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CE marking

Should we be worried?

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Tim Mackey16/09/2010 22:58:18
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Another thread was discussing the need or otherwise to have receivers CE marked.
Lets pick it up over here.....from this.
"
Posted by kc on 16/09/2010 19:32:40:
The BMFA handbook page 79 says " it is a fact that the onus for making sure that equip meets EU standards rests not on the manufacturer but on the original importer into the EU  This applies whether the equip carries a real or bogus CE mark or no CE mark at all"
 
So thats the BMFA position and surely any insurance claim will revolve around this. If  you import it its your assets on the line!

Edited By kc on 16/09/2010 19:37:44

 
Tim Mackey said...
"But if an end user buys an item from abroad, then how is he/she supposed to be able to assess whether it "meets the EU standards" ?
Tim Mackey16/09/2010 22:59:23
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KC said....
" A professional importer would doubtless get  the supplier to put it in a letter that the goods complied with the relevant EU standards.  Anyway they would have a limited company and their house would not be at risk!
 
You might save 30 pounds with personal importing but risk your model and much more if it fails in flight. 
 
Has the failsafe operation been tested too?

Edited By kc on 16/09/2010 20:00:08

Edited By Tim Mackey - Administrator on 16/09/2010 23:06:39

Tim Mackey16/09/2010 23:00:54
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Discussing the 4 channel cheapy "orange"  rx
Yes it has KC - and as per most of the lower end spekky sets, it merely shuts throttle on signal loss - performed fine on my testing.
Tim Mackey16/09/2010 23:02:07
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Chris Bott says..
 
"Here we come to the age old question...  If I take my imported radio out of my model, and fly it without, it's a free flight model. That would then be insured... "

Edited By Tim Mackey - Administrator on 16/09/2010 23:06:59

Tim Mackey16/09/2010 23:03:21
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Andy Harris says...
 
 
"On the CE mark front if it is sold in europe it needs one full stop.
 
I have the book "CE Conformity Marking" although I must warn forumites that it is so boring that just a glimpse of the front cover may induce a coma.
 
Andy
 
PS.... I ordered 4 of these RX units as well "
 

Edited By Tim Mackey - Administrator on 16/09/2010 23:07:18

Tim Mackey16/09/2010 23:04:34
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Ioan Wittmann says
 
Please do not forget, good people, that the CAA put the onus on R/C pilots for the safe operation of a "small aeroplane".  Thats your chuck glider all the way up to 44Lbs (20Kilos) then the rules change and insurance becomes compulsory.
 
Article 138 of the ANO uses the words "cause or permit". Cause is to do it on purpose and permit is to let it happen. 
 
Fittness for purpose comes into effect also.
 
So I would say that if you took the radio out of your 40% CAP and tried to fly it free flight you may have a problem.  But a purpose designed freeflight model would be OK.  If it hit persons or property it is at least insured.  However, why do the freeflight folks have trimming flights in the middle of Salisbury plain?
 
Even in the case of a fly-away we are still responsible and therefore accountable for what the aircraft does.  (Cries of "unfair").  I know this from personal experience.


Edited By Tim Mackey - Administrator on 16/09/2010 23:07:40

Tim Mackey16/09/2010 23:10:57
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Lets not drift into Insurance - thats an interesting subject being debated elsewhere on the forum - unless of course you are suggesting that by using a non CE marked Rx or other important unit in my model I am voiding my insurance.
In which case, I suggest there are hundreds if not thousands of people in that situation
Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator16/09/2010 23:18:47
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The CE certifies that the kit satisfies the relevant standards and in-service protocols active in the EU. KC is quite right someone like Ripmax will seek a written assurance from the manufacturer - and maybe supporting test data - that this is so. Also they will employ an engineer who the authorities will accept is a competant person to make the judgement that such evidence as is provided is adequete for the purpose. He will also carry professional indemity insurance to cover him in the event that such a judgement should be subsequently challenged.
 
As a private importer my guess is most of us are not in a position to do these things. So we can't CE mark the things ourselves. That being the case we would be using a rx that was not approved. I would think the insurers would tak a dim view of that! Having said that as as John has pointed out quite correctly in another thread the insurance is third party regardless of our liability - its the people who we hit who are insured, not us! So my guess is you would be covered - but declared to be at least partly "at fault". Such a claim would not do our collective image any good with the insurance company.
 
BEB
Steve Hargreaves - Moderator16/09/2010 23:23:13
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Facinating subject & one that has been in my mind too....I use Futaba stuff but have lots of "third party" Rxs (Corona etc) that don't have a CE mark...am I uninsured? If so what about my very old (but still serviceable) Rx's that predate CE marking (which came in in the early 90's I think)? If I use them am I uninsured?
Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator16/09/2010 23:33:34
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CE marking does not apply retrospecively. Any kit manufactured before the rukes came into use are perfectly OK to use.
 
BEB
Tim Mackey17/09/2010 00:05:05
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Can anyone definatively and simply answer these questions.
 
1) Are non CE marked receivers "legal" to use, and  if not - what law is broken.
 
2) Will your Insurance company have grounds to refuse to payout if you have an accident  whilst using one?
Martin Harris17/09/2010 00:21:19
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I believe I'm correct in thinking that the law requires that equipment sold within the EU carries the CE mark but is this the case if I personally import a receiver for my own use?  I'm not sure that there's any law that says it's illegal to use non CE marked equipment although should it be found to be operating outside permitted specifications the Radio Regulatory department might take some interest.
 
