Is it alright to repair electrical items yourself?
This week we’ve seen the Right to Repair movement gain some traction as we read about Ministers in the EU, voting and discussing these issues. Check out the BBC’s website news on this for more information.
We fully applaud what the Environment Ministers are saying here as they put proposals through to Manufacturers to make goods last longer and easier to mend.
The other debate is one about the Right To Repair, which again we would support, but like any good Electrical item, comes with a warning and we’re not going to be the exception to that rule.
Manufacturers are right to be concerned about their intellectual property, but they must also align to the new world. We’ve been campaigning against their hold on technical information for years, offering a standard at EEESafe (where White Goods are concerned), that can help deliver a safer, cost efficient, environmentally better, job creating and community engagement circular economy solution.
Confusion reigns when it comes to recycled spares and the confusion comes because of the manufacturers unwillingness to admit what’s really going on with their spares, and to welcome our model of using more Recycled Spares.
We’re going to make a big announcement very shortly that will add some weight to this, but for now lets just highlight one reason from a real scenario we picked up on a Tweet this week. We think it highlights why its essential there needs to be more discussion and thinking when allowing anyone to conduct an Electrical Repair, where they do not possess evidenced depth of knowledge.
The tweeter had informed the followers that his Microwave started Sparking and instead of rushing of to buy a new one, decided to Google what the issue may have been. Fair enough. Couldn’t fault that one. Turns out that it only cost him £2.50 for a part, which is great news and we have to applaud him for that. However, did he really know the risks involved in doing something seemingly simple enough, when changing the Mica Cover of the wave-guide entry point within the oven compartment. (Which we think it was).
If he was just and did not remove the outer cover then he would not be at any real risk.
However, if the outer cover of the microwave was removed for any reason then this can and does pose a real risk even with the appliance unplugged from the supply.
If a microwave oven is operated with the outer cover not in place (some people may consider doing this to ‘see’ if they can see a fault then this would be extremely dangerous.
It’s all about how far someone goes and their perception of what they think is dangerous or not i.e. you can’t see electricity, microwaves or if a capacitor is still retaining a charge or not. Capacitors exist in some white goods as well as many other electrical items, that people will self repair.
Many microwave ovens have painted/enamelled oven cavities and in those types of appliance if the area around the cover was damaged and exposing the base metal below (even slightly) then the result can be arcing at that point due to rusting of the mild steel material leaving a rough metal surface leading to cavitation of the microwave energy at that point.
Also if a microwave oven is used without a suitable cavity wave guide cover in place food can splash into the wave guide and if not removed will attract microwave energy which can cause it to burn (charcoal effect) which in turn attracts more microwave energy due to increased cavitation i.e. a sort of vicious circle.
This can also occur if food particles are not cleaned/removed from the inner cavity when splashing has occurred.
So we wondered if this person knew that in some scenarios, he could have been close to one 5000 Volt “Ding” with his microwave. We just think people need to be aware that it’s not as simple as it seems sometimes, and we recommend people get a good depth of knowledge when attempting an electrical repair.
It’s fine when you’re doing this for yourself, you may think, but what happens when you fix an electrical item, and then sell it on, as it’s certain that is what is going to happen when folks conduct more repair. Who is going to be accountable? A subject for another blog perhaps?
If you are keen to work and engage with us in the future then please email us. Tell us who you are, where you’re from and what’s your interest. Thanks for reading.