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Why the wide prong on a plug?



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 27th 08, 04:39 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 3
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

Has anyone ever figured out why they put one wide and one narrow on a
plug that does not have a ground?

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.

But, lets say I have a all plastic cased electric power tool. (Like
all of them made in the last decade or more). I'm holding plastic,
which does not conduct electricity. It dont matter which side of the
power line goes to which side of the motor on AC. What's the point of
having that wide terminal? Is the only reason to **** off the user,
particularly those of us who are older and dont have the best eyesight
anymore. I cant see any other reason.....

My grinder does a quick job of narrowing that wide prong though !!!
..
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  #2  
Old October 27th 08, 04:45 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,343
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 21:39:27 -0700 (PDT), marlboroman
wrote:

Has anyone ever figured out why they put one wide and one narrow on a
plug that does not have a ground?

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.

But, lets say I have a all plastic cased electric power tool. (Like
all of them made in the last decade or more). I'm holding plastic,
which does not conduct electricity. It dont matter which side of the
power line goes to which side of the motor on AC. What's the point of
having that wide terminal? Is the only reason to **** off the user,
particularly those of us who are older and dont have the best eyesight
anymore. I cant see any other reason.....

My grinder does a quick job of narrowing that wide prong though !!!
.


You don't have much to do. Do you?
  #3  
Old October 27th 08, 04:48 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 61
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 21:39:27 -0700 (PDT), marlboroman wrote:

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.


Maybe they want the hot and neutral to be determinate just to protect
against lawsuits?

Or, maybe it's a UL standard even for plastic-housed appliances?
  #4  
Old October 27th 08, 05:29 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 212
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

marlboroman wrote:
Has anyone ever figured out why they put one wide and one narrow on a
plug that does not have a ground?

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.

But, lets say I have a all plastic cased electric power tool. (Like
all of them made in the last decade or more). I'm holding plastic,
which does not conduct electricity. It dont matter which side of the
power line goes to which side of the motor on AC. What's the point of
having that wide terminal? Is the only reason to **** off the user,
particularly those of us who are older and dont have the best eyesight
anymore. I cant see any other reason.....

My grinder does a quick job of narrowing that wide prong though !!!
.


The wide blade is the neutral, the narrow blade
is the hot. Some appliances may have the neutral
attached to the metal chassis parts inside. Did
I hear "shock hazard"? I used to work with an
idiot who would cut the ground pin off plugs.

The hot wire is switched. If you grind down the
neutral and plug it into the hot side, the item
will be energized when the switch is off.

TDD
  #5  
Old October 27th 08, 09:20 AM posted to alt.home.repair
mm
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Posts: 7,843
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 21:48:21 -0700, Donna Ohl
wrote:

On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 21:39:27 -0700 (PDT), marlboroman wrote:

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.


Maybe they want the hot and neutral to be determinate just to protect
against lawsuits?

Or, maybe it's a UL standard even for plastic-housed appliances?


What do they mean by double insulated?

One insulation is the plastic case. Maybe the other one is
figurative, that they do the rest of the wiring as if it were a metal
case?
  #6  
Old October 27th 08, 10:30 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 806
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 21:48:21 -0700, Donna Ohl
wrote:

On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 21:39:27 -0700 (PDT), marlboroman wrote:

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.


Maybe they want the hot and neutral to be determinate just to protect
against lawsuits?

Or, maybe it's a UL standard even for plastic-housed appliances?


Or maybe the exposed metal chuck and drill bit are somehow connected
to the motor within? Ya think?

Sheesh

  #8  
Old October 27th 08, 02:11 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 84
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 21:39:27 -0700, marlboroman wrote:

Has anyone ever figured out why they put one wide and one narrow on a
plug that does not have a ground?

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.

But, lets say I have a all plastic cased electric power tool. (Like all
of them made in the last decade or more). I'm holding plastic, which
does not conduct electricity. It dont matter which side of the power
line goes to which side of the motor on AC. What's the point of having
that wide terminal? Is the only reason to **** off the user,
particularly those of us who are older and dont have the best eyesight
anymore. I cant see any other reason.....

My grinder does a quick job of narrowing that wide prong though !!! .


Short Answer: Lawyers and (product) Insurance.

Too Much Information (TMI) answer:

NEMA, National Electrical Manufacturing Association sets the standards
for all US Electrical plugs and receptacles. Search for a Wikipedia
write ups on NEMA standards. There are links at the bottom of the
Wikipedia to NEMA configuration charts. Your plugs are NEMA 1-15 type
plugs.

