Low Voltage Directive Testing

Measurements according to the Low Voltage Directive

Product Safety concerns everyone and covers a large area. Therefore It is no surprise that a large number of European directives are aimed at safety. DARE!! Measurements performs tests and examinations in the area of low voltage and machine safety.

The CE marking according to the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) has been in effect since January 1st 1997. Earlier in 1993 these requirements were already published under the name 73/23/EEG but this has been replaced by the name 2006/95/EG. Devices that fall under these legislation may not be sold or used without the CE marking.

DARE!! Measurements has an extensive facility including a laboratory equipped for measurements according to (hamronised) standards under the Low Voltage Directive.

DARE!! Measurements has devided their services in tests and measurements in one group and certification in another. The tests are preformed under the ISO 17025 accreditation (L279). The product certification falls under our ISO17065 accreditation (C447).

This offers our customer the following options:

  • DARE!! Measurements performs the product tests and the assement is performed by the client or another institute. The time needed to perform the tests depends on the type and complexity of the device. In most instances the tests take a half day. It is wise to prepare a test plan upfront. DARE!! Measurement produces a detailed report with the results of the tests performed. Test reports are drawn up in accrodance to the requirements laid down in the ISO17025 standard.
  • The test are performed by DARE!! but not under accreditation. This takes (depending on the complexity of the device) approximately one and a half day for a full examination. For this it is necessary that all relevant test are executed which takes about half a day so two days in total. You will receive a report with a summary of the executed assessment.
  • DARE!! Measurements performs the tests as well as the assessment under accreditation. For this a minimal of two and a half day is needed. The testing takes aproxamatly half a day, the assessment two days. These operations will be performed as certification project under C447 accrediation. Part of such a project is a intake meeting, which is free of charge. After the tests and assement a detailed report with the results of the executed tests and assessment is provided. The report is drawn up in compliance with the requirements of EN 45011. Besides that you will receive a detailed report in compliance with the requirements of ISO 17025 with the results of the executed tests.
  • Besides that DARE!! is appointed by the goverment (VWS / NVWA) as a Notified Body for the Low Voltage Directive. On bases of tests and assessment mentioned under point 1 and 2 DARE!! can offer a so called article 8 report. This report is not submitted under accreditation as this a declaration in accordance to the conformity with the directive is given. The benefit of this route is that member states have to formally challenge the conformity of the product.

Essential requirements

The essential requirement of the Low Voltage Directive can be defined as follows:

"A product must be safe for humans, animals and its environment under normal conditions and so called "single fault conditions".

Testing under the Low Voltage Directive

Different from what the name might suggest and what logicly is expected that next to electric safety there are other fields like the mecanical safety, thermal safety, chemical safety and radiation safety that fall under the Low Voltage Directive.

  • Electrical safety: you do not get electrical shocks, are the components used within their specified range.
  • Mechanical safety: you can not hurt yourself, you can't hurt yourself because of the machine, is it stable etc.
  • Themal safety: the devices doesn't catch fire, you can't burn yourself by the machine, you don't freeze on the machine, do the components work within their themal range etc.
  • Chemical safety: you are not exposed to dangers caused by chemical materlials in whatever the form.
  • Radiation safety: you can't be exposed to dangerous light and/or (non)ionizing radiation.

Flammability Test Plastic: Fail

Flammability Test Plastic: Pass

Isolation breakdown

Drop Test

When does the Low Voltage Directive apply?

The Low Voltage Directive (LVD) applies to products with a mains of AC (AC) between the 50 Volt and 1.000 Volt or Direct Current (DC) 75 Volt and 1.500 Volt respectively. For which either the R&TTE Directive or the Medical Devices Directive are applicable the LVD is applicable without the application of the voltage ranges. In other words in these cases the LVD still applies for products with a battery supply. There are some exceptions.

For example the following products are excluded:

  • Sockets
  • Lifts (elevators for people Directive)
  • Electrotechnical systems for use in explosive atmospheres (ATEX)
  • Electrotechnical systems for use on ships, planes and trains
  • Electro Medical Equipment (Medical Device Directive)

In this area there is still a lot of ambiguity. Thus it is generally held that products that generate an internal tension between the above tensions are covered by this Directive.

International Standards

DARE!! Measurements is able to help overcome this obstacle in the field of CE marking. Our experienced engineers are up-to-date in the latest developments in this area and can therefore counsel you on the applicable directives and harmonized standards. Examinations and test are performed with a high degree of quality and in accordance with International Standards.

Click here for a list of harmonized LVD standards.

Quick Scans

Besides full compliant examinations we also offer so-called Quick Scans or pre-compliant examinations. During a LVD Quick Scan the primary safety functions are assessed. For example, an assessment of the insulation values, electrical intensity and grounding. Based on the outcomes the customer can decide to proceed with a full compliant examination or first enhance the product before finishing all (full compliant) tests and examinations.

