Class 2 (Functional Earth) – also referred to as Class 2FE

If you’ve just started to read the new Code of Practice from the IET, you might have noticed a slight change in the way that equipment is classified – previously we’ve considered mains powered electrical equipment to be Class 1 (if it has an earth connection) or Class 2 (if it has double or reinforced insulation.)

Some equipment has required an earth for functional or screening purposes, even though it relies on double or reinforced insulation for safety. An example of this would be a laptop power-supply unit (PSU)

example of a class 2 function appliance

Previously this would have been considered to be a Class 1 appliance, because it has an earth connection, even though it wouldn’t be necessary to carry out electrical tests on it, because there are not any exposed conductive parts. (It would still require a visual inspection, of course.) From now on, we recommend that our members mark these as Class 2 FE in their record keeping systems.

Note that if you use software to keep your records, you may require an update to the software; as an alternative it’s fine to continue to record these as Class 1 or Class 2 items. The important thing to remember is that, because they don’t have any exposed conductive parts, they only need a Visual Inspection but not any electrical tests.

If you’re interested, the change hasn’t come from the IET directly, but results from a change in BS-EN 62368-1. There is a new symbol which you might see on applicable items, although current items might just bear the marking ‘ITE’:-

Class 2 FE (functional earth) symbol

This is a simple overview – For more information please refer to the new Code of Practice or have a chat with us on our exclusive members  Facebook  group (You’ll need to join first)