Electronics Repair (sci.electronics.repair) Discussion of repairing electronic equipment. Topics include requests for assistance, where to obtain servicing information and parts, techniques for diagnosis and repair, and annecdotes about success, failures and problems.

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Old June 28th 07, 04:53 AM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
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Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug


"b" wrote in message
ps.com...
On 27 jun, 22:56, "TT_Man" wrote:
Have you seen the way they connect their wires? They just twist them

together and put a plastic cap over the bare wires!
Multiply that by double current and it's no wonder they have fires -


Sounds dodgy!

I've spent time in the US and Japan, and I have to say that those flat
blade sockets are an atrocious design. They suffer sloppy fit problems
very easily . Those countries don't seem to have switched wall sockets
either, which the Uk standard has, so you get more arcing if plugging
in live equipment (which degrades the contacts even further).
The UK plugs are more complex, and expensive, but a damn sight safer
and a lot more sturdy and resist wear better -only ever had to
replace one or two fittings over the years.

I suppose all this is because it is a more recent standard - like the
German PAL TV system - which, since it was introduced later, had the
edge.
-B.



Done correctly, a quality wire nut is a very secure and long lasting
connection. It's not simply a plastic cap, but a plastic casing over a
threaded springy metal insert which grips the wires very well. I have some
UK terminal blocks, and the problem with them is that there's no mechanical
bond between the wires, the contact point is small, and they can and do work
loose or corrode over time. They generally are ok, but neither method is
greatly superior to the other.

The double current isn't really much of an issue, our large loads are 240V
too, it's handy to have both voltages readily available.

You can get quality US style receptacles, problem is they're expensive so
few houses come with them. I like many things about the UK plugs, but the
thing I don't like is they're *huge* so things like power strips and
multi-gang outlets are really cumbersome.

Having discussed this in length with a friend in the UK, we've both come to
the conclusion that both systems have many advantages and disadvantages and
neither one is a clear winner.



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Old June 28th 07, 07:45 AM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
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Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug

James Sweet wrote in message
news:[email protected]

"b" wrote in message
ps.com...
On 27 jun, 22:56, "TT_Man" wrote:
Have you seen the way they connect their wires? They just twist them
together and put a plastic cap over the bare wires!
Multiply that by double current and it's no wonder they have fires -


Sounds dodgy!

I've spent time in the US and Japan, and I have to say that those flat
blade sockets are an atrocious design. They suffer sloppy fit problems
very easily . Those countries don't seem to have switched wall sockets
either, which the Uk standard has, so you get more arcing if plugging
in live equipment (which degrades the contacts even further).
The UK plugs are more complex, and expensive, but a damn sight safer
and a lot more sturdy and resist wear better -only ever had to
replace one or two fittings over the years.

I suppose all this is because it is a more recent standard - like the
German PAL TV system - which, since it was introduced later, had the
edge.
-B.



Done correctly, a quality wire nut is a very secure and long lasting
connection. It's not simply a plastic cap, but a plastic casing over a
threaded springy metal insert which grips the wires very well. I have some
UK terminal blocks, and the problem with them is that there's no

mechanical
bond between the wires, the contact point is small, and they can and do

work
loose or corrode over time. They generally are ok, but neither method is
greatly superior to the other.

The double current isn't really much of an issue, our large loads are 240V
too, it's handy to have both voltages readily available.

You can get quality US style receptacles, problem is they're expensive so
few houses come with them. I like many things about the UK plugs, but the
thing I don't like is they're *huge* so things like power strips and
multi-gang outlets are really cumbersome.

Having discussed this in length with a friend in the UK, we've both come

to
the conclusion that both systems have many advantages and disadvantages

and
neither one is a clear winner.



Could someone direct me to pics of the 2 different types of plug/socket
system used in the USA to differentiate for medium and high power use, I
didn't even realise 220 or 240V was used residentially anywhere in the USA.


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Old June 28th 07, 08:14 AM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
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Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug

N Cook wrote:
Could someone direct me to pics of the 2 different types of plug/socket
system used in the USA to differentiate for medium and high power use, I
didn't even realise 220 or 240V was used residentially anywhere in the USA.


There are several kinds depending upon the current rating and if 120
volts is used too. Before 1996, the ground pin was also used for neutral
for things like clothes dryers that had a 120 volt motors and timers and
240 volt heaters. I think that practice was stopped in the late 1970's.

In 1996, it became illegal. If your device has a mixture of 120 and 240
volt components, you need to have a four wire plug. I left the U.S. in
1996, so I've never seen them.

