Author Topic: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown  (Read 52845 times)

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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2015, 10:34:48 pm »
@Mike,

....... and you thought the MX-20 was no good for X-Raying my cats  ;D

Only kidding. Yes I can imagine that some of the ex Human medical kit would be very useful to a Vet, and it saves them a pile of money. They need as much profit as possible to pay for the latest Range Rover Sport  ;)  I keep being offered really great condition ultrasound machines but sadly I can't think of any use for such in my lab  ;D

Aurora
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Offline Alex

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2015, 11:03:24 pm »
A great chunk of my time goes to tomography R&D, but at much longer wavelengths. I come across x-ray based systems all the time in literature and I find them truly fascinating. I mean, isn't x-ray vision - the ability to see through objects - on the list of superpowers kids of all ages wish for?

I will be retiring early on 28 February this year at the grand old age of 47

Most x-ray tubes on e-bay are older than that! :-DD
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2015, 11:22:44 pm »
Another interesting area is backscatter X-Ray and Terahertz imaging  ;) A very interesting area of personnel security.

I haven't got that capability .......yet  ;D

Aurora
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Offline Alex

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2015, 11:32:34 pm »
Terahertz imaging  (...) I haven't got that capability .......yet  ;D

This might take a bit longer - I knew a guy doing a project on THz tomography and he was going on and on about the poor efficiency in producing the THz radiation to begin with. Something about crystals melting...go figure.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2015, 11:47:50 pm »
Another interesting area is backscatter X-Ray and Terahertz imaging  ;) A very interesting area of personnel security.

I haven't got that capability .......yet  ;D

Aurora
Well the TSA were flogging some pornoscanner machines cheap not long ago - shipping probably a bit pricy though
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Offline ovnr

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2015, 02:22:53 am »
One of my friends in the medical equipment recycling industry said that they do not sell the equipment to UK medical organisations or labs. Such organisations are not interested in such.

That's been my experience as well. A local hospital is being scrapped as they built a brand new one next to it, and while they managed to sell off a fair bit of kit (... including one of the roofs, for reasons beyond me), they're scrapping all the X-ray units, including a 2006 vintage C-arm model - that's where the imager controller I posted above came from. I ended up getting to rip it to bits - they didn't even want any money for any of it. Only a lack of time and space prevented me from doing rude things to the other two slightly older models - this one was top of the line, with a shit-ton of control stuff (A total of 6 x86 servers/controllers of widely varying performance, 3 large VFDs, 2 large (as in 15kW) single-phase inverters driving the HV transformer, etc. Four full racks in total.). A lot of fun stuff.
 

Offline DJ

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2015, 07:25:07 am »
@Mike,

....... and you thought the MX-20 was no good for X-Raying my cats  ;D

Only kidding. Yes I can imagine that some of the ex Human medical kit would be very useful to a Vet, and it saves them a pile of money. They need as much profit as possible to pay for the latest Range Rover Sport  ;)  I keep being offered really great condition ultrasound machines but sadly I can't think of any use for such in my lab  ;D

Aurora

Ultrasound is great for having a look at plaque build-up in the carotid and other pipes. Maybe detect gaps/delaminations in composites? Aeration in shock absorbers?  Get a warmer for the coupling gel.  I would be all over a doppler ultrasound unit as a noninvasive flowmeter.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2015, 03:56:47 pm »
I have just come off the phone to one of my recycling friends and he is happy for me to introduce customers to his company in a controlled fashion. 

I have been receiving requests for obtaining Faxitron units from my recycling friends. I have no issue with receiving such requests but need to set some ground rules:

1. I have two friends in the Medical Electronics Recycling industry and I will not do anything to cause annoyance or harm to them. Please do not ask me to broker the deal in order to obtain discount.

2. The 'going rate' for an MX-20 in working order with PC & Software is >£1000. If this is too much for your budget, please do not approach me as I cannot negotiate price (see above)

3. I receive no, repeat no, commission or incentive from my friends to sell you these units.

4. The Faxitron MX-20's do come up for recycling quite often but many are without their PC. Such units sell for around £300 to £500 depending upon whether they contain a digital camera module.

