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PastryRace

Is U.K. plugs grounded?

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The longer pin on the top of the mains plug is the Earth (grounding) pin.

 

Some devices don't need it, so you might see it made of plastic on those.


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The sockets Yes.

The plugs ... earthing is optional.

 

The grounding / earthing pin is that big fat pin which is designed to be the first that makes contact and the last to disconnect.

 

image.thumb.png.06b5898dafbc27322218229e10ef547d.png

 

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1 hour ago, VegetableStu said:

 

I haven't watched the video but just the title annoys me lol

 

They're simply too large to be considered better. 


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11 minutes ago, dizmo said:

I haven't watched the video but just the title annoys me lol

 

They're simply too large to be considered better. 

OtherTips-Electricity-Header.jpg

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcShyEBRijAUcD1-JhfcFaV

 

They're larger in terms of surface area, but if anything, I'd say they're more compact/convenient size/shape. 

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The biggest downside to a UK plug is its ability to lay on it's back, and its ability to attract a bare foot.


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19 minutes ago, dizmo said:

I haven't watched the video but just the title annoys me lol

 

They're simply too large to be considered better. 

They're "better", at least the main ones, because:

  • The plug themselves are fused
  • The live and neutral lines are covered, so that you can't half-plug something, make contact, and have exposed connectors
  • The sockets are gated. They need the ground pin inside a ways first before the live and neutral can go in
  • The sockets have a switch (though this is mostly for redundancy)

Also fun fact, most NEMA 5-15 sockets in the US are installed wrong. The ground pin should be on top.

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4 minutes ago, glenalz81 said:

The biggest downside to a UK plug is its ability to lay on it's back, and its ability to attract a bare foot.

That and Lego bricks are the top two feet predators in the UK.

1 minute ago, Mira Yurizaki said:

Also fun fact, most NEMA 5-15 sockets in the US are installed wrong. The ground pin should be on top.

But... then they wont look like a face looking back at you...


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5 minutes ago, glenalz81 said:

The biggest downside to a UK plug is its ability to lay on it's back, and its ability to attract a bare foot.

Gory image in spoiler, open at your peril 

 

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ce5-standing-on-a-uk-plug-60659275.png

 

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29 minutes ago, Mira Yurizaki said:

They're "better", at least the main ones, because:

  • The plug themselves are fused

Worth noting that the fuses are there to protect the house wiring from the devices not the other way around as one would expect.

 

The reason is because the people in UK started to use these outlets after the war when metals were too expensive so instead of having 3 separate conductors for each room going to a central point (the panel) they had a high current circuit going around the house.

So if a device went bad it had the potential to burn the wires in the whole house, or damage other devices.

 

 

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1 hour ago, PastryRace said:

Is the plugs grounded even when switched off?

Yes, the earth pin isn't switched on the socket side, and cannot be detached on the socket side without disassembling something. In most cases on the live pin is switched, but some sockets also switch neutral.

 

When you look at the socket, it's the female side, and NEL is a female name and gives you the order of the pins - Neutral on the left, Earth on the top, Live on the right.

 

When you look at the plug, it's the male side, and Len is a male name and gives you the order of the pins - Live on the left, Earth at the top, Neutral on the right.

 

If you need a source of ground you can get it by plugging into a UK mains socket but not turning it on.

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6 hours ago, VegetableStu said:

 

I've honestly gotta agree with this. The way they are designed internally is better, and the way they plug into the socket is better. I've never accidentally touched the exposed prongs on an American plug (I guess I just have a secret set of skills) but I know far to many people that are dumb enough to. In addition, with the regards to the ground wire having extra slack internally, far too many people pull the plug out of the socket via the cable itself, rather than using the body/housing like you're supposed to. That causes the protective jacket to fall away and the wires are exposed. Now, those wires also have a protective jacket around themselves. But overtime, they too become ripped away (a particular vacuum at work comes to mind).

 

This is coming from a custodian, someone who plugs and unplugs devices such as vacuums and buffers on daily basis, many many times. I have seen vacuum cables become a dangerous exposed mess because of lazy coworkers pulling on the cable from the other side of the room to unplug it, rather than walk up to it and pull it out using the body like you're supposed to. I now wonder if that fuse would protect against a bare exposed wire when someone touches it. Does anyone know? (I'm not an electrician so I haven't the slightest). On our older buffer, people have run over the power cord with the buffer head in motion, causing both cable jackets to rip apart, and expose the bare copper of the wire inside. It was once simply covered with electrical tape before someone else cut the wire and reconnected it using a wire nut to rid the exposed parts. (Why not put on a new power cord you ask? Idk honestly. But I do know they are very expensive themselves). When I first started, that wire was still exposed and I touched it unknowingly while using the buffer. It gave me a good kick and tripped the circuit breaker the machine was plugged into.

 

That said though, as long as one isn't a complete moron, it works and works well (regarding American plugs).

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Another thing that makes UK sockets safer in general is we have RCDs in our distribution board that protects our whole house, unlike how in North America, it is only in bathrooms/around water-prone areas. Granted, because the UK ones cover the whole house instead of just a single socket, you will get a larger shock (both due to double the voltage and considerably higher current cut-off) but at least if someone yeeted a toaster into a bath with it plugged into a socket that's not in the bathroom, it won't kill you :) 


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