Seaward Europa

Today we are looking at another older tester the Seaward Europa +
First, a little background history, the Europa + was the replacement for the Europa, the main difference between the two is the Europa Pat had an alphanumerical keypad where as the Europa + has a full qwerty keypad both are of the membrane type.
Both the Europa and the Europa + operate nearly identically when you discount the two different keypads.
Both also share a lot of DNA with the Seaward SuperNova series of Pat’s

The Europa+ is a compact advanced Pat tester that performed we’ll when it was introduced to the market, it didn’t appear in Australia on the market as early as it could of due to the success of the non plus version.
The case of the Europa + is a hard plastic which isn’t very robust but Seaward added a large and solid rubber bumper to the Pat, this makes it much more robust.

The Europa+ today almost 20 years on is still a very capable tester, it works along the same lines as most of Seawards more recent Pat’s right and left arrow keys as well as up and down arrow keys centered around a circle operate drop down boxes, as well as this there are the function keys situated below the large LCD screen.

The Pat can work in various modes with settings being changeable by the user on all occasions providing things aren’t password protected. This doesn’t have to be a problem but could be, that said we only know of one Pat where it can be operated in a totally secure manner that guarantees the integrity of results.

Accessory sockets are not as clearly marked as they could be but mistakes should be obvious as earth tests will all fail if wander lead is not plugged into the right socket.
Battery operation is not possible nor can it perform RCD testing

Well let’s see what tests can be done

Protective Earth testing
This is able to be performed at either 200 milliamps , 10 or 25 Amps

Insulation Resistance test
This can be performed at both 250 and 500 Volts.

This does all the necessary leakage tests including touch and differential leakage testing.

Lead test
Leads are very simply tested and simply plug into an accessory lead that plugs into the Pat iec socket.

Other features

This Pat can store 5000 results in its onboard memory as well results can be downloaded, results can be directly printed onto tough tags direct from a label printer and it can also have data entry via a linear bar code scanner.
Information is put into the Pat before tests are performed rather than afterwards, whilst this is standard for all Seaward Pats it can be a time waster.
Overall this Pat is adequate when it comes to functionality but for an advanced Pat it is showing its age.

So let’s see how it stacks up with the big three questions

Q Does it enable the testing person to comply with the requirements of ASNZS 3760?
A Yes providing RCDs are not needing to be tested.

Q Is it a safety tester or compliance-only tester?
A Based on our criteria it is definitely a safety tester.

Q Value for money?
A When originally introduced it was one of the best value Pat’s on the market for serious Pat testing, today it’s aged and is not a particularly nice tester to fix, if it’s done a lot of work it will almost certainly be high maintenance unless you know the history of the particular tester we would suggest avoiding it.

We hope this review has been helpful.

Happy testing

The Pat review team

Seaward Super Nova Elite

Today’s review is a little different as it is dealing with an advanced but very old model that has been updated numerous times over the years, that said its a proven Pat, so what is it were reviewing, none other than the Seaward Super Nova.

As is usual a little background, the Super Nova went into production in the late 1990s a totally different looking tester followed it which was very similar in operation and that is the Seward Europa+ which we’ll also look at at some point, Seaward is a big and proven player in the Pat market and as can be seen by the continuation of some models like the Super Nova some of there early testers have proven very popular over the year’s.

When we first saw the Super Nova back in the 90’s it did look extremely modern and hi tech, it had a lot going for it but one thing that wasn’t so popular was its weight, Seaward produced a lighter weight version called the XE and the Plus before that there was the XA
The lighter versions had the flash test feature removed which did considerably lighten them.

Over the years many versions have come out including the above models, the current version in 2021 is the Super Nova Elite, it does contain the flash test as well as being able to run off either 110 or 230/240 Volts as well as this it has basic RCD test functionality on board.

The Super Nova comes in a unique case which we believe is blow mounded the testing hardware is separated from the screen and keypad controls which are hinged and fold back into the tester body when not in use.
The user then carries the unit via a handle extending past the keypad/ screen, inside the main housing there is also a small compartment for keeping accessories and the like, though not room for your lunch unless your on a big diet!

The hinge out screen/ keypad contains all the controls as well as a large qwerty key pad, in typical Seaward fashion scrolling up and down as well as side ways selects drop boxes this scrolling can be done in all directions situated around a central key, this system to be fair to Seaward works very well, also there are function keys directly below the screen that correlate to procedures dictated by the screen the user is in.

