Author Topic: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU  (Read 1814 times)

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Offline DonnieBrodan

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Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« on: November 21, 2020, 06:42:04 am »
I am designing a mains powered device which has two general purpose mains output sockets, both switched by relays. I am trying to find out the wiring rules specifically for the US, but also for EU and AU. - Trying to figure out does this device require double pole relays?
Is there freely available information which may answer these questions?
Also wondering does the design require fuses or a circuit breaker?
 

Offline sandalcandal

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2020, 06:59:00 am »
UL standards including many appliance standards for the US can be viewed free on their website. AU stuff is paywalled but if you know your local educational institutions well you might be able to get a copy off them. EU standards can be had cheap from the Estonian standards body as per another recent thread.
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Offline DonnieBrodan

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2020, 07:18:57 am »
Have just sent an enquiry to UL, perhaps thats the easiest method
 

Offline sandalcandal

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2020, 07:24:53 am »
Have just sent an enquiry to UL, perhaps thats the easiest method
Depending on the product, they might be able to give you a list of applicable standards free of charge otherwise they'll charge you for consultation. UL is great but keep in mind as far as doing certs goes, UL tends to be the "premium" option.
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Offline Nusa

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2020, 07:58:21 am »
Actual on-the-ground plug standards are very different between all of those places, including within the EU itself (with the UK being its own ball of wax, if you're including them). Add in the fact the average US plug is ~120V, not ~240V. If you've got a wired-in-device, then the electric codes of the various countries usually have something to say (I suspect the so-called "universal" outlet is not code-approved as a permanently installed device in any jurisdiction). If it's a plugged in device, then it's more of a product law issue.

 

Offline DonnieBrodan

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2020, 08:31:16 am »
By UL being premium that means not specifically required? This really looks like a case for seeking consultation with an expert. Just hesitant to hand out cash without knowing exactly which coveted information I seek.
Product law issue again meaning finding an expert in such a field, and just handing them heaps of cash?
 

Offline sandalcandal

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2020, 09:03:00 am »
By UL being premium that means not specifically required? This really looks like a case for seeking consultation with an expert. Just hesitant to hand out cash without knowing exactly which coveted information I seek.
Product law issue again meaning finding an expert in such a field, and just handing them heaps of cash?
"Premium" meaning UL tend to charge a bit more than other certification bodies such as Intertek or smaller local bodies such as Austest Laboratories (just an example I haven't worked with them) but UL offer a higher level of service and can offer consultation and testing of more specialised products. Being that they also develop standards that tend to enter legislation themselves, UL tends to have higher authority than test houses that mainly just test and certify. If you're doing a "standard" product that's already on the market and well defined in existing standards then I'd suggest engaging some lower tier cert/test houses but if you've got the money or you otherwise have something a bit more challenging to certify then someone like UL or TUV might be worthwhile.

As far as making sure you don't run into legal issues you'll have to cough up money somewhere with a some sort of professional consultation (and make sure they actually take on liability in the terms of engagement) if you want someone else to help take on liability.

Its always worth doing as much of your own homework as practical to make sure no-one is trying to pull one on you and you're in a better negotiating position. Preparing a detailed (but concise) product description will help you in getting good advice both here on the forum and with professional consultation. As always, be sure to shop around and consider not just going for the lowest bidder.
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Offline Mangozac

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2020, 10:17:01 pm »
Is there freely available information which may answer these questions?
Definitely not for Australian Standards
Also wondering does the design require fuses or a circuit breaker?
It depends on what standard it falls under. If your device isn't an appliance it's probably going to fall under AS/NZS 3105, in which case if it has 3 or more GPOs a circuit breaker is required. To answer your other question, I've never seen a double pole relay required in the typical application of common product standards. There may be some obscure configurations that require it though. If you want to PM me more details I can give you some pointers as I'm very familiar with designing to AS/NZS 60335 and AS/NZS 3105.

I recommend not talking to a test lab first (here in Australia at least). They have a conflict of interest in that they want to do as much testing as possible to get the most money out of you. Contact a few electrical product certifiers. Unless it's something super standard they will each give you a different advice as to what standard to apply and even how they interpret the standard, so you then choose whichever one suits you best. Make sure you have anything they say in writing! If you're worried about how varied the answers you get from the certifiers are then contact the electrical safety office in your state and ask for their advice.

Your next step is to go and buy a copy of the standard. Note that this will probably require multiple purchases, as standards tend to reference other standards. The cost of standards is a rort and as protest I recommend you search for the standard on Baidu (the Chinese search engine) first and have a read of it before you go and buy a copy. Buying AS/NZS standards from Standards New Zealand is cheaper than from the Standards Australia cartel. If you need an IEC standard buy it from the Estonian Standards Institute for a sensible price.

I suspect the so-called "universal" outlet is not code-approved as a permanently installed device in any jurisdiction
In Australia I don't believe this is legal even on a plugged-in device unless it's specifically an international plug converter.

