Fixed RCD testing… Why is it important?

At every workplace there is at least one Electrical switch board that is built to divide the power and lighting into manageable circuits feeding, lights, equipment and power points for us to use. Though we may not have an understanding electricity, it is important that you know about the little understood device called the RCD (residual current Device) or sometimes referred to as the Safety Switch that will find amongst the breakers and or fuses in this panel.

An RCD is an electromechanical device,that detects any shunting of electrical power to earth thereby shutting the circuit down in mere milli-seconds, in doing so avoiding electrocution to personnel and possible fire hazards.

Being and Electromechanical device ,it can like any other similar device be prone to failure. As part of a regular testing check, it needs to have a push button test which basically is a test every 6 months to check out the mechanical workings of the RCD of which any body can do. If there are breakers on your Panel that are RCD’s.. the give away is a breaker with a button for testing also on the breaker are the words 30ma RCD… these are the devices that need to be tested monthly by push button. Picture below

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But this is a bit like push button testing a battery smoke alarm it only test the resultant action it doesn’t test the actual detection part of the device.

So periodically you need to have your fixed Main switchboard panel RCD’s tested with a calibrated RCD tester, and if it responds with a shutdown time lag of less than 299 mill-seconds… typical times for most RCD’s are usually are 5-50 milliseconds… here is a table below which will help

TYPE OF ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH EQUIPMENT IS USED
Residual Current Devices (RCDs)
PUSH BUTTON TEST BY USER TEST FOR OPERATING TIME RCD TESTER
FACTORIES, WORKSHOPS, PLACES OF REPAIR, MANUFACTURING,

ASSEMBLY, MAINTENANCE OR FABRICATION.

6 MONTHS 12 MONTHS
LABORATORIES, TEA ROOMS, OFFICE KITCHENS 6 MONTHS 2 YEARS
OFFICE EQUIPMENT WHERE EQUIPMENT OR SUPPLY FLEXIBLE CORD IS SUBJECT TO FLEXING ON NORMAL USE OR IS OPEN TO ABUSE OR IS IN A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT 6 MONTHS 2 YEARS
OFFICE EQUIPMENT WHERE EQUIPMENT IS NOT SUBJECT TO CONSTANT FLEXING OF THE SUPPLY CORD 6 MONTHS 2 YEARS
NEW EQUIPMENT AND REPAIRED/SERVICED EQUIPMENT PRIOR TO INITIAL INTRODUCTION TO USE, AND AFTER SERVICING PRIOR TO INITIAL INTRODUCTION TO USE, AND AFTER SERVICING

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Tested & True ~ test & tag  Lonsdale We know how to test all types of test sensitive electrical equipment like that of a RCDs and Surge Protected devices…We specifically use the STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and up to date. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Article By Peter Hill… Tested & True ~ test & tag, Lonsdale, South Australia, Contact 0407605568 May 2016 www.testedandtrue.com.au

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Fire Hazards heaters, clothes dryers & electric blankets

Each winter heaters, electric blankets and tumble dryers cause a large number of house fires in Australia. Have you checked and kept up your maintenance by simply following these valuable tips

Removing hazards and safe use of heaters

  • Never leave heaters unattended. If a fire starts it could spread through your home before you are able to respond.
  • Keep flammable materials at least a metre away from the heater. The majority of house fires are caused by people hanging clothes or towels to dry on or in front of the heater. Clothes, upholstery, curtains and other material that could catch fire should be kept more than a meter from any heater at all times.
  • Make sure portable heaters are secured upright and not left in locations where people or pets could knock them over.
  • Avoid using portable heaters on table tops unless they are secure and designed for that purpose. There is a risk of heat damage to the table top and if it falls off it could damage the heater and start a fire.

Electric heater safety tips

  • Don’t plug electric heaters into powerboards, double adaptors or extension cords with other appliances. Heaters consume large amounts of power and may overload the supply and cause a fire.
  • Before using an electric heater check the condition of the appliance and power cords for obvious damage. If there is damage contact an electrician or the service technician to fix it.

