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.

revived proposal: move detail on NEMA connectors from here to "NEMA connector" article[edit]

Per this archived discussion there was no substantive objection to the proposal. Subsequently the "British and related types" article was created and corresponding extra detail in this article was removed. I've resumed interest in this topic (and time to work on it) and so I want to proceed with the NEMA page.

The idea is that the current article NEMA connector gets moved to AC power plugs and sockets: NEMA and related types and then much of the detail that's here on such connectors gets moved there. Brief coverage of the most common, however (this would likely exclude all of the twist-locking types, except for a simple mention) will remain here, but with more detail in the NEMA article... just as was done with British types.

This should avoid duplicating maintenance issues on the two articles, among other benefits.

Note that due to the choice in article names, if someone types "AC power" into the search box, they will see these associated articles, where at present "NEMA connector" does not show up that way.

Are there any objections? Jeh (talk) 12:28, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Last day for protests! Anyone? (There's actually not much left to remove from here...) Jeh (talk) 22:12, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Just noticed this line of discussion. This should have been elevated to the Village pump.
I agree the detail needs to be split out. I also agree that the general idea of a family of articles on particular families of connectors plus one overview article makes sense.
However, the proposed article titles by User:Deucherman were a terrible idea because they do not comply with current Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Specifically, if you look at Wikipedia:Article titles, we have a longstanding policy of "Do not create subsidiary articles." There needs to be a separate discussion on how to do those article titles properly in a way that doesn't look subsidiary. --Coolcaesar (talk) 01:08, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Groan. Yet another case where rules are going to be allowed to take precedence over doing the right thing. Jeh (talk) 01:15, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
The last time I checked, we indicate that articles are part of a interrelated family with headers above the article body (i.e., here is a link to the main article) plus infoboxes on the side or footer, not with article titles. This has been Wikipedia policy for over six or seven years and it works fine. In other words, the correct approach is to rename the article on British connectors to something like British Standard connector and then keep NEMA connector at its current location, then make sure both those articles (and any others) link back properly to this one. --Coolcaesar (talk) 01:26, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Your ideas for specific names excludes the "related types" aspect, which is important. Jeh (talk) 01:38, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Also, I believe your last sentence is missing the words "In my opinion" at the beginning. Jeh (talk) 06:06, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Jeh I believe that there are two options which actually serve the WP user (as opposed to blind conformance to inappropriate rules). The best is to continue with the proposal which you have revived (and, subsequently, for the other suggested articles) The alternative is to fold all AC plugs and sockets back into a single article. The latter would result in a very very large article, the former ensures that there is a logical relationship between WP content on all of the types, their relationships common purpose, and their history. I think that we need to accept that when these changes were first proposed it was because there was a lack of that logical relationship, but a genuine consensus for your proposal was reached, why derail that now? FF-UK (talk) 06:31, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
FF-UK Because Wikipedia is apparently filled with people who are more interested in digging through the rules to find reasons to not do things than they are in trying to actually improve the encyclopedia, that's why. And I'm sick of dealing with them. Jeh (talk) 08:02, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Jeh Well, please carry on the good work! FF-UK (talk) 09:31, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Swiss section[edit]

The Swiss section has become overcomplicated, far too wordy, and repetitive. Copyright material (tolerancing) has been added (in any case, we do not show plug pin tolerances on WP). The sections have become fragmented and use non-standard formatting. I have attempted to simplify that. I have also moved the descriptions of the three phase types to the proper place in Industrial and multiphase power plugs and sockets, leaving only a mention that they exist. FF-UK (talk) 18:52, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

