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I am going to say that buying a cheap Chinese charger, from China, via ebay seems like the start of a very hot and fiery story. Are there not EU/UK sourced units that can do the job just as cheaply?
 

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Looking at the ad its a generic unit from China without a CE mark and no DC detection.
I suspect this is not upto UK safety standards and will need a minimum of of a DC detector to meet current regulations.

I've seen a number of generic chinese electronic things in another field and they rarely conform to EU/UK standards and are often a hazard.

Then if customs bill you its duty + 20% vat on top of the price.
You need a spark to install and to notify the DNO when installed.
 
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I would echo the above comments. There are just far too many unscrupulous companies in China making and selling crap via eBay. Amazon, Aliexpress etc. Bear in mind that this box controls mains power to your car. Do you really want an unseen defect in there putting full mains voltage on the car body, that anyone could touch and get a shock?

If anyone thinks this doesn't happen, then I have personal experience that suggests it does. I bought a load of Chinese made LED downlights, installed them all, and they worked just fine. I was curious as to how hot they were getting when on, so touched one and got a belt. After investigation I concluded that, because of the design, there was a 50:50 chance that a metal ring around the front face would be live. These were sold by a reputable UK big-name store, that had been deceived by the manufacturer faking the safety approval marks and documentation

As for an eBay example, I bought a "smart" battery charger some years ago, from a Chinese vendor on eBay. I was a bit suspicious when it arrived, as it had a metal case, yet only a two core cable, which was clearly wrong (two core implied that the thing was Class II, and the metal case suggested that was not likely). I decided to check it, and discovered that the mains cable colours had been swapped around inside, so the blue was connected to the internal fuse and the brown was connected to the battery negative terminal, believe it or not. Not only was there no isolation, but the line input, at 230 VAC, was directly connected to the croc clip on the battery negative lead. Had I plugged it in, then it would have made the battery negative terminal, and anything connected to it, live.

This is far from being unusual for Chinese made stuff sold on eBay, Aliexpress, Amazon, etc, a fair bit of it is very often bordering on being lethal. A look at BigClivedotcom's YouTube channel can be educational, and show just how much potentially lethal tat gets sold on these sites, almost all of it coming from that part of the world.
 

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I must admit I liked the Switch mode PSU where the Switching transistors had not been de-burred on the mounting holes and the burrs had penetrated the mounting insulator. Now as this was live why did it not blow the fuse / fail QA.... Duh the earth lead was detached as it had not been crimped properly. - This was in a sample product with the potential for substantial numbers and CE marked.

Caught it before it killed anyone and persuaded the MGT not to deal with this cheap shite company, difficult as they were always after something cheap. :(
 

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I must admit I liked the Switch mode PSU where the Switching transistors had not been de-burred on the mounting holes and the burrs had penetrated the mounting insulator. Now as this was live why did it not blow the fuse / fail QA.... Duh the earth lead was detached as it had not been crimped properly. - This was in a sample product with the potential for substantial numbers and CE marked.

Caught it before it killed anyone and persuaded the MGT not to deal with this cheap shite company, difficult as they were always after something cheap. :(

I bought some cast aluminium outdoor floodlights. Sold by a supposed UK supplier. Obviously made in China, so I tested continuity between the CPC on the cable and the metal case. There was none. Took them all apart, and all looked like this, with the CPC just not connected internally and dangling there. All the lamps I bought were the same. Easy enough to add an eyelet to the CPC and fit it under an internal screw, but as delivered they were potentially lethal:

149271
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I take your point about Chinese stuff, although of course nearly everything we buy is made there now :(. I'm not convinced about them either, but I just wondered if anyone had any experience with them.
You have quoted a couple of horror stories. When I was working I found that a lot of converted American gear was wrongly wired. In the USA black is live, but in converting the equipment to run in Europe,a lot of people had assumed that back was neutral.
 

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If you have an iPhone, it was made in China. One of the top DNA sequencing firms, a task that requires advanced biomedical engineering, is Chinese. A lot of Chinese manufactured goods are top quality.

