white van with magnetic promo panels, couple of sweaters with embroidered PAT TESTER logo's and a white lab coat with one of those fancy pen holders in the pocket. Then approach all the Care Homes for 50 miles.

Andy

--------------------
When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1885
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: zenguitar]
      #910222 - 24/04/11 09:26 AM
Quote zenguitar:


...A friend of mine works as a handyman in a local Care Home and they are putting him through the course because it worked out cheaper than getting an electrician in. We did the sums, and at the going rate he could easily make £40 an hour just doing PAT tests.

One course, one machine, a stock of labels, a white van with magnetic promo panels, couple of sweaters with embroidered PAT TESTER logo's and a white lab coat with one of those fancy pen holders in the pocket. Then approach all the Care Homes for 50 miles.

Andy




£40 at £1.50 per test? That's 26 to 27 items an hour. Not testing properly. And some companies are offering £1 a test, ridiculous.

I test for some charities and a couple of businesses I know/work with, but I wouldn't do it commercially. You earn less than running a studio if you do it properly, and feel less ethical than teaching music technology if you slap stickers on at that rate.

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1885
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: dmills]
      #910229 - 24/04/11 10:00 AM
Quote dmills:

Quote Nathan:


I gave up fighting it all and bought a computerised tester -the database helps me keep track of tests and equipment locations, and as electrical testing is easy and almost automatic, I actually test many larger flex cables very regularly - some before each job for peace of mind.
>



Which to my mind sort of misses the point, it is NOT the test box that should be finding problems, it is the visual inspection!



The test box will for the most part only find things that are already broken, where a good visual (inspect the whole cable for nicks and other damage, open up the plugs and make sure the screws are tight and the fuse is appropriate), will often find loose screws, heat discolouration, damaged fuse holders....






please note the bold text Dan, we're actually in agreement here; most problems are visually spotted, but that won't find many earthing and a good many insulation issues. If you set the correct protection (earth) conductor impedance in your PAT tester for the length and conductor x-sect area of the actual cable (rather than use a default setting), you will find strand loss in earth wires and loose earth sockets in extension sockets that would not show up in a visual (yes, I will test all sockets on a six-way dist box).

Damp in some connectors, cables, light fittings isn't alway easy to detect, but with show up in the insulation test (even if it doesn't fail, I look at trends on my outdoor stuff).

You should know from my previous posts on this subject that we concur on most faults being found visually, and it's one of the things many "quantity" companies skimp on. Don't froget that PAT testers can store the results of visual tests, and you can add notes to an asset on them, I rely on this, as well as it telling me where the asset is located (I have over 1000 items of my own to keep track of now, damn festival cabling). The Supernova I got saves me mucking around with various multimeters and current sources, low impedance testers, etc.

The worse bit is writing out the stickers anyway

By testing I did mean the whole visual and connector disassembly inspection too Dan. I feel the biggest point I "gave in" on was the stickers

>

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
dmills



Joined: 25/08/06
Posts: 2374
Loc: High Wycombe, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #910242 - 24/04/11 11:08 AM
Yea granted, and you do know you can get a sticker printer that plugs into the supernova and even a barcode scanner for it (Ebay quite often).

My point was really for the benefit of those watching, that the IMPORTANT part is the visual.

Regards, Dan.

--------------------
Audiophiles use phono leads because they are unbalanced people!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
zenguitarModerator
active member


Joined: 05/12/02
Posts: 8747
Loc: Devon
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: Nathan]
      #910264 - 24/04/11 01:47 PM
Quote Nathan:

Quote zenguitar:


...A friend of mine works as a handyman in a local Care Home and they are putting him through the course because it worked out cheaper than getting an electrician in. We did the sums, and at the going rate he could easily make £40 an hour just doing PAT tests.

One course, one machine, a stock of labels, a white van with magnetic promo panels, couple of sweaters with embroidered PAT TESTER logo's and a white lab coat with one of those fancy pen holders in the pocket. Then approach all the Care Homes for 50 miles.

Andy




£40 at £1.50 per test? That's 26 to 27 items an hour. Not testing properly. And some companies are offering £1 a test, ridiculous.

