History

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The Inventor of ‘ThePIP’ is David Heathcote of Gloucester. David describes himself as “an inventing electrical engineer.” Before commencement of this electrical fire safety project, David worked as an electrical inspector for a large UK contracting company who dealt with electrical safety inspections relating to the granting of public entertainments licenses’. David was inspired to look for a solution to the problem of electrical fires caused by HRC after he saved a small child from a fire which had been started by an HRC incident; in this case it was a faulty pull cord shower switch.

As David says “HRC fires are the result of a build-up of heat generated by incrementally degrading of electrical connections within a wiring system which, more often then not, silently progresses without anyone even knowing of the fault’s existence. It is one of the most common and most deadly causes of fire in buildings. I became determined to do something about it because to date we have simply had to live with the problem.”

To prevent fatal electrical shocks, residual current devices (RCDs) are deployed centrally. Equally to avoid drawing excess current or guard against shorts around the wired circuits, miniature circuit breakers or fuses are used. But there has not been any equipment to locate and prevent a socket, switch, fuse board or other similar device from becoming hot and causing fire due to HRC. After much work, David concluded that the solution to the problem had to be a very small passive electrical component which could redundantly reside close to ‘at risk’ connections.

After investing a great deal of his own time and money David felt he had an initial solution. At that point a manufacturing partner was required. After much international research, in 2006, David’s fortunes were realised when the multinational Vishay Intertechnology Corporation agreed to be his R&D/manufacturing partner, where it was agreed they would produce the components and David and his chosen team would present them to the market place.

ThePIP started life as Peccater in 2004/5 and is an innovation by David and Christine Heathcote, Vishay became their component manufacturer from 2006 onward. The link below is video from the early days of the product:

BBC Video Jan 2008 – Hot water tragedy Taunton UK

BBC Interview

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