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Offline mishimaBeef

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Electrical Laws
« on: July 06, 2011, 12:52:39 am »
Hi!

Does anyone know how the law is organized with respect to electricity? I presume there are sections of law for different kinds of electricity applications (i.e. high voltage power systems, household electricity, electronics, radio frequency transmission, etc.).

Was wondering how one would get started on this subject and if anyone knows where to find this information. Are IEEE standards a good place to start? Other standards?

I got to thinking about this when someone mentioned transformer standards and how that would play into a household fire (i.e. if I was found using a transformer that wasn't certified then insurance would not cover the accident). Then I started to think if I was even allowed to tamper with my outlets to take a peek inside and such.

Thanks,
EE Student
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 01:33:50 am by mishimaBeef »
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2011, 01:17:02 am »
Your example is a bit confusing.
And the question  too.

About where to get started, the answer is simple,
from the types and the regulations about the cables.

 
 

Offline mishimaBeef

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2011, 01:34:48 am »
Sorry, revised a bit of the writing.

What kind of cables? You mean like the cables you would find around the house for appliances, electronics, TV signal, ethernet cords?
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 01:44:03 am »
It depends on the state and/or country you are in as each has their own regulations. You should google.

In Australia, IIRC, electrical engineers are not permitted to perform electrical work on the mains however  you may study for a contractors license at TAFE. The usual pathway is through 'Electrician' apprenticeships in order to become licensed. The various 'Electrician' unions in Australia have done a very good job of restricting the right to do electrical work to their memberships. There are various levels of license allowing the holder to work at various voltage/equipment conditions. There are exemptions in some cases for electronics workers IIRC when they work on the repair of electronics equipment with mains inputs. Usually electronics workers may not work on the repair of a white appliance however. I hope I've captured that sufficiently, although the subject is very political and has been the topic of flame wars on the newsgroups from time to time. I think you will find you are probably allowed to build a transformer for yourself - but not connect it to the mains.

I'm not absolutely sure but I think that there are exemptions to the rules for academic institutions involved in teaching. When I went through we were allowed to work on 3.3KV equipment with a tutor who was an engineer but not an electrician. My guess would be that as long as you are supervised it would be ok. My guess would also be that would not be ok if you did it at home. Again you will need to ask your school or call your state electrical board.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 05:39:08 pm by gregariz »
 

Offline mishimaBeef

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2011, 01:59:56 am »
Interesting, so just to clarify when you were saying:

"In Australia, IIRC, electrical engineers are not permitted to perform electrical work on the mains however  you may study for a contractors license at TAFE. The usual pathway is through 'Electrician' apprenticeships in order to become licensed."

Are you referring to the mains upstream from the outlets in a house?

---

And then you say:

"I think you will find you are probably allowed to build a transformer for yourself - but not connect it to the mains."

I'm assuming here you are talking about the outlets. So are all components we connect to the mains in need of certification and regulation? And as a follow up, it would be okay for me to apply say 30V AC from a function generator to test a home brew transformer?
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2011, 02:07:47 am »
Interesting, so just to clarify when you were saying:

"In Australia, IIRC, electrical engineers are not permitted to perform electrical work on the mains however  you may study for a contractors license at TAFE. The usual pathway is through 'Electrician' apprenticeships in order to become licensed."

Are you referring to the mains upstream from the outlets in a house?

---

And then you say:

"I think you will find you are probably allowed to build a transformer for yourself - but not connect it to the mains."

I'm assuming here you are talking about the outlets. So are all components we connect to the mains in need of certification and regulation? And as a follow up, it would be okay for me to apply say 30V AC from a function generator to test a home brew transformer?

Everything including the outlets in your house is regulated.

My guess would be that if you use a function generator you would be ok, your function generator will not source much power though. You should know that I no longer work in australia for some years so your question would most probably be much better answered from a local engineer. Things may have changed since I left.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 02:09:54 am by gregariz »
 

Offline mishimaBeef

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2011, 02:11:31 am »
Oh thanks mate but I'm in Canada anyway.
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2011, 02:13:17 am »
Oh thanks mate but I'm in Canada anyway.

