CSA, UL/ULC and CE approvals for Tek gear


 

I have noticed that much of the Tek gear we all seem interested in has no electrical safety approval of any kind.
the same is true for HP gear. at what point did Tek actually incorporate equipment safety approvals in their gear?
lack of approval precludes use in most classrooms or university settings, so this seems like an important issue.

Some gear here in Canada can get a BC Hydro approval or Ontario Hydro approval for use in these environments, but for the most part, early Tek lab equipment seems to be missing approvals. Approval was not mandatory at that time, but is a serious issue now.

My Tek 2247A, 2336 and 2232 all have both UL and CSA approvals, but TM504's, TM506's and their plug-ins do not, for example. The imported TX1 handheld DMMs have UL/CSA and CE approval, but DM5xxx series units have none. I seem to recall that the 465/B also has no approval, making their use difficult in schools. can anybody give a time line overview or list of what was approved and what was not?

all the best,
walter (walter2 -at- sphere.bc.ca)
sphere research corp.


 

Walter,

I don't know about Canada, but we certainly had Tek equipment in classrooms here in Maryland (USA! USA! GRUNT! GRUNT!)

The 2200-series scopes have UL approval stickers, and I clearly recall using such scopes in my college physics lab around 1993. The scopes were not new, and I expect that those scopes were in use years before I took the class.

I own a TM503 Opt 2 that bears a property tag from my community college, which I assume was used in the physics or electronics teaching labs, as the community college has not research function. It does NOT bear a UL approval sticker of any kind.

I don't recall having such equipment in my high school physics class, but I know that we had some old tube-based scopes in the electronics class, because I scavenged them when they were put in the dumpster my senior year. I doubt that those had UL approvals.

-- Jeff Dutky


greenboxmaven
 

In the USA, some equipment is labeled "For Commercial use Only", and supposedly does not need to have a certification. It is also posssible that because modifications and customization of test gear was expected at one time, certifcation would have been a waste of time and money. Once bought and modified, the gear would probably have been considered homebrew. A great deal of older ham gear does not have any certification. Kits did not have any certification, yet they were quite common in high school science labs, often built by the students in the electronics classes and handed down to the science labs. All of this was years ago.

Bruce Gentry, KA2IVY

On 2/10/21 11:01, Jeff Dutky wrote:
Walter,

I don't know about Canada, but we certainly had Tek equipment in classrooms here in Maryland (USA! USA! GRUNT! GRUNT!)

The 2200-series scopes have UL approval stickers, and I clearly recall using such scopes in my college physics lab around 1993. The scopes were not new, and I expect that those scopes were in use years before I took the class.

I own a TM503 Opt 2 that bears a property tag from my community college, which I assume was used in the physics or electronics teaching labs, as the community college has not research function. It does NOT bear a UL approval sticker of any kind.

I don't recall having such equipment in my high school physics class, but I know that we had some old tube-based scopes in the electronics class, because I scavenged them when they were put in the dumpster my senior year. I doubt that those had UL approvals.

-- Jeff Dutky





Jean-Paul
 

Walter, fine question, the approvals take about 1 year and cost $10-100K per device type.

Los Angeles used to have it OWN special requirements!

2465/7/B have UL and CSA marks on the rear panels. 465 and 475 do not.

So its a factor of the age....

Kind Regards,

Jon


Chuck Harris <cfharris@...>
 

As I understand it, the "Underwriters" in UL is insurance
underwriters.

UL certification is all about the insurance companies, and
whether or not they will pay claims. I think specifically,
homeowner claims.

Commercial companies pay more for their insurance coverage
because they are in business, and often use equipment and
methods that haven't been UL certified.

-Chuck Harris

greenboxmaven via groups.io wrote:

In the USA, some equipment is labeled "For Commercial use Only", and supposedly does
not need to have a certification. It is also posssible that because modifications and
customization of test gear was expected at one time, certifcation would have been a
waste of time and money. Once bought and modified, the gear would probably have been
considered homebrew.  A great deal of older ham gear does not have any certification.
Kits did not have any certification, yet they were quite common in high school
science labs, often built by the students in the electronics classes and handed down
to the science labs. All of this was years ago.

      Bruce Gentry, KA2IVY


On 2/10/21 11:01, Jeff Dutky wrote:
Walter,

I don't know about Canada, but we certainly had Tek equipment in classrooms here in
Maryland (USA! USA! GRUNT! GRUNT!)

The 2200-series scopes have UL approval stickers, and I clearly recall using such
scopes in my college physics lab around 1993. The scopes were not new, and I expect
that those scopes were in use years before I took the class.

I own a TM503 Opt 2 that bears a property tag from my community college, which I
assume was used in the physics or electronics teaching labs, as the community
college has not research function. It does NOT bear a UL approval sticker of any kind.

I don't recall having such equipment in my high school physics class, but I know
that we had some old tube-based scopes in the electronics class, because I
scavenged them when they were put in the dumpster my senior year. I doubt that
those had UL approvals.

