Rogues Gallery – or, the damaged electrical plugs and cables we got to in just in time!
Over the past years of ME PAT Services Ltd we have come across some truly horrific and simply scary electrical disasters – killers which people are totally obvious to which has convinced us that we are genuinely “saving lives” with our Portable Appliance Testing service. Below are a few recreated examples as it is illegal to photograph on someone’s premises without their permission – besides which I don’t think anyone would dare to own up to any of these? Anyway see what you think….
This example is one of the most common we come across, the cable gets trapped between two moving surfaces or under sharp edge benches and the rubber gets worn away and the bare copper is exposed. This example I have seen many times on a vacuum cleaners and power tools. Needless to say all it takes is to put their hand around the cable whilst the other is pushing or operating equipment – lights out and a sure killer!
This example is from a farm kitchen/cafe on the edge of Newcastle, this cable is broken and split in at least three places with the copper exposed – this was reproduced from a cable off a blender, forgive the pun but if kitchen staff were to put their hands on this cable then they would truly be blended themselves! The solution we carried out was to cut the cable at the shortest to the machine then fit a new plug, ok the mains cable will only be about a foot long but at least the staff get to go home at night!!
Socket/How many cables?
One of my favourites and definitely comes into the “I don’t believe it” arena! Take a close look at the picture and tell me how many cables you see, yes three!! This is an example of a very old Tudor style country pub, complete with wooden beams outside. We were carrying tests out in the basement/ cellar/office and against one wall there was a bank of about 12-15 wall sockets, I pulled out a plug to be tested and suddenly a cable dropped with no plug attached – yes you’ve got it, every single plug had earth, neutral and live wires hooked underneath into each socket! So instead of simply fixing a plug, using some extension leads or even calling in an electrician to install more electrics - instead they used bare wires!! It’s simply beyond words…
How not to extend cables..
This is an example of how not to extend cables, on a routine test of a client who had moved into a new unit, all of her equipment passed with flying colours except for a build in fridge kindly provided by the business centre. We don’t simply put on failed stickers and walk away, as part of our service we like to find out where possible, why an item fail to hopefully save replacement costs for the customer. Once the fridge was pulled out of it’s false wall it turned out that the cable had been spliced about 3-4 times to extend the cable length, now when the wrapping of electrical tape was removed just behind the fridge it revealed that the live, neutral and earth cables had been joined to the right cables – but without any individual protection. Each cable was actually touching each other – a very dangerous condition and would prove fatal to whoever touches it!! The simple solution, cut the original cable and fix a plug – get a passed extension lead, sorted and a lot safer!!
The humble iphone/ipad plug and cable
Original iphone components are not the cheapest of items and can be bought a lot cheaper off stalls and markets around the country – DON’T DO IT AS THEY ARE DANGEROUS!! Not only has the Electrical Safety Council [ESC] but also Apple has issued repeated warnings about the very low quality of imports of iphone copy chargers. Pay a few quid money for something that is not going to blow up or at least short and damage your iphone and its data within!!
A loose plug that is hiding a deadly secret
We are a great believers of doing physical checks of plugs for loose covers and loose pins BEFORE we carry out a range of electronic tests for current, earth etc via our test equipment. At the sight or feel of any small signs we will open the plug to investigate further – especially if the plugs are of an old design. It could be strips of foil instead of fuses, damaged leads, not tightened or properly secured cable bridges – or in this case a loose live cable…. Experience counts for a lot and it saves lives too!