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Bananas!!!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Bananas!!!
Graham Hinton
I was looking at the new IEC 62368-1 safety regulations today which come into effect June 2019 to see how it will effect my products and I discovered something pretty serious that will effect a lot of synth users in Europe. Most of you will have never heard of this or the current IEC 60065 standard it replaces which covers safety of audio and video equipment, but 4mm banana connectors are banned from audio equipment in Europe. Reason: the patch leads may be plugged in to European mains outlets!

They are not banned in the US for the converse reason, but they are in the UK even though they cannot be inserted in UK outlets because the UK is subject to EU law (at the moment).

What this means is that no audio equipment with banana connectors can be legally imported or sold in Europe. That means Buchla, Serge, Modcan and various FRAC are technically illegal. Not to mention European manufacturers like Bugbrand. I've even made custom banana modules myself.

What will happen? Probably nothing until someone gets hurt, then the proverbial shit will really hit the fan. It is all under the radar at the moment, but those of you in Europe with Schuko outlets, banana systems and young children may want to think carefully about leaving patch leads laying about. I've just tried it in a Schuko extension block (not plugged in to the mains) and they slip in like they are made for each other and easier than knitting needles in the old round pin UK plugs. It's a disaster waiting to happen, not only can your kids fry themselves they can take out your €50000 synth while they are at it.
Parnelli
People need to be more cautious of what they stick their bananas into.... sad banana
pre55ure
Well thats unfortunate.

Unfortunate that bananas fit the connectors so well, but also unfortunate that the "solution" is make banana connectors illegal...

From where I am sitting and typing this, I can spot about 10 different (metallic) objects that I could probably manage to jam into an electrical socket. Common sense and risk of death is the only thing preventing me from doing so.
IDK, maybe I'd feel differently if I had small children, but seriously. Maybe they should make 3.5 mm cables illegal too. And screwdrivers, and drill bits, and bobby pins, and, and etc...
megaohm
pre55ure wrote:
Maybe they should make 3.5 mm cables illegal too. And screwdrivers, and drill bits, and bobby pins, and, and etc...


Shh!
Don't give them any ideas!
racooniac
lol and i was laughing about american microwaves needing a sign that says "do not dry your pets with this thing" by law all the time but it seems europe is rapidly following up on that 2stupid2thinkonmyown "ideal" yay! wink
modularblack
racooniac wrote:
lol and i was laughing about american microwaves needing a sign that says "do not dry your pets with this thing" by law all the time but it seems europe is rapidly following up on that 2stupid2thinkonmyown "ideal" yay! wink


You know I really love the peace and modules without costums duty the eu brought us, but damn, we really should stop sending failed polititians to Brüssel.
knows
If anyone needs help safely disposing of their banana synth systems and cables I am here to help.
tojpeters
A new standard of five millimeter banana plugs and jacks?
jkjelec
Neverrr! We will go underground!!!

arthurdent
racooniac wrote:
lol and i was laughing about american microwaves needing a sign that says "do not dry your pets with this thing" by law all the time but it seems europe is rapidly following up on that 2stupid2thinkonmyown "ideal" yay! wink

Or the sticker on the top deck of a lawnmower telling you not to put your fingers under the deck while the mower is running. I used to think that our goverment had nothing better to do but I now believe that it's the lawyers that cause this - if somebody doesn't SPECIFICALLY tell you not to do something, no matter how stupid it is, you can do it and a lawyer will get you a WHOLE BUNCH of money for it.
arthurdent
jkjelec wrote:
Neverrr! We will go underground!!!


And in the news today, the United Nations has announced the formation of a new task force to stem the growing tide of the underground banana plug market. A spokesman stated that it was now bigger than the fentanyl trade.
cptnal
We have the EU to thank for cleaner water and air, safer products... For instance, where I come from there was a public safety film in the 1970s telling everyone to be careful filling kettles because manufacturers were allowed to build dangerous products. Then the EU came along and said, "don't be so fucking stupid..." (I'm paraphrasing here) "...put the handle on the side."

This on the other hand belongs up there with straight bananas and other such propositions. Nutter!
Graham Hinton
pre55ure wrote:
Unfortunate that bananas fit the connectors so well, but also unfortunate that the "solution" is make banana connectors illegal...


It would never occur to Europeans to ban Schuko mains connectors and replace them with something safe and too many vested interests would prevent that.

What surprised me most was how long these regulations have been in place. Probably since DMMs went over to using shrouded 4mm connectors in the '90s. All these different standards cost around £400 each to get a copy and then you have to spend days wading through legalese jargon to find out if they apply to you or not or spend thousands to get a certification agency to tell you that they do.


modularblack wrote:
You know I really love the peace and modules without costums duty the eu brought us, but damn, we really should stop sending failed polititians to Brüssel.


