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chris42  
#1 Posted : 16 October 2020 10:52:05(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

Hi All

I have been asked to investigate the possibility and cost of training our own PA Test, testers so buying the equipment and carrying out training for one or more people. The training courses seem to vary significantly in length and price and I wondered if anyone else has been through this exercise and can advise. The short one-day courses seem to be for low risk office environments, and there is also a City & Guilds 2377 course 2 day. Would this be acceptable for a workshop environment that has a mix of 230v and 410v equipment? for someone with no previous electrical experience (but a reasonable level of intelligence).

Any advice on testing machines also welcome. Considering one for just over £500 (the most expensive from this manufacturer) from a well-known tool and fixings (screws etc) outlet, nationwide (trying hard not to mention name so not to break rules). Also, will this equipment need to be calibrated in any way periodically?

I think it is easier to bring people in, but these costs seem to be rising considerably, so I guess my MD is correct to consider.

Thanks for any help

Chris

RVThompson  
#2 Posted : 16 October 2020 11:19:39(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
RVThompson

Hi Chris,

I’ve been lucky enough to work at sites with qualified electricians, and I’ve just asked ours, and he told me a suitable course is sufficient for training; the two-day C & G would be fine.

Regarding the test equipment, yes it would have to be calibrated, and a well known ‘components’ supplier have a good range.

thanks 1 user thanked RVThompson for this useful post.
chris42 on 16/10/2020(UTC)
chris42  
#3 Posted : 16 October 2020 15:52:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

Thanks for that info very helpful, it looked the correct course.

The equipment supplier is it the "Shack" type or the "Factors" type component supplier you were thinking of. We have a tendency to use a "fixings" supplier for things as we have an account, but ok to look elsewhere. Even with the people we have an account with the prices go from £250 to £1,800 (which does other stuff) but they seem to all do the same things hard to tell the useful elements of the spec from the unneeded.

Thanks

Chris

paul.skyrme  
#4 Posted : 16 October 2020 17:56:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
paul.skyrme

Nothing wrong in bringing it in house.

I would suggest the C&G course, there used to be 2.

1 for doing it and 1 for managing it.

I did both, even though a qualified spark.

I have also taught them.

Just give your tester the authority as well as the responsibility to do this.

i.e. if the heater in the MD's office is dangerous, he has the authority to remove it, no matter what the MD says.

Also, get the IET CoP, and keep good records, benchmark everything when it comes in.

I have the Seaward Supernova, this can "run" 230 & 110 V devices to do leakage tests.

If you have a reasonable volume of kit and you are going to take this seriously it is worth going down the software route with barcode labels or tags which the tester can read.

Also, making up "special" test adaptors is very timesaving if the work is repetitive.

Put procurement procedures in place such that your PAT person is advised when new electrical kit turns up and give them the authority to go and check it before it goes into use.

I have just looked at the screws and fixings supplier I think you are referring to.

You are looking at the top of the range one made by a company in Dover I think.

Mine is made by the company that makes the most expensive one on there.

They all have their advantages and disadvantages.

You should look at annual calibration, but that can be done locally in Newport, they have a local collect & deliver service, tends to be a week about, or by mail order, there are a few I can recommend, by the OEM via carrier, or if you have a local electrical wholesaler that your company buys maintenance bits from, they will likely have an annual calibration day where you can drop the instrument off and pick it up within a few days.

The calibration co in Newport are also a sales organisation who represent almost all the manufacturers including those I am suggesting.  I know them too and can get a rep to you if you like, they are national.

Crazy really that we are skating around the brand names!

I can possibly get a couple of instrument reps to come and chat to you from the OEM's if you want, honestly, even though you are only looking at one instrument, I know most of them personally, certainly those from Dover, and many from the company in Peterlee Co Durham too.

Give ma a shout if you want to chat about it, I'm in the office most days these days.

thanks 2 users thanked paul.skyrme for this useful post.
AcornsConsult on 17/10/2020(UTC), chris42 on 17/10/2020(UTC)
chris42  
#5 Posted : 19 October 2020 10:26:19(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

Thanks Peter

It is only an exercise at the moment to see if it is worth it for us, problem for us is we have a number of places very spread out. Authority will not be a problem; in fact, it could be more of an issue for the tester to decide to just let the MD fry (Joking sort of).

Yes, after my post I realised there is a time saving potential if it can print labels and data download. We had someone previously that could, do this for us and I’m sure thinking about it now he had a free calibration at an electrical factor’s based in cities (normally a 3-letter acronym)

The interesting thing is that the other more expensive ones on that site, the ones with the Spaceship name, do not appear to do 410v. In fact, looking at the one you said you had, it will do 110v and 230v but not 410v. The only one that specifies 3 phase is the one I noted in my post.

