Your Charge Controller, Inverter, GTI, may not be UL tested even if you think it is!

fixerfixer Registered Users Posts: 12
UL is not the end all of safety. They write documents and sell them FOR PROFIT, that's their motivation.

They want to push the illusion out there and make everyone to think you need UL "approval" to have something that is safe, but really it is about selling documentation.

They are as much of a bureaucratic mess as the government is. As long as companies keep paying in they are happy.

They have no neutrality about product safety. They have no motivation to tell their bread and butter, paying $$ companies that they need to do a recall on a product other than public outcry that will make UL look bad.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you!

People need to read the documentation on their products. Most of these companies will say "complies with UL XXXX" (XXXX being some document number).

Now, read that again and pay attention to the word "complies".

However, that doesn't mean that UL actually took it in their lab and tested it.

As a matter of fact, it doesn't mean it was tested at all. You just have to trust that the company actually tested it and it won't start your house on fire.

UL can't do anything about it because it's not their "Mark" that is on the device, they just refer to UL and "comply", perfectly legal.

You have to trust that your lawyers are better than theirs in court when it comes time for them to pay damages. UL will not be involved, so why should they care?

And so why should you put any trust in the "compliance" ? Is there some insurance fund out there that pays claims quickly if something isn't really up to UL specs? Is anyone liable?

Even if it does have the "UL Mark", what does that really mean? Do you know? Do you know what tests were performed? Did they just pull on the cord to see if it was securely attached? Do those engineers really know what they are doing?

Did the engineers of BOTH the Space Shuttles that crashed (yes TWO Shuttles) know what they were doing?

So I wouldn't put so much weight on whether something is UL approved, certified, "tested to", "complies with" or whatever and start understanding the engineering and electronics behind the device, and actually LOOK INSIDE and see how it's built before deciding if it's going to burn down your house or not.

You have been warned.

Comments

  • The Only SargeThe Only Sarge Solar Expert Posts: 164 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Your Charge Controller, Inverter, GTI, may not be UL tested even if you think it

    Are you confusing UL "Certified" with "Complies with UL XXXX" ?

    I could give a rodents behind about anybody saying "complies with"
    I look for UL Certified. That means the manufacturing methodology is repeatable and the end product has been subject to significant testing. Further it is simple for me to go to the UL database and check it all out.

    I don't know who at UL went up your britches....but I am very thankful for an independent testing body such as UL or Southwest Research for being out there and providing independent lab results of products.

    If your implying they can be bought off your nuts. Do you think for one second they would compromise a entire 100 year old business to be "bought off"?:cool:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,184 admin
    Re: Your Charge Controller, Inverter, GTI, may not be UL tested even if you think it

    I agree with much of what you wrote and disagree with some...

    As far as I know, UL (and other marks) are licensed and not allowed to be copied without paying fees (and at least for our products when I used to design stuff), there was something like two unscheduled inspections a year at the factory (checking that there is material traceability, processes are followed, test equipment is calibrated, and such)...

    Is there a lot of marks on equipment that are fraudulent--Yep... Big problems.

    The design inspection is only as good as the engineers and inspectors involved... "We" always tried to comply with the rules and the spirit of the rules too.

    On complex equipment (computers with lots of networking interfaces, configurable cards, power supplies, etc.)--Yes, we generally had to lead the inspectors by the hand to show them where they should check, run the systems for them to check power/current/etc., etc.

    I don't know if this is exactly correct--As I explain it to others, UL (and other marks) are really more for the manufacturer than the consumer. If "we" followed the UL/NRTL specs, and used their follow-up services, then if there is a fire/injury/etc. at the customer's--Generally we had followed "industry standards" and took the time and money to document that...

    It would make it much easier to defend a lawsuit.

    Also, many fire departments and insurance companies do use the UL/NRTL marks as a minimum requirement... For example, during a fire inspection, if a non-UL listed coffee pot was found--the company had to pull the pot or be shut down.

    CE Mark--now that is nothing more than the company signing a piece of paper saying they comply.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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