Artisans Asylum Electrical Safety

From Artisans Asylum Wiki


Displays: Any electrical things powered for the benefit of others. This includes but isn’t limited to LED structures and art objects.

Power (or plug) strips: These are extension cords that have more than one outlet at the “extension” end, i.e. not just an extension cord. More than one device can be powered with it at a distance from the provided electrical drop. UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)  systems are considered to be power strips and must be plugged directly into a provided drop.

Primary battery: Any battery that is not designed to be recharged. This includes alkaline batteries and other individual cells or grouped cells that are discarded when exhausted. An example is the standard 9-volt rectangular battery.

Rechargeable battery: Any cell or battery containing individual cells intended to be recharged.

Electrical power

  • Plug (power) strips may be affixed to structures using only product-specific hardware attachments or methods.
  • They may not be attached to studio partitions.
  • Power strips must have built-in overload protection.
    • They may only be plugged into dedicated outlets; no cascaded (daisy-chained) power strips are allowed.
  • Electric power consumption
    • Turn off (or put into a low-power or sleep mode) all equipment not in use when the member is not present, except:
      • Limit to 25 watts items for display or demonstration when the member is not at A2.
      • If practical, turn off displays and demos automatically overnight, e.g. midnight to 9 AM, or when leaving A2.
      • Seek approval from the facilities manager for displays or art pieces that use over 100 watts.
    • Member equipment that uses more than 1 KW when operating requires listing with the Health & Safety committee and approval of the facilities manager. Such equipment cannot be operated when the member isn’t present.
  • Radio equipment (RF)
    • Equipment that generates radio frequency emissions must not cause interference with other electrical devices.
    • Radio antennas must meet FCC requirements for exposure to people. The combination of radiated power, frequency, duty cycle,  and distance from people figure in the limitations. See the ARRL RF Exposure Calculator to determine the minimum distance between the antenna and people required by the regulations:

Batteries and battery chargers

  • Primary batteries must never be recharged.
  • Rechargeable batteries must be charged using the manufacturer’s Battery Management System (BMS), whether part of a separate charger or part of the device itself. Well-made, portable devices (not knockoff cheap products) with internal batteries have built-in BMS. Examples include computers, cell phones, and power tools (with the manufacturer’s charger if separate). When in doubt, don’t charge the battery at A2.
  • Do not charge batteries with power supplies not specifically designed to charge the specific type of battery.
  • Rechargeable batteries that are internal to or removable from portable devices such as cell phones, laptops, and power tools may be left attached to the charger unattended.
  • High-capacity multi-cell battery packs with greater than 150 Watt-Hours have special rules:
    • These batteries may not be charged inside A2 buildings. They must be charged outside in a designated vehicle area.
    • Only commercial chargers designed for the specific battery type and capacity are acceptable. If the battery type isn’t known, only the manufacturer-supplied charger may be used.
    • High-capacity batteries may only be charged while the owner is at A2.

Chemistry–Lead-acid batteries

  • Lead Acid batteries can release hydrogen gas.
    • Use a charger designed for lead-acid batteries.
    • These batteries can explode under adverse conditions, spraying sulfuric acid. Be cautious. Consider eye protection when charging them.
    • Do not charge in areas with sparks or flame.
    • Charge only in areas with good ventilation. Do not charge in an enclosed area, such as a cabinet.
    • Connect the battery first to the charger and then apply power, and remove connections in the reverse order. This avoids sparks that could ignite hydrogen produced by the battery.
  • When practical, charge lead-acid batteries outdoors.

Chemistry–Lithium batteries (all types)

  • General advice
    • Avoid excessive heat, especially when charging.
    • Avoid completely discharging the battery. A good battery management system (BMS) should do this.
    • Store batteries (and the devices that contain them) in cool, dry locations to extend battery life.
    • When a battery will not take a charge or is very hot or swollen, immediately remove the battery from the device or charger and move it to a safe place for recycling.
    • Store batteries away from other lithium batteries and flammables.

Other chemistries

  • Chemistries other than the above, for example, NiCad, may be stored and charged at A2, provided that they do not exceed 150 Watt-hours and are charged with a charger designed for their battery type.
  • Devices containing batteries of other chemistries that incorporate appropriate charging circuitry may be charged unattended at A2.


  • Batteries of rated capacity greater than 150 Watt-hours and devices that contain them may only be charged out of doors in a designated area.

Electric vehicles

  • Vehicles containing lithium batteries may not be brought indoors at Artisans Asylum. They must be parked or charged in designated outdoor areas. E&R has power supplies that can be used to work on electric vehicles with their batteries removed. Electric wheelchairs are excluded from this restriction but must be attended during charging.
  • Most vehicles incorporate the manufacturer’s charging circuitry (a Battery Management System, BMS). Vehicle batteries being charged apart from the vehicle must be charged with a charger designed for the battery type and capacity.
  • Vehicle batteries may not be brought inside at A2. If they are to be charged when removed from the vehicle, the charging must be done out of doors in a designated charging area.
  • Electric vehicles parked outside Artisans should not be left overnight. In an emergency requiring leaving the vehicle, it must not be under charge.
  • Batteries with a rated capacity of greater than 150 Watt-hours are not permitted indoors at Artisans Asylum.
  • Charge batteries away from other batteries and flammables.
  • Do not attempt to charge lithium batteries in ambient temperatures less than 32 degrees F or greater than 100 degrees F. Doing so will degrade the battery and could result in a fire.
  • Any exception to these rules must be approved in advance by the Facilities Manager.
  • eBikes, eScooters, Hoverboards
    • Electric vehicles must be charged with either a built-in charger or an external charger designed for the battery type used in the vehicle. If the battery type is unknown, you may not use a non-manufacturer-supplied external charger at Artisans Asylum.
    • Electric vehicles being charged must be parked outside the buildings in spaces where power for charging batteries is available. Please check the posted notices about the power available from the outlets and adjust your usage or charger accordingly.
    • Electric vehicles may be brought into Artisans Asylum for repair with their batteries removed. E&R has power supplies that can be used to test vehicles.