Well, everything I said is mute as I have no idea of what the regs in Canada are.
 

Offline mishimaBeef

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2011, 02:19:01 am »
I appreciate it anyways, I wouldn't imagine Canada and Australia to be too far off from each other in this sense but I could be wrong. You have given me some food for though and imagination of where to start and what questions to ask. Thanks!
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2011, 02:46:44 am »
"Canada" is not specific enough. There are governing bodies for each province. In Ontario, a house owner is allowed to do his own house wiring as long as it is inspected by the governing body after (Ontario Hydro) and approved. As far as plugging things into the power, it is all on you if it is not UL or CSA listed, or if you do not get a special CSA inspection or Ontario Hydro inspection and approval on the previously non-approved electrical item.

If a fire does ensue, and you are found to be the cause of the fire by use of unapproved electrical equipment, the insurance company can refuse to pay out, and you can also be held liable for any damage or injuries that resulted from the fire.

Be sensible. Do not play with the house wiring if you do not know what you are doing. If you want to power some home made project and you don't know what you are doing, use a purchased power supply and have it supply the low voltages to your circuit. Or take your chances.......
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2011, 03:27:20 am »
All the regulations for your particular part of Canada should be available on the Internet.
I found a lot of stuff about Canadian regs when I was searching for some information about North American power plug types.
Alternately,your Engineering Lecturer should be able to point you to the correct licencing Authority.

The Electrical licensing regimes try to assure that all wiring in the Authority's jurisdiction are done to the same standards,with identical colour codes,etc.
A licenced Electrician doesn't normally have to concern himself with the Engineering "whys & wherefores"of the standards(although he does learn the theory),but needs to be able to produce a legal,effective job each time,as it can be questioned or inspected by the Authority at any time.

VK6ZGO

 

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2011, 03:56:34 am »
gregariz

Your answer is misleading, In australia if you are an engineer you can perform electrical work also anyone can do electrical work if you are in a remote rural area. The law could have changed since I last lookes on the 14 April 2011 but I haven't herd anything. However in practice most companys will reqire you to have a electrical licence.

As for making your own transformer I say make sure the outlet you are pluging into has a RCD or buy a power board with rcd from electrical wholesaler then make sure on the primary side of your transformer has a hrc fuse that will allow a smallest amout of current through rember ohms law if you got 100 v at 1 amp in = out 10v 10a = 0.1 KVa.

I would also put a fuse on the secondary side of the transforme before the rectifyer.

Safety note: Think of other people or pets that could be electrocuted if you leave something live while going to toilet allways insulate your mains voltage buld it in a small box with lid and only open when testing.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2011, 05:54:08 am »
Again,Australia is a big place,just like Canada!
I'm fairly sure that in WA you need an Electrical licence anywhere in the state to do any wiring directly connected to the mains.
I guess if it is on your own property,running off your own power supply,they might not have a say,but your insurance company would!

I was a Radio Transmitter Tech for years,working for the Commonwealth.
As the sites were Commonwealth property,the state did not have authority,so we could work on high voltage equipment.
Commercial radio & TV sites had a similar,if de facto  situation,because of the requirement of a Commonwealth licence for the Technical staff working there.
In both cases,major Electrical installations as distinct from the wiring  & repair of transmitters were normally done by Electricians.
In emergency situations,however,if it was in the building you fixed it.

In the mid '80s the Commonwealth backed away from its previous attitude & about the same time, the WA State Electrical licensing authority suddenly discovered that Technicians didn't all just work on transistor radios,& actually fixed equipment with HT voltages of around 10kV DC(Shock!,Horror!).
They then started yelling that we had to have Restricted Electrical Licences.
I've got one,which in effect, allows me to do what I've been doing for 40 years.

73,VK6ZGO
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2011, 06:30:30 am »
gregariz

Your answer is misleading, In australia if you are an engineer you can perform electrical work also anyone can do electrical work if you are in a remote rural area. The law could have changed since I last lookes on the 14 April 2011 but I haven't herd anything. However in practice most companys will reqire you to have a electrical licence.