I test for some charities and a couple of businesses I know/work with, but I wouldn't do it commercially. You earn less than running a studio if you do it properly, and feel less ethical than teaching music technology if you slap stickers on at that rate.




I agree Nathan, essentially plugging into the test machine, pressing TEST and printing out the sticker. In the Care Home it is 3 or 4 plugs per resident's room, 2 or 3 lamps and a clock radio (no kettles allowed in the rooms) not a lot to visually inspect, but still nowhere near enough time for each.

The course my friend was sent on to do this was one afternoon.

And that highlights the problem with any sort of testing like this. It is perfectly possible to go on a short course to learn to use the machine and be given a quick 'painting by numbers' guide to visual inspection and pass the course with little or no real understanding.

Done properly as described by previous posters, it is a useful practice. But in most cases it is a box ticking exercise to show that they have a Policy and a means of delivering it.

Andy

--------------------
When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1885
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #910366 - 25/04/11 08:25 AM
I tested the appliances in a local garage where I get my vehicles serviced. Eighty-odd items over seven or eight hours, and I thought that was going some, considering I had to unthread the computer systems and put them back together again -most failures involved re-cabling hand-tools.

Previous testing had been done by an established company (from yellow pages). They swore the guy who turned up had not been on site more than an hour, and we found stickers on hard wired alarm systems that would have needed isolating, on low voltage things like laptops (in addition to their PDUs), and then the number of stickers and asset numbers we found did not correlate with the amount they'd been charged.

This seems to be quite common, too. I can't do a bodge-job, it's not me. I wouldn't make much money PAT testing commercially.

Dan -I've considered the bar-code reader. If it stores the asset number and the item's test code, then that could be good for repeat stuff. Means a lot of mucking about with printing labels though, or an expensive portable printer with expensive proprietary labels.

My, haven't we taken this on a tangent?

>

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
geefunk



Joined: 05/08/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Bristol, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #911123 - 28/04/11 01:49 PM
I neeed some advice on this too. I'm in a school, and we've just had an annual PAT test, and 8 of my brand new, still in the box power extension reels were failed becasue they have 10amp cable (13amp plug/fuse), and it is thinner than 13amp cable, so illegal?

We already had one in the school, and it was passed by the company last year, but a different company have failed it this year. What is the situation?

Thanks

--------------------
I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over
Twitter


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21710
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: geefunk]
      #911130 - 28/04/11 02:32 PM
Quite obviously, a 13A fuse is wholly imappropriate for a cable rated at 10A, and that would fail it instantly. The plug should be fitted with a lower value fuse.

The PAT guidance for extension cables says that they must always be three core (LNE) and should not exceed 12 metres in length for core diameters of 1.25mm2, 15m for 1.5mm2 and 25m for 2.5mm2. Smaller cable core diameters are not specified as far as I know, although where the cable length is longer than those listed above the cable can be used if protected by a 30mA RCD.

The 25m, 2.5mm2 extension cable should be fed via a 60309-2 (16A) plug by the way, rather than the standard BS1363 (13A) plug.

Your 10A cable probably has core diamters of about 1mm2, which is outside the PAT guidance values and so I can see why someone ticking the boxes might fail it on a PAT test.

You don't say how long your extension reels are, or whether they have built in RCDs... both things would affect the test.

However, if the extension cable is less than about 10m and/or has a built-in RCD then I think it would probably be okay assuming a sensible size of fuse in the plug.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
geefunk



Joined: 05/08/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Bristol, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #912058 - 03/05/11 10:11 AM
Thanks Hugh - I still haven't got to the bottom of this. The reels I bought are these:

"JOJO 10M/10A/4SKT EXTN REEL P/N: 141-4978

JO-JO EXTENSION REELERS
Quad socket extension reel.Features a safety cut out button, just push the button to reset if the overload safety device cuts out.
Suitable for most domestic appliances and power tools.
Colour: Red/Black
Length: 10M - 10A rated "

--------------------
I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over
Twitter


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
geefunk



Joined: 05/08/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Bristol, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #912678 - 06/05/11 08:06 AM
ok, the company I bought the reels from are now telling me that a 10A cable with a 13A plug can be fitted with a 10 or 13 A fuse?

