I'm certainly no expert on Continental wiring, but I'd thught I'd pass on a little of what I know about the systems used by our neighbors across the Channel in France.
They use a 3-ph 4-w system similar to that in the U.K., but standardized at 220/380V (50 Hz). It's not at all unusual for residential service to be 3 phase, sometimes fused at only 15 or 20A per phase on smaller homes.
Electric ranges typically take a 4-wire (plus gnd) connection for load distribution.
As in the U.K., and unlike most other European countries, the French keep lights and receptacles on different branch circuits. Lights are generally fed on 10A branches, recepts. on 16 or 20A. They don't use British-style rings (Phew!), but American-style radial or "tree" topography. I've seen some documents which indicate that recepts. are usually limited to amaximum of 8 per circuit.
Dedicated circuits are wired for each large appliance, such as a washing machine, fixed room heater, etc.
Plugs have two round pins which fit into a recessed receptacle. The pin size & spacing is the same as that used on the German "Schuko" plug (widely used in the rest of Europe), but the grounding connection is different.
French recepts. have a MALE ground pin in the recess which mates with a FEMALE connection on the plug. Many plugs in France are made with side ground contacts as well so that they will also fit the Schuko socket elsewhere in Europe.
A smaller range might be H-H-N-G on two phases but the larger ones take power from all three phases, so they're H-H-H-N-G. With some models now being sold right across Europe, we're seeing some of these in the U.K. (here we just strap all the phases together for the British single-phase residential service).
I think 3-ph ranges have been quite common for some time, although I'm a little hazy on the history of French power distribution. A few weeks ago I stripped out an early 1970s British range here: It was wired for 1-ph with only a single L1 (line/hot) terminal, but the block had empty positions clearly marked L2 and L3, which I assume would have been used for some export models.
When you mention the brewhaha over range wiring there, I assume you mean about using the neutral as a ground rather than a separate ground wire.
To the best of my knowledge, nowhere else in Europe (Western Europe at any rate) would ground the frame of an appliance to the neutral. As in Britain, the neutral & ground are kept entirely separate after the service entrance, although some areas have the main house ground to the neutral as in the standard U.S. or British PME systems.
No, there's no ground pin to cut off on the French plugs, but a lot of older buildings seem to have non-grounding recepts. without the ground pin. There's nothing to stop an appliance requiring a ground being plugged into one of these.
#132964 - 10/29/0107:32 AMRe: Quelquechose un peu differente
3 Phase 4 wire in my house would be kind of cool - I would just prefer it to be a lower voltage to ground. It would be interesting, even helpful for machinery / motors - but more of a "Trivial Thing"
On the other hand, I can think of several clients, friends and would-be customers who would be foaming at the mouth if they knew of this! If these people found out, they'd make a mad dash to France, dragging their Families and belongings with 'em [refer to an older thread about "why can't I have a 3 phase 480 volt system at my house", where this issue was humorously debated].
Scott " 35 " Thompson Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
#132965 - 10/29/0109:18 AMRe: Quelquechose un peu differente