So instead of maybe 5% duty you have 20% VAT which is the revenue stream that supports the B-Ark.
DickMarker
Yikes!

I guess when the European Union Withdrawal Bill passes, UK manufacturers won't have to worry about building stuff but exporting will be an issue.

Just think of all the hi-fi audiophile nuts this also affects.
nickgrys
If the regulation only covers audio and visual equipment, you might be able to find a loop hole. On Buchla modules, the banana plugs are used strictly for control voltage patching, correct? I'd call it a voltage generation and processing device. Made for lab use but can be brought into the studio.
Graham Hinton
DickMarker wrote:
I guess when the European Union Withdrawal Bill passes, UK manufacturers won't have to worry about building stuff but exporting will be an issue.


You can dream, but the UK intends to pass all EU legislation into UK law and then pick individual laws off later. A process that will keep lawyers and politicians in the style that they have grown accustomed to for centuries.

To be clear, this isn't UK vers EU. The IEC generates standards which are then adopted as the basis of laws in different world regions. Each region may give different tweaks and that is what this is a case of.

Quote:

Just think of all the hi-fi audiophile nuts this also affects.


Actually it affects the hi-fi manufacturers who could be forced to withdraw and recall a product. Possibly by a rival more than a user.
It is difficult and very time consuming to trace who exactly was lobbying for a specific clause in a regulation, but it is not difficult to follow the money. Who has an alternative to bananas for loudspeaker connections... ?

nickgrys wrote:
If the regulation only covers audio and visual equipment, you might be able to find a loop hole. On Buchla modules, the banana plugs are used strictly for control voltage patching, correct? I'd call it a voltage generation and processing device. Made for lab use but can be brought into the studio.


Most lab gear uses shrouded bananas now.

The old regulation (IED 60065) was for audio and video and it is being combined with IEC 60950-1 for IT and communication equipment to make the new 62368-1 standard, but it is also being changed to "hazard based" instead of "risk based". Isn't a hazard a risk? Apparently not. There are now three classes of user, basically Skilled, Trainable and Congenitally Stupid, and the hazard to each group has to be assessed separately depending on if they know what they are doing, can be told what to do or supervised, or are liable to get a Darwin Award whatever you do. More paperwork and more fees. I couldn't make this up.

Don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to safety and good practise and I was building good safe equipment before all these regulations were draughted and don't need a law to tell me not to kill my customers. I am opposed to stupidity being enshrined in law or the B-Ark telling the A-Ark what to do and the sheer waste of time that causes.
Rex Coil 7
Politicians are like diapers .... they need to be changed often, and for the same reason!

I've heard many people say of Europe "If it exists, it is regulated".

Why of course! How silly of me. We all require a body of the universally wise to save us from ourselves! Else we'd most certainly all be dead. meh

I have to wonder how many documented instances exist of someone actually being electrocuted due to irresponsible banana jack usage? As far as children's safety goes ... this falls on the laps of the parents. We teach our children to be careful near the stove, be kind and respectful to others, not to spit into the wind, not to run with scissors, and not to stick a fork into the wall outlet. It seems to me that parents should also be teaching children not to fiddle dick with daddy's modular synth and not to insert the banana cable into their mouths (so to speak).

But then again, I was raised a "free range kid" so I support such notions.

I deeply enjoy what little freedoms I have left living in the state I live in. I am also glad that the environment here is far too hostile for most people to want to live here. It's going to hit around 115f degrees today in the region near a mountain range where I live. The heat and UV reflects off of the volcanic rock strewn mountains, which makes this area 10f to 15f degrees hotter than most other regions nearby. This keeps the tender footed away. For now.

I wonder how long it will be before unbalanced modular synths are deemed "too potentially lethal" and new regulations will require all modular synths to be fully balanced?

George Orwell and Aldous Huxley have tried to warn us ... eek! ... and yet, here we are on a runaway train with no brakes rolling downhill straight towards the Brave New World, full steam ahead!!

Oh well ......

