Safely using foreign mains plugs in UK sockets

The electrical equipment you want to use is fitted with a continental style moulded mains plug and you are faced with a British three pin mains socket, what do you do?


If it is just a one off you may get away with using a travel adaptor but this really is not an acceptable permanent solution.

You could just remove the foreign plug and wire on a BS1363 13A UK plug (instructions here) or you could use a specialist permanent plug adaptor such as one of the range sold by CPC.

What brought this to my attention this week was a friend who asked me to look at his broken Black & Decker belt sander, he had managed to break off the plastic ‘earth’ pin on the mains plug. It turned out that Black and Decker had fitted the mains cable on this electric sander with with a moulded German style non-earthed Schuko plug and then for the British market fitted the Schuko plug into a UK mains plug adaptor.

I had seen something similar before on a Sony stereo system but with a standard two pin European style plug rather than the bulkier round Schuko one. At the time I had thought what a neat solution this was.

The adaptor plug fitted to the Black & Decker sander was marked with the manufacturers name who were PowerConnections of Harlow but looking on their web site they understandably only deal in bulk orders. It was then that I found a wide range of European and US adaptors on the CPC Farnell.

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