I'm confused.....

Are there any sparkies here who can give me a definitive answer?

Thanks

--------------------
I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over
Twitter


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21710
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: geefunk]
      #912686 - 06/05/11 08:58 AM
The plug fuse is there to protect the cable and nothing else. If the cable is rated at 10A then it should have a maximum ten amp fuse in the plug. It really isn't rocket science. Putting a 13 amp fuse in the plug means that the cable is no longer adequately protected.

The query is over this 'cut out' device which I presume is in the plug board section. If that is a simple current overload device then it is acting in the same way as the fuse to protect the cable, and that being the case it could be argued that the size of fuse is no longer relevant -- which is what your quote seems to suggest.

However, you are then totally reliant on the cut-out device operating to protect the cable and that would require appropriate certification before it would pass a PAT test. Fuses are approved, and a 10A fuse will pass the test regardless of the action (or not) of the thermal cut out.

On the other hand, if it is an integral RCD device then it offers no specific protection for the cable and we're back to needing a correctly rated fuse.

And then we have the issue of cable length, which as I explained above, if over a set length for the cable cross-sectional area must be protected with an RCD.

So the best course of action as I see it, is to have a discussion with your PAT testing company to establish exactly why the extensions reels failed -- they have to log the reason as part of the test -- and to agree on a plan of action to render them usable... which I suspect will mean fitting 10A fuses and RCDs in the plug-ends.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
geefunk



Joined: 05/08/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Bristol, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #912706 - 06/05/11 09:43 AM
Thanks Hugh - I really appreciate your advice and knowledge. I was going to call the PAT tester anyway, but just needed to be clear about our side of things before they started talking Amps and Ohms at me!

Thanks again.

--------------------
I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over
Twitter


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
The Bunk



Joined: 29/12/07
Posts: 731
Loc: Surrey
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: geefunk]
      #912736 - 06/05/11 12:01 PM
Sounds like Hugh has answered the question but I work with a fully qualified (to 17th edition) Electrician so am happy to ask him anything on your behalf if needs be....


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
geefunk



Joined: 05/08/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Bristol, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Bunk]
      #912768 - 06/05/11 02:12 PM
Quote The Bunk:

Sounds like Hugh has answered the question but I work with a fully qualified (to 17th edition) Electrician so am happy to ask him anything on your behalf if needs be....




Thanks Bunk, and please do - I would appreciate as many opinions as possible. I think one of the problems surrounding this are the different issues that exist because I'm in a school. The fact that the very same extension reel passed last year, but not this year, is a good example.

I think ultimately I am going to just send them all back to the company and buy different ones - but my problem now is just not knowing which ones are going to pass? I would never have thought the ones I did buy wouldn't be suitable, considering they are from a well known supplier, etc. But school rules seem to be different.

It's a bit of a ball ache, to be honest

--------------------
I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over
Twitter


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21710
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: geefunk]
      #912773 - 06/05/11 02:35 PM
Exactly the same rules apply to all -- offices, schools, factories, hospitals and so on -- but there is a degree of application in the rules and not everyone interprets things in quite the same way.

Added to which, although the person doing the PAT must be a 'competent person' my own experience on the receiving end has indicated that some are more competent than others!

Another common problem is that some testing units provide a simple pass-fail indication which some testers take as gospel. However, there are situations where a fail indication doesn't actually mean fail -- and that could be what's happened in your case.

For example, the earth continuity requirement (for a Class 1 device, which an extension cable would be classed as) is for a resistance in the protective earth (cpc) path of not more than 0.1 ohms. And the simple pass-fail testers have that resistance as their test threshold. Any more than 0.1 ohms and they light up the fail flag. End of story.

However, long mains cables have a certain resistance due to their length and cross-sectional area. The longer the cable, the higher the resistance. That's the real world. So a long cable is quite likely to have a resistance rather greater than 0.1 ohms perfectly legitimately.

The actual PAT earth continuity requirement is 0.1+R ohms where R is a value determined by the cross-sectional area and the length of the cable concerned. It's all documented and all you have to do is measure the cable and look up the allowed value... but the simple testers have no facility to account for this extra R, and so issue a fail flag.