The simplest kind is used for air conditioners and is similar to a 120
volt grounded plug, with two flat blades and a rounded ground pin below
them in the middle. The difference is that the flat blades are the same
size and are horizontal instead of vertical.

I remember walking into an electronics store in SoHo (in Lyle Street?)
around 1983 and talking to the owner for a while. We got on to discussing
the differences in power cords and he showed me the 240 volt cords
they sent to the U.S. He was surprised that I was familar with them.

He also showed me a catalog from a U.S. company called Herbach and Rademan
that sold surplus electronics. He imported items from them. It was
my turn to be surprised, I lived less than 2 miles from them and was
a frequent customer. :-)

By 1989, the store was gone, it had become a Chinese grocery. In 2001 I
was given a stack of U.K. radio magazines and an article about the
store was in one of them. It was written by the nephew of the man
I spoke to. Unfortunatley he had no pictures of the store near the
end, and although I took many photographs of London that trip, I
never thought to take one of the store or his uncle. :-(


Geoff.
--
Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel N3OWJ/4X1GM
IL Voice: (07)-7424-1667 U.S. Voice: 1-215-821-1838
Visit my 'blog at
http://geoffstechno.livejournal.com/
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Old June 28th 07, 09:21 AM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
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Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug

["Followup-To:" header set to sci.electronics.design.]
Geoffrey S. Mendelson wrote:

There are several kinds depending upon the current rating and if 120
volts is used too. Before 1996, the ground pin was also used for neutral
for things like clothes dryers that had a 120 volt motors and timers and
240 volt heaters. I think that practice was stopped in the late 1970's.

In 1996, it became illegal. If your device has a mixture of 120 and 240
volt components, you need to have a four wire plug. I left the U.S. in
1996, so I've never seen them.


Just to add more aspects to this discussion. In Germany, practically all
houses have 400V three-phase electricity, which is three 230V phases 120
degrees apart. So all the normal 230V outlets are just a single phase out of
those three plus neutral.

Big appliances in a fixed location like electric ovens and water heaters get
all three phases but are not required to use them in balance.

The nice thing about this is that if you want to set up a workshop in your
house, all you need is some extra fuses and cable and a couple those nice
big, red CEKON sockets.

robert
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Old June 28th 07, 01:37 PM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
b b is offline
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Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug

On 28 jun, 05:53, "James Sweet" wrote:
"b" wrote in message

ps.com...





On 27 jun, 22:56, "TT_Man" wrote:
Have you seen the way they connect their wires? They just twist them
together and put a plastic cap over the bare wires!
Multiply that by double current and it's no wonder they have fires -


Sounds dodgy!


I've spent time in the US and Japan, and I have to say that those flat
blade sockets are an atrocious design. They suffer sloppy fit problems
very easily . Those countries don't seem to have switched wall sockets
either, which the Uk standard has, so you get more arcing if plugging
in live equipment (which degrades the contacts even further).
The UK plugs are more complex, and expensive, but a damn sight safer
and a lot more sturdy and resist wear better -only ever had to
replace one or two fittings over the years.


I suppose all this is because it is a more recent standard - like the
German PAL TV system - which, since it was introduced later, had the
edge.
-B.


Done correctly, a quality wire nut is a very secure and long lasting
connection. It's not simply a plastic cap, but a plastic casing over a
threaded springy metal insert which grips the wires very well. I have some
UK terminal blocks, and the problem with them is that there's no mechanical
bond between the wires, the contact point is small, and they can and do work
loose or corrode over time. They generally are ok, but neither method is
greatly superior to the other.

The double current isn't really much of an issue, our large loads are 240V
too, it's handy to have both voltages readily available.

You can get quality US style receptacles, problem is they're expensive so
few houses come with them. I like many things about the UK plugs, but the
thing I don't like is they're *huge* so things like power strips and
multi-gang outlets are really cumbersome.

Having discussed this in length with a friend in the UK, we've both come to
the conclusion that both systems have many advantages and disadvantages and
neither one is a clear winner.- Ocultar texto de la cita -

- Mostrar texto de la cita -


Leaving aside the joining wires/terminal blocks issue, on the subject
of the plugs and sockets, the UK one to me is superior in many ways.
1. fused plugs.
2. cord grip in plugs
3. screw terminals in plugs -no wrapping wires.
4. ALL receptacles and plugs have earth pin.
5. 3 prong design means a better fit (they don't waggle about at all)
6. much thicker pins - handle more current, do not bend, and seem to
resist arcing damage better.
7. switched sockets
......etc.