5. If you ask me to keep you informed of any MX-20's that become available, I shall do so in order of requests being received. If the 1st potential buyer cannot proceed, I will contact the next in line. That is as fair as I can be.

6. The sellers are good chaps and honourable. I will provide the details of the recycler to the potential buyer and they may negotiate the deal directly with him and not via me.

7. The Faxitron MX-20's would normally be sold via ebay with substantial mark-up, but they are unlikely to make it that far since Mike and I raised their profile on here. Demand is greater than supply at the moment.

8. I am happy to provide comment on these units via this forum for the benefit of all. I am not, however, any form of support supplier for such units and cannot engage in detailed diagnostic discussions etc. I do have both the Installation, Technical and User manuals for the MX-20 and its associated software however.

Remember, I am not the seller, I am not on commission and I only place a potential buyer in touch with the seller. The seller is acting as a sourcing agent for you as he has the contacts to obtain the product that you desire.  There is significant cost in obtaining and transporting these units so £1000+ is not, IMHO, an unreasonable resale price.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 04:05:55 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2015, 08:04:20 pm »
Some teaser pictures of my latest arrival (it came off the lorry only 15 minutes ago) .........

AKA The Todd Research TR15

Brochure attached

Resolution is equal to or better than 0.13mm (7.7 lines/mm) over the whole imaging surface  :) 
Not as good as a Faxitron but just look at the imaging scintillator plate size. That's a big chunk of leaded glass above it as well. Na it can't be leaded as that would block the X-Rays getting to the scintillator layer ! Not sure why glass has been used for the bottom of the chamber. I shall investigate what lives beneath later.

It uses an internal micro PC so I hope to have it up and running quite quickly. Fun to be had with thicker materials than the Faxitron can handle.

It was built in 2006 and looks in pretty decent condition. Just a broken USB connector on the side to replace.


Aurora
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 01:16:45 am by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2015, 01:42:05 am »
Back to Faxitron matters.......

I have just taken a look at the software that Mike's Faxitron runs and can say that it is very different to the earlier software running on my unit.

My unit was built in 2005 whereas Mikes is a 2008 model. His unit uses a Hamamatsu USB camera and mine uses a Bioptics camera, with propriatary interface to the PC. I was interested to see whether the 2008 software had evolved much since my unit was made. The answer is simple......it is completely different. Since 2005 Faxitron have produced a more friendly GUI and a lot of automation to the operation of the unit. Manual operation is available however. The automation makes the unit more friendly to use but does it take better images ? I would suggest that the two machines are likely pretty equal in terms of image quality. I have to be careful to set the exposure time correctly whereas Mike's machine does that using automated test exposures.

It was interesting to read the software user manual for Mike's MX-20. Definitely an evolution on the 2005 release. He has a very nice unit. Beggars cannot be choosers though so if you want a Digital Faxitron MX-20 buy either version as they work very well.   

It is unlikely that Mikes later software will run on my MX-20........ the configuration files are very different indeed and I suspect this has much to do with the camera module used. The firmware on the control panel is also likely to differ as Mikes software has more automated control over the X-Ray Generator than mine.

If you see an MX-20 and want to know which era it belongs to ,just look at the cabinet I/O connectors. If you see USB A and RS232 9 way D type, it is the later Hamamatsu camera requiring Mike's SR software. If you find a high density micro D connector and an RS232 9 way D type, it is the earlier Bioptics camera machine like mine, and requires the special PCI card and DR software. There is also a pre 2005 MX-20 that uses a hybrid D type connector containing 3 coaxial connectors and some standard pins. I have no knowledge of that units interface requirements.

Aurora
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Online aargee

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2015, 02:03:11 am »
If you are reading this in Australia, to own *any* sort of functioning equipment capable of generating ionising radiation you need a license.

From CT machines all the way down to steel XRay inspection gear and mail scanners.

I guess you can have one in the back shed, but if you are found using it...
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2015, 11:24:00 am »
From what Dave has said, they are rare as hens teeth on the Australian secondary market, your local  regulations may be the reason for that.