Ultimately, this is going to be an expensive exercise. There will be a small amount of overlap between requirements for the three markets you've mentioned but in reality you'll be basically doing separate testing for each one, at a cost of between $5k to $15k each (depending on the exact product requirements).
 
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2020, 10:45:18 pm »
In a case like this where there is a specific question,  you could just buy a device that performs a similar function in a comparable environment ( domestic vs. industrial) , from a manufacturer you trust to follow standards, and  take it apart to see what they have done.

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Offline Mangozac

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2020, 12:11:34 am »
In a case like this where there is a specific question,  you could just buy a device that performs a similar function in a comparable environment ( domestic vs. industrial) , from a manufacturer you trust to follow standards, and  take it apart to see what they have done.
Also, if you can find a test report for a similar device it not only shows you how things have been done but also shows you the various details of the testing it has passed!
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2020, 02:23:10 am »
I have no idea about the other regions, but in the US you do not need to use double pole relays, only the live wire needs to be switched, and a breaker or fuse is not required. This assumes that the device is meant to plug into a standard 120V 15 or 20A circuit and power devices designed to plug into a standard wall socket.
 

Offline sandalcandal

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2020, 02:33:11 am »
I have no idea about the other regions, but in the US you do not need to use double pole relays, only the live wire needs to be switched, and a breaker or fuse is not required. This assumes that the device is meant to plug into a standard 120V 15 or 20A circuit and power devices designed to plug into a standard wall socket.
I'm guessing that's only applicable when using your polarised NEMA plugs?
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Offline james_s

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2020, 03:41:07 am »
I'm guessing that's only applicable when using your polarised NEMA plugs?

I'm not entirely sure. Non-polarized plugs are quite rare these days, you can still get them as replacement plugs for lamps but any kind of timer or remote control device will be polarized.
 
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Offline Nusa

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2020, 03:58:11 am »
Old audio equipment from the non-polarized era often had a switch to reverse the polarity if you found that your chassis was connected to the hot leg.

I wouldn't want non-polarized replacement plugs on lamps anyway. It's good to have the hot on the center pin instead of the ring.

That said, US plugs on stuff ordered from China are sometimes the non-polarized kind. Possibly because we aren't the only country that uses that style plug. Japan comes to mind, but I'm sure there are others.
 

Offline Pseudobyte

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2020, 02:38:16 pm »
If your device has a microcontroller with a clock over 9kHz you will need to pass emissions testing.
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Offline Mangozac

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2020, 08:33:47 pm »
If your device has a microcontroller with a clock over 9kHz you will need to pass emissions testing.
EMC is separate to wiring rules, but equally mandatory. In Australia, EMC is required in the following cases except if the device is battery powered:

 contains 1 or more of the following:

                     (a)  a switch mode power supply;

                     (b)  a transistor switching circuit;

                     (c)  a microprocessor;

                     (d)  a commutator;

                     (e)  a slip‑ring motor;

                      (f)  an electronic device operating in a switching mode or a non‑linear mode.
 

Offline dkonigs

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2020, 10:48:13 pm »
Interesting that this thread just popped up, because I'm also working on a project that's very similar in regards to mains (powered from mains, with two relay-switched outlets).

I've been using a similar device as a bit of a "reference" to see how they did things, as some here have suggested. It all seemed fairly basic, and included two input fuses. One fuse protected the entire device, and a second smaller fuse was in series and just protected the electronics part beyond it.

I am wondering if there are any safe ways around a full certification/approval process when the device is still at the prototype/limited-production stage.  And when its time for said approval, how one actually goes about doing it.

(Using relays and AC/DC converters that already have approval is easy enough, but that obviously doesn't cover the rest of the device that puts them all together.)
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2020, 12:33:13 am »
In EU, you will need:
LVD, WEEE, RoHS, EMC or RED, maybe others.
https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/electrical-engineering/lvd-directive_en
This is LVD, that is for the electrical questions. The harmonized standards section will list the most up to date standards that you need to figure everything out. It's 125 pages long. That's not the length of the standard, that the length of the list of the standards. Good luck.
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Offline Mangozac

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2020, 10:20:11 pm »
I am wondering if there are any safe ways around a full certification/approval process when the device is still at the prototype/limited-production stage.  And when its time for said approval, how one actually goes about doing it.
You should be designing the product from the beginning to comply with relevant standards requirements, so the prototypes should theoretically be safe but from a legal perspective I wouldn't be handing them out to just anybody. The testing and certification of the final design is simply to provide the legally required proof of compliance with the standards.
 

Offline DonnieBrodan

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Re: Wiring Rules for AC product design: US/AU/EU
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2020, 11:30:24 am »
this forum is so great
« Last Edit: November 25, 2020, 12:04:50 pm by DonnieBrodan »
 
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