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Although many European countries use a variety of electrical wall-outlet sockets for electrical connections to portable appliances, the other end of this power cable, if not permanently attached to the appliance (quite common,) fairly universally connects to it by means of a small 3-pin, flat bladed plug. These are used throughout Europe and are cpmpletely interchangeable. The attached equipment could typically be a PC, TV, Stereo system, electric kettle or a micro-wave and you can use them anywhere in Europe as long as the wall end of the cable has the right plug or a suitable adapter.

What I need to know is, does North America use this same small 3-pin plug at the APPLIANCE end?

NOTE
The voltage doesn't matter a jot in this case because, the appliance I have in mind is a universal transformer that will accept ANY INPUT voltage from 100 to 240 and automatically convert it to the required low voltage for the appliance that the transformer is going to supply.

I really need this info and have been struggling to find anything. I'm hoping some of you trans-Atlantic travellers might have good insight to pass onto me.
 

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the largish 3 pin connector (i believe called an iec connector - and comes in 2 flavours, one has an extra plastic lug in the socket to denote high current for kettles etc so you don't plug a low current lead into it by mistake) - is fairly common in the states, certainly with some electrical equipment. I use a lot of stuff typically made in japan, and the ship the same thing to the us, often with a voltage selector, and an iec socket in the unit
 

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Allan Wakefield
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Post a pic Tropi. I think the USA ones for the same job are slightly different in shape and size.
Does the lead not come with the tranny you are looking at then?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I spent much of the day making enquiries on the net, the phone and face to face with colleagues and I THINK I have established that the appliance plug/socket combination is, in fact the same, trans-Atlantic. My IT manager was telling me that, in a previous employment, he had to use some American PCs and peripherals in UK and it was just a matter of switching the PSU from 110V 60Hz to the 220 V 50 Hz position and using a standard UK connector cable to the mains supply - no problem, apart from the once he forgot to flip the switch and burned the smoking crap out of a Power Supply Unit!

I know I may sound a bit tight, (OK I AM!) but at Trans-Atlantic postage rates, I wanted to omit the lead and also save the recipient from having to wire a USA mains plug to it - every little helps! This way, they will only have to buy the equivalent US mains lead, which will likely cost little more than the mains plug alone and be a good bit less hassle - I hope.

Astro is quite right about heavier duty versions using a lug and keyway, and there are also other variations that use vertically orientated pins instead of the horizontal ones and also a square sectioned plug instead of the 6-sided one we are used to.

Thanks for the input chaps!
 

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Brian Ferguson
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Tropi, if you are planning to market ANY electrical device here in North America (US or Canada), be aware that it must be UL and/or CSA certified. In my experience at trying to get a relatively simple, but electrically powered, computer slot-timing interface marketed a few years ago, this was a BIG pain in the a$$. In fact, so much so, and so costly, that I gave up!


Not sure of what you have in mind, or if you already knew that, but just a "heads up". There are huge fines for importing/exporting non-certified electrical items into North America.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the warning Fergy, but it is a gift, so no problem, especially as the item originated in the US before arriving in UK! I may explain the apparent enigma after Christmas!
 

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In the U.S. the connector with three prongs, has two that are flat and the botthom which is round. In Europe all three are flat if I'm not mistaken. It's easier in the US to get a connector from US to Europe but the opposite is sometimes available though a lot harder to find.
 

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Waaaah!
Now you are getting me worried again, Dennis!
If you have time, would you mind taking a look at This Link and then adding more comment please?
There is a pic there - I'll take a chance and post it here - I may get sacked for this!
The connector I refer to is EXACTLY the same as the one on the right.


I would really appreciate any and all info.
I have to get this right.
If I can't, then I will have to send the UK cable and ask the recipient to fit a USA wall plug to it OR not send the power supply at all and get the recipient to buy a complete USA PSU, which is a little bit specialised and will probably be quite expensive as a separate unit from the item that it will supply power to. It's probably worth about $5 as supplied in the complete bundle, but I bet they charge $50 as a separate unit! No kidding, this is how these people operate when they have a captive market - all for the sake of a 10 cent moulded plug!
 

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The female plug on the right looks like the type that plugs into the back of a computer while the male plug on the left won't fit in any receptacle here my friend.

You probably can get the whole chord assuming that the picture shows two ends of the same chord.
 

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Thanks for ALL the input, guys.

The left hand plug in my pic has nothing to do with anything - it's the one on the right that counts - ignore the other one totally!

Fergy,
your pic is perfection, right on the money - it has EXACTLY the correct appliance connector on the left and the USA wall plug on the right. I am now completely satisfied that a USA PC connecting cable is exactly what is required for connecting mains power to this transformer and I don't have to send the dead weight of a UK cable by airmail - every little weight saving helps!

Again, thank you everyone for contibuting - it's all helpful and I have learned things from it.
 
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