Whether you work with electronics as a hobby or you’re a professional, there are plenty of exciting advancements taking place in the modern electronics industry. Along with these advancements, however, come a number of responsibilities and safety precautions that must be noted in order to protect yourself, others and the viability of your project. Injuries that result from electricity can be serious and even fatal, so it’s in your best interest to do everything possible to stay safe when working with electronic equipment and components.
Look For Safer Alternatives
In some cases, safer alternatives exist in order to complete a project. For example, tilt switches have traditionally used mercury to complete a circuit, but the use of mercury can lead to health concerns in the event that the mercury gets loose. Instead, modern tilt switch solutions are mercury-free in many cases, causing them to offer the same efficiency without the risks.
When you need to source the right tilt switches for your next project, consider looking for these mercury-free options as long as the end result doesn’t suffer in the long run. Tilt switch manufacturer guidance may be called for here since the manufacturer can provide alternatives if they exist. A tilt trim switch or adjustable tilt switch that doesn’t use mercury can typically perform just as well as one that does use mercury, so keep an open mind to alternatives.
Start At The Source
The source of power for most electronics is found in the form of either electricity supplied at an outlet or from a battery of some sort. In either case, you need to take precautions at the source to avoid accidents and injuries. This means unplugging electronics before working on them or removing batteries. In situations where unplugging a device from an outlet is not possible, you will want to cut the power to the outlet entirely. Even with these precautions taken, some electronics continue to store a charge for a short period of time after the power supply has been severed.
You’re also encouraged to and review power consumption rating limitations prior to powering a device on. Virtually all electronic components are rated to operate safely within a specific range of volts. Exceeding the limit can cause equipment to malfunction or break, and it may also lead to injuries. If an outlet is 220v, as is common in Europe, you run the risk of accidents and injuries if you plug in an electronic device that is rated for 110v consumption.
As a side note, many modern batteries use lithium-ion technology. These types of batteries are found in a number of consumer electronics, but they are also common in the military and the aerospace industry. Lithium-ion batteries have the potential to be a fire hazard when handled improperly, and some can also explode when overloaded. As such, special care should be exercised when handling lithium-ion batteries to avoid overheating.
Consult Safety And Instruction Manuals
Even if you’re experienced in working on electronics, it’s always a good idea to consult with any safety and instruction manuals that came with a piece of electronic equipment. These manuals often provide guidance regarding technical details, and they may also offer advice about what to avoid if you choose to dismantle a piece of equipment.
As a side note, these manuals also serve to lay out information that is important for warranty protection. Certain actions that you take in order to work on a piece of electronic equipment could result in the manufacturer’s warranty being rendered null and void. Working on equipment against the recommendations of the manufacturer could also hurt your case for seeking damages in court should you become injured by the equipment. By consulting with your manuals first, you will have a better understanding of what to avoid to protect your investment and your health.