.... Welcome to paradise! lol
xenosapien
... well NOW we´re just jumping wildly to dystopian conclusions, aren´t we?

don´t worry, I get the sentiment, I really do - and I definitely agree with most of what you said, Rex Coil 7.

but please don´t derail this thread - that I find VERY interesting, as long as it is still based on actual expertise and well-founded concerns, as opposed to fearmongering and authority-bashing.
Rex Coil 7
xenosapien wrote:
... well NOW we´re just jumping wildly to dystopian conclusions, aren´t we?

don´t worry, I get the sentiment, I really do - and I definitely agree with most of what you said, Rex Coil 7.

but please don´t derail this thread - that I find VERY interesting, as long as it is still based on actual expertise and well-founded concerns, as opposed to fearmongering and authority-bashing.
Calm down, it was just some adult humor.
xenosapien
all good on my end, but:

you MUST realize that saying stuff like "calm down" and adding qualifiers like "ADULT humor" is nothing but inflammatory. or maybe that´s just me.

just saying. wink
cptnal
I'm more concerned about it going the other way. Safer products cost more to make, which we're told costs jobs and makes us less competitive. So phrases like "it's health and safety gone mad" and "nanny state" serve a certain constituency well. Does that make me sound like a conspiracy theorist? hmmm.....
Rex Coil 7
cptnal wrote:
I'm more concerned about it going the other way. Safer products cost more to make, which we're told costs jobs and makes us less competitive. So phrases like "it's health and safety gone mad" and "nanny state" serve a certain constituency well. Does that make me sound like a conspiracy theorist? hmmm.....
Yes ... yes it does. And now here's your own tin foil hat ... Tinfoil Hat

lol

xenosapien wrote:
all good on my end, but:

you MUST realize that saying stuff like "calm down" and adding qualifiers like "ADULT humor" is nothing but inflammatory. or maybe that´s just me.

just saying. wink
Perhaps it is just you. Just sayin' wink

Then again, perhaps not. However, nothing I've said is inflammatory. I can't be expected to watch my every word just in case it inflames one person. You are taking my words far too seriously.

What I said was literally just a bit of humor, meant for adults that take things from an adult point of view (I can't expect children to understand a reference to Orwell, now can I). If that offends you, I really don't know what to say. So now I've offended you twice ... once with the way I was humorously addressing the way that over arching governments want to "save us from ourselves", and then once when I defended my humor by asking you to have a bit thicker skin.

Tell ya what, here's a thought .... since I've already said my piece on how I feel about the banana jack issue (which is a political topic, by the way), and I've already succeeded in offending you, clearly my work here is done. (That too, is another joke ... I am mocking myself ... making fun of how the only time I open my mouth is to change feet in this instance).

That said, I'll unsubscribe now. I'm not mad or angry, or stomping off slamming the door behind me. There's just no reason to continue to subscribe at this point. If anyone has anything they wish to say to me, please feel free to send me a PM (I promise I'll try to be nice). lol

thumbs up
oneunkind
racooniac wrote:
lol and i was laughing about american microwaves needing a sign that says "do not dry your pets with this thing" by law all the time but it seems europe is rapidly following up on that 2stupid2thinkonmyown "ideal" yay! wink


ig it isnt important and whatever point is still valid if you want it to be, but this pet thing in particular isnt true and is just some old cheesy usa joke.
Dave Peck
nickgrys wrote:
If the regulation only covers audio and visual equipment, you might be able to find a loop hole. On Buchla modules, the banana plugs are used strictly for control voltage patching, correct? I'd call it a voltage generation and processing device. Made for lab use but can be brought into the studio.


Unfortunately, no. These regulations are applied according to the function of the completed product, not piecemeal to specific functions within each product.
Dave Peck
Graham Hinton wrote:


The old regulation (IED 60065) was for audio and video and it is being combined with IEC 60950-1 for IT and communication equipment to make the new 62368-1 standard, but it is also being changed to "hazard based" instead of "risk based". Isn't a hazard a risk? Apparently not. There are now three classes of user, basically Skilled, Trainable and Congenitally Stupid, and the hazard to each group has to be assessed separately depending on if they know what they are doing, can be told what to do or supervised, or are liable to get a Darwin Award whatever you do. More paperwork and more fees. I couldn't make this up.

Don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to safety and good practise and I was building good safe equipment before all these regulations were draughted and don't need a law to tell me not to kill my customers. I am opposed to stupidity being enshrined in law or the B-Ark telling the A-Ark what to do and the sheer waste of time that causes.


Yeah, for many years now a significant part of my job has been helping companies get their new product through Safety testing and EMC testing. Nearly all of these products have been tested to either the standards for A/V equipment or the standards for IT/computer equipment - until now. Tomorrow I'll be doing my first EMC test sessions to the new 'combined' standard, and right after that I'll be taking the same product through this new 62368-1 Safety standard. Wish me luck!!

As my dad (who was also an engineer) was fond of saying: "Standards are a wonderful thing. You can never have too many different standards!"
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