The Europlug (CEE 7/16) is a non-rewirable flat, two-pole domestic AC power plug that must be supplied attached to a power cord. It is designed for voltages up to 250 V and currents up to 2.5 A. It was designed such that it can safely be used in the domestic power sockets of most European countries, except for the BS 1363 system found in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom.
The Europlug design, intended for use with socket-outlets meeting other standards, appeared first in 1963 as Standard Sheet XVI in the second edition of CEE Publication 7, a document that summarized all the national domestic AC plugs and socket-outlets used across Europe. The Europlug is therefore sometimes also referred to as the "CEE 7/16" plug. It was also adopted in 1975 as plug C5 in IEC Technical Report 83 (now IEC/TR 60083), and as European standard EN 50075 in July 1990. The Europlug is unusual as the standard specifies only a plug, there is no socket-outlet designed specifically for use with it.
The dimensions of the Europlug were chosen for compatibility and safe use, such that with continental European domestic power sockets
- reliable contact is established when the plug is fully inserted;
- no live conductive parts are accessible while the plug is inserted into each type of socket;
- it is not possible to establish a connection between one pin and a live socket contact while the other pin is accessible.
Europlugs are only designed for low-power (less than 2.5 A) Class II (double-insulated) devices that operate at normal room temperature and do not require a protective-earth connection.
The pins of the Europlug are 19 mm long. They consist of a 9 mm long conductive tip of 4 mm diameter with a rounded ending, followed by a 10 mm long flexible insulated shaft of not more than 3.8 mm diameter. The two pins are not exactly parallel and converge slightly; their centres are 17.5 mm apart at the tip and 18.6 mm apart at the base. The elasticity of the converging pins provides sufficient contact force for the Europlug's current rating with a variety of socket-hole arrangements. The entire plug is 35.3 mm wide and 13.7 mm high, and must not exceed these dimensions within 18 mm behind its front plane (this allows for the recesses on many European socket types). The left and right side of the plug are formed by surfaces that are at 45° relative to the horizontal plane.
Incompatibility with UK and Irish sockets
The Europlug is physically not compatible with BS 1363 13 A sockets. The UK wiring system uses ring circuits and requires a suitable fuse to be fitted in each plug to protect the appliance cable, Europlugs do not contain such fuses. BS 1363 sockets contain a child-safety shutter, clause 13.7.2 of BS 1363-2 requires that Europlugs will not open the shutters.
Equipment sold in the UK with a Europlug must be marked with or accompanied by a warning that it is not suitable for use in a UK mains socket. The exception is that shavers, electric toothbrushes and similar personal hygiene products may be supplied with a Europlug as an alternative to the BS 4573 shaver plug. The Europlug is compatible with most 2-pin UK shaver sockets, but these are rated for a maximum of 0.2A.
Fused conversion plugs to BS1363-5 are available for Europlugs, and equipment fitted with these may be legally sold in the UK.
- AC power plugs and sockets
- IEC 60906-1 – the international standard for 230 V plugs and sockets
- Schuko – the CEE 7/4 system of plugs and sockets
- European Standard EN 50075: Flat non-wirable two-pole plugs, 2,5 A 250 V, with cord, for the connection of class II-equipment for household and similar purposes. CENELEC, Brussels, 1990.
- CEE Publication 7, 1993.
- IEC/TR 60083: Plugs and socket-outlets for domestic and similar general use standardized in member countries of IEC.
- BS EN 50075:1990, Annex A (national deviations, GB), says with reference to Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 603 – The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1987: "A Europlug can only be supplied when connected to any electrical equipment where the equipment conforms to any standard that provides the use of a Europlug and must under these circumstances be marked with or accompanied by a warning that it is not suitable for use in a GB mains socket"