Considering its lineage this has to be one of the best Pat’s of all time, today its got a lot of competition from other brands and from its own family, early models had huge problems many to do with the hinged keypad/screen these have been overcome today.
The last update adding the RCD function in, be it basic, does probably give some longtime users the option to continue with a model they like and are familiar with.

Well let’s look at some of the test functions

Protective Earth test, we are pleased to say unlike many other Seawars Pat’s this still has the ability to perform an earth bond test at 25 Amps as well as 10 and 200 milliamps

Insulation Resistance test, here we have the ability to perform 250 and 500 Volt tests and not so sure if this is a positive but also it performs a flash test at either 1500 or 3000 Volts. ( suggestion from PR team loose the probe if you don’t want people doing this test)

Leakage test, this Pat can do all the necessary leakage tests including differential and touch leakage.

Lead testing, easily performed in the standard way.

RCD testing, like we said this is a recent addition and is very basic, you should investigate exactly what this feature does and compare closely to your needs and local regulations as RCD requirements vary greatly from country to country. Obviously its only the latest Super Novas that can do any RCD tests anyhow.

Other features
Tag printers as well as bar code scanners are all available coupled with rfid technology, there’s also an onboard 5000 results memory.
Help screens are helpful to new users and Seaward allow there testers to operate according to user knowledge by way of either an advanced or novice user category which is selectable.
Options for incrementing appliance numbers or replicating assets and the like are adequate and useful to most.

Summing up, its old and new its proven but certainly not the most advanced Pat out there but for many it could be all thats needed.
If you need to do a lot of 25 Amp tests on leads or other items you could run into overheating problems we haven’t tried this on the new model but old ones did certainly over heat and time out.
These have been around along time so there’s no doubt plenty on the second hand market … But some of these will of had a real workout including all there relays, so check out thoroughly or you could have buyers remorse or at best you’ll have no further use for a hairdresser.
Further things to look at are the data ports ie do they work and how mechaically loose and wobly is the keypad
Seaward testers also have a total test count onboard so it may be worth getting this info also on any Pat you’re looking at.

Well now to the big three questions

Q Does it enable the testing person to comply with ASNZS 3760 ?
A yes we do believe so

Q Is it a safety tester or compliance only tester?
A This is a safety tester by our definition

Q Value for money?
A Now that I’m sorry you’ll have to decide on second-hand units, but for new ones its got a lot of competing options many that look good but if you’re interested in safety it’s definitely one worth considering also check out the review on the Seaward Europa + if you’re a Seaward fan as its a similar tester.

Well happy testing

The Pat Review team.

MetroPat 600/900

Today we are continuing to look at some of the old Pat’s that are still out there even though they are mostly out of production
Today we are going to look at the metroPat 600/900

As usual a bit of background here, As could be assumed the metroPat 600 came first in the mid 1990s and then the newer model 900 in the late 1990s
Both units came in the standard Metrotest case of the time so until you open them you really don’t know what you’ve got.

Essentially they are both quite advanced Pat’s at least for there time, both had memory capability and print and scan abilities
The metroPat 600 was easily distinguishable from the 900 once the case was opened as the 900 had a large full qwerty keyboard on the front panel where as the 600 had large arrow button to select tests and for data entry.
They both shared the same back-lit green LCD which was quite small though adequate.

Very few of the metroPat 600s went to Austraia, how many of the metroPat 900s is unknown, though a lot of the metroPat 900s were sold in NZ.
Whilst these Pat’s aren’t as well known as Seaward or Megger they certainly competed with them.
The MetroiPats and the iPat SupaPats do share some common history which we will go into some other time, except to say today’s iPats (metroiPats) are right up there if not ahead of there competitors be it there less known.

Well let’s check out the functionality

As the units are essentially the same with the only real difference being the lack of key pad on the 600 we’ll deal with controls and data for each them combine for rest of the tests.

The Metropat 600 had functional data entry by way of scrolling (similar to the MicroPat+ if anyone has seen these) absolutely workable but seriously not nice, having said that people using the Metrel Delta Pat and entering data on board would be right at home with it, personally I’d move house !
In away thats what they did in effect when they introduced the metroPat 900 as now users no longer had to scroll to enter data as they could use the qwerty key pad ( both the 600 and 900 could also enter data via the barcode scanner )

Both Pat’s could be used in various modes from manual single tests to auto test modes and could be pass word protected to add security to the testing process.
You can sort of see history in the making when you consider the Audit codes used in the new metroiPats and how they add certainty to the test results, the passwords on the metroPat 600/900 went a part way to adding this security.

