Talk:AC power plugs and sockets

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Former featured article AC power plugs and sockets is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on September 10, 2004.


Weltkarte der Netzspannungen und Netzfrequenzen.svg
Weltkarte verwendeter Netzsteckertypen.svg

In early January I removed the maps from this article, neither have any external sources, and include errors. This article is not about voltage or frequency, so that map is completely redundant in this context. The general quality of the maps, with no textual indication of country names, adds nothing useful to the article. There have been a number of attempts to reinsert these maps with no justification provided, most recently by an anonymous user who claims removal was vandalism! Would all editors please desist from inserting rubbish back into this article as this hinders the process of its transformation into a genuinely useful and properly sourced article. Mautby (talk) 16:38, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

If you removed the maps without prior discussion, you can't be surprised that people keep adding them back. You haven't stated what exact errors the maps contain. Furthermore, your claim that the maps add nothing useful to the article because there is no textual indication of country names is offensive - you'd hardly find any similar map here on Wikipedia where all the countries are labelled. I repeat, you haven't stated a single meaningful reason of the repeated removal, so one can only wonder what exactly you are following by this.-2A00:1028:83CC:42D2:60B6:3C80:EC2A:AAF6 (talk) 17:54, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
I fully agree with Mautby, which is why I have been undoing the anonymous editors additions. As Mautby said back in January at Talk:Mains electricity by country Here are some examples of significant errors in the maps: Brazil is shown as using plugs to IEC 60906-1 whereas the Brazilian National Standard is NBR 14136 which does NOT conform to the IEC standard. The main plug in China is Type I, but that is not indicated on the map. The maps have no stated sources and must not be allowed to remain. Deucharman (talk) 18:19, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

As a casual visitor to the article, I would find such maps at least entertaining, even if somewhat vague/inaccurate and of uncertain informational value... Many WP articles fail to facilitate a global view of the subject, have very incomplete coverage of many countries, make it hard to see the "big picture", don't have good cross-cultural analysis content, etc. I hope the two sides of this dispute can find some relevant and appropriate maps for the article. (I don't see why such a world map would need to be cluttered with country names, but I do see why it would be better to have more relevant and accurate content.) Examing the disputed maps further, I find that they would be quite interesting to me (in whatever articles they might belong in) -- if only they were done better: the colors are not well chosen, and the key/legends are problematic... - (talk) 12:34, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

NEMA plugs and sockets[edit]

We probably have more application detail here than is needed, after all, there is an article for the NEMA connectors. A NEMA 14 has a neutral blade, so was not a good example - NEMA 6 types have two line conductors, both of which may carry significant voltage with respect to ground, and no neutral blade. The voltage to ground is not necessarily half; window air conditioner receptacles might be wired to two legs of a 208/120V panel, for example. --Wtshymanski (talk) 19:14, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

You could even have an isolated sytem where the voltage to ground is not tightly defined and would be half only by good luck and symmetry of leakage. --Wtshymanski (talk) 20:13, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Wtshymanski, please stop being fixated on NEMA (the Concepts and terminology section is about just that) and 3 phase (which this article is not concerned with). The passage you keep tinkering with clearly refers to situations where the line voltage is split in two, such as the systems used for power tools to minimize voltage, and technical power systems. We do not need to spell this out in detail, but it is correct to mention the concept and to acknowledge that this type of connection is used. Mautby (talk) 02:44, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
As I type this I'm looking at the apartment block next door, in which every unit has single phase air conditioners plugged into sockets with two pins, each 120 V to ground, but only 208 V pin to pin. Why is it so important that Wikipedia give a precise and wrong value when with a little generaliazation it could make an accurate statement? And not every Schuko plug is on a system with grounded neutrals, either - you could have 230 V pin to ground and 400 volts pin to pin. It's got nothing to do with NEMA. It's quite possible to have systems where the pin to pin voltage is not exactly twice the pin to ground voltage. --Wtshymanski (talk) 13:25, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
I'll agree with your aircon example, but not Schuko which are rated only at 250 V. Mautby (talk) 16:04, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

No outlet switches in US[edit]

