Types of 220V Electrical Plugs

Written by john walker
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Types of 220V Electrical Plugs
Type B plugs are the most common in America. (plug in image by askthegeek from Fotolia.com)

Common electrical sockets range in the type of connection and the supplied voltage. Voltage ranges from 110 volts up to 240 volts with 110 and 220 volts being the most common worldwide. Most large appliances and several foreign countries use 220 volts with the different types of connections. The types of plugs are listed as Types A through M and all are available in 220 volt applications.

Types A through F

Plug types vary in size and shape depending upon the country in which you find the plug. Type A is a two-flat-pronged ungrounded connection and fits into type A and B sockets. Type B is a two-flat-pronged grounded connection using a third prong as the grounding point known as a three-pin plug. Plugs with two-rounded-prong connection which converge slightly found mostly in Europe are type C. Known as the old British plug, type D has three large, round prongs in a triangle pattern. Type E uses two rounded prongs with an open socket designed to accept the socket's male grounding pin. Similar to type E is type F except that the grounding point is found in two earth-clips on top and bottom and is not compatible with type E outlets or plugs.

Types G through M

Type G uses three prongs in a T pattern and a shutter designed to protect from incompatible plugs being introduced to the outlets. This plug uses an internal fuse to protect the wiring from high-current circuits. Plugs with two flat prongs in an inverted V pattern with a horizontal flat prong used as the grounding point are type I. Type J outlets accept type J and type C plugs and the plugs use two pins with an earth pin off to one side. Type K resembles type E with two rounded blades but has a grounding pin that fits into an earth hole on the receptacle. The outlet is not to be used with type E plugs that require grounding. Type L has three round prongs in a line allowing for the live and neutral contacts to be interchangeable making this plug unable to be inserted into the outlet incorrectly. The last 220 volt plug used is the type M which is a larger variation of the type D plug with three larger, round prongs in a triangle.

Alternative Plugs

High voltage appliances use 220 volts or greater and a variation of the type B plug. The variations offer three-pronged and four-pronged options. The nomenclature for the various plugs are 5-15P, 5-20P, 6-20P, L6-20P, 6-30P, 6-50P, L15-20P, L15-30P, L16-20P, and L16-30P. The plugs and outlets all conduct 220 volts and are interchangeable on the machines. When installing a device using a three or four pronged variation, you may have to purchase a new plug to adapt to the outlet. The plugs and outlets are available at any hardware store.

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