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Historical Radio Society

of Australia

Ekectrical Safety

Introduction

This website and publications by the Historical Radio Society of Australia Inc. contain articles, circuitry and advice regarding radios and associated equipment that may be mains-operated.

Remember unless you are an expert, never work on a radio that is plugged into the wall and powered on. Vintage radios not only operate from 240 volts AC mains, they produce up to 400 volts DC, both lethal. Televisions have about 15,000 volts!

Battery valve radios and televisions also opperate at high voltages and currents.

The HRSA cannot be responsible for your safety, so take care. Each mains-operated radio sold anywhere in Victoria, including at a HRSA meeting, must have the following label prominently affixed:

ELECTRICITY SAFETY ACT 1998 SECOND-HAND DANGER – DO NOT USE OR CONNECT TO SUPPLY THIS ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT MAY BE FAULTY AND SHOULD BE INSPECTED AND TESTED BY A COMPETENT PERSON IN ACCORDANCE WITH AS/NZS 3760 PRIOR TO USE

Other states have similar requirements.

Electrical Safety is your responsibility

Appliances connect to mains voltages at lethal levels, and/or generate dangerous voltages and constitute a serious hazard which could result in electrocution.
Any modifications alterations or servicing of Radios and associated equipment must only be attempted by qualified persons. In addition, an isolation transformer must be used at all times when AC/DC or other transformerless appliances are connected to the mains power supply.

Power off and disconnected

Any work carried out on radios and devices should be done with the power turned off and the power plug removed from the wall socket. In the case of devices (including TVs) with high DC voltages generated internally, a discharge resistor can be carefully used across the DC after switching off, to ensure there is zero volts.

No voltage is safe

Additionally all equipment described herein powered from the AC mains can cause electrical shocks of a less severe nature than electrocution. Electrical shocks commonly cause involuntary reflex actions and these reflex actions may result in personal injury. Users of this publication are advised to take all reasonable precautions to avoid electrical shock when working on all types of radio equipment.

Electrical Safety Law

Any devices for sale in HRSA sales and Auctions or other outlets like Ebay, whether private sales or HRSA sales are required to have an Electrical safety notice attached. In Victoria the prescribed wording is:

ELECTRICITY SAFETY ACT 1998 SECOND-HAND DANGER – DO NOT USE OR CONNECT TO SUPPLY. THIS ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT MAY BE FAULTY AND SHOULD BE INSPECTED AND TESTED BY A COMPETENT PERSON IN ACCORDANCE WITH AS/NZS 3760 PRIOR TO USE

Cutting off the cord or plug is NOT an acceptable alternative.

Some believe that cutting the mains cord or plug off absolves them of the need to have the above label. Not so. In fact many collectors are highly disappointed if the plug or lead is cut off, as then they have to search for an authentic replacement.

Know the Health risks

Some older heatsinking materials, capacitors and internal filling materials used in Radios are known carcinogens. Users of this website or HRSA publications are advised to be aware of hazardous carcinogenic materials and to treat such materials in accordance with Industry Occupational Health and Safety legislation, recommendations and guidelines. Users should, where possible, obtain manufacturers’ instructions relating to safe working practice and shall observe those instructions.

Note a few radios, especially some models nicknamed “Empire State” contain Asbestos. Even a number of 1950s radios and Radiograms had an Asbestos heat shield.

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