Leakage testing now mandatory

Thursday, 26 August, 2004

On the 20th of February, 2004, Standards Australia formally announced the release of the updated AS3760:2003. This standard covers the procedure for testing and tagging.

A significant change in AS3760:2003 is that insulation tests no longer comply when testing most modern appliances. The revised Standard states, "If the equipment must be energised to close or operate a switching device, then a leakage test shall be performed." As a result, it is now mandatory to power up appliances with an electronic switch and conduct a leakage test.

Many power tools and most modern office equipment use membrane type on/off electronic switches. Other examples include the magnetic switches found on toasters (which will not latch without power applied). Such appliances must be powered to get past the electronic or magnetic switch.

AS3760:2003 states that under these circumstances, a Class I item requires an earth leakage test to be conducted with a pass/fail limit of 5 mA and a Class II item requires a leakage test to be conducted with a pass/fail limit of 1 mA.

AS3760:2003 not only ends the use of insulation testers in testing and tagging but also every handheld pass/fail tester currently sold on the market. Handheld testers only offer insulation testing and earth continuity, and do not provide power-up tests.

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