A competent tester would work out the actual permitted resistance for the cable and note the measured reading from the test unit to see if the latter is less than the former... in which case the cable passes despite getting a fail flag from the automated PAT unit.

As I said, some PAT technicians might not bother to do the sums and fail things on the basis of what the machine says!

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Edited by Hugh Robjohns (06/05/11 02:39 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
The Bunk



Joined: 29/12/07
Posts: 731
Loc: Surrey
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #912793 - 06/05/11 04:19 PM
geefunk, I'll have to wait til Monday now but I'll certainly ask.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
geefunk



Joined: 05/08/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Bristol, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #912876 - 07/05/11 08:43 AM
Another problem I have though, is because the PAT tester failed things, added to that the majority of people in the school don't understand the rules that govern becoming a PAT tester (the fact that you and I could do it), once the school sees 'fail', they just assume it's gospel, and won't pay to have it re-tested. I'm scuppered really. It's not just about these extension reels, the PAT tester took a few other things from my store room, and it's proving tricky to get them back without an actual electrician giving it the go ahead. It doesn't seem to matter what I say.

But thanks again Hugh - I really do appreciate it.

--------------------
I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over
Twitter


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21710
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: geefunk]
      #912890 - 07/05/11 09:55 AM
Quote geefunk:

once the school sees 'fail', they just assume it's gospel, and won't pay to have it re-tested.




The person doing the test has to have recorded the test result values and why the extension cable failed. A copy of these test results should be given to the 'responsible person' in your establishment.

If the extension cable failed because of an inappropriate fuse or the lack of an RCD, you can easily remedy that and return the cables to service.

If it has failed because or poor earth continuity, the test report should indicate that a proper resistance calculation was included in assessing the earth continuity. If that wasn't done the tester isn't competent and the company would be obliged to provide a free restest at the very least.

But this is all speculation on my part... The bottom line is that the responsible person in your establishment (or you acting as their representative) have to talk to the company and/or the actual testing person to find out precisely why these extention reels (and the other things) failed.

After all, they were bought in good faith from a reputable company that is not allowed by law to sell unsafe electrical products. Moreover these things represent a significant financial investment and were purchased specifically to facilitate what you do.

If they have failed a PAT then they have to be removed from use by law... fair enough... but you should be told why and whether they can be repaired or rendered usable.

Hugh


--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1885
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: geefunk]
      #913048 - 08/05/11 09:02 AM
Geefunk, I'm going to muddy the waters now I think, on reflection I would not have failed that extension lead.

I can't remeber whether it was the 15th or 16th edition regs, but the number of recommended fuses for BS1363 plugs was reduced. Out of 3A, 5A, 10A and 13A, the 5A and 10A fuses are "non-standard" and 3A and 13A are the "recommended" ones. This is disputed by some elecricians and it makes me uncomfortable.

The fuse value chosen is decided by the manufacturer of the equipment, determined by the feed cable size and the load characteristics of the equipment. For low current devices (below 700W a 3A fuse is usually used along with a 0.5 or 0.75 sqmm cable (a manufacturer may recommend a 5A fuse to prevent nusiance fuses blows based on surge or start-up currents). Above 700W a 13A fuses is usually recommended.

If your PAT tester was testing according to the 3rd edition of the IEE Code of Practice, he's actually deviated on two points, but I know why and I agree with him to a degree; I'll come back to this in a minute.

The IEE code of practice states for formal visual inspection: "The fuse recommended by the manufacturer should be fitted." and for combined inspection and testing: "inspect the plug as for a formal visual inspection".

In appendix VII, Checks to be made on a plug, a cable and an extension lead: "Check the rating of the fuse. The manufacturers recommendation should be followed." and "Most appliances up to about 700W should have a 3A fuse fitted (red). Appliances over about 700W should have a 13A fuse (brown) fitted."

I presume that Jo-Jo have chosen the 13A fuse to deal with heavy startup/inrush currents that might be present on some appliances used with the extension lead (remember not a fixed appliance-type here). A 13A fuse should protect a 1sqmm lead against fire (if unwound) -it may get hot, but the fuse will blow before the cable melts. A 10A fuse would protect it better, but the 13A fuse is within regs.

