PlugSafe  Protecting BS 1363 - the world’s safest mains plug and socket

 

 

Adaptors

Adaptors enable more than one plug to be put into a single socket, or allow a plug or plugs which are of a foreign type to be used in a UK socket.  Adaptors sold for use in the UK are required to meet BS 1363-3;1995, the specification for adaptors.  These adaptors MUST be shuttered, if they are for use with non-UK plugs then the adaptor MUST be fitted with a fuse, and they MUST conform to the pin dimensions of a BS 1363 plug.

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Illegal adaptor 1 Illegal adaptor 3 Illegal adaptor 2

NONE OF THE ADAPTORS ON THIS PAGE CONFORM TO BS 1363-3:1995!  The images immediately above and below are all taken from eBay.co.uk, click on an image to see original eBay listing.  Most have also been found offered on Amazon.co.uk.  This selection is not a complete list of dangerous adaptors!  Above we illustrate 4 adaptors which are intended to allow most foreign plugs to be used with a UK socket.   None of these has a fuse!  None of these has shutters to prevent objects other than a plug being inserted!  They fail to meet the correct dimensions in various ways.  The first, a common type, also has a partially insulated earth pin, which is not allowed.  You will find more detail on this model further down the page.

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Illegal adaptor 6 Illegal adaptor 7

The adaptor on the left above is intended to accept foreign two pin plugs, however it has no fuse and is therefore illegal. 
The adaptor in the centre above is intended to accept most foreign plugs, and to be used European and US as well as UK sockets.  It has been shown that this type of adaptor may be inserted into a socket using one set of pins while other pins, still live, are sticking out and fully exposed!  Also, there is no connection made to the earth contact of the host socket, despite the adaptor accepting earthed plugs!  The cylindrical adaptor above right also has no connection made to the earth contact of the host socket, despite the adaptor accepting earthed plugs!  All of these adaptors are both illegal and highly dangerous.

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Adaptor_1_Face Adaptor_1_Side Adaptor_1_cable_connector
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Here we take a closer look at the first type of adaptor shown above.  This example was provided with a soldering appliance bought on eBay.  The detachable power cord  (illegally) supplied was a US power cable, so instead of supplying the correct cable the eBay vendor included this adaptor.  Please note that the US cable is quite clearly marked with a 125V rating, so not only illegal but completely unsuitable for UK mains voltage!

Shutters and a fuse are required by UK law, but not present in this design.  Because the adaptor is designed to accept a variety of different flat pin and round pin plugs, the pin apertures are unreasonably large, the exposed contacts can be clearly seen.  Note that the line and power pins are too close to the periphery of the adaptor body,  less than half of the legal minimum.  Also note that the pins are not correctly aligned, and are significantly smaller than permitted, approximately 9% shorter than the minimum allowed, this can be seen in the picture comparing the adaptor pins with a genuine plug.   The earth pin is partially insulated, again that is not allowed and can result in there being no connection to earth.  The adaptor does not exhibit the required markings to indicate that it has been approved, it appears to bear a back-to-front “CE” mark, but the CE mark is not  permitted on a BS 1363 device label because BS 1363 is a National, not European, Standard.

SKROSS is the trademark of a Swiss company called WorldConnect AG who make a range of travel adaptors.  On their website the company claims that ”For all SKROSS products, the observance of internationally-relevant safety standards is at the foreground during the entire development and production process” and yet a search of the site reveals no reference to, let alone an awareness of the importance of, BS 1363! 
As the PlugSafe “Size Matters” Fact Sheet explains, it is very important to only insert objects of the correct shape and dimensions into a BS 1363 socket to ensure that the socket is not damaged.  The ISOD (plastic earth pin) shown in the picture is clearly not the correct shape!
SKROSS make a range of adaptors, some are specified for three pin use and are equipped with metal earth pins, but the two pin types, such as the one illustrated here, are also designed to accept  three pin UK plugs.  There is nothing to stop the user inserting an earthed UK plug (or, indeed, some earthed European plugs) into the adaptor.  As the adaptor has no earth connection to the host socket this is a very dangerous situation and it is entirely irresponsible of the company. 

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The design is clearly not inherently safe, does not comply with BS 1363-3: 1995 “Specification for adaptors” and is therefore illegal to supply in the UK.

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