0

Not sure where to post this question. I gave a product using rpi 3 and it is being used as an external nighttime camera. I add here that I do not expect this product to make me rich as it has been done all before. I am just trying to improve my portfolio. After trial and error, to last 8 hrs of taking JPEG’s detectable on motion I would need to use a 20000mAh battery capacity. . The only thing I see capable of that is to use a lithium battery and have it housed inside a waterproof container with my pi and camera.

Realising for the 1st time that the postage of lithium batteries needed to be handled with care I can imagine there may be safety requirements using this type of battery with the intention of commercial selling.

I don’t want to cause a fire hazard etc.

Appreciate I will he told to see legal advice but I am not doing this for profit and I can’t be the only one on this site who needed to consider this even if it was just for personal use.

This is product created in the Uk for just UK customers Thanks

  • Legal regulations vary by country; where are you located, and where will the product be sold? In many cases, there may not be explicit legal regulations on how to build your product, but you may face liability if it causes damage. – Nate Eldredge Jan 5 at 18:08
  • @NateEldredge on a low par today. quite right. Added that info. My concern is safety and then obligations – Andrew Simpson Jan 5 at 18:10
2

We cannot competently advise you about the safety of your product. Nor can we give you specific legal advice, that is, we can't promise you that you won't get sued if the product blows up and someone gets maimed. You would have to get tailored advice from a paid attorney for that (who would have to study the specifics of your situation). On general grounds, though, you could be liable for any harm that arises from the device malfunctioning. One prominent question would be whether you have a duty of care. You say that you are not doing this "for profit", but I assume you are not asking if you can safely make a gadget for your brother, as an informal favor, instead, you are doing this for money, but just your materials cost (and nothing for labor). Still, you're getting something of value from this -- just something to add to your professional resume, as opposed to money. There is a duty of care between professionals (like you) and their customers.

The other prominent question (which isn't about law) is whether the damage could be foreseen by a prudent person. The law simply says that if it is foreseeable, you can be held liable: the law does not say when some outcome is foreseeable. It's well-known that lithium ion batteries can be extremely dangerous, so it's not like an explosion would be a total surprise. Perhaps, though, the explosion was the result of clever new form of computer hacking by foreign spies that you could not possibly have known about, then you would not be held liable. But if you ignore the known effect of overheating in your design, then would probable be found liable. So that is a very fact-specific and technical issue.

  • Foreseeability of dames is totally about the law – Dale M Jan 5 at 22:32
  • You misinterpreted my statement: we cannot tell him whether the event was foreseeable. – user6726 Jan 5 at 22:41
  • Hi Thanks for a comprehensive reply. Much appreciated. The angle I was looking at that if there were regulations I had to adhere to then the detail in that would help in what I need to do to make the device safe. I am aware of the over heating aspect and will have cooling fans in place. I guess I was looking at the housing and proximity between battery and camera. Just looking for guidelines as to the design and materials of the housing. I am trying to find as much info as I can 1st before seeking paid legal advice. Thanks for your replies – Andrew Simpson Jan 6 at 9:38
0

For anywhere in the EU you need "CE marking". This describes the standards you have to meet. (Strictly speaking, only if you sell outside the UK, but in practice there isn't a lot of difference).

While you cannot claim CE marking for a product merely because the components are CE marked, if the assembly is simple (as in this case) then its a lot more straightforward. For the battery you should be able to check that it is CE marked and then rely on the specifications. The Raspberry Pi is already compliant, and there is an integrator programme which will help you.

Beyond that, you should document your engineering process. Make a list of all the things that could go wrong. Consider how you could reduce the risk or severity of each. Take actions where appropriate. Write all this down and stick it in a file with a date on it. This is all evidence that you did your best, which is very important under the law. Ultimately health and safety law says that you should reduce risks "as low as reasonably practicable". Having evidence of your reasoning lets you demonstrate that you did this.

This isn't just lawyer-deterrent, its good engineering that will help you produce a safe product.

For batteries, the only regulation I could find that specifically addresses your question is The Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008, which says that you should make the battery removable and document the type so the user can replace it, unless continuity of power is a design requirement.

Finally, don't forget that while all this stuff is a defence when you get sued it doesn't necessarily stop someone from suing you. You should consider (a) legal expense insurance and (b) creating a company to act as a legal firewall between your business and your house.

  • [For anywhere in the EU you need "CE marking". This describes the standards you have to meet.] Yes, but is that only the case if I intend to sell outside the UK? – Andrew Simpson Jan 6 at 13:04
  • [While you cannot claim CE marking for a product merely because the components are CE marked, if the assembly is simple (as in this case) then its a lot more straightforward. For the battery you should be able to check that it is CE marked] You state I can not rely on the CE marking to claim it is CE marking. But then say it should be straightforward to check but you do not say how to know it is indeed compliant (in case of a fraudlent claim) so that kind of does not help me apart from stating the obvious that the CE sticker could be fake. – Andrew Simpson Jan 6 at 13:05
  • [and then rely on the specifications.] What do you mean by this? – Andrew Simpson Jan 6 at 13:05
  • [The Raspberry Pi is already compliant, and that page also has links to an integrator programme which will help you.] Care to show me those links that are pertient to my question? – Andrew Simpson Jan 6 at 13:05
  • [~ document your engineering process. Make a list of all the things that could go wrong. Consider how you could reduce the risk or severity of each. Take actions where appropriate. Write all this down and stick it in a file with a date on it. This is all evidence that you did your best, which is very important under the law. Ultimately health and safety law says that you should reduce risks "as low as reasonably practicable". Having evidence of your reasoning lets you demonstrate that you did this.] I am after regulations and requirements. – Andrew Simpson Jan 6 at 13:06

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.