Why are outlets with switches so uncommon in the US? Safety aside, they would often be convenient! - (talk) 21:12, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Probably cost, lack of requirements, and perceived lack of need. Anyone desiring this functionality can specify a combination switch and receptacle in a duplex outlet format, wired appropriately. This setup works and I have seen it, but only rarely, in some laboratories. In short: It can be done and it works, but nobody is pushing hard to make it a standard. By contrast, there has been a big push for GFCIs and AFCIs as producing big safety benefits, and they are now widely required by standard electrical codes. YMMV. Reify-tech (talk) 21:25, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable to me, but leaves me curious about the cultural/historical factors behind some countries having built-in switches for most standard outlets, and how this is all evolving over time. (And it puts me in mind of the possibility of using a GFCI test button as an OFF switch for that outlet pair. On the one hand, most GFCI outlets are not tested as often as they are supposed to be. On the other hand, how much usage can they sustain before wearing out?) (Never heard of AFCI -- very interesting read!) (This talk page is getting auto-archived too aggressively for my taste.) - (talk) 12:53, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
In the UK the original reason for switched outlets was that (with DC supplies) the arcing which occurred when withdrawing the plug was excessive. A number of methods were used to minimize this, they included hand shields (see the illustration of the "Tripin" plug in the historical section of the article), insulating shutters which snapped across the aperture to break the arc as the plug was withdrawn, and switches designed to minimize arcing which could be used before withdrawal. According to Mellanby, both shutters and switches were incorporated in sockets as early as the 1880s. When the BS 1363 socket was planned it was determined that, as it was for AC use only, there was no need for a switch to be incorporated, so there was no provision in the original BS 1363:1947. However, there was public pressure for switched sockets for BS 1363 plugs, so a separate standard, BS 2814:1957, was introduced for them. It was not until 1967 that switched sockets were incorporated into BS 1363 itself. FF-UK (talk) 14:26, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
I've regarded the differences between North American power plugs and British power plugs as extreme examples, in an interesting case study of alternative paths in the development of consumer-level technology. The American electrical system (with radial building wiring) was not as frugal in its use of copper as the British system (with loop building wiring), but the US did not experience the severe copper shortages and rebuilding tasks that the Brits faced after WW2. The elaborate British BS 1363 fused plug and switched receptacle made each connection to AC power a relatively big deal, taking up a fair amount of physical volume (some 4 to 6 American NEMA 1-15 non-grounded plugs and compact receptacles can fit into the space taken up by a single British plug and receptacle). Indeed, the British plug by itself is as big as the entire volume of many small American plug-in devices in common use. As a result, the North American market is full of little gadgets (such as free promotional night lights using neon, and now LED emitters) that are casually plugged into multi-receptacle adaptors, and the omnipresent extension cords and outlet strips. I doubt that the typical British home has anything near the multitude of little devices plugged into AC power as in a typical North American home. For a memorable at-a-glance picture, do a side-by-side comparison of the minimal AC plug-in USB power adaptor Apple sells in North America versus its British equivalent.
The safety tradeoffs have been argued endlessly, but I haven't found a relatively objective statistical comparison of the rates of fatal electrical shocks or electrical fires between the systems (any help finding such studies would be appreciated). The radial American wiring setup facilitated the adoption of GFCI and now AFCI safety technology, which are becoming widespread in new construction and major renovations; I'm curious how far these technologies have spread in British households. As another footnote, American codes now require the installation of shuttered receptacles in permanent building installations, whereas British BS 1363 always seems to have required this. Reify-tech (talk) 16:10, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you both for those very interesting notes! You lead me to wanting to know more about DC outlets/plugs and arcing, and about loop vs. radial building wiring. (Despite decades of experience with US tech I see how ignorant I am about cross-cultural basics.) I am thinking that most every country deserves a separate WP article discussing history of evolution of plugs/outlets/wiring etc... - (talk) 16:31, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
By editorial consensus, the ample coverage of the British standard has already been spun off into a separate article, AC power plugs and sockets - British and related types. Coverage of North American NEMA standard AC power plugs and sockets likely will be spun off sometime in the future. Breaking up this overview article into subarticles for each country would be very premature; the whole purpose of this article is to give a worldwide overview of the topic, allowing comparisons and understanding of patterns and trends. But when detailed coverage of a particular country or group of countries reaches a certain size, it makes sense to spin it off separately, to keep this overview from becoming too large and unwieldy. If you are so inclined, I suggest reading through the constellation of articles on electrical power in different parts of the world. There isn't yet an infobar template other than the "Electronic components" one at the bottom of the article to guide you, so you'll have to rely on Wikilinks and "See also" sections for pointers. Reify-tech (talk) 17:23, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Where would I start to get the best global-history overview summary introduction to 50hz vs 60 hz and 120v vs 230v? (Has there been a century-long thrilling battle for world domination?) Looks like Utility frequency and War of Currents would be good places to start... - (talk) 18:24, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Those are useful places to start reading about your topics of interest. If you intend to read a lot of Wikipedia articles about electric power, it would be helpful to compile a list of such related articles. Eventually, you or some other editor could turn the list into an infobar template, to give a better overview of these related topics. Reify-tech (talk) 04:11, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

About user:FF-UK's recent edits and undos in the Swiss section[edit]

FF-UK, I am sorry your edit are WP:UNSOURCED, simply because of the follwoing:

- The current Swiss Standard is called NS SEV 1011:2009/A1:2012 as the reference removed by you also proves it. By the way: The 'A' stands for Anhang (attachment) and the currently valid standard would be at least insufficient without it.

- The Swiss standard does not only define plugs, but of course also sockets - what else (besides: hardly any standard does something else).

- IEC's type J refers to plugs and sockets as well, as you can easily check by yourself, if you follow the given link and read it.

- IEC's type J refers to only SEV 1011' Typ 13 and Typ 12, of which 13 only defines a socket, while Typ 12 defines a plug as well as a socket.

