Product: Plug
Design Fuseion   (0)  [vote for, against]
So she blows when she should, Captain...

As I am sure everyone is already aware, the UK standard (BS1363) 3-pin electrical plug is the finest example of electrical socket design in the world. Not only is it rugged and compact, it also minimises the chances of accidental incorrect insertion and prevents access to the live electrical circuit when not inserted correctly. However there is one problem with the standard BS1363 plug - the fuse. A plug which should be fused for a 3 amp (240v) appliance can equally accept a 13 amp fuse (BS1362 standard). This is a situation which cannot be allowed to continue.

I propose a modification to BS1362/BS1363 where plugs would be defined by their power requirement in addition to the voltage (240v), and the fuse socket within the plug would be designed to accept only fuses of the correct amperage through an obvious change in the shape of the fuse. We could have for example square 3A fuses, round 5A fuses and triangular 13A fuses. And thus the lives of those living in God's own country will become a little bit safer.
-- suctionpad, May 05 2004

BS1363 plug http://www.powercon...eables_uk_clear.htm
A thing of truly great design [suctionpad, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Title? And, if the UK plug is based on a government standard, who gets sued when it doesn't operate properly? How about fuses that make a keening sound when underutilized?
-- phoenix, May 06 2004

Why bother with different shapes - just make the fuses different lengths? The lower the rating, the longer the fuse. Thus, a short 13A fuse wouldn't be long enough to bridge the gap between the fittings in a plug inteded to take a 5A fuse, but a 3A would (there is no problem with lower ratings being used - except having to keep replacing them when they continually blow).
-- dobtabulous, May 06 2004

Fuse - Fuse-ion - Fusion (bad joke, slightly edited now). Why would a plug not operate properly, if you've followed the appropriate guidelines? Standard disclaimers for misuse prevent any sueing. A whistling sound for fuses working well below their limits would be a useful additional feature, but would be difficult to engineer cheaply.

As for different lengths, the fuses are usually held from the side by a moving clasp meaning almost any length of fuse of the right diameter could be fitted. Different shapes make it more obvious to the lay person which fuse they should be using.
-- suctionpad, May 06 2004

True [suctionpad], but if the fuse is too short then it just gets held in the moving clasp without the contacts on either end reaching the terminals...
-- dobtabulous, May 06 2004

Sorry [dobtabulous], the clasp is also the contact, and grabs around the side of the fuse. Can't find a pic to illustrate...

The design is certainly superior to the standard EU/US two-pin designs, whatever its origins. Cheers for the bun.
-- suctionpad, May 06 2004

"...the fuses are usually held from the side by a moving clasp meaning almost any length of fuse of the right diameter could be fitted."
I thought that might be the case, but then how do you accomodate differently shaped fuses? I think you're going to end up with a different plug for each fuse - a supply nightmare and probably the answer as to why it's not done now.

I mean really, I'm good with a too-large fuse running my aspirator while I'm in surgery, as long as it keeps working. For want of a nail and all that.
-- phoenix, May 06 2004

+ for the idea, suct. The UK plug is the very pinnacle of intelligent, safe design. But it's still the very definition of agony when you stand on upturned one in the middle of the night on your way to the bathroom...
-- lostdog, May 06 2004

now often does that happen?
-- po, May 06 2004

Who invented the EU standard 220 double-round? I'd like to give them a piece of my mind.
-- RayfordSteele, May 06 2004

Hm. Isn't there's an obvious smart thing here that the design isn't yet doing?

Error in one direction here is okay, but in the other isn't. (Plugging a lightweight appliance into a heavyweight socket is okay.)

So let's have a plug/socket pair that allows that same kind of error.

For example, have a plastic prong come out whose thickness indicates the amperage consumption of the end-piece, and have that prong fit into a hole whose width indicates the amperage capacity of the circuit up to that point.
-- jutta, May 06 2004

Once is enough, po. Believe me.
-- lostdog, May 06 2004

Try standing on the European plug with those two sharp, thin pins...
-- suctionpad, May 07 2004

just a question but what happens to the legacy plugs out there, on things like kettle leads ocasional lamps? or those products that for some obscure reason are delievered with european plugs? an easier solution would be keep the 13 amp fuse in the plug and put a correcting fuse just inside the product.
-- engineer1, May 12 2004

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