I don't see that it is too complicated, except perhaps for the measure tolerances (easy to remove them).
The so-called "fragementation" is simply based on the hierarchical nature by the presented standard SEV 1011, nothing else.
The information multiphased parts (SEV 1011 Typ 15 and Typ 25) are not industrial power plugs/socjets at all, but are clearly defined as the wiring and cableing of household devices, nothing else. As the standard in its title even says: Plugs and socket-outlets for household and similar purposes. So these information exactly belongs to this place, and nowhere else.
Further, I find it blatant that FFUK applies different criterias for, e.g., the UK or the US parapgraphs, where the higher rated plugs/sockets definition are mentioned as well (which is fine). But then follow the same rules for every standard/paragraph. We could only speculate about his aversion.
It does not make sense to devide one coherent part of information and to report it at two different places, leading to misunderstanding by the reader while missing the left off part.
Finally, I can just repeat it for xth time: Only Typ 12 plugs and the Typ 13 sockets of the SEV 1011 standard is what it is called Type C by IEC!! There is no reason to delete such distictive information. -- ZH8000 (talk) 21:15, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Taking ZH8000 points in turn
This article is NOT about "multiphased parts (SEV 1011 Typ 15 and Typ 25)" The correct place IS Industrial and multiphase power plugs and sockets
The issue is NOT about rating, this article is clearly about single phase connectors, there is a separate article about multiphase connectors. There is nothing in this article about British or US multiphase connectors, the criteria is the same for all countries and there is no reason for Switzerland to be treated as a special case because it happens to have a single standard number which groups single phase and multiphase connectors together.
The newly added diagram by ZH8000 provides all the information we need about how the hierarchy works regarding the three phase parts, we do not need to labour it unnecessarily in the text as well.
We do not need to labour the point about whether the unearthed 10A plug is "Type J" or not, but if you insist, then "Type J" would need to be removed from the 10 A plugs and sockets subheading.
The use of all of the unnecessary italics is not standard, not consistent with the rest of the article, and unjustifiable.
We do need to ensure that the article is written in English.
We do not need the confusing pin description "flat rectangular pins", "flat pins" is sufficient.
Having defined the shapes of plug pins, we do not need to also define the shape of the aperture in the socket!
ZH8000 If you really want to make a contribution, concentrate on providing some proper history for the Swiss types!
When were they first introduced?
What was used before?
Also, does the standard specify shutters?
And finally, there is nothing amusing in your distorting my user name into an obscenity!
FF-UK (talk) 22:34, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
FF-UK Pardon-me about my mispelling, this was really not intentional, my apologies.
Your points:
Re multiphase: Yes, I see that there is a seperate article about multiphase connectors. No problem with that. My point is only that it is more convenient to the reader to have all things together at one place, especially if it is alread designed that way. Makes understanding easier.
IEC Type C: Yes, I find it favourably to stay precise. You do as well, don't you?!
Italics: I thought it helped to pinpoint the several Typs more easily (in this huge amount of text ;-). If you do not like it, remove it again (but at all instances, then). It is indeed not an important aspect.
English: sure. We appreciate your knowledge, of course.
Shape of the socket: Generally I agree, but because of the hierarchical nature of SEV 1011, where it is expected e.g. to connect round pins into rectangular openings, this hint could be helpful to the uninformed reader, in order to make it clear that the connectors are exactely designed that way.
I will see what I can do. -- ZH8000 (talk) 11:23, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

BS546 V Schuko[edit]

The pins diameter in Schuko plugs is just 4.8mm but they are rated at 16 amps. By comparison The live/neutral pins in BS546 plugs are 7.1mm (15 Amp version) and 5.1mm (5 Amp version) so how come the Schuko plug can safely carry more current over smaller diameter pins ? (talk) 19:32, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

As it says at the top of the page This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the AC power plugs and sockets article and This is not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject. The question is both off-topic and makes too many assumptions. FF-UK (talk) 19:53, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
Well then perhaps an article dealing with differences between standards for AC power connectors should include an explanation of how such important aspects of these standards such as physical dimensions and capacity ratings are/were originally arrived at ? (talk) 12:04, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
An excellent idea, if you can find the sources! We have most history on British standards, but I have never seen any notes on the rationale for choosing the dimensions. We have no history on the origins of the many European styles having 4.8mm diameter pins on 19mm centres. Whoever can track that down will do WP a great service. FF-UK (talk) 12:13, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

Swiss nomenclature and lack of shutters[edit]

In my job I regularly have to specify modular mains sockets of many different types, I have never come across any English documentation which uses the German word 'Typ', it is always 'type'. Here are some example links, the first being to ABB, which is of course a Swiss corporation:

Page 5 of:

I can see no justification for English Wikipedia using German common nouns! This is my first attempt at editing a Wikipedia page, but when I saw this 'Typ' nonsense I was sufficiently angered to want to do something about it. Of course, there may be some arcane Wikipedia rule which covers such usage, if so please quote it rather than just insisting that you are right and others wrong, otherwise just please accept that this page is in ENGLISH, not DEUTSCH or Schweizer Standarddeutsch, even if a Swiss source uses native words!

