Talk:Mains electricity by country

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Diagram or pictures?[edit]

I reverted the removal of a nice diagram. It is much easier, when someone wants to know which type of plug or socket they have, to look at the diagram. It might be nicer to have one that went horizontally across the page, maybe with each one a little bigger, but it isn't so bad the way it is. I vote for the diagram over the pictures, if the redundancy is too much. Some of them are similar enough that it is hard to tell from the pictures. Gah4 (talk) 16:04, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

I have re-reverted! The diagram is superfluous, inaccurate, incomplete and not to a common scale. If the diagram were better it might be worth keeping. Some examples of errors: Some of the diagrams appear to be sockets and some plugs. Type A should depict a polarised plug. Type C is not that shape at all! Type D is not a round plug. That is not a Type H! That is not a Type K! Type I should be shown as a round plug. Type M and Type N are simply missing. FF-UK (talk) 16:19, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

I don't know where that diagram came from. Maybe someone can find a better one, that fits better on the page, and is closer to scale. From the article, it seems that omitting M and N isn't unusual. Gah4 (talk) 16:57, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

I like the diagram in principle. It is not critical for identification that type A depict a polarized plug (non-polarized variants do exist). Certainly having all the plugs to the same scale is not critical either. And it is completely unnecessary to show every last detail of a plug's shape. Jeh (talk) 18:02, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
What should the convention be for denoting a male vs. a female contact? Filled-in vs. outline? This appears to be using filled-in = male contact, outline = female in the plug, opposite for the receptacle. Jeh (talk) 18:17, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
As far as the convention goes, I believe that what Jeh says is correct for the pins, but this diagram is showing outlines which in some cases are plugs, and in others are sockets! (eg, the type I diagram is clearly copied from this socket: Australian dual switched power point.jpg and that is just one particular manufacturer's implementation of a socket rather than any sort of acceptable generalisation. I start from the position that the existing illustrations are all that is required, there is no need for futher juvenile pictures. But, much worse than that, the quality of this diagram is so low that it must not be allowed here, no way, absolutely NO! JimmiCheddar (talk) 18:36, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
I start from the position that the existing photographs are NOT all that is required. For one thing, scrolling down through the page checking a plug or socket against each picture is inefficient (one might as well argue "we don't need a table of contents when we have the section and subsection heads in-line in the article"). For another, the pictures show just one implementation instead of a generalization. ALso, I must add: your vehemence is noted, but is not compelling to agreement with your position. Rather the opposite. Jeh (talk) 18:47, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Even more, one of the comments about the diagrams is that they are not to scale. But the pictures aren't to scale, either. Even more, the pictures are from different angles. If all the pictures were head on and the same scale, and appropriately lit such that the slots were easily visible, then maybe no need for diagrams. But that is a lot more work than new diagrams. Gah4 (talk) 05:33, 6 November 2016 (UTC)

I would like just to admit that this diagram is vector and may be easely edited and improved Yanpas (talk) 19:25, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

I suggest that Yanpas modifies the diagram, taking into account the comments I have already made, and then advises on this talk page so that the discussion may continue relative to the improved diagram. Yanpas might also like to consider that, for completeness, the types in current use which are mentioned in the article, but do not have IEC type letters designated (eg, the Thai plug) might also be included? FF-UK (talk) 09:05, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
I support FF-UK's suggestion. JimmiCheddar (talk) 20:00, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Neutral or not?[edit]

A recent edit indicates that the voltages here are supposed to be line to neutral. As I understand it, in many places in the Philippines the usual 230V supply is line to line, with no neutral provided. The transformer center tap is (hopefully) grounded, but not brought into the house. It would be interesting to know if other countries also do this. Gah4 (talk) 01:59, 13 February 2017 (UTC) In addition, if you use a 230 to 120 step-down autotransformer, with a line to neutral system, you don't usually know if one side of the 120V secondary is neutral. The transformers aren't usually labeled, and the plug is likely not polarized. Most often, this doesn't matter, but sometimes it might be nice to know. Gah4 (talk) 01:59, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

