Using EU 2 pin plugs in UK homes? Good or Bad?

GETanner

Active Member
I've just been sent a USB Hub with a EU 2 pin switching power adaptor.

How safe is it to use with the 2 pin - 3 pin adaptors commonly used with electric toothbrushes (not the sockets in the bathroom)?

I ask because the muppet on ebay who sold the unit is having all sorts of hissy fits about it, ranging from accusing me of trying to swap out a fault power supply to the fact that all UK sourced Hubs have 2 pin adaptors.

Regards,

G
 

madgames

Active Member
Itll be fine to use
If you dont wanna use the adapter push the top pin in with something plastic and youll find itll fit into the 3 pin uk plug fine :)
 

andykn

Well-known Member
A couple of appliances I have been supplied with recently have had an EU 2 pin plug contained inside a UK 3 pin plug housing designed for the purpose.
 

Wild Weasel

Distinguished Member
I think all EU countries have standardised to 220 volts. It will be fine.

The classic EU bodge means that the 'standard' is anywhere within -6% or +10% of 230V.

This is set to change to +/- 10% of 230 volts in 2008 (that's 207v to 253v).

This is so every EU [-]country[/-] subject region can fit into the standard without actually lifting a finger. LOL - It's true.
 
How safe is it to use with the 2 pin - 3 pin adaptors commonly used with electric toothbrushes (not the sockets in the bathroom)?

G

The shaver ones are not Ideal as they only have a 1A fuse, you need to replace the fuse on it with a 13Amp one, if using a single USB device you would be fine as they only use 1/2amp, but multiple ones add up, so bets off replacing the fuse, also note I read somewhere that any electrical product sold in the UK must be supplied with a 3 Pin plug, ebay is a grey area, but had it been a retail store they would be in a lot of trouble...
 

Sonic67

Banned
My only concern is whether the cable is fused correctly. I think on the continent the sockets are fused. Here the plugs are. If you use a plastic adaptor the nearest fuse might be the 30A on at the board. With shaver adaptors a built in 1 amp fuse probably.


I'd cut the 2 pin plug off and fit a three pin plug. Also you will get a better connection so less arcing.
 

dBrowne

Well-known Member
I know they are supposed to be safer, but I wish the UK had EU style plugs. I hate the bulk of British plugs when trying to snake wires round the back of furniture or the room they take up in your carry-on bag when traveling. And they look so archaic; it's like having to put up with a Roberts radio while everyone else has an iPod.
 

T0MAT01

Well-known Member
My only concern is whether the cable is fused correctly. I think on the continent the sockets are fused. Here the plugs are. If you use a plastic adaptor the nearest fuse might be the 30A on at the board. With shaver adaptors a built in 1 amp fuse probably.


I'd cut the 2 pin plug off and fit a three pin plug. Also you will get a better connection so less arcing.

Yep, on the continent every socket has it's own breaker in the fuse box whereas over here we fit the relevant sized fuse in the plug which means that a 2 pin plug is only fused to about 32 Amps.... Not good.

Changing it for a 3 pin plug with a small fuse is a good idea.
 

Nimby

Distinguished Member
Yep, on the continent every socket has it's own breaker in the fuse box whereas over here we fit the relevant sized fuse in the plug which means that a 2 pin plug is only fused to about 32 Amps.... Not good.

Changing it for a 3 pin plug with a small fuse is a good idea.

Sound advice. Domestic circuits over here are fused to 10Amps at the CU/fusebox.

Replacing your mains plug is a lot safer than messing about with adaptors.
 

Sonic67

Banned
I know they are supposed to be safer, but I wish the UK had EU style plugs. I hate the bulk of British plugs when trying to snake wires round the back of furniture or the room they take up in your carry-on bag when traveling. And they look so archaic; it's like having to put up with a Roberts radio while everyone else has an iPod.

Our design is better. On a two pin plug people can unplug it by pulling on the cable. This puts strain on the connections. On our plugs the cable enters from the side at the bottom and not the front.

We use earthing and indivually fuse our appliances. The earth pin is longer so the appliance is earthed before the live and neutral connect. The longer earth pin also opens the shutters for the live and neutral.
 

dBrowne

Well-known Member
Our design is better.

I agree that it is safer, but does it have to be so obese?

Having agreed to all that, and having grown up in Europe, I can't say that I have once had an situation arise where I have fritzed equipment for lack of a fuse in the plug. Worst that's happened is that I've had to reset a breaker at the fuse box.
 
D

Deleted member 27989

Guest
All this our system is better really makes me laugh! That's ofcourse why the rest of the world does not use it! Why most houses in the UK still don't have RCD's fitted on they socket rings downstair, most appliances actually have no earth even though the plug suggests they do...Lots of smoke an mirrors going on....

