Electrical Outlet and Voltage Information for United Kingdom
United Kingdom is one of the countries that are frequently visited by tourists. Spending some time in this country requires one to know some basic bits of information about the electrical outlet, plug, and voltage used in United Kingdom. For the plug and electrical outlet, the standard in the United Kingdom is the Type G British BS-1363 plug and electrical outlet. It has three rectangular prongs that form a triangle and a fused plug in the electrical outlet is required.
The appliances and electronic gadgets used in United Kingdom run on a voltage of 220-240 V, similar to most European countries. If a traveler would want to use an appliance or electronic gadget that requires 110-120 volts, a voltage converter in United Kingdom would be needed. An example of this voltage converter are the network-resistor converter, transformer, and combination voltage converter.
However, the voltage converter will just work to make the 110-120 volts of the appliance or electrical gadget compatible with the 220-240 volts of the electrical outlet in United Kingdom. There are also cases wherein the plug could not be inserted because of the difference in the shape of the prongs or whether the plug is grounded and polarized or not. The solution to this problem is the use of plug adapters that will alter the shape of the plug so that it could work with the electrical outlet present in United Kingdom.
Type G British BS -1363 3-Pin Plug, Electrical Outlet, and Adapter
The Type G electrical plug is a British 3-pin rectangular blade used widely in the United Kingdom. It has a protective fuse inside to protect cords from high-current circuits and, most of the time, the Type G electrical outlet includes a safety switch. The Type G British 3-pin also has a receptacle end that is compatible with most household plug types, except the Type M South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 Large) plug. The plug end is a British BS-1363 13-amp type. For the adapter, the live and neutral pins are 4 x 6 x 18 mm apart, with the grounding pin measuring 4 x 8 x 23mm. The plug of this Type G British 3-pin is polarized and grounded but not fused. Also, through the Type G British 3-pin adapter, a tourist could use his or her appliance or electronic gadget in United Kingdom. Another name for the Type G British 3-pin plug is the 13-amp plug and for safety reasons, the United Kingdom requires electrical outlets in households that use the Type G British 3-pin to have shutters over the live and neutral connections of the electrical outlet. In the insertion of the longer earth pin from the plug, the safety shutters of the Type G British 3-pin are opened.
Another purpose of the shutters is to prevent the use of incompatible plugs made to other standards. However, there are cases wherein the safety shutters of this electrical outlet could be opened through a screwdriver in order to insert Type C plugs. But then, the usage of Type G British 3-pin outlet along with another kind of plug is not recommended because these plugs do not have a fuse. The regulation about the safety shutters and fuse is then followed in United Kingdom and all the other countries that use the type G British 3-pin electrical outlet and plug like United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Ghana, Grenada, Macau, Malta, Malaysia, Qatar, Saint Vincent, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Wales, Yemen, Botswana, Bahrain, Saint Lucia, Oman, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
With all the safety measures and features of this plug and outlet, it is considered as one of the safest in the United Kingdom, even the world. However, with all its features, this type of plug is bulky and cumbersome. Some people claim that the Type G British 3-pin plug is mostly bigger than the appliances they are connected to but if tourists would want to use their electronic gadget or appliance in United Kingdom, then they must have a Type G British 3-pin adapter. Although the adapter would not change the voltage used, it will enable the plug of the appliance or electronic gadget to be inserted to the electrical outlet used in United Kingdom. In terms of compatibility, the Type G British 3-pin electrical outlet will work together with the Type G British 3-pin plug and adapter in United Kingdom. For the electrical outlet, the Type G British 3-pin sockets are not compatible with other types of electrical outlet.
If a tourist wants to use his gadget in the United Kingdom, the best way is by using voltage converters such as resistor-network converters, transformers, and, in some cases, the combination of both. Most appliances and electronic gadgets made in the United States of America (USA) have a voltage of 110-120 and using it directly on a 220-240 electrical outlet in United Kingdom would cause damage to the appliance or electronic gadget, to the extent that it might be totally fried out or might even cause a fire. The resistor-network converters to be used in United Kingdom are usually advertised to support as much as 50-1600 watts and are just ideal to use for short periods of time. The resistor-network converter is also not recommended for digital devices like laptop computers however it is great for simple lightweight electronics like hair dryers and irons.
If a tourist would want to use a laptop computer or charge batteries for cameras, mp3 players, camcorders, and radios in United Kingdom, the ideal voltage converter is a transformer which lowers maximum watt rating. It could be used for long periods of time but is a little bit heavy because of the large iron rods and copper wires. The last kind of voltage converter in order to use electronics that are not compatible with the electrical outlet present in United Kingdom is the combination of a resistor-network converter and transformer. These voltage converters and adapters will be very handy if you plan a trip to United Kingdom and you intend to bring along some gadgets that require a particular voltage. Most of the time, there is a switch that enables the changing of modes from resistor-network converter to transformer, depending on the tourist’s needs in United Kingdom.