Electronics/safety

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Electronics Workshop Safety

Safety is key, don't take un-necessary risks. You are in an environment with inexperienced people around you.

General

Be considerate of everyone's safety. This is not intended as a full safety list. Listed here are the basics, you should read further into the subject on your own initiative.

  • If you see something that is dangerous, report it.
  • Don't leave sharp or hot objects lying around and keep them away from the edge of the bench so they don't fall on you
  • Turn off soldering irons when you leave the work area
  • Wear eye protection. Splashing solder or even poking a soldering iron in your eye can cause blindness
  • Use the solder fume fan/extraction - flux is bad for your lungs
  • Lead based solder and components are present at the workstation. Wash hands when you finish working

High voltages

Unless you are experienced in this area we do not advise working on high voltages.

If you are experienced in this area read the following:

  • Think twice before working on live mains or high voltage equipment. Do you really need to be doing that and are you experienced enough to know the pitfalls? Are the people around you safe to be near this area?
  • No lone working on open high voltage equipment, meaning anything outside the SELV/PELV limits
  • If you do work on high voltage equipment secure it via some means such that it cannot fall into your lap
  • Fit RCDs to mains plugs when high voltages are present in a project you are working on, do not rely on the buildings RCD
  • Warn others around you, if necessary, of what you are working on
  • High voltage equipment should have a safety cover fitted when not being directly worked on
  • Do not leave anything with a hazardous voltage unattended - turn it off
  • Leave devices in a 'Zero energy state' if they are potentially harazardous
  • Any home made projects must be safe for others to use and must conform to safety standards. Ask for advice if your not sure.
  • Personal projects with mains voltages inside should be safety fused and you should be aware of the legal safety standards in place for this type of equipment
  • PAT testing should be performed on mains electrical equipment after opening. Part of this is a visual check, the other part is electrical. We do not have an electrical PAT tester at present
  • Damaged mains cables can lead to fires - dispose of them when found


Test Equipment/Oscilloscope Safety

Unless you are very experienced with an oscilloscope then it is not advisable to probe high voltages or high power sources. It is possible to electrocute yourself or damage the oscilloscope. Special oscilloscope probes and specific connection methods are needed for probing high voltage and mains electricity signals. The oscilloscopes are replaceable, you are not! We want you to be safe.

Test equipment/Oscilloscopes can be heavy instruments. Bend at the knees when lifting and ask for help if you find the instrument too heavy to move.

Do not leave oscilloscope probes (or any wires) hanging over the edge of a bench or on the floor.

Usually an oscilloscope ground it connected to mains earth. Connecting the ground clip to a power line will short the line to earth (0 volts). See the EEV blog #279 video for information on how not to blow up your oscilloscope.