Lab Safety Guidelines

  • In case of an emergency, remember that ECE labs have emergency contact and other phone numbers posted near the lab door.  Every ECE lab has a small first-aid kit near the lab entrance.
  • Report accidents and injuries immediately to T.A. and instructors.
  • There should always be more than one person in the department’s Power Systems lab.
  • Wear safety glasses when cutting wires, trimming component leads and soldering.
  • If you are new to soldering, look at several of the many tutorials on soldering on YouTube:
  • Do not touch the tip of a soldering iron to find out if it is hot.
  • Do not melt a ball of solder on the soldering iron tip and then move the tip over to the joint you want to solder.  If the ball of solder drops, you will have molten droplets of solder splattering.
  • When soldering, use a fume extractor to remove and filter the fumes.  Here is a YouTube video on solder fumes:  
  • Some oscilloscope inputs are floating, meaning they are completely isolated from the mains power supply.   For these oscilloscopes one can safely make measurements on the main power supply. Other oscilloscopes may have their ground connection connected to the mains power supply.  Consequently, one has to be very careful with these oscilloscopes when making measurements on the main power supply, otherwise one may inadvertently create a short.  For a particular oscilloscope one may not know how the oscilloscope ground is connected, so a good rule to follow is to avoid making measurements on the mains power supply with an oscilloscope.   The safest method is to us an isolation transformer.
  • Always wear shoes, make sure shoes have not slip soles.
  • Some components can explode, burst into flames and get hot, so be careful
    • Electrolytic capacitors are polarized, which means they have a “++ side and a “-“ side.  They can burst open or even explode when they are place in a circuit incorrectly.  See for  Tantalum electrolytic capacitors (if used incorrectly) can cause fire.  See
    • Never exceed the voltage rating for electrolytic capacitors, as they may explode.  See for example
    • Some LEDs can “pop” or burst open and even catch fire if they are used without current-limiting resistors or the current-limiting resistor is too small.  See
    • Some components in a circuit can get quite hot even though they are functioning properly.  For example, linear voltage regulator ICs is often bolted to heat sink to cool them down.  Without a heat sink some of these ICs will get hot enough to cause severe burns.

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