Gas heater safety and correct use

  • Never use gas heaters designed or marked for outdoor use inside. They are a fire risk and can also release toxic gases which can accumulate inside and potentially harm you. Using LPG cylinders indoors to provide fuel for unflued heaters or other gas appliances is dangerous and is not recommended.
  • Unflued heaters must not be used in bedrooms, bathrooms or small rooms that have no permanent ventilation. Toxic gases can build up inside and potentially harm you.
  • Never use your gas oven or stove as a room heater.
  • Always check your gas heater is working correctly. Signs of problems with gas heaters may include difficulty when lighting, yellow flames, unusual smells or noisy or inoperable fans.
  • Regularly service your gas heater according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Always use a licensed gas fitter for this task.

Clothes dryer safety

  • Ensure that the lint filter is cleaned regularly. Lint that has built up can catch fire.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions and only place suitable materials into the clothes dryer.

Electric blanket safety

Do you really need them they can be dangerous and not certainly not recommended for use with children (eg Bedwetting) If you really need to use one then every year take it out and give it a thorough check.

  • Electric blankets should be rolled when stored away. Folding an electric blanket can damage element wires within the blanket
  • When using a blanket for the first time after storage, lay it flat on the bed and check for hot spots as it heats up. Only add sheets once you are sure the blanket will operate safely at a maximum temperature.
  • Electric blankets that are not properly maintained can cause fires.
  • Avoid using double adaptors or power boards wherever possible.
  • Older electric blankets might be damaged and may not have the safety features of modern blankets, so consider replacing them.

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Tested & True ~ test & tag  Lonsdale We know how to all types of test sensitive electrical equipment like that of a Heaters and Tumble Dryers…We specifically use the STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and up to date. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Article By Peter Hill… Tested & True ~ test & tag, Lonsdale, South Australia, Contact 0407605568 February 2016 www.testedandtrue.com.au

Your Electrical SwitchBoard your backup defence for Electrical Safety

Fuses,Circuit Breakers and Safety Switches

These devices are found in your Switch board understanding these devices and how to use and maintain them will help  your management and understanding of Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

Primary Overload response devices (Fuses & Circuit Breakers)

Fuses and circuit breakers are built to fail in conditions of excess current which can overload the electrical wires in your home. These overloads are often caused by faulty appliances. When an overload occurs, the fuse melts before the wires can overheat, which reduces the risk of fire. Circuit breakers will often trip quicker and more importantly they can be reset to help diagnose and remove faults

  1. Always replace a blown fuse with the correct fuse wire. Never use fuse wire that is heavier than the recommended gauge.
  2. Never use any other type metal or wire.
  3. If fuses keeps blowing, or a circuit breaker keeps tripping, check that your appliances are not faulty.
  4. If fuses continue to blow, or circuit breakers continue to trip after appliances are unplugged, there could be a problem with your wiring. Contact a licensed electrician immediately.

Safety switches and RCD devices

Safety switches or RCD device look similar to circuit breakers and will have a test button to provide a test for the correct earth tripping of the device. The purpose is to they provide extra protection from electric shock. Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity and if any irregularity is detected, the electricity supply is immediately cut off.
Homes with children or backyard workshops should consider installing safety switches to reduce the risk of electrical accidents. It is imperative that commercial premises have them installed and tested regularly.. New homes and Commercial premises are required to have safety switches installed. Licensed electrical contractors can install safety switches in older homes at a reasonable cost. You can also purchase portable safety switches for appliances and extension cords. Useful particularly when using power tools outside ie Electric Lawnmowers, Hedge trimmers, Drills, circular Saws etc  and these portable RCD should also be tested on a regular Basis!

