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 Post subject: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Fri 24, 2021 7:32 pm 
Since most valve radios are from a time when there wasn’t such strict electrical Laws like PAT testing does that mean or not mean they are safe or unsafe?

I presume that if a valve radio is working and has worked fine for over many decades then there isn’t any inherent danger.

I’m not electrical minded but I’ve been told all valve radios are earthed through their metal chassis and if one was PAT tested they’d fail a modern test, does that mean that someone who purchased one could or couldn’t have it converted in some way to fall in line with modern standards?

Interested to learn of anyone with knowledge thanks all.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Fri 24, 2021 7:44 pm 
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Location: Austin, Texas
The older radios with power transformers can fairly easily be modified to meet safety requirements for shock hazards. The lower cost radios, often called AC/DC sets, can be difficult or almost impossible to make shock safe by today's standards. Nearly all radios are OK to use if they are enclosed in their cabinets and the user knows not to touch any of the exposed metal parts while the radio is plugged in.

Jay


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Fri 24, 2021 7:49 pm 
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Location: Pasadena CA USA
I don't know what is PAT testing so I can not say anything about that. You bring up a subject that has been beat to death many times here. I believe, and this is only my opinion, and plenty of folks will not agree, but I think it depends on what you intend to do with the radio. I collect radios and insist that they be as produced. Some folks use their radios and want to update them in several ways. If I want to listen to an AM radio, I have my choice of modern radios and I believe that this attempt to "make them safe" destroys any collector value that they may have. But to answer your question, I believe that if the radio is in the condition that it was in when it left the factory, it is safe. Is it safe to drive a 1957 Chevrolet today? That is what each of us has to decide.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Fri 24, 2021 9:53 pm 
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J. Hill wrote:
I don't know what is PAT testing

Neither do I; how about a description of what it is, umiedotre9 ?

Regardless, there's no reason to re-engineer a tried and true electronic design.

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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Fri 24, 2021 10:27 pm 
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Portable appliance testing (PAT, PAT inspection or redundantly as PAT testing) is the name of a process in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Australia by which electrical appliances are routinely checked for safety. The formal term for the process is "in-service inspection & testing of electrical equipment". Testing involves a visual inspection of the equipment and any flexible cables for good condition, and also where required, verification of earthing (grounding) continuity, and a test of the soundness of insulation between the current carrying parts, and any exposed metal that may be touched. The formal limits for pass/fail of these electrical tests vary somewhat depending on the category of equipment being tested.

Other countries have similar procedures, for example, testing of equipment according to DGUV Vorschrift 3 in Germany.

https://www.google.com/search?q=PAT+tes ... e&ie=UTF-8

DM


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Fri 24, 2021 11:58 pm 
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Read these comments on this UK vintage radio forum.

Valve radio failed pat test!
https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/sho ... php?t=4229
or… if you register they will be able to address your question directly.


I wouldn't get too hung up about all this health and safety nonsense... :)
tube radios that haven't been messed with and have the rear panel + control knobs in place are perfectly safe.

Greg.


Edit: PAT testing is not actually a legal requirement.
https://www.pat-testing-course.com/blog ... uirements/


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Sat 25, 2021 12:45 am 
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Location: 13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K 1P0
umiedotre9 wrote:
Since most valve radios are from a time when there wasn’t such strict electrical Laws like PAT testing does that mean or not mean they are safe or unsafe?

Anything is unsafe if the user does something stupid with it. So, don't stand barefoot on a concrete floor in damp weather while you fondle a radio chassis that is plugged into a working outlet.
Quote:
I presume that if a valve radio is working and has worked fine for over many decades then there isn’t any inherent danger.

I assume the same with one caveat. I assume this only with a radio that has been restored to original condition with quality parts and restoration methods.
Quote:
I’m not electrical minded but I’ve been told all valve radios are earthed through their metal chassis and if one was PAT tested they’d fail a modern test, does that mean that someone who purchased one could or couldn’t have it converted in some way to fall in line with modern standards?

