Thomas Thurman on Wed, 17 Sep 2003 18:55:22 -0400

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Re: [PLUG] [OT] Where to get adapters for British outlets?

On Wed, 17 Sep 2003, Stephen Gran wrote:
> A friend of mine is going to move to scotland for a year or so, and he
> is looking to pick up some adapters that will let him plug in his
> American appliances into Scottish current.

Most computers have switches on the back to change the power input from
220V to 110V, so a special adapter shouldn't be necessary. Caveat: I've
never tried changing one.

You'll need a separate power cable, though, because the pinout is very
different (as you mention below). It's worth knowing that the standard
cable for connecting a computer to a wall socket in the UK is practically
identical-- with the possible exception of the fuse rating, about which I
have no idea-- to the standard cable for connecting up an electric kettle.
(Many UK computer people know them as "kettle leads" for this reason.) So
in a pinch, you can give up the chance of a good cup of Earl Grey in
return for getting a computer working.

> It's my understanding that
> they use plugs with little round pins instead of our bar pins, and that
> they also use a different current supply, so that he would need not only
> an interface change, but a real voltage converter.  Is this accurate, to
> the best of anyone's knowledge?

The pins aren't round-- they're rectangular. (Continental Europe really
does have round pins.) Otherwise, that's pretty much right.

<> has the pinout (with
the top pin, the earth, made of plastic: all domestic plugs are three-pin
in the UK, and it's just not connected up if it's not needed).

> If so, does anyone know where to pick a
> bunch of these up?

You can get converters from most electronics shops-- and pretty much
any airport.

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