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Author Topic: Arduino AC Power Shield!  (Read 21017 times)
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I'm not sure if this has been covered, but i'd like to give you a heads up that this device is potentially illegal in your country people. It certainly would fail the majority of electrical safety tests here in AUS.

I would highly recommend thinking twice about using this device.

Safety laws are there for a reason.
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I'm not sure if this has been covered, but i'd like to give you a heads up that this device is potentially illegal in your country people. It certainly would fail the majority of electrical safety tests here in AUS.

I would highly recommend thinking twice about using this device.

Safety laws are there for a reason.
You do not need to get something electrically safety tested if you are using it in your own home. That is probably the majority of people so they'll be fine  smiley

If you wanted to use it at work or something then I'm betting that if you stick it in a case then a PAT testing device will say it's fine. Electrical safety laws are pretty slack. They never look inside  8-)
I dunno what there is in other countries but I presume there is something just as rubbish...

Mowcius
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Jimbo - oh please.  Safety laws are largely there because someone had an agenda.  As mowcius mentioned our laws are amusingly silly.  You're from Aus - I believe you're allowed 240v sockets in your bathroom?  Quite handy if you fancy a slice of toast in the bath.

I've always assumed that anything like this, that I've purchased, is on the basis that it's a prototype for protyping with.  If I wanted someone to sue - I'd buy a commercial product. >smiley-sad
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If your system involves lethal voltages/life critical/flamable elements - you probably shouldn't need to ask.
The Arduino != PC.

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Dave360,

As someone who has project managed many industrial products and several consumer goods through both the US and Canadian electrical approval process, I can assure you that the agenda in play is nothing more than safety.

Yes the approval process can be tiresome, expensive and time consuming; however in many jurisdictions the sale and/or use of unapproved, mains powered electrical devices is illegal and not only opens the manufacturer, retailer or employer up to personal liability; but in many cases criminal liability.

Just how well the process and these laws work are the very reason that you so rarely hear of cases involving electrocution or fires of new or well maintained consumer and industrial electrical devices.

It is good that you say, “If I wanted someone to sue - I'd buy a commercial product” and I hope that ryanjmclaughlin has you sign a product liability release before you purchase one of his AC Shields. However I doubt that all of his potential customers would be willing to do the same and of course that liability release would be worthless in a court of law anyway.

The cost and complexity of the approvals process is the very reason that so many mains powered devices are now powered by external wall wort supplies. It is far easier and cheaper to purchase a preapproved power supply from a third party than it is to run your whole product through the system. Remember that only the areas or parts of your device that control or handle the mains voltage are required to be approved. So your desktop calculator, answering machine or the battery charger for your electric drill are not approved, but the external power supply and its enclosure are.

Which brings up another potential issue with the AC Shield, if ryanjmclaughlin was to seek UL approval for his AC Shield, he would need to enclose it in a case made of a flame retardant material, that provided electrical isolation. Additionally, the control circuit aka Arduino would now also need to go through the approvals process since it is attached to and controlling the AC Shield. Finally, since the typical use of an Arduino usually involves frequent rewiring and reconfiguration of the device and shield, a safety interlock would be required to prevent electrical operation of the device if the enclosure was opened and then of course, any rewiring or reconfiguration that you make would void the electrical approval.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 03:59:33 pm by CSingleton » Logged

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Dave360,

As someone who has project managed many industrial products and several consumer goods through both the US and Canadian electrical approval process, I can assure you that the agenda in play is nothing more than safety.

Yes the approval process can be tiresome, expensive and time consuming; however in many jurisdictions the sale and/or use of unapproved, mains powered electrical devices is illegal and not only opens the manufacturer, retailer or employer up to personal liability; but in many cases criminal liability.

Just how well the process and these laws work are the very reason that you so rarely hear of cases involving electrocution or fires of new or well maintained consumer and industrial electrical devices.

It is good that you say, “If I wanted someone to sue - I'd buy a commercial product” and I hope that ryanjmclaughlin has you sign a product liability release before you purchase one of his AC Shields. However I doubt that all of his potential customers would be willing to do the same and of course that liability release would be worthless in a court of law anyway.

The cost and complexity of the approvals process is the very reason that so many mains powered devices are now powered by external wall wort supplies. It is far easier and cheaper to purchase a preapproved power supply from a third party than it is to run your whole product through the system. Remember that only the areas or parts of your device that control or handle the mains voltage are required to be approved. So your desktop calculator, answering machine or the battery charger for your electric drill are not approved, but the external power supply and its enclosure are.

Which brings up another potential issue with the AC Shield, if ryanjmclaughlin was to seek UL approval for his AC Shield, he would need to enclose it in a case made of a flame retardant material, that provided electrical isolation. Additionally, the control circuit aka Arduino would now also need to go through the approvals process since it is attached to and controlling the AC Shield. Finally, since the typical use of an Arduino usually involves frequent rewiring and reconfiguration of the device and shield, a safety interlock would be required to prevent electrical operation of the device if the enclosure was opened and then of course, any rewiring or reconfiguration that you make would void the electrical approval.
Meh  smiley
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What does "Meh" have to contribute? Someone took the time to give a thoughtful answer. Whether or not you agree with it, I think they deserve better. +1 to your post count though.
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My previous reply was rather harsh.  Could you explain to me, being an expert, how this falls into a separate category to say a manufacturer supplying an IC or relay?  Neither of those devices are intrinsically safe yet they are allowed for sale.  I see a shield as a the same.  On it's own it is useless, it doesn't come in a pretty shiny plastic box and it is not a device that would be purchased by someone without a least some knowledge.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 06:04:20 pm by daveg360 » Logged

If your system involves lethal voltages/life critical/flamable elements - you probably shouldn't need to ask.
The Arduino != PC.

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Can we _please_ get off the subject of safety?  This area has been covered numerous times in this thread and the OP is well aware of the problems of exposed AC.

Please review previous posts and understand what has already been BEATEN TO DEATH before posting any more about safety.

Thanks.
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What about elevensies? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper?

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Ok, last thing on safety, if you sell it as a kit then I think you can get round most of these electrical safety law things.

Mowcius
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What does "Meh" have to contribute? Someone took the time to give a thoughtful answer.
Well, I could have put, well I kind of agree but I thought that meh summed up my views quite nicely  smiley-wink

Mowcius
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