In the UK an employer has responsibilities to protect his/her staff when using Ionising Radiation but interestingly there is no reference to hobbyist, non-commercial use. It may well be that when the regulations were written it was pretty unlikely that a hobbyist would be able to get their hands on such equipment ? In the UK if challenged, I would just need to prove that I am operating a source of ionising radiation in a safe and controlled manner. I am pleased to say I meet that requirement. I have used X-Ray extensively so know the risks and safety precautions, it is a harmful radiation type and I have no issue with a country wishing to take precautions against misuse.

I live by the view that if I cannot see, smell or hear 'it' and 'it' is dangerous by its very nature...... I take the utmost care when in its company  ;)

Radiographers lead aprons are also available fro around $150. Worth the investment if you are concerned about potential leaks from an X-Ray source. This is why I like the cabinet systems though. Unless you over-ride the interlocks or badly damage the case, you are protected by the inspection chamber and its inherent shielding. My units were all licenced as safe designs so you just need to carry out a good inspection for damage or distortion of the case, especially around the door. A radiation survey is also a good idea if you have suitable equipment. As already stated, Geiger Counters tend to be to be of no use as they have a lower threshold of detection of around 40 to  50keV (they would not accurately read the levels coming from the Faxitron Generator. CCD based ionising radiation meters are recommended.

Aurora.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 12:51:40 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2015, 12:35:30 pm »
In the UK an employer has responsibilities to protect his/her staff when using Ionising Radiation but interestingly there is no reference to hobbyist, no commercial use.

I'm yet to be convinced that is actually the case. The wording of the regs uses the word "employer" in an ambiguous way which could be taken to mean "User of" as opposed to "used in the course of employment/business"
There seems to be no definitive guidance on the scope of the regs, or the definition of "employer".
There is a mention that duties of an "employer" also apply to a self-employed persion's duty to protect themself, which could be seen to imply the traditional definition.

I suspect though that as Aurora says, it's not something that was considered when the regs were written.
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2015, 01:12:46 am »
Mike was understandably interested in the MX-20's capabilities as he had previously looked at such units, but the lower kVp was a concern with regard to what such a unit could achieve with a PCB. When another complete Faxitron became available to me I was tempted to have it as a spare but in the end sense prevailed and I let Mike know of its availability. I am very pleased that Mike now has a Faxitron as I feel sure he will make very good use of it. As you can see from his video, he has already dived inside it to reveal where all the magic happens  ;D  Some nice example picture at the end as well.

I've been looking for something like this for ages and have some watch lists, but nothing ever comes up in Australia  :(
If anyone does ever find one available (or for export here) I'd love to know.
 

Offline aroby

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2015, 03:29:37 am »

I'm yet to be convinced that is actually the case. The wording of the regs uses the word "employer" in an ambiguous way which could be taken to mean "User of" as opposed to "used in the course of employment/business"
There seems to be no definitive guidance on the scope of the regs, or the definition of "employer".
There is a mention that duties of an "employer" also apply to a self-employed persion's duty to protect themself, which could be seen to imply the traditional definition.

I suspect though that as Aurora says, it's not something that was considered when the regs were written.
 

It would probably be interpreted in the same way as the self-employed plumber who can no longer smoke in his own van.  I'm not a smoker, and I couldn't care less if the plumber does this.  Nor could I care less if you use an X-ray machine in your garage!
 

Online aargee

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2015, 07:01:11 am »
Dave, I'm pretty sure that the Australian regulations are what's stopping us seeing anything on the second hand market. It's a type of birth to death tracking of XRay equipment. E.g.
http://docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/CD1BAEF49C606A61CA25796E001E00FA/$FILE/X-ray%20equipment%20disposal.pdf
Each state pretty much enforces the same national standards.
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2015, 09:39:50 am »
Mike was understandably interested in the MX-20's capabilities as he had previously looked at such units, but the lower kVp was a concern with regard to what such a unit could achieve with a PCB. When another complete Faxitron became available to me I was tempted to have it as a spare but in the end sense prevailed and I let Mike know of its availability. I am very pleased that Mike now has a Faxitron as I feel sure he will make very good use of it. As you can see from his video, he has already dived inside it to reveal where all the magic happens  ;D  Some nice example picture at the end as well.


