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Where do buy cheap adaptors for US plugs?

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Postby maneo » Tue, 08 Jul 2014 9:07 pm

PNGMK wrote:As a practicing engineer I would not recommend using plug adapters.

They are a significant cause of fire and shock and equipment damage. You only have to notice the smoke marks above a lot of power points where these are used to realize how common this is. Even the S marked units are prone to this problem.

Use of single point adapters should not have this problem for low power applications, such as phone chargers and computers.

However, it would be prudent to periodically check for heating any that are used and replace any found to be warm.

I've found reasonably priced adapters at one of the hardware stores in the Hong Lim Complex just behind Chinatown Point.
It's near one of the Chinatown MRT station exits.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 08 Jul 2014 9:35 pm

PNGMK wrote:As a practicing engineer I would not recommend using plug adapters.

They are a significant cause of fire and shock and equipment damage. You only have to notice the smoke marks above a lot of power points where these are used to realize how common this is. Even the S marked units are prone to this problem. We have recently purged our company of adapters and offered employees free plugs to discourage the use of adapters.

I would suggest that you cut off and change the plugs to the correct BS approved plug (3 pin). Saving a few dollars is just not worth it. A local handyman can do it for you. If these equipment you are bringing in has removable IEC plugs leads you can buy those here with prewired 3 pin BS standard plugs.


I've just not seen this issue over many years of use, and the question would be... why would it be ok to plug a set of prongs into a socket in the wall but not into an adapter?

If equal in quality to the electrical outlet, then the nature of the contact is the same inside the adapter as it would be if plugged into the wall outlet.

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Postby maneo » Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:54 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:I've just not seen this issue over many years of use, and the question would be... why would it be ok to plug a set of prongs into a socket in the wall but not into an adapter?

If equal in quality to the electrical outlet, then the nature of the contact is the same inside the adapter as it would be if plugged into the wall outlet.

The concern mentioned by PNGMK is a real concern.

If there is significant oxidation on the contact surfaces (e.g. using old adapters, old plugs) the increased resistance could result in heating under high current (i.e. high power appliances). If there is noticeable heat then there will be the potential for fire, but this should not be an issue for new adapters.

A more common problem is overloading a multi-point adapter (or extension cord unit) with too many high current drawing appliances. If all connected are very low current (e.g. clocks, phone chargers, etc.) then this shouldn't be a problem.
However, if plugging in several appliances or components using hundreds of watts each (e.g. TVs & sound systems & lighting, etc.) the current can & will add up.

Of particular concern would be high power appliances like vacuum cleaners, crock pots, blow dryers, etc.
It would be best to put such appliances into different power points.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:15 pm

maneo wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:I've just not seen this issue over many years of use, and the question would be... why would it be ok to plug a set of prongs into a socket in the wall but not into an adapter?

If equal in quality to the electrical outlet, then the nature of the contact is the same inside the adapter as it would be if plugged into the wall outlet.

The concern mentioned by PNGMK is a real concern.

If there is significant oxidation on the contact surfaces (e.g. using old adapters, old plugs) the increased resistance could result in heating under high current (i.e. high power appliances). If there is noticeable heat then there will be the potential for fire, but this should not be an issue for new adapters.

A more common problem is overloading a multi-point adapter (or extension cord unit) with too many high current drawing appliances. If all connected are very low current (e.g. clocks, phone chargers, etc.) then this shouldn't be a problem.
However, if plugging in several appliances or components using hundreds of watts each (e.g. TVs & sound systems & lighting, etc.) the current can & will add up.

Of particular concern would be high power appliances like vacuum cleaners, crock pots, blow dryers, etc.
It would be best to put such appliances into different power points.


I understand the oxidation issues and what have you... I just cleaned and rewired an electric dryer showing oxidation signs on the wiring terminal.

My point is this: What's the difference between contact oxidation in the adapter and in the wall outlet? Assuming they are both made of quality materials, there is none.

I will agree that if one is to use a multipoint adapter, then it should both be top quality, checked regularly at the wall outlet, and be fused for the maximum rating of the wall outlet. And I agree that high amperage products should be run separately, further, one be aware that every outlet is properly fused.

With respect to fusing, I find Singapore to be somewhat odd. US electrical code provides for a central breaker box with multiple runs to various outlets and lights. Therefore, no fuse in any given outlet is required since there is a 15 amp breaker in the circuit.

In England, at least in earlier codes, there would be, say, a single hundred amp service line that ran to all the points in the house. Each outlet piggybacked off the main service line, and thus individual fusing was required for each wall outlet and/or light switch.

In Singapore, there is a combination. All the electrical setups I have seen use a breaker box and separate circuits to various parts of the house but still use fused outlets.

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:03 am

Strong Eagle wrote:I understand the oxidation issues and what have you... I just cleaned and rewired an electric dryer showing oxidation signs on the wiring terminal.

My point is this: What's the difference between contact oxidation in the adapter and in the wall outlet? Assuming they are both made of quality materials, there is none.

Just likelihood of the occurrence (1 more contact point to get wrong) and the fact that most of the adapters are the cheaper ones (more likely to encounter this sort of problems - using dirty, small/thin and pre-oxidized contact parts).