On a related subject, it is my understanding that although child protection shutters are sometimes fitted to Swiss sockets, it is not a requirement. If I am wrong, then please tell me, otherwise that point should be noted in the Swiss section of this article. Blitzenlight (talk) 19:02, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Hi Blitzenlight, thank you for your comments.
  • About 'Typ': Of course, generally spoken, you are totally correct and of course it translates to type in English (and French). But I claim, that in this context (see) Typ xx is used as a name, almost like Schuko. For example, in the referenced multilnguage PDF overview, which is "written" in four languages (ge, fr, it, en), they only use Typ instead of Typ, type, tipo, and type, for the sake of reducing linguistic complexity. Such simplifications often happen in Switzerland due to its multilanguage situation. But it is not utterly important to me, you can keep the English translation, if you insist, but it will eventually lead to (slight) misunderstandings when compared to the referenced overview PDF.
  • About your sentence "A plug inserted into a socket having a higher current rating presents a safety hazard as it will not be properly protected against excess current": I think this is very wrong. A device will never draw more current than it is designed for, when it works properly (at least nowadays). So in the normal case, you can easily attach a device of defined, lower maximal current to a network of a (by the standard defined) higher maximal current. In fact, this is THE everyday situation. Almost all devices will never ever draw the maximal possible current from its circuit.
    However, the other way around, attaching a high power device (e.g. a heater designed for max 16A) to an only 10A curcuit is indeed a danger. BUT, this is prevented by the kind of (the Swiss hierarchical) plug design (and fusing).
    However, in case of malfunction by the (a single) device the earthing will protect the device's user, further the fuse of the cabeling/circuit will react additionally to prevent the further drawing of current from the network. Indeed, all Swiss appartments and houses have a central fusing for one or several curcuits in the appartment or house. But the main function of this fuses are to protect the cabeling from overheating (burning), i.e. drawing more current than specified (either 10A, or 16A); for example by attaching too many high power devices (which is not easy). So if you attach e.g. a laptop (of let's say 1.5A max current draw!!) to a 16A circuit, instead of the standard 10A circuit, and assuming the laptop's power adapter will have a malfunction (e.g. burns out), then first of all the corresponding fuse will be triggered (because of short circuit) and prevent further harm. Secondly, this situation is no different at all from the everyday usage when you attach a device to a standard 10A curcuit. – Therefore I deleted this futile and wrong sentence.
-- ZH8000 (talk) 15:13, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
About English versus German, Schuko is an entirely different situation being a registered trademark with no straightforward English equivalent. I am sure you noticed that (in my reference above) the Swiss company ABB uses Schuko on the same page that it uses Type 13 etc. However, thank you for accepting that this article uses English.
I see that you have not commented on my point about the Swiss standard not requiring child protection. If you look again at the referenced ABB document, page 6, you will see that against "Safety Shutters" it states "all except M1011" (M1011 being the ABB modular socket for the Swiss standard). As ABB must be considered an authority on the Swiss standard, then this does suggest that the standard does not require, or possibly does not allow, child protective shutters.
As far as the protection of plugs and flexible cords is concerned, most wiring systems rely on the central fuse or circuit breaker to protect not only the building wiring, but also the plugs and flexible cords which are attached to socket outlets. If, as in America and Australia, the flexible cords are required to be rated at a similar capacity as the protection, then this is adequate. In Europe however the Europlug is widely used, this is rated at only 2.5A and is usually equipped with a cord rated at 3A, sometimes less. It is simply not possible for a 16A protective device to protect such low rated parts (this has absolutely nothing to do with the protection of appliances which must be equipped with suitable internal protection). It is also necessary to understand that the overcurrent hazard can (and frequently does) arise from a short or partial short within the flexible cord, typically at the end where it enters the appliance or appliance connector, a point which is often subject to physical stress. I do not want to push this safety hazard here as it affects most European countries, not just Switzerland, but it is worth noting that the only plug design which properly addresses this is the UK BS 1363 which provides a fuse in the plug which is selected according to the capacity of the attached flexible cord. You should be aware that your interpretation of what constitutes a safety hazard is dangerously misguided! Blitzenlight (talk) 18:39, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
The SEV1011:2009 does neither demand, nor prohibit safety shutters. It's the customer's decision, what one prefers.
"In Europe however the Europlug is widely used, this is rated at only 2.5A and is usually equipped with a cord rated at 3A, sometimes less." – Yes, this is totally safe, since a device with a Europlug will never ever draw more than 2.5A. Otherwise, it would not be equipped with such a cable.
"It is simply not possible for a 16A protective device to protect such low rated parts" – Of course it does, but I already explained. Here is your thinking error routed!!
