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MacBook Pro Battery Recalled Over Fire Risk

Apple has recently rolled out a recall program for batteries in some older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units. The tech giant explains that these batteries are prone to overheating and pose a fire safety risk.

In a statement issued on June 21st, Apple says the recall affects units sold between September 2015 and February 2017, for which batteries will be replaced for free. The affected laptops are not the same as the current version with the Touch Bar feature.

Product eligibility and replacement

In order to have your battery replaced, free of charge, you first need to confirm product eligibility. Go to the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your screen, and choose About This Mac. Check if your model is “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015).”

If you own that model, go here and enter your computer’s serial number to confirm that it is eligible for the program. The company says the replacement process will involve verification and may take 1-2 weeks. “This worldwide Apple program doesn’t extend the standard warranty coverage of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. This program does not affect your statutory or warranty rights,” the company adds.

As consumer electronics manufacturers continue to experiment with new ways to make batteries more compact and powerful, battery issues are becoming common. One glaring example is the infamous Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones catching fire due to overheating and battery issues.

This serves as another reminder for us to choose our devices carefully, as even a small fire risk can cause extreme damage.

If you are using older MacBook Pro units in your office, best to have their batteries replaced ASAP. While you’re at it, you might want to have your other work equipment and devices tested and tagged for safety and compliance. Call us for more information on 0800 638 768.

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Fieldays 2019 – Will You Be There?

If you are in Hamilton for the Fieldays at Mystery Creek 2019, call into the ‘town and country’ marquee, site 180.

Some might wonder why New Zealand’s oldest nationwide electrical safety company would be exhibiting at a ‘farming show’. To put it simply, electricity does not discriminate against anyone – town and country people still get electric shocks and can still die as a result.  Electricity is silent and can be deadly. When you think about it, the typical non-farm workplace accident will usually happen to employees whereas farm accidents, in our case electric shock or worse electrocution, is more likely to involve close family members. Either way regardless someone and their family are effected.

Electric shocks can be fatal so whether it is at the bank, hotel, school, factory or farm we want to help make a difference. Many farms and older business may have a lot of gear, be it guns, tractors or tools, so how do you know what is electrically safe? When it comes to electrical safety, age can increase the likelihood of something becoming unsafe, however even newish equipment may actually hide deadly unseen secret defects.

Metrotest, which started on a rural property in Okaramio Marlborough, operate a nationwide electrical safety service for businesses in town but have a solution for farms and rural businesses too. This solution won’t cost you a fortune and will remove the ‘safe or unsafe?’ gamble you might be having, so call in and see us. We have free, expert advice from people in the know and there will also be people who live in the rural community at our stand – our managing Director has a 300 Acre property in Marlborough, so we know town and country and the differences between them! In today’s world much emphasis is placed on compliance, however at Metrotest we believe that safety is the primary key rather than just compliance, that is why the solutions and products that we supply are different from our competitors. Safety protects you whereas compliance is a tick in the a box – don’t be a compliance box ticker when it costs the same to tick the safety box as well. Remember the lives of family, friends, neighbours and workmates are on the line.

We can make your place much more electrically safe by showing you how to check for faults in electrical equipment, testing tools and equipment or testing electrical safety switches (RCD’S) and just knowing what to look for that might indicate warning signs. If you have a lot of buried cables then a cable locator might be worth keeping next to the digger!

Call in for a chat and also go into the draw to win your own ‘Farm Electrical  Safety Package’, worth up to $4,000.

The Farm Electrical Safety Package Giveaway will include:

  • EasiPAT 10 PAT tester + hard carry case
  • Competency training course (test and tag)
  • 4 X rolls of Tiny Test Tags
  • CEM RCD tester
  • Metrel Digital Multi Meter
  • Safety tag removal tool

A total value of over $4000!

 

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Noncompliant Test Tags

So our keen-eyed technicians spotted these noncompliant tags during a visit to a new client’s business place. Can you guess what’s wrong with them?

Test tags serve as the record of an appliance testing. They are as important as the testing inspection itself. In addition to displaying the result of the testing (PASS/FAIL and/or actual test values), they also provide information about who conducted the inspection, when the appliance was tested and when it is due for retesting.

For this reason, noncompliant tags are a real headache. They may put unknowing workers at risk of electric shock injuries and could undermine you efforts for obtaining compliance.

Let’s take a look at some of the scenarios where a tag is considered non-compliant:

Incorrectly completed tags

As per AS/NZS 3760 Standard, the minimum required information on a test tag for compliant appliances are as follows:

  • ‘Tested to AS/NZS 3760’ reference
  • Name of individual or company who conducted the test
  • Test date
  • Date when next test is due

Based from the NT WorkSafe Bulletin, if a tag does not include all of the minimum required information, the rest of the required information must be recorded elsewhere and kept for a specific period of time.

