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British Standard 546 plugs #133633 09/01/02 03:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
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pauluk Offline OP
Member
A while ago I said I'd post a pic of the older round-pin British plugs, officially known as BS546 types. Here it is:
[Linked Image]
Top row, left to right are the 2A, 5A, and 15A 3-pin plugs. Below left is the current 13A fused type for comparison.

Bottom right is the 2-pin non-grounding 5-amp plug, which is reversible. This type is still the standard "shaver" plug on our xfmr-isolated bathroom outlets. There was also a 2-pin 2A style, and pre-war a 2-pin 15A type.


[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 09-01-2002).]

{Recent edit only due to image being moved to ECN server}

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 09-10-2003).]

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Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133634 09/02/02 02:26 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,337
Trumpy Offline
Member
Paul,
What year did the use of the current
BS 4343 plugs, start?
Just wondering?.

Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133635 09/02/02 03:36 PM
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pauluk Offline OP
Member
Do you really mean BS4343? They're the heavy-duty commercial types in various pin configurations and color coded for different voltages. I'm not sure when they were introduced without looking it up.

The 13A plug bottom left of the pic is to BS1363. It was introduced with the ring circuit in the late 1940s, I believe either 1948 or 1949. The older round-pin styles continued in use for many years though.

Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133636 09/04/02 02:18 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,337
Trumpy Offline
Member
Sorry Paul,
What I really meant was the BS 1363
three pin square plug, not the BS 4343
Industrial plugs,now under IEC 309.
It has been some time since we actaully
used British Standards,over here.
And of course, there are so many standards,
Regulations and Codes of Practice,to be
complied with over here, you dare not
even sneeze.

Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133637 09/04/02 04:20 PM
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pauluk Offline OP
Member
That raises an interesting question:

Did N.Z. ever use the BS546 round-pin plugs? If so, when did you change to the flat-blade Aussie-style plug?

Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133638 09/04/02 08:35 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 381
H
Hutch Offline
Member
For the benefit of those who have not seen the Australian and New Zealand plugs, I have illustrated some examples below. They are also used in Argentina, slightly modified to take a thin pair of round pins (an alternate plug) in the pair of inclined slots. Note also the silver earth (grounding) pin of the bottom plug is stamped "GREEN". Dabs of brown and blue paint (the colors of the live and neutral wires) are present near the compression screws of the other pins.

[Linked Image from elkonv.com]

Interesting question you raise Paul about the use of the old round pin plugs in the Dominions. I wonder what India used and what it uses now.

Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133639 09/05/02 02:30 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,337
Trumpy Offline
Member
Paul,
I have seen round pin type plugs,
used in some really old places, that I
have rewired, but I have never bothered
to check the British Standard on them.
And I am quite sure that they would have
been BS type, as all of the fittings and
plugs were made of bakelite, a popular
material, in fittings imported from
England, around the 1920's-30's.
We also used to import TRS(Tough Rubber
Sheathed) cable from a factory, in
Manchester, we are now taking this stuff out in huge amounts, as it is starting
to break down, it has been known to burn
houses down, as it is still protected
by porcelain semi-enclosed fuses, which
normally do not blow, until it is too late.
But, with regard to the BS 1363, fused
plugs, this is a really good system,
especially nowadays, where appliances
depend on the Rupturing Capacity of the
protection at the switch board, what-ever
this may be, to protect an appliance,
which, normally is full of semi-conductors,
not good, fused plugs should be used more
widely!.

Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133640 09/05/02 03:49 PM
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pauluk Offline OP
Member
There's still a fair quantity of the old TRS cable in use in England too, although it's gradually diminishing as places are rewired. Most of it by now is getting to the point of being very brittle and crumbly, especially the ends entering light fixtures. Most of the latter just fall apart as soon as you touch them by now.

India used BS546 round-pin plugs, and still does according to sources I've seen. You'll also find that they were adopted in many other British-influenced places, e.g. Kenya and some other African countries, and a few Caribbean islands such as Dominica. Some have since adopted the fused BS1363 plug, but others have stayed with BS546 types. (Some British places use American plugs and 120V supplies, e.g. Bermuda, British Virgin Islands. I assume this arose simply due to the geographical convenience of having America on their doorstep to supply lots of cheap electrical parts.)

Thanks for that pic Hutch. The Argentinian plug also has active & neutral the opposite way around to Australia/N.Z. Maybe this ties in with the item I mentioned elsewhere about the Aussie/Kiwi plug not having the active/neutral positions defined at one time. Presumably Argentina also decided to define them and ended up with the opposite scheme.

By the way, you can find a reasonable list of supply systems and plugs at this link.

I say "reasonable," because I've seen some similar lists which appear to contain numerous errors. I can't say this one covers everything, but it's better than many.


[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 09-05-2002).]

Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133641 09/05/02 09:34 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 381
H
Hutch Offline
Member
Paul said:-
"The Argentinian plug also has active & neutral the opposite way around to Australia/N.Z. Maybe this ties in with the item I mentioned elsewhere about the Aussie/Kiwi plug not having the active/neutral positions defined at one time. Presumably Argentina also decided to define them and ended up with the opposite scheme."

Paul - Could you please point me in the direction of the thread you mentioned or possibly elaborate some more. It appears outrageous that a polarised plug and socket system can be designed and the polarities are not fixed up front.


[This message has been edited by Hutch (edited 09-05-2002).]

Re: British Standard 546 plugs #133642 09/06/02 12:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
B
Bjarney Offline
Moderator
Hutch, in your 9-04 posting, the cap and plug pictured is similar to what in the US used be called—in slang—a 'crowfoot' device—for its shape. Both were rated 125/250V 3-wire, non-grounding, but the grounded-neutral pin was improperly used as an equipment-ground connection. The 50A version was sued for electric ranges, effectively replaced by a 4-wire device nowadays. The 15A version was used for small 240V air conditioners and heaters. The physical layout, pin geometry and proportions compared to the devices in your picture look very much the same.

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