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Monday, 18 November 2013

Dangeorus IEC Power Cords

Recently, a sample of an IEC power cord was sent to me by Gerald Ruane of Ashdale Electrical Testing. This was following a Linkedin discussion started by Patrick Maher of PAT's Testing Swindon. Below is a report on this highly dangerous lead.
I tested this lead on a PAT Tester and it failed Earth Continuity - it was off the scale. I checked Earth Continuity on aMilli-ohm meter and it was reading around 0.15 ohms. It was only when I took a close look at the plug that I realised the reason for this. Have a close look at the photograph below.

The Earth pin is insulated. This means that in a standard wall socket, there is NO connection to the earth of the wiring installation. 

The result is that someone using this on a Class 1 appliance will not have any Earth protection at all, making the use of this lead highly dangerous.

Digging round on the internet, I came across the following links which readers of this blog may find interesting.
Brief note regarding insulated earth pins.
This is a very interesting feature on counterfeit plugs which includes examples of insulation on Earth pin, inadequate cable rating and plugs with no fuses. Well worth a read.

The image below shows the marking on the plug more clearly.

In summary, this has been a very useful exercise in identifying an IEC power lead that is highly dangerous. Please keep a watch out for this when you are carrying out PAT Testing.


  1. I have been asked to PAT a coffee maker that has no exposed metal and no Class II marking. How do I test the earth bond? I don't want to leave out the earth test, as the water tank could become live in a fault.

  2. Hi Mick, the text here explains Class 1 Plastic appliances and how to test them.

  3. I understand what you're saying and thank you. Does it still apply to water-filled appliances? Would I be right to think that a loose live lead will be isolated from the water? Why aren't they marked as Class 2, which in effect they are?

  4. Hi Mick, can you access the element inside the coffee maker? Is the lead to it a 3-core lead? It is most likely to be Class I with an Earth but also covered fully in plastic so that no one can access the metal bits inside (even if they became Live due to a fault).

  5. The element cannot be gotten to. The plug is moulded, so I don't know if there's an earth. There's no Class II mark on the rating label.

  6. In which case Class 1 Plastic is best way to proceed.