-- Jeff Dutky











 

For greater clarity, the problem that arises with  unapproved gear is one occurring *NOW*, not back in the 90's.
school/university insurance is not currently permitting use of unapproved gear, and that is occurring both here in Canada and in the USA. This makes it tough to donate gear to their labs unless they have the permission and coverage to do so. It's kind of irritating, a school can't take a beautiful Tek 465B, but CAN take some cheesy low quality imported power supply with CE approval.

I understand the issue of costs and time, and that is the primary reason CE approvals have become so common, they are simpler, quicker and far less costly to get than going the UL/CSA route for many firms, and are widely accepted. It is also why so much gear has an external wall-wart power supply (with an approval), to avoid the need for specific equipment approval.

I have been trying to identify the demarcation line when Tek switched to approved gear, but have not been able to do so at this stage.

all the best,
walter

--
Walter Shawlee 2
Sphere Research Corp. 3394 Sunnyside Rd.
West Kelowna, BC, V1Z 2V4 CANADA
Phone: +1 (250-769-1834 -:- http://www.sphere.bc.ca
+We're all in one boat, no matter how it looks to you. (WS2)
+All you need is love. (John Lennon)
+But, that doesn't mean other things don't come in handy. (WS2)
+Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us.
We are not the only experiment. (R. Buckminster Fuller)


satbeginner
 

Hi Walter,

It could even be worse, a while back in The Netherlands there was a documentary about fake CE approvals.
It looks like CE, but the font is a bit different, and the spacing is a bit wider, and suddenly it means Chinese Export...

https://support.ce-check.eu/hc/en-us/articles/360008642600-How-To-Distinguish-A-Real-CE-Mark-From-A-Fake-Chinese-Export-Mark

Leo


Tom Lee
 

Thank you, Walter, for bringing this up. I have only very recently heard ominous rumblings from our safety folks about these issues, initially in the context of what equipment we are permitted to send to our students for home use during the Age of the Virus. So far, permissions have been granted, but I'm pessimistic about the future.

Of course, the flip side is that if schools are forced to retire all their old gear, members of this group certainly will be eager sinks for all that source.

Tom

Sent from an iThing, so please forgive the typos and brevity

On Feb 10, 2021, at 10:34, "walter shawlee" <walter2@sphere.bc.ca> wrote:

For greater clarity, the problem that arises with unapproved gear is one occurring *NOW*, not back in the 90's.
school/university insurance is not currently permitting use of unapproved gear, and that is occurring both here in Canada and in the USA. This makes it tough to donate gear to their labs unless they have the permission and coverage to do so. It's kind of irritating, a school can't take a beautiful Tek 465B, but CAN take some cheesy low quality imported power supply with CE approval.

I understand the issue of costs and time, and that is the primary reason CE approvals have become so common, they are simpler, quicker and far less costly to get than going the UL/CSA route for many firms, and are widely accepted. It is also why so much gear has an external wall-wart power supply (with an approval), to avoid the need for specific equipment approval.

I have been trying to identify the demarcation line when Tek switched to approved gear, but have not been able to do so at this stage.

all the best,
walter

--
Walter Shawlee 2
Sphere Research Corp. 3394 Sunnyside Rd.
West Kelowna, BC, V1Z 2V4 CANADA
Phone: +1 (250-769-1834 -:- http://www.sphere.bc.ca
+We're all in one boat, no matter how it looks to you. (WS2)
+All you need is love. (John Lennon)
+But, that doesn't mean other things don't come in handy. (WS2)
+Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us.
We are not the only experiment. (R. Buckminster Fuller)






Jean-Paul
 

William Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2. has the solution!

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"

Jon


John Williams
 

I find it upsetting that very often as an issue is brought up for discussion someone chimes in with violence, murder and hate. I thought this sort of thing was going away but apparently not. If we want to see this sort of thing all I have to do is turn on CNN and watch the Capital insurrection. I for one would like to see people think what their comment is going to sound like before they post it. But that is just me. You obviously would disagree.


Jean-Paul
 

Mr Williams this was in jest, my point was merely to highlight that the problem is less the regulations than the politicians and lawyers that create them.


Be of good cheer!


Jon


John Williams
 

Jon:

I guess I am just dumb, but I fail to see what the problem is here. In the United States electrical equipment needed UL approval to be sold in that country. Same in Canada with CSA approval. These standards did not come from lawyers and politicians, but from safety experts and engineers. They were needed to protect consumers from shoddy products that endanger people’s lives. Certainly you wouldn’t want your wife or kid to use unapproved toasters computers etc.

As far as I know all Tektronix equipment had UL approval, at least mine does. I don’t think plug-ins or other things that didn’t connect to the power line required approval. But all my powered equipment has.

And as far as you “jest” goes I think in today’s political climate jests about killing people simply because of their chosen profession is in poor taste and inappropriate. That is just my opinion. But it is better to speak up and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

Stay safe.


