We have similar problems with loose charging plugs of battery operated equipment on ambulances...and of course the battery is always dead when you need it most. Maybe its time we created a new "standard" outlet for medical equipment....something easy to use but with better retention...and then create a simple adapter that allows the device to be used in a standard outlet, of course the adapter needs to be somehow mounted to the plug so its never lost...medical equipment typically doesn't have the same price pressures as consumer electronics...when you buy a $30,000 EKG monitor, you don't mind paying a few extra $ for a plug that works! One simple solution that we have tried that seems to work is switching to plugs with small LED power indicators in them, with a quick look you can tell if there is power being supplied to the power cord.
Twist-loc connectors might solve that particular problem, but would cause greater ones.
First, 120VAC medical equipment with attached cord sets (in the US) come with "standard" hospital-grade 3-prong plugs. And, all standard outlets accommodate these. The cost of switching all outlets where a device might be used and all device plugs to compensate for this one problem would be prohibitive.
Second, medical devices running in battery-mode frequently accompany transported patients. That would mean that any area or vehicle where the patient might be held for any significant length of time would also have to accomodate these plugs for recharging to maintain operation. That would include ambulances, clinics, waiting rooms, hallways....even homes.
That problem, in that hospital was resolved economically through staff awareness.
As an aside, a large percentage of medical devices are now using wall-plug power supplies...for two reasons. The medical devices could be made smaller. And, maybe more practically, the UL approval is now entirely on the power supply manufacturer, not on the medical devise manufacturer. The "wall-warts" compounded our outlet problem. I'm sure you've experienced the situation of a wall-plug supply, plugged into one outlet of a duplex, blocking the second outlet. Each such device occupies two outlets.
Warren, a twist-lock plug and receptacle would fix this problem. The important outlets in a hospital SHOULD be different from a conventional outlet, so mundane things like a fan or radio cannot be plugged into them.
Twist-locks would keep the receptacles dedicated to hospital equipment, be easy to use, prevent accidental unplugging.
"Maybe the alarm on the devices used should sound until the power is secured. And loud!"
Warren, can you imagine a power failure, and having a hundred-plus devices going into battery-mode and continuously, loudly alarming. The manufacturers make choices based on real world user input...hopefully.
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From design feasibility, to development, to production, having the right information to make good decisions can ultimately keep a product from failing validation. The key is highly focused information that doesn’t come from conventional, statistics-based tests but from accelerated stress testing.
There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
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