Shocking but true: extensions with USB ports miss out on safety features

Top News | Sophie Hui 16 May 2019

Thirteen out of 15 models of extension sockets with USB charging ports fared poorly in safety tests, including one which did not adhere with legal safety requirements.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department advised consumers to stop using the Chinese brand Ldnio model SK3662 immediately.

The Consumer Council tested 15 USB extension models priced between HK$128 and HK$299, but only the Omni and Belkin models passed all the safety tests.

The watchdog said the Ldnio model failed to comply with a number of local legal requirements, including having no fuse overcurrent protection and its insulation and conductor cross-sectional area of the power supply cord falling short of the standard minimum statutory requirement.

The Ldnio model, along with the aMagic and Marble models, also failed the electric strength test.

When 3,000 volts were applied to the models' insulator, it posed a risk of an electric shock while charging.

An agent of the aMagic model said it was stopped being produced in 2017. An agent for the Marble model told the council it disagrees with the test results.

In five models, the sockets could not retain the test socket pins for more than 30 seconds, while the sockets had poor contact with the test pins in two models. As a result, the unsatisfactory construction may affect the normal use of the sockets.

Nine models failed the endurance test, including the most expensive Promate model, whose metal plates were damaged after being plugged and unplugged 12,000 times.

The council said the test was conducted under high voltage, which families would not come across in their daily lives.

"Of course, people ordinarily do not have access to 3,000v. But this is how we try to find the risks," said Nora Tam of the council's research and testing committee.

"Although some of them do not comply 100 percent with the safety items, when we use them in daily lives with some care, it's acceptable."

The council also reminded people not to plug adapters into extension sockets as it could lead to an overloaded circuit.

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