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Of course the best way is to ensure that your appliances are not hazardous in the first place. Tested & True ~ test & tag comes to your work place at a time convenient to you. We can do an assessment of your Electrical Hazards it can be conducted at the same time as we test and tag your Electrical Equipment. We provide a Full Report with recommendations to clear up current Hazards and how to prevent future risks. Call and ask for a quote. 040 7605568..

Note: We also do emergency and preventative maintenance of Switchboards and Mains Wiring

Tested & True ~ test & tag  Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform static testing class 1,2 & M RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection, 3 phase run testing and logs results as you test. all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at

www.testedandtrue.com.au

or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/

Peter Hill Manager , Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide September 2015

My Safety Switch keeps tripping… What do I do next?

Electrical Safety Switch Tripping possibilities

Electrical Safety Switches  are RCDs ( Residual Current Devices)  that remove the supply to an electrical circuit when the circuit under protection has detected a leakage to earth. The RCD/Safety Switch responds in mere mili -seconds; avoiding an unsafe condition and thereby potentially preventing electrocution or Fire hazard.

Possible Causes Of Safety Switch/RCD Tripping

Faulty appliance – unplug all electrical appliances, does the RCD reset OK? If the RCD resets OK plug the appliances back in one at a time. Reset the RCD as you plug each appliance back in to find the faulty appliance.

Items with motors or pumps starting – many items with motors or pumps, for instance showers and pond pumps, cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs. Seek advice from a qualified electrician.

Older washing machines – aging washing machine heating elements can cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs.

Certain wash cycle phases – some cycles of the washing machine, for instance the spin cycle, can cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs.

Certain dishwasher cycles – some parts of the dishwasher cycle draw a lot of current, a faulty component, for instance the motor, can trip an RCD.

Overloading a washing machine – too many items in a washing machine can cause certain wash cycles, for instance the spin cycle, to trip an RCD.

Fridges and freezers cooling – the fridge or freezer cooling motor starting.

Turning an heating element on after a long time of being off – moisture in heating elements can trip an RCD, for instance in a sun bed or electric fire. Try resetting the RCD a few times so that the heating element can cause the moisture to evaporate.

Moisture in outside electrical distribution boxes – remove the supply and dry the distribution box. Check the weather seals have not perished.

Moisture in outside electrical sockets – remove the supply and dry the electrical socket. Check the weather seals have not perished.

De-frost timer on a fridge or freezer – a faulty defrost element on a fridge or freezer can cause ‘nuisance’ RCD tripping.

Water heating elements – faulty water heating elements can cause nuisance RCD trips when thethermostat tells them to heat the water.

Moisture in wiring – moisture in the electrical wiring is a common cause of RCD trips. Have you just emptied a bath? Taken a shower? Is it raining – rain can get into the electrical wiring under the floors or in the loft.

As you may have found this list contains certain  conditions that may give clue to an RCD tripping. In most cases this concerns appliances or situations that involve at least one or a combination of  three conditions 1) Moisture leaking electricity to earth in the appliance or premises wiring. 2) A heating element that is either faulty or drawing sudden electrical surges. 3) An appliance with an electric motor that is either faulty or drawing sudden electrical surges.

If you have trouble sourcing constant or intermittent RCD/Safety Switch Tripping then Contact us and we can send a Qualified Electrician around to check it they can source and fix it on the spot.

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At Tested and True …We test Safety Switches as well as other electrical testing services. We come to your work place at a time convenient to you. We can do an assessment of your Electrical Hazards it can be conducted at the same time as we test and tag your Electrical Equipment. We provide a Full Report with recommedations to clear up current Hazards and how to prevent future risks. Call and ask for a quote. 040 7605568 Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australiand Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price. Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at http://www.testedandtrue.com.au or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/

Peter Hill Manager , Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide February 2015

Why does my Safety Switch keep tripping?

Electrical Safety Switch Tripping possibilities

Electrical Safety Switches  are RCDs ( Residual Current Devices)  that remove the supply to an electrical circuit when the circuit under protection has detected a leakage to earth. The RCD/Safety Switch responds in mere mili -seconds; avoiding an unsafe condition and thereby potentially preventing electrocution or Fire hazard.

