Electrical Safety First have published a timely reminder on the dangers of buying electrical goods from unregulated third-parties. Safe Shopping Online.
Risk of fire and cracked glass door. For more details click here to visit Electrical Safety First.
The consumer group Which? reports that around 60 fires a week are caused by faulty electrical appliances. Read more here (opens in new window).
This IEC lead was purchased on a well-known internet auction site and fails on several points. The plug is the main worry: it is too narrow giving little protection against fingers contacting the (unsleeved!) pins, it has no provision for a fuse and the pins are formed from sheet brass. These features are all covered by BS1363 which defines the construction of a genuine 13 amp plug. Under test the lead has a barely-sufficient earth bond (0.09 ohms) which suggests poor construction and/or materials.
Electrical Safety First have produced a movie illustrating the dangers of leaving your pets at home with appliances plugged-in.
These are turning up in goods bought on-line and elsewhere. I recently ordered a replacement power supply/charger for my laptop and when I checked the plug’s fuse, was surprised to find a 13 amp fuse (5 amp is recommended) which, on closer inspection, turned out to be a fake. Tell-tale signs are its light weight and the protruding wire under the end-cap. A genuine fuse should weigh about 2.3 grams, my fake weighed about 1.6 grams.
Counterfeit 13amp Fuse, would a PAT Tester find this?
Not only illegal but dangerous – these fuses have no sand filler in the cartridge. The sand is essential in preventing an explosion if the fuse blows. Fake fuses have been known to blow the top off the plug exposing live terminals. More from the DTI.