"It is also necessary to understand that the overcurrent hazard can (and frequently does) arise from a short or partial short within the flexible cord, typically at the end where it enters the appliance or appliance connector, a point which is often subject to physical stress." – Yes, of course. So what? There is no uncovered safety issue ralated to this.
"I do not want to push this safety hazard here as it affects most European countries, not just Switzerland, but it is worth noting that the only plug design which properly addresses this [what exactely??!!]] is the UK BS 1363 which provides a fuse in the plug which is selected according to the capacity of the attached flexible cord." – The fuse in the socket does not improve safety, BUT only the continuing service of other devices attached to the same circuit (as the text of ABB's products clearly confirms).
-- ZH8000 (talk) 22:32, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
It is important to understand that the purpose of protective devices such as fuses and circuit breakers is to break the circuit in case of a fault condition. In the example I have given of a fault current flowing in a 3A rated cord, the protective circuit breaker rated at 16 A will allow a current which is in excess of 5 times the rated current to flow indefinitely. But 5 times the rated current will overload the cord to the point that the cord insulation reaches a temperature at which it melts allowing the two cores to touch, resulting in an explosive short circuit which may lead to a house fire! This is a very definite safety issue which can result in fatalities! Blitzenlight (talk) 04:02, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
You did not read carefully enough ... or you just do not (want to) understand it? I assume you are intellectually capable enough!? Well, for the third time now: The 3A rated cord will NEVER EVER experience such a current larger than 3 A. BECAUSE it is attach to a device that does NOT draw more current, never (given it is not attached to a wrong device, but this is secured by industrial standards)!! In the case of a short circuit the fuse will trigger ANYHOW. These are physical/electric laws, you can't fake the nature! -- ZH8000 (talk) 14:30, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Mr ZH8000, your confidence in your own knowledge is completely misplaced, you are thouroughly misguided and entirely wrong! There is NO absolute mechanism which will ensure that a device does not draw excessive current, and it is completely impossible to predict the magnitude of the current which is due to a fault within the flexible cord or the appliance itself. This is why we use protective devices, but a protective device which breaks the circuit at a current which is in excess of 5 times the rated current of the cord is obviously NOT protecting that cord. Blitzenlight (talk) 15:44, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Just to be clear: we are talking about households and household devices, aren't we? And we are talking about law- and regulations-abiding installations, aren't we? Anything else would be futile. And just for your knowledge: since 2009 combined over current and FI fuses (you call it probably RCCD) are mandatory for every household in Switzerland. According to industry standards this is not secure for 100%, but almost (we also take into account the self-responsibility of our citizen!). - So yes, I am very confident about the empirical safety of our electric household networks and devices. The statistics confirm this. -- ZH8000 (talk) 16:15, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Mr ZH8000, perhaps you could explain your belief that a 16A circuit breaker can prevent overheating in a cord rated at 3A which is subject to a fault current of 16A. Denying that it will happen, or waffle such as your last comment, would be an invalid response. Blitzenlight (talk) 17:23, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Even though WP:NOTFORUM, here my answer: According to DIN VDE 0100 the threshold of fault current to protect from fire is 300mA. It is mandatory in every household to use FI fuses (= RCCB?) which triggers at 30mA fault current in less than 0.4s (according NIN2010 (in Switzerland) for all nominal current networks below <=32A). Sidemark: 16A curcuits in households are extremely rare. -- ZH8000 (talk) 17:24, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
As anticipated, more waffle. This has nothing to do with current to earth, but with current between L&N (there is NO earth in the cord attached to a Europlug). Clearly no point in continuing with this as it is not about improving the article but was a futile attempt to improve your understanding. Blitzenlight (talk) 21:47, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
LOL, well you can waffle as much as you like (thank you for teaching me a new English word :-)), but you reduced your objection to now only unerathed cables after all. Funny, how your arguments gets smaller and smaller. Pardon-me, no arguments, just stubborn dissent, since you did not provide the slightest arguments so far. Perhaps, I suggest you start to provide arguments for a change. And perhaps you should also start to express yourself more clearly? What does "this" refer to? Waffle? – But not today anymore. It's time to sleep for small boys. -- ZH8000 (talk) 22:56, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
Mr ZH8000, your comments make no sense whatever. The point I originally made, and which you insist on contesting, was "In Europe however the Europlug is widely used, this is rated at only 2.5A and is usually equipped with a cord rated at 3A, sometimes less. It is simply not possible for a 16A protective device to protect such low rated parts" The Europlug is an unearthed plug. Blitzenlight (talk) 12:52, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