Michael A. Terrell
 

satbeginner wrote:
Hi Walter,

It could even be worse, a while back in The Netherlands there was a documentary about fake CE approvals.
It looks like CE, but the font is a bit different, and the spacing is a bit wider, and suddenly it means Chinese Export...

https://support.ce-check.eu/hc/en-us/articles/360008642600-How-To-Distinguish-A-Real-CE-Mark-From-A-Fake-Chinese-Export-Mark
Some refer to it as 'Can't Enforce' since there are no numbers to follow to the certification, it is too easy to fake.


Siggi
 

On Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 5:11 PM John Williams <books4you4@mail.com> wrote:

I guess I am just dumb, but I fail to see what the problem is here. In the
United States electrical equipment needed UL approval to be sold in that
country. Same in Canada with CSA approval. These standards did not come
from lawyers and politicians, but from safety experts and engineers. They
were needed to protect consumers from shoddy products that endanger
people’s lives. Certainly you wouldn’t want your wife or kid to use
unapproved toasters computers etc.
The more salient example than toasters nowadays is phone chargers. I've
seen several dissections of phone chargers sold in North America that are,
if not directly lethal, only one failure away from plumbing mains into the
user's ear. After the first time I saw one of those I threw out all phone
chargers of unknown or questionable origin, and I will only buy name brand
chargers from verifiable sources since...


John Williams
 

The organizations such as UL and CSA or CE were no doubt founded long before there were many imports of equipment. Now who knows where anything comes from, including your car. So I would imagine that enforcement would be next to impossible. But getting back to Walters op it would seem that all requirements for any domestic producers of test equipment would have the necessary approvals for any use, such as schools and labs. I also believe CSA and UL were not government organizations but some sort of independent entities. But I do not know that.


Roy Thistle
 

On Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 03:28 PM, John Williams wrote:


organizations such as UL ... were no doubt founded long before there
were many imports of equipment.
UL 1894
ULC (independent organization, in Canada) 1920


ron amundson
 

Back in the 80's, it was a rare piece of Tek equipment that had a UL, or CSA mark, as there were research / commercial exemptions. In some cases, there wasn't an easy way to meet safety requirements, and at the same time eek out the last bit of performance from some research gear. In other cases, it was market demand, ie certs for the most part didn't matter to users prior to the 90's. Once demand for certs picked up, especially in the European domain, good manufacturers went ahead and jumped the compliance hoops. Other manufacturers, invested in label printers. The Chinese Export sticker is nothing new. FP was selling UL electrical panels, even though their panels could not pass the test criteria... but they had good lawyers, so houses burned down, but they were never forced to recall them.

We had an inhouse safety lab at work, where we'd pre-qualify our gear before sending it out for agency approval. Every once in a while, we'd run some other manufacturers gear through the test sequence, some did really well, others, well, they blew in a spectacular fashion, where as others would just let the smoke out, even with the certifying labels/documentation.

I think if you need certs to donate gear, pretty much anything prior to 1985 is off the table, as would highly specialized gear even if its newer. Certifications and documentation make bean counters happy, as its a no-go type of decision, even though said equipment with a fake label can still be putting students at risk. Consider all the faked CAT III and CAT IV dmms out there, many of which are still being built and imported with ease.

On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 05:28:21 PM CST, John Williams <books4you4@mail.com> wrote:

The organizations such as UL and CSA or CE were no doubt founded long before there were many imports of equipment. Now who knows where anything comes from, including your car. So I would imagine that enforcement would be next to impossible. But getting back to Walters op it would seem that all requirements for any domestic producers of test equipment would have the necessary approvals for any use, such as schools and labs. I also believe CSA and UL were not government organizations but some sort of independent entities. But I do not know that.


John Williams
 

I would have to agree with you. A check shows my 2200 and 2400 scopes have UL and CSA stickers. However none of my older tube scopes have any stickers for either organization. I would have to surmise that they could indeed have some sort of exemption or even a blanket approval. A mystery indeed.


Michael A. Terrell
 

John Williams wrote:
The organizations such as UL and CSA or CE were no doubt founded long before there were many imports of equipment. Now who knows where anything comes from, including your car. So I would imagine that enforcement would be next to impossible. But getting back to Walters op it would seem that all requirements for any domestic producers of test equipment would have the necessary approvals for any use, such as schools and labs. I also believe CSA and UL were not government organizations but some sort of independent entities. But I do not know that.
Yes, UL is independent The NEC (National Electric Code) was also created by insurance company to set minimum safety standards. They operate on the other end from UL but both are intended to prevent fires and electrocutions. UL doesn't test for other safety issuse, like sharp edges or corners, or parts that can break off unless that will expose voltages over 24 VAC.

It's no fun trying to educate fools, who claim they have been electrocuted many times.


Roy Thistle
 

On Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 10:34 AM, walter shawlee wrote:


It is also why so much gear has an external wall-wart power supply (with an
approval), to avoid the need for specific equipment approval.
Usually... that gear falls under so called "Class 2" devices ... which are excepted form (and defined in) the jurisdictional regulatory requirements, here in the colonies.