Frequently Asked Questions about Appliance Leakage Circuit Interrupters

Q. What is an ALCI?
A. Appliance Leakage Circuit Interrupter. It is a device intended for the protection of personnel from electrical shock hazards.
Q. Why do I need an ALCI?
A. If an approval agency like UL requires you to use an ALCI for your appliance. You can also use an ALCI for marketing purpose if UL will allow it and to provide extra safety for your appliance.
Q. What ground fault current does ALCI trips at?

A. It will shut down the power to the appliance when there is a ground fault current of 6mA or more but not less than 4mA.

Q. What is ground fault?

A. It is a problem in an electrical system or appliance that has an unintentional electrical connection between a part of the appliance operating normally at some potential to ground, and ground.

Q. Why is ground fault dangerous?

A. Ground fault can cause serious injury or even death if the personnel are exposed to it and the appliance has no ALCI or GFCI protection.

Q. How many ALCI styles are available in the market?

A. Cord connected types (plug and in line), panel mount and custom made types.

Q. Do you sell all types?

A. We manufacture plug type(our popular model), in line, panel mount, exclusive custom designs for specific customers.

Q. If I have my own custom design, are you willing to work with me and give me price?

A. Yes. We can take a look and welcome your own design.

Q. What is double insulation or double insulated?

A. It is an insulation system of an appliance that has functional and supplementary insulation. You can tell if the appliance is rated double insulated by counting the number of conductors in the power cord. Double insulated appliance for outdoor use typically uses two conductor power cords.

Q. Who determines how many conductors are required for the power cord in an appliance?

A. The appliance designer and the electrical engineer will do the designing and approval agencies like UL does the testing if they can pass as double insulated and can use a two conductor power cord.

Q. Why do I need a ground wire?

A. If your appliance cannot pass as double insulated, if the appliance maker wants to provide extra protection for marketing idea or approval agencies like UL requires 100% grounding in your appliance category.

Q. What do the colors of the conductor mean?

A. Ground wire is usually green color, Hot or Line wire is black color and Return or Neutral wire is white color.

Q. Is it a problem if the power cord conductors are not connected to the correct terminal connections to your ALCI?

A. Yes, big problem and cause serious injury.

Q. Can you supply 2 conductor(2 prong) and or 3 conductor(3 prong) ALCI?

A. Yes. All our cord connected ALCI (plug and in line) are available to receive your 2 conductor power cord and some models can accept 3 conductor power cord.

Q. Can I connect a two conductor power cord to your 3 prong ALCI and market it as grounded appliance and advertise it as extra safe?

A. No. This is not acceptable and approval agencies like UL will not allow it.

Q. Can I use a 2 prong ALCI to my three conductor power cord so I save money?

A. No.

Q. What do you mean by mechanical reset in ALCI?

A. The ALCI will work right away when you plug it in the AC outlet as long as the reset button is pushed on. It will stay on when the AC power is lost and returns after shutdown.

Q. Can I use an ALCI in place of a GFCI?

A. No.

Q. How do I know if I need ALCI or GFCI?

A. It depends on your appliance requirement to secure safety agency approval like UL, ETL, etc. Hair dryer is one example of an appliance requiring an ALCI, bathroom heater fans, wet/dry vacuum cleaner, carpet cleaner, hair blower, etc.

Q. Why ALCI does not use a UL label?

A. ALCI is a UL Recognized Component and marked “UR”. It is not UL listed which uses a label.

Q. How come ALCI is not rainproof?

A. 99.9% of ALCI applications are mostly indoor use therefore, there is no rainproof requirement.

Q. Can an ALCI be rainproof if used outdoor?

A. Yes but we do not make rainproof ALCI. Besides, UL requires a GFCI for most outdoor applications.

Q. Are you approved for use in Canada?

A. There is no requirement for ALCI in Canada.

Q. What is a pig tail?

A. In an ALCI, a pig tail refers to the input cord of an in line type ALCI.

Q. What is the maximum length allowed for the pig tail?

A. According to UL, 12 inches is the maximum.

Q. Can you ship ALCI with and without cords?

A. Yes. We have some models we can ship with no cords. Contact us for details.

Q. Can I use SPT or any other flat cords to your ALCI?

A. Yes. We have some models that can use round cords and the most popular is SVT. We can always tell you if your cord can be used or not by letting us know the cord specs.

