UP approval on guitar amps.

So-- Does a guitar amp that is being sold in the US need a UL approval? As far as I know, if it plugs into the wall, and it is going to be sold for a profit, it need this basic approval. Of course this dosent include DIY items and kit's, but I look at the backs of many of the Boutique amps and,, Na Da! This voilation of the law seems to be more rampit in the guitar amp busness, perhaps because testing and approval costs 1000's of dollars, and there is kind of a renigade attitude in the amp busness anyway. I would not like to be a shop owner who took on one of these low volume brands only to be sucked into a law suit when someone's house burned. I would be intrested in reading peoples thoughts.
 
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UL certification is not a requirement, it is merely a certification that your product meets certain minimum safety standards. A store may chose not to sell anything without it, but that is their choice, not a requirement. SO there is no violation of the law. Underwriters Lab is not a government agency.

If someone's house burns because of an amplifier, then having the UL certification may be a plus, but it doesn;t let the amp maker off any hooks, it is not a free pass. And if your amp is not listed, that doesn;t remove the burden of proving the amp caused the fire, if it comes to a court suit.
 

Volkum

Member
2010-03-13 2:38 am
Safety/emissions/compliance certifications are much more important when shipping commercial electronics products internationally than domestically. Most countries require certain certs depending on the product classification (i.e. telecom equipment) otherwise your shipment can be detained by customs if caught. I agree with Enzo--don't worry about UL when shipping only in the US.
 

gain wire

Member
2004-11-27 4:04 am
NCR
So-- Does a guitar amp that is being sold in the US need a UL approval? As far as I know, if it plugs into the wall, and it is going to be sold for a profit, it need this basic approval.
I don't know, but something is wrong because... (read on)

...I look at the backs of many of the Boutique amps and,, Na Da! This voilation of the law seems to be more rampit in the guitar amp busness, perhaps because testing and approval costs 1000's of dollars, and there is kind of a renigade attitude in the amp busness anyway. I would not like to be a shop owner who took on one of these low volume brands only to be sucked into a law suit when someone's house burned. I would be intrested in reading peoples thoughts.

Exactly! What would be the legal recourses of someone who's house did catch fire because of this amplifier? Is it "every amp builder beware of lawsuits?" Can the owner of the amp (and the house, more importantly), sue the amp builder? Actually, could he still sue him if the amplifier is approved?

These are interesting legal matters that I will have to discuss with someone I know. And I don't think the country matters.

Until then, check your amps!
 
The situation in the European Union is very different from that in the US or Canada, though Canada is getting towards the EU position.

In the EU the safety agencies are a part of the government apparatus. There are fixed fines for death by electronic equipment failure and further investigations into manslaughter charges, based upon individual countries in the EU. Meeting the relevant Ce6500 standards automatically provides a pass for UL and CSA. Meeting the UL CSA standards is an automatic pass in the EU for 95% of the covered items.

There is no law, except within the city limits of LA. CA. that requires any form of safety agency approval in the USA. However, if a company gets into a jam in a law suit, and all of the sub component suppliers are also drug into it, which is usual, a UL cert means quite a bit to the court. Sub component suppliers having at least paid heed to UL standards will also be taken into consideration and may eliminate the sub component supplier from the group legal action. It is a dam*ed expensive mess in the US, Much more cut and dried in the EU, unless it happens in Italy, where apparently everyone is guilty before being charged and all are just awaiting arrest.... same as in Louisiana, here in the USA.

Bud
 

anatech

Administrator
Paid Member
2004-06-06 8:31 pm
Georgetown, On
Hi Bud,
I would wonder about the insurance aspect. A homeowners policy may be void if the insurance company can make a reasonable case that the non-UL or ULC (finally!) device is at fault. I would think that a shock hazard and personal injury may be more likely. Who wants that lawsuit?

Personally, some safety approval should be required. Even a local hydro (electric company) approval would help here. Without something like this, your first court case may force a complete inspection and testing anyway. The stakes are now far too high though.