This article states that "Voltages in this article are the nominal single-phase supply voltages." The recent edit referred to was specific to the supply of three phase power in Finland, and was undone by me because it was outside the confines of this article. Neither the article, nor the recent edit, nor the reversion of that edit, suggests that "the voltages here are supposed to be line to neutral". FF-UK (talk) 09:47, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
It would be interesting to know if countries have line to line for nominal single phase supply, though. Gah4 (talk) 14:36, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Sure: the United States and Canada. Nominal 240 V line-to-line. I would revise this article to reflect this reality, however I suspect FF-UK would revert any edits. CplDHicks (talk) 06:50, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
The only US plugs mentioned in this article, and in its reference sources, are Type A and Type B, so there would be no relevance in mentioning the line to line voltage as both of these types are used only with Line to Neutral! JimmiCheddar (talk) 08:48, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I meant for ordinary household outlets where someone might plug in a lamp. As I understand it, many European countries distribute three phase into neighborhoods, though maybe not all three phases to each house. But in the case of one phase distribution, line to line 230V isn't so bad. Gah4 (talk) 15:23, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── JimmiCheddar raises a good point: this article relies far too much on a single source, the IEC website. This ought to be rectified, but I get the sense a few users would revert any relevant changes to the status quo on the grounds they don't match the IEC website. It's an interesting conundrum, one which seems to have started a discussion in the past about deleting the page entirely. CplDHicks (talk) 16:14, 17 February 2017 (UTC) Would confusion be averted by modifying the "Voltage" section to read "Voltages in this article are the nominal single-phase supply voltages to ground."? CplDHicks (talk) 17:17, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Mains voltages are not specified as being "to ground" therefore such a change would be both non-standard and highly confusing. FF-UK (talk) 17:24, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
There is obviously already confusion, hence this discussion's existence. If I changed the US and Canadian voltages to 240 V, as that is the nominal single-phase supply voltage, would you revert it? I suspect you would. Obviously we need clarification then. CplDHicks (talk) 17:28, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I think it would be best to leave the original phrase as it was, and note the specifics at the entry for a particular country. Let's report the voltage that one would see on light bulbs and hair dryers, and leave the details to more specific entries for each region. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:32, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Why would we report the voltage one would see on light bulbs and hair dryers when that's not necessarily what the typical mains electricity in a given country actually is? Is this article about hair dryer plugs and sockets, or is it about mains electricity? CplDHicks (talk) 17:37, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
"Nominal". And are you speaking of the difference between nominal system voltage and utilization voltage? It's probably more useful to the reader to get the magnitude "1XX" volts or "2XX" volts, before we go off into our usual stunning display of Wiki erudition on distinguishing line to line, line to neutral, line to ground or whatever other permutations occur to us. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:57, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
No, I'm not speaking about the difference between nominal system voltage and utilization voltage, I'm speaking of the nominal voltage itself. A typical North American home has a nominal 240 V system, which this article completely ignores. The article itself is riddled with factual inaccuracies with respect to the nominal system voltage in the United States and Canada, because in those countries the 240 V happens to be line-to-line. Gah4 posed the question, FF-UK asserted there's nothing in the article to suggest "the voltages here are supposed to be line to neutral", and then JimmiCheddar turned around and said "The only US plugs mentioned in this article, and in its reference sources, are Type A and Type B, so there would be no relevance in mentioning the line to line voltage as both of these types are used only with Line to Neutral!" There's an obvious unwritten convention here then that the voltages spoken of in this article are line-to-ground (or grounded neutral), even though that's not how the mains electric systems in North America work. JimmiCheddar's assertion that "the only US plugs mentioned in the reference sources are Type A and Type B" goes right to the heart of the problem with this article being almost entirely sole-sourced from the IEC website, which has already been decried as an unreliable source. Despite its unreliability it's so firmly entrenched as the backbone of this article that any references that contradict the IEC website are expunged. It's nonsense, really. CplDHicks (talk) 18:37, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This article starts with the words: "Mains electricity by country includes a list of countries and territories, with the plugs, voltages and frequencies they use for providing electrical power to small appliances and some major appliances." JimmiCheddar has already referred to the fact that the main source for this article lists only Types A and B plugs for the US, it should also be noted that that same source clearly states that the US voltage (or Electric Potential as it terms it) is 120V. However, let us refer to another source quoted in the article which is the International Trade Administration of the US Department of Commerce web publication: "Electric Current Worldwide". As is mentioned in the article, this publication is not without errors, but it is a reasonable assumption that the US Government is aware of the correct details for the US itself. The page for the US in that publication clearly shows only types A and B plugs, and states that the "Nominal voltage" is 120V.