Q. What AWG size can I use?

A. It depends on your appliance rating. 15AWG is rated for 15A max, 16AWG is rated for 13A max and 18AWG is rated for 10A max.

Q. What is an IDCI?

A. Immersion Detection Circuit Interrupter. It is a device intended for protection of personnel from electrical shock hazards.

Q. Do you make an IDCI?

A. No. We believe no one in the industry makes this device anymore because the overall cost is greater than an ALCI.

Q. What is so expensive about IDCI? It looks very simple and easy to make?

A. An IDCI is a lot simpler than an ALCI but it requires a special power cord with a 3rd sensing conductor and must be connected inside the appliance to function properly.

Q. Can I use your ALCI for outdoor use?

A. No.

Q. Do I need to use a special terminal to connect to your ALCI?

A. No. It is not required and our terminal box (solder or screw terminal) can accept some terminal types.

Q. Can your ALCI work at 50Hz?

A. Our ALCI is marketed and available for use in the USA which is 60Hz. UL tested our ALCI and approved for 60Hz. We cannot guarantee that the ALCI will continue to work over long period of time at 50Hz.

Q. My appliance is ETL approved. Can I use your UL approved ALCI with my ETL approved appliance?

A. Yes you can. ETL will allow UL approved devices to give you full approval.

Q. Can I use a 60C rated cord and can I get UL approval?

A. It depends on your appliance’s electrical and temperature performance as evaluated by UL and other approval agencies.

Q. How about 105C?

A. Yes.

Q. Can I use a cord with no approvals?

A. No.

Q. Why do you have a warning label on the power cord and can I remove it?

A. If we supply you with the ALCI with cord and your application requires a warning label, we must attach this warning label. Removing this label after we shipped and received by you will be your own responsibility.

Q. Can I supply you the cord at no charge and you assemble it to your ALCI?

A. Yes.

Q. What is open neutral protection?

A. It is a UL requirement on portable and cord connected GFCI only. If the white wire or Neutral was cut or disconnected on the supply side of the GFCI, it must not provide power to the appliance.

Q. Is your ALCI has open neutral protection?

A. No.

Q. What is grounded neutral protection?

A. It is a requirement for all types of GFCI only and if the white wire or Neutral becomes grounded on the appliance or load side, the GFCI will also cut power to the appliance.

Q. Is your ALCI requires having an open neutral protection?

A. No.

Q. My customer is asking if they can use an extension cord to plug the ALCI. Is this OK?

A. No. We do not recommend using an extension cord.

Q. Will the ALCI trip and cut power to the appliance if there is an accidental short circuit?

A. No. An ALCI is not a circuit breaker and it is not designed to provide protection against short circuit.

Q. I thought ALCI will protect against shock hazard but I read somewhere it will not protect against electric shock?

A. An ALCI or GFCI only protects against electric shock if you get exposed to the black wire conductor directly or indirectly and you are grounded. If you are exposed and touched both black wire and white wire, you will get an electric shock. An ALCI or GFCI will not protect you this way.

Q. What if I touched the black wire and I am not grounded? Will the ALCI cut power and protect me?

A. No. The ALCI will not cut power since you are not grounded and there is no shock hazard.

Q. How do I know if your ALCI meets the latest requirement from UL?

A. Our head office in USA works very closely with UL in Melville, New York and we never miss any standards and or file review so our ALCI meets all the latest requirements.

Q. Do you test your ALCI 100%?

A. Yes. We test each ALCI according to the UL testing procedures.

Q. What other protection products do you make?

A. We manufacture GFCI for many outdoor applications, power washer, extension cords, and other misc. applications; LCDI for cord protection for air conditioners, RCD for Australia and Europe and ELCI for equipment protection. Contact us for more details.

Q. I still don’t find the answer to my question here?

A. Call us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.