I've been looking for something like this for ages and have some watch lists, but nothing ever comes up in Australia  :(
If anyone does ever find one available (or for export here) I'd love to know.
As this unit doesn't have lead shielding due to the lower voltage, it isn't stupidly heavy, so shipping could be a viable option. I would expect surplus medical dealers in the UK are used to shipping overseas as there isn't much domestic demand for used medical gear. Suggest you talk to Aurora
I'm sure if you ask nicely you could get a dealer to take off all the x-ray stickers and re-label it as an oven or something to avoid issues with local regulations ;D
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Offline Stonent

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2015, 11:08:32 am »
It's just a microwave, that's all. Instead of 2.5GHz it operates in the PHz to EHz range :).
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Offline Chris Jones

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2015, 01:58:10 pm »
If you are reading this in Australia, to own *any* sort of functioning equipment capable of generating ionising radiation you need a license.

From CT machines all the way down to steel XRay inspection gear and mail scanners.

I guess you can have one in the back shed, but if you are found using it...

It is interesting though that they don't address the fact that inside (the tube of) a CRT TV set (especially projection CRT) there is just as much (actually a lot more due to higher beam current) x-ray power as in one of these Faxitrons. In both cases it is totally enclosed and essentially no radiation escapes the enclosure, and in both cases if you open the x-ray enclosure, it stops, in the case of the TV tube because the vacuum fails, and in the case of the Faxitron because multiple redundent interlocks turn off the power.

The authorities do not regard a TV set as an x-ray source, and by any logical reasoning, the faxitron would be in the same category. Unfortunately, due to its ability to make pictures and do something useful with the x-rays they would probably seek to stop you having it, or at least charge you for an annual licence fee, probably an inspection that they calculate to be more expensive than they think you can afford, and probably also seek to justify their past and future employment by making you write them a few reams of paperwork.

I guess it might be worth asking (especially if you don't *actually* have one in your shed!), since it would be interesing to know the official line on properly constructed cabinet systems. After all they allow 300mW laser diodes in DVD recorders even though they ban 2mW laser pointers.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 02:01:07 pm by Chris Jones »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2015, 02:02:34 pm »
I have worked closely with the Australian Customs offices and I would not wish to cross them or be caught smuggling a controlled product. They take no prisoners and I intend to visit Australian again the the future.

If I wanted an ex medical X-Ray machine in Australia I would talk to some equipment recyclers and also some of the agents for such equipment. Find out what would be involved in getting your hands in such a unit legally. Remember, Faxitrons are a licenced X-Ray containment system and contain no lead or oil. They do contain Berylium in the tube exit window, and they are harmful if abused. Weight is 70kg for the cabinet alone. + weight of the PC.

X-Ray equipment must be disposed of in some manner so it is just a case of finding the disposal route and establishing how a used unit may be procured and used in a licenced fashion.....just alike a Dentist has to do.

I cannot blame the Australian authorities treating X-Ray generators as hazardous items, they are. In the wrong hands they can do a lot of damage. Soft X-Ray can be more damaging to living tissue than hard X-Ray. The energy is absorbed in far greater quantities. That is why medical X-Ray units often contain an aluminium filter to block the soft X-Rays before they illuminate the patient. The Oil in early X-Ray generators can contain PCB's and that is nasty stuff. As for Beryllium....well that is bad news if you ingest or breath its dust. Yep X-Ray machine are hazardous with a capital H. Not for newbies without first learning about the correct usage and associated risks.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 02:14:20 pm by Aurora »
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2015, 02:12:08 pm »
Now that we know a well respected and quality low kVp X-Ray cabinet model , it is just a case of finding them around the world.

I would start here:

http://www.faxitron.com/medical/contact/dealers

Talk to the local dealer and get a feel for the process of ownership in your locality. Ask about re-homing a used unit and the cost of such. Sometimes it actually costs the agent money to dispose of such equipment so they may be pleased to re-home one. I found dealers in Australia to be more helpful that in the UK. They often have a very different, helpful, attitude.

