Dangerous Auto-transformers Back

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** Hi to all,

Back in 2002,  Jaycar informed me by email they were getting rid of all
their  240 / 120 volt auto-transformer step downs and replacing them with
isolation types.  This was on the grounds they were rather less than safe
and an impending ban by the Fair Trading in NSW.

The impending ban turned out to be a furphy, but the electrocution risk to
users was and is very real.

Now I see that Altronics have three, highly dangerous examples on sale  -
in *plastic*  boxes and with no earth connection supplied,  since only a two
pin US outlet is fitted.


The blurb on the label on each unit reads:

         "       WARNING

       Auto transformer construction.
        Use only one appliance at a
        Not to be used on portable
       appliances medical, dental or
            hand held appliances,
       electrically operated toys or
       appliances designed to operate
           in water or other liquids.           "

The warning, taken as written, excludes practically every USA made item a
person might be expected to connect to such a transformer  -  so it is clear
that the makers are well aware it is highly dangerous.

Ebay is currently facilitating a flood of old and collectable items of
electrical and electronics from the USA   -   most with the old two pin
plug. Includes things like vintage tube radios, tube hi-fi equipment, tube
and SS guitar amplifiers and effects devices, kitchen appliances and a host
of others.

Few of the above can be safely used with an auto-transformer step-down.

All auto-transformer step-downs, with output voltages less than 220 volts
and fitted with a general purpose connector are ** PROHIBITED  ITEMS **
under the legally compulsory Australian Wiring Rules,  AS3000  ( now known
as AS/NZS 3000:2000 )

Means no electrician can legally supply or install one for you.

Despite this prohibition, there is ( AFAIK )  nothing to stop anyone selling
them direct to the public in Australia.

Except a conscience.

......   Phil


Re: Dangerous Auto-transformers Back

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I have seen the same units on sale in australia in the 1980s

I cant remember who was selling them though, and since I didn't buy
one, I dont know if they were an isolation or auto transformer.

Agreed on all the other comments and to add insult to injury, they
arent even really that cheap in price.

Re: Dangerous Auto-transformers Back

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ale  -
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The US has not used 2 pin sockets since the 1960....

The old 2 pin type can still be found in 50 year old homes however.  Code
requires their replacement.

Re: Dangerous Auto-transformers Back

"Lord Garth"

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** Not relevant  -  the topic is US appliances.

Millions of them are fitted with a 2 pin plug and may be used with either a
3 pin or 2 pin outlet since they are compatible.

Such appliances are in two groups:

1.  Modern, non earthed " double insulated "  types.

2.  Old style non earthed types,  not double insulated.

All vintage US electrical and electronic gear will be in group 2  -  and
this includes stuff made right up to the 1980s.

In any case, only takes a moment to remove that pesky ground pin from a 3
pin plug to use it in a 2 pin outlet.

.......  Phil

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