I think I have some info the Md with a course costing £300 to £400 pounds and taking 2 or 3 days (for the same C&G course?). With a potential machine costing just over £500 that states it can do 3 phase, but if we pay more it may save us time in efficiencies.

Yes, we already have a system in place for recording new equipment, for next PA Test period, but you are suggesting doing the new stuff before use? Surly if we by a new kettle it should be good out of the box shouldn’t it.

Chris

Brian Hagyard  
#6 Posted : 19 October 2020 11:58:28(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Brian Hagyard

Quote

Yes, we already have a system in place for recording new equipment, for next PA Test period, but you are suggesting doing the new stuff before use? Surly if we by a new kettle it should be good out of the box shouldn’t it.

Always a difficult one - what if the item has become damaged in transet or during storage - ultimately its up to your risk assessment.

We dont do it, we rely on visual inspection - but then most of our kit is no more than 240 and double inulated. Remember PAT is not a legal requirement - its one part of your electrical safety system.

chris42  
#7 Posted : 19 October 2020 12:38:36(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

Yes, we visually inspect everything before use electrical or not, but not PAT test. Otherwise a £20 kettle would cost another £50 call out fee for the PAT tester. Obviously inhouse may be easier to do, but still could involve a lot of travelling as we have a number of sites and may only have one or two Testers if we go for it.

Chris

paul.skyrme  
#8 Posted : 19 October 2020 12:54:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
paul.skyrme

Centralised electrical procurement for most items, delivered to the base of one of the PAT people, then inter branched on your usual method once done?

AcornsConsult  
#9 Posted : 19 October 2020 17:03:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
AcornsConsult

Why are you thinking if in-house? Is it operationally morecc vs effective or an actual/ perceived financial benefit?
chris42  
#10 Posted : 19 October 2020 17:47:47(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris42

Originally Posted by: AcornsConsult Go to Quoted Post
Why are you thinking if in-house? Is it operationally morecc vs effective or an actual/ perceived financial benefit?

Financial over time. Some of our places are out in the sticks so a premium to even go out to them. Central HQ is about 90 miles ish from each max about 1.5 hrs in car each way.

Ps Kettle is considered essential equipment and I think may be in our emergency procedures, with the exact time to and back from the local supermarket recorded and periodically verified :o)

Chris

peter gotch  
#11 Posted : 20 October 2020 11:18:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi All

Whilst I know that these Forums are not for advertising, some of the postings here have been unnecessarily coy about suppliers of equipment.

The rules say:

8.5 All forum users may give brief details of a supplier or service in response to specific requests on the forum. Only simple contact details should be given on forum. Please note there is no restriction on sharing information via the private messaging facility.

So if someone was suggesting that Screwfix may have the necessary kit, it's OK to say that. What's not OK is to say that XYZ are loan sharks as that is likely to prompt some litigation!!

I hope that we are not going to start PAT testing brand new mains voltage products on offer to domestic customers bought from reputable suppliers! Yes, if you buy on the internet from unreliable suppliers, but you wouldn't do that would you?!?!

Edited by user 20 October 2020 11:19:43(UTC)  | Reason: Legalistic twitch

thanks 1 user thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
RVThompson on 20/10/2020(UTC)
paul.skyrme  
#12 Posted : 20 October 2020 14:42:25(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
paul.skyrme

Originally Posted by: peter gotch Go to Quoted Post

I hope that we are not going to start PAT testing brand new mains voltage products on offer to domestic customers bought from reputable suppliers! Yes, if you buy on the internet from unreliable suppliers, but you wouldn't do that would you?!?!

Peter, I understand where you are coming from with this, and  you would hope that is the case, however, I have personally seen more than a few brand new products from household name high street suppliers that were not safe, and did not comply with the product standards.

Unfortuately these sub-standard items are right through the supply chain.

Including high profile international industrial equipment spares suppliers who have a good reputation, but are not able to police the supply chain due the speed that products move through that supply chain.

As unfortunate as it is, I don't trust hardly any products these days.

I am now going to name a few companies, thanks to your checks not he rules Peter, I appreciate that as I could not recall the detail.  I am naming these companies, not because they have done anything wrong, exactly the opposite in fact, they have been victims to counterfeit products themselves.

When you consider that many of the large electrical manufacturers, and I mean global names like Siemens and Schneider, are having to raid factories abroad with the authorities to remove fake product from the market things are dire.  Companies like this do their best but even with their resources they cannot stop the fake products entering the supply chain.

SKF bearings are another company that fell foul of the fake products which got into the genuine supply chain. These sorts of organisations try to do as much as they can to prevent this, but they are high profile targets and the returns for the counterfeiters are large because the products command premium prices, which if you are getting the genuine thing is justified.

If you are getting fake products then goodness knows the real value, probably pennies and in fact, the real cost could be enormous if the devices do not perform as they should.

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