It is completely false to claim that "any references that contradict the IEC website are expunged", there are a significant number of differences to the IEC source, but only where alternative reliable sources are quoted to support those differences. FF-UK (talk) 20:35, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

So perhaps we ought to move the article to a better title then, since this article is clearly more about plugs than it is about mains electricity. CplDHicks (talk) 22:08, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
No, it's fine as it is per WP:COMMONNAME. When lay people think of "mains electricity" (or in the US, "AC power" or similar) they think of the supply they'll get when they plug in a lamp or similar device to a typical outlet. That some higher voltage might be provided at the building's service entry point, or might be available at a few specialized outlets which no common appliance will have a plug for, is irrelevant. If absolutely necessary we could add the peculiarities of each country's supply system, plus details on the availability of higher voltages at specialized outlets, to each country's section here. Jeh (talk) 23:33, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Okay, so if I edited the voltages in Canada and the US in the table of voltages and frequencies to read "120/240 V", would you not revert that? CplDHicks (talk) 00:45, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I guess we'll find out soon enough; I decided to be bold and make the change. CplDHicks (talk) 01:39, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I guess we found out, didn't we @Jeh:? Justify your revert. CplDHicks (talk) 04:58, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I guess we found out that you are unfamiliar with WP:BRD. After you were reverted, you are supposed to discuss next, Not revert again. I justified my revert in my edit summary, and your revert does not address my concerns. In any case, I stand by my reaction: Your edit implies that 240V and 120V are equally common, or nearly so. Also, since your edit made no change to the connector designations, you imply that the NEMA 1-15 and 5-15 connectors would be used for 240 as well as 120, which is wildly misleading. Verb. Sap.: Just because an edit has "100% good sources" does not automatically make it a good edit.
Also, it should be completely clear from the preceding discussion that nobody else here agreed with what you proposed. Well, it's still within your privileges to be however bold you want to be, but don't be surprised when you're reverted under such circumstances. Jeh (talk) 05:24, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I guess we're right back where we started: is this article about mains electricity, or is it about plugs? You're telling me it's the latter, in which case I'd argue we ought to merge this article with AC power plugs and sockets. If it's about the former then your entire line of reasoning re. the plugs is absolutely irrelevant. What does the commonness of 120 V vs. 240 V circuits in Canadian homes have to do with the fact that mains voltage is defined in the relevant NATIONAL STANDARD OF CANADA as "120/240 V"? Nothing. Your entire line of reasoning is specious and beside the point. CplDHicks (talk) 05:35, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

