I am looking for an Irish (or British) plug, similar to the BS1363 plug, but having a T shaped ground pin (instead of the blade shaped ground pin on the BS1363) and designed for 110VAC applications. I know this plug exists and is in use at least one facility in the Republic. Any suggestions?
Those are the plugs. You can imagine the difficulty I have been having trying to find them, as there is a paucity of stores located in California offering specialty British electrical supplies. I have found Olsen in the UK that sells these plugs; do you know anyone in the US that sells them?
The company I work for attaches the MK plug to American appliances in Ireland that can only run on 120VAC. I assume they do this so people do not inadvertently plug 120V appliances into 230V outlets. As I am sending numerous pieces of American equipment to Ireland, I am trying to make sure everything is appropriately wired.
Any suggestions on this endeavour would be greatly appreciated.
The scans from the catalog don't show it very well, but yes, the earth pin is slightly smaller in the vertical dimension, and it also has a horizontal notch at the top to make it slightly T-shaped.
The "non standard" heading says it all though. I'm not aware of any other manufacturer that makes plugs compatible with these outlets (although this being well-respected MK it may be that somebody will decide to do so). As I said above though, these are marketed mainly for "clean earth" (isolated ground) usage, and would normally be wired for standard 220/240V rather than 110V.
Other manufacturers have also devised non-standard fittings for such use. Here's Crabtree's version:
It may be that a particular facility in Ireland has adopted the MK non-standard plugs for 110/120V, but I think you would need to inquire on an individual basis. There may well be other places (I'm guessing we're talking about the numerous computer plants that have sprung up in the R.o.I. in recent years) that just use normal NEMA American plugs for any 120V gear. Both MK and Crabtree make outlets which will take NEMA 5-15 plugs but which are designed to fit British mounting boxes (I think they're aimed mainly at the Middle Eastern market where 127V supplies are used in some areas with British-style switches, boxes, etc.).
I'm not aware of any U.S. suppliers of MK equipment, but it might be worth contacting MK's head office to inquire. Failing that, you could order whatever you need and have them ship it directly to you from England.
Caradon MK Electric Ltd. The Arnold Centre Paycocke Road Basildon Essex, SS14 3EA U.K.
Tel. +44 1268 563307 Fax +44 1268 563483 (These are "customer enquiry" which seem the most likely numbers!)
Is that earth pin on the Crabtree plug like the one that's been adopted on 15A plugs in the RSA?
On the 110V BS plug issue, I don't know if there ever was a British Standard plug for the lower voltage. I know that in the very early days (e.g. 1890s) some towns set up 3-wire DC Edison systems running at 110/220 (or thereabouts), but I believe they were all changed to the higher voltages very soon afterward, probably as 200-250V bulbs became available.
It would be interesting to find out just when the last 110/220 supply was converted, but I think it was very early on.
Paul wrote: [Is that earth pin on the Crabtree plug like the one that's been adopted on 15A plugs in the RSA?]
The earth pin on the left hand picture looks identical to an RSA one wedded with UK live and neutral pins! A real fusion of British Standards. The top grind on the right hand earth pin is the same as on a RSA clean earth/UPS plug. A major difference in use is that a clean earth RSA plug could be fitted in a normal socket but not vice versa. I can see that the design of these UK non-standard plugs makes them totally non-interchangable either way.
I would post a photo of the RSA version except the IT department guarded these plugs jealously (they retailed for about ten times the price of a standard plug) and I do not have one.
As to the last 110V DC domestic set-up in the UK. I came across a reference - which I am trying to chase down - that infered that pockets of this type of supply might have lingered on in east Lancashire into the 1940's or later. I'll keep looking and let you know.
I finally found the quote that was nagging me re 110V DC domestic. It forms part of the recollections of a boy who visited his grandparents in Colne, Lancashire after the Second World War [The term ‘4mm scale 0-6-2Ts’ refers to OO scale (~HO in USA) model railway locomotives].
“Other relatives lived nearby, including a great uncle Herbert whose electrical firm in town had wired up the houses of Colne to the cable radio years before the war. Parts of Colne were still being converted from direct current electricity supply to the now standard 240 Volts ac! One chap I was taken to see had made some 4mm scale 0-6-2Ts with home-wired motors that used the 110 Volt current straight from the mains of his house!”
So, no absolute age but post 1945 – possibly later. But what is this reference to ‘cable radio’? Did cable precede wireless only to make a modern come-back? The model railway certainly said “do not touch” louder than words!
Interesting.... I had no idea that the lower voltage supplies had survived that late. I'm wondering if this could have been some sort of locally-owned & run independent system. I think I'd better see if I can track down some more information on this.
Re the "cable radio" reference, it's a fascinating term. I know there were a few cable radio/TV systems set up in London and some other large cities in the 1950s, but a small northern town? I'm wondering if it might be a clumsily worded reference to mains-powered radio, as opposed to battery/accumulator sets which were still in common use in the 1940s.
I still have a load of OO-gauge model railway packed away in boxes. I haven't run any of it since I was a kid, but it's one of those one day I build another layout projects! (Think I'll stick with 12V on the tracks though!)
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 08-18-2002).]