3 pin (UK) plug sockets.

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18 Apr 2012 17:26 by Orinoco Star rating in Castilla La Mancha. 141 posts Send private message

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The majority of our electrical appliances come from amazon (.co.uk). In fact  apart from the TV, the white goods and a lap top just about everything else has a 3 pin plug on it and as a consequence we have travel plugs everywhere. 

Is there any reason at all that I can't / shouldn't replace at least a couple of my wall sockets with 3 pin sockets? One in the kitchen for the toaster / blender / kettle / slow cooker would be a boon, plus I noticed on the travel plug the other day that it said "Only suitable for temporary use".


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18 Apr 2012 17:56 by scubamike Star rating in Murcia province . 220 posts Send private message

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Why not replace the plugs with European plugs available at the ferreteria then the appliances will work in any socket that's what I've done

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18 Apr 2012 17:56 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5247 posts Send private message

There is no reason whatsoever why if you choose you can’t change all sockets in you Spanish home to UK style sockets, or equally to cut off the existing three pin plugs from your appliances  and replace them with Spanish, earthed plugs. That’s what I did 25 years ago.
But just bear in mind that UK plugs can only be plugged in correctly, i.e. live to live, negative to negative. In Spain as you can revolved the socket so it’s pot luck which way they are connected. I get slight shocks from my PC if I do not have the plug the right way round.

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18 Apr 2012 18:23 by Orinoco Star rating in Castilla La Mancha. 141 posts Send private message

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Great thanks very much!.

The reason I don't swap all the plugs to Spanish ones is that I quite like the UK plugs being fused (I blew the motor in our last 2 pin plug blender), also a number of my plugs are UK 3 pin but with USB sockets to charge mobile phones, cameras, kindles etc and yet other plugs like the kids nintendos / X Box are sealed, so by chopping them off and replacing them with 2 pin replacements I'll no doubt invalidate their warranties.

I thought about a UK extension lead with a 4 gang socket or something but it's a bit untidy on the kitchen worktop.

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18 Apr 2012 20:29 by foxbat Star rating in Granada. 1114 posts Send private message

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quote...I thought about a UK extension lead with a 4 gang socket or something but it's a bit untidy on the kitchen worktop.

Most of these have keyholes cut in the back to make them wall mountable... simply chop off the UK connector from the lead, cut the lead to the required length and re-terminate with a Spanish plug. Just dont overload the circuit by having too much simultaneous demand.




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18 Apr 2012 22:24 by cazzy Star rating in Inland Andalucia. 180 posts Send private message

 We have UK plug sockets in our bedrooms for guests, makes life a lot easier!!


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19 Apr 2012 13:12 by manyarna Star rating in the UK- Heart is in .... 59 posts Send private message

I dont know if it matters in Spain but in France we discovered for instance if you did this and had a problem then your home insurance is not valid.

I know that Spain is a little more relaxed thankfully but having tried to get paid out from a Spanish insurer once for a fire not caused by us it still took them 2 years and they wriggled like a snake! just worth considering or checking your wordings. I agree that the UK socket/plugs are much better but we are not in the UK.

I have seen the "tempoary" travel adapters after a long spell and they are not great so anything will be better.

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19 Apr 2012 17:23 by Abyss_Rover Star rating in Mallorca. 72 posts Send private message

Personaly I would change the kitchen machines to Spainsh plugs and if you're concerned about them not being fused add an inline ac (alternating current) fuse, like these (Sorry, couldn't add link, have asked admin to add it) . For lounge and bedroom appliances I prefer to use an anti surge extention lead, specialy for delicate equipment.


www.finditfme.com The new, advanced way to find what you are looking for.

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19 Apr 2012 17:57 by bobaol Star rating. 2256 posts Send private message

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 The UK plugs/sockets are not better.  UK is one of the only countries in the world that uses a ring mains which gives a higher current with thinner wire (brought in after WW2 when copper was in short supply).  Countries like the USA have banned the use of ring mains due to the inherent dangers of a permanent, high current along the ring.  There is no need for a fuse in a plug in Spain because the RCD protects the wiring and will trip a fuse in the fuse box rather than the plug especially as most people stick a 13A fuse in the plug regardless of what they are trying to protect..  Be careful of using the UK adaptors and make sure they are completely pushed into the socket as just a small gap will make the electricity "jump" across the two which doesn't increase the current but can cause a fire in the plastic.  No increase in current means neither the RCD nor the fuse in the plug will burn out.  Also try and use a decent adaptor as these cheapo ones from the Chinese shops can have a bare piece of metal on the top which can give a shock.  Especially do not use the adaptors for the high power consumption items such as a toaster. 

