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Other styles of plugs and sockets

This page documents types of plugs that don't fit in any of the other pages.

CEE 7/16 - Europlugs

Europlugs are the most common type of plug in use in Continental Europe. They're used for low-powered devices (the plug is rated at a maximum of 2.5A) that don't require an earth connection.

They were specifically designed to work in every style of power socket found in Europe (aside from the UK ones), with flexible pins ensuring good contact regardless of the outlet type. This made intercompatibility of devices across the Continent considerably better, and enabled manufacturers to sell the same product in multiple countries much more easily.

Rewireable Europlug

Rating: 6A 250V

While rewireable Europlugs aren't all that common to see, they are generally found in hardware stores. This one is very simple, and easy to wire up.

Oddly, it has a maximum rated current of 6A - much more than the 2.5A max for Europlugs.

Extra-flat rewireable Europlug

Rating: 2.5A 250V

This Europlug is intended to be used in places where there isn't much clearance between a socket and a piece of furniture - as such, it's designed to protrude very little from a socket, less than a centimeter. A CEE 7/7 (Schuko/French hybrid) version of this plug is also available.

TEM "Modul" Europlug socket

Rating: 10A 250V

This is a socket module meant to be used with Europlugs, from Slovenian manufacturer TEM. Its shape is very much derived from a 16A Italian socket module (there's even a spot for where an earth terminal would have gone on the back), which is also available as an option, however in Slovenia Italian plugs aren't used.

Europlug sockets can be useful for situations where a lot of Europlugs might be used, such as for a home theatre system, especially since this module is half the size of a standard Schuko one.

Europlug power strip

This is a thin power strip, useful to place in places where little space is available, such as behind furniture. It has four Europlug sockets, as well as a non-earthed CEE 7/17 "contour plug" - this makes sense, as the power strip doesn't have any need for an earth connection.

The plug has a strange design, with the cord coming out of the side and a ring to make it easier to disconnect it from a socket. The side-entry cord makes it possible to use this with a socket hidden beind something else, and thus without much clearance for the cable.

Heavy-duty plugs and sockets

Before the advent of the IEC 60309 connectors, various types of plugs and sockets existed in Europe for industrial, high-amperage and/or three-phase usage, generally different from country to country. Some of these are still available today, mostly for non-industrial uses.

Note: examples of vintage Italian industrial plugs and sockets are covered on a separate page.

16A Perilex socket

Rating: 16A 380V

Perilex plugs are quite common in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden for domestic and light commercial applications, especially for hooking up three-phase electric stoves. The use of Perilex plugs for industrial installations isn't allowed in Austria and Germany anymore, being replaced by IEC 60309 ones, however they're still common for domestic uses due to their smaller size.

High-amperage French plug

Rating: 20A 400V

This is a French 20A plug, made by Legrand. Despite being rated for 400V, this model is generally used for single-phase loads (and adaptors exist to convert it to a standard CEE 7/5 socket). Three-phase versions, with or without neutral, are also available.

IEC 60309 - Industrial plugs and sockets

This family of industrial plugs and sockets is widely used in 230V countries for single- and three-phase industrial, commerical or heavy duty applications. They're available in a variety of types, with different pin configurations and current and voltage ratings.

The most commonly used versions are the 16A single phase, three phase with neutral, and three phase without neutral versions, though other ones exist for different voltages (125V and lov voltage, for example).

Industrial three-phase 16A plug

Rating: 16A 415V

This particular example is a 5-pin three-phase plug, rated at 16A 380-415V. The five pins are for the three phases (L1, L2, L3), earth (PE) and the neutral connection (N); versions of this connector also exist that don't have a neutral connection, for use with balanced loads such as motors.

The plug is held together without any screws: to open it up a plastic clip has to be pushed in with a screwdriver and then the body of the plug is rotated, revealing the connections. The terminals are shrouded by plastic, to protect against any water leakage (the plug has an IP44 rating); additionally, the earth terminal is longer and has two screws to ensure a strong connection.

Israeli plugs and sockets

The Israeli plug standard is somewhat unusual: it uses two round pins spaced 19mm apart like on European sockets, but with a third (off-center) pin for the earth connection, similarly to the Swiss ones. This also means that they are polarised, when used with earthed plugs.

They are compatible with Europlugs, and newer models also accept Schuko plugs, though without an earth connection.

Standard power socket

Rating: 16A 250V

This socket is built remarkably similarly to European style ones, though, interestingly enough, the frame is made of plastic instead of metal - although this is a particularly cheap model. Notably, it doesn't feature any sort of safety shutters.

There isn't any sort of deep recess, which, combined with the lack of sleeving on the pins, makes it possible to accidentially touch the pins and receive an electric shock.

Dual-socket adaptors

Rating: 16A 250V, 3500W max

These simple adaptors enable the use of two devices on a single socket. They're both very similar to one another, although with the plug being rotated by 90° on one of them. As with the power socket shown previously, neither of them have any safety shutters.