Unfused 13A plugtop "kettle" lead (UK)

On 12 Dec 2006 01:06:20 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:


I don't think that can be right. I recall having round pin 15 amp plugs in the house when I was a child. None of them had switches. Switches came in when the 15 amp plugs were replaced by square pin 13 amp plugs IIRC.
--
Cynic



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Lot's of 15A sockets had switches, but just like today's 13A sockets, unswitched ones were available too.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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John Burke wrote:

. We should remember that much of the world uses 230 volt at 50Hz, not what we North Americans (Canada /US) think is standard. and that wiring requirements and plugs and sockets vary. Even some parts of the Caribbean use 230 volt etc!
Neither system is inferior; in fact it's a wonder that the UK ring main system has not been adopted in some NA instances.
I did infact wire some circuits that way in our first house (1960) and also used split outlets thus more than doubling the capacity of several circuits, with an eye towards, then, future electric heating. Have since built another house which is wired using the straightforward simple 'brute force' North American codes and materials.
BTW some parts of the world still, sensibly drive on the left. makes a great deal of sense since the majority of humans are right handed!
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wrote:

"Some parts" being "most of"! (There's a heck of a lot of the Carribean South of the US Virgins, all using 240V AFAIK)
Quite a few US yachts I came across had a 240V to 120V transformer that the owner believed would solve the problem. But they overlooked the fact that many US appliances won't work at 50Hz even if the voltage is OK. Replacing battery chargers earned me a few bucks - many US battery chargers overheat and burn out if run with a 50Hz supply. The reverse was not as much of a problem (a transformer designed to operate at 50Hz will work fine at 60Hz)
That was in the 1970's. Probably not as much of an issue today with so many power supplies being switchmode.
--
Cynic


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On Sat, 09 Dec 2006 18:57:30 GMT, "daestrom"

Interesting. I would have thought that 15A on a 120V supply would be a tad limiting. A room heater could easily take 1000W, and my vacuum cleaner is rated at 1300W. Using both on the same 15A circuit would therefore cause it to trip.
--
Cynic


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Cynic wrote:

In the Usa circuits are radial and you are likely to have a breaker for each room
Their electrical system into most homes is twin phase to nuetral so large load machines will be 220 volt (2 lives )
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The higher power portable appliances found through much of the world are missing from the US market, due to the limited power available at standard outlets being only half that of most 230-240V countries. Special 240V sockets are provided for a few things like stoves, but most high power appliances commonly found elsewhere are either not shipped to US markets, or US-variant low power versions are used instead.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

OTOH, a 13A plug can look a bit silly on something that draws a couple of watts and is rather smaller than the plug...
Look around the typical drawing room. How many devices actually need more than 25W, let alone more than 2500W? What would the walls look like if there were enough 13A sockets for everything? Which just means that multiway extension leads are found everywhere and often plugged lead into lead into lead.
Not to mention the ease with which a 3A fuse can be incorrectly replaced with a 13A one.
A 13A standard socket, and nothing else, might have been a good idea at the time that most houses had a wireless and wind-up His Master's Voice. But it really doesn't seem to be meeting the needs of a modern house, with dozens of gadgets in most rooms.
--
Sue















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This is not a problem. All appliances in the EU have to remain safe when operating with protection up to 16A nowadays, so you can stick a 13A fuse in every plug if you wish. (The exceptions are electrical items which predate us joining the Common Market, and extension cords which are an anomoly anyway.)

Actually, we had 3 or 4 different socket sizes simultaneously in use at that time, depending on the power consumption of the appliance. The scheme was a right royal pain in the backside as each appliance had a 1 in 3 chance of having the right plug on it. That's why it isn't used any more. However, it is still perfectly permissable to wire a house using that scheme if you really want to.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