What States are you referring to Jimmy?

That must have changed since I was there. It used to be that the engineer could supervise the work and even instruct what work had to be done but they themselves could not perform the work. Thinking back to the flame wars that used to go on, IIRC Queensland included language in the 2002 update to their regulation which suggested that they were eligible to perform work. However its my understanding that, at least up until about 2005 this was not enacted to that extent. Rather it was something like you had to work for the Utility as a power engineer or something like that, and then in the course of your work commissioning something you were allowed to do something limited. But for 99% of electrical engineers they were still not allowed is my understanding. I didn't know that about rural areas, I admit I'm somewhat sceptical of that claim as I lived in rural areas. Do you mean off-the-grid work or Remote (ie. no people there work)? The vast majority of Rural Australia has electricians. There are a number of other exemptions IIRC for eg. Power plants on ocean going vessels etc. I do know that once as a federal employee the rights given to electronics technicians were greater on a federal government site than offsite ie. federal employees were allowed to perform limited electrical work while state employees were not. However these all Niche exceptions that don't apply to the population or engineering population at large and generally not residential wiring etc.

At some point I would imagine that there will be a push to lower costs by transitioning over to a system of inspection rather than licensing like most of the rest of the world. I expect the Electrical Unions will fight tooth and nail to stop that happening and I can't imagine it happening unless the Institution of Engineers (they are supposed to represent both electrical and electronics technicians and engineers these days but have done a pretty poor job IMO) or maybe an interested politician gets involved in a political fight with them, which IMO is well overdue. This topic has been a festering sore for electronics workers for some decades now.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 06:04:27 pm by gregariz »
 

Offline mishimaBeef

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2011, 09:39:16 am »
"Canada" is not specific enough. There are governing bodies for each province. In Ontario, a house owner is allowed to do his own house wiring as long as it is inspected by the governing body after (Ontario Hydro) and approved. As far as plugging things into the power, it is all on you if it is not UL or CSA listed, or if you do not get a special CSA inspection or Ontario Hydro inspection and approval on the previously non-approved electrical item.

Yeah sorry, specifically I am in Ontario in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).

Be sensible. Do not play with the house wiring if you do not know what you are doing. If you want to power some home made project and you don't know what you are doing, use a purchased power supply and have it supply the low voltages to your circuit. Or take your chances.......

But it is okay to connect a store bought transformer to the mains and still have a homemade project connected to the primary of the transformer? You say use a purchased "power supply" but does that mean all these homemade power supplies are no good? Or are you referring to the first connected device (i.e. a certified device such as a certified transformer)?

---
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2011, 11:35:32 am »
Sorry, revised a bit of the writing.
What kind of cables? You mean like the cables you would find around the house for appliances, electronics, TV signal, ethernet cords?
this cable is for audio, cost 3K pound / meter. Audiophoolery's Law!

if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Offline Zad

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2011, 04:30:34 pm »
Wikipedia is a good place to start http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Electrical_Code

Your college/university library should have a copy of all the codes.

Offline Lightages

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2011, 04:57:49 pm »

But it is okay to connect a store bought transformer to the mains and still have a homemade project connected to the primary of the transformer? You say use a purchased "power supply" but does that mean all these homemade power supplies are no good? Or are you referring to the first connected device (i.e. a certified device such as a certified transformer)?

---

No. The transformer is only one part of the connection. The plug, wiring to the enclosure, the fuse, the grounding of the enclosure or insulation, and the failure mode of the primary connection is all part of the package. The transformer is only one part of the chain of connections to the wall.

So, given your questions, I assume a rather low level of knowledge of electrical wiring and safety practices. My advice is to avoid making your own transformer. I would also say that you need to be very careful and have someone who knows how to do these things review your work before you plug it in or rely on it to be left plugged in. There are many details that can make or break the safety of the wiring. Posting pictures here so that we could advise on the work would probably suffice.

BUT! I am only a person with knowledge and my advice should not be construed as legal advice or that I am liable for anything that you do or do not.
 