The US /japan one only has the advantage of compact size, personally I
can live with a bigger plug if it means better performance. I couldn't
care less about cosmetic aspects!

just my tuppence' worth. -B.



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Old June 28th 07, 01:59 PM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
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Posts: 505
Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug

b wrote:
Leaving aside the joining wires/terminal blocks issue, on the subject
of the plugs and sockets, the UK one to me is superior in many ways.
1. fused plugs.


Ok, I'll conceed that one, but only 50%, after all, how many people
put a 16amp fuse on a .5mm cord?

2. cord grip in plugs


You can get them in the U.S. I occasionaly use them here for 120
volt equipment (I brought a few items with me) and had a friend
bring me some LEVITON (high quality plugs) from the U.S. They
ave execelent grips on them.

3. screw terminals in plugs -no wrapping wires.


The Leviton plugs have them too. I'm not sure they are an advantage,
the gripping area is the area of the screw shaft,not the circumfrence
times the area of the wire surface, a lot smaller.

4. ALL receptacles and plugs have earth pin.


Cut me a break. Since around 1960 all of the outlets in the U.S. have
grounds. In the U.K. you can buy appliances with 2 condoctor cords
with two plug pins that can usually be forced into U.K. outlets.
They are supposed to be for export to the E.U. but they are sold.

Many of the appliances sold here come that way too, but I must be
the only person who cuts them off and puts three pin plugs with large
grips on them. I also write the name of the appliance on its plug.

It does not make an difference electricaly, the appliances come with
two conductor cords and I don't replace them.

5. 3 prong design means a better fit (they don't waggle about at all)


See above.

6. much thicker pins - handle more current, do not bend, and seem to
resist arcing damage better.


That's a big problem here. Many appliances use 15-16 amps (at 230 volts)
and come with the smaller round plugs which are rated at 16 amps, but
not for continuous duty. When we moved into this appartment, all of the
outlets had burnt "hot" pins because the previous tenants plugged
high current heaters into them.

I replaced the outlet for our oven with an airconditioner plug, which
except for the round pins looks like a U.K. plug. It's no longer
used we replaced it with a gas oven.

7. switched sockets

Maybe. only good if they are not at floor level.

One advantage we have here in Israel is that all new construction
requires a GFI on all outlets. Usually it's BEFORE the main
circuit breaker.


.....etc.

The US /japan one only has the advantage of compact size, personally I
can live with a bigger plug if it means better performance. I couldn't
care less about cosmetic aspects!


As someone said earlier, it depends upon how much you pay. If you
buy cheap junk, you get cheap junk. :-)

Geoff.

--
Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel N3OWJ/4X1GM
IL Voice: (07)-7424-1667 U.S. Voice: 1-215-821-1838
Visit my 'blog at
http://geoffstechno.livejournal.com/
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Old June 28th 07, 02:40 PM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
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Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug

In article ,
Geoffrey S. Mendelson wrote:
b wrote:
Leaving aside the joining wires/terminal blocks issue, on the subject
of the plugs and sockets, the UK one to me is superior in many ways.
1. fused plugs.


Ok, I'll conceed that one, but only 50%, after all, how many people
put a 16amp fuse on a .5mm cord?


13 amp is the largest plug top fuse. And all flex these days is such that
it will blow a 13 amp fuse in event of a short - to allow for the fact
that householders won't use the correct fuse.

2. cord grip in plugs


You can get them in the U.S. I occasionaly use them here for 120
volt equipment (I brought a few items with me) and had a friend
bring me some LEVITON (high quality plugs) from the U.S. They
ave execelent grips on them.


You've no choice in the UK - all plugs must conform to the BS standard.
One without a cord grip wouldn't.

3. screw terminals in plugs -no wrapping wires.


The Leviton plugs have them too. I'm not sure they are an advantage,
the gripping area is the area of the screw shaft,not the circumfrence
times the area of the wire surface, a lot smaller.


4. ALL receptacles and plugs have earth pin.


Cut me a break. Since around 1960 all of the outlets in the U.S. have
grounds. In the U.K. you can buy appliances with 2 condoctor cords
with two plug pins that can usually be forced into U.K. outlets.
They are supposed to be for export to the E.U. but they are sold.


No you can't - legally. With the exception of shavers or toothbrushes etc
designed to fit a transformer isolated bathroom outlet, everything must be
fitted with a '13 amp' plug with a suitable fuse.

Many of the appliances sold here come that way too, but I must be
the only person who cuts them off and puts three pin plugs with large
grips on them. I also write the name of the appliance on its plug.


