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#132966 - 10/31/01 03:27 PM European standardization
pauluk Offline
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7520
Loc: Norfolk, England
There were some comments elsewhere about various Codes moving toward a common model.

There has been a trend toward standardization of electrical systems here over a number of years. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the U.K. adopted a common color code for appliance cords as far back as 1970. Countries in Continental Europe standardized their fixed wiring the same code.

The German "Schuko" plug has become the most widely used plug for general appliances, being used in Germany, Austria, Spain, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and places farther afield.

Despite the best efforts of official and pseudo-official committees to "harmonize" all of us together, there are still plenty of stumbling blocks upon which various national groups cannot agree.

Some examples:

* In most of Western Europe the local codes allow receptacles in a bathroom, generally specifying that GFI protection be employed. The British IEE maintains its stance against this, allowing only low-power, xfmr-isolated shaver outlets.

* Nowhere else in Europe, except Ireland, uses the British ring circuit with fused plugs. Any common "Euro-plug" is likely to be closely modeled on the already widespead Schuko plug. This would involve abandoning the U.K. ring fused at 30A - Something the IEE (& many contractors) seem reluctant to do.

* The Schuko plug, although a grounding plug, is non-polarized. Again, although for most appliances this is of little consequence, the IEE doesn't like the idea of not being able to determine live & neutral to the appliance. (Note: Current grounding-type plugs in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark and some other countries ARE polarized.)

These are just a few items of basic principle. Don't expect a common European wirng code for a very long time, much less any sort of worldwide standard code.
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