However, if the any of the required information is missing or omitted, it could result in your company failing a safety audit. If the incorrectly tagged appliance is taken to another work site or venue, a site safety office may disallow you to use it until you are able to show a fully compliant tag. These scenarios might seem farfetched, but they can and do actually happen.

Reused tags

In addition to the minimum required information, the Standard also imposes specific requirements for the make and quality of the tags used in testing of electrical equipment. Because some electrical equipment are in used harsh environments, such as in construction and mining, the tags must be durable, water resistant, non-metallic, well-secured or self-adhesive, incapable of re-use and have a distinctive surface. The tag print on the tag should also be resistant to fading in order to keep the testing information legible at all times. The idea is to preserve the information and the tag itself, as without this your appliances will be deemed noncompliant.

If a tag is detached and then reused for another testing period, it actually becomes noncompliant regardless if the results of the current inspection and testing are the same.

The test and tag service company cannot simply use a generic tag that says “1 Year Tag” to point out its validity, as different types of appliances require retesting at different frequencies.

So now you know what’s problematic with the particular tags shown above. Make sure you place your trust on reliable test and tag company. It is not enough that they are using HIANZ certified tags if the tags themselves are blank. They would remain invalid during site safety audits.

You don’t want to get caught with non-compliant tags on your electrical devices. So always check that you are using properly trained and fully qualified testing and tagging specialist with up to date information on current standards and regulations.

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PAT Servicing

Like cars, portable appliance testing (PAT) devices need preventive maintenance and calibration to ensure top performance. A faulty car may still run, but it may not be safe to drive in. Similarly, a faulty tester may still work, but it may pass items that are actually unsafe. It’s a risk you don’t want to take.

When you’re a test and tag service provider, businesses will rely on you to ensure the safety of their electrical machines, so ensuring the accuracy of your readings is your responsibility. There should be no margin for error.

In some testing cases, a small discrepancy in the results could mean the difference between an electrical device passing or failing incorrectly. For example, when you’re performing tests on Class II appliances where you get minute values to begin with.

Our PAT tester is only a few months old, when does it need calibrating?

Most new machines are calibrated in the production plant by the manufacturer. So you won’t need to have it tested or calibrated until it is a year old.

In the test and tag industry, the general consensus is that servicing PAT devices must be done every 12 months regardless of the type of tester you use. It is also stated in the AS/NZS 3760 Standard that regular intervals are necessary to ensure your PAT equipment is working as it should.

However, if you suspect something is wrong with your PAT tester, you should book a repair immediately. Or if you are testing frequently, you might need to have a calibration done sooner.

Do you service PAT testers that were not bought from you?

Yes, we do! We calibrate and repair all major brands of portable appliance testers, such as:

  • Megger
  • Seaward
  • Metrel
  • Sonel
  • Fluke
  • Aegis
  • Ethos
  • MTI

We have a wide knowledge base and a vast experience across different product types including standard testing devices.

What does servicing involve?

Our in-house repair team performs a comprehensive calibration service, including testing, refurbishing, dismantling and firmware upgrades (when necessary). You can opt for a ‘MedCal’ or medical + calibration, where our techs will open up the tester, clean it out and check for signs of trouble such as loose fittings, overheating, internal battery voltage issues, etc. We make sure to cover all major parameters to a high degree of precision, using the latest diagnostic equipment.

If a tester with printer is sent for a service, we may require you to send the printer in for a check as well. Printer repairs done by us include the brands TSC, ProTag, Sato, Intermec and Zebra. Should our repair team find minor issues or broken parts, we will advise you on the best recourse and if any delays are to be expected due to parts needing to be ordered. The good news is our repair facility in Blenheim stocks a wide range of parts for PAT testers, printers and scanners, so it’s not likely that your device will be out of service for long.

How long does it take?

It will take around five days to have a tester calibrated. But since we have our own in-house technicians and comprehensive facilities, the turnaround time for repairs is just a few days. It might seem too long for a tester to be out of service, but it’s certainly worth taking the time to ensure results are correct.

Meanwhile, to reduce your down time, you may hire one from our range of modern PAT devices while the old one is being fixed. We’ll definitely one to lend that is identical or similar to your own tester. This will help you to keep business going as usual.

Quality Control

All testers that arrive at our calibration house are handled and repaired in accordance with our stringent repair procedures. We use equipment and calibration certificates that are fully traceable to national and international standards.

