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Subject: American vs foreign electrical parts and installations
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2002 12:12:40 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2002 08:12:40 EDT
Been looking at construction and installation of electrical parts
used around my home and it raises a question if other countries have
similar quality parts. Electrical supplies intended for non-home
voltages are built quite well. There are 208V, 230, 480V three phase
control gears and switch boxes at surplus stores and they're built like
a tank just as I expect. My real observations are in supplies intended
for 120V AC used in both homes and institutional institutions.
The primary source for electrical supplies for the consumers are
large outlets like Lowe's, Home Depot and your local hardware stores.
The 120V parts are almost always available in different grades. They're
both compatible and no functional difference other than durability.
Obviously, the prices are different. Huge difference actually. A lot
of "residential grade" supplies are made with lowest initial cost than
anything. Regular light switches comes in residential 120V AC only and
commercial/institutional 120/277V. 30-40cents each and $2.00 to $3.00
each respetively. The most common outlet is three prong 120VAC 15A.
They're available in residential, commercial and industrial grades. The
pricing are $3.00 to $4.00 for a box of 10(so that's about 3 to 4 Euros
for ten outlets), $2-$3 EACH and $5-6 EACH. I don't know if it's just
me, but the prices for commercial grade sounds most proper for the
parts. I find it quite too good to be true for an outlet or a switch to
be chaper than the cheapest burger at McDonald's. We also have a
assorted variety of crappy extension cords too. They're recalled quite
often for some kind of problems. The outlets on cheap extension cords
are quite frequently made of a very malleable thermoplastic.
US market cheapo and good outlets and plugs
Is there anywhere outside the North America where such absurdbly
cheap electrical parts built for cheapass consumers and contractors are
When you look at residential supplies, you can tell it encourages
crappy installation jobs too. Some outlets ONLY comes with poke-in wire
traps. Most comes with both and when available electricians will use
the poke-in. I have never seen outlet and switches connected with screw
terminals except those I replaced. On commercial and higher grade
supplies, you'll see that they not only positively have screw terminals,
they DO NOT have poke-in traps that encourage electricans to cut
corners. This is probably among many other thing they're cutting
corners in homes compared to institutional buildings. Appliances are
engineered with low initial cost too. Our consumer appliances are built
with LOTS of plastic parts. Low power factor is also very common. PF
~0.5 on refrigerators isn't unusual. We're supposedly the one with
quite strict codes and I'm not too impressed.
For foreign electrical people in highly industrialized countries outside
How are outlets, switches connections and splicings done?
Do you guys use poke-in wire traps to make connections to outlets and
Something else you do differently than American electricians?
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