Possible Causes Of Safety Switch/RCD Tripping

Faulty appliance – unplug all electrical appliances, does the RCD reset OK? If the RCD resets OK plug the appliances back in one at a time. Reset the RCD as you plug each appliance back in to find the faulty appliance.

Items with motors or pumps starting – many items with motors or pumps, for instance showers and pond pumps, cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs. Seek advice from a qualified electrician.

Older washing machines – aging washing machine heating elements can cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs.

Certain wash cycle phases – some cycles of the washing machine, for instance the spin cycle, can cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs.

Certain dishwasher cycles – some parts of the dishwasher cycle draw a lot of current, a faulty component, for instance the motor, can trip an RCD.

Overloading a washing machine – too many items in a washing machine can cause certain wash cycles, for instance the spin cycle, to trip an RCD.

Fridges and freezers cooling – the fridge or freezer cooling motor starting.

Turning an heating element on after a long time of being off – moisture in heating elements can trip an RCD, for instance in a sun bed or electric fire. Try resetting the RCD a few times so that the heating element can cause the moisture to evaporate.

Moisture in outside electrical distribution boxes – remove the supply and dry the distribution box. Check the weather seals have not perished.

Moisture in outside electrical sockets – remove the supply and dry the electrical socket. Check the weather seals have not perished.

De-frost timer on a fridge or freezer – a faulty defrost element on a fridge or freezer can cause ‘nuisance’ RCD tripping.

Water heating elements – faulty water heating elements can cause nuisance RCD trips when thethermostat tells them to heat the water.

Moisture in wiring – moisture in the electrical wiring is a common cause of RCD trips. Have you just emptied a bath? Taken a shower? Is it raining – rain can get into the electrical wiring under the floors or in the loft.

As you may have found this list contains certain  conditions that may give clue to an RCD tripping. In most cases this concerns appliances or situations that involve at least one or a combination of  three conditions 1) Moisture leaking electricity to earth in the appliance or premises wiring. 2) A heating element that is either faulty or drawing sudden electrical surges. 3) An appliance with an electric motor that is either faulty or drawing sudden electrical surges.

If you have trouble sourcing constant or intermittent RCD/Safety Switch Tripping then Contact us and we can send a Qualified Electrician around to check it they can source and fix it on the spot.

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At Tested and True …We test Safety Switches as well as other electrical testing services. We come to your work place at a time convenient to you. We can do an assessment of your Electrical Hazards it can be conducted at the same time as we test and tag your Electrical Equipment. We provide a Full Report with recommedations to clear up current Hazards and how to prevent future risks. Call and ask for a quote. 040 7605568 Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australiand Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price. Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at http://www.testedandtrue.com.au or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/

Peter Hill Manager , Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide January 2014