The issue is that people come and say: 'I want you to make X and have it cost Y'.

And the Chinese say, 'Yes, of course', then they make it happen.

Anyone with even a basic understanding of electrical safety requirements, who has been around for a while, will have horror stories like Jeremy's. I have also encountered CE ('Chinese Engineering') marked metal cased products that weren't earthed. My 'favourite' was a power supply from a well-known hi-fi company that separated into its constituent parts as I unplugged it from the wall, leaving live 240V metal terminal exposed: it is a good job I am not an inquisitive toddler. I don't believe the hi-fi firm had any direct input into the manufacturing of the power supply -- I expect they just bought it in at a keen price. (A lot of cheap PSUs are of a very similar design -- caveat emptor.)

If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. An EV chargepoint is mains voltage, high current, typically externally sited and exposed to the elements. It needs to be done properly. This one screams avoid.
 

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A friend had a business making custom bicycles, fairly high end ones. The world centre for bicycle component manufacture is Taiwan, so he had some of his component parts made there (not frames, thing like BB assemblies, headsets, hubs etc). He would design the parts, find a manufacturer, contract for initial samples and if the quality was OK, contract for more parts. He found that, without fail, the quality would reduce drastically as soon as they started making production parts. He also found that the manufacturers would reduce the price for these parts. He flew out there to try and sort things out, and was told very frankly, by more than one company, that they were helping his business, by reducing the price. It didn't matter how much he tried to explain that he wanted quality, and was prepared to pay for it, they had a view that, as a matter of pride, they must seek to reduce the price.

He ended up employing an ex-pat living out there as a quality manager, to maintain control over every batch of components. I believe this is exactly what all the big-name manufacturers have to do, they employ people to oversee quality and make sure no corners are cut.

The biggest problem we have is with no-name products that are either sold here directly via dubious outlets like eBay, Amazon etc, or that make their way into the supply chains of larger retailers, using fake compliance certification. These companies often have zero safety or quality controls on their products, and frankly don't seem to care if some of the stuff they make is dangerous, as they know there will never bee any come back to them at all. Offloading items on eBay etc is easy, as the worst that can happen is that they have to close one account and open another. They all have to use VPNs to get past the Great Firewall of China, any way, to remaining anonymous isn't hard,
 

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My Lefunev charger has worked flawlessly since January. Although I did buy it via Aliexpress and paid £260 (vat wasn't charged on delivery). I haven't inspected the internals as I'm not disturbing the seal.

 

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The problem with non-compliant goods is exactly the same as the problem with very dangerous electrical work, they both often seem to function OK, but both may hide defects that could kill someone. I've had a few bits of Chinese tat that have actually failed (notably LED lights), but in general a lot of it seems to work just fine. The cutting of corners seems to almost always be in hidden areas where such defects would rarely be noticed, like the disconnected CPC in all those Chinese floodlights I bought (all six of them were the same). I fixed them all by just connecting the CPC to the case and they've all been working just fine for around 5 years now, so there's nothing intrinsically wrong as far as reliability goes (they are all about half their advertised power though, but that's just the normal lies you find in many adverts).

The compliance testing and self-assessment by the manufacturer is supposed to provide customers with the assurance that the product is safe, in that it complies with the relevant regulations designed to keep electrical products safe, functional and not interfere with the function of other products (for charge points mainly the LV Directive, the EMC Directive and IECs 61851 and 62196). The fact that some Chinese manufacturers openly lie about product safety certification does, unfortunately, cast a shadow over all of them, as there is no way to be sure that the markings on a product are genuine. It's not something specific to Chinese test houses, either. Back in the late 90's the place I ran at the time found out that a branch of a very well-respected European test house (with a three letter acronym for a name) was selling certification without doing the required testing and assessment.

This video of a rechargeable camping light, being sold on eBay, Amazon, Aliexpress, etc illustrates some hidden safety issues. This is far from being unusual, the market is literally awash with Chinese electrical products that are every bit as dangerous as this one, for example, and a consumer would have no way of knowing of these dangers until such time as they found out the hard, perhaps lethal, way:

 
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