As I already said, this is not a forum (WP:NOTFORUM). – Nevertheless, and as I also already said for several times now: You stubbornly dissent my claims, although without pinpointing what exactly, but neither do you provide any evidence to support your own claims, nor do you explain them. Claims do not get more valid just being claimed!

Further your statements stay to be ambigous. E.g. "equipped with a cord rated at 3A, sometimes less", but you miss to provide any citations to support your claims. Other example, and the main claim I contest: "It is simply not possible for a 16A protective device to protect such low rated parts". What kind of protective device, doing what, in which condition, because of what reason, and finally why is it possible that it circumvent the protection measures??. There are such situations (a few, statistically spoken), but you do not specify them unambigously enough. – And again, you do not provide a single citation for your claims. I provided you with several examples, e.g. standardized FI circuit breakers (Residual Current Operated Circuit Breakers) in household networks prohibits most fire dangers (e.g. due to short circuit) and personal harms, such as electric shocks – independent of the rated maximal current (up to 32A).

Neither you did explain how overcurrents can develop on a, let's say, iPhone attached via a 2.4A adapter/cable with an Europlug attached to a 10A socket despite the available security measures (... any citations available?). Where and why should it take place, I am really curious to read about them, honestly.

Again, WP is not a discussion forum, where everybody can claim what he thinks, how erronously it may be or not, but it has an excyclopedian approach. I.e. any claim must be supported by valid citations! I advise you to (re-)read what WP:VER says! -- ZH8000 (talk) 19:48, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

Mr ZH8000, we are not, as has been agreed, discussing what should be in the content of this article. You are completely correct in saying that this is not a forum, AND YET, you persist in prolonging the discussion!!! Why? And as you insist on doing that, why will you not address the challenge I made earlier "perhaps you could explain your belief that a 16A circuit breaker can prevent overheating in a cord rated at 3A which is subject to a fault current of 16A." That demands a basic understanding of electrical engineering principles, and plain common sense. however, all you do is waffle. You waffle about RCD's, completely irrelevant as we are not speaking of a situation involving earth leakage. You waffle about iPhones, totally irrelevant. We are not concerned here with appliances, we are only concerned about fault currents flowing, for whatever reason, in a cord set which has, by definition (the Europlug standard EN50075) a maximum current rating of 2.5 amps. (And please also remember, a Europlug may ONLY be provided as part of a combination of plug and fitted cord, there is no rewirable Europlug permitted.) We do not need citations as to what 2.5A means. We do not need a citation as to what a 16A circuit breaker does (but I am sure that you know it allows 16A to flow without interruption). We do not need to know what caused the fault, faults happen for many reasons, that is why we use protective devices to ensure that the result of the fault is not a life threatening event such as a house fire. All we need is your explanation of why you believe that there is no problem in allowing 16A to flow in a 2.5A rated device. Blitzenlight (talk) 22:23, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Since it seems obvious that you are not interested in a constructive solution, but only to avoid any resolution, I will not anymore contribute to this futile discussion. I gave you several possibilities to justify your claims, as it is requested by WP:VER, since you try to change the content. It seems obvious to me that you do not understand the functioning of FI circuit breakers, since they work independent of whether a device is earthed or not for almost all problematic cases (with only very seldom excptions). So I do not feel any obligation to teach a pupil, who has a tantrum. -- ZH8000 (talk) 23:41, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Mr ZH8000, you are, quite simply, unbelievable! We all know that a circuit breaker rated at 16A will interrupt the circuit when the current exceeds 16A by some margin, but it will allow 16A to flow for an unrestricted time (providing that current is flowing between L and N with no earth leakage). Therefore, despite your waffling, it can never provide excess current protection to a 2.5A rated plug and cord if the excess current remains no greater than 16A. No amount of wishful thinking about probabilities will change that. You have made no attempt whatsoever to demonstrate otherwise. I rest my case. Blitzenlight (talk) 23:58, 11 November 2015 (UTC)