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Old 15th November 2018, 04:48 PM   #1
bruto
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Techhno-illiteracy

I was just browsing while stuck in a motel waiting for the next flight to be cancelled, on a blog, and found a link to THIS product, which the blogger seemed to think an ingenious novelty.

It does for sure allow for multiple plugs in a single outlet, while also obviously disallowing all three prong grounded plugs, while also allowing all two prong polarized plugs to be inserted backwards.

I know it's just a little thing, but I think it says a little something about the state of education that anyone would consider this a good idea, much less a good product.

e.t.a. I do understand that the site is Japanese, but still....There's something seriously awry here.
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Old 15th November 2018, 05:01 PM   #2
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I think its primary selling point would be its design. It doesn't look anything like an electrical outlet and a lot of people would want that look (or lack of look).

A dangerous disadvantage would be that it could be easier for a person (child) to insert a metal object such as an eating utensil.
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Old 15th November 2018, 05:05 PM   #3
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Not to mention it's an invitation to a game of 'Overload That Socket'.
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Old 15th November 2018, 05:19 PM   #4
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Years ago I had an early version of a "power strip" that simply had two long parallel slots spaced apart by the width of the two prongs of a standard plug. I used it to plug a whole bunch of low-power aquarium accessories into one wall outlet. This was back when not all outlets and relatively few plugs were polarized. You obviously couldn't plug a three-prong plug into it, but it had no problem with polarized plugs except for defeating their purpose. (However, it also wasn't unusual for people to deal with polarized plugs and old unpolarized outlets by either filing down the wider prong, or using a polarized-to-unpolarized "adapter.")

You could also easily touch the contacts inside the long slots with your finger, but that was a different design issue.

I seem to have survived.

ETA: Reading that back, it sounds like I'm suggesting the opposite of what I meant to say. Safety standards sucked back then. By current standards, the new design is irredeemably terrible. Okay, the contacts are probably recessed well out of finger reach (which actually causes another usage issue that I'll leave as an exercise for now). The problem is how easy it is to reach the contacts with an implement. With a regular outlet, someone could in theory electrocute themselves by poking with a tool such as a flat screwdriver. But it has to be thin enough to go in (most tools aren't), and it has to hit the contact, and it has to be held by the shaft instead of the handle. Now, look at the new design and consider how easy it is by comparison to get a table knife in there.

EATAA: I do have to admit the visual design is nice looking. But, that's only as long as it's unused. As soon as you actually plug anything into it, it looks just as ugly as any other outlet with cords hanging from it.
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Old 15th November 2018, 06:33 PM   #5
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I wonder how often proposals on that site make it into production.
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Old 16th November 2018, 11:15 AM   #6
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Techno-illiteracy?

I don't know the difference between trance, chill, house, and happy.
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Old 16th November 2018, 11:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Techno-illiteracy?

I don't know the difference between trance, chill, house, and happy.
And what the hell is dub step?
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Old 16th November 2018, 11:59 AM   #8
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Technological illiteracy is rampant in society. Hence "free water from air" scams and just about anything Elon Musk dredges up.
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Old 16th November 2018, 03:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
And what the hell is dub step?
Melbourne Shuffle FTW!
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Old 16th November 2018, 03:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
And what the hell is dub step? : confused :
Actually dubstep is pretty easy to identify, though I don't have the techno-literacy to properly describe its characteristic features.

Basically it's techno that emphasizes extremely aggressive and jarring rhythmic discontinuities. Like jazz, but for syncopation rather than harmony.
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Old 17th November 2018, 01:09 AM   #11
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Old 17th November 2018, 02:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
Not to mention it's an invitation to a game of 'Overload That Socket'.
That was my first thought too
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Old 17th November 2018, 09:10 PM   #13
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I suppose on the overloading thing, one could say that since it's supposedly mainly for "wall wart" types of connections that would not happen, but in the real world the same people who snap off the ground prong on power tools would be using it on whatever they can jam in there.
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Old 24th November 2018, 10:31 AM   #14
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The world should be required to adopt the UK style three-pin plug. There are too many stupid people in the world.
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Old 24th November 2018, 03:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
The world should be required to adopt the UK style three-pin plug. There are too many stupid people in the world.
Wouldn't that result in more stupid people?
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Old 24th November 2018, 03:49 PM   #16
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I don't see why the UK style 3 pin plug would be any better or safer than the US style 3 pin plug. Or, for that matter, any polarized plug.

