Standards Explained - Power Distribution Products

Jands manufactures a range of power distribution equipment that is safe and reliable. You can be sure of the safety of our equipment because all Jands power distribution products are designed, built & tested to the relevant Australian Standards (AS/NZS3105:2007, AS/NZS3439.1:2002 & AS/NZS3100:2002). This month, we’re going to look at what that actually means for the safety of our products – what is tested and why?

There are three testing phases involved in meeting these standards, all of which must be completed and passed:

  1. Type Tests – During initial design & manufacture of the product
  2. Routine Tests – Conducted on EVERY unit that is made
  3. C-Tick – Electromagnetic Compatibility Inspection & Compliance

Type Tests

The Type Testing phase is conducted before the product goes to market, and forms part of the initial design of the product. We manufacture a short run of the product and subject it to the following tests, which must be independently inspected by two competent persons:

Power_Distribution_ProductsThermal Tests:
The product is loaded to its full current capacity, and allowed to reach thermal equilibrium. We then check that the temperatures of the following areas do not exceed defined limits above the ambient room temperature:

  • Operating handles on breakers don’t exceed 25 degrees above ambient temperature.
  • Exposed metal surfaces that are likely to be touched during normal operation of the product don’t exceed 30 degrees above ambient temperature.
  • Exposed metal surfaces that are not usually touched during normal operation of the product don’t exceed 40 degrees above ambient temperature.
  • Non-metal surfaces (such as the Lexan front panel coverings) don’t exceed 40 degrees above ambient temperature.
  • The internal temperature, measured from at least two separate locations inside the chassis, doesn’t exceed cable insulation temperature ratings.

Dielectric Test:
This test is to verify the effectiveness of the insulation between the conductors inside the product and the chassis. A high voltage (2500V) is applied between the mains input (3 phases and neutral) and the product chassis to verify there is no discharge during the test (i.e. arcing between wiring, electrical components and chassis).

Mechanical Test:
Our products are designed with a minimum IP rating of IP2X, which defines protection against contact and ingress of objects (meaning you can’t stick your fingers into the live parts).

Earth Test:
This test verifies that the product is properly earthed. We measure and verify continuity between the incoming earth pin and all exposed conductive parts.

Creepage & Clearance Test:
This test involves inspection and verification that there is adequate space and distance between all live conductors, earth and chassis. The required space and distances are clearly defined in the standards.

High Current Tests:
The ability of the product to safely withstand the high currents caused by extreme short circuit fault conditions is thoroughly tested. In the case of our high current 3-phase distribution products, we subject them to 1500A (yes – one thousand five hundred amperes) with a bolted short circuit across its outputs. This ensures the product won’t melt or catch fire under such fault conditions. 

Routine Tests

Every unit that comes off the production line is subjected to the following routine tests:

  • A 500V Insulation Test (“Megger” Test)
  • Continuity – We check for correct wiring, polarity & function of all switches and outlets.
  • RCD’s – We measure the trip time and trip current to verify they are within acceptable limits as defined in the standard
  • Visual Inspection – We verify that the product has been assembled correctly, with all the correct markings and labels. All units must have:
    • A Compliance Plate
    • Correct conductor markings – correct phase, neutral & earth colours
    • All earth bonding studs are marked with correct earthing symbol

C-Tick EMC Inspection

The C-Tick mark shows that the product complies with the relevant electromagnetic emissions standards. Generally, products such as the Jands PDS power distribution range are exempt from testing under these Standards, however, this must be formally checked and verified before the C-Tick Mark can be applied to the product and be legally offered for sale in Australia.

In order to qualify for a C-Tick mark, the product MUST be examined by a qualified person, who will generate a suitable rationale for declaring the device as exempt. The rationale must be written and signed, and accompanies the C-Tick Declaration.

Alex Mair
Lighting Controls Specialist, Technical Resource Group – Jands Pty Ltd

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