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European electrical accessories

This page showcases a few types of electrical items found in Europe. While most Continental European countries use fairly similar devices and items, there can still be some differences.
Note: items used in the UK and Ireland are shown on a separate page.

Standard light switch

Rating: 10A 250V

This is a very common style of light switch as found in most of Europe, made by the German manufacturer Busch-Jaeger. It's formed of three pieces: the actual switch mechanism itself, a key cover and a faceplate.

The key cover - which goes on top of the moving part of the switch assembly - can be swapped out depending on the specific need, for example with one with text or an icon, or containing a window for a backlight. The faceplate, instead, varies depending on the number of devices, and thus wall box, being used.

Disassembly is done by pulling on the front cover with a bit of force; the switch - mountable either with screws or "claws", depending on the style of the box - can then be removed, revealing the terminals. These are of the screwless type: the wires (which have to be solid core) are installed by pushing them into the terminals, and can later be removed using the levers.

Legrand double light switch

Rating: 10A 250V

Aside from single light switches, double ones also exist, which allow for control of two different light fixtures. This specific one is made by Legrand as part of their Niloè series, and is designed to look very modern.

Unlike the Busch-Jaeger switch, this one is disassembled differently. The front cover can be easily removed, revealing the holes for the mounting screws. The covers over the switches can also be removed. Icons are present to indicate when the switch is in the on or off position, useful to make sure it's installed in the correct orientation.

Surface-mount double light switch

Rating: 10A 250V

This is a surface-mount version of a double light switch, useful for applications such as garages where surface wiring may be more common. It's built very well, in order to withstand rougher conditions than a standard light switch.

Once opened, a rubber grommet can be seen; the switch isn't waterproof, but this can help it resist against accidental splashes. An earthing terminal is also present, which can be useful, avoiding having to use a separate wire connector.

Surface-mount light switch

Rating: 10A 250V

This surface-mount light switch, made by Austrian manufacturer e2 Elektro, is quite interesting; it's a very clever design, with removable plates on all sides which can be removed and interchanged between solid plastic pieces and rubber grommets for inserting a cable. There are also special ones available which allow multiple devices to be connected together, for easier mounting and cable routing.

The switch mechanism can be removed from the main shell, which makes mounting easier. The terminals are all of the screwless variety. The front of the unit contains a small white section - this is a label, which can be easily written to by removing the front cover.

Appliance connection unit

Rating: 5x2.5mm2 400V

This device allows the connection of a hard-wired device, such as a stove. It mounts to a standard wall box and has a strain relief for the cable, as well as five terminals (for three phases, a neutral and the earth).

Devices like these are quite common to connect three-phase stoves in Europe, generally on a 3x16A circuit. In some countries specialised plugs are used for this purpose, like the Perilex plugs, while in others connecting appliances directly (using something like this) is more common instead.