Actually, the system currently in use in the US is pretty safe unless you do something stupid to defeat it. The standard outlet is a three prong polarized outlet, and assuming that the plugs themselves are correct, all is well. A three prong plug goes in only one (right) way, and a polarized plug only one right way. A non-polarized two prong plug, which is truly safe in either orientation, can go in either way.
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Old 24th November 2018, 05:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I don't see why the UK style 3 pin plug would be any better or safer than the US style 3 pin plug. Or, for that matter, any polarized plug.

Actually, the system currently in use in the US is pretty safe unless you do something stupid to defeat it. The standard outlet is a three prong polarized outlet, and assuming that the plugs themselves are correct, all is well. A three prong plug goes in only one (right) way, and a polarized plug only one right way. A non-polarized two prong plug, which is truly safe in either orientation, can go in either way.
You can't have two pronged plugs in the UK, the sockets won't work with just two pins.
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Old 24th November 2018, 05:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
The world should be required to adopt the UK style three-pin plug. There are too many stupid people in the world.
This is the kind of thing I will never really understand. The safety gains of the three prong plug have to be marginal at best - well into diminishing returns territory. But there's still someone out there ready to say anything other than the three prong plug is stupidly unsafe.
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Old 24th November 2018, 05:14 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
You can't have two pronged plugs in the UK, the sockets won't work with just two pins.
While probably not a smart thing to do, you can indeed use a 2 prong plug in an UK socket.
Been there done that with an European shaver and toothbrush charger.
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Old 24th November 2018, 06:07 PM   #20
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As a child I enjoyed freaking out guests by running around and sticking an unfolded paper clip in a wall socket. I made sure I wasn't grounded (wiring is not always correct so you can't depend on the small slot / large slot to be correctly wired. People look at electricity as some sort of magic with a demon just waiting to shock/kill them. Its principles are pretty simple and, for some reason, I had learned them quite early. But then most children had a security blanket they hauled around. I had an extension cord.
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Old 24th November 2018, 06:15 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
You can't have two pronged plugs in the UK, the sockets won't work with just two pins.
That's why the Australian standard is better. There are a whole bunch of double insulated appliances which must not be earthed. These can be wired to a 2 pin plug which can only be inserted into the socket one way because of the angles of the pins. Australian plugs are also more compact.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AS/NZS_3112

https://www.worldstandards.eu/electr...and-sockets/i/
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Old 24th November 2018, 06:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
That's why the Australian standard is better. There are a whole bunch of double insulated appliances which must not be earthed. These can be wired to a 2 pin plug which can only be inserted into the socket one way because of the angles of the pins. Australian plugs are also more compact.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AS/NZS_3112
How many lives have been saved by the Australian standard?
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Old 24th November 2018, 06:31 PM   #23
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How would you know?

My best guess would be almost 25 million..
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Old 24th November 2018, 06:32 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
How many lives have been saved by the Australian standard?
The Australian standard is at least as safe as the British standard or any other standard.
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Old 24th November 2018, 06:33 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
How would you know?

My best guess would be almost 25 million..
Considering that the Australian standard is also used in China, that guess might not be far off.
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Old 24th November 2018, 06:44 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I don't see why the UK style 3 pin plug would be any better or safer than the US style 3 pin plug. Or, for that matter, any polarized plug.

