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Dodgy IEC cables again

Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by Poxy, Feb 6, 2007.

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  1. Poxy

    Poxy Guest

    A mate of mine just bought a new battery charger - a Swallow AC/DC unit. It
    came with an IEC lead that had a 2-pin plug going to a 2-core lead marked as
    0.75mm to an IEC plug that had a hole in the earth position but no contacts.

    While I'm guessing 0.75mm is probably OK for a standard ~1.8m lead (?), I
    can't see how having an unconnected earth can be kosher - surely they should
    have filled in the earth position so it couldn't be plugged into a device
    that had an earth pin?

    The Swallow is a very good charger, BTW.
  2. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest


    ** Sounds quite illegal and potentially dangerous.

    The two pin ( double insulated ) version of the IEC plug is not compatible
    with 3 pin sockets.

    Where was it purchased ?

    ........ Phil
  3. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest



    I see it but I doan believe it ........

    ......... Phil
  4. Poxy

    Poxy Guest

    He bought it in Perth, but pretty much every hobby shop in Oz sells the
    unit. I'm guessing it'd be the same IEC lead in every box, but I haven't

    This is the item on the distributor's site:[INVALID FORM VAR]&itemid=SJACDCSWALLOW
  5. Reported to Ebay as illegal/dangerous. Unfortunately the reporting
    scheme didn't allow me to include the descriptive text I wrote, sigh:

    The power cord for the battery charger shown here is dangerous and illegal for sale in Australia, as it does not have the mandatory earth pin on the 3-pin socket. Although the device may be double insulated, this lead, because it's a standard geometry, will eventually find its way to another device that *must* have a proper earth connection. The seller risks a criminal conviction if any such units are sold in Australia, and possible murder or manslaughter charges if anyone dies as a result.

    Clifford Heath.
  6. Dave

    Dave Guest

    I recognise the company that is responsible for AU conformity of that
    product (and its not the ebay seller). I will call them tomorrow morning
    and see whether they know this is happening. They should know better, but
    it is possible they don't know its being imported like this (direct import,
    grey market import or even counterfeit labelling). I'll post their comments.

    Well spotted Phil.
  7. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest


    ** The importer / wholesaler is " Model Engines " in Melbourne.

    See page 4 of this pdf : August 2006 web.pdf

    The charger unit appears to have been type approved as required by law -
    but is not labelled as class 2 or " double insulated" - hence it requires
    a 3 core power lead.

    That 2 core lead with 3 pin IEC plug has NOT been approved as is REQUIRED
    not safe anywhere on earth.

    ........ Phil
  8. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Interesting tale behind it all... but the summary is MEA received the units
    from the Chinese factory with these dud cords, but they replaced them (here
    in Australia) before they sold any. The ebay seller is not known to them,
    and their policy is not to supply to on-line sellers. I have also spoken
    with the company acting as the compliance agent for MEA for this product and
    they don't know anything about the ebay seller either. So, my guess is the
    ebay seller may have either got some that escaped the cord replacement
    process, or is importing directly and passing them off (through
    mis-labelling) as units imported by MEA. The Chinese factory making the
    charger doesn't make the cordset and simply would have bought an "Australian
    cord" from a Chinese cordset maker. This cord would be cheaper than an
    ordinary duty three core lead and was probably created by the cord maker as
    a cost-down option.

    I don't want to revisit the previous discussion, but this graphically
    illustrates what I trying to say before. There are a great many factories in
    China making products for which they have little understanding of the final
    use - they just know how to make it, and that it will work/fit/operate if it
    is the same as xxxx. The greater understanding of how and why comes along
    as the industry matures.

    The NSW DFT has been informed and reviewed the pictures on the ebay website,
    but won't do anything till a written complaint is made (which I have done).
    Even then they can't act decisively since its a NSW approval for the charger
    only (excluding the cord), the charger approval is held by a Victorian
    company (so they have to refer it to the OCEI), the cord is being sold by
    persons unknown, operating from location unknown and if it is being
    delivered directly from overseas then there is little any regulator can do
    anyway (the seller states it is AU delivery so they must have a location
    here somewhere).

    Wherever the seller is located is where the offence is being committed and
    that State's regulator is the one who has to take action - so don't anyone
    hold their breath waiting for anything to happen soon from that side of
    things. If anyone has purchased one of these chargers with a crook cord
    please pass the sellers details to the regulator in the State where the
    seller is located. This will get the fastest response. You will most
    likely need to send the cord to them too, so don't throw it away yet.
  9. Poxy

    Poxy Guest

    That's interesting - I raised this issue with the Swallow AC/DC charger
    after seeing the cord that was supplied with one a friend had bought last
    week while in Perth from a local hobby shop there. Perhaps that particular
    shop is selling grey imports? I'll check with my friend which shop it was.
    I'm also going to drop by a few local shops (who I know for a fact buy from
    Model Engines) and have a look at what cables come with the units they're
  10. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest


    ** Yep - have damn good look.

    Never * believe * heresay info from someone who REFUSES to say anything
    about who he is.

    ....... Phil
  11. Poxy

    Poxy Guest

    I just checked a local shop who took a new delivery of Swallow AC/DC
    chargers from Model Engines just this week - they contain the dodgy leads -
    I now know of people who have bought the charger from various local shops
    across Australia, they were all almost certainly supplied by Model Engines
    and they all have dodgy leads.

    It sounds like Model Engines were telling you porkies, and it's particularly
    galling that if they were indeed aware of the problem, and have been told
    again by you, but are still supplying the potentially dangerous leads.

    I've started talking to one local regulator, but what I want to see is a
    recall - whoever is responsible for putting these leads in people's homes
    should be responsible for removing them before they seriously injure or kill
  12. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest


    ** Nice work - Poxy.

    Told you the anonymous, mysterious Dave was absolutely " full of it ".

    ........ Phil
  13. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Please make it a written complain and give them the details of where and
    when you bought it. Also send a copy of the complaint to Model Engines
    Australia. If they are still supplying these, and from what you say they
    are, then any failure to act on their part is quite serious.
  14. Poxy

    Poxy Guest

    I've emailed and spoken to the local regulator a few times - he's planning
    in the first instance to visit a couple of hobby shops who are selling the
    unit and tell them not to sell the unit with the dodgy lead. That will
    hopefully get the shop owners on the phone to Model Engines to do something
    about the problem.

    However, getting a recall done seems like it may take a long time, unless
    Model Engines decides to do the right thing off their own bat.

    What might help is if someone in Victoria informed the state regulator, as
    they'd be in a better position to take it up with Model Engines, as I
    understand they're based in Vic.
  15. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Finding a shop selling them in Vic would be even better as the State of the
    complainant and the importer are then co-located.
  16. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest


    ** Approval for the "Swallow 2" charger was registered (and done ? ) in

    It should not matter what state the importer is located as any problem found
    by one state authority can be referred to the state authority of the

    ........ Phil
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