Buyers Guide to Surge Protected Power Boards

How do surge protected power boards work ?
At first glance a surge protected power board operates like any other Power Board. It shows its ability at that moment when too much voltage gets passed along the transmission line , the surge protected board lets only a ‘safe’ amount through to the connected equipment. The rest it channels into the electrical outlet’s ‘earth’ and safely dissipated into the ground.
When a surge occurs at a certain level above normal voltage, a component built into the surge protected power board becomes conductive and starts to carry the excess electric current back down through the ground wire, so the damaging high voltage doesn’t reach connected equipment. Once the surge ends, that protective component resumes its ‘dormant’ stage of being non-conductive. It’s a bit like an electrical version of a pressure valve.
Australian domestic wiring is designed for a standard voltage of 230–240 volts. If the voltage goes too far above that, it can damage electronic equipment, which usually has many sensitive components. If excess voltage lasts for a very brief time (1–2 nanoseconds) it’s called a spike. If it lasts longer it’s called a surge. Even though a spike or surge can be so brief their duration is measured in nanoseconds, they can still cause damage to sensitive components. It is vitally important to protect sensitive business equipment, Computers, printers, photocopiers etc these items of equipment are sensitive to Surges in voltage.
Surge_protection_board
So what sort of a Surge Protected Board should you Buy ? Here are the specifications you should consider…Energy absorption/dissipation – This rating, given in joules, tells you how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. A higher number indicates greater protection. Look for a protector that is at least rated at 200 to 400 joules. For better protection, look for a rating of 600 joules or more.
Response time – Surge protectors don’t kick in immediately; there is a very slight delay as they respond to the power surge. A longer response time tells you that your computer (or other equipment) will be exposed to the surge for a greater amount of time. Look for a surge protector that responds in less than Ten nanoseconds.
It is best to look for a Surge protected board with an indicator light that tells you if the protection components are functioning. Eventually the protection component will burn out after continual power surges, but the board will still function as a power connection. Without an indicator light, you have no way of knowing if your protector is still functioning properly.
Other important features may include ?
Building wiring status indicator: Detects potentially dangerous wiring problems in the wall outlet.
Circuit breaker: Protects the surge board from overload by connected devices drawing too much current.
EMI noise filtration: This reduces or eliminates line noise (electrical interference).
Other connections: Surge protected sockets for coaxial cable, modem or Ethernet network, all of which can also conduct high voltage that can damage connected devices.
Outlet spacing: Allows more room for one or more devices that use a transformer block.
Sockets: Check the number of mains power sockets available, usually from four to eight.

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At Tested and True …we come to your work place at a time convenient to you. We can do an assessment of your Electrical Hazards it can be conducted at the same time as we test and tag your Electrical Equipment. We provide a Full Report with recommedations to clear up current Hazards and how to prevent future risks. Call and ask for a quote. 040 7605568 Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australiand Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price. Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at http://www.testedandtrue.com.au or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/

Peter Hill Manager Tested & True ~ test & tag Manager SA 0407605568

The Safety Switch turns off, so what do you do?

A simple step by step guide to fault finding a tripped Safety Switch.

Note: Some types of appliances may cause incidental or nuisance tripping of your Safety Switch or RCD device. Typically Water Heaters, Electric Jugs and Kettles, Steam Irons, Dishwashers, washing Machines, Swimming Pool Equipment, Auto Defrost Refrigerators and Freezers.

Most Important: If your Safety Switch has turned off, it has done so for a reason. It has detected a leak of some electricity. This may be through a faulty appliance or it may be a fault in the house wiring. These instructions will help you find that leak.  

  1. First try to turn the Safety Switch on.[Marked Residual Current Device]
  2. If it stays on then the fault was intermittent or transient and we can do nothing at this stage. Refer to Note above.
  3. Think of what you were using at the time.
  4.  If the Residual Current Device trips off again, got to point 5.
  5. Turn on the Residual Current Device.
  6. If it won’t stay on then you will have to unplug all appliances!
  7. This includes any outside power points or power to outbuildings.
  8. At this point the Residual Current Device should stay on. [If not you will need to call an Electrician.]
  9. If the Residual Current Device stays on then turn the Circuit Breakers on one at a time.
  10. When you come to the leaking circuit, the Residual Current Device will turn off.
  11. Unplug all appliances that are plugged in to power points that do not work.
  12. Turn the Residual Current Device on. If it won’t stay on then you will have to call an Electrician.
  13. If it stays on, then one of the appliances you have unplugged is faulty. Plug the items in, one at a time until you find the faulty one.

Remember Do not fix any Electrical device yourself, give the device to a suitably qualified electrical repair workshop or if under warranty consult with the manufacturer for the possibility of repair under those warranty conditions.

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Tested & True ~ test & tag  Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC Pro-Logger 2 it can perform static testing class 1,2 & M ,RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection, 3 phase run testing and logs results as you test. all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at

www.testedandtrue.com.au

or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/

Peter Hill Manager , Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide September 2013