Actually, the system currently in use in the US is pretty safe unless you do something stupid to defeat it. The standard outlet is a three prong polarized outlet, and assuming that the plugs themselves are correct, all is well. A three prong plug goes in only one (right) way, and a polarized plug only one right way. A non-polarized two prong plug, which is truly safe in either orientation, can go in either way.
The USA outlets would actually be safer if installed with the ground pin on top, instead of on the bottom as usually done. That way a partially pulled plug, still hot, cannot be shorted by something falling across the pins. Hospitals do that pretty routinely.
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Old 24th November 2018, 06:51 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
That's why the Australian standard is better. There are a whole bunch of double insulated appliances which must not be earthed. These can be wired to a 2 pin plug which can only be inserted into the socket one way because of the angles of the pins. Australian plugs are also more compact.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AS/NZS_3112

https://www.worldstandards.eu/electr...and-sockets/i/
My bold: "Must not be earthed"? Perhaps you mean "can't be earthed" (grounded) because they only have two pins?

USA polarized plugs can also be inserted only one way, even the two-pin ones. Unless you clip off the wider pin a bit, which I confess to having done once or twice. Because reasons.

I also have several of those three-into-two adaptors. Sometimes I just use them as standoffs to get one plug out beyond another.
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Old 24th November 2018, 09:22 PM   #28
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While I'm sure the Australian and Chinese system is pretty good, it does not make allow independent ground and neutral as a thee-prong one does. That's a rather nice added safety feature, to prevent hazards from faults within a device, including wiring errors that reverse the hot and neutral lines.

And, of course, just to confuse things a bit more, the Argentine plug is exactly the same in appearance but polarized the opposite way.

I agree with Trebuchet that a three prong socket should best be installed upside down, and that's one of the ways the UK setup is better. Of course that's always assuming that one does not cheat, by using bad adaptors, shorting the fuses, prying balky locking holes open, and so forth.
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Old 25th November 2018, 01:08 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
My bold: "Must not be earthed"? Perhaps you mean "can't be earthed" (grounded) because they only have two pins?
No, the appliance usually has a label saying "Double insulated, do not earth". Either the appliance has no metal frame that can be earthed or if it does
(somewhere deep inside) earthing it (effectively connecting it to neutral) would cause it to stop operating properly.

Originally Posted by bruto View Post
While I'm sure the Australian and Chinese system is pretty good, it does not make allow independent ground and neutral as a thee-prong one does. That's a rather nice added safety feature, to prevent hazards from faults within a device, including wiring errors that reverse the hot and neutral lines.

And, of course, just to confuse things a bit more, the Argentine plug is exactly the same in appearance but polarized the opposite way.
Would you care to try the highlighted bit again? I don't understand it. Whether a 2-prong or 3-prong plug is used, it is impossible to insert it backwards (it would be possible with UK sockets if they permitted 2-pronged plugs to be used).

AFAIK no outlet system can guard against wiring errors. Usually an active-neutral transposition or a neutral-earth transposition would not prevent an appliance from working correctly. However, if an plug with a neutral-earth transposition was inserted into a socket with an active-neutral transposition then the frame of the appliance would be live with the full mains voltage. (Hence the need for earth leakage detectors).

Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I agree with Trebuchet that a three prong socket should best be installed upside down, and that's one of the ways the UK setup is better. Of course that's always assuming that one does not cheat, by using bad adaptors, shorting the fuses, prying balky locking holes open, and so forth.
The theory in Australia is that if a plug is pulled downwards then the last prong to lose contact would be the earth prong. Modern design rules require the plugs to have insulation half way down their active and neutral prongs to prevent accidental shorts of the nature described above.
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Old 25th November 2018, 03:26 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
The USA outlets would actually be safer if installed with the ground pin on top, instead of on the bottom as usually done. That way a partially pulled plug, still hot, cannot be shorted by something falling across the pins. Hospitals do that pretty routinely.
Apparently it's more common than I thought. Actually happened to me, twice, under very different circumstances.

Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
My bold: "Must not be earthed"? Perhaps you mean "can't be earthed" (grounded) because they only have two pins?

USA polarized plugs can also be inserted only one way, even the two-pin ones. Unless you clip off the wider pin a bit, which I confess to having done once or twice. Because reasons.