Modern equipment

Our engineers are highly experienced and work with the latest equipment in a modern facility. Although most part of an examination comprises inspection and assessment a number of tests need to be performed. DARE!! Measurements has all equipment needed such as an insulation tester, a high-pot tester, a climate chamber, 20-channel temperature recorder, a fast storage scope, all required test fingers and impact hammers.

Accreditation = demonstrable quality

DARE!! Measurements is a Notified Body for the Low Voltage Directive, appointed by the Dutch Government. DARE!! Measurements is also accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council under registration number L279. All tests and examinations are performing in compliance with LVD (harmonized) standards.

Testing under accreditation

Product safety tests which DARE!! Measurements can perform under accreditation are the following:

  • Power measurement
  • Humidity test
  • Measurement of air and creepage distances
  • Measurement of distance through isolation
  • Mechanical strength of the housing (IK2 to IK9)
  • (Earth) Leakage current measurement
  • Abnormal operation and single fault condition
  • Earth resistance measurement
  • Reverse changing current from a Lithium battery
  • Dielectric and electrical strength test
  • Insulation Resistance test
  • Temperature test
  • Degree of protection provided by enclosures (IPx3 - IpX5)
  • Test durability and readability of labels
  • Measuring EM fields regarding exposure to people

Testing and inspecting outside of accreditation

Besides the tests which are performed under the conditions of accreditation, DARE!! Measurements can also perform certain tests outside of the accreditation. These are:

  • Flammability testing ( UL94-HB to V0 and Needle Flame in compliance to EN/IEC 60695-2-2)
  • Environmental testing (inter alia, dry heat, cold and damp heat cycle)
  • Degree of protection provided by enclosures (IPx1 - IP4X)
  • Degree of protection provided by enclosures (IPx1 - IPX2)
  • Testing ECG equipment
  • Testing resistance of medical devices against pulses caused by defibrilation discharges
  • Impulse test up to 5 kV

The Low Voltage Directive versus EMC

A LVD examination covers more than a few tests. As we perform both EMC tests and LVD examinations and often both are applicable, we observe that customers presume that the LVD examination is much easier than the EMC test. In practice it proves to be the opposite. Although the developer will do the utmost to create a safe product it is very difficult to see your own faults and rightly assess all risks. Single fault condition and the so-called "foreseeable misuse" clause make the Low Voltage Directive difficult to comply with. This is why many devices initially fail the examination.

The Low Voltage Directive, much more than a few tests

A Low Voltage examination is principally an examination comprising several tests. In most cases these tests are performed in two to four hours while the examination takes, depending on the standard, four hours to three days. The general perception is that conducting a high pot test alone will meet your requirements. This, however, leaves you at substantial risk of manufacturing a product with unresolved safety hazards. We can support you during the research and development fase and present you solutions about how to comply your product to the demanded safety directives.

Liability

It is the task of engineers from DARE!! Measurements to find these hazards in order to protect you from substantial claims or even prosecution. As a result, a device in compliance with the Low Voltage Directive is often a reliable one, thus saving you a lot in after sales and service costs. A reliable product also ensures your reputation as a high quality manufacturer!

Technical Guidance

Based on our experience with product design, we can give guide you through safety and safety related issues.

Nowadays more companies realise that it is important to take the safety component of their products into account from the design fase.

This proves to be cost effective because of saving on needless redesign costs later on in the process. Therefor our engineers are regularly asked to assist with the notation of the safety concept in this stage.

The design guidance includes the following aspects and fases:

  • Formulation of the safety requirements and assessing the applicable directive(s).
  • Guidance regarding the package and the internal structure.
  • Evaluation of the concept.
  • Evaluation of the construction.
  • Evaluation of the print (PCB = Printed Circuit Board).
  • Performing the necessary tests and examinations.

Engineers from DARE!! Instruments, the sister company of DARE!! Measurements, can help you to overcome problems with product safety. They guide you through several possibilities that lead to compliance and can, if desired, adjust the design (redesign).

Product Standards

The LVD includes a large number of harmonised safety standards. However in most cases only a small number of these standards are relevant. The most relevant standards are:

Standard Application Examples
EN 60065

 

Safety Requirements for mains operated electronic and related apparatus for household and similar general use

Video recorders, tuners, TV's, amplifiers etc.
EN 60204* Safety of machinery - electrical equipment of machines Machines for woodworks, food industry, robotics etc.
EN 60335* Safety of household and similar appliances Washing machines, battery chargers, vacuum cleaners, etc.
*EN 60598 Luminaries Luminaries fixed or portable emergency lighting etc.
EN 60601* Medical Devices (covered by the Medical Device Directive) Medical Devices like electric wheel chairs etc.
EN 60730 Automatic electrical controls for household and similar use. Timers, motor starter relays, air conditioning controls etc.
EN 60950* Safety of information technology equipment including electrical business equipment Personal Computers, faxes, copying machines, etc.
EN 61010* Safety requirements for electrical equipment for measurement, control and laboratory use Laboratory equipment, multi-meters, oscilloscopes etc.

 

For more information about research under the Low Voltage Directive please fill out our contact form below.

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