In the summer of 2017 this travel adaptor was being promoted on the Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunding websites. The promoters are a UK start-up company, Kickstart Success Ltd. Images of the product and screenshots of its description are taken the from company’s press pack and campaign pages.
British Standard BS 8546:2016 Travel adaptors compatible with UK plug and socket system has been in force since April 2016, meaning that travel adaptors placed on the UK market since then must comply with the standard. It was introduced because UK authorities are concerned about the number of unsafe travel adaptors on the market. For more information on BS 8546, see the following sources: BSI, Electrical Safety First, Nemko and Intertek. The MICRO product completely fails to meet that standard! (MICRO has also received a lot of negative comments on one of the Kickstarter forums.)
A promotional article by one of the MICRO team was published on the LinkedIn website: this attracted a lot of negative comment from Electrical Engineering professionals, including the following extracts from comments made by two members of the team responsible for the new British Standard:
“if the pins do not meet the dimensional requirements of the standard, if there is no earth connection, if the fuse does not comply with BS 1362, etc.----in other words, if the product does not meet the safety requirements of BS 1363, then it will be unsafe and non-compliant.”
Malcolm Mullins, Chairman—BSI committee PEL/23 (Electrical Accessories)
“This product is dangerous and would not comply with the UK travel adaptor safety standards BS 8546 or the new annex for travel adaptors in IEC 60884-2-5. I suggest you extensively redesign the product and get it tested, before someone is injured by this dangerous product.”
Giuseppe Capanna, Technical Head - Electrical Accessories, Nemko Ltd
Another significant comment came from Martyn Allen,Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, who wrote that he was: “concerned that your design is focussed on design appeal and doesn't cover basic safety measures. Like others who have commented I would urge you to cease further development until you have demonstrated that you grasp fundamental safety concepts in your product and provide assurance that it will meet the safety objectives of the associated legislation and applicable standards.”
The reaction of the author was not to answer the criticisms, but to remove the article!
Following approaches from UK Trading Standards officers (law enforcement officers), Kickstarter suspended the MICRO campaign on 21st July 2017, refunding over £450,000 to backers. As of 10th August 2017 Indiegogo continues to allow its site to be used to promote the product.
Before describing the non-compliance issues, let’s look at the false claim “with surge protection” shown above, and elaborated as shown below.