Designer pitches flat-pack power plug
Carrying power plugs - especially Britain's big ones - can be the bugbear of any gadget-laden traveller. But one designer may have come up with a solution: a folding plug.
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Although still just a prototype, designer Min Kyo Choi has essentially rewired a traditional UK three-pin plug measuring roughly 48 x 44 x 46mm into a flat-pack design that's just 48 x 44 x 10mm.
By fixing the live and neutral pins onto a twisting body, both can be rotated from a horizontal to vertical position so that they sit underneath the plug’s earth pin. At the same time, the plug’s body can be folded closed like a book – reducing much of its bulk.
When it comes to slotting the plug into an outlet, the process is as simple as twisting the two bottom pins into the horizontal position and opening up the two flaps.
A fuse slots into the plug's handle
In between the flaps there’s a finger slot for pulling the plug out of the socket once you’re done. This section also contains the plug’s fuse – shown in red in the video.
No plans to mass produce the plug have been announced. ®
Who has seen a UK plug fall out due to gravity?
"All pins contact simultaneously, rather than earth first. Earth is at the top, disconnecting under gravity."
Is that why the Earth pin on a UK plug is longer? To somehow not connect first?
And I've NEVER seen a UK plug "disconnect under gravity". Once in a socket, it stays there, even tugging on the cable doesn't budge it. You often have to use a lot of force to remove the plug.
Clearly a comment from someone who have never even touched a UK plug.
As for this invention, I like the idea of the compact plug-adaptor, which could remove a lot of bulky extension blocks in my house. Bulkiness is the main issue with UK plugs. Then again electronics is transitioning, maybe in 20 years new houses will be built with DC lighting circuits. Maybe one day we'll have a global plug socket too.
What's wrong with...
...just using a euro 2 pin plug and a pencil poked into the Earth hole to open the flaps on the Live and Neutral. Works for me.
The chances of a flex short happening and being anything other than 0R are slim, but it does happen. Having seen what happens when 32A tries to floe through a fig 8 lead I can back up electricial.
Not every fault is reported and normally when these things go, they go big and someone intervenes. However no matter how good a forensics expert is they can only say 'electrical fire' in most cases. This coveres idiots with 13A fuses in 3A appliances, Mice eating cables, lighting cables used for ring mains, PC wiring used for kettles, freak accidents etc. Sometimes there will be telltales but not enought o provide the statistics you ask for.
Also not all items can be made withplastics or double insulation, the first all plastic washing maching should be a giggle, but even then as you are handling water you'd still need an earth.
A lot of time and effor in many countires has been spent providing an earth, it has a serious function and it cant be chopped out for want of a 'prettier' plug.
The same applies to using radial wiring because its easier, yes I'm sure it is and there is a time and place, you will find radial wiring in UK installs in the form of spurs, and they'll often have their own fuse at the point of origin too.
I've done work as a sparky overseas and I have to say a lot of what goeson in europe and the US is scary. The US still think ist a good idea to just twist wires together.
At the end of the day, if you are in europe, then carry on doing what you are doing, you wont ever get the UK plug there so it doesnt effect you. We know, as do most international experts, that our plug is one of/the safest and we are happy with that. Its arguing for the sake of arguing using flawed arguments now (erm does that make sens to anyone other than me)
Oh yes, they BLOODY hurt when stamped on too, but you only tend to do it the once. 40pin DIP chips do as well.
" I don't know where you get the idea that all appliances have cutouts, they do not. The scenario I described is perfectly possible with a fault placing a 12ohm load on the circuit. A damaged flex can do that."
And yet we and every almost everyone else on the planet don't use the fuse and don't have a problem.
" Not true and I assume you might mean before the plug fuse as a short after the fuse will just blow the fuse. The plug pins are designed to have sufficient capacity to pass enough current to trip the breaker quickly or blow the fuse safely."
Ahh, but in your scenario, you created a 12ohm short, in my scenario I similarly create a 12ohm short... and like you, my bogus scenario creates a fire that kills people. As long as you're not tackling real problems and instead tackling fake made up ones, then my fake made up one is as good as yours.
Not only that the British plug has a flat back, and the pins stand upright. Someone might step on it in the dark, fall, break their neck. It's double plus unsafe! Some call me a safety nazi for worrying about this, but I call myself a safety zealot!
" Like most designs, over the years it has been improved significantly, changing the binding post type, insulating the pins so little fingers can't touch."
No, it's a hulking great mess that's too big, and requires 3 pins even for 2 pin appliances.
" In some instances yes, there are safety zealots and in some cases it is justified. You don't protect a 5A flex with a 32A fuse and expect there to be no consequence in the event of a fault.."
And yet there isn't a problem in Europe or the rest of the world? You hypothesize a problem, then use your hypothesis as evidence!
What if the pins have bird flu on them, stepping on them with their square pointy pins could pierce the skin and give a person bird flu! Some call me a safety nazis, but I am a zealot! We need to add some sort of disinfectant coating to the pins! As evidence of the problem I offer my previous hypothesis! You can't make a pointy pin plug that by default points the pins upright in this bird flu infected day and age and expect no consequences!
@Anonymous coward @19:41
>>"I don't want the safety nazis to drive anything either way. I want them to stop inventing bogus scenarios that don't measurable happen in the real world to scare people into being afraid of change. The 2 pin is safe, you have not shown any reputable reference showing otherwise."
>>"There has been zero progress on the problems with the 3 pin."
Change would be costly and inconvenient, for minimal obvious benefit.
And that's not even including having to listen to years/decades of moaning from Europe-haters who'd blame the EU even if the idea actually made sense, *and* came entirely form the UK government.
>>" No, just buy the 2 pin euro version of any power adapter if you want to use it in most sockets without a who bunch of adapters! If you like, use the earth pin of a British plug to open the shutter (rotate it 180, use the earth pin to open the shutter, bingo). No doubt someone will invent a load of scare stories about it, but it's really fine."
Sure, it's fine.
That'll be why the only UK sockets I've had to replace recently were ones that were broken by visitors from Europe trying to plug their plugs into our sockets, either from plugs being rammed in when shutters were closed, or from the pins bending the socket contacts, due to the Euro plug tilting under a gravity load.
And where am I supposed to be euro versions of power adaptors for new equipment in the UK? People don't sell them because nobody wants them
>>"It's a pity there is no progress on the 3 pin socket, it could support 2 pin shutter operation (like the 2 pin euro ones do - you have to push both pin in simultaneously to open the shutter), it could support both euro and UK plugs. But it doesn't. It could be less bulky, but it isn't."
I'm sure there were *some* sockets around at one time that did have a 2-pin rotating shutter, rather than a 3-pin sliding one, but there was hardly a selective advantage to be exploited when all plugs were 3-pin.
Maybe if someone could make a good UK socket that also accepted Euro plugs, that'd be an idea for hotels, airports, etc, but I doubt there'd be huge demand elsewhere