If I were to design and build my own receiver, would using it invalidate my insurance?
 
If I'm not breaking any law by using an unmarked receiver (not that I do) why would this invalidate my insurance?  As I understand the BMFA insurance, it simply covers against claims relating to my modelling activities. There are no specifications that I'm aware of for the equipment to be used other than complying with the requirements of air law in not endangering other aircraft etc. or in being of a quality where I could be reasonably satisfied that a flight can be made safely in the case of a >7kg model where questions might be asked about non-mainstream equipment.
 
Edit:
Timbo, I posted this before seeing your questions - this wan't intended as an answer to any of them but more as asking similar questions along with my perceptions...

Edited By Martin Harris on 17/09/2010 00:24:37

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator17/09/2010 00:31:14
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OK, as I understand it.
1. CE Marking is manitory in Europe. It is illegal to sell and, as far as I understand, to use equipment which is not CE mark which should be. The law that is being being broken in our case are the European Directives on EMC, Low Voltage and possibly certain others in the telecoms field. The enforcing of these directives is left to a National Nominated and/or Notifying body. Punishments for non-compliance are in the power of the National Authority and can be a fine or imprisonment. But in cases were safety is not thought to be a major issues the Notifying Authority can just issue a warning and demand compliance or withdrawl or the product.
 
2. Don't know - suspect no one does. But as I said above its third party so the insurance is paid out even if the acident is our fault. So I suspect they would pay, but not be ery happy! Only asking a question through BMFA will answer this I suspect.
 
BEB
Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator17/09/2010 00:48:57
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Tim, for the best answer I suspect read pages 78 and 79 of the latest BMFA Handbook. Available here.
 
This strongly implies that use of non CE marked equipment is illegal. It goes on to say that the legal liability for it fully conforming to European specs is personally yours if you imported it. Furthermore it warns of being potentially in "serious trouble" if you are involved in an "incident" with non CE Marked equipment.
 
BEB 
Martin Harris17/09/2010 01:06:17
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It's very good advice BEB but I think the legal requirement as a user is for your equipment to comply with any applicable regulations such as EMC directives and power outputs.
 
My perception from reading a few dTI documents from a very amateur perspective is that there's no actual offence in simply using non CE equipment but that having a legitimate CE marking would be some defence against prosecution and give peace of mind that the type (not the individual piece of kit in your possession BTW) has been tested to be compliant. The possible offences would be using non-EMC compliant, or supplying non-CE marked, equipment.

Edited By Martin Harris on 17/09/2010 01:07:30

Steve W-O17/09/2010 05:25:17
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The CE marking does not ensure performance or reliability, it ensures compliance with certain standards, mainly in the case of RC, these are radio (in the broader sense, not as in RC).
 
If it could be shown that non-compliance with these standards were the cause of an accident (ie you had a transmitter putting out 100W of very overdriven and distorted signal, and caused other people to lose control of their models) then you may have a problem.
 
I'm sure that to reject an insurance claim, it would have to be shown that non-compliance caused the problem.
 
Most Chinese etc manufacturers will supply a copy of their certificate of compliance if requested.
 
Rather like the MOT test, it ensures compliance with certain standards, but does not certify road-worthiness, that is up to the owner/driver to ensure, the correct installation (much more likely to cause an accident than the lack of CE mark) and use of the equipment is up to the pilot.
Tim Mackey17/09/2010 07:21:20
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Hmmm, not exactly easy or clear cut huh

As to the BMFA handbook, I dont consider this to be the bible of all things technical - having had some issues with them before on certain matters which were "fudged".

Without digressing too far off thread - I wonder for instance about the claim that non hopping 2.4G systems will " change to an unused channel in the event of interference" .
I'm pretty sure that,s not the case on my Spektrum set

Also, I note that CE compliance may be indicated on either:
1) The equipment
2) The box
3) The instruction leaflet

The cheapy "orange" Rx units ( in common with many similar Chinese imported gear ) has neither box or instructions LOL

Edited By Tim Mackey - Administrator on 17/09/2010 07:39:02

Tony Smith 717/09/2010 08:15:08
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Be aware, if not so already, that there is an unrelated and very similar "CE" symbol standing for "China Export". 
Chris Bott - Moderator17/09/2010 08:18:05
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I'm not totally convinced about the link between doing something "illegal" and not being insured. A motorist who has a crash in a 30mph zone doing 40mph is still insured, isn't he?
Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator17/09/2010 09:33:19
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I've been thinking about this overnight (sad isn't it!) and I've come to similar conclusions to Martin, It is illegal to use non-compliant kit in the EU - no question about that. The presence of a CE mark is your protection that the kit is compliant - it passes the responsibility to the importer or manufacturer who CE marked it. If such kit was found to be non-compliant your defence would be "It was CE marked I bought it in good faith" and that would I'm sure be adequete in law.
 
But if its not CE marked then what is effectively happening is you are taking the full legal responsibility for it being compliant. If it was shown to be non-compliant then you would be acting illegally and would be liable for any sanction going the rounds.
 
On the question of insurance I agree with Chris. Even if your kit was non-compliant - with or with out your knowledge - you would still have third party cover. The insurance company might withdraw the element of the insurance that protects you personally - but not the third party.
 
BEB

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