Next on my telephone list would be the equipment recyclers. They often buy whole batches of equipment and then sell what they are permitted to sell according to local regulations. The rest gets destroyed, scrapped.

http://www.cmaecocycle.net/lighting-electrical/

http://www.certifieddestruction.com.au/

I know Veolia well. They may be worth contacting for comment.

http://www.veolia.com.au/commercial/commercial-waste/hazardous-waste-treatment


Much medical equipment gets donated to Charity for use in 3rd world countries. There must be a process for reusing equipment that has been disposed of.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 02:23:19 pm by Aurora »
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2015, 08:42:24 pm »
Next on my telephone list would be the equipment recyclers. They often buy whole batches of equipment and then sell what they are permitted to sell according to local regulations. The rest gets destroyed, scrapped.
..and of course the other route is people like scrap dealers  who don't have a clue what they are selling and/or have no idea that any regulation is involved !

Of course if all you want is the occasional x-ray of something, talk to local vets & dentists
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Offline Alex

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #47 on: January 20, 2015, 11:14:59 pm »
In the UK an employer has responsibilities to protect his/her staff when using Ionising Radiation but interestingly there is no reference to hobbyist, no commercial use.

I'm yet to be convinced that is actually the case. (...)

This is made clear in the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 Act, the legislation that covers use of ionising radiation in the UK.

Quote
"radiation employer” means an employer who in the course of a trade, business or other undertaking carries out work with ionising radiation and, for the purposes of regulations 5, 6 and 7, includes an employer who intends to carry out such work; (...) Radiation employers are essentially those employers who work with ionising radiation, ie they carry out:
     (a) a practice (see definition in regulation 2(1)); (...)

Quote
“practice” means work involving (...)
(b) the operation of any electrical equipment emitting ionising radiation and containing components operating at a potential difference of more than 5kV, (...)

Quote
Duty holder                                    Relevant regulations
Any employer                                 8(7), 11, 14, 15, 20 to 24 and 26
Radiation employer                          5 to 7, 8(1) to (6), 9 to 10, 12, 13, 17, 25, 27 to 30, 32(6 to 7)
Employer in control of an area
/who designates an area                  16, 18 and 19
Employer in control of equipment      32(1) to (5)
Manufacturer or supplier of articles    31(1)                               
Installer                                          31(2)

So the type of use we are discussing here does, according to the definitions in the Act, fall within the scope of the existing legislation.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #48 on: January 20, 2015, 11:36:45 pm »
I still think it's far from clear.
They do not explicitly say what they man by "employer", or "undertaking"

My initial reading of it made me think that "employer" meant "user of", however this paragraph in particular, and other references to employees seem to imply the "pays people to do a job" definition

Quote
an employer includes a reference to a self-employed person and any duty imposed by
these Regulations on an employer in respect of his employee shall extend to a self employed person in respect of himself;

The dictionary definition of Undertaking is  "a job, business, or piece of work"

IANAL but I can't see anything in the regs that would cover hobbyist use.
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Faxitron MX-20 x-ray system teardown
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2015, 12:00:35 am »
An interesting situation.

I am a specialist adviser in my present role and have to work to the 'plain English' rules when writing policy. There should be no doubt about what my policy is stating and who it applies to.

From what I have read, the UK HSE have not made the situation clear and obvious to the reader. A FAIL in my humble opinion. Unlike the Australian regulations that appear to treat the X-Ray machine as highly hazardous and so heavily controlled throughout its life. No such action in the UK or ebay would not be able to post auctions involving such equipment.

However, I have little doubt that if someone phoned the Ionising Radiation advisers at the HSE, they would 'play Safe' and say that ANY user of ionising radiation comes under the act. I suspect, however, provided a user is an individual with appropriate knowledge of using X-Ray equipment (as am I) then they will have better things to do with their time than chase every secondary market buyer of X-Ray equipment in the UK. There is certainly plenty of such kit for sale, much of it is the far more hazardous open X-Ray source type.

A most interesting situation but I certainly do not intend to open Pandoras Box and if the HSE are kept as busy as I am as an adviser, I suspect they would not thank me raising it with them ! Unless working with others (as an employer) I would suggest common sense applies.

Many weird and wonderful things happen inside peoples garages. Provided a person does not act irresponsibly and attract unwelcome attention, the authorities remain relatively disinterested. I speak from a position of knowledge  ;) In the UK we are overstretched and have bigger fish to fry.  Just do not go asking us for official comment as that is when we HAVE TO lay down the law. And no I have no connection with the UK HSE.

Aurora
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 12:21:28 am by Aurora »
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