As far as I know, the purpose of this article is so that travelers know what to expect in countries that they are planning on visiting. I suppose there could be some people who don't know the details of their home plugs and outlets, but I don't expect that is the main use. As far as above, I don't see at all that 120/240 suggests that 120 and 240 are equally common. If it did, there would need to be a way to state that two things were not equally common, and we would use that. But travelers in hotels or other buildings should expect 120V outlets. (Also hotels and such are likely 120/208, and not 120/240.) Gah4 (talk) 08:17, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
This article was originally created in July 2004 by separating the country list from AC power plugs and sockets. I have seen nothing in this discussion to support CplDHicks suggestion that the articles be merged again. The initial version of this article was headed by the words: "This is a list of countries and territories, with the plugs, voltages and frequencies they use". At some point that has been modified to the current introductory statement I mentioned earlier: "Mains electricity by country includes a list of countries and territories, with the plugs, voltages and frequencies they use for providing electrical power to small appliances and some major appliances." The emphasis in the latter that it is about small appliances is in line with Gah4's comment above: "the purpose of this article is so that travelers know what to expect in countries that they are planning on visiting". It is a safe assumption that very few travellers to the US or Canada will be carrying the type of major appliance that requires 240V (such as stoves, dryers and A/C units) so 120V is entirely appropriate (as Wtshymanski put it: "the voltage that one would see on light bulbs and hair dryers"). I believe that the page as it exists serves a very useful purpose, and because of the efforts of WP editors it remains a more accurate resource than other comparable resources (eg IEC World Plugs or the spam site World Standards). Unless CplDHicks can gain support for his contrary view, there is no justification in his recent addition of 240V to the Canada entry, and I have reverted it. FF-UK (talk) 11:01, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
This is the heart of the problems with this article: Wikipedia is not a travel guide. If you want to maintain this article as a travel guide it ought to be moved to Wikivoyage. Otherwise it needs to move away from being a travel guide regurgitated from the IEC website, which is precisely what my edit was accomplishing by explaining that mains electricity in Canada is 120/240 not just 120 V. CplDHicks (talk) 15:16, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes. As Wikipedia is not a travel guide. says: Wikipedia articles should not read like: As it says, an article on Paris should mention the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, and not the telephone number or street address of the "best" restaurants. But that doesn't mean that travelers won't use it as a reference for Paris or power outlets. Note that it doesn't say anything about the street address or phone number of the Eiffel Tower, though. The Paris article might be used by school kids doing a report on Paris, without plans to travel there. I suppose some nerds might do a school report from this article. I think we can still consider that travelers will read this article, as long as it doesn't read like a travel guide. That guideline also argues against the notes: Power cords with type A or B plugs which are rated at only 125 V may present a safety hazard. That is, they are not encyclopedic. Gah4 (talk) 19:16, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Concur with Gah4 and FF-UK. A "guide" is something that tells you "do x, you shouldn't do y, z might be good to do but isn't essential." ie it is instructions and advice for doing something. This article is not that. It was a bit clumsy for Gah4 to talk about "what travelers might expect from an outlet in a hotel room in Paris", particularly given your propensity, CplDHicks, for grasping at any and all scraps you can find (and switching your arguments to match).
But the article is about what the general public (remember, most of Wikipedia is written for the general reader) can expect of a typical outlet for small appliances anywhere in the world, including in their own home. True, the information about mains connections in other countries than one's own is generally only useful if you happen to be travelling there, but that does not make it a "travel guide", and to use that to argue against the article's existence or structure has no basis in WP P&G.
(Similarly, the article on Internal combustion engine is not a "repair guide" for car engines, even though it does provide information that's valuable to new students of that topic.)
In general, CplDHicks, you seem to me to have come here with a WP:BATTLEGROUND attitude. You want to add info about the 120/240 feed system in the US and Canada but, having encountered objections, you have been thrashing around wildly for justification. Each time one of your justifications is countered, you switch to something else. That's usually indicative of an edit that's poorly motivated in the first place.
  • You started out complaining that the article relies too much on IEC standards - a point you never raised again.
  • You argued for change from "line to neutral" to "line to ground", which is absurd, since "ground" is not what carries return current in any system that has separate ground and neutral pins, and is not really involved in either distribution or end-point use.