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2011, 10:43:03 pm »
Quote
Quote from: Jimmy on Yesterday at 08:56:34 PM

    gregariz

    Your answer is misleading, In Australia if you are an engineer you can perform electrical work also anyone can do electrical work if you are in a remote rural area. The law could have changed since I last looked on the 14 April 2011 but I haven't herd anything. However in practice most company's will require you to have a electrical licence.


What States are you referring to Jimmy?

Queensland

It is in the electrical safety act

If you are registered as an electrical engineer you can perform electrical work.




Some people are passionate about what you are allowed to do and not to do. I only have an Advanced Diploma in electrical engineering and neglected to attend the final year of uni and I also have a Electrical Fitter/Mechanic Licence so I can basically do anything I like if I work for an electrical contractor.

Quote
Do you mean off-the-grid work or Remote?
Source of supply is irrelevant it doesn't matter if it is a battery

You did say something about having to do restricted electrical licence? Normally it covers you for disconnect reconnect but it probably wont hold up if you were designing something.

 



Quote
55 Requirement for electrical work licence
(1) A person must not perform or supervise electrical work
unless—
(a) the person is the holder of an electrical work licence in
force under this Act; and
(b) the licence authorises the person to perform the work.
Maximum penalty—400 penalty units.
(2) Only an individual may be the holder of an electrical work
licence.
(3) A person is not required under subsection (1) to hold an
electrical work licence for the purpose of the following—

(a) performance or supervision of electrical work for the
purpose of installing or repairing telecommunications
cabling;
(b) performance or supervision of electrical work in
practising the person’s profession as an electrical
engineer;

(c) performance or supervision of remote rural installation
work;
(d) performance or supervision of electrical work as part of
the testing of electrical equipment that the person is
authorised to do under a regulation;
(e) performance, as an apprentice, of electrical work in a
calling that requires the apprentice to perform electrical
work;

(f) performance, as a trainee, of electrical work in a calling
that requires the trainee to perform electrical work of a
type prescribed under a regulation;

(g) performance, as a student, of electrical work as part of
training under the supervision of teaching staff at—
(i) a university; or
(ii) a college, school or similar institution conducted or
approved by a department of the State or of the
Commonwealth.

electrical engineer means—
(a) a person who is a registered professional engineer under
the Professional Engineers Act 2002 and who is
registered in the area or preserved area of electrical
engineering under that Act; or
(b) a person who held a degree in electrical engineering
granted by—
(i) an approved school of engineering under the
repealed Professional Engineers Act 1988; or
(ii) an approved faculty of engineering under the
repealed Professional Engineers Act 1988;
before the repeal of that Act and who continues to hold
the degree; or
(c) a person who held, immediately before the
commencement of the Professional Engineers and
Other Legislation Amendment Act 2008, and continues
to hold, a qualification in electrical engineering granted
by a tertiary education institution that entitled the person
to be admitted to the Institution of Engineers Australia,
as a graduate member.





The next big question is, dose a Car mechanic working on a Prius or similar car need a licence to work on it?

I would have to say Yes unless broken down in a remote rural area.
The Prius Battery is over 120v DC so under the act it is classed as Electrical equipment which is covered buy the act.





Working in the Electrical industry in Australia means you need to be part Lawyer and allways cover you ass.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 10:51:07 pm by Jimmy »
 

Offline mishimaBeef

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Re: Electrical Laws
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2011, 11:28:50 pm »

But it is okay to connect a store bought transformer to the mains and still have a homemade project connected to the primary of the transformer? You say use a purchased "power supply" but does that mean all these homemade power supplies are no good? Or are you referring to the first connected device (i.e. a certified device such as a certified transformer)?

---

No. The transformer is only one part of the connection. The plug, wiring to the enclosure, the fuse, the grounding of the enclosure or insulation, and the failure mode of the primary connection is all part of the package. The transformer is only one part of the chain of connections to the wall.

Sorry I meant to say is it okay to connect whatever you want to the secondary.

BUT! I am only a person with knowledge and my advice should not be construed as legal advice or that I am liable for anything that you do or do not.

No worries! I wouldn't dream of it. Plus I don't even think it would hold up in court  :P.
 


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