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The NEMA 1 and 5 electrical connectors are the type
commonly used throughout North America, as well as in
Japan and a few other places. For some reason, and
although it's not required by the specification, the vast
majority of these connectors have a small hole at the tip
flat blade. This electrical outlet would take
advantage of this fact, by allowing devices that are
plugged in to lock into the outlet.
A pair of small spring-loaded pins inside the outlet fits
the holes when the device is plugged in, indicating
successful attachment with a satisfying "click!" A small
button next to the outlet would spread the pins apart,
allowing removal of the plug. This way, plugs would no
longer come partway or entirely out of the socket,
to a potentially unsafe condition. For safety, the pins
would also be designed to release if the plug is pulled
enough, as if by some klutz tripping over the cord.
[FlyingToaster, Oct 06 2011]
||[FlyingToaster]: I'm sure I'm not the first person to
think of using the mysterious holes to lock the
plug into the socket. However, with those
extension cords, you still have the weak link at
the outlet itself. In fact, those cords are pretty
much pointless as far as I can tell, since it's trivial
to create a "locking" connection by simply tying
the cords together where they meet. I guess
those might make sense for specialized industrial
purposes, where you have dedicated cords to
supply power tools that are frequently rotated in
and out of usage. But I'm thinking more along the
lines of vacuum cleaners and televisions here,
hence the need to actually build it into an outlet
for it to be useful.
||This actually wouldn't be legal in undustrial applications.
BION, yanking the plug out of the socket is an approved
last-ditch emergency measure for de-energizing 110VAC
electrical devices. It's for the same reason that OSHA
disallows knotting the plugs or any other means of keeping
an extension cord from coming unplugged by accident: you
might have to do it on purpose, and in a hurry.
||The description specifically says that it would be designed to release when there was enough force applied.
||On the flip side, this invention could mask a problem with retension force. If an outlet has poor retention force, it will often have a poor connection that can overheat. If your plugs are falling out, you really ought to replace the outlets.
||Oh, right, so it does. It would still have to be tested and
approved, but that's the feature that might put it into
widespread industrial use (where I foresee a major
||Well, it would require enough force so that it
fall out with a moderate tug, but not enough so
the molded strain relief on the plug itself gave
before the plug came out of the socket. The
average adult should be able to yank it out of the
socket if necessary, albeit with a fair amount of
effort. Anyway, Twist-Lock is generally considered
connector for industrial usage, and no amount of
pulling on one of those will cause it to come
This can't possibly be any less safe than that.
||The twist-lock is most often used for higher voltages where
yanking the plug from an energized socket poses the risk of
||Twist-locks are also available for standard 120V plugs.
||Sorry, I should have included 'in industrial applications' in