The engineer and the trouser press: Unusual electrical equipment we are asked to test


Unusual equipment we are asked to PAT test

We test over seven million electrical appliances a year. Most of them are standard items like computer monitors, televisions and kettles.

However, now and again we get asked to check some things that are a little bit more unusual!

Join us as we look at some of the things our engineers have checked over the years.

Items in charity shops

If charity shops sell donated electrical goods, they need to ensure that they are safe so they don’t cause any problems when customers take them home.

We’ve been asked to test products for a range of different charities to ensure that the donations they receive are fit to sell. This is especially important if the donations have been sat on the shelf for a very long time.

From lamps and hair dryers to paper shredders and game consoles, our engineers have tested them all!

Coffee vans

Coffee machine

Source: Burst

We live on coffee at Hawkesworth HQ, so we’re proud to do what we can to keep the baristas of the UK up and running!

A few of our customers own coffee vans with coffee-making equipment that needs checking.

Once, one of our customers needed an urgent test, so they drove to Hawkesworth HQ and our engineer was able to test their van there and then for them!

Stage lights

Lights... camera... action!

We are often asked to test stage lights for theatres and auditoriums across the country.

It's important to keep stage lights thoroughly maintained. Theatres can get crowded, which increases the danger if a fire starts.

Not only that, but you don't want your lights dimming or popping on you halfway through a performance!

Candyfloss machines


Source: Julie Luke

When you think of equipment that needs testing, you may think of things in an office. However, if you are in the business of throwing parties, you need to make sure your equipment is safe for use too.

If you own a business that caters for birthdays, weddings or other events, you will need to prove your equipment safe before you bring it into a venue. You may be asked to provide a certificate to show this.

Customers have asked us to test guitar amps, photo booths, DJ lighting set-ups and candyfloss machines in our time!

Accidents happen more often than you may think. There was a recent story where a party supplier in Hertfordshire was fined £13,000 for selling candyfloss machines that failed electrical safety requirements.

Electrical equipment testing machines

PAT testing unit

This may sound like a weird one, but bear with us.

Electrical equipment (or PAT testing) machines are battery powered, but they come with a cable so they can be charged when the battery gets low.

This means that technically the machine doesn’t need checking, but the charging cable does!

We check our own machines on an annual basis. Businesses with one testing unit in use have asked us to check their tester for them too.

Vacuum cleaners

Chewed up vacuum cable

You may not think of vacuum cleaners (or Hoovers as they are alternatively referred to) as things you need to test, but if they have a plug, they needed to be checked out.

Plus, every office or commercial building has at least one locked up in the cupboard!

It's important to regularly check your vacuum cleaner as it is prone to a lot of wear and tear. If the flex gets tangled up in the brush head, the live elements can become exposed which can be dangerous.

Why damaged electrical cords and cables need to be replaced.

Trouser press

If your trouser press is playing up, don’t disassemble it like a bored Norwich celebrity DJ, but look at getting it checked for electrical faults instead.

You may think trouser presses aren’t a thing anymore but you’d be surprised at how many hotels still have them in rooms, and how many of them we are asked to test.

The same goes for the shoe polishing machines you see in some hotel corridors!

Christmas lights

Christmas lights

Source: Dana Tentis

December (or November if you’re feeling a little decadent) is the time of year that homes and buildings across the UK are adorned with hundreds of thousands of flashing festive lights!

We’re asked to check these lights for our customers, whether as part of their winter testing procedure or in the summer so when Christmas rolls around, they’re good to go.

After all, the only thing that should go ‘bang’ on the 25 of December is the Christmas crackers!

Door chime

Ding dong! You may not think it, but modern wireless door chimes plug into the mains, meaning that they need to be tested.

We get asked to test a lot of door chimes for businesses and retail outlets, to ensure that visitors and suppliers aren’t left out in the cold when they come to call.

In conclusion

The basic rule of thumb when it comes to testing electrical equipment testers is that anything that plugs into the mains needs to be checked.

As duty holder, you need to make sure that your electrical equipment is safe and compliant, to keep your staff, customers and visitors safe.

Not only this, but regular testing ensures that any appliances you have are efficient too, helping reduce downtime and costly repair bills.

We hope that this post has given you a little more insight into the unusual things that need testing!

If you’d like your weird and wonderful equipment testing, why not get in touch?

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