Ambulance Battery Isolation - IEC 60601

F

fonk140

#1
The 60601 standard defines (3.120) the battery of the ambulance as mains supply , does this means that is necessary to provide isolation between the battery and the rest of the circuits (i.e isolation from primary (ambulace battery) and secundary (other circuits and accesible and applied parts))?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Peter Selvey

Staff member
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#3
It will depend on the individual situation. There are various exclusions and simplifications in the standard for circuits running at less than 60Vdc, but for this case they would need to be read carefully and the construction reviewed carefully to see if the exclusions can apply.

For example, often secondary circuits <60Vdc are excluded from evaluation using 8.4.2c. However if the frame of the device is metal and connected to the negative of the battery supply, open circuiting one pole of the supply (single fault condition) would create a large area at 12V (or 24V), too large for the exclusion to plausibly apply (probability of contact between the part and the patient).

If the frame is plastic and the secondary not easily accessible it could be OK. The exclusion also has a limit of 240VA so fuse size could come into it.

Applied part isolation will depend on the type of contact (electrode, plastic sensor etc), and rating (B, BF, CF).

Common sense would anyhow try to limit or isolate accessible parts. If every designer did not worry because it is only 12Vdc, there would be the potential for short circuits in the environment.

Just my guess as well: due to the lower supply voltage, supply currents are relatively high so there may be significant voltage differences (voltage drops) in the "ground" of the vehicle. For this reason it could makes sense to keep things isolated (even just functional insulation).

Note that the isolation requirements at lower voltages are quite moderate, nothing like the 4kV/8mm required for 230V mains.
 
F

fonk140

#4
Thanks Peter for your answer,

Why do you say that all circuits <60Vdc are secondary circuits? in this case if there is no isolation from the battery it would have to be considered as mains (3.120) even if they are lower than 60 Vdc doesn't it?

I say this because the isolation requirement is pretty high (even at low voltages) for mains supply. For example 2 MOPP would be 3KV/3.4mm and 2 MOOP 2KV/2mm (2mm is the air clearance from table 13)
 
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