Having said that, I have never encountered any adapter overheating problem (loose contacts, riveting etc - yes, frequently) but then I would never put any high current through them anyway.

The wall outlets tend to be better quality - it never happened to me that a power plug got stuck in the wall socket (melting it) but in the cord extender, splitter - many times already. If I know the amperage will be high I will just avoid any "man in the middle" scenario and may also solder over the endings of the cables before screwing them to the plug connectors.

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Re:

Postby maneo » Fri, 13 Mar 2015 1:09 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:
maneo wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:I've just not seen this issue over many years of use, and the question would be... why would it be ok to plug a set of prongs into a socket in the wall but not into an adapter?

If equal in quality to the electrical outlet, then the nature of the contact is the same inside the adapter as it would be if plugged into the wall outlet.

The concern mentioned by PNGMK is a real concern.

If there is significant oxidation on the contact surfaces (e.g. using old adapters, old plugs) the increased resistance could result in heating under high current (i.e. high power appliances). If there is noticeable heat then there will be the potential for fire ... .

I understand the oxidation issues and what have you... I just cleaned and rewired an electric dryer showing oxidation signs on the wiring terminal.

My point is this: What's the difference between contact oxidation in the adapter and in the wall outlet? Assuming they are both made of quality materials, there is none.

Thought I should dredge this old thread up.
Had an adapter start smoking, so I opened it up to see why.

Found the contacts were completely rusted (i.e. "significant oxidation").
The contacts must have been made of steel instead of brass. #-o

Am going to start opening up adapters and checking them with magnets from now on.

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Re: Re:

Postby PNGMK » Fri, 13 Mar 2015 2:13 pm

The concern mentioned by PNGMK is a real concern.

If there is significant oxidation on the contact surfaces (e.g. using old adapters, old plugs) the increased resistance could result in heating under high current (i.e. high power appliances). If there is noticeable heat then there will be the potential for fire ... .
[/quote]
I understand the oxidation issues and what have you... I just cleaned and rewired an electric dryer showing oxidation signs on the wiring terminal.

My point is this: What's the difference between contact oxidation in the adapter and in the wall outlet? Assuming they are both made of quality materials, there is none.[/quote]
Thought I should dredge this old thread up.
Had an adapter start smoking, so I opened it up to see why.

Found the contacts were completely rusted (i.e. "significant oxidation").
The contacts must have been made of steel instead of brass. #-o

Am going to start opening up adapters and checking them with magnets from now on.[/quote]

Inductive or resistively loaded or a combination? (PF?).

How much was the approx load?

One of the most common appliances that seems to damage power sockets IME is the electric kettle - 2KW of solid resistive loading in an often moist atmosphere plugged into shitty quality sockets.

The second most common one seems to be vaccuum cleaners - nice arc producing 1 to 2kW electric motor with a stretched cord causing the plug to be a little loose.

Don't trust adaptors but be cautious even with sockets in the walls - the quality of some brands seems a bit off to me. (MK / Schneider and other strong euro brands are recommended).
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Postby maneo » Sat, 14 Mar 2015 11:03 am

It seems that the quote indicators in your reply got deleted.
Have restored them here.
PNGMK wrote:
Maneo wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:I understand the oxidation issues and what have you... I just cleaned and rewired an electric dryer showing oxidation signs on the wiring terminal.

My point is this: What's the difference between contact oxidation in the adapter and in the wall outlet? Assuming they are both made of quality materials, there is none.

Thought I should dredge this old thread up.
Had an adapter start smoking, so I opened it up to see why.

Found the contacts were completely rusted (i.e. "significant oxidation").
The contacts must have been made of steel instead of brass. #-o

Am going to start opening up adapters and checking them with magnets from now on.


Inductive or resistively loaded or a combination? (PF?).

How much was the approx load?

One of the most common appliances that seems to damage power sockets IME is the electric kettle - 2KW of solid resistive loading in an often moist atmosphere plugged into shitty quality sockets.

The second most common one seems to be vaccuum cleaners - nice arc producing 1 to 2kW electric motor with a stretched cord causing the plug to be a little loose.

Don't trust adaptors but be cautious even with sockets in the walls - the quality of some brands seems a bit off to me. (MK / Schneider and other strong euro brands are recommended).

The only appliance using the adapter was a small microwave, 1.25KW, which means a 5.7A inductive load.
Since it was originally from Thailand it has a plug with 3 round pins.

Have always wondered why "old" adapters should be such a problem, since all components I'd seen until this case had been brass or bronze. However, this adapter obviously had steel contacts and to say it had "significant oxidation" is a bit of an understatement. Such adapters should not be used in the humid SG environment.

The reason I dredged up this old thread is that this gives a tangible example of what "quality materials" are in an electrical connector, i.e. an adapter or wall outlet (socket).
Need to be more careful about assuming that these are "made of quality materials."

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Re: Re:

Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 14 Mar 2015 11:44 am

PNGMK wrote:The concern mentioned by PNGMK is a real concern.