-Chris
 
A full on UL evaluation, with pre-submittal overview and first look at your product is about $10K, assuming there are voltages over 30vac rms within the user interface box. If you have a UL approved wall wort in place of bringing the 120 v 60 Hz into the box the user touches, you will find a much smaller charge. Then you are faced with non safety low voltage or safety low voltage concerns, divided by that 30 vac rms dotted line. Avail yourself of this pre-meeting, the UL inspector is paid by the successful completion of cases, to some now unknown %. He will tell you everything he sees wrong up front. You will have to open a case and pay those fee's before you do this, but the time line from first look to actual submittal is elastic. Check over on the Pass Labs forum for even more information. http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/pass-labs/21067-safety-issues-ce-certification.html

Bud
 

anatech

Administrator
Paid Member
2004-06-06 8:31 pm
Georgetown, On
Hi firechief,
So much depends on the appearance of how you conduct business. I would recommend that any large scale production have all safety approvals. Small production should be at least built to comply with the same standards at a minimum. Some local power utility approval should be considered.

Legal matters. Don't look like an easy mark for people who professionally sue others. What the stickers and file numbers actually mean isn't as important as the fact that they signal you have been responsible and have your design "approved". Very much like a Chubb alarm system sticker, the wolves will move on to an easier target. An unknown alarm companies sticker does not carry the same weight, does it?

You want employees? That might be even scarier!

-Chris
 
And the legal situation in the USA is not so logical as you want it to be. people sue and win daily for stupid things. I recall the guy who bought a new car battery, went to install it himself, dropped the thing on his foot and was injured. Successfully sued the battery maker. As soon as a jury gets involved, common sense flies out the window.
 
Bud, you crack me up!

Just pray you are never in either of those places when they decide someone needs to be guilty and start looking around for anyone spreading around their charm John. I mean, where are the two places in the world where the inquisition parked it's buttocks, when it decided to *$%* on the rest of humankind? Why would they change a system that worked so well? Who brought "civilization " to the sub equatorial "new world"? I have no idea what Louisiana's excuse is.... unless it's in response to that idiot looking for the fountain of youth and spreading disease as quick as could be.

Bud
 

Printer2

Member
2010-04-02 6:34 pm
Do I need to have the UL Mark on my product in the United States? Is there a law stating that my product should have a UL Mark? Does our product require UL testing? Manufacturers submit products to UL for testing and safety certification on a voluntary basis. There are no laws specifying that a UL Mark must be used. However, in the United States there are many municipalities that have laws, codes or regulations which require a product to be tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory before it can be sold in their area.

UL | Frequently Asked Questions
 

anatech

Administrator
Paid Member
2004-06-06 8:31 pm
Georgetown, On
Hi David,
That was a primary reason for the ULC designation. A joint US-Canada safety certification to allow "free trade".

Hi Bud,
Yeah, guns were faster and didn't cost as much either!
Do you roll your own? In Canada, cartridges are not cheap. .22s are ineffective most of the time, so forget those. You need something that generates respect among the uneducated. A 1/2" hole succeeds there, or .45. Most can't tell the difference. :)

I should mention that John is actually a very charming fella. They'll look elsewhere for a scape goat. Someone who doesn't fight back intelligently is the normal victim. These things often come down to who runs out of cash first anyway.

-Chris
 

willy

Member
2002-10-05 4:32 am
usa
Frivolous Litigation

Like the McDonalds & hot coffee litigation, the amount of litigation in the US really hurts the economy. It keeps a lot of small businesses from ever getting started. I have a lot of guitar amps out there, but they are among family & friends. The cost of ample liability protection keeps me from starting a for-profit company. Common sense has been thrown out the window, especially in the punitive damages department. A guy turns the gas on his BBQ grill. 5 minutes later he lights it. It blows up in his face. 2 years later he is a rich man. His lawyer is also doing quite well. Literally hundreds of small businesses would start up tomorrow if it weren't for the liability protection expenses. My engineering degree, BA of science in electronics cost me a fortune. And now I can't afford to use it.