Not all two pin plugs (actually the earthed ones are also three pin but they are on the side) have the wire going in on the front. I've got some very old appliances and the wire also goes in from the bottom....

I've lived in quite a few houses in the UK in the past 11 years and can't believe how old the design is even for recent properties. Couldn't wait to upgrade our house to a proper 17 group mcb rcd protected consumer unit although the so called part-p certified sparky's still don't know what do do with so many groups....

I'm just glad the UK has finally moved to proper colours for the wires....Plugs and sockets will be next :)
 

Sonic67

Banned
All this our system is better really makes me laugh! That's ofcourse why the rest of the world does not use it!

I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you look here you can see some plugs use three pin some two:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_plug#History_of_plugs_and_sockets

Those that are round and have two pins often have the earth connection above and below the plug as a metal strip. I still maintain that having the earth pin as a longer pin it is earthing the appliance before the other pins connect. Note also that changing your plug system is a major undertaking. If someone else has a better system than you have to weigh up the consequences of changing all your plugs and sockets against a little more safety.
Why most houses in the UK still don't have RCD's fitted on they socket rings downstair,
RCD is essential for appliances outside the house due to you being on damp earth. You can buy a plug in RCD for that or you can have an adapted socket. Inside the house you are less likely to get a fatal shock. (Except for the bathroom but normal sockets aren't allowed in there.) An RCD is still a good idea but there is a reluctance to force people to pay out for something in their own home. If a law was passed how would you police it to make sure everyone upgraded? New installations tend to have one fitted. It is mandatory for certain earthing systems. I fitted an RCD to mine but one that didn't cover the lighting due to the risk of RCDs nuisance tripping. Note that having a whole installation on an RCD is only common in the UK.

most appliances actually have no earth even though the plug suggests they do...Lots of smoke an mirrors going on....

Appliances that have a double hollow square mark do not need an earth. Live parts are covered by two layers of insulation. However a three pin plug may still be necessary to open some sockets. An MK socket requires the bottom two holes on the socket to be pushed together. Other sockets have doors that open on the bottom two holes when the earth pin enters at the top of the socket. A fuse is still needed within the plug to protect the cable going to the appliance.
Not all two pin plugs (actually the earthed ones are also three pin but they are on the side) have the wire going in on the front. I've got some very old appliances and the wire also goes in from the bottom....
So? My point is that having the cable enter the plug from the side is safer as it stops people pulling on the cable to unplug the appliance. I'd also say that as most sockets are down near shin level having the cable come out straight can also cause a trip hazard as opposed to a cable that is running down a wall.
I've lived in quite a few houses in the UK in the past 11 years and can't believe how old the design is even for recent properties. Couldn't wait to upgrade our house to a proper 17 group mcb rcd protected consumer unit although the so called part-p certified sparky's still don't know what do do with so many groups....
I've wired quite a few houses...
I'm just glad the UK has finally moved to proper colours for the wires....Plugs and sockets will be next :)
The colours in the cables have been red and black for a long time. Electricians tend to be the only people who mess with them. Householders in the UK shouldn't be. Colours in flex to appliances have been standardised with Europe for years.
 

T0MAT01

Well-known Member
All this our system is better really makes me laugh! That's ofcourse why the rest of the world does not use it! Why most houses in the UK still don't have RCD's fitted on they socket rings downstair, most appliances actually have no earth even though the plug suggests they do...Lots of smoke an mirrors going on....

Our system IS better.

In europe, every socket has it's own individual breaker. But how do you know what will be plugged into each socket?
A table lamp will require no more than a couple of amps to run, whereas a three bar electric fire will require 13 amps.
So what do you think the answer is.... yes, every socket is typically protected by a 10 amp breaker.

Personally I'd much rather have the correct rated fuse for each appliance fitted in the plug.
 

Nimby

Distinguished Member
It's all a bit swings and roundabouts really:

There is a considerable step up from the minimum UK plug fuse to a 10Amp fuse in the CU. The UK square-pin plug is huge and ugly and dangerous to the scenery when swinging about on its flex. It offers the loony audio fan a decent contact surface at the pin/socket interface. :boring:

The 2 pin Euro plug is small and neat and easy to yank out of a socket in an emergency. This could save a life. It can't accept thick wire.

The 3 pin Euro plug is very neat and makes a tidy row of sockets compared with the terribly agricultural UK plug and multiple sockets. One could set up as many industrial sockets in the same space as UK domestic sockets and have greatly increased surface contact if that matters to you.

Many moulded-on UK plugs contain no earth connection when supplied with UK-bought equipment. No Euro-sold equipment with moulded on plugs have an earth. The problems start with earthed UK equipment used in mainland Europe. Much older wiring in Europe is two pin unearthed. You may need a dedicated spur from the CU just to connect up your hifi/AV stack.

None of this really matters provided you don't export yourself to Europe. Or vice versa.
 

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