I possibly could - I have a fair collection of 2, 5 and 15A "as new" plugs and sockets that came from a retired electrician's stock.
But I have never seen such an installation. All I remember as a kid is a 15A adapter with a mix of 2, 5 and 15A sockets on it. Oh, and a smoothing iron running from an adapter in the light socket.. The 2A plugs had two cover screws, IIRC.
Was it one radial cable from fuse board to each socket, with different cable sizes and fuses depending on the socket size? If so, it doesn't sound the ideal way to put thirty sockets in the kitchen..or the same number in the drawing room.
But really I was thinking of a two part 13A plug for low wattage units. As an assembly it would fit into a standard 13A socket. But one part, fixed to the lead, could be pulled out and used with a special small-format socket. A typical "double 13A" socket would consist of one standard 13A socket and, say, 4 small-format ones..Those 4 could be fused at the socket, rather than in the plugs. A 13A to 4 small-format socket adapter could be plugged into the other 13A socket, to give 8 sockets, on the wall, if needed.
--
Sue










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Yes for the 15A and 5A sockets, although 5A sockets were not that common -- mostly come via the adaptors you remember. The 2A ones were on the lighting circuit.

That's why ring circuits replaced radial circuits. It was a recognition that people needed a lot more sockets, but didn't need them to all supply 15A at the same time.

Products like this do exist, but they've never caught on for widespread use, so you could summise that for most people the inconvenience of different socket types outweighs any advantage of smaller sockets.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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On 11 Dec 2006 20:54:40 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

In the 60s we had a flat with 2a, 5a and 13a sockets. At work we used 15a sockets and my parent's home built in 1947 had 2a and 5a sockets with flat power connctions and a round earth pin

If you can find the parts.
I have a bayonet cap flex adaptor in the shed. We usedto run a 1kw cooking ring off it plugged into a light socket --
"Evil always goes where the power is" (Buffy)
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Hmmm... 3amps or so... Not too bad!
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Mr X

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Mr X wrote:

Was when we were first married. 60s and a big housing shortage. We lived in one room in a multi occupancy slum hoping for a council flat. Twin VIR put in in the 30s.
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BS546 round pin plugs and sockets are still manufacturered, and still permitted by the wiring regs. Even B&Q sell them. In some other countries, they are still in very widespread use.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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wrote:

Would you rather go back to the old days of 2, 5 and 15 amp sockets, each with 2 and 3 pin variants (2 pin for the modern double insulated appliances)? (I've never known why the pin spacing of the 2 pin forms differed from the 3 pin ones.)
--
Max Demian

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Max wrote:

Nope, as written elsewhere, I would rather go forward to a two-part 13A plug, with the "inner" able to be used as a plug on new, small-format, sockets. So a new 1x13A + 4x3A wall socket could be used to replace the standard 2 x 13A socket - giving 5 sockets instead of 2. A simple adapter in the 13A socket could give a total of 8x3A sockets, on the wall.
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wrote:

As usual, another good point. Double insulated devices also mean that a two prong plug would be adequate for many things.
ISTM that there is a good case to be made for a large amount of small, 5A two prong sockets in the average room, with only a couple of 13A sockets for high power appliances.
I have fitted a double row of 13A sockets on each of 3 walls to take all the gadgets - I have 30 sockets in my main living area (6 off a UPS) and now have only 2 spare ones! I doubt that many of them are supplying anywhere near half an amp - the main supply to the lot is protected with a 10A breaker.
The most power-hungry device is the 1300W vacuum cleaner - so naturally I do my bit for the environment and use it as little as possible.
--
Cynic



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Cynic wrote:

:)
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That does sound like something to think about.
One of the downsides of US is the large number of low-wattage items. For example, in my bedroom I have to use an adapter to plug in the 1) alarm clock, 2) portable phone 3) reading lamp and 4) portable fan. Now, I've added up the current draw of all these devices (the fan is the largest at 120W) and it's less than 3A (I even used a 'kill-a-watt' on the fan and reading lamp).
But I swear it *looks* like one of those electrical safety posters you see that says, "DON'T DO THIS". A total of a measly 3A, but the wall outlet looks like a disaster waiting to happen! *I* know the circuit isn't overloaded (only one other lamp on the whole 20A branch circuit feeding the bedroom).
But try explaining to your wife/kids why they can *not* plug the laundry iron, hair dryer and curling iron into a similar setup in the bathroom. To most people, "a plug is a plug" and if it's safe to put four into an adapter next to the nightstand in bedroom, then it's safe anywhere.
Or if very-low current plugs came with some way to provide for additional very-low current plugs, then ban the generic adapter.
daestrom
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