- By the way, there is no WP policy about "excessive referencing" as far as I know. But perhaps you can enlighten me?

If you want to contradict, then I invite to discuss this here in a civilized manner, instead of starting an edit war. Do not forget that WP:UNSOURCED equalizes with WP:PROVEIT, which says: "All content must be verifiable. The burden to demonstrate verifiability lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and is satisfied by providing a citation to a reliable source that directly supports the contribution."

PS: Your constant personal attacks and insults (e.g. [1]) do not improve the weakness of your largly missing arguments, quite the opposite!

-- ZH8000 (talk) 01:11, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

ZH8000 The current Swiss Standard for plugs and sockets is called NS SEV 1011:2009, a document having 34 pages.

NS SEV 1011:2009/A1:2012 is a separate 20 page document, an appendix which defines the requirements applicable to multiway and intermediate adaptors, cord sets, cord extension sets, and travel and fixed adaptors. It does not define the plugs and sockets themselves, and it is therefore quite wrong to say that this is the standard for plugs and sockets! (You may wish to add a separate paragraph describing the purpose of the appendix.)

I have not suggested that the standard only defines plugs, but that the informal IEC letter designations are for plugs, the statement in my edit provides clarity on this.

It does not require a specific WP policy, just common sense, to justify removing a reference which leads to the same document as the reference immediately adjacent to it! Once is enough.

I have also, in my edits, attempted to improve the English.

I am not engaging in an edit war, simply correcting errors. FF-UK (talk) 17:31, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Be that as it may, while discussion is ongoing leave the prior version in place - as per WP:BRD. Reverting the editor - especially after they have engaged on the talk page - is not quite Edit warring, but it's not far away: See the nutshell on Wikipedia:Edit warring "This page in a nutshell: Don't use edits to fight with other editors – disagreements should be resolved through discussion", also the last sentence in the lede "it is perfectly possible to edit war without breaking the three-revert rule, or even coming close to doing so". Chaheel Riens (talk) 19:02, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Also from the lede there: "it is no defense to say "but my edits were right, so it wasn't edit warring". I've seen several AN/I discussions a declaration that once it is clear that there is disagreement, any further edits to the disputed text can be considered edit-warring. Or as some of us put it, there is no second "R" in "BRD". Discuss on the talk page, not in the edit summaries. Jeh (talk) 20:52, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Here are references to the sales descriptions of the two related but separate standards which ZH8000 seems to confuse.

SEV 1011:2009

Note title: Plugs and socket-outlets for household and similar purposes

Note number of pages: 34

Note year of publication: 2009

Note that it superseded standard number: SEV 1011: 1998+ Amendments

SEV 1011:2009/A1:2012

Note title: Plugs and socket-outlets for houshold and similar purposes - A1: Multiway and intermediate Adaptors, cord sets, cord extension sets, travel Adaptors and fixed Adaptors

Note number of pages: 20

Note year of publication: 2012

Note that it does NOT supersede any other standard!

FF-UK (talk) 05:53, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

As there have been no further comments on this, I have now revised, enlarged and clarified the Swiss section of the article, adding further references. FF-UK (talk) 10:03, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Need polarity information[edit]

I think it would be good to add info on Neutral/Line polarity. What each contact is, or else state it's undefined. This info is surprisingly difficult to come by. I started by adding a description and image for Israel. Would also be good to add it to an overview table. ¤ ehudshapira 21:37, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Lundberg Tripin Earthed Plug[edit]

User:Marconiphone Has added information regarding earlier non-earthing uses of the Lundberg Tripin plug. The information on Tripin provided in the book which is referenced, "SMALL SWITCHES, etc., and their CIRCUITS" (1911), MAYCOCK, W. Perren, London: S. Rentall & Co. states on page 166:

Complete Three-Pin ("TripIn") Plug-Connections.


These are divisible into two types :—

(a) Ordinary. For connecting-up circuits with three conductors. (b) For Earthing. For connecting-up a two-wire circuit and earthing the portable fitting.

One socket and plug is larger than the other two, so that the plug can only be inserted one way, and there is no chance of "mixing" the connections.

In the earthing patterns, the large socket and plug are used for the earth connection, and the pin is then made longer than the others in order that the earth circuit may be made before and broken after the working circuit, when respectively inserting or withdrawing the plug.

The illustration of a Tripin in the article is clearly of a plug having a longer third pin, and therefore, according to the referenced text, clearly intended for earthing.

While I agree that Marconiphone's additions are factually correct, I have a question as to whether they actually assist in the understanding of the brief early history of plugs, or simply add additional information which clouds the issue?

I will agree to whatever the consensus is on this, but in the meantime I have reverted the additions. FF-UK (talk) 23:46, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

I am far more interested in this subject than the average encyclopedia user and even I think this might be too much of a good thing. Unless there's something particularly notable about a particular plug design (such as first, most dangerous, or prototype for what is now a standard, etc.), I don't think we need to replicate the 19th century wiring devices catalogs. --Wtshymanski (talk) 21:45, 12 November 2014 (UTC)