I bet the reel is clearly marked with "Max rating 10A" and "Do not use above nn Amps unless fully unwound", thus placing clear duty of care on the user to keep within safe limits

I would pass this item, but put a note in the results that a 10A fuse would be safer unless nusiance blowing is a problem. Being a Jo-Jo, I bet it also has an integral overcurrent breaker that will trip if more than 10A constant current is drawn (different time characteristics to the fuse to allow for transient currents). I do worry about 13A fuses in 0.75 sqmm (I just fit 5A and record it) or 1.0 sqmm IEC (kettle) leads though, as you never know which is as supplied and which is just user replaced.

Sorry if this appears confusing, but I hope there is enough info to take your PAT tester to task with this item. If he's failed it on a another aspect, that would be a different matter though.

>

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
geefunk



Joined: 05/08/05
Posts: 1729
Loc: Bristol, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #913212 - 09/05/11 09:53 AM
Nathan, thank you for all of that information, most appreciated. I've just spoken to the PAT tester, and the reels failed simply becasue they are 10A cable, and need to be 13A.

That's all he said....

--------------------
I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over
Twitter


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
James PerrettModerator



Joined: 10/09/01
Posts: 10703
Loc: The wilds of Hampshire
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: geefunk]
      #913238 - 09/05/11 11:03 AM
I have an older Jo Jo cable which is probably similar. In an industrial situation (like a school), the fuses have to be rated for the worst case situation. In that case it should be the rating of the cable when fully wound inside the case. Being cased, the temperature rise is probably going to be even higher than if it was an open reel so the fuse must be even more conservatively rated. The built in cut out is at the socket end of the cable so it will do nothing to protect the cable if there is a problem. If you want the cable to pass then just fit an appropriate fuse (probably 3 or 5 amps) and retest.

In future don't buy an extension lead with less than 13A capacity when fully wound.

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21710
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: geefunk]
      #913246 - 09/05/11 11:27 AM
Hmmm... I don't think he's right on that.

The IEE Code of Practice (3rd edition) doesn't explicitly rule out extension reels with cables below 1.25mm^2 (the size certified for 13A).

It discusses maximum lengths from the perspective of voltage drop for specific cable CSAs, and requires cables over those prescribed lengths to be protected by RCDs. Your extension reel certainly falls into that category.

Clearly, the cable should also be protected in some way to ensure it doesn't carry excess current -- and that's what the plug fuse and/or thermal cutout are for.

Despite the current standards not mentioning the 10A fuse, as geefunk states, it is still a properly certified value under BS1362, and personally I would fit a 10A fuse or lower to provide additional safety to augment the reel's own thermal cut-out protection. In fact, I'd fit an RCD plug too...

But whatever, I think he's wrong to have failed them purely on the basis of cable diameter.

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1885
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #913287 - 09/05/11 01:05 PM
I would tend to agree with you Hugh, but the IEE PAT guide says what the manufacturer recommends, and then only states two fue sizes in its appendix. A ten Amp fuse would would also stop someone pulling 13A through it continually (it would blow within half an hour or shorter).

By the Guide, a 10A extension lead is permissible up to 10m in length, providing it has an earth conductor and that is within its required minimum resistance (0.1+R, =0.295 ohms). I make my leads from 1.5 (and 2.5) sqmm so I can have them longer and suffer less volt drop.

Having to put a 5 or even 3 Amp fuse to protecr against heavy use with the cable unwound does seem to be bordering on the ridiculous though -maybe the reels should be locked away and only used with supervision?

-saying that, I have had to fail extension reels because the cable was a solidified lump in the middle and wouldn't un-peel off the drum (hippy arts group)

>

Edit: of course if the PAT tester is testing to a school or local authority schedule or policy (additional to the IEE guide) then the 10A reel may be outside its scope. I've had additional conditions place upon testing for appliances use by young people (labels and fuses) so this would be feasable...

>


--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.

Edited by Nathan (09/05/11 01:12 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1885
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: James Perrett]
      #913290 - 09/05/11 01:18 PM
Quote James Perrett:

...If you want the cable to pass then just fit an appropriate fuse (probably 3 or 5 amps) and retest.