We store all calibration data digitally, making it easy to locate your results should you lose your calibration certificate. In which case, we can easily email you a copy of your calibration results.

How do I request for servicing?

Download and fill out a Metrotest Service Form to book a repair. Then, either ship your tester or drop it at any of our two repair facilities in New Zealand. Once repairs/calibration is done, we will have it shipped back to you along with your calibration certificate. We’ll also give up reminders for when your tester is next due for its regular servicing.

Contact us on 0800 638 768 for a quote or for more information!

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Test and Tag Equipment

There are different tools used in the testing of electrical equipment and appliances. Here are some of the commonly used ones.

Clamp meters

This is a fairly easy to use test tool for measuring current. It combines a basic digital multimeter with a current sensor. As the name suggests, you clamp the hinged jaw of this tool around a wire, cable or other conductor at any random point in an electrical system. It will then measure the current in the circuit without disconnecting it.

This tool is preferred for measuring high levels of current, with a minimum current range of 0 A to 100 A. Other clamp meters go up to a range of 600 A or 1400 A. It’s a good tool for electrical safety and maintenance, but there are more reliable tools when it comes to compliance.

Multimeters

Also known as a volt-ohm-meter, a multimeter is a handheld device used to measure current (amperage), electrical voltage, resistance and other values. It comes in analog and digital versions. Electricians use it for simple tests as well as for detecting faults and complex diagnostics.

Portable appliance testers

Portable appliance testers (PATs) are handheld or compact devices that test a range of electrical equipment and appliances for different values, i.e. earth continuity, current leakage, insulation, etc.

PATs record details about each test which can be printed on a special tag that contains a PASS/FAIL remark or the actual test values.

At Metrotest, we use PATs for their reliability and accuracy. The devices we use are compliant with the AS/NZS 3760 Standard (In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment). Below are some of the test tools we trust and recommend:

  • Metro iPAT SupaPAT – A comprehensive testing package that includes a user-friendly Sonel Metro iPAT Standard Set, thermal transfer printer, scanner and software – all in a specially designed carrier bag.
  • Metro iPAT – A safety and compliance tester with user-friendly operating software (OS) with easy data management. Features Dual Time Tags (DTT) which makes retesting easier. Other features include: manual & automatic test codes; single test ability; high-current earth bond test; RCD tests both installation and portable RCDs (includes ramp test).
  • Sonel Metro EasiPAT – A compact and reliable portable appliance tester for do-it-yourself testing. It comes in handy when testing residual current, leakage, insulation, polarity and earth bond (200mA, 10A). It features a 1-push test selection, light-up LCD display, direct Wi-Fi capability and a Pass/Fail indicator.
  • Megger 150R – A cost-effective portable appliance tester that packs in functionality. The PAT150R is ideal for a wide variety of testing applications such as dual insulation testing (250/500V), portable equipment testing, portable RCD lead testing (10mA/30mA), and mains powered leakage testing (230V). It has adjustable PASS testing limits and onboard rechargeable batteries.
  • Metro 6201A – An entry-level portable appliance tester for low-volume applications. This basic PAT is a good choice where handwritten tags and manually recorded information is all that’s required. It can perform single phase appliance testing up to 10A; earth testing (200mA); insulation testing (250/500V); mains powered leakage testing (operational – 230V); and lead testing.

Clamp meters and multimeters can be connected to your smartphone to make your readings easier. On the other hand, PATs have an onboard memory which can save anywhere from 1,000 to 1,000,000 items. That being said, memory size is not a critical factor in choosing your own PAT as data must be transferred regularly to prevent loss or theft. Most PATs today can save between 10,000 to 50,000 items.

Label printer

Once a test is completed, the appliance tested will have to be tagged. This tag is made of a special, durable material that’s resistant to tearing or fading. This is to ensure that the tag is intact and readable at all times. testing, the person testing will print tags directly from the PAT memory using a suitable printer. The tags must be made of a tough material that is resistant to tearing, damage or fading.

For testers that do not have an internal memory, there are apps available for direct communication from your smartphone to your tester for saving results.

For more information about testing and tagging equipment, ask the experts on 0800 638 768 (NZ) or 1800 789 973 (AU).

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How To Configure A Printer With A Portable Appliance Tester

Configuring a printer with your portable appliance tester may not be an obvious task at first, but is something that you will need to do in order to be able to print labels after your test (so you can tag!).

So how do you do this?

The following video shows you how to configure a label printer using a Sonel Metro EasiPAT portable appliance tester.

 

If you have any questions about this procedure, contact us today.