British and compatible standards



BS 546, "Two-pole and earthing-pin plugs, socket-outlets and socket-outlet adaptors for AC (50-60 Hz) circuits up to 250V" describes four sizes of plug rated at 2 A, 5 A (Type D), 15 A (Type M) and 30 A. The plugs have three round pins arranged in a triangle, with the larger top pin being the earthing pin. The plugs are polarized and unfused. Plugs are non-interchangeable between current ratings. Introduced in 1934, the BS 546 type has mostly been displaced in the UK by the BS 1363 standard. According to the IEC some 40 countries use Type D and 15 countries use Type M. Some, such as India and South Africa, use standards based on BS 546.
The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Malta, use the BS 4573 two-pin plug and socket for electric shavers and toothbrushes. The plug has insulated sleeves on the pins. Although similar to the Europlug Type C, the diameter and spacing of the pins are slightly different and hence will not fit into a Schuko socket. There are however two-pin sockets and adaptors which will accept both BS 4573 and Europlugs.
Standard plugs and sockets based on two round pins with centres spaced at 19 mm are in use in Europe, most of which are listed in IEC/TR 60083 "Plugs and socket-outlets for domestic and similar general use standardized in member countries of IEC". EU countries each have their own regulations and national standards; for example, some require child-resistant shutters, while others do not. CE marking is neither applicable nor permitted on plugs and sockets.
French standard NF C 61-314 defines the CEE 7/5 socket and CEE 7/6 plug, (and also includes CEE 7/7, 7/16 and 7/17 plugs). The socket has a circular recess with two round holes. The round earth pin projecting from the socket connects before the energized contacts touch. The earth pin is centred between the apertures, offset by 10 mm (0.394 in). The plug has two round pins measuring 4.8 by 19 mm (0.189 by 0.748 in), spaced 19 mm (0.748 in) apart and with an aperture for the socket's projecting earth pin. This standard is also used in Belgium, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and some other countries.
The CEE 7/7 plug has earthing contacts to connect to either the CEE 7/3 socket or the CEE 7/5 socket. It is polarised when used with a French CEE 7/5 socket, but can be inserted two ways into a CEE 7/3 socket. The plug is rated at 16 A. Appliances are sold with non-rewireable CEE 7/7 plugs attached. This plug can be inserted into a Danish Type K socket, but the earth contact will not connect.
Alternative II, popularly known as the Europlug, is a flat plug defined by Cenelec standard EN 50075 and national equivalents. The Europlug is not rewirable and must be supplied with a flexible cord. It can be inserted in either direction, so line and neutral are connected arbitrarily. To improve contact with socket parts the Europlug has slightly flexible pins which converge toward their free ends.
This is a round plug compatible with CEE 7/1, CEE 7/3, and CEE 7/5 sockets. It has two round pins measuring 4.8 by 19 mm (0.189 by 0.748 in). It may be rated at either 10 A or 16 A, and may be used for unearthed Class II appliances (and in South Korea for all domestic non-earthed appliances). It is also defined as the Class II plug in Italian standard CEI 23-50. It can be inserted into Israeli SI 32 with some difficulty. The Soviet GOST 7396 standard includes both the CEE 7/17 and the CEE 7/16 variant II plug.