It does not make an difference electricaly, the appliances come with
two conductor cords and I don't replace them.


5. 3 prong design means a better fit (they don't waggle about at all)


See above.


6. much thicker pins - handle more current, do not bend, and seem to
resist arcing damage better.


That's a big problem here. Many appliances use 15-16 amps (at 230 volts)
and come with the smaller round plugs which are rated at 16 amps, but
not for continuous duty. When we moved into this appartment, all of the
outlets had burnt "hot" pins because the previous tenants plugged
high current heaters into them.


I replaced the outlet for our oven with an airconditioner plug, which
except for the round pins looks like a U.K. plug. It's no longer
used we replaced it with a gas oven.


7. switched sockets


Maybe. only good if they are not at floor level.


Well if you reach down to plug/unplug you can operate a switch at the same
time. Most do as it's sort of bred into them through habit - most outlets
have always been switched in the UK.

One advantage we have here in Israel is that all new construction
requires a GFI on all outlets. Usually it's BEFORE the main
circuit breaker.


The usual modern way here is to have a split load consumer unit. One set
of MCBs protected by an RCD and one set not. The non protected used for
fixed loads like cookers and water heaters where slight leakage might
cause an RCD to trip. But we seem to be moving to one RCBO (RCD and MCB
combined) per circuit.


.....etc.

The US /japan one only has the advantage of compact size, personally I
can live with a bigger plug if it means better performance. I couldn't
care less about cosmetic aspects!


As someone said earlier, it depends upon how much you pay. If you
buy cheap junk, you get cheap junk. :-)


In general it's not possible to buy poor quality plugs and sockets in the
UK.

This is one example of the bottom end price wise, but will give good
service for years.

http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/AA213SS.html

Of course you can pay several times that much for chrome etc finish
accessories.

--
*Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional

Dave Plowman London SW
To e-mail, change noise into sound.
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Old June 28th 07, 05:27 PM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
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Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug


"N Cook" wrote in message
...
James Sweet wrote in message
news:[email protected]

"b" wrote in message
ps.com...
On 27 jun, 22:56, "TT_Man" wrote:


Could someone direct me to pics of the 2 different types of plug/socket
system used in the USA to differentiate for medium and high power use, I
didn't even realise 220 or 240V was used residentially anywhere in the
USA.


Electric clothes dryer, stoves/ovens, and permanently installed air
conditioners are only available in 240 V versions. Also, larger sizes of
electric space heaters. The first three are probably more likely to be wired
in directly to a junction box than to use a plug/socket. There are several
incompatible types of 240 V plugs. All are huge, bigger than the UK plug,
and expensive.
Tam


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Old June 28th 07, 06:20 PM posted to sci.electronics.design,sci.electronics.repair
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Posts: 1,379
Default Internal wiring of USA v UK mains plug

On Jun 27, 4:56 pm, "TT_Man" wrote:

as an aside someone told me that per million houses there are more house
fires in the USA due to wiring faults than any other country, partly due
to
a lot of timber construction and partly due to the higher current for a
given KW of power transfered - is that the case?


Have you seen the way they connect their wires? They just twist them
together and put a plastic cap over the bare wires!
Multiply that by double current and it's no wonder they have fires -


Well, much of the "fires" due to faulty wiring are because we have
*had* wiring as a general condition in most houses since the early
1900s, so after 100 years or so it gets a little tired, and when
overloaded can fail. Of course, 100 years ago, y'all had very nice
green lawns and gorgeous buildings.... but little electricity other
than the very wealthy. Other fires are due to just plain idiocy on the
part of users, such that would occur here, there or anywhere else.
Very damned few fires are caused by properly utilized wiring even if
100 years old.

As to wire-nuts, what would you propose? Per the code, they must be
enclosed, the expectation is that the wires are first twisted
together, then the nut is attached, and the internal threaded section
is spring-loaded. Are you seriously telling me that wire-nuts are not
permitted in your country?

De gustibus non est disputandum. Electricity has been working for us
over here a good deal longer than it has been working for you over
there. The typical poor-man's rowhouse (900 sf, 100 sm) in
Philadelphia has been wired since 1913. Parts of NYC have been wired
since the late 1800s...

On the other hand, there is something to be said for observing the
experiences of others for 50 years or so before taking the plunge...
Cell phones are a similar item. The US started Analog, only slowly
went digital because of legacy issues, Europe dropped the first nearly
10 years of teething, the Middle East and third-world went right to
Tri-band....

Peter Wieck
Wyncote, PA

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