If there is significant oxidation on the contact surfaces (e.g. using old adapters, old plugs) the increased resistance could result in heating under high current (i.e. high power appliances). If there is noticeable heat then there will be the potential for fire ... .

I understand the oxidation issues and what have you... I just cleaned and rewired an electric dryer showing oxidation signs on the wiring terminal.

My point is this: What's the difference between contact oxidation in the adapter and in the wall outlet? Assuming they are both made of quality materials, there is none.[/quote]
Thought I should dredge this old thread up.
Had an adapter start smoking, so I opened it up to see why.

Found the contacts were completely rusted (i.e. "significant oxidation").
The contacts must have been made of steel instead of brass. #-o

Am going to start opening up adapters and checking them with magnets from now on.[/quote]

Inductive or resistively loaded or a combination? (PF?).

How much was the approx load?

One of the most common appliances that seems to damage power sockets IME is the electric kettle - 2KW of solid resistive loading in an often moist atmosphere plugged into shitty quality sockets.

The second most common one seems to be vaccuum cleaners - nice arc producing 1 to 2kW electric motor with a stretched cord causing the plug to be a little loose.

Don't trust adaptors but be cautious even with sockets in the walls - the quality of some brands seems a bit off to me. (MK / Schneider and other strong euro brands are recommended).
[/quote]

You make a good point. "Cheap" adapters should be avoided, especially in a humid climate where the windows may be open all day. I buy only brass... except for a cheap travel adapter that looks like chromed pot metal... but not much current on that one.

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Re: Re:

Postby JR8 » Sat, 14 Mar 2015 12:38 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:You make a good point. "Cheap" adapters should be avoided, especially in a humid climate where the windows may be open all day. I buy only brass... except for a cheap travel adapter that looks like chromed pot metal... but not much current on that one.


The side-issue from this is bringing adapters from less extreme climates (US, Europe, ANZ etc etc) that have been specified and made for those local climates. It's not only the plugs/adapters though, it includes the battery terminals within non-cabled small appliances too.

Example: My '4-ring' kitchen timer. Bought in New York, about 10 years ago, a quality piece of equipment. Never had any problems with it in Europe, and then here...

Image

First I realised was when a relatively new set of batteries died inexplicably quickly. I imagined it might be fake branded batteries I'd inadvertently bought (proven incorrect). So I opened it up, and the above was the issue. I went to some trouble to completely clean up all the terminals, but didn't hold out much hope. Yep and sure enough next time I needed to use it, the condition had completely reverted.

So now it sits unused. When we eventually move somewhere with less a 'aggressive' climate, then I'll give it one more go. I then might see if I can re-plate the terminals too. Haven't figured out how yet, but that's a very trusty piece of $pro-quality kit there, and I haven't plated metal since schoolboy days, so in some way an interesting wee challenge for an idle weekend...
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Re: Where do buy cheap adaptors for US plugs?

Postby x9200 » Sat, 14 Mar 2015 12:56 pm

This bluish thing you see on the contact spring is the product of some reaction of brass, bronze or copper. No way the climate alone could do anything like this. Most likely you had a leaking battery at some point.

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Re: Where do buy cheap adaptors for US plugs?

Postby JR8 » Sat, 14 Mar 2015 1:26 pm

x9200 wrote:This bluish thing you see on the contact spring is the product of some reaction of brass, bronze or copper. No way the climate alone could do anything like this. Most likely you had a leaking battery at some point.


'Grow your own Copper Sulphate' :)

Good point. It's possible it might have begun one time when it was packed up together with it's batteries, and sat baking here in the container at the docks.

If so, and in any case, it underlines how important it is to remove batteries from appliances in goods freighted by sea, or indeed all freighted goods.
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Re: Where do buy cheap adaptors for US plugs?

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 16 Mar 2015 12:02 pm

JR8 wrote:
x9200 wrote:This bluish thing you see on the contact spring is the product of some reaction of brass, bronze or copper. No way the climate alone could do anything like this. Most likely you had a leaking battery at some point.


'Grow your own Copper Sulphate' :)

Good point. It's possible it might have begun one time when it was packed up together with it's batteries, and sat baking here in the container at the docks.

If so, and in any case, it underlines how important it is to remove batteries from appliances in goods freighted by sea, or indeed all freighted goods.



Batteries (even leak proof ones) leak very quickly in this climate. I find I have to be far more disciplined about changing them (in remote controls) or remembering to remove them completely when the item is not likely to be used for awhile.
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Re: Where do buy cheap adaptors for US plugs?

Postby Infoholic » Thu, 04 Jun 2015 9:05 pm

@PNGMK As a person who a previous working life was an electrician for mining and industrial installations I agree with your comments wholeheartedly. Would you suggest a place where I could buy good quality, S-mark certified, plugs so that I can practice my old "sparkie" skills to replace the plugs on the appliances we are bringing from Australia?

Thanks in advance for you reply.


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Re: Where do buy cheap adaptors for US plugs?

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 04 Jun 2015 9:38 pm

Virtually any hardware store in Singapore. They will normally have several versions, some S marked some not, but easily found most anywhere, even in the larger NTUC Fairprice 'Finest' stores (something like a Giant).


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