Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Electricity around the world: it’s not a perfect science


When it comes to the simple task of plugging an electrical appliance in to make it work, there is no global standard for voltage or wattage. And that’s not to mention the different plug shapes, plug holes, plug sizes and sockets that vary vastly from country to country. Most appliances bought overseas simply cannot be connected to the wall outlets at home. There are only two ways to solve this problem: you just cut off the original plug and replace it with the one that is standard in your country, or you buy an unhandy and ugly adapter.

While it is easy to buy a plug adapter or a new “local” plug for your “foreign” appliances, in many cases this only solves half the problem—because it doesn't address the possible voltage disparity.

A 240-volt electrical appliance designed for use in Europe will provide a nice fireworks display—complete with sparks and smoke—if plugged into a U.S. socket.

The lack of a single voltage, frequency and globally standardized plugs results in extra costs for manufacturers and increase the burden on the environment.

Read the full article.

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