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456 posts

Ultimate Geek


# 214913 2-Jun-2017 15:44
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Hi All,

 

I've been trying to do some research around the NZ standards/requirements for electrical certification on both plug and play devices, and devices that get hard wired into the cabling of a house. I'm finding it difficult to find a straight answer on some things so was hoping others on here from similar experience and can shed some light on the situation.

 

My main question is, what international standards apply to NZ? Is there an easy way to check? I'm looking at buying some products direct from China which claim to have "CE" certification with valid certificates and all, but I'm afraid that won't be enough, or it'll have the wrong standard etc.

 

Do ALL products need certification including wall-plug appliances (along with devices that get hard wired into circuits)?

 

An example of a product I'm unsure about is the Sonoff product range (eg: https://www.itead.cc/sonoff-wifi-wireless-switch.html)

 

Hopefully we can make a good resource for others looking at doing the same thing (seen as GZ is so highly ranked in Google).

 

Cheers!


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eph

176 posts

Master Geek


  # 1793835 2-Jun-2017 16:32
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I would read through this.

 

 

 

My experience with Sonoff: I've used this switch before and it's very low quality - it's really painful to attach wires there - doesn't use screws, just some small plastic clamps, almost impossible to plug the wires into those tiny holes. I bought the 15A rated switch and it just melted (the connectors and surrounding plastic) after few uses.

 

 

 

T.

 

 


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Ultimate Geek
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  # 1793837 2-Jun-2017 16:38
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It's not so straight forward, and there are some grey areas - having gone through the full NZ/AU approvals on a product myself...

 

Essentially every [electrical / electronic] product must meet a series of NZ standards primarily relating to:

 

The type of product determines the specific standards it must meet and also the level of "supporting evidence" required to prove it from (min to max):

 

     

  1. Supplier Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) - declaring that it meets the standards.
  2. A relevant [internal or unaccredited] test report showing it meets the standards.
  3. An independent test report from a recognized accredited test lab.

 

Based on the above the product may be granted use of a particular approval mark: RCM, CE, UL etc

 

 

Basically from a consumer point of view RCM mark above (tick in circle in triangle) implies compliance in NZ (and AU) - most modern approved devices will have this mark however there are still some caveats.

 

CE and other marks don't guarantee NZ compliance; although NZ inherits many IEC / European standards they are usually localized (have parts changed i.e. voltage/plug/spectrum requirements) turning something like IEC-61010 into AS/NZS-61010.

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  # 1793845 2-Jun-2017 17:16
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very basically (correct me if i'm wrong)

 

 

 

anything hard wired must have a suppliers document of conformity (SDOC) stating which standard it's design and construction complies with.

 

 

 

Plug in items need to classified in to low medium or high risk, depending on the level of risk depends on what kind of documentation needs to be supplied.

 

 

 

This is for items you intend to import and sell, for personal use, one off purchases I understand the SDOC is not required, but should there be a problem and an insurance claim there may be issues.

 

 

 

 


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  # 1793846 2-Jun-2017 17:18
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In regards specifically to Sonoff products... short answer is no, they're not approved for NZ. See also.

 

Many of their devices are going to fall under high risk and would require specific approval; which shouldn't be too much of a problem if they have accredited CE test reports. Technically if you can get an SDoC from the manufacturer for the wifi switch then it's up to your sparkie as to whether they're willing to install it for you.

 

 

 

 


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  # 1793847 2-Jun-2017 17:19
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solutionz:

 

It's not so straight forward, and there are some grey areas - having gone through the full NZ/AU approvals on a product myself...

 

Essentially every [electrical / electronic] product must meet a series of NZ standards primarily relating to:

 

The type of product determines the specific standards it must meet and also the level of "supporting evidence" required to prove it from (min to max):

 

     

  1. Supplier Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) - declaring that it meets the standards.
  2. A relevant [internal or unaccredited] test report showing it meets the standards.
  3. An independent test report from a recognized accredited test lab.

 

Based on the above the product may be granted use of a particular approval mark: RCM, CE, UL etc

 

 

Basically from a consumer point of view RCM mark above (tick in circle in triangle) implies compliance in NZ (and AU) - most modern approved devices will have this mark however there are still some caveats.

 

CE and other marks don't guarantee NZ compliance; although NZ inherits many IEC / European standards they are usually localized (have parts changed i.e. voltage/plug/spectrum requirements) turning something like IEC-61010 into AS/NZS-61010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being perfectly honest, anything that comes from china bearing any kind of compliance marking I would not trust, unless it is a well know brand, It's quite common for manufactures to offer compliance marking as an optional extra regardless of it actually meeting the requirements or not, seen it quite a number of times myself.

 

 


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  # 1793888 2-Jun-2017 18:36
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AidanS: claim to have "CE" certification

 

Note that there's an unofficial "China Export" logo which looks very similar, that some dodgy manufacturers use to make it look like their products are CE-approved!

 


neb

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  # 1793928 2-Jun-2017 19:25
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gregmcc:

Being perfectly honest, anything that comes from china bearing any kind of compliance marking I would not trust, unless it is a well know brand, It's quite common for manufactures to offer compliance marking as an optional extra regardless of it actually meeting the requirements or not, seen it quite a number of times myself.

 

 

+1. Unless you can get the cert of accreditation from a lab outside China (so independent confirmation from a non-Chinese source that it was evaluated) then you can't trust any certification marks. They may be legit, or they may just have been copied across from something else.