Spain, and most other countries, do not use a polarised ring so it makes no difference which way around the plug goes in.

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20 Apr 2012 09:42 by Orinoco Star rating in Castilla La Mancha. 141 posts Send private message

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Thanks for all the info. The reason our appliances would melt in the kitchen is that due to a shortage of sockets in there, the previous owners created a spur from the wall behind, the room behind being the boiler room with a 30 amp socket. 

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do now, hopefully amazon.es will start stocking more electrical goods at competitive prices negating the need for 3 pin sockets in the future. I think investing in a decent extension lead for now might do the trick, and then see what older items that are out of warranty anyway I could change the plugs on.

Thanks for all the advice though.

If only everything was powered with those figure 8 leads, I have a box full of them in the shed, no idea where they all came from!

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20 Apr 2012 14:35 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5247 posts Send private message



Spain, and most other countries, do not use a polarised ring so it makes no difference which way around the plug goes in.


Interesting.  If I have my PC (and some other appliances) plugged in one way I get a shock off the casing.  Plugged the other way I do not  !!!!!


And of coures, If I take a reading from one pin (live) on a socket  to earth I get a reading from the other (negative) I don't.

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20 Apr 2012 17:43 by bobaol Star rating. 2256 posts Send private message

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 The Schuko, or type C or F, plug and socket used in Spain (and most other European countries) is earthed at the socket and not the plug.  It is unpolarised, that is live and neutral are connected at random.  They should only be used for equipment drawing up to 16A.  Anything over that should be permanently wired (like an electric oven, for instance) or a 3 pin plug which only goes in one way (I haven't got any of those in my house) or the larger plug which only goes in one way which is normally connected to things like toasters and electric fires.  Because it is unpolarised, the Schuko plug can be inserted either way as the electricity supply on a radial circuit will draw from either neg to pos or pos to neg, unlike the ring mains used (virtually exclusively in UK) which is always neg to pos.  Note that the type C socket is unearthed and has been replaced by the type F socket even though type C plugs are still used.  Type C (the two pin found on most electrical items) plugs fit into the type F socket which is earthed.  Type F plugs are the larger plugs.  

Because of this, Spanish electricians are pretty blaise about the way they wire things in.  I have checked the sockets in my living room (7 of them) and five have the live wire on the right but two have them on the left.  A bit of pot luck but perfectly safe if used correctly.  In my old flat, you had to turn one light switch up to turn it on but another, in the same room, you had to turn the switch up.

It is perfectly feasible for any metallic cased equipment to give a mild shock if the polarity of the equipment has been designed that way, like computers designed for the UK market.  Turning the plug the other way round, thereby forcing a change of direction, will work so you are doing it correctly.  I have never had any shocks from equipment regardless of which way round the plug goes in.  You may notice that most modern equipment only has a two pin socket fitted into the back (like TVs, computers, video recorders) in Spain but in UK they have a 3 pin socket although that is changing due to internal designs.

The biggest problem in Spain is power surges.  I have all my computer and electrical equipment plugged into a surge protector multi-plug which is then connected (with a Schuko plug) to the mains.  Any equipment that may not be used for some time (like an aircon unit) should be switched off at the fuse box to protect it.

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20 Apr 2012 19:01 by xetog Star rating in Wiltshire/holiday ap.... 514 posts Send private message

In the UK we are used to having the switch on the live line so that when the device is switched off, it cannot be live.  In effect this makes little difference to the functioning of ac equipment, but it is a safety feature which can catch out the unwary.  I have noticed the complete abandon in the polarity of the equipment in our Spanish place and wherever possible have altered things so that the live is switched and on the same side of all the sockets.  As you say the amperage of a fuse in the UK is largely ignored, with most people fitting the ubiquitous 13a, which will actually take a far higher current before it blows and poses a far higher risk to the user if some sort of circuit trip is not installed.  I rather like the neat Spanish plugs, far nicer than our great clomping devices and even thought of fitting them here in the UK.  My electrical engineer friend was horrified and forbade me to do any such thing!  In Spain all of our devices (inc washing machine) work off the uni-directional plug as standard, but since the supply is only 5amp, I guess this is OK.  Some electronic equipment however is omni directional (I had a PCB destroyed because the switching of the load was acheived electronically and the chip blew when connected the other way around), so it pays to check.