  • You then switched to arguing that the article should be talking about the power lines that come into a house, rather than those that come into an outlet, despite that the focus here is clearly on the supply at commonly-encountered wall sockets (otherwise, why would we devote so much space to the wall sockets?).
  • After I noted that info on 120/240 was "irrelevant" considering the article's stated subject area, but agreed that "if absolutely necessary" we could add supply system info for "each" country, plus details about "specialized" outlets... you went ahead and made the inconsistent, misleading, and irrelevant edit that I deconstructed below (my edit of 21:20, 18 February 2017 (UTC)). With a note that amounted to "I dare you to revert me". Despite that you had addressed none of my concerns (like "absolutely necessary", and emphasis on "specialized").
  • Then when I reverted you, you seemed to think that that proved something ("Well, I guess we found out" - an empty phrase, signifying nothing. I imagine that you are trying to claim that all of your edits here are simply going to be reverted out of hand without justification. In fact they're being reverted because you're not making a good case for them.
  • You tried to set up a false dichotomy ("either the article is about plugs or it's about voltage"), declaring that on the one hand the article should be merged back into the one it came from, and on the other hand your edits were justified. (It's conventional for me to say "nice try" at such times but yours was actually pretty clumsy.)
  • And of course, you re-reverted, in violation of WP:BRD.
  • Then when it was noted that info on outlets not of one's own country would be of personal interest to travelers, you jumped to "Wikipedia is not a travel guide", claiming " this is the heart of the problem with the article" - funny, then, that you had never raised that point before. But somehow you think that WP:NOTTRAVELGUIDE supports the addition of your inconsistent, misleading, and irrelevant edit, because it "moves it away from being a travel guide." I cannot see how this is the case, because it isn't one in the first place. But it certainly moved it away from its purpose, as stated in the lede, because 240 outlets in Canada are not used for the purposes described in the lede.
You know, Hicks, when you have several different experienced editors telling you you're wrong, maybe you should try listening to their objections, and answering them? Instead of trying one argument after another, hoping something will stick?
NOTE: I'm not saying the info on split phase 120/240 in the US and Canada shouldn't be on Wikipedia; I just think it shouldn't be in this article. It would be valuable to have information on the power distribution and feed systems of various countries. I expect that there is enough information there that it could not and should not be compressed into a simple table; each country, or at least each materially different distro/feed system could have its own article. Such articles would be written for a less general audience than is this article. As for this article, simply adding "120/240" as you did to existing entries for countries that use 240 split-phase feeds is woefully insufficient, and irrelevant to this article's purpose as defined in its lede. Jeh (talk) 00:23, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
reply to CplDHicks' entry of 05:35, 18 February 2017 (UTC):
"You're telling me it's the latter," - no, I'm not. It's about both. It says so in the very first sentence. And in the first sentence of the second graf too. (N.b.: Your demand that I need to pick one or the other is a false dichotomy.) And no, that doesn't mean we need to rename it.
It seems to me to be essential that whatever the article says about plugs and sockets in a particular country be consistent with what it says about voltage in that country. Do you disagree?
To state, as the article did after your edit, that in Canada "some circuits use 240 V, others use 120 V", while only mentioned A and B connectors, is obviously inconsistent - since the 240 V circuits use different connectors. Do you disagree?
The phrasing "some circuits use 240 V, others use 120 V" implies that the two types of circuits occur with about equal frequency. We know that that's not the case, so that phrasing must be changed. Any mention of 240 V must include mention of their relative scarcity.
All in all, the "Canada" line in the table as per your edit seems to be telling the reader that a type A or type B socket encountered in Canada might provide 120 V, or might provide 240, with about equal likelihood. But we know that the vast majority of outlets encountered will provide 120V. Your phrasing is grossly misleading on this point.
How are these points irrelevant or specious?
The fact that these outlets are supplied by "split phase power" is, in my opinion, irrelevant to the purpose of the article. "Mains power" to the general reader is what comes out of the typical wall socket. And not everything in a standard must appear in an article that references that standard. The fact that a standard does define Canada as "120/240 V" mains voltage does not change the fact that the table line, after your edit, is inconsistent and misleading.
You wrote, "Your entire line of reasoning is specious and beside the point." That looks to me to be simply rock-throwing. Exactly which of my statements in this post is "specious", and why? And that your edit provides inconsistent, irrelevant, and misleading information is exactly the point. Jeh (talk) 21:20, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

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