are there any legal issues for selling electrical project?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by lotusmoon, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. lotusmoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 14, 2013
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    I have been making an electrical product for my self, but was wondering is there is any legal issues in selling or giving these away as many friends are interested in having one. it is basically an variable frequency strobe LED cluster. with a separate panel to operate the frequencies.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    yes there could be..
    You need to describe the product more..
    power source (voltage/current)? mains powered? battery powered?
    Do you have a company? Lawyer?
    What happens if someone gets shocked or a fire starts? If they sue can they take your personal house,etc...

    etc...
    etc...
     
  3. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    Since you are in the UK, Google this https://www.google.com/search?q=low+voltage+directive A common way to avoid problems is to use some pre approved low voltage power supply. This will ease your burden
     
  4. lotusmoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 14, 2013
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    Thank you for your input. I have googled the low voltage directive which covers equipment 50 - 1000 v ac and 75 -1500 v dc.
    I was thinking of using a 9 volt rechargeable battery as I felt uneasy of people using using it on the mains.
    I am new at all of this but it is a 555 timer at 9 volts and the LED cluster of 61 LED's I was thinking of running at 5 volts and about 35mw for each LED
     
  5. sheldons

    Active Member

    Oct 26, 2011
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    post a schematic so we can have a look .....
     
  6. lotusmoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 14, 2013
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    I was going to use the design in this thread http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/showthread.php?t=84399 . But rather than having a speaker I was going to put an LED cluster. the different resistors I was going to connect to a 12 way switch so as to select the different frequencies. I am not sure if the 555 will have enough power to run the LED's and may have to have a separate way of doing that.
     
  7. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Here in the U.S., there is no way to avoid a civil lawsuit if someone wants to sue you for alleged damage caused by your device. "Legality" is largely irrelevant in such a case. You may be in the right and still lose, although thankfully that is rare enough to be newsworthy when a plaintiff wins a "frivolous" suit.

    It's hard to imagine a way to claim damages from a 9V LED flasher, but our own lack of imagination does not restrict that of a tort lawyer.
     
  8. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    Sell it as kit ;)
     
  9. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Even then you should still start a company and ensure that type of company cannot hold you personally liable. You want a "worst case" of just having the company declare bankruptcy a walk away.. There are certain company types (in the US anyways) where if sued they CAN go after your personal stuff.

    And contact a lawyer to have them write up some "legal fine print" about "use at your own risk,blah blah blah.."
     
  10. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    I don't know what laws would apply in Britain/EU, but in the USA just about any electrical device must be certified to comply with Federal Communications Commission rules, most importantly Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Part 15, Subpart B, which covers "unintentional radiators". It's pretty easy to meet the requirement if you just have a low-power microncontroller that isn't controlling any outputs at high frequency and power, but you still have to get your device certified by a qualified lab, and you can bet it costs some money. If you're going to sell a million of a given item, that cost gets spread out over a lot of sales, but if your production is just a few, it can keep you out of business, or give you something to worry about if you don't comply.

    I don't know how many manufacturers just produce what they can sell and never get around to FCC certification. Some, probably.

    Here's a discussion thread on the topic:
    http://www.bigmessowires.com/2011/11/05/fcc-testing-for-open-hardware/
     
  11. lotusmoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 14, 2013
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    Thank you everyone. This is a great forum with really helpful people
     
  12. lotusmoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 14, 2013
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    I read the thread mentioned above seems like a bit of a hot potato. Most of the information is from The US is it a similar situation in europe?
     
  13. madmantrapper

    New Member

    Apr 20, 2011
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    Would have to be UL listed.
     
  14. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    I think you can get away without UL or other safety issues if your device has an external power supply (wall wart, etc) which is itself UL listed, and if your highest voltage is less than 40. That cutoff of 40V was something I heard a compliance/safety consultant say years ago, and I don't know if it has legal standing, or if he just meant "Below this level everyone will tell you it's safe".
     
  15. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Nope.. not in the US for a product like that.
    Not much really MUST have UL.. But good luck selling anything to "professional" companies without it.. But a blinky LED light cube isn't for the "professional" market.
     
  16. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Its "basically" under 60V is considered "safety extra low voltage" (SELV) but there are still many UL certifications that "could" be required for products under 60V. Amount of available energy, installation location, consumer product, information technology equipment,etc... all require testing of some form.

    That said. When developing a product is always a good idea to contact the testing agencies like UL, ETL/Intertek (my favorite),etc.. and discuss your product with them.
     
  17. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
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    Tindie is a website dedicated to people making stuff just like this and selling it, similar to Etsy, but geared toward electronics as opposed to handmade...

    They might have some info on this, considering they make it their business...
     
  18. t_n_k

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 6, 2009
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    Why worry - it seems one can purchase what are claimed to be 15 Million Volt (blimey!!)Tasers on the WWW.:eek:
     
  19. lotusmoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 14, 2013
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    I am going to use an approved 230v ac to 12v dc adaptor as power supply.
    I tried talking with LU, all the lady could really tell me was that it would cost £2800 for a preliminary test. Not really what I was looking for.
    It is a shame there is not a sliding scale on these tests - small start up tests/ big business tests. Large dangerous voltage tests/ 12 volt tests
     
  20. lotusmoon

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 14, 2013
    203
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    Have spoken with UL again apparently as I will just be operating in the UK, I just need a C marking, which I can self certify. If this is true it would be marvelous, I am waiting to be forwarded the forms and will let you know the criteria and how it goes!
     
    tshuck likes this.
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