The National Fire Protection Association publishes the National
Electrical Code. The NFPA has adapted the NEMA standard as part of its
new building code for Electrical Safety. Many states adopt the NFPA
electrical code standards in their building code and statutes for
enforcement of such building codes.

Underwriters Laboratories, inc, the testing agency for Insurance
companies that issue policies against product liability, adopts the
National Electrical Code (which includes the NEMA standards) as part of
its product safety testing and check list.

Thus, in order to purchase product liability insurance a maker of
consumer products, like a homeowner's hand drill, needs to submit the
product to UL for safety testing. UL will give its blessing only
provided ...... (yada, yada, yada)

Thus the products you buy will have a narrow (hot or black wire) and a
wide blade (neutral or White wire indicated by the "W" on the NEMA 1-15
standard.) Even if the general public safety intent and need for the
narrow / wide blade makes no difference in a specific manufacturer's
product.

  #9  
Old October 27th 08, 02:38 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 212
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

Claude Hopper wrote:
marlboroman wrote:
Has anyone ever figured out why they put one wide and one narrow on a
plug that does not have a ground?

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.

But, lets say I have a all plastic cased electric power tool. (Like
all of them made in the last decade or more). I'm holding plastic,
which does not conduct electricity. It dont matter which side of the
power line goes to which side of the motor on AC. What's the point of
having that wide terminal? Is the only reason to **** off the user,
particularly those of us who are older and dont have the best eyesight
anymore. I cant see any other reason.....

My grinder does a quick job of narrowing that wide prong though !!!
.


I have snapped many of these wide blades down to size with big dikes
because they would not fit into the older extension cords. Snapped off a
few ground prongs too. Now, 20 years later things are seeming to be
catching up to new safety plugs. I still see some appliances being sold
with only 2 prongs though, why is that?
It would have been better to have redesigned the plug completely instead
of just widening a prong and adding a prong. A completely different plug
would have been almost impossible to modify to fit the old styles and
less safety bypasses would have been done.

I keep several adapters in my tool box.
They're very useful when I have to get
power at an old outlet.

TDD
  #10  
Old October 27th 08, 02:47 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 10,563
Default Why the wide prong on a plug?

The "polarized" plug is for extra user safety. AC outlets have
polarity-specific sockets because some devices can easily become dangerous
if the polarized device is plugged in backwards. This happens when the
switch or fuse inside the appliance is designed to disconnect only the "hot"
and not the "neutral" wire when the device is switched off because it is
cheaper than switches that disconnect both wires. The "neutral" wire is
typically connected to ground at the main panel, so it is safer to use the
switch to open the "hot" wire.

The device could still be "hot" even when the switch is off. Without a
polarized plug, you can't tell which wire the switch will disconnect and may
receive a shocking surprise!

In theory, safe devices are designed to keep a user from touching either the
hot or the neutral. designers know which wires will be "hot" inside the
device, they can take extra precautions to make sure they cannot break apart
and electrify anything a user can touch. A broken "hot" wire can electrocute
a user. Therefore, many appliances now have a polarized plug so the switch
always disconnects the "hot" side.

A so-called "double-insulated" (IEC Class II) device may have a
non-polarized plug because the same safe design has been made for BOTH
conductors No single internal fault would be likely to cause an
electrocution hazard.

Furthermore, even with a polarized plug, a single internal fault can be
deadly in an ordinary appliance. The third prong (ground) can save your life
if there is an internal fault of the hot touching exposed metal, and a GFCI
can save your life if there is an internal fault of the neutral to exposed
metal (where you could otherwise become the missing "neutral" connection to
ground as you are electrocuted).

You are an ignorant fool to grind down the polarized plug.

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..


"marlboroman" wrote in message
...
Has anyone ever figured out why they put one wide and one narrow on a
plug that does not have a ground?

OK, I understand that on a lamp it's a good idea, or the socket shell
and bulb threads will be live if the hot side of the power line is
connected to that part of the socket.

But, lets say I have a all plastic cased electric power tool. (Like
all of them made in the last decade or more). I'm holding plastic,
which does not conduct electricity. It dont matter which side of the
power line goes to which side of the motor on AC. What's the point of
having that wide terminal? Is the only reason to **** off the user,
particularly those of us who are older and dont have the best eyesight
anymore. I cant see any other reason.....

My grinder does a quick job of narrowing that wide prong though !!!
..


 




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