No, not all radios are a "hot chassis". Some have a floating chassis. Even so, if a radio is in it's case, with it's knobs and back intact (assuming it has a back), and the person using it doesn't attempt to do something stupid with it, it should be just fine. Any electrical appliance will injure/kill a user if the user tries hard enough.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Sat 25, 2021 3:26 am 
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PAT = Portable Appliance Testing [UK]


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Sun 26, 2021 7:37 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona
In the US we use 117 volts AC with one side grounded and the other side HOT (full 117 to ground). If the set is what I call a HOT Chassis, set depending on which way the plug is inserted in the outlet the 117 volts can be at full potential on exposed metal such as chassis screws on the bottom. If you are well grounded like sitting in the bathtub in water and touch the HOT Chassis you could die.

In the UK 220 volts AC is the household standard. Twice the ZAPPP.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Sun 26, 2021 10:24 pm 
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I had more to do with old tv's then radios in the past. Those had a polarized plug which could be inserted one way where the chassis was on neutral, not Ground. Ground came with a 3 prong outlet and a separate (Green) wire. Exceptions were the Zenith TV sets which had a power transformer. Polarized outlets and plugs are used even today with three prong outlets. In the West, I never seen 117 VAC since I arrived here in 1987. My shop voltage reads between 124V to 128V AC, but I don't share the utility transformer with anybody and have 200A service.
I wonder if a toaster would pass the PAT test.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Tue 28, 2021 10:09 pm 
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You get a lot of dumb looks when you talk about PAT here because a lot of us are from the USA which does not have it. If we did have it we would, of course, call it by a different TLA (three letter acronym)!

A properly restored vintage radio is as safe today as it was when it was new. Some of them will be roughly as safe as radios made this year, others will be less safe than modern radios. At no time in their history have radios been "death traps". Consumers have changed over the years but there never was a time when the typical consumer would accept certain death as the price of listening to a ball game. So radios have always been reasonably safe.

That does not protect you from your national or local laws however. If you have legal requirements that you are mandated to observe then you have to consider whether the liability risk of ignoring them is small enough for you to take a chance on. It is your call. If we had such laws I would study them and share ideas with the community here to see what a good strategy for dealing with them would be. This is not the best place for you to do that since so few of us here have to deal with this. Some of us are your countrymen and can help you. You will get a higher density of assistance from an active forum in your own country but if by chance you get the answers you need here then you don't have to look any further!

Now I would assume that those of us who are from the UK could start a PAT thread here which would increase the density of voices and generate potential strategies. Other countries in Europe and the British Commonwealth may have laws similar enough that you could all have one common thread which would deal with the issue.

Good luck, those of us in the US could be hit with this any day even though there are no signs of it yet!


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Tue 28, 2021 11:22 pm 
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khutch wrote:
At no time in their history have radios been "death traps". Consumers have changed over the years but there never was a time when the typical consumer would accept certain death as the price of listening to a ball game. So radios have always been reasonably safe.

Not so sure I'd agree. What about the notorious "curtain burners"? Although I don't know if anyone ever died in a house fire due to one of those.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Tue 28, 2021 11:37 pm 
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I thought the so called "curtain burners" were not a large part of radio production and not made for very many years, in the big scheme of things. I am not averse to the idea of adding a fuse to old radios in case of a short inside. And being sure that the set has all it's original safety features, as they were. Such as knobs to prevent touching metal shafts, backs to keep hands out, etc. Those measures were sufficient and were comparable to other sorts of electrical appliances at the time they were made. Ever seen a fuse in a toaster? In a table lamp? The main thing is to be certain that the original features to prevent a shock are not compromised, and then use common sense, or just keep the old things for display purposes. It is possible to upgrade the safety features of some old sets, as others have mentioned. But these changes to old obsolete items or appliances, however effective they may be, are probably not accepted by the regulatory authorities like a modern device that has been evaluated as-issued would be. Just because they are a DIY or amateur effort in their estimation.

