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Subject: Re: American vs foreign electrical parts and installations
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2002 15:57:38 +0100
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2002 16:59:23 +0000 (UTC)
User-Agent: tin/1.4.2-20000205 ("Possession") (UNIX) (Linux/2.4.19 (i686))
In sci.electronics.design AC/DCdude17 wrote:
> X-No-Archive: Yes
> 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.
UK 230V 13A sockets (Used for domestic and light comercial applications)
tend to be priced from about a pound to about £10 depending on the grade
required. The cheap ones are plastic and are fine for domestic use,
the expensive ones are metal clad, built like a tank and are used in
commercial and light industrial applications, these are really high grade
For heavy duty use the CEE form is a european standard and is available
in 16, 32, 63 and 125A, for 110,240 or 400V (3 Phase). The 400V version is
available in 4 or 5 pin variants depending on the requirement for a neutral.
Price for a 16A single phase plug is about £1.50, sockets depend on mounting
required, but £2.00 would be typical.
> 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
> commonly sold?
Ohh, we have plenty of junk sold, but it tends to be more in the line of
things plugged into the outlets then the outlets themselves.
> 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
If a poke in wire trap is what I think it is, then I have never seen one
on a socket (at any price), they always use screw terminals. We do however
see similar things used in industrial control wiring, but that tends to be
low voltage and low power. Due to the UKs use of ring mains the conection
at the socket will need to safely carry up to 32A and will often need to
have two or more wires terminated into it.
> 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.
Everybodys consumer appliances have lots of plastic parts, that is universal!
IIRC (Could be wrong on this), domestic electricity metering is done based on
real power over here, so PF is not too much of an issue in a domestic
enviroment. However floro lighting in offices can have power factor issues
and modern florecent fittings have built in capacitors to help with this.
The trade off is the need for heavier switches to cope with the inrush
current. There are also europe wide regulations covering harmonic current
which helps with neutral current issues.
> For foreign electrical people in highly industrialized countries outside
> North America:
> How are outlets, switches connections and splicings done?
> Do you guys use poke-in wire traps to make connections to outlets and
If Poke in wire trap means what I suspect then these are NEVER used for
power wiring over here, screw terminals are universal on sockets and
switches. Crimp is acceptable for splicing, but obviously needs to be done
with the proper tooling.
> Something else you do differently than American electricians?
Well, I do not really know how american electricians do it, so I cannot
One US practice which does however look strange to UK eyes is the use of
steel trunking as sole earth continuity conductor, this would not be
acceptable over here, where a seperate earth wire is mandatory.
Ohh yes, our colour codes are very different.....
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