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21 Apr 2012 06:25 by dbcjfc Star rating in Sussex, England. 61 posts Send private message

One problem you may have with changing your sockets to UK 3 pin even in part, will mean that your electrics may not meet Spanish standards. This in turn my invalidate house hold insurance if you ever needed to make a claim that in anyway may be connected, such as an electrical fire.

I travel a lot round the world so for my laptop I carry a fused adapter that fits every country. A fused adapter will cost more, but will be cheaper than replacing burnt out kitchen gadgets or replacing Spanish sockets with UK ones.

John & Diane 

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21 Apr 2012 10:44 by dorisjmay Star rating. 15 posts Send private message

 The small adaptors that you can buy in the ferreterias are only around a euro each, we have adaptors on most of our equipment and in the kitchen an adaptor in each socket.  It all works fine.

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21 Apr 2012 12:53 by DonLochnagar Star rating in Mazarron. 161 posts Send private message

I must admit I know very little about electricity apart from the basics, but I had a Spanish electrician in the other day fitting new sockets and lights and it wasn't until he left, that, I realised that he had at no time switched the power off in the house.  How did he do that?  Why was he not frazzled?

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21 Apr 2012 13:00 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5247 posts Send private message

If you don’t know what you are doing I suggest you do not try this.
But, as long as you don’t earth yourself, say by touching something else, and are wearing rubber soled shoes, so you are not earthed  through them,  you can hold the live power cable.



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21 Apr 2012 13:04 by tteedd Star rating in Hertfordshire & Punt.... 975 posts Send private message



Plug sockets?

'We have UK plug sockets in our bedrooms for guests, makes life a lot easier!!'

A plug is usually fixed to the lead from your equipment. A socket is usually mounted on the wall or at the far end of an extension lead.


In the UK, even in very old installations, live and neutral are always kept separate and the switch and fuse are always in the live side (or both). The system is inherently safe.

In Spain this is not the case and you have no way of telling at the socket which is live or which is neutral. This is why all Spanish installations now have consumer units with RCD's to make sure you do not get a shock long enough to kill you!

You should be able to use both types of sockets in Spain since both are approved by the EU. The UK wiring regulations are in fact an EU standard so you should be able to wire your  whole place in the UK way - but I don't advise it. But I would advise using Shuko in Spain and UK 3 pin plugs in the UK. (Insurance, understanding by tradespeople, resale value of property etc).

Likewise UK bayonette style bulbs in the UK are inherently safe as the metal part of the bulb is never live. Unfortunately politicians have allowed the EU to force Edison/screw types on the UK. They have tried to make us go to Shuko plugs also but we have managed to resist on safety grounds.

Test your RCD (by pressing the button) regularly in Spain.

Only use the power socket in the bathroom for earthed cleaning equipment. Do not use a hairdryer in a damp steamy bathroom (or TV or anything else). (Proper shaver sockets are isolated by a transformer and OK for razors). Sockets are not allowed in bathrooms in the UK.

Adaptors and very old UK equipment

Using adaptors should be OK with modern equipment but make sure that the earth contacts (bits of metal on either side are there and actually touch the ones in the socket, Don't use UK equipment that is more than 20 years old - as live and neutral are undiferentiated in Spain you could find you get a shock from the case (I think there is an example of this in one of the other replies).








This message was last edited by tteedd on 21/04/2012.

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29 Jan 2013 17:12 by baz1946 Star rating. 2217 posts Send private message


WOW.....Methinks the only easy bit about that is the fact that the insurance company would not have to work to hard to disaprove / throwout any claims, they just love customers like this, and boy do they love to wiggle out of a payout.

If i was you i would ask them if this is acceptable before i insured any house...they just wiggled out of a life insurance payout on a death policy (UK) because the buyer didn't report he had pins and needles before buying it and never told them, they said it was connected to his illness.


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