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General Chat Thread, What to PAT test in General; The site manager was telling me he has found a new company that do PAT testing and got the price ...
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    Jobos's Avatar
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    What to PAT test

    The site manager was telling me he has found a new company that do PAT testing and got the price down to £1 per item which is a large drop from the £1.16 he paid last year. They came in last week and Iíve found items which have never been tested before. I understand anything with a plug on needs testing but these guys have tested to a whole new level. What I mean is the wireless access points have been tested... not just the power supply but the access point itself. Iíve found small 4 port switches tested and they have even tested a 750MB ZIP drive, again not just the power supplies but the devices itself. Moving on to laptops, thereís 3 test stickers used. The power lead, the power adapter and the laptop itself.

    Iím getting a feeling that these guys are making up for offering a low price by testing anything and everything!

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    I used to do pat testing - and it all has to be tested. You test the power lead first. Then the power lead along with the adapter, and then the whole lead with the device if it is in three parts.

    I think the timeframe changes though. For example - cables (because they are easily frayed etc) have to be tested every year, where as base units for computers only need testing every 4 years (I think) because they are a closed unit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jobos View Post
    Moving on to laptops, thereís 3 test stickers used. The power lead, the power adapter and the laptop itself.

    Iím getting a feeling that these guys are making up for offering a low price by testing anything and everything!
    This sounds like correct practice to me. The logic being if you can unplug something then it needs testing.

    A properly tested desktop unit should have at least 4 tests -
    1 x monitor lead
    1 x main lead
    1 x monitor
    1 x machine

    If the monitor has a power adapter this should also be tested.

    I would think low voltage peripherals (e.g. USB only no external power) shouldn't be tested, also fixed wiring shouldn't be PAT tested as it comes under different legislation.

    Cheers
    Jona

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    I used to do PAT testing at my last place as well, under our insurance requirments we were supposed to test everything with a plug! However we were allowed to just do a visual check (for frayed wires etc) on stuff that could not be turned off (UPS etc) so we included servers and switches in that. In then end to save money we trained up myself and one of the other techys to be able to PAT test and we tested everything when it came throught the door. The course itself was pretty cheap its the testing equipment and the database that they write to that cost the money about £500 quid for just the tester but that was a while ago.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Again, sounds about right. Anything with a plug. If it has multiple parts (eg a laptop power pack that has two separate components) then each bit needs testing.

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    Jobos's Avatar
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    So even a ZIP drive that runs at 5v needs testing? I can't see how they would connect it to the machine and why has no one ever tested it before.

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    Jona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jobos View Post
    So even a ZIP drive that runs at 5v needs testing? I can't see how they would connect it to the machine and why has no one ever tested it before.
    If it has an external power adapter then yes it needs testing (although I suspect it's just a visual inspection). If it is USB powered then it's slightly more questionable....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jona View Post
    If it has an external power adapter then yes it needs testing (although I suspect it's just a visual inspection). If it is USB powered then it's slightly more questionable....
    Nothing at all *needs* to be tested unless you have a policy which says that you will do it - it's just if you have tested it and someone dies then at least you can show you were trying to keep things safe.

    Anything which is categorised as Class II or double insulated (it will have the double square logo on it) doesn't need testing at all - other than visual inspection because it can't sensibly be tested (PAT is particularly interested in testing if the earth connection is good and if there's any leakage to earth; neither is relevant on a device with no earth connection)

    Low voltage equipment (eg USB powered) is Class III and doesn't need to be tested at all - you can stick your tongue in a USB socket (but please don't - very messy!) and it won't kill you :-)

  9. Thanks to srochford from:

    dbrown (18th January 2010)

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    I don't know if I was trained more strictly than Steve, but as far as I'm concerned class I and class II get tests whether they're double insulated or not. The test is slightly different though, you don't do a 26A earth bond on a CII for example.

    In the case of your zip drive or access point though, you should be testing:
    1. the IEC lead from the plug to the adaptor
    2. the adaptor itself, because it is stepping mains down to low voltage

    You don't need to (and physically can't) test the device itself if it is not mains voltage. Your testers are taking the wee, which is why they're so cheap.

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    Did they ask "when would be a good time to test your access points / switches?" or did they just randomly test stuff without checking first?

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    Quote Originally Posted by powdarrmonkey View Post
    In the case of your zip drive or access point though, you should be testing:
    1. the IEC lead from the plug to the adaptor
    2. the adaptor itself, because it is stepping mains down to low voltage

    You don't need to (and physically can't) test the device itself if it is not mains voltage. Your testers are taking the wee, which is why they're so cheap.
    So items that arenít mains voltage would include the ZIP drive, small switches, access points and laptops (the power adaptor and leads should be tested)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    Did they ask "when would be a good time to test your access points / switches?" or did they just randomly test stuff without checking first?
    They went from room to room blitzing everything.

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    If I had to do this job I'd also charge a lot as it's the most boring job in the entire world. I did it once here and refused to do it ever again.

    Since you use the mains lead to connect the device you're testing to the tester I think you can safely say that if the device has passed then so has the lead. You really don't have to check both individually unless you have OCD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timzim View Post
    If I had to do this job I'd also charge a lot as it's the most boring job in the entire world. I did it once here and refused to do it ever again.
    It may be boring but it's very lucrative. A good tester can earn £300+ a day.

    Since you use the mains lead to connect the device you're testing to the tester I think you can safely say that if the device has passed then so has the lead. You really don't have to check both individually unless you have OCD.
    You are required to check both the lead and the device if the two can be seperated. You can get around this if you want by cable tying the device and lead together so that this isn't possible.

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    EURO PAT - The Portable Appliance Testing Specialists - Frequency Table

    Take a look at this link. Under Education, Class II (which should be things like monitors and base units) it is suggested to test only every 48 months. Where as Class I you should test every year - Tell them next time they come to test that you need all the cables testing only as all the Class II stuff has been done.

  17. 2 Thanks to Hightower:

    dbrown (18th January 2010), Jobos (25th June 2008)

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