In future don't buy an extension lead with less than 13A capacity when fully wound.

James.




Not sure you can at 10m, think even 1.5sqmm would have to be de-rated fully wound, and 2.5 wouldn't fit in the plugs and sockets easily.

>

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ef37a



Joined: 29/05/06
Posts: 6762
Loc: northampton uk
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: Nathan]
      #939947 - 10/09/11 03:54 PM
Standard IEC mains leads are only rated at 10A but crack open almost any 13PT and you will likely find a 13A fuse.

You won't find 10A plug fuses in a filling station at 10.35 on a Sunday night which is when the average muso needs one! It might not be absolutely right but it is better than fag packet foil!

Dave.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
dmills



Joined: 25/08/06
Posts: 2374
Loc: High Wycombe, UK
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #939971 - 10/09/11 06:16 PM
One other point, in something like one of those jojo reels you could argue that the fuse exists to protect the cable in the event of a short circuit, the trip providing the limit on I^2T let through required to prevent the cable melting on the difference between 10A and 13A.

I would have passed the thing.

After all if you had an appliance internally fused or breakered at 10A, you would not think twice about feeding it from a 13A fuse, and this is pretty much that situation if you squint just right.

Now that said, most DIY shop extension reels are crap, but it is not the testers job to be the arbiter of quality, only of 'is it safe at the moment'.

Regards, Dan.

--------------------
Audiophiles use phono leads because they are unbalanced people!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Kendo Phil



Joined: 27/11/11
Posts: 70
Loc: South West
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: dmills]
      #959206 - 15/12/11 06:51 PM
Many years ago, as part of my engineering HNC I took a course and gained a qualification to instal 3 phase and single phase conections (to BS 1363 if my memory serves) the exam comprised being given a length of flex and a plug. You had to strip the flex and wire the plug then hand it in to the examiner, who then took it apart and checked for stray strands, correct installation and stripped lengths of cable etc.

On the table you had all the correct tools and a few rogue ones, such as a stanley knife. If you used the wrong tools and put a cut in any of the shielding you failed. Whenever I wired something I tried to maintain those standards to make sure what I did was safe.

However, being a cautious sole, I would be much happier to give my kit to somebody else to PAT test and let them take the responsability. Even if the problem was caused by somebody abusing my kit, I would have the legal backing of having put a system of protection in place, which could mean protection from a large fine. A fine that I suspect would be many times that of the cost of PAT testing.

--------------------
Dazed and confused


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ef37a



Joined: 29/05/06
Posts: 6762
Loc: northampton uk
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: Kendo Phil]
      #959212 - 15/12/11 08:35 PM
One precaution I took at my last but one employer was not to use my normal initial..Still my name! But I included the first letter of my middle name.

Since I was testing 100 or so production items a month I did not want anything coming on top with my monica forged on it!

Dave.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
fletcher



Joined: 01/05/05
Posts: 1219
Loc: london
Re: PAT testing - Is it legally required new [Re: The Fold Studios]
      #999980 - 26/07/12 04:26 PM
One thing to add (sorry if someone already has lots of replys here) is that I must say the testers do work in many situations where a visual test alone wouldn't have found the fault. Just in case some people might think they are a waste of time. Besides the obvious one of the earth connection hanging on by a single strand - passing the high current through burns it out and you get the fail - there is also the insulation test. The tester puts a high voltage across the connections and can spot many potential problems such as a hairline crack in the insulation of the wires, esp where they have rubbed on a chassis screw or fitting. There might be no connection, but the high voltage arcs across revealing the potential trouble. Of course you still have to use your eyes to find the fault, which can take awhile!, but at least you have confidence in it once it passes.

Some equipment might not like the insulation test, but I think most high voltage stuff would benefit from it. Not even sure if it's part of the PAT "test", even though the testing equipment can do it.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)

Rate this thread

Jump to

Extra Information
1 registered and 10 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  David Etheridge, James Perrett, zenguitar, Martin Walker, Forum Admin, Hugh Robjohns, Zukan, Frank Eleveld, SOS News Editor,  
Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled
Rating:
Thread views: 77053

September 2014
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the
SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for September 2014
DAW Tips from SOS

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media