I also have several of those three-into-two adaptors. Sometimes I just use them as standoffs to get one plug out beyond another.
Trying to get that new house burned down?
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Old 25th November 2018, 04:06 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
That's why the Australian standard is better. There are a whole bunch of double insulated appliances which must not be earthed. These can be wired to a 2 pin plug which can only be inserted into the socket one way because of the angles of the pins. Australian plugs are also more compact.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AS/NZS_3112

https://www.worldstandards.eu/electr...and-sockets/i/
In the UK that would still be a three pin plug, the flex would be two core (blue and brown) with no earth so if you had to wire it yourself there is no way of inadvertently earthing the device.
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Old 25th November 2018, 04:33 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
In the UK that would still be a three pin plug, the flex would be two core (blue and brown) with no earth so if you had to wire it yourself there is no way of inadvertently earthing the device.
And if it came with a plug already fitted, the earth pin would be plastic, not metal.
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Old 25th November 2018, 04:36 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
The USA outlets would actually be safer if installed with the ground pin on top, instead of on the bottom as usually done. That way a partially pulled plug, still hot, cannot be shorted by something falling across the pins. Hospitals do that pretty routinely.
The UK plug has the earth at the top. It also (in the latest specifications; probably for the last couple of decades, at least) has an insulating sleeve on the live and neutral pins covering the part that would be exposed if the plug is partially pulled.
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Old 25th November 2018, 08:55 AM   #34
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Just adding to the above, that while a properly polarized two prong setup is pretty safe and foolproof if it's always right, the neutral side of the circuit is carrying full current and if there is a ground fault or an interruption in the wiring, it's possible for there to be a potential between it and the earth. If, for example, the cord of a two-prong appliance is broken on the neutral side, or an internal part burns out, the neutral side of the appliance itself (which might include the chassis if it's not double-insulated) may be hot relative to ground. A three prong system in which the chassis and other parts of the appliance are always grounded helps to prevent this.

This is part of the reason why it is a violation of code to bridge the ground and neutral in a three prong outlet, even though the two wires terminate at the same point in the service, and it will work perfectly almost all the time.
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Old 25th November 2018, 11:29 AM   #35
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GFCIs work well. Even with 2 prong appliances. Elect. codes where I live required they be installed in bathroom and kitchen outlets. This device would be safe if it incorporated a GFCI.
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Old 25th November 2018, 11:47 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
Apparently it's more common than I thought. Actually happened to me, twice, under very different circumstances.
Saw it happen a couple months ago at work. Metal plate around an outlet fell off while someone was pulling a plug. She wasn't hurt, but after a very loud "Pop" it left a very dramatic burn mark on the wall.
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Old 26th November 2018, 02:44 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
Not to mention it's an invitation to a game of 'Overload That Socket'.
Well, how else am I supposed to plug my hair dryer, toaster oven, space heater, and microwave into the same outlet?
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Old 26th November 2018, 09:43 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
Well, how else am I supposed to plug my hair dryer, toaster oven, space heater, and microwave into the same outlet?
The usual way is to get a few three way socket adapters and stack them. Three in a pile give you nine outlets, with the additional bonus of lots of ways to become partially unplugged and overheat. The two prong rubber ones also allow you to plug in three prong plugs with the ground prong in the air. Perfect.

Actually more seriously, power strips with breakers are pretty safe. The thing that doesn't usually last very well is the lightning protection. If the little neon light starts flickering badly or going out, it's likely no good. But the ones on cheap ones probably weren't very good anyway. I've started finding these in free piles and the like. Pretty handy to have around, especially in an old house like mine with too few accessible outlets. Back a few years ago many were made with metal bodies and proper duplex receptacles, good for years.
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Old 27th November 2018, 04:13 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
The UK plug has the earth at the top. It also (in the latest specifications; probably for the last couple of decades, at least) has an insulating sleeve on the live and neutral pins covering the part that would be exposed if the plug is partially pulled.
Not forgetting the shuttering on the socket itself. Given the length of the earth pin, which raises the shutters, it should be impossible on a sleeved plug to touch bare metal when there's current flow.
Also the shuttering prevents objects being inserted into the holes and contacting the internals accidentally, unless you use the socket covers, and the pins themselves are thick enough that you can't do stupid things to them (I remember an Aussie tech writer getting an item with an American style 2 pin plug for a 120\240 power brick, 5 minutes with a pair of pliers got it working)
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