Designed in 2 Minutes?

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Common British Power Socket

  Everyone uses them, but few people think about them. The wonderful old british power socket is actually rather well designed. The french have several variations on the theme of their socket - some without earth, some with - freaky! They're all compatible, mind, but still a little bizarre. The british plug and socket has been a standard for quite some time. There's only one type. You don't have to think about whether or not to get a plug with an earth.

  Take a look at a british power plug. Do you notice how the earth pin (the top one) is slightly longer than the others? Why do you think this is? Find a long, pointy insulator probe and a power socket. Make sure the latter is switched off (a feature that is not all that common in other countries, by the way), and insert the probe into the live or neutral sockets. Do you notice anything? There is a pice of plastic blocking the entrance. Now, insert your probe into the earth socket. The blocking plastic should lift from the earth and neutral sockets. It is only possible for electricity to enter a british appliance once the earth has already been connected. How cool is that!


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