AC power plugs and sockets are devices for removably connecting electrically operated devices to the power supply. Electrical plugs and sockets differ by country in voltage and current rating, shape, size and type of connectors. The types used in each country are set by national standards. Generally the plug is the movable connector attached to an electrically operated device's power cord, and the socket is a fixture on equipment or a building structure. Plugs have male circuit contacts, while sockets have female contacts. The plug has protruding prongs, blades, or pins that fit into matching slots or holes in the socket. A wall-mounted socket is also called a receptacle, outlet, or power point. It is enclosed by a cover variously called a wall plate, face plate, outlet cover,socket cover, or wall cover. continue..

When using a grounding adapter, always attach the U-shaped piece of metal on the adapter to the screw in the middle of the receptacle. If you don’t, you expose yourself to electric shock and defeat the purpose of using a grounded plug. When using a socket adapter, don’t attach a long line of extension cords to the socket. This can easily overload the socket. Some plugs have a twist lock feature that protects them from being accidentally unplugged.continue..

This chart shows the most common NEMA configurations in use in North America for 125ac and 250Vac single phase systems.  This covers most residential applications. Twist-lock devices have the advantage of locking in the mating position.  This is useful in applications where the connection experiences vibration or the associated cord is hanging or subject to accidental unplugging.continue..

A pdf listing of the typical plugs used by various countries around the world. continue..

Are you thinking of travelling to a foreign country? If yes, then you should have with you  the correct type of power plug used in the country you visit. Else you won’t be able to plug in your electric gadgets such as your laptops, cellphones and music players; because different countries use different types of power plugs. To know the type of power plug used in your target country, check out the following image of the color coded world map.continue..

There is no standard mains voltage throughout the world and also the frequency, i.e. the number of times the current changes direction per second, is not everywhere the same. Moreover, plug shapes, plug holes, plug sizes and sockets are also different in many countries. Those seemingly unimportant differences, however, have some unpleasant consequences. Most appliances bought overseas simply cannot be connected to the wall outlets at home. There are only two ways to solve this problem: you just cut off the original plug and replace it with the one that is standard in your country, or you buy an unhandy and ugly adapter.continue..

One of my favorite aspects of design in general is that it helps to improve the most commons items of our daily life. The following electric plugs and concepts illustrate this quite well, they all try to improve the usability and/or the look-and-feel of an appliance we use every day.continue..


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