Let’s take a look at the test functions as usual well start with

Protecticve Earth test
Both Pat’s could perform tests at 100milliamps right through to 25 Amps much like many Pat’s of the time a separate wander lead was plugged in for the 100milliamp test.

Insulation Resistance test
This on the Pat 600 was only available at 500 volts, some of the later Pat900s may have also had a 250-volt test function.
Both models also could perform a flash test at 1500 and 3000 volts as standard, this was probably not their best feature and we know many were supplied without the flash probe to help avoid the use of this test by the untrained!

Leakage testing was available on all models at mains voltage and 40 volts for substitute leakage testing.

Lead testing was performed by adding an iec lead into the test socket on the Pat with the other end plugged into the lead or powerboard ( same as normal today )

Other features
1000 results could be stored onboard and these could be downloaded to Pat downloader software or printed out.
As said previously a scanner could also be used with these Pat’s.
Battery operation was not possible and there was no onboard RCD test function, though at the time this again was very much the norm.

In summary the metroPat 900s had quiet a lot going for them though we do know some of them had reliability problems yet some are still going – seems to of been luck whether you got a good or not so one !
These were introduced at a very similar time to the Seward Super Nova and many early Super Novas had serious reliability issues, maybe it was merging technology of the times.

Well let’s see how they go with the big 3 questions.

Q Does it enable the testing person to comply with ASNZS 3760?
A yes providing RCDs are not in the equation.

Q Is it a safety tester or compliance-only tester?
A Definitely a safety tester by our definition.

Q Value for money?
A At introduction it was average value, wouldn’t want to put a value on them today and wouldn’t want to buy one… if you inherit one and it’s still going it may continue to do so, but eventually, you’ll have to scrap it as parts aren’t available – common now for most old gear, again calibration adjustments may also make it end of life, as they say, all good things must come to an end!

Happy testing

The Pat Review team

MetroPat 200

Today we are starting a review of some of the testers that are out of production but still very commonly in use.
If your looking for a second hand Pat read on first up will be the metroPat 200/220

A little background these were produced by Metrotest instruments hence the name metroPat production was from the mid 1990s to mid 2000s.
A basic functional Pat where results needed to be interpreted by the user, results being displayed in a large easy to read format on a LCD display.

There are as shown above were two different models the 200 and the 220 the later had the ability to do a substitute leakage test otherwise they were identical, early models were yellow while later where black all came in a tough ABS plastic type case with removable lid.

Controls were very simple a rocker switch next to the labeled test function on the front screen, these switches could be operated in any order though they were displayed in a logical manner from a safety point thereby giving guidance to the less skilled.
The only other control was the rotary switch which switched the test current for the protective earth test.

All the metroPat 200/220s could perform an earth bond test with test currents ranging from 4.5 amps to 20 amps at various preset values, they could also perform an earth continuity test at 100milliamps via a separate test lead.
There was no ability for accessories such as printers nor did any have an onboard memory.
Battery operation was also not possible.

Now let’s just go through the normal test functions
Earth bond and earth continuity tests were both possible with test currents ranging from 100 milliamps to 20 amps.

Now onto the Insulation Resistance test, this was performed at 500volts only, this may sound strange but back in the production period there was little calls for different test voltages.

Leakage testing was not possible accept as a substitute leakage test, the substitute test voltage was 40 volts.

Lead testing was performed by plugging in an adaptor lead as is the norm today.

Other functions were not available on either models.

Summing up this tester, twenty years ago it was probably quite a good little tester when compared to many others, even today it does something many popular testers don’t do still that being a protective earth test at a higher test current (20 Amps) and the actual test results are displayed numerically, which means a good user can determine if something is just passing or just failing.
There are many of these still scattered around NZ and some in Australia so considering there age they have proven to be a reliable basic safety testing Pat that represented good value for money at the time.

We will conclude with the normal big 3 questions.

Q Does it enable the testing person to comply with ASNZS 3760
A In some circumstances ie if earth testing and 500volt Insulation resistance tests only need to be done.

Q Is it a safety tester or compliance-only tester?
A Based on our normal requirements for this we would have to call it a safety tester.

