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Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline OP
Seems like the UK/Eire, Germany/Austria, Sweden, New Zealand/Australia, South Africa are pretty well represented here. We've also read a bit about France's wiring practices

What about some more "esoteric" (if you will) countries and their wiring devices, practices & codes:

I'm curious about the following countries and regions:

People's Republic of China
Hong Kong
Russia (and most of Eastern Europe)
Middle East/Israel

Has anyone had any experiences with these countries' wiring devices, practices, codes, electricians, etc.?

My only contacts (excuse the pun) with "foreign" electricity so far has been Canada and Colombia.

Both of these use standards similar to the USA and plugs and sockets are the same (hell some are even imported from the USA!), 120-volts/60 Hz etc.

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 12-30-2002).]

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
Likes: 1
C-H Offline
I had to look up the word "esoteric": "confined to and understandable by only an enlightened inner circle"

I too am very much interested in the wiring of "unknown" countries such as these. The Internet is of little help, it seems. Perhaps the information is there, but it's just not accessible unless one understands Chineese, Russian etc.

I can give you some clues, though: Hong Kong was part of the British Empire and uses the British sockets. Therefore I would think that the city adheres to UK standards.

Mexico has a national electric code similar to the NEC: I've seen a document from the NFPA (I think) where it was considered possible to create a common Canadian-US-Mexican code out of the present codes. Therefore, it can't be very different.

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 12-30-2002).]

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 456
AFAIK, Japanese receptacles are NEMA 1-15,
but an earth is available. I don't know what
is in the walls or service panels.
They use 100V, 50 or 60Hz, depending on location.

Other than minor differences, Canada and
the USA use the same wiring.
For instance, all along, Canada has used
4 prong fittings for range/dryer connections
(the USA has adopted that in the last 5 years). The NM cable here has no paper inside it (at least new stuff). Kitchen
receptacles are to by wired on shared neutral
15A circuits, in the USA 20A single pole circuits, with GFCI on islands or near sinks.
FPE Stab-Lock panels and accessories are
still sold and used, and I guess approved.

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,498
I think India has both 220/380 and 240/415V Supplies and uses BS 546 plugs.
About Israel and Brazil we already had some discussions.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 19
I spent 4 months in Bolivia on a short term mission. They use 220/385Y for all secondary. Small homes have single phase panels, but large homes have 3 phase panels. Most of the houses are adobe covered with stucco. They use a #12 zip cord stapled to the wall. The receptacles are feed through. There are special wooden blocks to mount the receptacles. They use a lot of knife switches. Most bathrooms have a small electric water heater in the shower head. The knife switch is to turn it on and off. You must remember to turn the water on first or it burns out the element! It is surprising how close to the shower stall the knife sitch is mounted.
They also have a threaded PVC water pipe that was very difficult to work with.

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 382

Are you inferring by using the term zip-cord that the Bolivian systems you came across were wired ungrounded with two wires?

What kind of receptacles did they use?

Are the knife-blades exposed in their switches or enclosed in some sort of sector housing?


Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
I know Hong Kong used British fittings (both BS546 and BS1363), but I believe that their nominal voltage was 200V rather than the more usual 220-240V. I say "was," because I don't know whether they've changed the system in recent years.

I also understand that India still has some 3-wire DC distribution in a few areas, along with various nominal 3-phase AC systems: 220/380, 230/400, 240/415, 250/433. The 15A BS546 plug is still standard there.

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
Likes: 1
C-H Offline
This thread reminded me that I once made a web based database over the electricity, phones and TV systems used around the world. It is based on information from Steve Kropla's webpage and a number of other sources. I never really finished it, but my test page is in fact working:


I think Hong Kong joined the European countries in their conversion to 230V. Which makes me wonder if China is going to change to 230V from todays 220V. The Chinese president Jiang Zemin, who is an electrical engineer [Linked Image] , has said that the country is going to adapt to international (i.e. European) electrical standards in coming years. The 230V standard is the official international standard (IEC 60038), so there is some chance.

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 01-01-2003).]

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,498
Wow! Seems to be quite solid.
Some comments though: Why hasn't Italy 230/400 listed? They use it! I think Liechtenstein should be 230/400 by now, as it gets power from switzerland only.
Does San Marino really uses Australian plugs? One would think of italian ones.
Switzerland has a little contradiction in it, it says : 230V at outlet, but voltages 220/380. Turkey detto.
Just what occured to me while browsing through the site, hope you don't mind my comments.

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
Likes: 1
C-H Offline
Your comments are most welcome.

The "problem" with Italy, Brazil and a few other countries is that the database holds records of each city or region. However, I haven't taken the time to finish the page, and therefore there is currently no information at all about these countries.

On the other hand, I think the information is rather outdated and I'm considering change these records to the country level.

Switzerland, San Marino, Turkey - fixed!

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 01-02-2003).]

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