Wednesday, 4 April 2012

PASSED - A pair of controllers - Update

The controllers that were repaired yesterday passed a PAT test and are now ready to returned to their owners. There isn't usually much wrong with this sort of kit and the small amount of effort required to make each item safe is well worth the effort. It may seem like more rules and regulations for the sake of it but in this case I think it is justified. On testing some of my own equipment the process threw up a few issues that I was not aware of and was able to effect repairs before a problem occurred.

Two happy controllers!
Even without having your equipment tested electrically it makes good sense to visually inspect it regularly keeping an eye on cable restraints both at the plug end and the equipment end. Also check the cable for cuts and lumps and bumps and never join a cable with terminal blocks and insulating tape!



  1. What really worries me apart from what you have already mentioned regarding controllers and power supplies is the use of mains motors in Meccano models. I don't have too much issue with the use of the motor/gearbox unit which can be tested and stickered. What really frightens me are things like the use of open frame shaded pole mains motors. The wires are normally connected to a piece of mains flex with a choc block connector and there is no earth. This is a disaster waiting to happen and I think that these models should be banned at club meetings and exhibitions.

    TIMS and MMG have public liability insurance but I would bet that this would be void if an accident with one of these models occurred. The premiums would also rocket up and become unaffordable so that some exhibitions would no longer be possible due to lack of insurance.

    I think that it is the duty of all club chairmen / exhibition managers to check models and refuse electrical supplies to all offending models.

    Sorry about the rant Ralph.


  2. Please, rant away at will!

    I share your concern and models that look visually dangerous will be given a fail sticker before they get anywhere near a PAT tester. A terminal connector joint that is not enclosed and/or fixed to a board will fail a visual test. Cable joints must be affected using BS approved connectors. Terminal blocks and insulation tape will not pass. Open shaded pole motors will also be failed. All mains powered Meccano models will be tested as Class I - that is they will require an earth.

    Only equipment displaying a double insulated logo (square in square) on the manufacturers plate is recognised as Class II.

    On Saturday we discovered all sorts of faults, most of which were easy to rectify and the testing made sure they were found before they became a problem. The major casualties while testing were our own club extension leads, all of which failed due to broken or damaged cable restraints and damaged plugs. One out of three RCD's was also failed as it was too slow to respond. A30ma RCD should trip in under 40ms and the good ones were performing in under half of that. the one that failed was not tripping until 49ms, proving it pays to test.