Q Value for money? Probably a little irrelevant now a better question might be should I buy a second-hand one of these and at what price?
This we can answer easily if it’s given to you greatly – but we wouldn’t buy one, they are old and no parts are available anymore, they are also not easy to perform calibration adjustments and it’s highly likely it’s out of calibration.

Well thats it for the first of the out of production and or old Pat’s review, we have a few to follow so keep an eye out.

Happy testing

The Pat Review team

MetroiPat- The SupaPat Version

Today we will look at probably the first touch screen Pat, that is the metroiPat which is mostly sold as a SupaPat, this sits in the $5000-6000 bracket ( in SupaPat format )

First a bit of background, this product is supplied by Metrotest who have a very long history when it comes to Pat testers.
Most of the Pat is built in Poland but some of it is manufactured in NZ, we will look at what Metrotest call the SupaPat version of this Pat.
The ( i ) in the name stands for intelligent, this intelligent Pat does have some fairly unique features which we will go through and decide on.

As supplied by Metrotest in the SupaPat version this Pat has an inbuilt thermal transfer printer which in itself is unique.
It is marketed as a ‘ real safety testing Pat ‘ and when you look at it closely we think they are right, it tests for safety not just compliance and has unique onboard safety warnings.

The Pat can be operated in various modes but the real gain is when its used in what we’ll call ‘security mode’ they call it auto test, anyhow this is the mode that gauantees the integrity of results like no other Pat we’ve seen, it then Prints this code onto the tag.

It is supplied in a tough ABS type case that is then further protected by high density foam all this being incased in a high vis bright safety orange vinyl carry bag, this makes the tester really ‘plug and play’
Inputting of data and all controls accept start and stop ( safety reasons ) are done via the large onboard color touch screen.

Alternatively data may be entered via a 2D scanner, it is claimed up to 1million records can be stored on board ( why you would store that many records we don’t know )

This Pat is very much an unknown in Australia as it was never marketed here, but in NZ it appears to of sold reasonably well.
One thing that seems a little surprising to us is that its not designed to run on batteries in any situation.

We’ve had to examine and try this Pat extensively due to its claims to see whether it lives up to its claims so we will give you lots more about it but first let’s look at what it can do.

Tests Performed

Protective Earth Test
This test can be performed at multiple current settings from 200 miiliamps right up to 25 Amps.

Insulation Resistance Test
This can be performed at 50/250 and 500 Volts

Leakage Testing
Leakage tests include differential, touch, PE leakage and leakage via accessorise clamp.

Lead Testing
As normal but any number of individual tests can be done and results stored for each test ( eg 17 earth tests on a power board or more !)

RCD testing
All portable and fixed RCDs can be tested at various settings including a ramp test and trip times and currents stored/printed at 0 or 180 degrees.

Other Features

These are numerous so this will take some time, however, we will just stick to the ones we consider unique.
The onboard printing system can be used to give the user four different color systems from one roll of tags ( no need to change roll) we haven’t seen this before.
Tags can have as much data as selected as printed tags are continuous in nature and automatically cut to length.
Two tags can be printed and records stored ie a tag for a detachable lead and one for the appliance, failed tags are the most obvious we’ve seen, ( often when folded they aren’t really distinguishable from a pass tag ) also the reason for failure is highlighted automatically onto the tag.
Multiple different selectable standards can be auto printed onto the tag eg ASNZS 3760 /ASNZS 3012 or ASNZS 5561 etc.

Perhaps the most important from a safety and security point of view is the ‘locked in test settings’ this means no one can accidentally or purposely effect the integrity of the results.
Something else we found interesting is that you can use the tester for other uses eg warrant of fitness for a ladder or harness or anything really, the MetroiPats we think will be well worth keeping an eye on as they seem to be a little ahead of the pack without gimmicks !

In summary we haven’t seen many in Australia yet but believe a big shipment of a latter version has been sold here.
They are a very quick Pat packed with extra features that are all worthwhile, the only two negatives we have is they aren’t small but then again they aren’t massive or really heavy either, we do also wonder why no battery operation.

Well let’s see how they stack up when it comes to the big three questions.

Q Does it enable the testing person to comply with ASNZS 3760 ?
A yes completely

Q Is it a safety tester or compliance-only tester?
Based on our criterion this definitely is a safety tester

Q Value for money?
A Compared to other competing Pat’s this we consider is excellent value for money

Happy Testing

The Pat Review team