USB charg­ers

Are th­ese safe? Mark Beck­ett shows us what to look out for

The Shed - - Contents - By Mark Beck­ett Pho­to­graphs: Mark Beck­ett

Iwas in one of those $2-type shops in our lo­cal mall looking for some 12V-toUSB adap­tors, when I spot­ted some cheap mains USB charg­ers. Pre­sum­ably, they were be­ing sold here in New Zealand as they have the pins an­gled. I bought one to ex­am­ine more closely.

Un­for­tu­nately, the reg­u­la­tions in New Zealand re­quire the live and neu­tral pins to be in­su­lated and th­ese were not, so I imag­ine they were pro­duced for the Chi­nese mar­ket, and some­one has im­ported them for sale here. Be­sides the plug is­sue, I was in­ter­ested to see if the in­ter­nal con­struc­tion com­plied with the New Zealand reg­u­la­tions. My first im­pres­sion of the charger was that it had some mark­ings.

Be­fore do­ing any­thing, I de­cided to see if it passed an elec­tri­cal safety test.

For those who may have missed the Elec­tri­cal Safety fea­ture (Fe­bru­ary/ March 2017), as this is marked as dou­ble in­su­lated, you test it by ap­ply­ing 500V DC be­tween each of the mains pins and any met­al­work that a user might make con­tact with. In this case, the only met­al­work is the metal sur­round of the USB out­let, and it passed with no is­sues. 

The point of this is to make Shed read­ers think about the cheap elec­tri­cal equip­ment they may buy

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