Connecting equipment or appliances to an alternating current (AC) power supply requires both a male and female plug. The male plug is found on the appliance and the female plug is attached to the power supply as an outlet. Different plug types exist for 220V AC power supplies.
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Ovens and Dryers
One of the most common 220V plugs is used in household ovens and dryers. The plug has a three-phase wiring system without a safety ground. The plug comes with three pins; the pins can be flat or angled for locking the plug into place. A single 220V line runs directly from the control panel or breaker box and into the 220V outlet, generally called a "home run" line.
Some pieces of business equipment use a three-phase plug that has a safety ground added onto the plug. The plug has four pins protruding from the end and the 220V outlet must match this type of plug. Lathes, mills, CNC machines and other common business equipment have this type of 220V plug. A home run is ran directly to the outlet from a cut-off switch that can control and turn off the power supply without unplugging the machine.
Many large types of business equipment and machinery require a 220V plug that can control unbalanced loads. These electrical loads fluctuate up and down during operation of the equipment. Presses, punches, large boring machines and other business equipment can have these type of plugs. The plug is a three-phase wiring system with a neutral and a safety ground. The plug has five pins to provide the equipment with continuous current even though the machine has unbalanced voltage requirements during operation.
Most European countries, as well as countries found in Africa and Asia, only run on 220V outlets. Unlike most of North America, these countries require appliances and equipment that operates off of 220V. Most common appliances and equipment in North America only operate on 110V, such as cellphone chargers, laptops, televisions, lamps and other basic appliances. Travelling to other countries with a cellphone or laptop will require you to take a converter plug with you in order to operate your equipment. The plug is connected to a converter box and can plug into 220V outlets, while the cellphone charger plugs into the converter box allowing you to operate your 110V equipment through a 220V power supply.
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