PTCL Electronics

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

This is not called PAT testing; that would (in this case) mean Portable Appliance Testing testing which is incorrect.

One device that we have is a PATesting machine. We currently have 4 colleagues trained in using the unit (Tim, John and Chris in the PTCL workshop, and Ryan based in the ICL, but he does roam about) who are willing to test most items for electrical safety. The testing only looks at items that plug into a 13A plug/socket, like the ones in houses. If the plug is similar size to this style, question us and there is a high possibility that we can test the item. If the plug/socket is larger and round, question us anyway, but we may not be able to do a test.

A few important things for you as a user to do is check that all the items that you use are in date and the unit doesn't sustain any damage, either to the casing, or to the mains cable. The way to check the item is in date is to look at the small label near the front of the unit. If the date stated is in the future and is either a green label or says passed on, and the unit/cable is undamaged then the unit can be used. If the date is in the past, or the unit is damaged, bring it to us. If most of the room needs a test within the month then speak to the building faculties team (or Ryan) and they will see about timetabling you in to get the whole room tested. If you are planning to run an experiment that needs items that will go out of date before the experiment finishes, then it can be arranged for a section to be tested.

Should your mains circuit go off and you suspect that a particular unit has caused it to trip of, we can test the unit, and communicate with you and the electrician to get the circuit back on and suitable steps to ensure the unit responsible is repaired/replaced.

When you as a user notices an item that is classed as a hazard such as a mains lead is damaged, then the unit should be disconnected, and either brought down, or if the unit is unmovable then mark it as 'not to be turned on' and one of us fetched at the earliest opportunity to check your fears. If the fault is found early enough it can be fixed without to much bother, however, we are not yet trained to start peoples hearts from the mains yet!


We have kept a few select items that have gone bang or failed for some reason in our cabinet of bangs. If you think that all items are OK to be left alone, come and view the cabinet.