 

 

There's also the problem with post-accreditation mods, where what's shipped isn't anything like what was evaluated, because someone's figured out how to save a few cents per unit by using lower-specced components, or omitting protective circuitry, or whatever. Western manufacturers can do this too, but in China there's a lot more flexibility for, uh, simplifications to be made during the manufacturing process through component swaps or minor design changes.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1793932 2-Jun-2017 19:46
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Behodar:

 

AidanS: claim to have "CE" certification

 

Note that there's an unofficial "China Export" logo which looks very similar, that some dodgy manufacturers use to make it look like their products are CE-approved!

 

 

 

China export is a myth. Its just crappy clipart that they use for the logo.

 

CE is a supplier declaration type thing. By putting it on a device the importer of it to the EU is declaring that it conforms. The person importing is the person buying off ebay/aliexpress who would have no idea. Legit logo or the badly stretched or wrong spacing one doesnt matter, the supplier will put it on if you ask generally because that is something that some EU customs places check for. No CE and they will destroy things.





Richard rich.ms

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  # 1793950 2-Jun-2017 20:11
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Yep hence onus is on the supplier (importer) to make the declaration; and re-test / QA if necessary - exactly what I was involved in doing.

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  # 1793977 2-Jun-2017 21:15
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Thanks for the information. Naturally the article that I read didn't bother to mention any of that!


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Uber Geek


  # 1793980 2-Jun-2017 21:30
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gregmcc:

very basically (correct me if i'm wrong)


 


anything hard wired must have a suppliers document of conformity (SDOC) stating which standard it's design and construction complies with.


 


Plug in items need to classified in to low medium or high risk, depending on the level of risk depends on what kind of documentation needs to be supplied.


 


This is for items you intend to import and sell, for personal use, one off purchases I understand the SDOC is not required, but should there be a problem and an insurance claim there may be issues.


 


 



After reading the list of devices, it seems any device a consumer might touch requires a SDOC.

For example, light switches, socket outlets, and light fittings require one. However relays and contactors don't seem to appear on the list.




Location: Dunedin

 


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  # 1793998 2-Jun-2017 22:00
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A big one they will swap out is the internal wiring and power cables on devices. To them there is a significant saving in copper going to smaller cables, and to the copper clad aluminum alloy types.

 

I know someone that bought in some tools and the samples came with a really good looking, legit appearance IEC cable. Meaningless numbers embossed in the plug since the importer is supposed to have their approval number on it since the AU plug is in one of the categories that needs a test, but still had them all (probably just from whoever first got plugs made at that manufacturer) - anyway, the stock arrived with some horrid ones, not even 1/4 the copper there should be, it wasn't even copper and if you plugged a laser printer into the IEC cable that came with the tool, the cable would actually get warm from its resistance. Plug was vaugely legit looking till you noticed that the pins were in the wrong place in the circle and the circle was too small, and the cable had no embossed markings along its length at all.

 

All apologetic when found out, FedExed some legit cables over at their cost but I bet most of the trademe fly by night importers of things dont bother to check those things out.





Richard rich.ms

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Ultimate Geek
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  # 1794079 3-Jun-2017 09:29
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andrewNZ:

After reading the list of devices, it seems any device a consumer might touch requires a SDOC.

For example, light switches, socket outlets, and light fittings require one. However relays and contactors don't seem to appear on the list.

 

That's pretty much the underlying principle...

 

"Household and other similar appliances" are expected to meet a minimum level of standards that an untrained person can operate safely (hence durable, intuitive, fault tolerant, well labelled etc).

 

Where you start getting into grey areas is non-household appliances where there is the expectation is that it will be installed, serviced and operated by properly trained persons, or in lab environments etc; these usually don't fall into the high / medium risk categories so basically default to undefined / unregulated (there is no "low risk" or "other" category).

 

In saying that however once you attach one of those discrete components you mention to an appliance or fixed wiring then the whole appliance / installation must appropriate standards (AS/NZS 60335, AS/NZS 3000 etc) - this is where those components usually get "tested" (as part of the complete product) - but using pre-approved components will significantly reduce the level of (test lab) testing required specifically on appliances.


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Ultimate Geek


  # 1795745 7-Jun-2017 09:19
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solutionz: Yep hence onus is on the supplier (importer) to make the declaration; and re-test / QA if necessary - exactly what I was involved in doing.

 

 

 

I think this is a point that most people are missing - ANYONE can be the importer - it doesn't have to be the manufacturer. If I was to import them myself and sell on trademe (not that I have - but some people are..) then I can legally create an SDOC *if* the devices are compliant.

 

Now of course you can get into a discussion if the certifications/testing the device has had in china stacks up or not in terms of proving compliance- but if you do a little googaling for SDOCs you will find PLENTY of other devices that local importers have bought in and signed an SDOC based on china based testing.

 

Then if they turns out to cause a fire / electric someone then the importer is responsible since they signed the SDOC. Now of course it gets interesting if you import them for yourself AND sign the SDOC yourself then give them to your sparky to install...


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Ultimate Geek


  # 1795748 7-Jun-2017 09:23
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eph:

 

My experience with Sonoff: I've used this switch before and it's very low quality - it's really painful to attach wires there - doesn't use screws, just some small plastic clamps, almost impossible to plug the wires into those tiny holes. 

 

 

 

 

eph:

 

I bought the 15A rated switch and it just melted (the connectors and surrounding plastic) after few uses.

 

 

 

 

To be fair to itead they did a mass recall on these items as it turns out their manufacturing didn't include enough solder on the tracks. The fact that they stumped up for the recall (I was refunded 5 of the 16A pow devices) shows they are a step above a fly by night chinese manufacturer.





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