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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Wed 29, 2021 2:24 pm 
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radiomania wrote:
khutch wrote:
At no time in their history have radios been "death traps". Consumers have changed over the years but there never was a time when the typical consumer would accept certain death as the price of listening to a ball game. So radios have always been reasonably safe.

Not so sure I'd agree. What about the notorious "curtain burners"? Although I don't know if anyone ever died in a house fire due to one of those.


In the past few decades we have had things like halogen lamps and rechargeable lithium batteries that have caused house fires. I would not call them death traps however because the incidence of these fires is low. To me a death trap is something that has a significant chance of causing death in real world use. Under the right conditions any device that runs off AC power can have a 100% chance of causing death but if the device is built in such a way that those conditions are very rare then we rightly judge the product to be "safe". Not absolutely safe but acceptably safe. And in the modern world you have to evaluate the whole system. Almost no AC powered device is intrinsically safe to use while you are taking a bath but in conjunction with modern outlets that can detect ground current anomalies and kill the power before it kills you they are safe. But don't do that even if you do have the proper outlets!

Ultimately very few of the radios we talk about here are absolutely safe. A large transistor radio powered by 12 V of D cells may be incapable of killing you electrically except under very exotic conditions indeed but it still is not absolutely safe. Decades ago I walked out of my apartment building to go to work one morning and I heard a thud off to my left. I looked and the lawn was littered with a collection of household goods and while I watched here comes a portable !CRASH! TV. A woman on the fourth floor had had enough of her boyfriend and was helping him move out, I later learned. If she had beaned me on the head with that transistor radio it would have killed me. But we do not include such exceptional circumstances when we talk of product safety.

Curtain burner power cords are a legitimate safety concern, of course. And that is why they disappeared from the market relatively quickly, consumers don't accept products that are seriously unsafe. So, to put a finer point on your argument I suppose it would be wise to evaluate the radios that you restore. Do they meet reasonable safety standards? Some may not and may not have met them when factory fresh either because of a poor design or because of an assembly error. Inspect all old radios and correct any serious safety deficiencies that you find. They may be assembly errors, insulating materials that are decayed or absent, or design errors. In a great many cases old radios will be safe when restored to factory fresh condition and that should be your goal as a radio restorer.

But again, what I say above is common sense. If your local laws go beyond common sense, as they increasingly do, then you have to have a strategy to protect yourself not from electric current but from legal ramifications.


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Wed 29, 2021 3:28 pm 
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radiomania wrote:
Not so sure I'd agree. What about the notorious "curtain burners"? Although I don't know if anyone ever died in a house fire due to one of those.

wazz wrote:
I thought the so called "curtain burners" were not a large part of radio production and not made for very many years, in the big scheme of things.

Back in cay

Actually the small table models before approx 1940 were virtually all curtain burners. Inadequate space inside, not to mention price to have a power transformer. Series string tubes that did away with resistance line cords were introduced in 1939.

One of my Warco's built just after WWII still used the curtain burner cord. Additionally both are backless & have a hot chassis. Of course these radios ar rather rare, AFAIK I have the only two known examples.

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Last edited by 35Z5 on Sep Wed 29, 2021 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Wed 29, 2021 3:43 pm 
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Question for the original poster, are you there?
Will you be back to add some input?
:mrgreen:

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Burl Ives, RIP, oldtimer.
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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Wed 29, 2021 4:01 pm 
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Silence is golden... :)

Well… it looks like our little friend is a SPAMMER who will one day come back in the dark of night and edited his TWO postings to include nefarious links.

Take note of the date on the second image below.
https://www.socialgrep.com/search?query ... ntageradio


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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Wed 29, 2021 11:33 pm 
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Aw sheeez, you mean I did all that typing for NOTHING?

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 Post subject: Re: Question about electrical safety.
PostPosted: Sep Thu 30, 2021 12:15 am 
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You wouldn't believe how many forums that umiedotre9 has registered with all across the internet!
https://www.google.com/search?q=umiedot ... 8&oe=utf-8

Greg.


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